Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Allison B. Hanson | Exclusive Excerpt: HER RELUCTANT HIGHLANDER HUSBAND
Author Guest / November 25, 2020

When Bryce entered the hall in his best shirt and his hair combed, he found the small gathering waiting by the hearth. Other than two servants there were no other women with their group. For a moment his chest relaxed. Perhaps his bride had abandoned him. He’d be glad to be spared this duty. It would save them both a lot of misery. Lach might be able to force him to marry for an alliance, but the laird couldn’t force Bryce to live with her or get a bairn on her. It would be a marriage contract in name only. A binding to gain access to a seaport from the McCurdys and nothing more. Lach, Cam, and the priest were frowning when he arrived. “What’s the matter. Did the lass flee?” Bryce couldn’t help a slight smile. “Nay. She’s there with her maid.” Bryce glanced over at the woman young enough to be Dorie McCurdy. A tall stick of a girl who looked as if she hadn’t eaten a good meal in ages. Her midnight hair longed for a comb, and her blue eyes darted around as if ready for an attack. He’d noticed her as he’d approached, but thought…

Heather McCollum | 20 Questions: THE HIGHLANDER’S UNEXPECTED PROPOSAL
Author Guest / October 21, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  The Highlander’s Unexpected Proposal  2–What is it about?  Adam Macquarie needs a bride to re-establish his dying clan, and Lark Montgomerie needs an escape from her horrible life, but they are both hiding secrets that could ruin everything for them and Wolf Isle. 3–What word best describes your heroine?  Determined 4–What makes your hero irresistible?  Sense of honor (not to mention his biceps!) 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  Lark finds a friend in Lady Ava Maclean. Adam has four brothers, but the second oldest, Beck, is the one he turns to first. 6–What do you love about the setting of your book?  The western isles of Scotland are rugged and beautiful with mountains, lush valleys, and stormy, dramatic seas. I love it all! 7–Are you a plotter (follow an outline) or a pantster (write by the seat of your pants)? Definitely a pantser. I’m trying to plot more, but even when I do, my characters decide where we will be going each day when I sit down to write. 8–What is an ideal writing day for you?  Waking up early before everyone else. Sitting down…

Allison B. Hanson | The Secret Goals of Authors
Author Guest / September 30, 2020

If you ask an author what they want out of their writing career, you will most likely hear something about making a bestseller list, royalties, or five-star reviews. And, of course, we do want those. But there are a few other things we strive to accomplish that we don’t always talk about, because while they make our hearts flutter, they may sound a bit. . . sadistic. Evil Secret #1: We want to make people cry. Not in a bad way. But in that, you care so much for our characters you feel for them, kind of way. We want readers to gasp, laugh, and yes, cry with our characters. Tears of happiness at the end are preferred, but if there are a few misty eyes when our heroes face their darkest moments, we enjoy knowing that as well. And even if we apologize for making you weep, secretly we are delighting in the knowledge that you’ve lost yourself in our story to the point of tears. We triumph in success at your distress. Evil Secret #2: We want to leave you dazed and overwhelmed. Tell us how shaken you were by our storylines and scenes, and we’ll offer our…

Kerrigan Byrne | Exclusive Interview: ALL SCOT AND BOTHERED
Author Guest / September 23, 2020

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction, Kerrigan! Can you give us a little bit of background on the Devil You Know series and what you’re most excited about in book 2, ALL SCOT AND BOTHERED?   Hi! I have to say this is one of my favorite places in the world to virtually be! Here at Fresh Fiction with you guys. The Devil You Know Series follows three rebellious, red-headed girls who demand the same privileges, freedoms, and education as men. So, in finishing school they formed a society called “The Red Rogues” where they dressed in trousers, read banned books, drank like they weren’t supposed to, and promised never to marry. Of course, they meet the man who entices them to go back on their word! Now, what I love about All Scot and Bothered is that it might be the most fun I’ve ever had with enemies to lovers and opposites attract. Ramsay (the hero) is the opposite of the anti-heroes I’m used to in that he never bends the rules. He’s a perfectionist. He’s grumpy, critical, dangerous, and it was OH SO satisfying to watch as Cecelia unravels his entire world and makes him lose control. At a surface level, Cecelia…

Kathryn Le Veque | Exclusive Interview: HIGHLAND GLADIATOR
Author Guest / August 26, 2020

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Kathryne! Please tell us about yourself and a little bit about your new book, HIGHLAND GLADIATOR. Thank you so much for having me! I’m a 19-time USA Today Bestselling author in Medieval Historical Romance. Think knights in shining (or dented) armor, and that’s me. This book was both a blast and a challenge to write for a couple of reasons – first, this is Highlander and I normally write everything set in Medieval England. I swear I know Medieval England better than I know my home state of California, so working in Scotland was an interesting challenge. Second – this isn’t Medieval, but Tudor, so it was a little more advanced time-wise than my usual 13th century domain. During this period in time, there was still the usual Scotland vs. England stuff going on, but there were some external politics going on as well when it came to Scotland and how it dealt with England. It made for interesting reading. This is the start of a new Highlander series, called Scots and Swords, and has been described as “Gladiator meets Fight Club.” Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this new series? What do you love most…

May McGoldrick | Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup: HIGHLAND SWORD + Giveaway!
Author Guest / February 12, 2020

We’re pleased to present another delicious recipe on our Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup from the historical romance writing team, May McGoldrick!  *** In Highland Sword, Aidan Grant and Morrigan Drummond are both proud and principled. He is a barrister. She is a trained fighter in search of revenge. They each know their own mind and are certain about what they want. And they end up spending a lot of time together, be it fighting in Inverness alleyways or the training yard at Dalmigavie Castle or duel each other in a battle of wits. But it is during the night of the Samhain celebration that their romance blooms. Many of our readers already know that May McGoldrick is actually two people – Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick. We write together, live together, love endlessly, and enjoy cooking together. In our household, Nikoo loves the everyday and holiday cooking, and Jim is great at baking. In this Highland competition, players are banned from using their hands. This game challenges participants to take bites out of treacle scones dangling from string. How can you lose?! Ingredients: 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 4 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 cup white sugar 1/8 teaspoon salt 5 tablespoons…

Heather McCollum | The Highland Outlaw
Author Guest / November 6, 2019

Thank you so much for having me here on Fresh Fiction today! I’m Heather McCollum, mother of three overly dramatic kids, wife of one Highland hero, ovarian cancer slayer, lover of chai lattes and dragonflies, and author of Scottish historical romances. My twenty-first book, THE HIGHLAND OUTLAW, was just released on October 21st (I love coincidences!). I’m often asked where I get my ideas. I feel like ideas are just floating around out in the world everywhere, and I have fun picking them out of the tangle of must-dos and everyday occurrences. It means that I’m sometimes hyperaware of my surroundings. The worlds around us are our own personal settings, just like settings for characters in books. Just like I need to recognize the sights, smells, and sounds in my books, I try to take those all in while living my life. Then I let my mind wander and expound upon those details. For example, I walk my dog each morning through my suburban neighborhood. Being the conscientious dog owner, I pick up her poop and drop the biodegradable baggie in the neighborhood dog waste cans set along the streets. Almost every time I lift that lid to toss it…

Lori Ann Bailey | Picking the Perfect Weapon
Author Guest / September 25, 2019

I recently had a discussion with friends about pepper spray. . . One friend keeps a canister with her and even sent me the link to the one she likes. I haven’t ordered it yet, but it’s in my cart, ready to purchase next time I place an order. Two of us have daughters who are college-aged and both have been in situations that make me cringe when I think about them. As moms of older children, we can no longer dictate their actions or what places they frequent, but at the same time, we can arm them with something that might help them in a difficult situation. In uncomfortable conditions like dark parking lots, I normally walk with my keys fisted in my hands, one pointing outward in preparation for some kind of attack I’m optimistic will never really happen. I’m even happy to see that as time passes more places are installing the police call boxes that are an easy jog from every position. Also, I’ve read an amazing book about trusting your instincts and being aware of the danger around you. I highly recommend The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. I believe everyone should read…

Amalie Howard & Angie Morgan | A Fun Co-Author-y Q&A
Author Guest / August 28, 2019

AMALIE: Hey, Angie, should we tell the Fresh Fiction readers a little about this last book in the Tartans and Titans series? Our kilty little secret….heh. ANGIE: Yes, definitely! WHAT A SCOT WANTS is a hilarious, steamy enemies-to-lovers romance about a stoic Highlander laird who has been burned by love before and an independent heiress who is determined to remain a spinster and run her shelter house. AMALIE: Yes, and when their parents force them into a marriage of convenience, it’s a race against time to see who can make the other cry off first. There’s humor, wagers, antics, constant one-upping, and buckets of sizzling romantic tension. Seriously, buy it and love it (Jedi mind trick). *Hugs each other and does the co-author happy dance! ANGIE: Amalie, I know a lot about you but for those who aren’t as lucky as I am, can you describe yourself in five words or less? AMALIE: Only five words? That’s like torture. I would have to say I’m creative, fun-loving, humorous, passionate, free-spirited. What about you, Angie? ANGIE: I do love to challenge you from time to time! I’m relaxed, creative, inquisitive, cheerful, and active. Amalie, when you walk into a room, what…

Alyson McLayne | Top 3 Places To Visit In Scotland
Author Guest / July 31, 2019

Scotland’s held a special place in my heart for a long time. My mom put me in Highland Dancing when I was little, and I can remember standing on a chair in our dining room for hours as she struggled to make my kilt–pinning and repining the pleats and making sure it sat perfectly on my hips. She also made me a fitted, velvet vest to wear over my lacey blouse. The final product was beautiful but heavy (all those deep pleats!), making the dances even harder to perform. Not surprisingly, when I grew out of my costume a few years later and needed a new one, she paid someone else to make it. We were both happier that she left it to the professionals! So years later, when I was on a University exchange in England for six months, the first trip I took during spring break was all the way north through Scotland to the Orkney Islands, off the northeast coast. To get there I stopped in Edinburgh, Inverness, and other places along the way. Scotland was a magical place to me with its history, castles, green valleys, craggy mountains, and wild seas. And brawny Scots in kilts,…