Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
A Look Back into 2015 and New Releases to Look Forward in 2016
ParaNormal Bites / January 4, 2016

Has 2015 been good for you, reading-wise? Looking back on this past year, I can definitely recall many books that have either made me laugh or cry. Those ones are sitting proudly on my keeper shelf and will no doubt be ones I’ll be returning to again and again. For me personally, I think J.R. Ward has had a fabulous year. Not only did she shock fans with her latest Black Dagger Brotherhood release, THE SHADOWS, but she also started a new spin off series with BLOOD KISS, featuring the Brothers and new trainees. Moreover, she even returned to her roots and wrote the first book in a new Contemporary Romance/Women’s Fiction series. Another series to get excited about is Chloe Neill’s new series Devil’s Isle. THE VEIL delivered on its world building and character development. In just one book, I was hooked. I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book in the series. It feels like it’s been forever since I first read BURNED by Karen Marie Moning back in January but it’s not a book that you can easily forget about. The events in BURNED changed the course of the series and marks a new chapter…

Krista Davis | Animals as Characters
Author Guest / January 4, 2016

One of the fun things about writing the Paws & Claws Mysteries for dog and cat lovers is writing the characters of animals. Everyone who has a dog or cat family member knows how different they all are. For instance, in my real life, I have a Golden Retriever who is red, not golden, and absolutely refuses to retrieve. She makes me laugh because she’s kind of like me. When I toss her a ball, she ducks! Meanwhile her brother, Baron, loves nothing more than catching a tossed ball. There are two new pets in MURDER MOST HOWL that are based on real animals. Ella Mae belongs to one of my readers. She’s a ten-pound mix of miniature pinscher and rat terrier. In the book, a couple is interested in adopting her. Well, the wife is interested, but the husband-not so much! I’m not telling how that turns out. The other newcomer is a big cat named Leo. His human won the right to have the pet of her choice in one of my books. Leo is a great cat. He thinks he’s in charge in his feline world but is confused by humans who don’t understand him. Do you…

Rebecca Adler | Inspiration Strikes in West Texas
Author Guest / January 4, 2016

When I sat down to write HERE TODAY, GONE TAMALE, the first book in my Taste of Texas series, I pondered the best way to take hold of the story. Would it be the plot? The setting? The mystery? Sure the mystery was important. Who wants to read a book with a predictable plot? And though I loved Far West, Texas and the desert towns near the border, they didn’t reach out and grab me right away. Head bowed and eyes closed, I prayed like a child, “Dear Lord, how the heck do I write a story that will make readers smile and feel at home?” Now, you may not pray, and the good Lord knows I don’t pray as often as I should; but the answer dropped into my soul. It was all about the characters. I decided to write lovable, quirky people I wanted to spend time with. I had to start with a heroine with grit and a bit of an attitude. She couldn’t be svelte and perfect either. She had to love her tamales. Once reporter Josie Callahan came onto the page, I needed a reason for her to leave the cool vibe and big city…

E.J. Copperman | What Writers Could Learn from Billy Joel
Author Guest / January 4, 2016

There is a lot to be learned about writing by going to see Billy Joel in concert. Hang on. I’ll prove it. My family and I attended one of Billy’s (we’re close personal friends, as he was with the other 17,000 people in attendance) Madison Square Garden shows recently. He plays there once a month as he said, “for the rest of my natural life.” The kids had never seen him live and their birthdays are close enough to each other that we could justify the expense. Because the shows are monthly, Mr. Joel is given to dredging up album cuts you might not expect and playing around with songs in inventive ways. But he makes sure the huge hits are represented, if not all covered, and he doesn’t ever lose sight of the fact that there’s an audience. At three separate stages during the concert, he looked out over the enormous, incredibly appreciative crowd (never an empty seat, month after month) and offered what he called “fielder’s choice” songs—he’d mention two titles and whichever drew more applause would be played. It’s a classic way to engage an audience by making them feel they’re driving the show. And it worked….

Christine Husom | Creating New Characters
Author Guest / January 4, 2016

What great joy it to have THE ICED PRINCESS, the second book in the Snow Globe Shop Mysteries, now available. And just in time for Christmas gifts. The Iced Princess continues with the same cast of characters from SNOW WAY OUT. And a few new ones, too. One of my favorite parts of writing fiction is creating new characters. Each one takes on a life of his or her own, and I love watching them flesh out and develop when they are dealing with the people and circumstances in their lives. Camryn Brooks is the protagonist in this series. She is currently managing her parents’ business, Curio Finds, a shop that specializes in snow globes from around the world. It’s not where she planned to be at this point in her life—or ever—but it’s where she landed after a scandal changed her career path. Alice “Pinky” Nelson, one of Cami’s best friends, runs a coffee shop, Brew Ha-Ha, in the building adjoining Curio Finds. Their other childhood friends, teacher Erin Vickerman and Brooks Landing Police Officer, Mark Weston are woven in the storylines, as they are in their life events. As is the assistant chief of police, Clinton Lonsbury who…

MK Meredith | Am I inappropriate, or is it just me?
Author Guest / January 4, 2016

I live for the moments when I say something shocking enough that my husband closes his eyes on a slow inhale and shakes his head back and forth. Joy bubbles through my chest, and I celebrate with an energetic fist pump. LOL! Yes, I got him! He is my real life alpha hero. A big personality with a smart wit and a generous heart in a football player physique. And he teases me relentlessly. I’m more silly than funny and my wit runs on the slow side. I’m the person who three days after a conversation will think of the perfect come back. Craaaaaaap…too little and way too late. So, my weapon of choice to tease my husband (and face life in general) is my inappropriate humor, and I embrace it with passion. At this time in my life, and after beating breast cancer (fingers crossed it stays that way) I’ve come to realize that life is way too short to live it satisfying someone else’s expectations or comfort. I want to laugh, I want to love, I want to find joy in the little things and reach for the big things (sooooo many jokes running through my head right…

Falling in Love…Again
Author Guest / January 4, 2016

I’ve certainly explored love in several of my novels—love between men and women (and on a couple of occasions, between men and men) as well as husbands and wives, forbidden, adulterous love and the soul-shocking, bring-you-to-your-knees kind of love a parent can have for a child. But I had never written a novel that explored and unpacked the process of falling in love—until TWO OF A KIND. In this novel, I introduced two mismatched characters: Dr. Andy Stern, a brash, occasionally obnoxious but basically decent guy with a high risk gyn/ob practice on Park Avenue, and Christina Connelly, a seemingly frosty Brooklyn-based interior designer who thinks Andy is about as appealing as a basket full of three day-old fish. But these two find themselves attracted to each other, and I liked the process of charting the push and pull of that attraction, their attempts to resist it (each thinks the other is fundamentally wrong for her or him) and finally their inability to resist one another. But TWO OF A KIND is not just a love story—it’s a second chance at love story, which is a slightly different animal. Andy and Christina each come with significant emotional baggage—in his case,…

Kathy Stewart | Madagascar, island paradise, the perfect backdrop for Mark of the Leopard
Author Guest / January 4, 2016

People have often asked why I chose Madagascar as the setting for the start of MARK OF THE LEOPARD. Part of the idea for the book came from a story I was told about someone who had been stranded on Madagascar back in 1703. With the storyteller’s permission, I adapted his tale and went on to develop what became Mark of the Leopard. Madagascar intrigued me from the start. It’s home to some remarkable natural features, such as a lava-field that is almost impossible to cross, striated as it is by massive crevices guarded by razor-sharp edges; and an amazing underground river full of Nile crocodiles. Besides these incredible natural features, when I first began researching what the island was like in the early 1700s I had no idea how vastly different it would prove to be from the Madagascar of today. Where now there are vast tracts of barren land there used to be tall lush forests filled with strange and wondrous wildlife which was then and is now still pretty well unique. Of course the Europeans who went there had never seen anything like the lemurs they encountered in the trees and so, for want of a better…

Author Guest / January 4, 2016

Christmas is filled with traditions whose repetition year after year provide a sense of continuity and joy, as we remember favorite moments from childhood and anticipate adding new memories to that book of mental treasures. Since many of our traditions date from the Victorian period, I wanted to offer an array of historical fiction from that era as a special Christmas tribute. However, as I began to scan the real and digital shelves, I found that, thanks perhaps to Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, most historical fiction set in the Victorian era contains a mystery. Once a romance reaches its HEA, the story is over—which means, alas, that series in romance generally feature friends or other family members. Heroes and heroines of mysteries, however, can always go on to solve the next case. Since there is nothing a fanatical reader loves more than being able to remain in a favorite fictional world, as a Tiny-Tim “bless us, every one,” I’ve chosen several of the longest-running of the top-reader-rated historical mystery series to offer as a special Christmas gift. Happy Holidays, and enjoy! Beginning with the shortest (“only” ten books long) we have AND ONLY TO DECEIVE (LADY EMILY #1) by Tasha Alexander…

Terry Spear | A Glimpse into the Making of a Favorite Scene
Author Guest / January 4, 2016

What is your favorite scene is from SEAL Wolf In Too Deep and why? I have lots of favorite scenes in every book because they have to be entertaining for me or I have to rewrite them until they are. I haven’t written a story where a main character is turned in a while so I was having fun showing what would happen if the hero had to take control of a newly turned wolf in SEAL WOLF IN TOO DEEP. Another enjoyable aspect of this one is a character that popped into the story that I hadn’t expected. He reminds me of Darren McGavin as Kolchak: The Night Stalker, a reporter who knows vampires were running amuck, but no one believes him. In my story, the man is a homicide detective, and he is certain the skullduggery in the area all has to do with werewolves. But in his case, he knows not to try to convince anyone that werewolves exist. So the scenes with him were amusing too. This was just a really enjoyable story to write. I’ve owned dogs and cats, and so a lot that I write about is based on their behavior, which makes the…