Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Maddison Michaels | THE SINFUL SCOT
Author Guest / January 22, 2020

Hi Everyone, my name is Maddison Michaels and I’m thrilled to be doing a blog post for Fresh Fiction! First off, just to tell you a little about myself, I write historical romances that incorporate sexy history with a dash of mystery. My debut novel THE DEVILISH DUKE won the Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year in 2019 for best historical romance! It is book one in my ‘Saints and Scoundrels’ series, and book two is THE ELUSIVE EARL, with my current up and coming new release THE SINFUL SCOT being the third book in the series (they are all stand-alone, though the characters do make appearances in the other books). One of the things I love about writing historical romances is researching the era and the setting that the book is set in. And I had such fun researching the Scottish Highlands which is where THE SINFUL SCOT is set in. I’ve never travelled there myself (though it’s on my bucket list) so I immersed myself online as much as possible to get a feel for the country-side. During my research, I spent some fun times looking at all of the castles in the regions, and…

Diana Lloyd | Perfect People Are Boring
Author Guest / January 22, 2020

Perfect people are boring. Also, kind of annoying. I’ll admit to occasionally pretending perfection but the ruse never lasts long. I don’t enjoy reading about perfect characters and I don’t really enjoy writing them either. Real people are flawed, sometimes hopelessly so. Characters in books need to have flaws too. Human foibles bring book characters to life. Visible “flaws” are limited by the eye of the beholder. I found The Emotional Wound Thesaurus (Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi) to be an invaluable resource for writing flawed characters. Emotional wounds and internal flaws are the salt & pepper of romance authors. Sprinkle that stuff liberally or risk a bland story. In my historical romance series, What Happens in the Ballroom, I purposely gave my characters a little more emotional baggage than they could successfully bear. And then I poked them with a sharp stick before writing their happily-ever-after. For book 2 of the series, ABOUT AN EARL, Oliver Chalford, the new Earl of Winchcombe, has scars he can hide and one he cannot. Unable to erase his physical scar, he struggles with the scars within that threaten to destroy his chance at happiness.  The son of an abusive alcoholic, Oliver wishes…

Anna Schmidt | Exclusive Excerpt: PATHFINDER + Giveaway!
Author Guest / January 1, 2020

The Harvey Girls, in full uniform, stood shoulder to shoulder, arms linked, at the entrance to the church. Emma was at the center of the lineup. Grace Hopkins was on her left and a woman Max didn’t recognize was on her right, all three also in uniform. Sheriff Bolton stood before them, shouting out threats to arrest the whole lot of them. Off to one side sat the bride, her face blotched with either fury or misery or both. Father O’Meara stood between McCoy, the local lawyer, and Mr. Gilmore, trying without much success to get them to lower their voices. And instead of consoling his bride, whose day had clearly been ruined, RJ stood with his arms around his mother—and his eyes fixed on Emma. Max started making his way through the crowd. “Wait, Max,” Aidan called, stopping him. “Let them alone. This just might work.” “Mr. Campbell,” Ford said, “please explain why employees of the Harvey Company are staging what appears to be a protest outside a church of all places.” “It was all their idea,” Aidan said, gesturing toward the waitresses. “Emma’s really—along with Grace and Lily, of course.” “Who’s Lily?” Max asked. Aidan pointed to the…

Miranda Owen | Fresh Fiction Reviewer Top Reads of 2019
Author Guest / December 20, 2019

Our reviewer retrospective continues with Miranda Owen‘s favorite books of this year!  I love making lists. At the end of a year, friends and fellow readers will post about their top favorite five or ten books of the year. I’m not configured that way. Trying to pick only five or ten favorite books out of the hundred or so I’ve read over the course of a year is unfathomable to me. Instead, I’ve picked about five or so titles in four different categories. Many of these selections fit a few of different categories listed here. I mostly read and review romances, but cozy mysteries are my jam too. Christmas-themed Romance Picks THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton A COWBOY UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Jessica Clare ONE HOT HOLIDAY by Cynthia Eden MEET ME UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Stacey Kennedy ONE CHRISTMAS EVE by Shannon Stacey There was a ridiculous amount of amazing Christmas-themed romances that came out this year, many of which came out at the end of October. The ones I’m discussing were my absolute favorites, but there were a bunch more that put a smile on my face. THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton and A…

Jessica Grogan | Fresh Fiction Reviewer Top Reads of 2019
Author Guest / December 19, 2019

Our Year in Review continues with one of our newest reviewers, Jessica Grogan, sharing her top historical romance reads of 2019! 2019 was a fantastic year for books, especially in my preferred genre of historical romance. There were so many great titles that it was often difficult to choose what to read next! With that in mind, here is a quick rundown of 4 of my favorite reads for 2019. My most anticipated read of this year was easily Vivienne Lorret’s THE ROGUE TO RUIN. The third in the Misadventures in Matchmaking series, this title features Ainsley Bourne and Reed Sterling. Ainsley determines that Reed’s gaming hell is keeping her family’s matchmaking business from being respectable and therefore profitable and begins a war with Reed in an attempt to close him down. This was a fantastic enemies-to-lovers tale where the hero and heroine take their time getting to know each other rather than falling into insta-lust. The villain plot added just enough action to the story without being cheesy or ridiculous. This title helped solidify Vivienne Lorret as one of my favorite authors!! A close second for my most anticipated title this year was Eva Leigh’s MY FAKE RAKE. The…

Ingrid Hahn | 20 Questions: THE VIKING’S CAPTIVE
Author Guest / December 11, 2019

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  The Viking’s Captive 2–What is it about?  A hot hunk-o-Viking gorgeousness steals a foreign princess for his jarl…only to fall in love with her himself. And when he finds out she betrayed him by failing to tell him that she’s not actually the princess. . . 3–What word best describes your heroine?  Brave 4–What makes your hero irresistible?  He’s a Viking, but a strong protector and–although he’d never have thought of himself in these terms–nothing less than the perfect gentleman where the heroine is concerned. He makes an unfortunate number of mistakes, building up to a pretty decent grovel when he has to come to terms with what he’s done to the woman he loves. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  The heroine and hero alike turn to the hero’s aunt, for different reasons. The hero cares about his aunt’s opinion and burns with shame when he knows he’s done wrong in her eyes. The heroine needs protection and his aunt becomes her unexpected ally. 6–What do you love about the setting of your book?  Everything! I romanticized it heavily–it’s fiction–so I made the best possible…

Rosanne Bittner | Top Five Reasons Why I Love the Old West
Author Guest / November 27, 2019

I have had a love affair with American History, especially America’s “Old West” nearly all my life, probably because I grew up on TV westerns like Gunsmoke and old western movies starring Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. But I truly believe there is a part of me who, in another life, lived in the west, either as an Indian or a pioneer woman. My top five reasons for loving the West would be: The magnificent landscapes The phenomenal growth of our frontier The rugged pioneers The fact that men set their own laws, sometimes “on the spot” The respect and admiration most men of the West had for the pioneer women who dared to join them in a savage land And a sixth. . . complete strangers often ended up marrying out of need and loneliness, which is what my book is about. Excerpt: August 1869 Kate ducked into the tall grass as soon as she heard men’s voices. She slowly crawled to get close enough to listen, then parted the dense, yellow blades to see five rough-looking men gathered around a lonely, half-dead cottonwood tree. One of the men raised up in his stirrups and flung a rope over…

Eva Leigh | Exclusive Interview: MY FAKE RAKE
Author Guest / November 27, 2019

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction, Eva! Can you tell us more about your new series, Union of the Rakes, and book 1 in particular, MY FAKE RAKE?  Thank you so much for having me back! I’m very excited to introduce my Union of the Rakes series to your readers, since it combines two very important things in my life: my love of the Regency, and my love of the ‘80s. The whole premise of the Union of the Rakes might sound familiar to ‘80s film fans: five very different boys meet at Eton when they’re assigned to an all-day punishment in the library. Yes–it’s the Breakfast Club! Twenty years later, the boys are now grown men in a close friendship, and each one finds their own HEA in the pages of the Union of the Rakes books. My Fake Rake is a mash up between Weird Science, Can’t Buy Me Love, and Some Kind of Wonderful. That means we get fake dating, makeover (it’s his makeover), and friends to lovers, all in one book!  One of my favorite things about this new series of yours is that it’s inspired by 80s movies! Where did this fabulous idea come from? What’s…

Julia London | Author-Reader Match: THE PRINCESS PLAN
Author Guest / November 20, 2019

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Julia London! Writes: I write historical romance and contemporary romance with equal enthusiasm! The Princess Plan is the start of a brand new series set in Victorian London. The Devil in the Saddle is the second book in my Princes of Texas series. About: I’m a little bit charwoman and a little bit queen. I love dogs and princes in equal measure and not necessarily in that order. My favorite pastimes include dressing up in fancy gowns, attending balls in my head, and gossiping with my friends and sister. I follow all the royal news because you never know when a prince may become available. When I am not reading up on all the details of a royal wedding, I am willing and able to stick my nose into unusual situations, like, say, a murder. Seeking a prince with a big castle, lots of servants, and an undying eagerness to keep me warm at nights. What I’m looking for in my…

Sourcebooks Casablanca Christmas Authors | Holiday Fun + Giveaway!
Author Guest / November 15, 2019

Can you believe Christmas is right around the corner? To celebrate, we asked the authors of our 2019 Christmas titles to answer some fun, wintry and Christmas themed questions! Fall in love this Christmas and be sure to read: Longing for a Cowboy Christmas by Leigh Greenwood, Rosanne Bittner, Linda Broday, Margaret Brownley, Anna Schmidt, and Amy Sandas Wish Upon a Cowboy by Jennie Marts Cowboy Firefighter Christmas Kissby Kim Redford Cowboy Christmas Homecoming by June Faver A Dash of Christmas by Samantha Chase Puppy Christmas by Lucy Gilmore Silver Town Wolf: Home for the Holidays by Terry Spear Keep reading to get in the Christmas spirit and check out the books over at Romance Reads! *** What’s the best part about writing a Christmas book? Rosanne Bittner:       The best part about writing a Christmas story is that it takes me into that “miracle” mood that seems to be a part of the Christmas holiday. I always try to include some kind of little miracle in my stories. In last year’s anthology, Christmas In A Cowboy’s Arms, my story miracle was the healed awakening of an unconscious little girl. This year, in Longing for A Cowboy Christmas, my miracle surrounds…