Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Heather McCollum | The Highland Outlaw
Author Guest / November 6, 2019

Thank you so much for having me here on Fresh Fiction today! I’m Heather McCollum, mother of three overly dramatic kids, wife of one Highland hero, ovarian cancer slayer, lover of chai lattes and dragonflies, and author of Scottish historical romances. My twenty-first book, THE HIGHLAND OUTLAW, was just released on October 21st (I love coincidences!). I’m often asked where I get my ideas. I feel like ideas are just floating around out in the world everywhere, and I have fun picking them out of the tangle of must-dos and everyday occurrences. It means that I’m sometimes hyperaware of my surroundings. The worlds around us are our own personal settings, just like settings for characters in books. Just like I need to recognize the sights, smells, and sounds in my books, I try to take those all in while living my life. Then I let my mind wander and expound upon those details. For example, I walk my dog each morning through my suburban neighborhood. Being the conscientious dog owner, I pick up her poop and drop the biodegradable baggie in the neighborhood dog waste cans set along the streets. Almost every time I lift that lid to toss it…

Lori Ann Bailey | Picking the Perfect Weapon
Author Guest / September 25, 2019

I recently had a discussion with friends about pepper spray. . . One friend keeps a canister with her and even sent me the link to the one she likes. I haven’t ordered it yet, but it’s in my cart, ready to purchase next time I place an order. Two of us have daughters who are college-aged and both have been in situations that make me cringe when I think about them. As moms of older children, we can no longer dictate their actions or what places they frequent, but at the same time, we can arm them with something that might help them in a difficult situation. In uncomfortable conditions like dark parking lots, I normally walk with my keys fisted in my hands, one pointing outward in preparation for some kind of attack I’m optimistic will never really happen. I’m even happy to see that as time passes more places are installing the police call boxes that are an easy jog from every position. Also, I’ve read an amazing book about trusting your instincts and being aware of the danger around you. I highly recommend The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. I believe everyone should read…

Alyson McLayne | Top 3 Places To Visit In Scotland
Author Guest / July 31, 2019

Scotland’s held a special place in my heart for a long time. My mom put me in Highland Dancing when I was little, and I can remember standing on a chair in our dining room for hours as she struggled to make my kilt–pinning and repining the pleats and making sure it sat perfectly on my hips. She also made me a fitted, velvet vest to wear over my lacey blouse. The final product was beautiful but heavy (all those deep pleats!), making the dances even harder to perform. Not surprisingly, when I grew out of my costume a few years later and needed a new one, she paid someone else to make it. We were both happier that she left it to the professionals! So years later, when I was on a University exchange in England for six months, the first trip I took during spring break was all the way north through Scotland to the Orkney Islands, off the northeast coast. To get there I stopped in Edinburgh, Inverness, and other places along the way. Scotland was a magical place to me with its history, castles, green valleys, craggy mountains, and wild seas. And brawny Scots in kilts,…

Tara Kingston | Chemistry 101
Author Guest / July 24, 2019

Chemistry. I’m intrigued by observing chemistry in real life and in fiction. No, not the kind with protons, neutrons, and electrons. I left that kind of chemistry behind after my freshman year of college. As an author, I’m talking about that intangible quality between characters we’ve come to refer to as chemistry. When a hero and heroine experience mutual chemistry, they’re drawn together, despite external conflicts and obstacles—even if they think they’re all wrong for each other. When I’m not writing and reading, I love to watch movies. It’s evident to me when there is…or is not…chemistry between the characters. The hero and the heroine challenge each other, grow to respect each other, and find each other intriguing. And in the case of a romance, chemistry fuels their attraction. To me, chemistry is the difference between a movie I want to enjoy more than once, and a film that’s not nearly as memorable. I’m a huge fan of Robert Downey, Jr. and Rachel McAdams in Sherlock Holmes. As Holmes matches wits with alluring criminal Irene Adler, a woman who can hold her own with the brilliant detective, the sensual tension is magnetic. One can well imagine the passion that would…

Heather McCollum | 17th Century Dressing & THE WICKED VISCOUNT
Author Guest / June 5, 2019

Hi everybody! I’m Heather McCollum, author of Scottish romances. I’m excited to be here on Fresh Fiction to celebrate the release of my new novel, THE WICKED VISCOUNT, which takes place in 17th c London. Have you ever wondered what it feels like to wear the huge ensembles of silk and embroidery that the ladies in the English court used to don? My current Scottish historical romance series, The Campbells, takes place in 1684 and 1685. In THE WICKED VISCOUNT, the heroine, a feisty Scottish lass, must venture to the royal court in London. For the first time in her life, she wears the rich garments of the elite to fit in at Whitehall Palace. I wanted to experience what my heroine was feeling in the strictures of the costume, so I commissioned the talented Victoria Vane to create an ensemble for me. Even though my heroine grows up during the time when these dresses were worn, she is poor and has never worn the full costumes before. After two weeks of looking at fabrics with Victoria, we finally decided on a gorgeous magenta and lavender combination of silks. Imported from India, the fabrics are rich and beautifully embroidered with…

Jennifer Trethewey | Here’s to the Rescuers
Author Guest / April 2, 2019

I like to read the dedications in novels. It feels like the author is sharing a tiny personal connection. I dedicated Saving the Scot to all the men, women, and animals who risk their lives to save others. I hope people will read it and remember all the unsung heroes and heroines who put on gear and walk in when others run away. I was delighted when one lovely reader made mention of the dedication in her review. So, I thought I’d talk a little bit about why I chose the dedication, pose some ways we can actively recognize their courage, and hopefully generate more ideas from you. Last October, Hurricane Michael caused death and destruction in the Florida Panhandle like the US has never seen. One of my writer friends, April Moran, had just released her second Regency novel when the hurricane destroyed her house and leveled all the trees in her yard. Nearly six months later, she and her husband are still living in a trailer while they rebuild. But rather than post about her new novel or her losses, she posted about the EMTs, the overworked powerline repair guys, the neighbors helping neighbors, the people rescuing animals,…