Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Fresh Pick | HOLIDAY GRIND by Cleo Coyle
Fresh Pick / December 4, 2010

Coffeehouse Mystery #8 November 2010 On Sale: November 2, 2010 Featuring: Clare Cosi 384 pages ISBN: 0425237885 EAN: 9780425237885 Paperback (reprint) $7.99 Add to Wish List Mystery Woman Sleuth Buy at Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle Welcome to the Village Blend, where coffee and crime are always brewing… There’s nothing cozier than a winter evening in Greenwich Village. Streetlights shimmer through icy flakes. Cafés glow with welcoming warmth. Boots crunch along cobblestones, and a layer of snow dusts historic townhouses like powdered sugar on Christmas confections. Murder has no place in such a pretty picture, until now… Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi has grown very fond of Alfred Glockner, the part-time comic and genuinely jolly charity Santa who’s been using her Village Blend as a place to warm his mittens. When she finds him brutally gunned down in a nearby alley, a few subtle clues convince her that Alfred’s death was something more than the tragic result of a random mugging—the conclusion of the police. With Clare’s boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, distracted by a cold case of his own, and ex-husband Matt investigating this year’s holiday lingerie catalogs (an annual event), Clare charges ahead solo and discovers Santa had…

Rhys Bowen | The Perfect Gift
Author Guest / December 4, 2010

Are you like me, shopping for the perfect gift at this time? Every year I try for that special gift that nobody dared to ask for but had been dreaming of. This kind of experience has happened to me a few times in my life and I know how magical it feels. I remember the Christmas when transistor radios had just been invented (okay, I realize I am dating myself ) and I longed for one. But my parents were giving me the train ticket to a friend’s wedding as my Christmas gift. Besides, transistor radios were a big deal when they first came out and certainly not cheap. So I didn’t even ask for one. Then on Christmas morning I went through my stocking—okay, I know I was a teenager but I still liked my stocking—and came across a battery. What a strange thing, I thought. What could I possible want a battery for? Then I felt hope and amazement flooding through me. It couldn’t be, could it? Not possibly… I went through the rest of the stocking and there at the very bottom was the transistor radio. I still tear up when I think about it now. The…

Fresh Pick | THE FIRST LOVE COOKIE CLUB by Lori Wilde
Fresh Pick / December 3, 2010

November 2010 On Sale: October 26, 2010 384 pages ISBN: 0061988421 EAN: 9780061988424 Paperback $7.99 Add to Wish List Romance Contemporary Buy at The First Love Cookie Club by Lori Wilde “On Christmas Eve, if you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow and dream of your one true love, he will be your destiny.” The towns folk of Twilight, Texas, believe the legend, but not Sarah Collier—not since she was a pudgy teenager, running down the church aisle on Christmas Day in a jingle bell sweater and reindeer antlers, trying to stop Travis Walker from marrying someone else. She may be grown up, slimmed down, bestselling children’s book author “Sadie Cool” now, but Sarah will never forget that day. And she’ll never fall foolishly in love again! But when a letter from a sick fan brings Sarah back to Twilight, she’s shocked to discover that Travis is the little girl’s father—unattached and hotter than ever. His movie-star smile still makes her melt, but Sarah knows that ship has sailed. Travis, however, might have different ideas. And just because you don’t believe in fairy tales doesn’t mean they won’t come true… Fairytales really do come true. Regrets run deep…

Laura Bickle | Familiar Spirits
Author Guest / December 3, 2010

No one ever successfully controls a familiar. Historically, familiars were said to be magical helpers of witches. They had the ability to shift shape, often appearing as cats, bats, or other creatures in their service to the witch. It was assumed by inquisitors that familiars, as a type of imp or evil spirit, served the witch willingly. At other times, they were summoned by a magician, then trapped in a stone or piece of jewelry. The familiar spirit was trapped, coerced into service, like genies in bottles. In the world of EMBERS and SPARKS, Anya has a familiar, Sparky. He’s a five-foot long speckled hellbender with eyes like marbles–a fire salamander elemental, a creature that’s the embodiment of fire. The German magician, Paracelsus, called fire spirits &mquot;salamanders&mquot;in the sixteenth century. Salamanders were long associated with fire, despite their amphibious nature, because they crawled out of forest logs cast on fires. The salamander was assumed to dwell in fire, and embodied the impetuosity, power, and destructive changeability of the flickering flame. Anya’s had Sparky since she was a child. He’s tied to a necklace her mother gave her, which suggests that, like the familiars trapped in jewelry, he was coerced into…

Fresh Pick | THE MISCHIEF OF MISTLETOE by Lauren Willig
Fresh Pick / December 2, 2010

November 2010 On Sale: October 28, 2010 Featuring: Turnip Fitzhugh; Arabella Dempsey; Jane Austen 325 pages ISBN: 0525951873 EAN: 9780525951872 Hardcover $19.95 Add to Wish List Romance Historical Buy at The Mischief of Mistletoe by Lauren Willig Arabella Dempsey’s dear friend Jane Austen warned her against teaching. But Miss Climpson’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies seems the perfect place for Arabella to claim her independence while keeping an eye on her younger sisters nearby. Just before Christmas, she accepts a position at the quiet girls’ school in Bath, expecting to face nothing more exciting than conducting the annual Christmas recital. She hardly imagines coming face to face with French aristocrats and international spies… Reginald “Turnip” Fitzhugh—often mistaken for the elusive spy known as the Pink Carnation—has blundered into danger before. But when he blunders into Miss Arabella Dempsey, it never occurs to him that she might be trouble. When Turnip and Arabella stumble upon a beautifully wrapped Christmas pudding with a cryptic message written in French, “Meet me at Farley Castle”, the unlikely vehicle for intrigue launches the pair on a Yuletide adventure that ranges from the Austens’ modest drawing room to the awe-inspiring estate of the Dukes of…

Karen Rose Smith | Writing About Veterans
Author Guest / December 2, 2010

Veterans are close to my heart. My father-in-law served in World War II and was a soldier in Patton’s army. We miss him and I dedicated my December release to him to honor what he meant to our lives. My dad was also a soldier in World War II. In addition, my college years were impacted by the Vietnam War and many of my high school and college classmates served. I wrote to a serviceman in Vietnam for two years and still have his letters with the details of his service there. A few years ago I wrote about a veteran hero in THE BRACELET and beforehand read diaries that one of our community colleges had collected—oral transcripts of servicemen’s lives in Vietnam. In all my research, one thing was clear. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was ignored for years, although these men and their families recognized the symptoms all too well. I wanted to bring it to the forefront now because it’s important to remember what our soldiers face after they come home. When I began my research for my hero in TWINS UNDER HIS TREE, I was interested in learning more about the National Guard…about men who didn’t realize…

Fresh Pick | SANTA IN MONTANA by Janet Dailey
Fresh Pick / December 1, 2010

October 2010 On Sale: October 5, 2010 Featuring: Chase Calder; Cat 316 pages ISBN: 1420114743 EAN: 9781420114744 Mass Market Paperback $7.99 Add to Wish List Romance Contemporary Buy at Santa In Montana by Janet Dailey The best gift is love… “Can Santa bring you a husband?” Montana winters are harsh, but bad weather won’t get in the way of the Calders’ Christmas reunion. Patriarch Chase Calder is determined to make this holiday the happiest yet–especially for his daughter, Cat. And Chase knows the best gifts aren’t always done up in paper and ribbon. . . It’s high time for widowed Cat to have a man in her life again, whether she’ll admit it or not. Chase has been thinking long and hard, and he’s got a plan–one he’s far too wise to reveal to his stubborn little darlin’. And as the magical season begins with a glorious snowfall, the Calders share a host of surprises–including a mystery solved, a special visitor, and the greatest gift of all: love, the forever kind. . . Previous Picks

Jen’s Jewels | Laura Alden Interview
Jen's Jewels / December 1, 2010

With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season comes an endless To Do list for moms. Whether it’s staying up late to bake cupcakes for a class party or being volunteered to sew buttons on costumes for a play, the stress of the season gets to the best of us. Throw in a couple of last minute school assignments for the kids like book reports and science projects, it’s a wonder we manage to enjoy the spirit of the season at all. This month’s Jen’s Jewels Laura Alden knows firsthand what stress might do to a group of over-worked moms. In her debut novel MURDER AT THE PTA, the newly-elected PTA secretary Beth Kennedy must find out who killed Carver Elementary School’s most disliked principal. With a long list of harried mom as suspects, Beth must separate the good from the bad in order to solve this most nerve-wracking case. As part of this interview, Obsidian, an imprint of Penguin Books, has generously donated five copies for you, my favorite readers, to win. So, don’t forget to look for the trivia question at the end. And, thanks for making Jen’s Jewels a part of your holiday reading list. Jen:…

Allison Chase | Revenge of the Nerdy Hero!
Author Guest / December 1, 2010

Who remembers that wonderful old movie from the eighties, Revenge Of The Nerds, about 2 gawky kids who go off to college eager for good times and a taste of freedom? Things quickly go from bad to worse for the ungainly pair as they get pummeled by jocks, snubbed by the pretty girls, and ignored by college administrators. But by the end of the movie, our intrepid geeks not only prove they’re much smarter than their popular counterparts – by winning the day through some cool, high tech antics – but they’re sexier and more desirable, too! Why? Because they take the time to figure out what makes a girl happy. In fact, the nerdiest nerd of all ends up stealing the gorgeous head cheerleader away from the captain of the football team. Who among us didn’t cheer at the very end when all the nerds stood tall and proud to the tune of Queen’s We Are The Champions? I know I did! There’s no getting around it, Simon de Burgh, the hero of OUTRAGEOUSLY YOURS (book 2 in my Victorian series, Her Majesty’s Secret Servants) is a nerd – of sorts. While rowing and wrestling at Cambridge University have…