Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: The Aftermath of Upheaval
Author Guest / October 21, 2020

Like many, I’ve posted ironic images on my Facebook pages comparing the 2020 Year of COVID to many things–a hula hoop made of barbed wire, a pinata that’s actually a hornet’s nest, a time clock that sent us in March from Standard Time not to Daylight Savings Time, but into the Twilight Zone. So perhaps more than in “normal” times, we can identify with protagonists who are attempting to reconstruct their lives in the aftermath of unprecedented upheaval. And aside from a world-wide pandemic, nothing uproots people and disturbs lives like war. We begin with a novel by three of the most talented writers penning historical fiction today, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White.  The trio collaborated to create ALL THE WAYS WE SAID GOODBYE, using an iconic Parisian hotel as a locus for their stories.  Aurelie de Courcelles is devastated when, at the outbreak of World War I, her home is taken over as a German headquarters.  The dilemma is made more difficult when she discovers the commander’s aide de camp is the handsome young man who charmed her during her debut season in Paris.  Despite their opposing loyalties, friendship deepens into love…until betrayal drives Aurelie back to…

Julia Justiss | History ReFreshed: RED HOT SUMMER
Author Guest / August 19, 2020

As the hot breath of August inspires us to escape the heat with cold drinks, swimming pools, and air-conditioned spaces (alone or properly socially-distanced, of course) we’ll look at escapes into fascinating views of nineteenth-century life. Two of these visions focus on the California coast.  In CALICO PALACE by Gwen Bristow, two women from vastly different backgrounds arrive in California on the eve of the 1849 Gold Rush.  Kendra’s army colonel stepfather brings the family to San Francisco as commander of the city’s defenses during the Mexican War.  Marny travels from Honolulu to set up a gaming establishment.  Both end up following the gold craze into the mining camp of Shiny Gulch, where they set up the Calico Palace, a tent that evolves over time to become the most elegant gambling house in California. Rich in detail about the rapid rise of a sleepy town into a major economic powerhouse, Bristow’s tale illuminates the stories of miners and settlers, gamblers, and drifters, those dreaming of fortunes built on gold dust, and those ready to profit from those dreams. In BELLE CORA by Phillip Margulis, small-town New York girl Arabella Godwin grows up to become a woman so infamous, relatives back…

Fresh Pick | THE MISCHIEF OF MISTLETOE by Lauren Willig
Fresh Pick / December 2, 2010

November 2010 On Sale: October 28, 2010 Featuring: Turnip Fitzhugh; Arabella Dempsey; Jane Austen 325 pages ISBN: 0525951873 EAN: 9780525951872 Hardcover $19.95 Add to Wish List Romance Historical Buy at Amazon.com The Mischief of Mistletoe by Lauren Willig Arabella Dempsey’s dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls’ school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies… Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh—often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation—has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, “Meet me at Farley Castle”, the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens’ modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of…

Sandi Shilhanek | Readers ‘n ‘ritas
Author Guest / November 14, 2010

As I started this I was reflecting on the first day of Readers ‘n ‘ritas 2010. It was a rather full day that started at home. with attempts at prepping my home and family for a weekend without me. The dogs I think understood fairly well what was happening, but my son said, “you didn’t tell me you were going away for the weekend.” My response…”what do you think I’ve been talking about for the last several months?” Oh well! Got to the hotel and finished prep work for the actual convention. Finally the convention started, and while I worked registration it sounded like the party in the room behind me was in full swing. Thanks to a great team I was able to sneak in for a few minutes here and there, and got hugged by Dakota Cassidy, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Dianna Love. Could it get better than that? Well, for me it could. For several years now I’ve been fascinated with the works of Tara Taylor Quinn. Her current work is a four book series titled The Chapman Files. When Tara arrived I was pretty excited to be the first to greet her. I got a few minutes…

Lauren Willig | History As It Should Be…or, Once Upon A Time…
Author Guest / October 12, 2010

Once upon a time, in a Cambridge far, far away, there was a cranky grad student.  I realize that this isn’t necessarily a defining characteristic.  Many grad students are cranky.  Especially those who have lived through a Cambridge winter, where the ice lies slick on the cobbles, just lying in wait for the unwary academic trudging out of Widener Library with a large pile of books.  Large piles of books make loud splatting noises when they fall into puddles.  So, for that matter, do grad students. But I digress.  This cranky grad student was in pursuit of a PhD in English history, but she kept stubbing her toes on footnotes along the way.  She—okay, okay, I—decided to do something to remind myself of why I loved history.  What better way to do so than to write a historical romance novel? It would be, as the historian and historical novelist George MacDonald Fraser put it, not history as it was, but history as it should have been.  History with all the good bits.  History as we like to imagine it.  History full of swashbuckling and knee breeches and men in black masks who raise their quizzing glasses just so and drawl…

Lauren Willig | Driving by Misdirection, or Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
Romance / February 5, 2009

Most things in my life happen when I’m trying to do something else. I don’t even mean the big things, like planning to write a dissertation and coming out with a series of romance novels instead (ought I to get an RD for that? I like the sound of Romanciae Doctor), or the fact that if I meant to go right, I usually walk left (I find all sorts of new and interesting places that way). This happens to me in my writing, too. What I wind up writing is seldom exactly what I intended it to be. Take my first book for example, the lengthily titled Secret History of the Pink Carnation. I very firmly told my agent that what I had produced was a “traditional Regency romance”. My agent is a very kind, patient sort of person. Instead of making snorting noises, he said, very gently, “Are you sure?” I was quite sure. “Um…” he said, flipping through the mental filofax for Tactful Ways to Deal With Deluded Authors. “Are you really sure?” That’s how I found out that what I’d really written was Napoleonic-era historical fiction/ romantic suspense/ mystery/ chick lit. No can quite agree on what…

Sara Reyes | Readers ‘n ‘ritas…WHAT Did YOU Miss?
Candace Havens / October 18, 2008

The inaugural Readers ‘n ‘ ritas was a blast. Readers came from all over Texas and Oklahoma and it wasn’t just for the Texas / OU game although their fans were in abundance as well! Authors came from as far as NYC. It’s amazing what a gathering of like minds can do! Cover Creation Checking out cover theories.Originally uploaded by freshfiction From the first panels we knew it was a hit — I mean seriously, when women gather around the speakers table at 9am on a gorgeous Saturday morning and eagerly start discussing book covers along with examples of how a committee designed the cover for ECSTASY or enjoy a bit of show-and-tell with cat litter and dryer sheets you know it’s at least to first base, maybe even second! And by the time the third workshop was over, we were all friends…the kind that talk to each other and even feel comfortable enough to disagree! The best kind of friends. And learning about new authors and books is never a bad thing, even if you have to start early in the morning! Isn’t that why they have hot coffee ready? The Rowdy Table: Jodi Thomas and Dianna LoveOriginally uploaded…