Happily Ever After Holiday Favorites

SMP ROMANcE Holiday preview
We had a chance to ask a couple of questions of the SMP Romance authors about two of their favorite things: holiday movies and Halloween costumes. Here’s what they had to say!

Favorite Holiday Movie

Ruth Logan Herne

Ruth Logan Herne

Best-selling, multi-published author Ruth Logan Herne is the author of nearly thirty novels and novellas through traditional publishers and her own independent works. She loves God, her family, country, coffee, chocolate and dogs, and wishes possums would leave the cat food on the side porch alone.

Seeker Collection


It’s a Wonderful Life

Donna Alward

Donna Alward

While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer, Judith McNaught, and Nora Roberts. Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers!

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast with her family which includes a husband, a couple of kids, a senior dog and two crazy cats. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece Theater addict. You can visit her on the website and join her mailing list.

Cadence Creek Cowboys | First Responders | A Jewell Cove Novel | A Jewell Cove Novel | NotMy1stRodeo.com



Nancy Naigle

Nancy Naigle

Love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense

Nancy Naigle writes love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense. With a career spent on the cutting edge of technology in the banking industry, Nancy spends her extra time writing the kind of stories she likes to read, in hopes that just maybe other career gals can find an escape from their hectic lifestyles in the make believe worlds she creates.

Adams Grove | The Granny Series


Oh gosh! My favorite Holiday Movie is pretty much the last Hallmark movie I just finished watching. I’m a Hallmark Movie junkie, and I’m proud of it! My favorite holiday show not including Hallmark is Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. When the Abominable Snowman knocks poor Rudolph on the head and his eyes going rolling around …. you know the scene…I still cry. Poor Clarice.

Margaret Brownley

Margaret Brownley

Thrills, mystery, suspense, romance: Margaret penned it all. Nothing wrong with this, except Margaret happened to be writing for the church newsletter. After making the church picnic read like a Grisham novel, her former pastor took her aside and said, “Maybe God’s calling you to write fiction.”

It turns out God was and Margaret did. She now has more than 20 novels to her credit. In addition, she’s written many Christian articles and a non-fiction book. Still, it took a lot of prodding from God before Margaret tried her hand at writing inspirational fiction which led to her Rocky Creek series. “I love writing about characters at different stages of faith,” she says of the new direction her writing career has taken, “and I’m here to stay.”

Happily married to her real-life hero, Margaret and her husband live in Southern California.

12 Brides of Christmas | Undercover Ladies | A Match Made in Texas | Second Chance at Star Inn


This is a hard one since there are so many good ones. The movie I wasn’t prepared to like as much as I did was Elf.

Tara Wyatt

Tara Wyatt

Tara Wyatt is a romance author who’s been making up love stories ever since she fell head over heels for the Backstreet Boys and Hanson almost twenty years ago. Not content with merely daydreaming about Nick Carter and Taylor Hanson, she grabbed a notebook and wrote what she now realizes was fan fiction.

After outgrowing her boy band obsession and obtaining an Honours B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy from McMaster University, her love of books and reading led her to pursue a Masters’ degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Western Ontario. Currently, she works for a large public library system, where she has the arduous task of selecting books for children and young adults for the library’s collection.



A Christmas Story. I’d never seen it growing up, and the first Christmas we were dating, my now husband introduced me to it. It had always been one of his favorites, and he was excited to watch it with me. We have a tradition of watching it together at least once in the days leading up to Christmas now.

Opal Carew

Opal Carew

Hi. I’m Opal Carew and I write erotic romance for St. Martin’s Press and Samhain Publishing, and I self–publish stories. I also write romance as Amber Carew.

So why do I like writing erotic romance? I like being able to push beyond traditional boundaries. I like dealing with a female character who is growing and evolving – questioning her sexual boundaries and pushing past them. My stories usually include menage a trois. It is great fun to write a heroine choosing between two equally appealing heroes… or more.

These aren’t women who just jump into bed with anyone. They find themselves in an unusual situation – something exciting and erotic – but a situation where they have to push themselves beyond their comfort level. As a result, they grow as a person. So often fear holds us back – of what others will think of us, of what we will think about ourselves – and we don’t follow our hearts. These women push past that fear.


It’s a tie between WHITE CHRISTMAS and Holiday Inn. I know they’re really old, but I used to watch them with my mum when we wrapped Christmas presents together, so it keeps those wonderful childhood memories with me, which is so nice since neither of my parents are with us anymore.

Emily March

Emily March

Like thousands of other Texans, author Emily March grew up fleeing the summertime heat at home for the beautiful Colorado Rockies.  The daughter of Colorado natives, Emily spent her summers at the rustic, 1930’s era family cabin in the mountains west of Denver, fishing, hiking, horseback riding, and availing herself of the facilities (an outhouse) only when she could no longer avoid it.

As an adult with a family of her own, Emily continued the tradition of spending summers in the Rockies, and she insists that her sons were not permanently damaged when she made them wear matching Oshkosh red-and-white-striped overalls with coordinating caps to ride the narrow-gauge train from Durango to Silverton at ages 6 and 3, respectively.  Emily still visits the mountains every chance she gets, and she’s happy to announce that the family cabin now sports indoor plumbing.

Writing as Geralyn Dawson, Emily is the USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels.  She is a three-time finalist for the prestigious Romance Writers’ of America’s RITA award and a recipient of their Top Ten Favorite Books of the Year award.  She received Romantic Times magazine’s Career Achievement award and its Reviewer’s Choice award.  In 2009, the American Library Association named her romantic suspense novel, ALWAYS LOOK TWICE, as one of the top ten romances of the year.

A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapano relish has made her a tailgating legend.

Eternity Springs


It’s a toss-up between It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation.

Melissa Cutler

Melissa Cutler

Melissa Cutler knows she has the best job in the world, dividing her time between her dual passions for writing sexy contemporary romances and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense. She was struck at an early age by an unrelenting travel bug and is probably planning her next vacation as you read this. When she’s not globetrotting, she’s enjoying Southern California’s flip-flop wearing weather and wrangling two rambunctious kids.

Bomb Squad | One and Only Texas


Die Hard (hehe)

Mandy Baxter

Mandy Baxter

Mandy Baxter lives in rural Idaho. She’s a part-time pet wrangler, a full-time sun worshiper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. She loves black clothes, pink appliances and thinks junk food should be a recognized food group. In the summer, she can be found sitting by the lake, enjoying the view from her dock.

US Marshals | US Marshalls | Billionaire’s Club: Texas Heartthrobs


The Holiday. I watch it whenever it’s on. I’m obsessed with Jude Law in that movie!

Laura Trentham

Laura Trentham

Laura Trentham was born and raised in a small town in Northwest Tennessee. Although, she loved English and reading in high school, she majored in Chemical Engineering (in order to avoid becoming a starving artist!) and worked in a hard hat and steel toed boots for several years.

Now living in South Carolina with her husband and two children, she writes historical and contemporary romances that are a little dark, a little funny, and a whole lot of sexy.

Falcon Football | Spies and Lovers | Cottonbloom


I love Elf. It’s hilarious and heartwarming. But the season can’t pass with at least one family viewing of Christmas Vacation. Cousin Eddie is the best! Sometimes I’m in the mood for a classic like Miracle on 34th Street (with Maureen O’Hara, of course!) or It’s a Wonderful Life.

Michelle Major | Samantha Carlton’s story

Sometimes characters ease into a writer’s mind and other times they stomp through our brains and demand their story be told. Samantha Carlton, the heroine of my new release, TELL ME AGAIN, did a lot of stomping before getting her own happily-ever-after. She’d been the perfect sidekick in the previous two books in the series and her snarky comments added a bit of levity when things got too serious. She was the one who could always be counted on to say exactly what she was thinking , but that’s much easier to do when commenting on someone else’s love life than your own.

As fun as Sam was in the first two books, I quickly discovered her humor masked a lot of pain. This woman had a past to overcome, and when the niece she never knew she had showed up on her doorstep, it spurred her into action. One of the things I loved most about Sam was her big heart—or as her friends call it ‘her gooey center’. She’s all tough on the outside but she cares so much about the kids she works with at the summer camp she runs and, of course, about her girlfriends.

She also still has a soft spot for Trevor Kincaid, even though she’d deny it up and down. Trevor is a single dad and really protective of his daughter, Grace. It’s hard for him to let Sam back into his life, but once he does the sparks fly.

One of the best things about writing a series is getting to revisit characters from the previous books so it was great fun to turn the tables on Sam and have her friends from KISSING MR. RIGHT and RECIPE FOR KISSES helping her find her way to love. I hope readers have as much fun with this story as I did writing it!

I’d love to hear what you think and what your favorite part of reading romance series books is. You can find me at www.michellemajor.com or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MichelleMajorBooks/.

Happy reading!


About Michelle Major

Michelle Major

I was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and for as long as I can remember I’ve loved books. Growing up, I wrote stories and plays and graduated with a degree in Journalism from Ohio University.

By then I’d also fallen in love with the mountains. After college I pointed my ancient Honda west until I came to Colorado. I worked on a dude ranch and then spent a month camping through the southwestern part of the state. Technically, I might have been homeless but that hardly seemed to matter while sleeping under the stars.

I settled down to a career in Human Resources and traveled across the country for my job. With my fear of flying, I needed something to distract me on all those planes. I picked up a Julia Quinn novel in an airport bookstore and was hooked. It dawned on me that the stories milling around in my head were actually romance plots. My passion for novel writing was born.

Fast forward a couple of years and I’m now married, a part-time writer and a full-time Professional Wiper (noses, bottoms, tears, scraped knees, pet accidents – you name it, I’ve cleaned it up).



One reader will receive a Kindle copy of TELL ME AGAIN plus a $10 Amazon Gift Certificate!

TELL ME AGAIN by Michelle Major

Tell Me Again

As a teenager, Samantha Carlton used a career in modeling to break free from her painful childhood—walking away from her reckless twin sister, an alcoholic mother, and the boy she loved. Yet she never outran the guilt of abandoning her family. When the past shows up on her doorstep in the form of her late sister’s daughter, Sam opens her home and her heart to the girl she never knew existed. But it’s not so easy to face the man she left behind…

Sam had shattered Trevor Kincaid’s heart, and he’d sought comfort in her sister’s arms. But he’d pledged to shield his daughter, Grace, from the drama that followed the Carlton women. Now Grace has tracked down Sam, and Trevor is forced to deal with the one woman he wanted to forget.

History has a way of repeating itself, and the sparks between Sam and Trevor reignite an old flame. But as much as Sam wants a new future, is walking away again easier than risking her heart for a second chance at love?

Romance Contemporary [Montlake Romance, On Sale: October 18, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781503939400 / ]

Fur Babies… Real & Imagined

As a kid, my family always had pets. Dogs, cats, a goat, a pig, ducks we called Salt and Pepper, a rabbit… you name it, I think we probably had it. Maybe that’s why animals appear in all my books. It’s hard to imagine not having a pet of some sort.

One particular dog stands out. Her name was Queenie, and she adopted us. I was eight or nine years old, and one day while playing outside, this little black and white dog trotted up to me. We later learned she was a purebred Boston terrier, but that day she was just a dog that wanted to play. She didn’t have a collar, and we’d never seen her around the neighborhood before, but she seemed well-taken care of. Our dad said not to get attached to her as she obviously belonged to someone. Ha! We were already attached to her.

We named her Queenie and as far as she was concerned, we kids (there were four of us) belonged to her. If one of us got in trouble with our dad and got a stern talking to, Queenie would go to a corner of the room, turn her back to him and refuse to look at him for hours.

Months went by, and then one day, a car stopped in front of our house where we were playing with Queenie. A man got out and said the dog was his, that she’d been missing for several months. My dad talked to the man, asking him questions, and finally decided the man was telling the truth. Tears fell down our faces as the man bent to pick up Queenie to take her with him. But Queenie wasn’t having it. She bit the man’s hand, then ran under the house. After some words with the man, my dad and the man came to an agreement that we could buy Queenie from him. So Queenie became ours for real.

In CRAZY FOR HER, the first book in my Men of K2 Special Services series, my hero, Logan Kincaid, adopted a Doberman named Luke. Luke didn’t appear until near the end of the story, but he played an important role in protecting my heroine, Dani Prescott. I’m giving away a Kindle copy of CRAZY FOR HER to one commenter. Tell me the name of your favorite pet.

CRAZY FOR HER by Sandra Owens

K2 Team

Crazy for Her

When his best friend and fellow Navy SEAL, Evan Prescott, died in his arms on the battlefield, Logan Kincaid gave his word to watch over Evan’s widow. But for two years he kept his distance…torn between honoring his solemn vow and succumbing to his secret love for his fallen comrade’s wife. But when Dani Prescott desperately reaches out to Logan for the help only he can give, he rushes to her side—determined to fight for her safety as fiercely as he fights against his own buried desire.

Someone claiming to be her husband is stalking Dani and her infant daughter, making them virtually prisoners in their remote country home. Logan’s elite military training and high-risk security expertise have outmatched more dangerous enemies. But the real challenge will be the burning temptation that threatens to overcome Logan whenever Dani is near…especially when she reveals her own hidden passion.

Romance Military | Romance Contemporary [Montlake Romance, On Sale: September 1, 2014, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781477824788 / ]

About Sandra Owens

Sandra Owens

A best selling, award-winning author, Sandra Owens lives in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Her family and friends often question her sanity, but have ceased being surprised by what she might get up to next. She’s jumped out of a plane, flown in an aerobatic plane while the pilot performed death-defying stunts, has flown Air Combat (two fighter planes dogfighting, pretending to shoot at each other with laser guns), and rode a Harley motorcycle for years. She regrets nothing.

Sandra is a 2013 Golden Heart® Finalist for her contemporary romance, CRAZY FOR HER. In addition to her contemporary romantic suspense novels, she writes Regency stories.

K2 Team


Kris Rafferty | You Gotta Go There

Think about all your favorite authors, and I bet the attribute they have in common is their willingness to put everything on the page. They have authentic voices, tell stories of unique, yet relatable characters who are challenged by a set of circumstances that, though they might not be yours, you could imagine what you’d do if life threw that curve ball. To put that kind of story on paper, you have to be wired in a particular way. This fact was taught to me by my kind, talented, incredibly smart daughter.

A couple years ago (she was about sixteen), my daughter was asked to give a talk about mothers for a Mother’s Day event. She was nervous, but game. I spent all week looking forward to her magnificent dissertation on the glories of motherhood, using me, of course, as her shining example. I was very careful not to pressure her, not to even admit I was looking forward to this opus. Normally, as the writer in the family, I’d offer to edit the speech, but not this time. I wanted to be surprised, to hear it as a piece of performance art. My anticipation wasn’t giddy, but rather measured. Like eating gourmet, while eyeing the dessert tray. But everyone knew was a big deal. Every mother in the audience would listen to her words and feel they too, in a large part, were basking in the revelation of their many efforts, from gory labor stories, to breastfeeding debacles, to every challenge mothers face on a daily basis from cradle to…well, whenever. The vocation of motherhood doesn’t stop. It was our moment to shine. Keep in mind, she was sixteen, her task monumental. But her audience was friendly, and the bar extremely low. People just wanted to be moved.

So the big day came, Mother’s Day, and my mother sat to my right, my husband and my other children to my left, and we took a deep breath, waiting to hear my daughter extol the benefits of having a mother who loves her. What happened was a five-minute recitation of every dry definition of what a mother should be. Not a practical list, so much as a societal one. Not one moment of her speech had been devoted to acknowledging I existed. Afterward, I chided myself for my expectations, and…yeah, my feelings were hurt, but striving to be a good mother, I shook it off and didn’t say anything until years…yes, years later. Her answer?

Her feelings for me and what I mean to her were private, and if she’d shared them, she would have cried at the podium, so she purposefully kept it clinical. Sixteen. She was sixteen. Of course, I told myself. Why hadn’t I figured that out on my own? Bad mother. Bad.

Well…it just goes to show, we give birth to people who are NOTHING like ourselves. Given the task she faced, I not only would have delivered a speech that made me cry, I’d have had the audience sobbing or felt myself a failure. I’m the girl that published a review of “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” at sixteen. It dripped emotion, (though full disclosure, my girlfriend reviewed my review as being incoherent.)

Everyone is different, and thank heaven, but the balance of emotional vs clinical delivery matters in writing. Sometimes, you just gotta go there. Be authentic. Not necessarily authentically you, but pick and choose who your characters are, and have them be authentically them. It requires a bit of a multi-personality disorder, and a proclivity for acting, but it’s a necessity or the bottom falls out on your characters and they become cutout versions of people, clinical depictions of a type, rather than a living, breathing person who your readers want to come alive outside of the book. I had a reviewer declare she wished my character was real so she could hit on her. Ha! I loved that! It said my heroine read real. That’s what it’s all about.

You have to be willing to cry, or the work will suffer.

About Kris Rafferty

Kris Rafferty

Kris Rafferty was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. After earning a Bachelor’s in Arts from the University of Massachusetts/ Boston, she married her college sweetheart, traveled the country and wrote books. Three children and a Pomeranian/Shih Tzu mutt later, she spends her days devoting her life to her family and her craft.

An Unlikely Hero


TEMPTED BY A TOUCH by Kris Rafferty

An Unlikely Hero #2

Tempted by a Touch

People keep dying around Harper MacLain. Try as she might, she can’t stop bad things from happening to those she loves. When her closely guarded secret lands her in the middle of her ex-boyfriend’s investigation, she’s in over her head. She hates that Detective Lucas Sullivan is in her life again, tempting her to fall back into bad habits…and his bed.

When Harper left him, Lucas tried not to care, burying himself in his job instead. Then Harper became the job. Now they’re on the run, and all he can think about is keeping her safe…and his hands off her. Lucas knows she’s the key to solving his case, if he can keep them alive long enough to do it. And that’s the trick…because falling in love can kill you.

Romance Suspense [Entangled Select, On Sale: October 24, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781633757691 / eISBN: 9781633757691]

Diane Vallere | Costume Love

When I was in first grade, my mom made me a black cat costume for Halloween. It involved sewing a hood with cat ears and a tail onto one of my black leotards from dance class and a cat mask with a thin piece of elastic that ran went around the back of my head. I loved that costume. If memory serves, I wanted to wear the costume post-Halloween, because everybody wants to be a cat. Right?

Since then there were gypsies and hobos and Indians. In college there was Marilyn Monroe, Cher, and the 80s-specific year I dressed as my Swatch Watch. I enjoy coming up with costume ideas as much as I enjoy wearing them which brings up a lot of questions about my identity.

I’ve discovered that, when it comes to costumes, people fall into two camps: those who love them and those who don’t. There isn’t a lot of gray area. Being the former, I’ve wondered about the latter. Is it the trouble of putting together a specific look? Or have they only experienced uncomfortable costumes? Is the silliness of dressing as someone else off-putting? Or did they just not care about getting candy on Halloween?

When I first started writing the Costume Shop mysteries, I knew one of the three books would center around Halloween. Even in a town where residents throw costume parties for every occasion, Halloween would be a special event. For all of the characters who dress up for poker games and birthdays and annual festivals, there are those who think costumes are odd. But in Proper City, everybody dresses up for Halloween. That’s just how it is!


Costume Shop #2

Masking for Trouble

Halloween brings more tricks than treats for costume shop owner Margo Tamblyn in the second in a new cozy series from the national bestselling author of the Material Witness Mysteries.

Halloween conjures up big business for Margo Tamblyn’s costume shop, Disguise DeLimit, but this year, the holiday comes knocking with serious trouble. Venture capitalist Paul Haverford plans to rezone historic downtown into a glitzy commercial area which would push out local business. Margo is set on saving her family’s store, especially after a nasty run-in with the chain-store tycoon, but after Haverford’s body is discovered during a spooky party at the derelict Alexandria Hotel, Margo finds herself dressed as the police’s prime suspect.

Anxious to clear her name, Margo begins hunting down anyone who might have wanted Haverford dead. Between all of his malicious maneuverings, the murdered mogul had buckets of people anxious to see him gone. Now, Margo will have to use every trick in the book to find a cloaked killer—before someone else winds up wearing a death shroud…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: October 4, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425278291 / eISBN: 9780698183445]

About Diane Vallere

Diane Vallere

After two decades working for a top luxury retailer, Diane Vallere traded fashion accessories for accessories to murder. CRUSHED VELVET, the second book in the nationally bestselling and Lefty-Nominated Material Witness Cozy Mystery Series, comes out August 4. Diane is the current president of Sisters in Crime Los Angeles and was co-chair of the 2015 California Crime Writers Conference. She also writes the Madison Night and Style & Error Mystery Series. Diane started her own detective agency at age ten and has maintained a passion for shoes, clues, and clothes ever since.

Material Witness Mystery | Costume Shop


Kathy Aarons | My Favorite Month

October is my favorite month in San Diego. The summer visitors and horse race crowds have gone home, leaving the beaches almost empty and relieving the traffic on the highways. Thanks to all the back-to-school sales, I’ve overfilled my file cabinet with cheap office supplies. The weather has become what everyone expects from Southern California – low 70s during the day and 60s at night. I only wish the days weren’t so short!

I rely on walks on the beach to generate ideas and solve problems for my books. There’s something about walking in the sand and listening to the waves that makes my brain work better. I used to carry a digital recorder to take down ideas – in some ways it’s almost like a dream state and I’d easily forget the great plot idea that cleared my current red herring – but now I rely on my cell phone so I can take notes and keep going.

Of course, one of the best parts of October is Halloween!

Is there a better holiday than Halloween for a store that combines chocolate and books? In BEHIND CHOCOLATE BARS, chocolatier Michelle Serrano and book store owner Erica Russell are preparing for the West Riverdale Halloween Festival when murder once again rears its ugly head. Will they be able to solve the monstrous mystery before the ghouls and goblins arrive?


A Chocolate Covered Mystery

Behind Chocolate Bars


Best friends and business partners Michelle and Erica have a monstrous to-do list as they prepare for the annual West Riverdale Halloween Festival. Their shop, Chocolates and Chapters, will have a booth at the event, where Michelle will serve spooky delights while Erica displays an assortment of spine-chilling books. Thank goodness the teenagers from Erica’s comic-book club are chipping in to help. But one of their volunteers winds up in trouble after a woman’s body is found in an abandoned house—with the teen’s superhero key ring close by.

The teen swears he didn’t do it, but he’s obviously hiding something—leaving Michelle and Erica with a witch’s cauldron of questions. Soon they discover that the dead woman was tricking a whole bunch of people out of more than just treats. Now these two friends must go door-to-door if they hope to unmask a killer…

Mystery Cozy [Berkley Prime Crime, On Sale: March 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425267257 / eISBN: 9781101621059]

About Kathy Aarons

Kathy Aarons

Kathy Aarons is the author of the nationally bestselling CHOCOLATE COVERED MYSTERY series by Berkley Prime Crime. Research for the series was such a hardship: sampling chocolate, making chocolate, sampling more chocolate, and hanging out in bookstores.

Kathy grew up in rural Pennsylvania, attended Carnegie Mellon University, and moved to New York City where she built her career in public relations and met her husband. They relocated to California where she became one of “those” moms: running the PTA, fundraising for school foundations, helping with a high school writers conference, creating costumes for youth theater, building puppets, and cheering on her daughters in hundreds of swim meets and soccer and basketball games.

She began writing when her youngest daughter attended school five days a week and pursued publishing more seriously when her oldest daughter went off to college. She’s dedicated to supporting arts education for youth, volunteering for the CCA Writers Conference, the only free writing conference for high school students in the country. She also serves on the board of Playwrights Project, whose mission is to advance literacy, creativity, and communication by empowering individuals to voice their stories through playwriting programs and theatre productions.

She now lives in San Diego with her husband and two daughters where she wakes up far too early, and is currently obsessed with the Broadway Idiot documentary, finding the perfect cup of coffee, and Dallmann’s Sea Salt Caramels.

Chocolate Covered Mystery


Robin Caroll | Discovering My Heroine

Don’t you just love a spunky, confident and capable heroine? I sure do. When my husband returned from a white water rafting trip with a friend, he showed me the video and was so impressed with one of the river guides who was a woman. I have to admit, I was intrigued enough that my brain started moving toward a scenario of a heroine as a river guide. What would she be like? Why would she love the river and white water rafting so much? So I dug deep to find out.

In TORRENTS OF DESTRUCTION, Katie Gallagher is the middle child, sandwiched between two brothers. She loves her brothers deeply, even if they tend to bicker back and forth as many siblings do. Their father died and left them the family business—the river rafting guide service. Their mother disappeared and that’s a bone of contention between Katie and her brothers in that they believe their mother met with foul play and is dead while Katie believes her mother abandoned them. Although this core difference of belief could rip them apart, the Gallagher siblings rely on their love for one another and sense of responsibility.

As I learned more about my heroine, I knew Katie would be strong, determined, responsible, but also stubborn and temperamental. She’d have to be to work in such a male-dominated field. I knew I wanted to pit her against a strong hero—uber FBI agent working undercover—so she had to be strong emotionally as well as physically.

I needed to figure out her soft spots aside from her brothers. As I was working on my character outline, I sat outside on my porch. Our then dog, a Blue Heeler named Shadow ran across the yard chasing a squirrel. I knew Shadow belonged to Katie and that she and her dog had a love and bond that wouldn’t break. How cool would it be to have a dog so well trained and in tune with his human that he would thrive in a white water raft? So I wrote Shadow into the story, making him not only a constant companion for Katie to show a side of her soft and nurturing personality, but also use their bond as a plot point in the story itself.

In the end, Katie is a kick-butt type of heroine, with a heart of gold and a stubborn streak a mile long. And she’s quite addicted to peppermints!

“Caroll’s latest is a thriller, complete with edge-of-your-seat action.” ~ROMANTIC TIMES


Torrents of Destruction

As a white water rafting guide, Katie Gallagher must battle the forces of nature on a daily basis. When sabotage becomes apparent on a weekend rafting trip, Katie must determine who she can trust—and who has their own agenda. Hunter Malone has a mission on a business adventure trip on the Gauley River, a mission that didn’t include a spunky guide who could handle the class-five rapids better than he’d ever imagined. But can she handle the truth?

Inspirational Mystery [Paperback / Kindle, ISBN: 9780692457979 / ]

“I love boxing. I love Hallmark movies. I love fishing. I love scrapbooking. Nope, I’ve never fit into the boxes people have wanted to put me in.” ~Robin Caroll is definitely a contradiction, but one that beckons you to get to know her better.

Born and raised in Louisiana, Robin is a southerner through and through. Her passion has always been to tell stories to entertain others. Robin’s mother, bless her heart, is a genealogist who instilled in Robin the deep love of family and pride of heritage–two aspects Robin weaves into each of her 30 published novels.

When she isn’t writing, Robin spends time with her husband of twenty+ years, her three beautiful daughters and two handsome grandsons, and their character-filled pets at home–in the South, where else?

She serves the writing community as Executive Director/Conference Director for ACFW.

Her books have finaled/placed in such contests as the Carol Award, Holt Medallion, RT Reviewer’s Choice Award, Bookseller’s Best, and Book of the Year.

An avid reader herself, Robin loves hearing from and chatting with other readers. Although her favorite genre to read is mystery/suspense, of course, she’ll read just about any good story. Except historicals! To learn more about this author of deep South mysteries of suspense to inspire your heart, visit Robin’s website at www.robincaroll.com.

Callie Hutton | Meet Richard, Marquess of Devon

I’m excited to be here on Fresh Fiction, one of my favorite websites. I’m also excited to tell you about my new book, Seducing the Marquess. In order to do that, I decided to step aside and let my characters tell you a little bit about themselves, and how they got into the mess that is their love story. First I present to you, Richard, Marquess of Devon.

“Hello everyone, Lord Devon here. This is a bit awkward for me since I’ve never appeared on a website before. I hope to tell you a bit about myself because my author insisted. She threatened to take away my happily ever after if I didn’t make this appearance, so here we are, old chap.

“First of all, I must tell you I never planned on having the type of marriage I ended up with. Who needs all the mess and entanglement of love? Well, it turned out I needed it. But my dear wife, Eugenia, went about it in such a bizarre way that we almost lost each other. You see, she found this little book that . . . . Well, maybe I should let her tell you about it.” (He smiles at Eugenia, gives her a little kiss and pushes her forward.)

“I would curtsy, but I don’t think any of you would see it, so I will merely say, hello, and I am happy to be here. I am Lady Devon—Eugenia to my friends. I won’t tell you what Devon calls me because my blush would burn up the page. Oh, dear, I mean burn up the website. So hard to keep track of all these things, don’t you think so, my dear?

“Yes, well as Devon said, I found this little book that surely opened my eyes to what I had been missing. You see, I was merely trying to keep Devon from finding another mistress when his mistress died so sadly in a carriage accident. All right, I will admit I did not cry extensively when she met her deserved fate. Oh, dear. Let me take that back. (Deep breath).

“Anyway, to get back to my book. You see I was merely wandering my local book store, where I’ve spent many a pleasant hour reading Miss Jane Austen, Mr. Percy Bysshe Shelley, Sir Walter Scott, Miss Susan Ferrier and Miss Maria Edgeworth. I took a book off the shelf and it caught on another book and pulled it out also. Well, I must tell you (leans in close and whispers) this was not a book like anything I had ever seen before. (Looks around to make sure no one heard that).

“I am sure you want to know all about my book and what I did with it. But, I’m afraid my time is up. Such a rushed time period you live in. (Shakes her head) Anyway, if you want to know more about Secrets of the Bedchamber (blush) you must read Seducing the Marquess. You will be very happy if you do.

“Now I must sign off, or whatever it is you call leaving a website. Devon is motioning to me, and he is carrying the book with a very devilish look on his face. (She fans herself). Off I go!”

So there you have it. Devon and Eugenia trying desperately to tell you about the book, but as Eugenia said, you really must read SEDUCING THE MARQUESS to find out more about it.


Lords & Ladies in Love

Seducing the Marquiss

London, 1819. Richard, Marquess of Devon is satisfied with his ton marriage. His wife of five months, Lady Eugenia Devon, thought she was, too, until she found the book. Their marriage is one of respect and affection, with no messy entanglements such as love. Devon’s upbringing impressed upon him that gentlemen slake their baser needs on a mistress, not their gently bred wives. However, once married, he was no longer comfortable bedding a woman other Eugenia. When she stumbles onto a naughty book, she begins a campaign to change the rules.

Lady Eugenia wants her very proper husband to fall in love with her. But her much changed and undeniably wicked behavior might inadvertently drive her confused husband to ponder the unthinkable—his perfect Lady has taken a lover. But the only man Eugenia only wants is her husband. The book can bring sizzling desire to the marriage or it might cause an explosion.

Romance Historical [Entangled Scandalous, On Sale: October 17, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781682813263 / eISBN: 9781633757844]

About Callie Hutton

Callie Hutton

USA Today best selling author of THE ELUSIVE WIFE, Callie Hutton writes both Western Historical and Regency romance, with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). She also pens an occasional contemporary or two. Callie lives in Oklahoma with several rescue dogs, two adult children, and daughter-in-law (thankfully all not in the same house), and her top cheerleader husband of thirty-eight years. She also recently welcomed twin grandsons to her ever expanding family.

Marriage Mart Mayhem | Oklahoma Lovers | Lords & Ladies in Love


Christa McKnight | The Best Tomato Pie

When I received feedback from the early readers of my book, THE BROKEN TRAIL, I was prepared for all sorts of questions. It’s a contemporary romance and it deals with some pretty deep stuff so I was braced for anything, but not for the one I got the most often. No, that question was “Can I get the recipe for that tomato pie she makes?” There’s a lot of food in the book since Katherine, the main character, enjoys baking and in her hectic life hadn’t had time for it. Stuck in a small town in Maine she’s finally got time on her hands and she uses it to make apple pies, vegetable soup, bread, and on her very first night there, homemade cocoa though that turns out to be a bit of a mess.

Out of all of those culinary delights, the tomato pie always stands out so I thought I’d share it here. Although considered a southern creation, I make it when my New England garden is right at the end of the season, giving up the last of the big, ripe tomatoes.

Katherine’s Tomato Pie

  • One pie dough – (I cheat and use the kind you buy in the refrigerated section at the store)
  • Shaved parmesan cheese
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 6-10 tomatoes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chiffonade of basil leaves (if desired)
  • Cherry tomatoes (if desired)
  • On a cutting board slice the tomatoes about a half to one inch thick. Line them up on a few sheets of paper towel or tea towels and sprinkle salt and pepper over them letting them sit while you do the crust.
  • Place the dough in a pie plate and crimp edges. Sprinkle a bit of the parmesan cheese on the crust and press down lightly. Pre-bake this for about 15 minutes until the edges are just starting to turn golden. Pull it out and let it sit until room temp.
  • Place one layer of tomatoes on the pie crust. You can cut some of the slices in half if you want to really get them in there evenly.
  • Sprinkle this layer with cheddar cheese and then with the basil.
  • Repeat with another layer of tomatoes, cheese and basil until you have reached the top of the pie plate. Typically it will be three layers.
  • Cover the top layer of the pie with a heavier dose of both the cheddar and parmesan cheese – Eyeball it based on how much cheese you like on a pizza. I make sure a bit of the cheese is on the pie edges as well. I think it makes the crust taste better. I also dot the surface here and there with cherry tomatoes (kids like to make a smile). Totally optional.
  • Bake at 350 degrees until the top is golden-brown. Due to size of tomatoes and oven variances, this can take anywhere from 20-40 minutes. Start checking after 15 to be safe. Once it’s out of the oven let it sit until it cools to a warm, but not hot temperature and then serve.

Happy eating (And reading)!

THE BROKEN TRAIL by Christa MacDonald

Sweet River Redemption

The Broken Trail

Katherine Grant takes the job at Sweet River Christian Academy hoping a small town in the wilderness of Maine will be a vacation from her high-powered career and a break from the emotional toll of the secrets she has buried deep. With the school director on a power trip and evidence of shady dealings, there’s nothing relaxing about it. Maybe it would be easier if she wasn’t so distracted by Captain MacAlister, the local cop she can’t get along with, yet can’t get out of her head. She didn’t trek up to the middle of nowhere to lose her heart.

Mac doesn’t need the kind of trouble he believes Katherine will bring. He’s got enough to deal with from poachers to drug crime. Mac has rules to maintain his faith, like avoiding the pull of an attractive woman who doesn’t fit his life. But when he meets Katherine, he’s drawn in by her intelligence and strength, despite getting burned by her quick temper.

When near tragedy strikes, Katherine reveals her feelings, and Mac doesn’t hesitate to respond. If only their scars, both seen and unseen, didn’t threaten to tear them apart. Two wary hearts must soften and two steel wills bend if they have any hope of making it down the broken trail to love.

Romance | Inspirational Romance [Mountain Brook Ink, On Sale: September 26, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 9781943959112 / ]

About Christa MacDonald

Christa MacDonald

Christa MacDonald began her writing career at the age of eleven, filling a sketchbook with poems and short stories. While at Gordon College she traded the sketchbooks for floppy discs, publishing short personal narratives in the literary journal The Idiom. After graduation and traveling cross-country she settled down to focus first on her career and then her growing family. When her children reached grade school Christa returned to her love of writing, finding the time between conference calls, dance lessons, and baseball games.

When not at her desk working or writing, Christa can be found curled up in her favorite chair reading, out and about with her husband and kids, or in the garden. She lives with her family along the coast of New England in the converted barn they share with a dog and two formerly-feral cats.

Sweet River Redemption


Join Christina McKnight for a Regency Christmas Celebration!

Let us journey to Regency Era England for a Christmastide celebration. When the House of Commons recessed around December 20th for the Christmas holiday and Boxing Day (the day following Christmas Day), the ton flocked to their country estates for holiday parties with few remaining in London. The holiday celebration lasted twelve days, ending around January 6th, and was a time of many festivities and days spent with family.

Unlike today, in Regency and Victorian times, holiday decorations were hung on Christmas Eve; including holly, ivy, and mistletoe. Sprigs of mistletoe were hung generously throughout a dwelling, and couples were called to hug or kiss below it for continued good luck in the upcoming year. The Yule Log was lit and kept burning through the twelve days. Most attended a Christian Mass on Christmas morning before returning home for a dinner of roasted goose or turkey—or even boar’s head—with sides of vegetables and stuffing for the fowl. There were also desserts; including Christmas plum puddings and mince pies.

With their food eaten and dessert long past, family would sit before the Yule Log, though Christmas carols are historically named as a Victorian tradition, many families would gather to tell stories and sing hymns. Children would sit before the hearth to listen to stories of Saint Nicholas, not the portly, white bearded, older man of today’s legends, but a gentleman far younger, tall and handsome, whose good deeds were known far and wide.

On Christmas Day, people would give gifts or tithes to their landowner. The nobility, as landowners, would receive these tithing. The current tradition of gift giving was not widespread at the time, but small toys and books were given to children.

Boxing Day (December 26th), was when people commonly gave ‘boxes’ or gifts to those that had served them throughout the year. If you were at your country home, men (and some women) would depart on horseback for a day of fox hunting.

Regency Christmastide celebrations noticeably lacked both Christmas trees and stocking hung by the fire (with care). These traditions did not come into more popular use until years later.

No matter if you celebrated in Yorkshire, Devonshire, Somerset, or London proper, the Christmastide season was one of celebration and family—when people thanked those that served them and gave tithe to those whose land supported their families growth and livelihood. Much like today, homes were decorated with cheer, food was aplenty, and children were welcomed to celebrate with games and singing.

Regency Era England is the perfect back-drop for a romantic tale where I can allow the traditions of the time to play an integral role in my story. In A KISS AT CHRISTMASTIDE, my heroine and her family take pride in making treats for their villages and their families, along with individual gifts for each child to unwrap during their celebration. The custom of lavish meals and halls decked with holly and mistletoe—with roaring fires filling each room with warmth—is the perfect setting for two characters to fall in love…and a stolen kiss under the mistletoe never goes awry.


A Kiss At Christmastide

Lady Pippa Godfrey has suffered the most ruinous London Season. She escapes to her Somerset estate for a quiet Christmastide holiday with her family, away from society’s prying eyes. But before her parents can join her, a storm crashes down on Somerset to destroy any hope of Pippa’s white Christmas dream. The roads have flooded and travel is impossible, leaving her stranded and alone.But a muddied, angry and devilishly handsome lord appears at her door demanding shelter.

Lucas Hartfeld, the Earl of Maddox, has been summoned by his parents, the Marquis and Marchioness of Bowmont, to attend a holiday party in the wilds of the country, far from his London townhouse. He suspects they command his attendance for far different reasons than a simple country party. When a storm strands his carriage, he’s forced to seek shelter at the only home for miles around, a local manor called Helton House.

When Lady Pippa is reluctant to admit him, he does what he’s been raised to do–demand she provide him and his servants with shelter until the storm passes. But the beautiful woman draws his interest far more than he’s willing to admit. Can Lucas find a way out of the predicament his parents are planning?

As Lady Pippa scrutinizes another arrogant, demanding lord, she is bombarded with memories of betrayals in her past. Can she forget those difficult life lessons to claim a Christmastide kiss from a perfect stranger?

Holiday | Romance Historical | Novella / Short Story [On Sale: September 27, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 2940156779444 / eISBN: 9781945089053]

About Christina McKnight

Christina McKnight

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. Currently, she focuses on Historical Romance.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

Craven House | Lady Forsaken