Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Evie Dunmore | Exclusive Excerpt: BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE
Author Guest / September 4, 2019

I am fascinated by the heroines of this new series, A League of Extraordinary Women, who are suffragists! It was also particularly intriguing in the scenes where Queen Victoria shows up, to find that she was against this movement, and wanted to get rid of feminists. What was the most surprising thing you learned while researching this novel?  I spent some time in the archives of Oxford’s first women’s college, Lady Margaret Hall, to research my story. The first surprise was how pleased the archivist was about my interest in the first women at Oxford because they were so “under-explored”. I wondered why–these women were extraordinary, pioneers if you will, considering how unusual and controversial it was for a woman to go for higher education in 1879. I want to add that LMH shone a spotlight on the first women students this summer, when they marked the 140th anniversary of the college, and I was delighted when they asked me to share my research for the occasion. The other big surprise was how frequently objections to women’s rights in the Victorian era were couched in terms of concern for women’s health and happiness. Women were not allowed to fully matriculate…

Amy Rose Bennett | Exclusive Excerpt: HOW TO CATCH A WICKED VISCOUNT
Author Guest / August 28, 2019

Set-Up: Lady Charlotte Hastings and Lord Malverne, along with their aunt, Lady Chelmsford, have taken Sophie Brightwell for a jaunt through Hyde Park during the fashionable hour. . . Lord Malverne leaned closer, drawing her attention away from the lake. “So was I correct in my assessment that ton­nish activities are tiresome?” he murmured in a conspirato­rial fashion. “I’m quite content to enjoy the view,” remarked Sophie, trying to ignore the scent of Lord Malverne’s spicy cologne as it teased her nostrils, or the bump of his pantaloon-clad knee against hers. She didn’t think it would be wise to agree with him within earshot of Charlie, Lady Chelms­ford, or their current conversation partners, the Countess of Poole and her decidedly spinsterish sister. Lord Malverne smiled in such a way that Sophie’s heart tripped and her cheeks heated. “So am I. The view is quite spectacular.” “You really shouldn’t do that,” she said, trying to adopt an expression that would pass as reproving, but wasn’t too stern. It wouldn’t do to appear waspish. Infuriatingly, Lord Malverne’s chiseled mouth simply tilted into a half-smile that was even more roguish. “Do what?” “Openly flirt with me,” replied Sophie under her breath. She tried…

Jane Ashford | Title Challenge: HOW TO CROSS A MARQUESS + Giveaway!
Author Guest / August 28, 2019

My new book is called How to Cross a Marquess. Five years ago, Roger Berwick and Fenella Fairclough rebelled when their fathers tried to marry them off. They would not be ordered about! A whole lot has happened since then. They’ve both changed, and now a fiery attraction has flared between them. It’s just too ironic. Circumstances have brought these former enemies much closer than they ever could have anticipated. But various people don’t like that idea at all. The path to a happy future is convoluted. So for these two: H is for history. Theirs is complicated. O is for oh! Neither expected the passion that has flared between them. So surprising with someone you’ve known for most of your life. But people change. W is for the worrisome anonymous letters spreading rumors about them through the neighborhood. How do you fight an invisible adversary? T is for time. There seemed to be so much, and now there’s nearly none. O is for opponent. But who is it? C is for choleric. Roger finds his temper sweetened by his lovely neighbor. R is for reminiscence. Roger’s mother has much to recall. O is for overset, as circumstances spiral out…

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…

Kerrigan Byrne | Exclusive Interview: HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS
Author Guest / August 21, 2019

Thanks for stopping by Fresh Fiction! Can you tell us about your new series, Devil You Know, and the first book, How to Love a Duke in Ten Days? Thank you so much for having me! In the Devil You Know Series, I wanted to celebrate those fierce female friendships that so many of us rely on. Alexandra Lane, Cecelia Teague, and Francesca Cavendish meet at a boarding school and realize they’re girls who want to enjoy all of the pleasures that men are allowed and women are denied. They form the Red Rogues Society, a club where they sneak away and wear trousers, drink port, smoke cigars, and read newspapers. Their bond is secured by a secret, and they vow they’ll do anything for their life-long sisterhood, including never marry. In HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS, Lady Alexandra Lane has lived with a painful secret for a decade. She’s paid a villain to keep that secret safe, and now her money has run out. When she is offered salvation in the form of a marriage of convenience to a scarred, reclusive Duke, she realizes they’ll both have to learn how to trust before they can ever…

Vanessa Riley | Listening to Your Voice
Author Guest / August 16, 2019

Last fall, the leaves started turning gold and brilliant red. The birds sang as they migrated South, and I was forty-thousand words into creating, The Bewildered Bride. Everything was wonderful. Peace and love seemed to be everywhere. Then, the words stopped.   Nothing. Not a jot. Not even an extended ellipse.   I’m not one to panic, but for a writer to have their characters who had been happily chatting with you to go silent—that’s a Danger-Danger-Will-Robinson moment.   After a long sigh, several hazelnut lattes, prayer, and begging my muse, I closed up my laptop. I shut my eyes and listened. My heroine of The Bewildered Bride, Ruth Croome Wilke, had something to say, and it wasn’t the story on the page.   Her voice, I had suppressed. I’d convinced myself it didn’t matter. She would be happy in the end. When her story became tough and gutting, I stopped listening to her.   I didn’t want to face her truth. I wanted her to bottle up her pain.   I was hypocrite, and why would someone who’s been through so much want to waste her energy on someone who discounted the power of her voice.   Ruth had been…

Vivienne Lorret | Exclusive Interview: THE ROGUE TO RUIN
Author Guest / August 7, 2019

by Fresh Fiction Reviewer Jessica Grogan Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Please tell us about your latest historical romance, THE ROGUE TO RUIN and a little bit about yourself. Thank you so much for having me here today! THE ROGUE TO RUIN is a story about Ainsley Bourne’s determination to keep her family’s matchmaking agency afloat, even if she has to start a war with the gaming hell owner, Reed Sterling, who stands in her way. What was it like writing about two people with such different backgrounds and world views coming together to fall in love? I love writing stories where the hero and heroine are worlds apart. They clash so well on the page. But my favorite part is uncovering all the things that can bring them together as the romance unfolds. Sometimes these little tidbits are as much of a surprise to me as it is to the characters. What has your journey to becoming an Avon author been like? Simply put, it’s been a dream come true. I wrote for years, struggling to get more than a form-letter rejection. I can count, on one hand, the number of personal rejection letters and requests I received in ten…

Miranda Owen | Weddings In Romance Novels – Divine or Disastrous?
Author Guest / August 5, 2019

by Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen  “I’ve never been the one. Not for anybody.” He closed the distance between them. “You’ll get used to it.” He tipped her face up to his, kissed her. “Why? Why am I the one?” “Because my life opened up, and it flooded with color when you walked back into it.” –Nora Roberts, VISION IN WHITE Weddings are a common occurrence in romance novels, whether they are contemporary, historical, or paranormal. More often than not, they happen near the end of a story as a happy conclusion. While I adore a happy ending just as much as any romance fan, I find stories more interesting when the wedding takes place near the opening of a story. I prefer to think of a wedding as a point in a discussion rather than the conclusion to an exercise. One of my favorite authors is Mary Balogh. In a Mary Balogh novel, there are joyous endings, but no “happily ever afters.” Happiness is something that is an ongoing process that evolves over time and is something that you must work at. In this article, I discuss weddings in some recent romance novels, along with some of my…

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,…

Tara Kingston | Chemistry 101
Author Guest / July 24, 2019

Chemistry. I’m intrigued by observing chemistry in real life and in fiction. No, not the kind with protons, neutrons, and electrons. I left that kind of chemistry behind after my freshman year of college. As an author, I’m talking about that intangible quality between characters we’ve come to refer to as chemistry. When a hero and heroine experience mutual chemistry, they’re drawn together, despite external conflicts and obstacles—even if they think they’re all wrong for each other. When I’m not writing and reading, I love to watch movies. It’s evident to me when there is…or is not…chemistry between the characters. The hero and the heroine challenge each other, grow to respect each other, and find each other intriguing. And in the case of a romance, chemistry fuels their attraction. To me, chemistry is the difference between a movie I want to enjoy more than once, and a film that’s not nearly as memorable. I’m a huge fan of Robert Downey, Jr. and Rachel McAdams in Sherlock Holmes. As Holmes matches wits with alluring criminal Irene Adler, a woman who can hold her own with the brilliant detective, the sensual tension is magnetic. One can well imagine the passion that would…