Amy Matayo | LOL (Lots of Love)
Author Guest / January 31, 2014

So I like weddings. Mainly for the cake, but also for some other things. Like the food, the (bad) dancing, the free-flowing alcohol that I rarely drink but am super-entertained by when other people do. You know, the guy who’s had so many Whiskey Sours that he talks super loud and tells really bad jokes only three inches from your face. The woman on her fifth margarita who struggles to balance on her high heels like a newly hired circus clown walking around on five-foot stilts. The grandpa that asks you to dance and holds you a little closer than is physically necessary or appropriate (has this only happened to me?). And then there’s the love. Like almost every other romance writer I know, I like love. Especially wedding love. It gets me thinking back on my own wedding that took place a whole lot of years ago. It makes me remember the look of terror on my now-husband’s face that he was actually going through with marrying me…that he would be shackled to me forever. It makes me remember the two-piece bridesmaid dresses that all got switched around at the dry cleaners, so the afternoon of the wedding all…

C.F. Yetmen | The Value of Art and the Monuments Men (and women)
Author Guest / January 31, 2014

George Clooney’s film “The Monuments Men” tells the story of an unlikely “Band of Brothers”– art historians, artists, architects–who raced against time to save Europe’s art from destruction during World War II. But when peace was declared, the Monuments Men’s work had just begun. On August 20 1945, a shipment arrived at the Monuments Men Wiesbaden Collecting Point that was possibly the most valuable single shipment of art in history. Fifty-seven fully loaded trucks, accompanied by tanks, arrived one-by-one on the bumpy road from Frankfurt. Hundreds of pieces of priceless art and cultural objects were unloaded, catalogued, and stored. A browse through the Monuments Men property cards blandly identifies this amazing shipment as Inshipment One. It included paintings by old masters, sculptures, tapestries, and most famously, the centuries-old bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Now that the war was at an end, the Monuments Men were faced with the enormous task of not only safeguarding, but also restituting, the art that was now under their control. The contrast between the war-ravaged landscape outside the walls of the Collecting Point and the treasures stacked floor-to-ceiling inside, was striking. Outside, there was very little food, shelter or security. Inside were many of the…

Fresh Pick | RETURN TO TRADD STREET by Karen White
Fresh Pick / January 30, 2014

Tradd Street #4 January 2014 On Sale: January 7, 2014 Featuring: Jack Trenholm; Melanie Middleton 336 pages ISBN: 0451240596 EAN: 9780451240590 Kindle: B00DGZI9CW Paperback / e-Book Add to Wish ListRomance, Romance ParanormalBuy at Amazon.com a little romance, some ghosts and a mystery. Perfect paranormal Return to Tradd Street by Karen White You can’t start over when the past is left undone Facing her future as a single mother, psychic Realtor Melanie Middleton is determined to be strong and leave her past with writer Jack Trenholm behind her. But history has a tendency of catching up with Melanie, whether she likes it or not.… Melanie is only going through the motions of living since refusing Jack’s marriage proposal. She misses him desperately, but her broken heart is the least of her problems. Despite an insistence that she can raise their child alone, Melanie is completely unprepared for motherhood, and she struggles to complete renovations on her house on Tradd Street before the baby arrives. When Melanie is roused one night by the sound of a ghostly infant crying, she chooses to ignore it. She simply does not have the energy to deal with one more crisis. That is, until the remains…

Cheryl Bolen | Alpha or Beta Hero?
Author Guest / January 30, 2014

What kind of heroes do it for you? One school of thought has it that Alpha heroes rule. You know, those sexy billionaires who are strong, handsome, and powerful. Then there’s the school of thought that likes a sensitive guy, one with a soft spot for babies and pets. This kind of hero can be a regular guy—like many of our husbands. Perhaps he’s a fireman, who’s heroic in his day job. When I cut my teeth on romance novels many years ago, I loved the Harlequin Presents formula. Handsome tycoon. Shy, submissive heroine who’s swept off her feet like a Cinderella. (After all, Cinderella was my all-time favorite children’s story!) When I morphed over to historical romance, naturally I wanted aristocratic heroes. So when I started publishing historical romances back in the nineties, my first hero (A DUKE DECEIVED)  was a duke. My second (A LADY BY CHANCE) was a marquess. Other books that have followed have names like MY LORD WICKED, THE EARL’S BARGAIN, and HIS LORDSHIP’S VOW. You get the picture. Now that I’m finishing up my second decade publishing romance novels, I’ve discovered something about myself that parallels with my creation of heroes. When I was…

Fresh Pick | DEADLINE by Sandra Brown
Fresh Pick / January 29, 2014

October 2013 On Sale: September 24, 2013 Featuring: Dawson Scott 416 pages ISBN: 1455501514 EAN: 9781455501519 Kindle: B00BAXFHWM Hardcover / e-Book Add to Wish ListRomance Suspense, ThrillerBuy at Amazon.com Ripped from the news Deadline by Sandra Brown Dawson Scott is a well-respected journalist recently returned from Afghanistan. Haunted by everything he experienced, he’s privately suffering from battle fatigue which is a threat to every aspect of his life. But then he gets a call from a source within the FBI. A new development has come to light in a story that began 40 years ago. It could be the BIG story of Dawson’s career one in which he has a vested interest. Soon, Dawson is covering the disappearance and presumed murder of former Marine Jeremy Wesson, the biological son of the pair of terrorists who remain on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. As Dawson delves into the story, he finds himself developing feelings for Wesson’s ex-wife, Amelia, and her two young sons. But when Amelia’s nanny turns up dead, the case takes a stunning new turn, with Dawson himself becoming a suspect. Haunted by his own demons, Dawson takes up the chase for the notorious outlaws. . .and the secret,…

Fresh Pick | FORGED IN ASH by Trish McCallan
Fresh Pick / January 28, 2014

Red-Hot SEALs #2 February 2014 On Sale: January 28, 2014 ISBN: 1612185347 EAN: 9781612185347 Kindle: B008H5VX9M e-Book Add to Wish List Romance Suspense, Romance ParanormalBuy at Amazon.com Best in a series Forged in Ash by Trish McCallan Kait Winchester inherited a special gift from her Arapaho ancestors: she can heal with her touch. And there is no one she would like to get her hands on more than the super-sexy SEAL who seems determined to ignore their off-the-charts chemistry. When the wounded warrior finally seeks her help, she’s ready to nurse him back to health…and into her bed. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Marcus “Cosky” Simcosky is no stranger to hot water, but recent events have boiled over into one hell of a mess. His team is under investigation for a hostage rescue gone wrong, a crazy female stalker is on his trail, and the last few bullets he took just may sideline him for the rest of his career. The kicker? The one woman who can help him get back on his feet—and has haunted his fantasies for years—is his teammate’s sister. He’s looked but never touched. When his stalker targets Kait, though, Cosky will have no choice but to do…

Sharon’s Cozy Corner January 2014
Sharon's Cozy corner / January 28, 2014

Hello to a New Year, and what promises to be a year full of great cozy mysteries! This month’s selections hold a mystery for just about any interest the fan might have – from pets to pecans, from ghosts to glee clubs, there is a little something for everone. And all of them feature a great story with an intriguing mystery to go along with it. Here are a few that caught my eye this month – January Book of the Month EGGS IN A CASKET One of my favorite cozy mystery authors, Laura Childs, always has a great mystery up her sleeve, and this month the mystery involves those feisty gals from the Cackleberry Club! This is the fifth book in the Cackleberry Club series, and it is full of fun, murder and mayhem! I loved it and I think you will too! EGGS IN A CASKET: A Cackleberry Club Mystery #5 By Laura Childs (Berkley Prime Crime) The ladies of the Cackleberry Club are always ready to serve—whether they’re cooking up breakfast or sniffing out a bad egg. While Petra handles the breakfast rush at the Cackleberry Club, the café’s other two owners, Suzanne and Toni, head to…

Sandra Brown’s DEADLINE in paperback
Author Spotlight / January 28, 2014

  Buy Amazon | Kindle BN | iTunes | Sony IndieBound Books-A-Million Grand Central   In 2011, I had the honor of going on a USO tour to Afghanistan. Many of you probably know this; I’ve written about it and talked about it a lot. It was a memorable experience. Nevertheless, I wasn’t compelled to base a book on it. Not specifically anyway. First of all, there are many standout authors who write military/espionage/action-adventure books, including my friends Mark Bowden, Andrew Peterson, and Clive Cussler, who were also on that tour. I couldn’t possibly compete with their genius, and I didn’t even want to try. But that experience must have influenced me, at least tangentially. Because, while contemplating what to write about next, I began thinking about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It occurred to me that it wouldn’t necessarily be confined to men and women in uniform. I thought back to the contractors, vendors, medical personnel we met on the military bases, who are often in as much danger as service members. Wouldn’t spending time in a war zone have a profound, possibly debilitating, affect on them as well? That’s when Dawson Scott, my hero, decided to step out of…

Linda O. Johnston | I Love Writing…
Author Guest / January 27, 2014

… which is a good thing since it keeps me busy! Thanks for inviting me to blog here again, Fresh Fiction. Last year when I guest posted here in January I had two books about to be published, both in February: OODLES OF POODLES, a Pet Rescue Mystery, and UNDERCOVER WOLF, a Harlequin Nocturne that was part of my Alpha Force miniseries about a covert military force of shapeshifters. Now, here we are in January 2014. This month saw the publication of TEACUP TURBULENCE, my fifth Pet Rescue Mystery. In TEACUP TURBULENCE the series protagonist Lauren Vancouver hears about a puppy mill rescue of teacup-size dogs in the midwest. Because there is a demand for little pups in L.A. thanks to a special ad campaign featuring them, Lauren finds a way to get the rescues moved to the West Coast by some very special people who pick up homeless animals from areas where their sort isn’t being adopted quickly, and move them to locations where people welcome them with open arms… and homes. I fortunately did not make this up. A bunch of real organizations actually do this, using both private planes and cars. Private planes are the vehicles of…

Jodi Linton | Spurs. Trouble. Cowboys…and a Texas vacation on a budget.
Author Guest / January 26, 2014

Okay, for starters I couldn’t be anymore over the moon about 2014! This will be the year I finally become a published author. Can I get a hell, yeah!!! *whew* Now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s move onto more important things…like HOT spots in Texas. I know. You’re probably saying, “but Jodi aren’t all places in Texas hot?” Well, yes!  Although some are more pleasing and definitely more enticing, than others. I figure that since the Romance Writers of America will be hosting this year’s conference in River City (a.k.a. San Antonio), we all might want to be in the know while we’re rubbing elbows with the locals come July. Y’all ready to get this countdown started! 10. Sundance Square in Fort Worth: I’ve spent a few nights in the heart of downtown Fort Worth during college, and every time I had a blast. There’s the Bass Performance Hall, the Flying Saucer (which my husband and I enjoyed a little too much), and then Barse Jewelry. I had to throw the jewelry store in the mix, because it was the first place my husband bought me a ring. 9. Hell’s Gate at Possum Kingdom Lake: I…