Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Laura Frantz | Lark’s Scottish Shortbread Recipe + Giveaway!
Author Guest / January 18, 2019

Happy New Year, Fresh Fiction folks! Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today and for helping celebrate the release of my tenth historical novel, A Bound Heart, with a three-book giveaway! When I’m not writing and traveling, I’m at home in the kitchen baking. As an author, I enjoy reading about as well as including culinary details in my own historical novels. Doing so lends a richness and authenticity to the story. My characters are historical foodies, for sure! And so, I’m delighted to share this Scottish shortbread recipe from my heroine, Lark MacDougall’s, humble hearth on the Isle of Kerrera in Scotland. This shortbread pairs deliciously with a steaming cup of tea or even coffee. Sláinte! Classic Scottish Shortbread 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar or superfine sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 cup oats, traditional or quick 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8″ round cake pan. 2. Grind the oats in a blender or food processor. If you don’t have a blender or food processor, use quick oats, rather than traditional. Combine the oats with the remaining ingredients in a bowl and mix…

K. A. Servian | When a One-Off Project Becomes an Obsession
Author Guest / September 6, 2018

When I was writing THE MORAL COMPASS, the first novel in the Shaking the Tree trilogy, I went in search of a suitable image for the cover. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any pictures of women in 1850s costume that even came close to what I wanted. So, using my knowledge of history of costume, pattern making and garment construction, I made a costume, found a model and photographed the image I had in my head. Most people would probably leave it there. However, I was writing a trilogy, so I had to make more costumes for the different periods in which my books were set. A bustle dress for the 1870s and a leg-O-mutton sleeve ensemble with a huge hat for the 1890s came next. This process has sparked an obsession. I love everything about making costumes; from the research, sourcing the fabric and trims, drafting the pattern, construction of the garment, making the accessories, and the hours of hand finishing these garments require. And the cherry on the cake is photographing the completed outfits so the images will make good book covers. So far, I’ve made garments representing the Regency period (c.1815), early Victorian (1840s), mid-Victorian (1850s), mid-late Victorian…

Karin Tabke | Bouncing Off the Walls!
Romance / May 27, 2009

If someone doesn’t glue me down soon I’m going to hurt myself. Why all the extra energy? Lot’s of reasons. Despite this economic downturn and the lull in publishing, romance has not only survived, it’s thriving! Take that, literary snobs! Okay, that isn’t nice, but it’s how I feel. Would someone please tell me what is so bad about losing yourself in a passionate love story? One that ends with a Happily Ever After? Hot heroes to die for, heroines we’d like to befriend and that warm fuzzy feeling we get when we read The End. How can anyone have issues with that? Not me, and I don’t defend romance either. I blow off the snarky comments with a shrug of my shoulders and a suggestion to the naysayer that perhaps they might want professional help to deal with that cynical chip on their shoulder. Okay, maybe that is a wee bit defensive, but it’s true! Click here to read the rest of Karin’s blog and to leave a comment. Visit FreshFiction.com to learn more about books and authors.

Jennifer Ashley | Unusual Heroes: Who Do You Love?
Uncategorized / April 29, 2009

As most readers know by now, my May 2009 release, The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie, features an unusual hero. Ian Mackenzie has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is considered to be high-functioning autism. Traits include the inability to make eye contact, trouble with nonverbal cues and subtext, obsession with detail (but missing the “big picture”), and others. Not everyone who has AS exhibits the same traits, and the syndrome tends to present differently in men than women. I’ve been recently praised for the risk I took writing Lord Ian. Which surprises me a little (though I don’t mind the compliments!), because when I sat down to write the story, I never thought: “Hey, I’m gonna go out there and take a risk! I’m going to do something different.” Click here to read the rest of Jennifers blog, leave a comment and enter her blog contest. Visit FreshFiction.com to learn more about books and authors.

Vanessa Kelly | WHAT IS IT ABOUT SISTERS?
Romance / April 16, 2009

What is it about the topic of sisters that causes so much controversy? My new Regency-set historical, Mastering The Marquess, is partly a story about a pair of sisters, and the life-threatening situation they confront together. Meredith, my heroine, will do anything to keep her little sister Annabel out of harm’s way—even if it means putting her own life at risk. And she does that without blaming Annabel for their predicament, or feeling resentful that she must potentially sacrifice her own chance for happiness. Meredith’s selflessness didn’t seem odd or out of character to me, likely because I have an older sister who has always been uber-protective of her siblings. She would take on a herd of charging elephants without a second thought if it meant keeping me or my brothers safe. But to my surprise, a few readers of Mastering The Marquess expressed discomfort with Meredith’s willingness to sacrifice herself for Annabel. They thought their relationship was too perfect—that real sisters fought more, and that Meredith should, at the very least, be resentful of Annabel. That took me aback since I can count the number of times I’ve fought with my sister on one hand, with a few fingers…

Leigh Greenwood | Series, Series, Series
Uncategorized / April 13, 2009

I didn’t set out to write series. I fell into it by accident. I was watching the movie Seven Brides for Seven Brothers with my younger son about twenty years ago. We didn’t pay much attention. He was eight and preferred trying to wrestle his father to watching a musical even though it was his idea to watch the movie together. (Since he’s never watched a musical before or since, Providence’s hand must have been at work.) After it was over, I thought that seven brothers looking for wives would make a good idea for a series, never dreaming it would turn out to be an idea for me. Sometime later, I realized I had a group of brothers in my head. I didn’t know where they’d come from or why they were there, but they were remarkably well defined. A little bemused, I asked my agent what I should do about them. She suggested that I write a proposal, let her send it out, and see that happened. Thus was born the Seven Brides series. A John Wayne movie, The Cowboys, gave me the idea for my The Cowboys series. He recruited schoolboys to help with a cattle drive….

Elizabeth Hoyt | The Middle Child
Romance / March 23, 2009

So my May book is the third in a four book series set in Georgian England. The series is The Legend of the Four Soldiers and the book is To Beguile a Beast. The other three books are about soldiers coming home from war. But To Beguile a Beast doesn’t have a soldier hero. Sir Alistair Munroe is a civilian naturalist. The other three soldier heroes were in the British army when their regiment was decimated by the French and their Indian allies. They volunteered for the army or bought a commission, but in any case, they chose to be there. Sir Alistair just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. And while the other heroines in The Legend of the Four Soldiers series are aristocratic heroines, Helen Fitzwilliam, the heroine of To Beguile a Beast is no aristocrat. Nor is she a lady. Click to read the rest and to comment on Elizabeth’s blog. Visit FreshFiction.com to learn more about books and authors.

Diane Whiteside | Once Upon A Time in A Place Far, Far Away
Romance / February 26, 2009

Historical authors always write about someplace that can’t be seen or felt by their reader. For KISSES LIKE A DEVIL (just published in February 2009 by Brava), I always knew Brian, William and Viola Donovan’s second son, would find his true love in turn-of the-century Europe. But I wanted it to happen in a fictional country, not someplace well-known where I’d have to walk the straight and narrow path of rigid locations and dates set down in an almanac. No, I wanted the fun of making up a country’s map and history all on my own, just like I would for a fantasy. Yes! I decided to call it Eisengau, or “Iron Mountain” in German. Quite suitable for someplace that made topnotch guns and cannons, then sold them to the rest of the world at big time prices. Click here to read the rest of Diane’s blog. Visit FreshFiction.com to learn more about books and authors.

Emily Bryan | VEXING THE VISCOUNT
Uncategorized / February 13, 2009

“The decision to become a courtesan is not to be made lightly. A woman must be willing to make her own choices . . . and pay for them.” “–from the memoirs of Mlle. Blanche La Tour Thanks for the chance to guest blog here at FreshFiction. For those of you who’ve been following my blog tour, I hope you’ll bookmark this site. FreshFiction is fabulous. When I started writing VEXING THE VISCOUNT, I wanted to play with the idea of my heroine masquerading as a courtesan. But I knew Daisy Drake wouldn’t be convincing unless she had some inside information, so I allowed her to discover the memoirs of Blanche La Tour, a French “woman of pleasure.” Which meant I needed to research the life of an 18th century courtesan. Here’s a little of what I discovered: Move over, Britney! Eat your heart out, Paris! Courtesans were the original prey of the paparazzi. These darlings of the London tabloids provided the cartoonists of their day with juicy on dits and outrageous exploits to lampoon. Top-tier ‘birds of paradise’ demanded and received generous stipends, clothing allowances, jewels, houses, a box at the opera and endless diversions from their well-placed protectors….

Donna Russo Morin | Characters are the soul of the plot; plot is the receptacle of the soul.
Uncategorized / February 9, 2009

That’s the answer I give whenever asked the timeless question, “which is more important, character or plot?” And invariably I get a look of skeptical confusion. But to be truthful, we must recognize that not only can one not exist without the other, but that one cannot be successful without the other…a good character can not carry a book without a stirring story to breathe in. When we fall in love with a character, it is not only his or her instinctive traits that endear them to us, but their responses to the situations in which they find themselves. Quite frankly, Scarlett O’Hara (one of my favorite heroines of all time) would simply have been deemed a demanding diva if she acted the way she did under normal circumstances. If the war hadn’t broken out and if her struggle did not become one of survival for herself and her family, she would have become a character worthy of reality show depiction and abhorrence. Jeanne du Bois, the protagonist of my recent historical fiction release, THE COURTIER’S SECRET, would have been considered no more than a spoiled brat were her father not a controlling and abusive man, did she not live…