Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Erin Nicholas | The top five challenges of writing a second-chance romance.
Author Guest / July 25, 2017

Everyone loves a great second-chance romance, right? Two lovers finding each other again. The idea that love conquers all. The romance of never getting over The One and having a chance to make it all right again. But there are challenges to writing these stories too and that made After You one of the harder Sapphire Falls books to write. Here are some reasons why J Someone was probably a jerk. Sometimes break-ups are amicable and people just grow apart and both admit it. But not usually. Usually someone does something that hurts or upsets the other. Which is real life. We all screw up and make mistakes. But when it’s characters in a book, the writer has to be careful so that readers don’t hate the character from the very beginning. They have to have understandable, and forgivable, reasons for the break-up.   They’re not always going to be happy to see one another. Obviously, in a romance, the characters have to spend time together in order to work through everything and figure out how they feel about one another. But they’re probably not going to be that happy to see each other at first. It’s a tough balance…

Liz Crowe | A Lighter Touch
Author Guest / July 25, 2017

We all know the trends in romance fiction wax and wane, seemingly without logic or pattern. One day it’s all about the sexy vampires and military men, the next it’s motorcycle clubs, mixed martial artists, and bear shifters. It’s a tough genre to keep up with, given that it’s rich in tropes and archetypes, many of which fall in and out of favor at the apparent blink of an eye. For those of us who write romance, it can be a tough decision to make—what to write next? Will my fans support a switch of sub-genres? A new series? Do they want more of the same, since they’re invested in my existing characters and plots already? I tend to stick with subgenres, settings, and plot turns that I enjoy reading. I have been advised time and again NOT to do this. I should “follow the market” and write whatever it is people are paying money to read “these days.” The way I see it though, the “these days” trends change so fast, given how easy it is for anyone to write and toss a book up onto a retailer’s platform, then spend as much money as they have at their…

Julie Hammerle | The Book That Inspired Artificial Sweethearts
Author Guest / July 25, 2017

My favorite books of all time are the Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. They follow three young girls, who become friends at about six-years-old, through high school and into adulthood. They’re set in a small town in Minnesota—hi, just like ARTIFICIAL SWEETHEARTS!—and take place at the turn of the twentieth century—not like ARTIFICIAL SWEETHEARTS. There are ten main Betsy-Tacy books, in which Betsy Ray is the central character, but then there are three satellite books, one-off stories that follow some of the more peripheral characters in the world of Deep Valley. One of these books is Carney’s House Party. Now, I didn’t read Carney’s House Party back when I was a kid. I read the book probably about fifteen years ago, and I LOVED it. Most of all, I loved Sam, the guy who falls for Carney. I fell for Sam. Hard. He was smart, funny, and easy-going, the perfect foil for rigid Carney, who was dead-set on staying with her high school boyfriend. Oh, honey. My kernel of inspiration for ARTIFICIAL SWEETHEARTS came from that book, hence Sam and hence Tinka, whose nickname comes from her family, just like Carney’s. The spark of an idea went like this:…

Christina Coryell | When I Do Becomes I Don’t
Author Guest / July 25, 2017

As a bridesmaid, there are potentially thousands of things the bride could ask a person to do, but one reigns supreme: Make sure the bride makes it down the aisle. So what happens if she doesn’t? It’s a question asked in FINDING LOVE AT THE OREGON COAST. Christina is preparing on the morning of her wedding with her bridesmaids (Liz, Anabeth, and Kadence) when she realizes some differences are too much to overcome in a relationship. No I do. No happy celebration afterwards. Instead, there are mounds of presents to return, a party with no bride and groom, and four young women left a little more disillusioned than they had been hours before. Oh, and one honeymoon trip that winds up being a solo venture. Thank goodness I haven’t shared Oregon Coast Christina’s plotline in my own life. I’ve had the pleasure of being a bridesmaid twice. The first time was for my lifelong bestie Tammy, who I’ve known since we were toddling around before kindergarten. The second time was for another lifelong bestie, Cindy (she had no choice, being my kid sister and all). Somewhere in between, they both were bridesmaids at my wedding. Everyone made it down the…

Getting Cozy in the Shade
Cozy Corner / July 24, 2017

Is it hotter than Hades everywhere? Sweltering heat that makes the pools feel like bathwater, and the lakes a petrie dish for bacteria? We’ve had blistering heat that won’t relent, so this week I decided to step into the shade and enjoy what the shadows bring. I wanted to test the darkest corners and see what little monsters I could find—embrace every deadly kiss the shadow man delivered. And boy did he deliver! For a taste that will chill the blood flowing through your veins, check out these four mysteries this summer. THE DARKEST CORNERS by Kara Thomas There are secrets around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about what happened there that last summer. She and her childhood best friend Callie never talked about what they saw. Not before the trial. And certainly not after. But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth. Only the…

Katee Robert | Fiction vs. Reality
Author Guest / July 24, 2017

I am an indoor kid. I know this is a surprise for exactly zero people who know me, but I prefer some kind of barrier between me and anything resembling nature. I adore looking at it. It’s the being in it where things start to fall apart. While I was plotting and writing THE HUNTING GROUNDS I had to do a significant amount of research. I’ve visited Glacier National Park a few times when I was younger, and it made quite the impression on me, so it seemed natural enough to set the story there. It’s beautiful and sprawling and the perfect place to strand a group of hikers who won’t all make it back to civilization alive. Then there were the park rangers—in the course of my research and questions I posed, there is no way I’m not on some watch-list somewhere—and camping and all the nitty gritty details that need to go into a book to ground it effectively in reality. It was a total blast putting it together. Which is where this story starts to break down. In all my hours and days and weeks of research, I started to feel pretty on top of it. Surely…

Carolyn Brown | Top 5 Comfort Foods From The Strawberry Hearts Diner
Author Guest / July 18, 2017

Good mornin’ to all y’all folks at Fresh Fiction and thank you so much for inviting me back to your site to talk about THE STRAWBERRY HEARTS DINER. I’d always wanted to set a book in a cozy little 50’s style diner somewhat like the character Leroy Jethro Gibbs visits in the television show, NCIS. So it was exciting to get the opportunity to get to spend time in the Strawberry Hearts Diner with Jancy, Vicky, Nettie and Emily. Jancy wasn’t planning on being in Pick, Texas any longer than it took for her to visit her grandmother’s grave and then drive away. But fate stepped in and she found herself sitting in the Strawberry Hearts Diner parking lot watching her car burning to a crisp. With very little money and a driver’s license that was only good for a few more months in her purse, she would’ve rather had a job somewhere else than the diner. But there she was, taking the HELP WANTED sign out of the window. Things could have been worse but even with room and board plus a salary and tips, she’d have rather been working anywhere else. After all the sweetheart of Pick would…

Callie Hutton | History Needs a HEA
Author Guest / July 18, 2017

“History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies.” Alexis de Tocqueville I love reading historical romance and have since I cracked open the cover of GONE WITH THE WIND as a teenager. Unlike my boring history classes, here was history worth reading. At first I skimmed over the battles, but then as I continued on with the book, I read more and more of the actual history contained in the story. This book was about people. Those who lost loved ones, those who waited at home for a letter, for some indication that their husband, brother, father or son was still alive. Fiction? Yes. GONE WITH THE WIND is a work of fiction, but what happened to Scarlett O’Hara, et al, was based on real life events. Babies were born during the height of battle. Plantations were burned to the ground, and thousands, both black and white, were left homeless, adrift in a world turned completely upside down. I closed that book with a sigh of pleasure, and then followed up with the story of Henry VIII’s last wife, Katherine Parr. That led me to read the stories of the other five wives….

Jodi Thomas | Digging out a Story
Author Guest / July 18, 2017

Sometimes a story sits in the back of a writer’s head, waiting its turn to come out. INDIGO LAKE was like that. The two main characters came from two different worlds. Blade had no family who cares about him and Dakota was sometimes smothered in her responsibilities. Both were looking for someone, the right person, to fill the longing, but neither would admit it. Blade Hamilton had inherited a house he cared nothing about. After driving all day to look at it, he’d decided to sell it all, land, house and heritage. He hadn’t known about his father and he didn’t need an old crippled house with wild roses growing almost to the roof. Dakota Davis had heard her grandmother’s dark stories about the Hamilton house all her life. When she turned off the county road heading toward home, she thought she was seeing a ghost standing knee-deep in Indigo Lake. As they get to know one another they begin to care and the love they share seems to cut their problems in half. I love writing stories about people who become so real to me that I wake up nights worrying about them. That’s how it was with Blade…

RITA® Finalists for Romantic Suspense!
Author Guest / July 17, 2017

Romantic Suspense ALL THE DEAD GIRLS by Rita Herron Montlake Publishing Alison Dasho, editor ALL THE DEAD GIRLS by Rita Herron Graveyard Falls #3 When a violent storm hits Graveyard Falls, it unearths the unimaginable: skeletons of teenage girls, each dressed in white and holding a candle. It’s clear to FBI agent Beth Fields that this is the work of a long-standing killer—but could it be the one she escaped years ago? She has no memory of the man who held her captive and murdered her friend. But even though someone was jailed for the crime, she’s always feared that the real killer is still out there…waiting and watching. Ian Kimball never believed his stepfather was guilty of Beth’s kidnapping or the slaying of two local girls. Now Graveyard Falls’s sheriff, he’s determined to catch the true perpetrator. And when more young women go missing, he realizes he needs Beth’s help. She is nothing like Ian expected, and everything he desires. But if they have any hope of finally ending the killer’s reign of terror, Beth and Ian will need to put everything aside, including their past, their mistrust, and their growing attraction… Romance Suspense [Montlake Romance, On Sale: November…