Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Wendy LaCapra | Road Trip Tips
Author Guest / November 13, 2019

My most recent release, Diamond in the Rogue, marks my first Road Trip Romance (or, perhaps more accurately, carriage trip romance). I love hitting the road so much that my husband and I made a goal of visiting all fifty states and all seven continents, and, as of 2017, we achieved that goal, and we haven’t stopped exploring! Interested in planning your own adventure? Here are my tips! The Vehicle Of course the easiest thing to do is to set out in your own car, but if you don’t own one or don’t wish to rack up those miles, a rental car is an excellent option. Without a rental, we could not have made all 50 states–we’d fly one-way to our destination, rent a car at the local airport, arrange to drop off the car in another location, and then take a second one-way plane trip home. If you choose this method, here are some things to remember: Check ALL rental car companies, rates and drop off fees vary drastically. When searching, try not to drop off on a Sunday. On a recent trip, estimates upwards of $2000 dropped to $250 when I changed the pickup day. Don’t forget to…

Cynthia Breeding | Scandinavia
Author Guest / November 12, 2019

Scandinavia. . . Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. . . are beautiful countries.  Most of the time, travelers choose cruise ships for these destinations since all the major cities can be accessed by ship as well as the spectacular fjords, but I always like to learn more about the people and the land than what a short day excursion while in port can provide. Denmark is, as they say, “flat as a pancake” and everyone (everyone!) owns a bicycle.  Part of the reason is that there is a 150% surcharge on personal cars, although the Danes can get a “business” plate.  Cycling also keeps them incredibly fit and healthy in spite of a penchant for ice cream and waffles.  Historically, the Danes were powerful, having control of both Norway and Sweden for centuries.  (Remember Hamlet?)  Odense is the home of Hans Christian Anderson and a museum there has beautiful editions of The Little Mermaid. Sweden is very pastoral, with forests and a huge lake (Lake Vattern) that nearly bisects the country.  Stockholm is actually a city of many islands crisscrossed with numerous bridges. Old Town (Camia stan) was settled nearly a thousand years ago and contains Marten Trotzigs Grand, a street…

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…

Liana De la Rosa | Writing about Horse Racing…When You Don’t Know Horses
Author Guest / October 31, 2019

My new historical romance, TO TAME A SCANDALOUS LADY, is set at a horse stud farm in the rolling hills of Suffolk. The heroine, Lady Flora Campbell, disguises herself as a young man to work as a horse trainer at the famed stables of the Marquess of Amstead. After a devastating fire killed his father and destroyed the paddocks at Amstead Gardens, along with the entire racing stock, Christian, the marquess, is determined to rebuild not only the stables but his family’s horse racing legacy. If the public discovered an unmarried lady is working in his stables, the scandal could alienate all the investors he has managed to court. But Flora is willing to sacrifice her reputation, and possibly even Christian’s, to see her dream of training racehorses become a reality. The majority of the action in the book revolves around Flora and Christian training the equine occupants of the stables at Amstead Gardens, but primarily Christian’s prize Egyptian-bred stallion, Asad. When I first came up with the idea for Flora and Christian’s story, I was painfully aware of one important truth: I don’t know much about horses. I could count on one hand the number of times I have…

Jane Ashford | Exclusive Excerpt: THE RELUCTANT RAKE + Giveaway!
Author Guest / October 30, 2019

The Reluctant Rake – excerpt Sir Richard Beckwith emerged from his elegant town house on a chilly spring evening wearing a black silk domino over his dark gray pantaloons and long-tailed coat of dark blue superfine. Any one of his friends would have been astonished to see him in this guise, still more to see him out of evening dress at nine o’clock. Had they known that a pocket of the domino held a black mask, they would have been dumbfounded. None of Sir Richard’s exclusive circle was likely to see him tonight, however. When he hailed a hackney cab and climbed in, he directed it to a part of London little frequented by the haut ton. If certain of its men from time to time made their way through these unsavory streets, they did not mention such excursions in polite society. A cold mist rose from the greasy cobblestones, enlivened here and there by hoarse laughter and singing as the hack rattled past some gin mill or bawdy house. One victim of blue ruin went so far as to grab for the cab, hoping to jerk its occupant into an alleyway and fleece him. He missed his target, however,…

Kate Bateman | Exclusive Interview: THIS EARL OF MINE
Author Guest / October 30, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Kate! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, and your new book, THIS EARL OF MINE? Hello and thank you for having me! I write historical romance as both Kate Bateman and K.C. Bateman. I’m originally from England, but now live in the USA, and I’m a complete history geek! Before I started writing romance, I spent fifteen years as a fine art & antiques appraiser in the UK, running my own auction house, and I still have a not-so-secret double life as a TV antiques expert/appraiser on several British antiques TV shows. In 2011 my husband’s job moved us to the USA and I decided to try my hand at writing historical romance, (I was already an avid reader.) Now I get my history fix by sneaking real historical facts into my plots. My latest release, This Earl Of Mine, is a marriage-of-convenience with a twist. It features my favorite kind of independent-minded heroine and a sexy, snarky, Bow Street Runner who turns out to be her nemesis/perfect match. There’s lots of flirty banter, unresolved sexual tension, and a true historical plot to rescue Napoleon from exile on the island of St Helena…

Amy Sandas | 5 Tips for Writing Realistic and Believable Heroines
Author Guest / October 30, 2019

I write Romance with main characters that are male/female, so a believable heroine is vitally important to every story. She must be someone the reader can identify with. . . or at the very least, someone they’d want to be friends with. These are my tips for writing realistic and believable heroines. 1. Create a character outline or overview. I realize not all writers feel the need to do this, but for me, it’s necessary. I must know my characters inside and out before I start writing them into a plotline. A good character overview is invaluable when it comes to maintaining consistency in behavior, attitude, perspective, etc. The tools I most often use are The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines by Tami Cowden, Caro LeFever and Sue Viders, online personality tests (such as Myers-Briggs), and detailed horoscopes. Once I have an idea of her natural tendencies, flaws, passions, strengths, and fears, I can better ensure that my heroine responds consistently to any scene or situation. 2. She needs goals and aspirations. Though love is the focus of all romance, no heroine should exist solely for the love of her hero. A realistic heroine will have personal dreams…

Tina Gabrielle | Romance Heroes with Disabilities
Author Guest / October 23, 2019

Hello! I’m Tina Gabrielle and I write adventurous historical romance featuring feisty ladies and bold heroes. I’m excited to be on Fresh Fiction to celebrate my new historical release, HOW TO CAPTURE A DUKE, the third book in my Raven Club series. All my books are standalone reads. Did you know Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, James Earl Jones, and Nicole Kidman have all struggled with stuttering? Many more famous people can be added to this list. This book is straight from my heart, and I purposely chose a hero with a speech disorder. All through grammar school, I was treated by my school’s speech therapist. First, English was my second language. I’m a first-generation Armenian-American, and we spoke Armenian at home. Second, I had an articulation delay and struggled to pronounce certain words and sounds. As a five-year-old, I remember my speech therapist quite fondly. She had pretty long, brown hair to her waist, wore colorful high heels and gave me candy after each session. She also helped me a lot, and over my entire grammar school career, my speech difficulties were resolved. I went on to become an attorney, and I’ve argued cases in front of judges in crowded…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: Druids, Gods, and Prophecies
Author Guest / October 16, 2019

For historical fiction this month, we travel back into the mystic past to explore the land of Druids, Danes, and followers of the Norse gods of Valhalla. What better way to honor Halloween than to delve into an era rich in mythic and supernatural traditions? We begin in the Nordic lands of the ninth century with Johanne Hildebrandt’s two-book series that chronicles the fascinating, violent period when the Scandinavian lands were fought over by adherents of the old gods and those converted to the new religion of Christianity. In THE UNBROKEN LINE OF THE MOON (VALHALLA BOOK 1,) as war rages between Vikings and Christians, rich and beautiful Sigrid holds to the old Norse gods, particularly the goddess Freya, who comes to her in dreams and reveals to her the future. Though her father wants her to marry Erik, a local king, to secure peace between Goths and Swedes, she finds herself drawn to Sweyn, a warrior seeking to overthrow Danish ruler Harald Bluetooth. Will she become Erik’s Queen, or risk all to follow her heart? In ESTRID (VALHALLA BOOK 2), Sigrid’s story merges with those of her twin offspring, Olaf, heir to the kingdom of Svealand, and his sister…

Diana Biller | Exclusive Interview: THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE
Author Guest / October 9, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Can you tell us a little bit about your new historical mystery, THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE? Someone recently described THE WIDOW OF ROSE HOUSE as a gothic rom-com and I think that’s absolutely perfect. It’s about a scandalous widow, Alva Webster, who badly needs a fresh start. After her (terrible) husband is murdered in Europe, she returns to New York, buys a decrepit mansion, and decides to use its renovation as the basis for a home decorating book. Unfortunately, it may be haunted. Enter Professor Samuel Moore, scientist and inventor extraordinaire, who is fascinated both by the possible ghosts and by Alva herself. It’s a love story, a ghost story, and a story about learning to laugh again. Alva Webster is a determined woman with a scandalous past that both hinders her and works to her advantage. She buys the supposedly haunted Liefdehuis mansion and brokers a publishing deal to write a book about restoring it and giving interior design tips. But New York society – including her own parents – won’t speak to her or invite her back into polite company. So, on the one hand, Alva wants to be welcomed home, but she also…