Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Chris Goff | Diplomacy is everything it’s cracked up to be—and more.
Author Guest / April 23, 2018

After listening to a presentation by a Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) agent at a meeting of our local chapter of Mystery Writers of America, I knew that was the job for my protagonist, Raisa Jordan. Little did I know how much I had to learn. First came the research. A lot of people don’t realize how difficult it is to earn the badge of a DSS agent. The man who spoke to us made it sound interesting, sexy, exotic, dangerous and exciting, but did you know that a DSS agent must have a four-year degree from an accredited university? You could have a B.A. in Underwater Basket-weaving for all they care, but the diploma is required. You must also pass a physical, obtain a medical clearance, a Top Secret Security Clearance, and be determined stable, resourceful, trustworthy, and capable of assuming responsibility. After clearing those hurdles, agents attend the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC), and prove proficiency in job-related subjects, including: criminal law, federal court proceedings, use of firearms, personal defensive tactics, driving skills, security techniques and criminal investigation. And it doesn’t hurt to speak multiple languages. Then there was the job description. Most people think all DSS Agents…

An excerpt from Dark Romance: TAMARA, TAKEN
Excerpt / April 21, 2018

This is a dark romance, which contains scenes which some might find disturbing. It is part one of a two-part duet. TRIALS OF TAMARA will be published May 7. Prologue I was never really insane except upon occasions when my heart was touched ~ Edgar Allan Poe Joshua Ever since mankind first learned to bang rocks together and spark fire, people have been driven to define themselves, to build neat little boxes and climb inside. They divide themselves up by religion, race, nationality. And even that’s not enough. They make the boxes smaller and smaller. They come up with all kinds of bullshit ways to categorize themselves. Introverts, extroverts. Leaders, followers. Morning people, night owls. It’s part of the human condition—the desperate desire to figure out where you belong. To know the truth of who you are, what you are. Me? I’d kill anyone who tried to put me in a box. And I learned the only two important distinctions very early on. Predators, or prey. Eat, or be eaten. What difference does it make if you’re an introverted morning person…if you’re gurgling your last breaths through the wide-open smile that I’ve carved in your throat? Are you strong enough…

Patricia D. Eddy | Top 5 reasons why I write strong female characters
Author Guest , Top 5 / April 19, 2018

A long time ago, in his 2006 acceptance speech for an Equality Now award, Joss Whedon (one of my storytelling heroes) gave a list of reasons why he writes strong female characters. His final reason? “Because you’re still asking me this question.” I grew up on Nancy Drew mysteries. Nancy kicked butt. Yes. She got herself into trouble. But most of the time she got herself out of trouble too. She was also the one who always figured out what was going on long before anyone else. I loved Nancy. I wanted to be Nancy. I still do. And not entirely because I wish I could be sixteen again. Nancy lived. She got out there and just did stuff. Me? Well, I go to work, come home, write, workout, read, and then do it all over again in the morning. Anyway. Putting my Nancy Drew envy aside, why do I write strong female characters? Here are my top 5 reasons. I’m strong. My mother’s strong. My mother-in-law is strong. I write female characters who take the actions I would take in their shoes. Or at least the actions I hope I’d take in their shoes. Writing lets me pretend to…

Melissa Eastlake | Why Consent In YA Retellings Is Sexy
Author Guest / April 19, 2018

THE UNCROSSING is a retelling of Rapunzel with contemporary, queer interpretations of the classic tropey characters from curse-driven fairy tales. Prince Charming-type guys, prone to chasing after girls who are trapped, silent, or literally comatose (come on, man), have not traditionally been awesome at consent. So I knew my Prince Charming for this story, set in a contemporary fantasy world, would be careful with consent. He would be aware of boundaries and navigate them in a way that would feel normal, integrated into the story, but still deeply important to him. And maybe even sexy. Sexiness in YA—not just sexual content, but specifically sexual content that’s appealing and aspirational—is a tricky topic, intricately interwoven with our convictions and personal boundaries. For me, I want to make sure that relevant issues of safety and consent are always prominent, and that swoony moods imbue those conversations and moments. Affirmative consent is sexy! Of course, when we say “consent is sexy,” we mean that consent is a minimum requirement for sexiness. Even if the conversation is awkward, or asking for permission leads to a painful rejection—in other words, even when the process of establishing consent isn’t particularly sexy—it’s still necessary. Without working through…

Erin Nicholas | Top Five Reasons Guys Who Can Cook Are Hot
Author Guest , Top 5 / April 18, 2018

Is this something anyone really needs to be convinced of? Lol! I feel like most women can appreciate a guy who can, and will, cook. Especially if he’s any good at it. But okay, let’s talk about why these guys are so…yeah, I’m going to say it…delicious! My new release, HIGH HEELS AND HAYSTACKS features a guy who can cook. Why? Well, because I love food! Lol! But really, because the diner in my fictional small town of Bliss, Kansas needed an owner and chef and… well, Parker Blake stepped up. And I fell in love. And I knew that Ava Carmichael, one of the triplet sisters, who have been transplanted to this little town in order to fulfill the stipulations in their father’s will, would also fall for Parker. In fact, it was clear to me very early on in writing this series that Parker and Ava could not only handle each other, but they needed to handle each other! So, here are the top five reasons (in my opinion) why guys who can cook are hot 🙂 They appreciate just how important heat Some situations call for a little heat, some for a lot. And these guys are…

Author Reader Match | Michelle Dayton
MatchMaker / April 18, 2018

Writes: Contemporary romance, humorous women’s fiction, and romantic suspense. Her STRANGE TANGO series, a trio of romantic heist novellas, feature Adam, a professional jewel thief who meets his match in Jess, a brilliant techie on the other side of the law. The trilogy was recently published by Carina Press and is available now! What I’m Looking For In My Ideal Reader Match: Readers who love sexual tension and witty banter. Readers who appreciate multi-dimensional characters. Adam might be a professional thief, but he has a strong moral compass. Readers who like to travel to different cities and countries within the pages of a book. Readers who like to see characters stumble headfirst into trouble … and use clever strategies to get themselves out. Readers who enjoy watching a relationship develop … whether it’s to friends, or lovers, or partners-in-crime. What to Expect If We’re Compatible: Expect to wonder if becoming a professional jewel thief might be something you’d like to pursue. After all, Adam and Jess make it seem exciting! (Never mind all those times they almost get caught or killed.) Expect to have a yearning to watch “The Thomas Crowne Affair” or old episodes of “Moonlighting.” Reading about or…

Author Reader Match | Liz Talley
MatchMaker / April 18, 2018

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Liz Talley. Writes: I write southern contemporary romance, and COME HOME TO ME, my April 17th release, is a contemporary romance with women’s fiction elements. About: Though I was born in Pennsylvania, I’ve lived most my life as a Louisiana girl. I stumbled into writing through my love of reading romances and found the place where I belong. I always say my mama used to spank me for telling stories but now I get paid for them. I’ve written twenty-five romances, ranging from deeply emotional to light and fun. When not writing, I love to fish, shop at TJ Maxx and work in the yard. I’m married to my childhood sweetheart (only man I’ve ever kissed), have two teenaged boys, three dogs and a mean kitty. What I’m looking for in my ideal reader match: A reader who loves coastal Southern towns A reader who likes multiple viewpoints – there are three in this one A reader who likes music –…

The Joy of Spring Mysteries
Cozy Corner / April 17, 2018

It’s springtime! Although many of us are not feeling the effects yet, we can benefit from all of the hard work mystery authors did while hibernating with their computers over the winter. This week I have four great cozies for you to check out. Magic by the sea with cupcakes at a festival—it doesn’t get any better than that! A MAGICAL MATCH by Juliet Blackwell Witchcraft Mystery #9 Witch and vintage store owner Lily Ivory faces her most difficult mystery to date with a case of mistaken identity that hits close to home… Lily Ivory and her friends are planning a 1950s-themed brunch to benefit the local women’s shelter. When a figure from her past shows up unannounced, threatening her unless she returns something that belonged to him, Lily’s fiancé, Sailor, steps in to defend her. After the same man is found dead later that day, Sailor is the primary suspect. He swears he’s innocent, but multiple witnesses ID him as the perpetrator of the assault. Lily vows to clear his name…only she’s not sure where to start with the mounting evidence against him. When she sees Sailor in the neighborhood despite knowing he’s in jail, Lily starts to wonder…

Caridad Pineiro | Get Ready for summer
News / April 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews says that “Connie and Jonathan’s trials, tribulations, and second chance at love are engaging . . . Another visit to Sea Kiss will charm romance fans” in WHAT HAPPENS IN SUMMER (June 5, 2018). WHAT HAPPENS IN SUMMER by Caridad Pineiro At The Shore #2 She knows the kind of man he is; The kind who breaks hearts. But a hot summer at the Jersey Shore Might be just what they need to light up their lives… As the only daughter of a single mom, Connie Reyes swore she would never put herself or her child in a similar position. But when she runs into oh so tempting Jonathan Pierce at a wedding, she knows she must stay away. She’ll fall for him–hard. And he’s not the type to stick around. Ever since he left town after their teenaged summer fling, Jonathan hasn’t been able to forget about Connie. He can’t wait for the wedding–to show her the man he’s become. And when the night finally comes, their mutual desire will lead to unexpected consequences neither of them were prepared for… Romance Contemporary [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: June 1, 2018, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492649670 /…

Jennifer Trethewey | What is it with Highlanders?
Author Guest / April 16, 2018

My friends often ask me, what made you choose to write romances about Highlanders? My answer: I fell in love with the Highlands of Scotland, the people, the history, and the landscape. But I have another secret reason that I’ll share with you. I believe the myth. I believe the myth of the Highland warrior, the myth born of legendary giants like William Wallace, and Robert the Bruce, and most recently, Diana Gabaldon’s fictional character, Jamie Fraser. And thank you Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns for creating a poetic foundation for the Highland myth. I love believing that Highland warriors were all seven feet tall, built like brick houses, ruggedly handsome, unbeatable on the battlefield, courageous to a fault, honorable, loyal, and, most importantly, amazingly skilled lovers. And I shamelessly perpetuate that myth in my most recent Highland romance, BETTING THE SCOT: Highlanders of Balforss Book 2. Let’s start with the kilt. From an American girl’s stand point, it takes cojones to rock a kilt. Wearing a kilt almost demands that a guy swagger a bit. It’s a tease. We get to see some leg (always nice) and we know he goes commando so, we’re waiting for that breeze….