Countdown to Boas & Tiaras: How do you take your tea?
Author Guest / May 17, 2017

Let the countdown commence to Boas and Tiaras 2017! Fresh Fiction’s annual afternoon tea at the Adolphus is on Saturday, June 10, only one month away. From now until tea time, join us online every week for Fun Facts about all things Boas and Tiaras. Since this is our fanciest afternoon tea of the year (no offense to our lovely monthly afternoon teas ), our events committee decided the best place to start is with tea time trivia! We shall begin with a bit of history. Afternoon tea as we know it was first popularized by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the 1840s, when breakfast and dinner were the only main meals of the day. The Duchess was known to enjoy hot tea and a light snack in the afternoon to lift her spirits. This practice progressed into a social event when the Duchess began inviting friends to enjoy afternoon tea with her, sparking a trend and tradition that carries on to this day. If you are an avid historical romance reader, then you are probably familiar with the do and do not guidelines of afternoon tea. But if this is your first experience with the time-honored tradition,…

L. E. Sterling | Lovers in a Dangerous Time
Author Guest / March 29, 2017

Confession: I love antlers. I love claws and teeth. Growls that can be mistaken for either love growls or the kind that say, ‘I’m going to eat you.’ I love these elements all the more when they inhabit human-ish characters engaged in extreme acts of violence while falling in love. In fact, I think it’s the supernatural elements of the characters that make the danger and chemistry between characters work so well. Danger is hot. Antlers are kind of amazing. And falling in love is an extreme act. Isn’t it true that the first blushes of love can feel so very violent? (Remember what it felt like to screw up your courage and call up that boy for the first time?). Danger can lead to love. Danger is a form of chaos that breaks down the barriers people build to shield their hearts from one another. It razes the reasons we build up to keep us from acting on our desires. Think about THE HUNGER GAMES’ Peeta and Katniss. It takes a deadly game where their doom is all but assured to bring Peeta to act on his attraction to Katniss. It takes near death experiences to get Katniss to…

Kelley York | Appreciating the Slow Burn Romance
Author Guest / March 28, 2017

It happens in way too many books, movies, and television shows to count: guy walks into a room/down the hall/into a classroom. His gaze meets with the girl’s. Despite her thinking, “He looks like trouble,” she’s immediately drawn to something in that smolder. It’s love at first sight. Don’t get me wrong; media is full of tropes and I love so many of them. Love (or even just lust) at first sight is one that can be done really well and leave me as a reader going, “Oh, I totally feel you” because if I’m instantly in love with a character, I can get why their presumably soon-to-be love interest is, too. But, personally, I’ve long been a fan of the slow burn romance. Not just in my own writings, but in the media I consume, too. I love couples that don’t realize they would be amazing together until I’ve realized it. Until I want to shake the book and yell at them to kiss already. (Considering I’m bisexual and therefore want everything I read/watch to reflect a wide range of sexualities, I often end up disappointed because…well, heterosexual romances still top the charts. Everywhere. Always. But that’s another post…

Gloria Herrmann | Making readers of all age fall in love with romance
Author Guest / March 28, 2017

I recently spoke to a group of fourth graders. I know, a romance author talking to kids about books, how dare she? I spoke about the joys of being an author, making sure to leave out the bits about the crippling self-doubt that keeps us up at night and also failing to mention anything about coffee and sometimes booze being part of our main food group. I promise I was well-behaved and didn’t disclose the subject matter of my books. Instead, I took a different approach. I explained just how many people it actually takes to create a single book. The look on their young faces was priceless. As they passed around a few paperbacks I had brought for them, I heard whispers of how cool this was. After I went into detail about the work it takes to make what they held in their tiny hands, I got to thinking about how lucky I am to be doing what it is that I do and how cool it is to be a part of the fantastic book world. These children listened intently as I spoke passionately about the reasons behind my literary journey. They asked really excellent questions about…

Character Perspective with the heroine from Carolyn Brown’s THE LILAC BOUQUET
Author Guest / March 28, 2017

Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for inviting me back to talk about THE LILAC BOUQUET. This is my 84th published book but it was the first book that I ever wrote. When my third child was born in 1973 and refused to sleep at night, I picked up a pencil and a spiral back notebook and began to write a novel that my husband and I’d talked about for years and years. I’d written Seth Thomas as a young man and if there was something that could be wrong with a book, I managed to find it. Of course, it didn’t sell but the core story stayed on my mind and through the years I’d drag it out and revise it but it wasn’t until this year that it all came together. I really think it was Emmy Jo who finally brought that story to life and I’d like to introduce you to her today. She’s a young lady from Hickory, Texas who has agreed to answer a few questions for us today. From day one she stole my heart but I shouldn’t tell you everything I know. We’ve got a few questions worked up and she’s willing to…

Michelle Major | Digging in the Dirt
Author Guest / March 28, 2017

In my latest release, MEANT FOR YOU, Jenny Castelli is a single mom, raising her son, trying to get a new business started and caring for her aging mother. Jenny is opening a garden center and although parts of her life are chaotic, making living things grow always makes her feel centered. Since spring is finally here, I’m also planning what I’m going to plant this year. I definitely don’t have Jenny’s talent, but I still love choosing flowers and vegetables for the garden and my potted plants. There’s something about the scent of the earth and getting your hands dirty that is inherently satisfying. Going to a garden center and choosing just the right mix of flowers or the perfect tiny tomato stalk is the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Working outside is good for your body and your spirit, although not everyone has time for a big garden. I used to be more of a gardener but the past few years I’ve limited myself to a couple of pots of flowers and tomato and basil plants. Even that makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. It’s a great excuse to get outside on warm mornings and…

Kris Rafferty | “Outside Looking In”
Author Guest / March 27, 2017

With a show of hands, how many of you felt like an outsider growing up? I suspect most hands are waving in the air right now, and if you’re reading this, you’re probably a bookworm like me, someone who hides in plain sight, escaping into books, written worlds that never judge us. It took me a long time to understand most people feel as if they’re “outside, looking in.” I suspect it’s not so much a human condition, as it is a ‘living’ condition. If you’re alive, you seek to connect with someone, be it pet or partner. Even the lowly amoeba is willing to split in two to find a friend…a place to belong. SEDUCED BY SIN is the third book in my An Unlikely Hero series, and though it’s a standalone book, it completes a series plot arc, as well as continues the theme of being an outsider. In my An Unlikely Hero world, outsiders rule, and they’re convinced being an outsider is why they survive and thrive in a world that has been cruel to them. They’re solitary creatures, hiding who they really are to blend in a world they know they don’t fit in…couldn’t fit in,…

Christina McKnight on why Regency romance excites her
Author Guest / March 22, 2017

I get the sense I’m in an AA or NA meeting every time someone says: Oh, you’re a writer! What do you write? Hello, I’m USA Today Bestselling author, Christina McKnight, and I write historical romance. Narrow that down a bit, I write Regency Romance. What follows is usually wide-eyed stares that evolve into scrunched brows as people ponder what in the heck I just said. I normally go on to explain my books are set in or around London, England in 1816. Next question is always: Why don’t you write ___ ( fill in a genre here)? I smile and laugh as if their question isn’t utterly perplexing to me. Why Regency? Simply because I have not found a period in history (including modern times) that fills me with such a sense of passion, a drive to explore, and a need to envelop myself completely in the time period. One glimpse of Regency era fashion, decorum, and daily activities had me hooked. There is something about the mannerisms, the speech patterns and the grandness of everyday in London, England during the 1810s that holds my attention. Think about it, in 1813 a woman of the ton would never leave…

Lorraine Heath talks about WHEN THE MARQUESS FALLS
Author Guest / March 22, 2017

On the eve of her latest release, WHEN THE MARQUESS FALLS, Lorraine Heath chatted with reviewer Miranda Owen about writing historical romances, her favorite characters, and who she reads to escape. Occasionally, in one of my online book groups, the question comes up asking which books make you teary-eyed. My first instinct is to say that I usually avoid reading romances that do just that – but then I remember that your books frequently tear me up and I adore them. Since so many of your books – THE VISCOUNT AND THE VIXEN included – have such a strong emotional pull, do you intend for readers to have a visceral reaction to them as they’re reading along? Do you enjoy reading books like that as well? Lorraine Heath: I do hope that readers “feel” something when they are reading my books. When I first started writing romance, I had a goal—I wanted to make the reader smile at least once…and to tear up. So many of the books I love to read always make me experience some sort of emotion—joy, sorrow, happiness—while I’m reading them. My very favorites make me smile, laugh, cry, sigh. When I read I want to…

Kat Gamble | The Wonderful Chaos of Weddings
Author Guest / March 21, 2017

Marriage. Commitment. Forever. These words go hand in hand when you think about weddings and they conjure up images of white dresses, tuxedos, friends, family, beautiful locations, nit-picked details and, of course, heightened emotions. And I’m not just talking about the wedding party. Having been to my fair share of weddings as part of the party and as a guest I can say that without a doubt that there is all kinds of crazy that happens at these events. My own wasn’t without it’s hiccups. Our attempt at a low key, drama free celebration turned into anything but. Besides tripping as I walked (or should I say stumbled) down the aisle and bursting into nervous giggles as I tried to say my vows, my new brothers in law who don’t see eye to eye at the best of times couldn’t keep it together and got into an argument at the reception which then turned into a fight which of course ended up involving the food. If that wasn’t enough, our escape from the family drama turned into one of a different kind when we came home to find that our house had been covered with toilet paper and graffiti by…