Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Tari Faris | 20 Questions: SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE
Author Guest / September 10, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? Since You’ve Been Gone 2–What is it about? When Leah returns to Heritage with plans to reopen her grandparent’s store, she finds one big obstacle in her way—John Kensington. Not only did Jon make her high school years difficult, but he is now determined to thwart her professional efforts as well. When Jon returns to Heritage to take his place in the family company, he quickly discovers his uncle has other plans. How can he prove he has what it takes to run the multi-million-dollar business if his uncle won’t give him a chance? Jon and Leah will have to learn to work together if either of them is going to have a professional future in their hometown. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  I love small towns and I love Michigan, so I guess I love everything about the setting. I grew up in a small Michigan town and even though Heritage isn’t based on where I grew up, it does have the close community. the quirks, and the charm. One piece of the setting everyone has grown to love about Heritage is Otis, the moving hippo…

Melody Carlson | Title Challenge: A CHRISTMAS IN THE ALPS
Author Guest / September 10, 2021

I’m Melody Carlson and I’ve been writing Christmas novellas for a couple decades now. This year’s story, A Christmas in the Alps, transports us to France for the holidays.  Here we go! A is for Alps – where our picturesque French village is located * C is for clockmaker – the career that our hero (Kyle) is pursuing H is for hotel – run by a friendly French family R is for relatives – our heroine seeks to discover some of her own I is for investigate – our heroine strives to resolve old family mysteries S is for Simone – our reluctant heroine and her namesake great-grandmama T is for treasure – a mysterious letter promising Simone a family treasure M is for merry – will Simone’s Christmas be? A is for Arve – the pretty little fictional town in the French Alps S is for secrets – what really happened to estrange Simone’s great-grandmama from her family? * I is for intrigue – the more we learn, the more the plot thickens N is for Noel – Kyle’s charming competition in the romance game * T is for truth – can Simone ever get to the bottom of…

Jane Kirkpatrick | How Music Heals
Author Guest / September 8, 2021

The poet Maya Angelou once wrote that as a child “Music was my refuge. I climbed inside the space between the notes and curled my back to loneliness.” She was in tune with musician Natalie Curtis of The Healing of Natalie Curtis (Revell). Though not a child when she had a mental collapse before her New York Philharmonic debut in 1897, nevertheless she sought her healing in the discovery of the music of the Indigenous people of America’s Southwest. Her healing reflects what a century later psychologists at Baylor University discovered. They worked with children who had experienced trauma of various kinds: loss of home, death of a parent, abuse. What researchers found is that traditional counseling like I was trained to do as a Clinical Social Worker, was not as effective as movement (dance, woodworking), art (painting,  photography); story — reading and writing them;  and yes, music. These sensory experiences bypass the critical side and reach the amygdala oblongata, the part of the brain associated with emotion that does not shut down when the rest of a body might go into survival mode, which is where trauma sends us. I had my own experience with musical healing. When I…

DiAnn Mills | Read! Add Power to Your Life + Giveaway!
Author Guest / September 7, 2021

People who read add power to their lives. I’ve read since I was old enough to put letters into words. Soon I discovered the library was my source of adventure and a means of exploring new people and worlds. The desire to write suspense developed with series featuring Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, Trixie Belden, Donna Parker, Cherry Ames, and many more. Nonfiction books that explored other countries, cultures, and biographies inspired me to dream about what I wanted to be when I grew up. Books added power to my life and they can for you too. With all the techy ways to entertain ourselves, why do leaders and successful people spend hours reading or listening to fiction, nonfiction, articles, and blog posts? Gain Knowledge The more we learn about people and the world, the wiser we become. When we study topics and become proficient in understanding concepts, we can speak with authority. “Knowledge is power.” Many historians believe Sir Francis Bacon coined this phrase in 1597. Thomas Jefferson was known to use the phrase in his writings. How Does Reading Add Power to Our Lives? Improves Communication Skills Adding words to our vocabulary and learning their meanings helps us…

Joanna Davidson Politano | Exclusive Excerpt: A MIDNIGHT DANCE
Author Guest / September 3, 2021

Keeping his gaze on me, he unhooked a wooden bar hanging on long ropes and tossed it over. “Now, let’s start, shall we?” His look was challenging. I gripped the bar and tugged. “You don’t truly expect me to swing through the air on this contraption, do you? How will that help me dance?” “What you’ve done isn’t working, is it? I aim to give you new experiences, push you off a few of your precious safety ledges. Now hold on.” “But I’m afraid of—” “I said, hold on.” . . . heights. A gentle shove against my back and I was hurtling through open space, high over the straw-covered floors. I clutched that awful bar for dear life, digging my fingernails into the wood. I squeezed my eyes shut as I sailed through the air, then I forced one eyelid open. Another platform rose up to meet me, and I scrambled to get my feet onto it, but as my shoes touched wood, my weight pulled me back down. I trembled on the swing back, until I felt solid hands around my waist. Jack hauled me onto the loft and steadied me. “Now you know what it feels like to fly.” “I…

Amanda Cox | Exclusive Excerpt: THE SECRET KEEPERS OF OLD DEPOT GROCERY
Author Guest / September 1, 2021

March 1967 Glory Ann scooped her daughter from the back seat, relishing the sweet pudge still lingering on the fifteen-month-old’s lengthening legs. The curly-haired tot pushed back from her mother’s embrace and bore her blue-eyed gaze into Glory Ann’s. “Down! Me do it.” Glory Ann swiped a thumb across the child’s sticky cheek. “Okay, but stay close and no running. It’s Gramma Hawthorne’s birthday.” Her chest tightened. “And we must be on our very, very best behavior.” Glory Ann put her daughter down and straightened the crumpled flounces of the tiny pink dress. She then smoothed the front of her own orange shift. “Now, hold my hand.” It had been months since she’d been home to see her parents, and though her mother promised she’d come to Brighton, she had never made the one-hour drive. Not in the many months her little one grew in her middle. Not when she’d labored in the sterile hospital, longing for her mother’s hand to hold. Nor any other time during the fifteen months of her daughter’s life. She took a shaking breath and found an anchor in her child’s tight grip on her thumb. It had seemed a fun idea to surprise Mother…

Valerie Fraser Luesse | Title Challenge: UNDER THE BAYOU MOON
Author Guest / August 6, 2021

Hello, there! (Or maybe I should say “hey, y’all,” as we do here in the Deep South.) I’m Valerie Fraser Luesse, and my latest novel is called UNDER THE BAYOU MOON. It’s set in Southwest Louisiana, which captured my imagination when I explored it as a writer for Southern Living magazine. I’m as excited about sharing the mystery and beauty of this place as I am about introducing you to my main characters: Raphe Broussard, a lonely Cajun fisherman who has endured a family tragedy and is raising his young nephew, Remy, on his own; Ellie Fields, a young schoolteacher from Alabama, seeking her true purpose when she accepts a position in Raphe’s hometown of tiny Bernadette, Louisiana; Heywood Thornberry, their gregarious yet secretive friend who loves capturing the magic of the bayou with his camera; Doc and Florence, two stalwarts in the community who take Ellie underwing . . . and a legendary white alligator. This new story is part romance, part mystery, and part cautionary tale against selfish greed and a disregard for truth.  I drew from a deep well of travel writing experience and several unforgettable trips to Acadian Louisiana to bring the bayou to life. I…

Summer BBQ Recipe Roundup: IF IT RAINS by Jennifer L. Wright + Giveaway!
Author Guest / July 21, 2021

Another day, another awesome author to feature in the Summer BBQ Recipe Roundup! Today, historical fiction author Jennifer L. Wright is here with more info about her new book, a tasty and easy recipe to share, and a chance to win a copy of IF IT RAINS (details below)!  Have you checked out our recipes from Days 1 and 2? Please do! Day 1 with Minerva Spencer Day 2 with Sera Taíno *** In my novel IF IT RAINS, fourteen-year-old Kathryn is forced from her Oklahoma farm by the Dust Bowl. Her trip is interrupted, however, when she becomes separated from her father and is forced to continue the journey on her own. Crippled, frightened, and alone in a strange land, Kathryn longs for familiarity. She longs for comfort. She longs for home. As a military spouse, I am deeply familiar with this ache. In the past fourteen years, I’ve lived in three different countries and four different states. Just as soon as some place starts to feel like home, the Air Force sends my family and me packing again. It’s a hard life, but it’s also full of beauty. Because I don’t just have one home; I have several….

Ann H. Gabhart | Exclusive Excerpt: ALONG A STORIED TRAIL
Author Guest / June 2, 2021

Seemed everybody was talking about Aunt Perdie today. Truth was, plenty of Aunt Perdie stories floated around the mountains. She hadn’t ever married. Said nobody ever came calling to ask her, but if they had, she might just have said no. Leastways once she got past normal marrying age. By then she couldn’t see the purpose in sharing a cabin that wasn’t all that big with some man who’d want her to do things his way. Not when she was happy doing things her way. Would that be how Tansy ended up? An old lady in a lonesome cabin after spurning whatever marriage prospects might have come knocking on her door? Youngsters then might be sharing Aunt Tansy stories. Could be they already were talking about that crazy book woman, even if they were glad to see her coming. The thought made her laugh out loud. At Aunt Perdie’s, Tansy tied Shadrach to a handy tree, then climbed up the steps to bang on the cabin door. Aunt Perdie didn’t have a porch, just a little slab of roof over the top step. She was ready to knock again when the door creaked open. “Well, if it ain’t the book woman….

Rachel Fordham | Title Challenge: A LADY IN ATTENDANCE
Author Guest / June 2, 2021

Hi There! I’m Rachel Fordham, author of A LADY IN ATTENDANCE, a story that has been in my heart a long time and will be in readers’ hands June 1st. It’s rich with historical details and a romance that made me sigh while writing it. I’m excited to give you story teasers using the title! Here goes: A-  A is for Attending. The first dental assistants were referred to as either attending women or ladies in attendance. Hazel accepts a job working for the local dentist. * L- L is for Love After spending five years in a New York State reformatory, Hazel has a blemish on her name. Can someone with a past like hers ever find love? A- A is for Authentic Hazel grew up in high society, spent five years behind iron gates, and is now working as a dental assistant (using a fictitious name). Discovering who she really is, is a journey. D- D is for Daring The past is forever haunting Hazel, keeping her from believing in the future. It takes courage and friendship for her to dare face the things she tried to leave behind. Y-Y is for Youth If Hazel could change anything,…