Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Irene Hannon | Top Five Reasons I Write Romance
Author Guest / April 11, 2019

First, a word about the romance genre. As those of us who write—and read—romance know, romance is often the underdog of fiction. Literary types in particular often look down on it. How sad for them. For romance has the power to sweep us away on a magical journey where heroes and heroines triumph against daunting odds. It uplifts, encourages and fills us with hope. It’s the stuff of inspiration. I’m proud to write it—for these reasons: 1. I love happy endings. Who doesn’t? That’s what our hearts and souls yearn for, and when it comes to the dating game, the romance genre—by definition—offers a guaranteed happily ever after. Romance novels are comfort food for the heart because we know that no matter how bad things get, the hero and heroine will end up together. Going along with them on their journey as they grapple with all the challenges that come their way makes for a compelling—and sometimes enlightening—ride. I read a cynical article once that denigrated the genre as nothing more than a fairy tale with no basis in reality, and you know what? I felt sorry for the woman who wrote it. Because once we stop believing in the…

Jolina Petersheim | Author-Reader Match
Author Guest / March 8, 2019

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match,” where we introduce readers to authors you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Jolina Petersheim! Writes: My father was raised Mennonite in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; my mother Brethren, and I grew up as a caretaker’s daughter on a sprawling Civil War–era farm/camp in western Tennessee. This combination allowed me to see the intricacies—and complications—of community, so I love placing my characters inside morally twisting novels and then watching how they find their way out. (My newest novel, How the Light Gets In, might be the most morally twisting to date.) About: I am happily married to a “strong, quiet type” mountain man and mother to our three fluffy-haired little girls, ages six, four, and one. We’ve lived in five different homes in ten years of marriage (one a solar-powered farmhouse in Wisconsin, where How the Light Gets In is set). My husband—who also has a Mennonite/Amish background—is busy building our sixth house in the foothills of the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. We strive to live with the same simplistic, family-oriented mindset as our ancestors, but due to our…

Valerie Fraser Luesse | Dodging the Dreaded Coin
Author Guest / March 8, 2019

Spoiler alert: I’m about to seriously date myself. When I was in college, all my girlfriends were crazy about the movie Somewhere in Time, starring Jane Seymour and the late Christopher Reeve. In case that film was before your time, it’s about a modern-day playwright named Richard Collins, who travels back in time to meet, court, and win the heart of Elise McKenna, a turn-of-the-century actress whose image and mysterious story have captivated him. Just as it appears that love will win the day, Richard reaches into his pocket and pulls out a forgotten 1979 penny, which immediately yanks him out of the past, away from his soul mate, and literally “back to the future.” My own stories are set in my native South, and I feel as if I spend a big chunk of my writing time dodging The Dreaded Coin, working as hard as I can to skirt my way around anything and everything that might yank a reader out of the story. It doesn’t take much. One factual inaccuracy (like putting the Brazos River in Mississippi) or one line of dialogue that sounds nothing like authentic Southern speech (“I’m mad about you! Mad I say!”), and the…

Sarah Sundin | 10 Facts about the Red Cross in World War II
Author Guest / February 15, 2019

The women of World War II fascinate us and D-day is one of the most pivotal events in modern history, so I enjoyed exploring both in THE SKY ABOVE US, book 2 in the Sunrise at Normandy series. While my hero flies above the landing beaches in his P-51 Mustang, my heroine runs the American Red Cross Aeroclub at his airfield. Here are some interesting things I learned about the Red Cross in World War II. 1. At a time when the population of the United States was 132 million, 37 million adults and 20 million children and youth belonged to the Red Cross, with 7.5 million serving as volunteers. In addition, 40,000 men and women were paid workers with the Red Cross. 2. Of those overseas workers, twenty-nine women died, primarily in plane crashes, but also due to enemy shelling. 3. Women who worked with the American Red Cross overseas had to be at least twenty-five years old and have a college degree. They underwent an extensive interview process and had to complete training in Washington, DC. The women had the “equivalent status” of an officer, which granted them many officer privileges. 4. The American Red Cross operated hundreds…