Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Meet the Author: Andie J. Christopher
Author Guest / August 17, 2017

I never planned on becoming a writer. Not even when a high school English teacher told me to “be sure to send [her] a copy of my first book” in my yearbook at the end of junior year. But, at the point, I thought that writing stories was something I just did for fun. She had no idea that I had odds and ends of a bunch novels on my Macintosh SE. I didn’t plan on becoming a writer when I was ten years old and spending the summer at my grandparents’ house on Lake Mille Lacs in Minnesota. My grandmother was a voracious reader, and her shelves were always stocked with mysteries, biographies, literary fiction, and romance novels. Until that summer, I’d gorged myself on all of the genres but the final one. But one day, after I’d run through all the new mystery arrivals, I stumbled on a grocery sack filled with Harlequin Romances. I distinctly remember being mesmerized by the colors and the story descriptions. Unlike the mysteries or the classics I’d read, these books were set in far flung, glamorous locales. There was *kissing* in these books. And the endings were all happy. Romance novels became…

Kerry Adrienne | Best Fish Tacos, perfect for Bears and Lions!
Author Guest / August 17, 2017

Thanks so much for hosting me for the release of the third book in my Shifter Wars series, TAMING THE LION. At this point in the series, we’ve got enemies thrust together with decisions to make. Alicia is a bear shifter/healer, and Marco is a lion/heir to the leadership of the pride. He’s been hurt in battle and she’s got to figure out whether she will go with her healer’s oath and help him, or let her enemy die. If she helps him, she risks angering her den. If she doesn’t, her grandmother is going to be upset with her for breaking her oath. Since these two are like oil and water, I thought it would be fun to have a recipe that combines things you might not think go together well but in reality, really do! I’ve picked something I personally thought I’d never try because…well, it doesn’t seem to go together! What am I talking about? Fish tacos! Yeah! How many of you, like me, just went, “yuck”? I kept seeing Fish Tacos on the menu and did finally try them. You know what? They are good! Surprisingly so. Granted, I tried them at a Tapas place (I’m…

War And Remembrance
History / August 17, 2017

Inspired by the release of the new film “Dunkirk,” which explores the rescue of the trapped British Expeditionary Force (by every vessel the British could muster, from Royal Navy warships to fishing boats to ferries,) this month we’ll look at fiction set in World War II. One of my favorite dramatizations of Dunkirk was an episode of the BBC series “Foyle’s War,” which shows this dramatic event from the home-front perspective. Our first two selections also show the war from the view of the British home front. In Jennifer Robson’s GOODNIGHT FROM LONDON, American Ruby Sutton feels her journalistic career is on the fast track when, in the summer of 1940, she wins the job as staff writer for a newsmagazine in London. She’s just started to adjust to living in a new country—and dealing with some of her colleagues’ resentment of her for being both a woman and an American—when the nightmare known as the Blitz begins. As the nightly bombings stretch from weeks into months, Ruby learns the depths of her own strength, the true meaning of friendship and community, and the heartache of love in wartime. Inspired by events in the life of the author’s grandmother, GOODNIGHT…

Jen Gilroy: The top 5 challenges of writing small town romantic women’s fiction
Author Guest / August 17, 2017

I write in the area between romance and women’s fiction. I’ve been a romance reader since my teens, and most of my favorite stories are set in small communities or rural areas like those from where I draw my roots. When I hit my thirties, though, I also began reading uplifting women’s fiction—stories that focus on women’s life experiences and relationships that often include, but extend beyond, a central romance. Now as an author, I’ve found my happy place writing the kind of feel-good books I like to read—about women’s lives, loves and family and community relationships, all set in a heartwarming small-town world much like the one I call home. However, and as with any writing, there are challenges (and sometimes surprises) in writing this type of fiction. Here are my top five. A balancing act Between creating a believable small-town world, developing a central (and sometimes secondary) romance with related character growth, and then mixing in relationships with children, friends and extended family across generations, one of the biggest challenges in writing this type of fiction is keeping all the strands balanced and going in the right direction, at the right time. One strand can’t overwhelm the other…

BENEATH A SCARLET SKY soon to be film!
Film , News / August 16, 2017

Lake Union Publishing’s Beneath A Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan have been acquired by Pascal Pictures, with Spider-Man: Homecoming star Tom Holland attached to play the lead! Based on the true story of a forgotten hero, Beneath A Scarlet Sky is the triumphant, epic tale of one young man’s incredible courage and resilience during one of history’s darkest hours. It follows 17-year-old, real-life hero Pino Lella as he guides hunted Jews out of northern Italy over the rugged winter Alps into Switzerland. The saga continues when Pino is then recruited to become a spy for the Italian Resistance. Working undercover as a driver for a mysterious and powerful Nazi general, Pino gains access deep inside the German High Command but also witnesses the atrocities of the war firsthand. When he first heard snippets of Pino Lella’s story at a dinner party more than 11 years ago, Mark Sullivan was unable to shake the image of an Italian teenager leading refugees to safety across perilous mountain ridges, and he became determined to tell the tale of this anonymous, unsung hero. Sullivan spent weeks in Italy with Pino, listening to the 79-year-old recount in painstaking detail the most fraught and eventful years…

Hayson Manning | Home is where the heart is.
Author Guest / August 15, 2017

I’m originally from New Zealand. Head toward Australia then head left. If you hit Antarctica, you’ve gone too far. Back up and listen for sheep. There are sixty-six million of them to four million people. Kiwi’s are intrepid travelers. We check out our own county, head to Australia, then bounce around the world. I’ve bounced to the United Kingdom, and Australia. I am now fortunate to call America home. I love it here. OMG. Southern California rocks. Beautiful weather, beaches, super friendly people who can’t understand a word I say. A case in point. Our super cute street has wine and cheese night on the last Friday of every month in summer. We rock up to someone’s yard with said wine and cheese and get to know our neighbors. I thought I was chatting to a lovely elderly man, who gently put his hand on my arm. Lovely Elderly man: “I have no idea what you’re saying.” Me – going red. “Oh, that we live in a beautiful part of the world.” He gently shook her head and ambled away. I proceeded to eat my bodyweight in cheese. That’s a lot of cheese just quietly. In TEN DAYS WITH THE…

Cindy Kirk | Author/Reader Match
Author Guest , MatchMaker / August 15, 2017

I’m Cindy Kirk and I write Contemporary Small-Town Romance. The latest release in my popular Good Hope series is FOREVER IN GOOD HOPE. I’m a Leo, so my strengths are that I’m creative, passionate, generous, warm-hearted, cheerful and humorous. Since we don’t have much time, we’ll skip the weaknesses. I love to read (hard to meet a writer who doesn’t love books) and I adore animals. Traveling is another passion. In short, put me in the passenger seat with a book in my hands and a dog or cat on my lap and I’m happy. What I’m looking for in my ideal reader match: You read the end of a book first because you want to make sure it ends happily You feel stressed when the romance hits rough waters. Your first question when a friend recommends a book is “does it have a happy ending?” Television takes second place to a good book. You bookmark your favorite parts so you can go back and re-read them You’ve read your favorite books numerous times What to expect if we’re compatible: We’ll discuss favorite scenes that tug at our heartstrings. We’ll speculate on why a secondary character (like Steve) wasted so…

Kate Meader | Five Things You Don’t Know About Chicago
Author Guest / August 15, 2017

Millennium Park’s Hidden Garden is a hidden gem. Separated from the city bustle by a 15-foot-high hedge of conifers and trees, the Lurie Garden is the perfect spot for sneaking in a few chapters of your favorite book or meeting your summertime fling. The best cupcakes are from Sweet Mandy B’s. This is a fact. (And in 1930, the Twinkie was invented in Chicago. This is also a fact.) The Chicago River flows backwards. In the late 19th century, the river was reversed to empty into the Mississippi River instead of Lake Michigan, so all the garbage wouldn’t contaminate the lake—source of the city’s drinking water. Chicago banned paying public toilets in 1973. So all public restrooms are free – now good luck finding one! theWit has a Rooftop bar and it’s amazing. You can check it out in winter (curl up by the fireplace) or summer (look at those views!). Hanging out here one night with author Abby Green, I was struck by an idea: two people have a sexy dalliance on adjoining hotel balconies in the dark. No names, no faces, no touching—each other. And so IN SKATES TROUBLE, the Chicago Rebels prequel novella was born. IRRESISTIBLE YOU…

An Instrumental Interview with Alexia Gordon
Cozy Corner / August 14, 2017

It’s time to travel across the pond with author Alexia Gordon to the land of shamrocks and leprechauns. Actually, we won’t be visiting any leprechauns, but ghosts and symphonies are another story. Alexia’s fictional world may not be magical, but her research and writing will happily engage cozy mystery readers from beginning to end in her Gethsemane Brown Mystery series. About Alexia Gordon A writer since childhood, Alexia Gordon continued writing through college but put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. Her medical career established, she returned to writing fiction. She won a Lefty Award, was nominated for an Agatha Award, and was chosen one of Suspense Magazine‘s best debuts of 2016. Raised in the southeast and schooled in the northeast, Gordon migrated to the southwest after a three-year stint in Alaska reminded her how much she needed sunlight and warm weather. After a time in the desert, she missed deciduous trees so she headed northeast to the Chicago area. She completed Southern Methodist University’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. If pushed, she will admit Texas brisket is as good as Carolina pulled pork. Gordon enjoys classical music, fine whiskey, art, travel,…

Kat Colmer | The Loveliest Trick of the Devil
Author Guest / August 14, 2017

Thank you so much for having me on Fresh Fiction today to chat about my young adult paranormal romance, THE THIRD KISS. For most people, paranormal fiction means vampires, werewolves, angels, and demons. Many novels in this genre borrow their mythology from Eastern European tales of blood sucking rulers, Ancient Greek stories of shape shifters, or fallen heavenly creatures from the Apocrypha. It’s unusual, however, to see a paranormal story drawing on Old Testament mythology, yet THE THIRD KISS does exactly that. THE THIRD KISS is set in present day Sydney, Australia, and follows high school graduates Jonas and Cora as they fight hell-sent demons along with their attraction for one another. This modern story is woven around a fictional curse that first reared its devious head three thousand years ago in the Old Testament tale of Amnon and Tamar. Theirs is a scandalous story in which King David’s beautiful daughter Tamar is shamed and cast out of her father’s palace, all because of the misogynistic actions of her half brotherAmnon. Like that’s not enough of a slap in the face by fate, Tamar also eventually goes mad. Here’s where I got to thinking – a bit of an occupational…