Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Ashlyn Chase | Do Romance Novels Have Value?
Author Guest / September 27, 2018

Because I’m a romance writer, you can probably guess my answer to the question, “Do romance novels have value?” Of course I believe they do! I suppose if I were strictly mercenary I’d still say something to the effect of, “Well, duh. It’s a multibillion dollar business that outsells all other genres.” But my feelings go much deeper than that. You see, I get fan emails saying things like, “Your sense of humor got me through a difficult time.” Or, “I know I can count on your books for an uplifting ending. I need that right now.” Even my own story begins with a similar experience. I was raised by intellectuals. I had never read a romance novel, yet I was taught to think of them as “trash” and far beneath anyone with a brain. That’s the very definition of prejudice. I prejudged a whole industry without investigation. Then my life took a challenging turn. My parents became terminally ill at the same time. As an RN, I was able to take care of them so they could remain at home as long as possible. It was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever taken on. Fortunately, another nurse…

Terry Spear | One of My Favorite Scenes from A Billionaire Wolf Christmas
Author Guest / September 27, 2018

Aidan’s breath came out in a frosty mist as he continued making his way down. Seeing the deep never-ending chasm on either side of their ledge, he felt his blood turn to ice. He was afraid one misstep by either of them while they attempted to shift and dress could mean their demise. “If we have to, we can call for a helicopter rescue,” Ted said. “Not when any of us are wolves, we can’t.” Aidan looked down, another fifteen feet, or so, to go. He wasn’t even sure he could stand on the ledge with them, or if Holly or Nick would have the strength to climb up, even with the aid of the rope. Had she ever climbed an ice mountain before? Nick had the gear, so he probably knew how to climb, but could he? Aidan noticed the way he was holding his front paw, not resting it firmly on the ice, and that indicated he’d injured it. Aidan couldn’t see a break. Maybe a light sprain, or a bad one. He hoped he was wrong. He moved carefully down a few more feet, shaking loose more snow. He was sweating, despite the cold. When he finally…

Jody Holford | Never Expected You
Author Guest / September 25, 2018

Thanks for having me on Fresh Fiction. My newest release in the Love Unexpected Series is NEVER EXPECTED YOU. This story features two veterinarians. Obviously, they love animals, but more than that, they both find comfort and strength in them. When Stella is hurting, curling up with her dogs soothes her. When Zach needed an outlet for his teenage frustration, helping Stella’s dad with the animals in his clinic brought him a sense of peace. I think that’s what animals can do for a lot of people. I will admit that I have not always been the biggest animal person. While I was growing up, we had a LOT of dogs. Actually, we had dogs, cats, fish, a ferret, gerbils, and hamsters. Sometimes all at the same time. When I got older, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have animals, but my now-husband really wanted dogs. In our twenty years together, we’ve had six dogs together. Each of them made an impact on us and our family. While I was finishing up the first draft of this story, last June, we lost one of our two dogs. Though we’d lost animals before, this one hit harder because she used to sit…

Katie Ruggle | Exclusive Excerpt: Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas
Author Guest / September 25, 2018

Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas; Book 1 in the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series Exclusive Excerpt Why did this keep happening to her? Camille flattened herself against the toilet paper display, resisting the urge to thump her head against the rolls. There was a reason she only came to the Borne Market early on Sunday mornings, and that was because she didn’t want to be forced into awkward conversations with any of her neighbors. It helped that sixteen-year-old Kacey Betts worked the checkout on Sunday, and her focus stayed glued on her cell phone the entire time. Camille could slip in, buy what she needed, and slip right back out without having to make polite chitchat with anyone. Today, however, she and Kacey weren’t alone. Steve-freaking-Springfield was there. The last time she’d seen him, he’d sweetly helped her escape her “rescue.” She still hadn’t forgiven Mrs. Lin for sending everyone and their brother on a search for her. The whole situation had been mortifying, and that was with Steve’s help. If he hadn’t been there, it could’ve been so much worse. Camille’s stomach churned and her cheeks flushed at the thought of all that attention—and the potential additional humiliation. Now, though, she was…

Donna Kauffman | Trilogy with a Twist
Author Guest / September 25, 2018

Rules? What rules? When I was first plotting UNLEASHED, I was living in the suburbs of our nation’s capital and dreaming of a life out in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I had just returned from a hiking jaunt in those ancient, rolling hills and thought, well, if I can’t live there, my characters certainly can! That’s one of the best things about this job; living vicariously through my characters. Occupations that interest me, locations I’ve dreamed of seeing, conflicts to get sorted out…I get to dabble in any and all of them. Pretty nifty! And so, the town of Hamilton, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, was born. This story would be included in the TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT anthology of Christmas themed stories and I was excited for the opportunity. As I began to fully plot the story, however, it became clear I wanted a whole lot more than a short novella’s worth of time in this town. A mystery idea kept prodding me, prodding me, but there was no way to give it the full treatment it would need in a short length story such as this.  I thought about pulling the story idea back…

Kari Lynn Dell | Difficult Pasts Lead to a Happy Ever After: Ambitions, Dreams, and Overcoming Adversity
Author Guest / September 25, 2018

For about the first ten years of my writing career, I collected rejection slips like normal people collect photos from their family vacations, souvenirs of an extended stay in an alternate reality. Most of those nopes had a distinct theme: love your writing, love the rodeo action, but your characters are just too nice. Or as one editor told my agent, “She needs to rough them up.” I am embarrassed to say that I resisted for a very long time. I wanted my heroes and heroines to be smart and sensible, someone I’d like for a friend. I didn’t want to let them make dumb mistakes and bad decisions. But finally I realized that even smart people do dumb things. Life inflicts damage on pretty much everyone, and none of us is as together as we’d like the world to think. As Grace McKenna tells Hank Brookman in Mistletoe in Texas when he complains that his brother-in-law is too perfect, “Wyatt is as much of a mess as all the rest of us. He just looks better doing it.” But why are we so drawn to flawed characters? The easy answer is that the harder the battle, the more satisfying…

Tara Sheets | Top 5 Flowers That Symbolize Love
Author Guest / September 25, 2018

While writing Don’t Touch My Petunia, book #2 in The Holloway Girls series, I learned a lot about plants and flowers because the main character Juliette Holloway has garden magic.  I was surprised to learn that there are so many types of flowers that symbolize different aspects of love! Here are some of my favorites: 1.Red Tulips:  These flowers represent undying love and the idea that love is limitless.   2. Blue Violets:  They are the symbol of trustworthiness, which I believe is a cornerstone for true love. 3. Jasmine: These richly scented white flowers symbolize sensuality, grace, and love.  I have these all along my garden fence and they smell divine! 4. Forget-Me-Nots: I like these because they represent true love and, of course, the hope that one’s love will not be forgotten. 5. Orchids: Of all flowers, these are my absolute favorite.  They come in so many different colors and they symbolize powerful romantic desire.  They are also the longest blooming flower in the world. Love! DON’T TOUCH MY PETUNIA by Tara Sheets The Holloway Girls #2 Pine Cove Island is the kind of enchanting place where anything is possible . . . The Holloway women each have…

Anna Harrington | Top 5 Reasons Why Regency Romances are Sexier Than You Think
Author Guest / September 13, 2018

I’ve heard several readers of modern romances say that they don’t like to read historicals because they’re just not as hot and steamy as modern romances. Not true! In fact, Regency era romances are brimming with opportunities for sizzle, if you know where to look. No underwear = quick trysts. That’s right. People during this time period did not wear knickers, and a man who claimed to wear “small clothes” would be laughed at for being effeminate. There was simply no need for underwear when a woman wore multiple layers that went all the way down to her ankles and when men’s shirts had enough fabric to keep anything from being seen once it was tucked into their pantaloons or breeches. No underwear also made it much easier for women to use chamber pots…and much easier for both sexes for intimate encounters, when they don’t have to remove their clothes (considering how long it took to get dressed during this time, this is a huge bonus). While “drawers” for women emerged around this time, very few women actually wore them, and they were still open in the crotch. Carriage sex. With small compartments, pitch black darkness inside at night, and…

Jeanne Oates Estridge | When the Carpet Doesn’t Match the Drapes
Author Guest / September 13, 2018

We’ve all been told never to judge a book by its cover, but the truth is, that’s exactly what we do, especially when we’re shopping at an online site. Graphic designers work hard to create covers that, even in a size no larger than your fingernail, grab your eyes and don’t let go. So what happens when, seduced by that gorgeous cover, we buy the book only to discover that the story inside doesn’t deliver on the implicit promise of that cover? The author described the hero as an adorable beta male, but the alpha guy on the cover would make the head of a werewolf pack slink away in fear. The story was erotic paranormal, but the cover was a cutesy cartoon. The heroine of the story was a fiery redhead, but the cover model was a die-away blonde. The cover depicted smoldering lust between the H/H, but the story was cozy small-town love. The story featured characters with diverse backgrounds, but the cover models were all Caucasians. The book was part of a series, but the cover looks nothing like the other books in the series. Mismatches of this sort can create all kinds of issues for not…

Pippa Roscoe | A Ring to Take His Revenge
Author Guest / September 12, 2018

A RING TO TAKE HIS REVENGE started out as a very different story. One that didn’t quite work the first time round. But with my editor’s careful guidance I found my way towards the right story for Antonio and Emma. Of all the changes that I made, Emma was the one who took me by surprise the most. In her, I found a survivor. Someone who had battled to be where she is when she meets Antonio. After a double mastectomy at the age of 17, she is on the road to reaching her living list goals, but Antonio is about to make her realise that she isn’t done fighting yet, because now she must reach for what she wants for herself. Cancer is something that affects so many of us, whether personally or through family members, friends, or loved ones. And it’s different for every single person. I would not claim to have represented everyone’s struggle with it, nor do I believe that there is a right or wrong way to take that fight to where it needs to go. You do what you have to do. My mother was sixty when she was diagnosed and it rocked us….