Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Marie Harte | Exclusive Interview: THE KISSING GAME + Giveaway!
Author Guest / February 4, 2020

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction, Marie! Please tell us about yourself and your new book, THE KISSING GAME! Hi there! I’m a NYT and USA Today bestselling romance author of over 100 books. I write contemporary, paranormal, and romantic suspense, all with a bit of heat and humor. And I live in Central Oregon with two growing teens, a dog and a cat (who thinks he’s a dog). The Kissing Game is a standalone romance centered around Valentine’s Day. It’s also a book I’ve been dying to write for YEARS. The heroine is a romance book lover; the hero is a tall Viking-like hunk who has a big heart but isn’t great at showing it. They are perfect for each other! The story has the hero doing his best to win the heroine by Valentine’s Day with some. . . interesting. . . presents. Tell us more about the heroine of THE KISSING GAME, Rena Jackson. Fans of your books know that she was actually introduced a few years ago. . . what sparked her having a book of her own? Rena Jackson was first introduced as the romance book-loving cousin of the heroine from What to Do with a…

Miranda Owen | Fresh Fiction Reviewer Top Reads of 2019
Author Guest / December 20, 2019

Our reviewer retrospective continues with Miranda Owen‘s favorite books of this year!  I love making lists. At the end of a year, friends and fellow readers will post about their top favorite five or ten books of the year. I’m not configured that way. Trying to pick only five or ten favorite books out of the hundred or so I’ve read over the course of a year is unfathomable to me. Instead, I’ve picked about five or so titles in four different categories. Many of these selections fit a few of different categories listed here. I mostly read and review romances, but cozy mysteries are my jam too. Christmas-themed Romance Picks THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton A COWBOY UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Jessica Clare ONE HOT HOLIDAY by Cynthia Eden MEET ME UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Stacey Kennedy ONE CHRISTMAS EVE by Shannon Stacey There was a ridiculous amount of amazing Christmas-themed romances that came out this year, many of which came out at the end of October. The ones I’m discussing were my absolute favorites, but there were a bunch more that put a smile on my face. THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton and A…

Miranda Owen | Bewitched by a Beautiful Stranger
Author Guest / August 30, 2019

by Senior Reviewer Miranda Owen Haven’t we met? Some kind of beautiful stranger You could be good for me I’ve had the taste for danger If I’m smart then I’ll run away But I’m not so I guess I’ll stay Haven’t you heard? I fell in love with a beautiful stranger –Beautiful Stranger, Madonna Two of my favorite romance authors are Mary Balogh and Jennifer Ashley. Both authors write well-crafted character-driven stories that capture the imagination. Both authors also write about extremely close yet also extremely complicated families. Two of my all-time favorite books are both by these authors and are both about characters who meet under unusual circumstances, but who find something compelling and experience an unexplainable initial attraction. I’ve always maintained that AT LAST COMES LOVE by Mary Balogh has one of the best introduction scenes and “getting to know you” dialogue I’ve ever read. The scandalous Duncan Pennethorne, the Earl of Sheringford and beautiful yet very respectable Margaret Huxtable collide at a time when they each have something the other desires. Duncan is looking for a well-connected wealthy wife to satisfy his grandfather and secure his inheritance and, and that particular moment, Margaret needs a fake beau…

Marie Harte | Exclusive Excerpt: HANDLE WITH CARE
Author Guest / August 27, 2019

The sight that met Evan’s eyes had him staring, unsure of what to do. Though he owned part of his and his cousins’ local moving company, he’d only been doing the grunt work of actually moving people for the past two weeks. With one of his cousins temporarily out due to an injury, Evan had willingly stepped in to take up the slack. At first, being able to get out from behind a desk, away from a past life of accounting, had seemed a blessing. Sure, he was still sore, taxing his muscles on a daily basis doing manual labor, but he considered the physical exertion to be just the thing to kick-start his new life. No one had mentioned what to do when the client got into a free-for-all in the middle of the living room. The client, Rachel Kim, a petite Korean woman with a soft demeanor and a cute dimple, was wrapped around a tall, statuesque black woman. Rachel had her in a headlock, clinging to her like a koala on a tree. “I’m taking it!” she shrieked and refused to let go. “It’s a memory, and it’s mine!” “Idiot, it’s not yours,” the other woman managed,…

Marie Harte | My Top Five Favorite Workplace Romances
Author Guest / May 21, 2019

My top five favorite workplace romances? The author who immediately comes to mind on workplace romances is Jayne Ann Krentz. Most of her early heroes felt like cowboys in the boardroom. I used to eat up her contemporary romances like they were going out of style. So I’d have to put an oldie but a goodie, Sweet Fortune by Jayne Ann Krentz, on my list. And if she’s there, then I have to also add Susan Elizabeth Phillips and the first in her Chicago Stars books, It Had to Be You, about a woman who inherits a football team yet knows nothing about the sport. The humor and conflict between the hero and heroine are laugh-out-loud funny. And the steam factor is high! On a less contemporary note, I’m a huge Shelly Laurenston fan, and she’s known for writing zany paranormal romances. But one workplace romance that’s stayed with me is Big, Bad Beast, which pits wolf shifter and former Marine sniper Dee-Ann Smith up against Ric Van Holtz, her boss. I laugh and flip page after page whenever I’m reading Shelly Laurenston’s books. Staying in the paranormal lane, I’d have to go with Thea Harrison’s The Elder Races series,…

Marie Harte | Marines Do It Best
Author Guest / January 22, 2019

I’ll just admit it. I have a thing for a man in uniform. Having spent several years in the U.S. Marine Corps, I have a slight bias for Marines in general. And I love putting that service spin on my characters. In the Movin’ On series, the heroes (and a heroine!) are veterans. And not just Marines, which made the story even more fun. There’s something magical that happens when you group together people from different armed services—they talk a lot of smack. At the gym, Reid and his brother, Cash, are getting help from a fellow Marine and trainer (Gavin): “Reid, that’s pathetic,” Gavin said. “Lift like you got a pair, man. Or do you want people to think you were in the Air Force?” Next to them, an older man frowned. “Hey.” “Sorry. I meant the Army.” “What’s the difference?” Cash muttered, and Gavin did his best to calm a different older man down. When writing The Whole Package, I had the Marine Corps stuff pretty much nailed down. The other services I had to research, and I learned some interesting facts. Military Police (MPs) are called different things in the different services. The Marines and Army have…

Marie Harte | The End or …
Author Guest / May 7, 2018

Sadly, the Donnigans series is coming to a close with THE ONLY THING. Though all the books stand alone as their own stories, I do like to weave characters from other series in and out of various books. It’s like six degrees of separation with Kevin Bacon, but instead of the grand Footloose Master, you have the McCauleys! The MCCAULEY BROTHERS books are the first I wrote for Sourcebooks, and they revolve around the McCauley brothers (go figure.) Their cousins, THE DONNIGANS, also live in Seattle. As do the mechanics who feature in BODY SHOP BAD BOYS, who work for Del McCauley at Webster’s garage. Confused yet? But hey, THE ONLY THING is about J.T. Webster and Hope Donnigan. So let’s focus on these two. Some interesting facts about… HOPE DONNIGAN First appeared in RUINING MR. PERFECT because she works for Cameron McCauley. Is the only girl in her family and among her McCauley cousins Has in the past babysat her nephew Colin McCauley (who appeared in all the McCauley books, staring with THE TROUBLEMAKER NEXT DOOR) First met J.T. at her cousin Mike’s Wedding in WHAT TO DO WITH A BAD BOY J.T. WEBSTER First appeared in (and I…

5 Ways Lou Plans to Woo His Lady
Author Guest / January 2, 2018

Lou Cortez—badass mechanic, amazing paint specialist, artist extraordinaire, and lady killer. Lou knows women. He’s got his mother, grandmother, five sisters, and over a dozen other female relatives living close by. He respects women, admires women, but there’s one particular woman he’s been crushing on for a while. Unfortunately, she won’t give him the time of day. So Lou’s refined his technique, narrowing it down to 5 MUST DO’s. One way or the other, he’ll get Josephine Reeves’s attention. God willing… Smile more. Women love a man who has a sense of humor. And growing up with his family, humor was a must. (God, could his sister Stella just once not date a d*ckhead?) Study the guys and figure out how they did it. His best friends and fellow mechanics, men with way less going on than Lou, managed to snag some fine women. An almost impossibility, considering what normally comes out of the guys’ mouths. How the hell did they do it? The next time he sees her, Lou plans to hold back a little on the charm. No doubt he overwhelmed her, as fine as he is. Thinking about it, he finds that understandable. Woo her with the…

Interview: Marie Harte talks about her newest romance ALL I WANT FOR HALLOWEEN
Author Guest , Interviews / October 4, 2017

As fall finally starts to creep in we turn our attention toward new holiday reads. Of course Halloween arrives weeks for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it was only a matter of time before the spooky-sexy books began filling our e-readers. Miranda Owen chatted with Marie Harte about her newest romance ALL I WANT FOR HALLOWEEN, the perfect addition for anyone looking to dig into a new book instead of a pumpkin. I love Halloween-themed romances, and in ALL I WANT FOR HALLOWEEN, I think you do a wonderful job of maintaining balance between the silly, the sexy and the emotional punch. Do you consciously try to maintain that balance in every book you write, or does it just happen organically? Which comes first, or is easiest to write – the story or the characters? Thanks! I like humor in my books, and I tend to write on the sexy side. I do strive for a balance between deeper emotion and humor. While I’d like to you feel what my characters feel, I also want you to enjoy the experience, and to me, laughter and tears go together quite well. *grin* Though not all my stories have sad pasts, they have…

Marie Harte | Not my favorite “A” Word but necessary!
Author Guest / July 12, 2017

Angst, the A word. I’m not a big angsty person. I’m low-key, don’t like a lot of drama, and tend to shy from entertainment where my emotions are being tugged up and down and making me want to hurl as if on a roller coaster. I’m more the fun and sexy storygoer, the one who likes her romances to end in a happily ever after and for the main characters to be likeable. So, yeah, okay, that’s not always realistic, and not always possible. A lack of conflict, I learned early on in my writing career, is BORING. Why am I even invested in lukewarm happy people? What obstacle must they overcome to get to blissful love ever after? Because that’s where the magic is. In watching two flawed characters grow and develop throughout a story into characters you root for. In JUST THE THING, I wanted to deal with grief. The book is still uplifting and funny, but it’s got an undertone of real vulnerability in the main characters who both deal with loss in different ways. Zoe, the heroine, has lost her twin, and it’s deeply affected her. She faces her grief head-on, accepts her crying jags, and…