Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Alexa Aston | The History Behind the Lawmen of the West Series
Author Guest / September 22, 2021

As a former history teacher, I enjoy the research aspect when plotting and writing my Regency, Medieval, & Western historical romances. I have researched topics such as falconry, herbs, archery, the waltz, dime novels, food, and clothing of the various eras I write in. I can tell you the correct way to address a duke and the different positions men rode driving cattle to market. My recent Lawmen of the West series made for uncovering some fascinating facts, though! For Ballad Beauty, I visited the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame Museum in Waco, Texas (after a stop at Magnolia Bakery, of course). I viewed different kinds of weapons and uniforms on display and recorded the oath each potential Ranger took. I also researched Irish ballads for this romance, as the heroine was tracking a treasure her Irish father had hidden. He provided clues to its location using songs he sang to her as a child. Blind Faith had me studying bullet wounds and blindness, which my US marshal suffered during a mission to rescue a kidnapped senator and his son, while I delved into 19th-century painting since my heroine was a landscape artist. I like to think she was just…

Enterprising Women
History / June 21, 2017

For many historical fiction fans, one of the draws of the genre is watching woman of past confront challenges and restrictions to open up new opportunities for themselves.  In honor of the recent birthdays of some extraordinary women—my mother-in-law, my stepmother and my daughter—this month I showcase a group of enterprising women who dare to dream of doing something more than filling a woman’s conventional place in society. We begin chronologically with THE DARING LADIES OF LOWELL by Kate Alcott.  Searching for independence and a better future, in 1832 farm girl Alice Barrow moves to Lowell to become one of the “mill girls.”  Though the hours are long and the work grueling, she finds a new best friend in outspoken, feisty Lovey Cornell, camaraderie with the other mill girls, and intellectual stimulation in attending lectures at the Lyceum and working on the mill’s literary magazine—where she catches the attention of mill owner’s son Samuel Fiske.  As working conditions become more dangerous and the workers protest, Samuel invites Alice to represent the other mill girls at a meeting with his family.  But when her friend Lovey is found strangled and she suspects the Fiske family of withholding information about the crime,…

Jessica Andersen | Of Mayan Myths and Hot Men
Uncategorized / May 29, 2008

As I talk to people about NIGHTKEEPERS, one question that comes up repeatedly is one of inspiration, and how I came to take pieces of ancient Mayan mythology and bring them into a modern day paranormal romantic thriller. Given that I’m a scientist by training and have spent the last bunch of years writing medical romantic suspense, it might seem a little off-topic for me to be writing about Mayan mythology. But really it isn’t. . . it goes back to being a little kid and visiting a big pyramid. This was back when Cancun was just starting to become Americanized. My parents and I stayed at small local hotels and took rattling bus tours to Mayan ruins across the Yucatan. I soaked up enough Spanish to ask where the bathroom was, and to order a burger and Coke. More, I learned how the Mayans were masters of astronomy, and how they played a winner-loses-head ball game in huge, open-ended ball courts. I discovered flan (and subsequently Montezuma’s revenge), haggled at open-air markets, and learned a bit about how the coming of the Conquistadors in the early 1500s had changed the landscape forever. Ever since, I’ve been fascinated with the…