Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Amanda Bouchet | Five Things that set my Heart on Fire
Author Guest / January 4, 2018

I’ve always believed that to be passionate about something is a gift. Personally, passions give me something to dream about, to look forward to, and to pour my love, energy, and excitement into. The nature of some interests is to evolve as we do, sometimes even disappearing entirely to make room for new ones that fit into the different stages of our lives. Other things become essential to us, a part of our very natures, and settle deep into our hearts where their spark will never be extinguished. Here are five of the things that set my <B>Heart on Fire</B>. <ol> <li><strong>Family</strong>. I have two amazing children, a nine-year-old boy and a five-year-old girl, and a helpful, generous husband who is a terrific father. I have parents, a sister, nieces and a nephew, and a whole slew of both close and extended in-laws that we see when we can. Not a day in my life has gone by when I didn’t know I could count on my mother if I needed to, for whatever, no matter what. That’s a huge gift to any child, and I hope that my children will feel the same way about me each and every…

Amanda Forester | EARL INTERRUPTED
Author Guest / January 3, 2018

Captain Lord Darington is accustomed to commanding his ship as a much renowned and feared privateer. Who would have thought it would be on English soil that he would be attacked by brigands and seriously wounded? Had it not been for the lovely Miss Emma St. James he would be dead. Though he has always been more comfortable in a naval battle than in a ballroom, he is determined to exert himself and make a proper proposal of marriage to Emma. In this excerpt he struggles to choose just the right words… Dare leaned back against the wall to rest. He wanted to sit down, but he feared someone would turn the corner of the hall and see the master of the house sitting on the floor. Emma might be alerted to the situation, and that was last thing he wanted. As he rested, he thought about how best to conduct the proposal. What would be the best words? Miss St. James, you are the loveliest creature ever born. You have saved my life and I am forever in your debt. Would you do me the great honor of becoming my wife? That was good. Or maybe… My dear Miss…

Scarlett Cole | Inspiration for Preload Rock Star series
Author Guest / January 3, 2018

I’m so happy to be visiting Fresh Fiction today, and I thought I’d share with you a list of the things that inspired me to write my Preload rock star romance series. It was a culmination of lots of different things, so here goes: The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog by Dr. Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D. As soon as I read this book by child psychologist, Bruce Perry, I immediately knew how the band came together. With traumas that would last well into adult life and backgrounds that would unite them in a care home instead of with a loving family of their own, the five men began to take shape. The case featured in the title became in the inspiration for Jordan’s story in JORDAN RECLAIMED. Toronto I love my other home city!! I moved to Toronto in 2000, and over the next fifteen years, I’d meet my husband in a Toronto nightclub, and give birth to both of my children at St. Joseph’s Hospital on Lake Shore Boulevard. I love Toronto with my whole heart, and the places in the stories are often places I’ve visited. For example, in ELLIOTT REDEEMED, Kendalee’s son is in…

5 Ways Lou Plans to Woo His Lady
Author Guest / January 2, 2018

Lou Cortez—badass mechanic, amazing paint specialist, artist extraordinaire, and lady killer. Lou knows women. He’s got his mother, grandmother, five sisters, and over a dozen other female relatives living close by. He respects women, admires women, but there’s one particular woman he’s been crushing on for a while. Unfortunately, she won’t give him the time of day. So Lou’s refined his technique, narrowing it down to 5 MUST DO’s. One way or the other, he’ll get Josephine Reeves’s attention. God willing… Smile more. Women love a man who has a sense of humor. And growing up with his family, humor was a must. (God, could his sister Stella just once not date a d*ckhead?) Study the guys and figure out how they did it. His best friends and fellow mechanics, men with way less going on than Lou, managed to snag some fine women. An almost impossibility, considering what normally comes out of the guys’ mouths. How the hell did they do it? The next time he sees her, Lou plans to hold back a little on the charm. No doubt he overwhelmed her, as fine as he is. Thinking about it, he finds that understandable. Woo her with the…

Sonali Dev | Kimi, A Heroine with Unique Challenges and an Even More Unique Spirit
Author Guest / December 29, 2017

Characters always come to me before plots. Plots in fact are something I have to wrestle down, often earning me a few hundred gray hairs before a book is done. But the characters, they are what make sacrificing my jet black locks worth every lost strand. When I started writing A CHANGE OF HEART, I meant to write a story about Nikhil, a doctor with Doctors-Without-Borders, finding healing after his wife’s death when he meets the woman who got his wife’s heart in a transplant. The woman was Kimi, a wealthy politician’s daughter who has been sick her entire life, and then her father acquires the heart that saves her but it’s by nefarious means. Despite all her physical challenges, Kimi was such a bright and optimistic character that she really was more a healer than someone in need of healing, so she just didn’t work as someone who fit with Nikhil, who really needed to resurrect the dead healer inside him. Jess — initially a secondary character whom the villain employs to entrap Nikhil — was that force for him. Nikhil and Jess just worked, leaving me with Kimi whom I loved, and I had to discover her story….

Dani Pettrey | X is for Xerach
Author Guest / December 22, 2017

Hi, friends! I’m super excited to share today’s word with you. It was a little interesting come up with an applicable word for X, but I found one, and I don’t know about you, but it really speaks to where I am right now with my recent health issues and some other trials I’m facing. It’s a word that holds so much encouragement, I feel God whispering it to my soul as I type this out. So, without further ado, x is for xerach! Yes, it’s a word. A wonderful word full of deep meaning. Xerach is: Plant succession starting on bare ground or rock (an empty place or a hard surface) and culminating in a mature climax forest. It is mature forest growing from the humblest of beginnings. A lone xerach flower blooming in the desert is a far mightier display of God’s might than a meadow full of them. If He’s planted you in a dry place, trust that He’ll bring you to bloom. God says in His Word: If you are struggling to grow in a dry, hard place, trust that God is at work and when you mature into full bloom, you will be a glorious…

Gail Ingis | A Christmas Concert to Remember
Author Guest / December 17, 2017

This past Sunday, December 3, Tom and I took the 90 minute drive up the Palisades, across the Bear Mountain Bridge, around the bending roads and up the hills, to the West Point Cadet Chapel in West Point, NY. West Point is actually the name of the town, the home of the United States Military Academy where Handel’s Messiah was being performed. Our daughter-in-law, Joanne Ingis, was one of the voices in the visiting chorals. The voices echoed like angels in this beautiful chapel. A standing ovation followed the 90 minute concert. Well deserved, I must add. Joanne, part of a New Jersey choral group, practiced numerous hours over many weeks for two performances: #1 Hawthorne Bible Church in New Jersey, #2 here at the Chapel. On December 19th, Joanne will sing with the choral group at Rockefeller center.and then the next evening, she will be singing Getty Irish Christmas in Carnegie Hall. A few of the voices, Cadets joined the chorals and featured a female Cadet soloist. This was not the first time I visited West Point. My son Rick’s friend got married in this Chapel, and oh my, it was beautiful. The services were followed by a reception…

Cate Cameron | The Joys of Being Single for the Holidays (and all the rest of the year!)
Author Guest / December 15, 2017

I know, it’s a strange theme for a romance novelist to explore. Aren’t I supposed to be dedicated to the ideal of True Love? Don’t I believe that the only way to have a Happily Ever After is for the main couple to be together? Well, in books, sure. That’s all lovely. But in real life? I love being single, and I especially love being single at the holidays. The only time I appreciate singledom more is when I screw up. Like, when I do something totally stupid. A few years ago I ran into a post in a parking lot and tore the bumper off my three-month-old car. Absolutely no reason for it, totally careless, no way to blame anyone else and it was likely going to cost me a small fortune. Still, I smiled all the way to the auto dealership. Because I didn’t have to feel guilty. I didn’t have to confess my stupidity, didn’t have to defend myself if my partner went ballistic, didn’t have to feel grateful if he was good about it. I made a mess, and I took care of getting it fixed. That easy. And that’s why I love being single. Holidays…

Elizabeth Keysian | Five Scandals and Scoundrels that influenced me
Author Guest / December 13, 2017

I’ve always been attracted by the image of the heroic highwayman, even though the myth puts a golden gloss on reality. So I squeezed a highwayman into the plot of A PERILOUS PASSION—well, two, actually, although neither steals anything more valuable than a pocketful of eggs. My imagination was fuelled by the stories of Claude Duval, and James Maclaine. Duval was a Frenchman who took to highway robbery on English roads after the Restoration of Charles II. A great one for the ladies, Duval robbed them with courtesy and flattery, flouting his handsome looks. When he was executed, aged only 27, it is said a number of disguised but obviously wealthy female mourners came to pay their last respects. James Maclaine, “The Gentleman Highwayman”, worked in partnership with a bankrupt apothecary called William Plunkett. The elegantly-dressed Maclaine pursued the ladies, in search of an heiress or someone with a substantial dowry, but never quite made it to the altar. His clothing and lifestyle were paid for by highway robbery, although he tended to lurk in the background while Plunkett conducted the actual hold-ups. Maclaine, having accidentally grazed writer Horace Walpole with a pistol shot, then wrote him a letter of…

Cat Sebastian | Comfort Food and Comfort Reading
Author Guest , Holiday Recipes / December 13, 2017

My characters are always sharing food with one another. Food and love are tied up in my brain in ways they probably shouldn’t be, but that knot is never going to get untangled, so my characters love one another and love their food. Sometimes they show they care by making sure their love interest has enough to eat; sometimes they give gifts of pastry and pie. In IT TAKES TWO TO TUMBLE, a secondary character starts to fall in love with someone based on their cooking skills. It’s a summer book, with lots of picnics and fruit pies, but now it’s almost the holidays, which is prime food-sharing season for many of us. My family has quite a few food sensitivities, so when I figure out a recipe for a favorite food that we all can eat, I’m pretty pleased with myself. These cookies have never yet sent any of my family members running for the epi-pen, they’re easy enough for my kids to make on their own, and they taste exactly the way sugar cookies ought to. Roll Out Sugar Cookies (gluten, dairy, and nut free) Ingredients: 1 cup white sugar 1 cup butter substitute (I use earth balance…