Meet Helen Lowe
Author Guest / March 31, 2016

How does a poet become a fantasy author? It’s an interesting question and one of the few our reviewer Katherine Petersen asked fantasy author Helen Lowe. Maybe it’s the New Zealand landscape? Or her childhood around the Pacific Rim cities? Why not join us as we find out. You started off as a poet, and it really reflects in your writing. How do you see your poetry background affects your storytelling? Helen: Your question is a really interesting one, because it’s made me realise that poetry does always come first for me. By which I mean that my very first scribblings as a child were poetry and every time I have a sabbatical from writing, it is always poetry that I start writing again first. Possibly this is simply because I find it so much easier to complete a poem within the initial creative burst, whereas most short fiction (with the probable exception of flash) and certainly novels, have to be sustained beyond that – well beyond in the case of novels! Poetry and prose are not separate worlds, though, but neighbouring countries, where border crossings are made by way of the rhythm and flow and richness of language, and…

Kathleen Bittner Roth | Anatomy of a Story
Author Guest / March 31, 2016

Readers often ask me how I go about creating a fictional world that keeps them turning the pages. Agatha Christie said she never knew “who done it” until the person actually committed the crime. That’s me, I never plot. Neither does Stephen King. Finding the seed of a story and getting it to germinate comes about when I get out of my own way. I might take long walks while focusing on nature or the incredible architecture here in Budapest. Or I might go to one of the famous thermal baths, and just lie back in the warm, soothing waters, and stare at the intricately painted ceilings until my characters come alive. Then I let them tell me their story. My current release, PORTRAIT OF A FORBIDDEN LADY, is book two in the series Those Magnificent Malverns (it also works as a stand-alone). The hero in this story is Sir Robert Garreck, knighted by the queen for bravery during the Crimean War. Cousin to the wild Malvern family, he first appeared in book one, THE SEDUCTION OF SARAH MARKS, when the heroine in that story went walking in the English countryside, and accidentally trespassed onto Rob’s property. I could feel…

Kate McMurray | A Real Historical Figure Walks Into a Novel
Author Guest / March 30, 2016

Although the Prince Regent spends a fair amount of time flouncing around Regency romances in his custom-made military uniforms and the Duke of Wellington is basically required to show up whenever the Battle of Waterloo is invoked, real historical figures in historical romances aren’t that common, especially not as secondary or even tertiary characters. Characters like that are tricky for writers to pull off, because they don’t want to represent the character inauthentically (or pull the reader out of the story with a glaring factual error). Some writers have done it well. K.J. Charles recently put a real-life group of rebel conspirators in A Seditious Affair, and it was an interesting way to raise the stakes for the characters. Donna Thorland has included a number of real historical figures in her series set during the American Revolution. One of my long-time critique buddies Tilda Booth wrote a steampunk novel about H.G. Wells and his actual wife called Stealing Utopia that is super fun. Or maybe real historical figures are not so rare. When I asked my Facebook friends for other examples, there were tons, everything from old-school romances (Bertrice Small, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Janelle Taylor, and even Georgette Heyer wrote historical…

Kathryn Jordan | FLICKERS – Discovering New Books
Author Guest / March 30, 2016

I love to read. If you’re following this blog, so do you. As woman readers these days, we can pick any book we want from the library or bookstore, whether it’s a long novel, a romance, a popular thriller, or serious history, psychology – anything! But things weren’t always that easy. Back in the 19th and early 20th centuries, novels in particular were considered to be a waste of a woman’s time. She should be working, caring for children, cleaning her house, waiting on her husband, not sitting around enjoying herself! The protagonist of FLICKERS, Violet Winters, is the daughter of a very rich man, a California “robber baron”, back in the 1910s. She can have anything she wants – except an education. Her parents refuse to let her go to one of those newfangled girl’s preparatory schools or a women’s college, and certainly not to one of those big schools like Stanford or the University of California that have just become co-educational. Shocking! Can’t be done! Fortunately, when she marries Maury Rediston, Violet meets his friends back in New England, and several of the women take her under their long-distance wing. They send her letters about books and suggest…

Ella Quinn | Four Things you’ll see in THREE WEEKS TO WED.
Author Guest / March 30, 2016

Love at first sight . My hero the Earl of Worthington falls in love at first sight (or after a number of hours). I am convinced that people fall in love at first sight. In fact, a recent study showed that men fell in love at first sight with great frequency. I also know more than one couple who met, married (in short order), and are still together decades later. Her tentativeness gave way, and she held on to him tightly, returning his kisses with more vigor. As he stroked her back, he itched to untie the laces his fingers traveled over, and he paused for a moment. Too much too soon. This lady was the most remarkable woman he had ever known, and he needed to ensure he did not scare her away. She sighed, sinking boneless against him. Two of his good friends had recently married, and it was time he did so as well. He hadn’t believed his friend Marcus all those years ago when he’d claimed to have fallen in love with Phoebe at first sight. Matt did now. Children that actually get along . I quite frankly think that this happens more in books and…

Meet Sabrina Jeffries
Interviews / March 30, 2016

Hi, Sabrina! Thank you for joining us here today at Fresh Fiction. I’m so happy to be talking with you about your books and your life! I’m delighted to be here! THE STUDY IN SEDUCTION is the second book in the Sinful Suitors series. I love the idea of a bunch of gentlemen banding together to form their own club in order to pool information about the ne’er do wells in society who might be prospective suitors, in order to protect their sisters and other females relatives from unsavory marriages! Can you tell me one fact that readers might be surprised to discover about the series (even readers like me who stalk you on Facebook, Twitter, and your website!)? I considered calling it the Guardians Club, but my friend Megan Frampton said that sounded oldish. I realized she was right. Once I came up with the Sinful Suitors series and the St. George’s Club, I liked the names much better. There are now about 30 gentlemen in the St. George’s Club looking to protect their womenfolk from scoundrel suitors. You’ve talked last year about how you are intrigued with an open-ended series rather than one defined by a story arc…

Jessica Ruddick | Birthdays are, well, …
Author Guest / March 29, 2016

So yesterday, March 28th, was my book’s birthday. And today, March 29th? Well, today is my birthday! Woohoo! Happy birthday to me! As of today, I can officially run for president of the United States. So feel free to write me in. (Not really.) And yet…I’m still waiting to feel like a grown-up. I have a husband, two kids, and a mortgage, but I still feel like a kid inside most days. It feels like I’m playing house. Seriously, even my taste buds never grew up. I have toddler taste buds, and that’s exactly what it sounds like. If a toddler won’t eat it, then chances are neither will I. Coffee? Yuck. Wine? Nope. Sushi? No way. A good old PB&J is still my go-to lunch. Perhaps all this contributes to my youthful appearance. I bought cough medicine at Walmart the other day, and the cashier asked if I was eighteen. And it was a serious question. I’m definitely not complaining there. I was a teacher for eleven years, and I got asked for a hall pass every single year. On the other hand, sometimes I feel so freaking old. Some days I wonder if it’s acceptable to put my…

Jane Goodger | Love Unrequited
Author Guest / March 29, 2016

Unrequited love is one of my favorite themes in a romance novel, yet HOW TO PLEASE A LADY is the first time I’ve ever used it. Just think of some of the most heartbreaking love stories–Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Hearts, The Phantom of the Opera, and more—which use this wonderful plot device so adeptly. Is there anything more heart-wrenching than being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back? Most unrequited love stories end tragically (The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Cyrano de Bergerac are particularly tragic). Even Charlie Brown’s love of the Little Red-headed Girl can make my heart break just a little bit. These stories that make your heart hurt for the poor sap who’s in love with the unaware and often unknowingly cruel recipient of their affections always appeal to me as a reader. It was a little more difficult as a writer because I wanted my characters to be happy and torturing either one wasn’t easy! None of the stories on my list ended happily, but I’m a romance writer and sad endings just aren’t my schtick. But I still love the idea of a man in love with a woman, who is blissfully unaware…

THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT Exclusive Excerpt
Author Guest / March 29, 2016

Exclusive Excerpt from THE ONE YOU REALLY WANT “All done.” Nancy held out the box containing the cake as Connor opened his front door. It was six o’clock on Friday evening and pregnant Pam’s leaving party at the Lazy B was due to start at eight. “Bring it on inside. Here, let me give you a hand.” As he took the pink and white striped box from her, Connor’s hands brushed against her own and the by now familiar zapping sensation shot up Nancy’s arms. Was this something she’d ever get used to? “Yay! Let’s see it.” Mia, clearing a space on the kitchen table, said bossily, “Come on, Dad, take the lid off.” Connor paused, looked at Nancy. “What if I don’t like it?” “Don’t worry. I’ll just go away and quietly commit suicide.” “Fine, but where would we get another cake at such short notice?” “Oh, get on with it,” Mia exclaimed, briskly removing the lid. “Bloody hell, Nancy, it’s all broken.” “What?” Nancy stopped gazing helplessly at Connor and spun around so fast she got a crick in her neck. “Ha, got you.” Mia beamed at them both. “Hey,” said Connor, studying the cake. “That’s amazing. You’ve…

Ingrid Hahn | Addicted to Jane Austen
Author Guest / March 26, 2016

In January of 2013, I joined a book group. The first book selected was EMMA, by Jane Austen, which I had never read. Beginning the book, I was surprised by how unlikable I found the title character. That book group didn’t work out, but, despite my rough start with EMMA, I’d been unceremoniously drawn back into the world of Jane Austen. The richness of her language, her distinctive voice, her modern appeal—all had rekindled an old fire in my heart. Not having read her entire oeuvre, I thought I might do so in the rest of 2013. Which didn’t happen. What I needed was accountability. So early in 2014, I went on MeetUp, punched in my credit card number, and started my group. To my surprise, people joined! Over the course of the year, we read all her completed novels in publication order and met in a little café to discuss them. Not surprisingly, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and PERSUASION were big hits. There wasn’t a huge amount of agreement or disagreement among the group members, but there were some unexpected revelations. For one member, Jane Austen didn’t hold up at all. Other people, like I had originally, found Emma’s character…