Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Kris Ripper | Exclusive Excerpt: THE LIFE REVAMP
Author Guest / November 23, 2021

It didn’t take long to finish the details and open the account. I let [Diego] know how to set up the online portal and gave him the usual rundown on our services. Blah blah blah, don’t hesitate to contact me, you might find X, Y, Z interesting, here’s a big packet of things you won’t read. I set his own folder on top and settled it on the desk in front of him. “That’s it? That was…relatively painless.” I couldn’t help allowing the hint of a smirk into my expression. “Did you think it would be painful?” “Not exactly. But when you put something off for years before doing it, I think it tends to collect an…air of morbid dread around it. When it’s then accomplished in thirty minutes sitting across from, uh, you, I guess it seems a little silly to have worried about it for so long. Of course until recently I wouldn’t have had a you to take the edge off.” “I’m…glad I could help. In all the ways.” Which felt true. All the ways. The account. The alleviation of dread. The…mutual appreciation. He patted down his pockets, pulling out a crumpled receipt, keys tangled with a…

Coreene Callahan | My Writing Routine + Giveaway!
Author Guest / November 23, 2021

I’m often asked about my writing routine. How I write. When I write. Where the ideas come from and how I get each one onto the page. For me, ideas have never been a problem. I have too many most of the time. The trick is deciding which ones I connect with most. My characters help me with that when they show up and start talking. The loudest, most determined one always gets the most airtime inside my head, invading my creative bubble so insistently I can no longer ignore them. Sometimes, it makes for a chaotic start to my day! One thing for sure, though, remains consistent about my writing routine. I’m a morning person, pure and simple. So when I tell people I get up at 5 AM, seven days a week, to write, I am invariably treated to incredulous looks and even a few “Are you crazy?” comments. Maybe I am. Then again, maybe I’m just the right amount. My imagination is alive early in the day. From the moment I open my eyes, the story I’m writing comes to life inside my mind and characters take shape and form. There’s just something about a quiet house…

Ginger Bolton | Title Challenge + Exclusive Excerpt: DECK THE DONUTS
Author Guest / November 22, 2021

D is for Deputy Donut, both the cat and the shop. E is for Emily and the exciting Brent Fyne. C is for coffee, crime, and that cop. K is for mistletoe—you know what I mean. (And did I mention the handsome Detective Brent Fyne?) * T is for tourists stranded in town. H is for houseguests, feeling quite down. E is for events and entertaining all ‘round. * D is for donuts, detectives, delight. O is for observing, overhearing, and “Oooohs!” N is for nosing around in the night. U is for understanding the most subtle clues. T is for treats. (That includes mistletoe.) S is for sleuthing, skiing, and snow. Exclusive Excerpt from DECK THE DONUTS Chapter 6 I turned on the bedside lamp. Dep stood with her nose against my closed bedroom door. Her tail twitched back and forth, and the fur along her spine stood up in a way that made my own hackles rise. It was one thirty in the morning. Who had closed the front door? Had Paige left, or had someone arrived? I always locked the door, but maybe seeing Dep on Paige’s lap after I came in from parking the car had…

Coreene Callahan | Top 5 Attributes Every Dragon-Shifter Should Have
Author Guest / November 22, 2021

I had an incredible amount of fun writing FURY OF DESTRUCTION (the Dragonfury Series). Gage and Samantha’s story surprised me every step of the way. She’s tenacious, smart, and sassy while struggling to overcome a disability that challenges who she believes herself to be. He’s both tender and tough, a take-no-prisoners kind of guy who makes enemy dragon-warriors fly in the opposite direction. So to say I enjoyed writing about the pair is an understatement. Together, they make for an explosive, passionate, exhilarating combination. So today, in keeping with Gage’s tough guy routine, I’m listing some of the things I think are important for every dragon-warrior to possess. Top 5 Attributes Every Dragon-shifter Should Have: 1–A wicked amount of lethal. (Because you never know when he might need to pull a truckload of vicious out of his bag of tricks to send other dragons fleeing.) 2–Razor-sharp intelligence. (Not only to make quick decisions on the fly, but to catch the other Nightfury warriors cheating at the weekly poker game.) 3–A well-developed sense of humor. (If he can’t laugh at himself, no way he’ll survive a sharp-witted razzing from his fellow dragon-warriors. And honestly, it happens…a lot.) 4–Charm…and bucketsful of it….

Kait Ballenger | Exclusive Excerpt: WILD COWBOY WOLF
Author Guest / November 22, 2021

Dakota’s eyes widened. “What are you doing?” The gold of his wolf eyes flashed. “Exactly what I should have done days ago.” Dakota inhaled a sharp breath. From the dark look in his eyes, she almost expected him to strip the belt from his jeans and use it to make the bare skin of her ass a dusky shade of pink. The thought of her bent over his knee sent an unexpected wave of heat through her core. Her mouth went dry as adrenaline coursed through her. “Blaze?” she breathed again, prompting more from his non-answer. His chaps and belt were cast aside now along with his Stetson. The shirt came next. “Showering,” he ground out. His tone was harsher, more hardened than usual. She didn’t exactly dislike it. “Exactly like you are,” he growled. “What else?” He turned on one of the showerheads in the adjacent stall block facing her. Another cloud of steam filled the room. “Here?” she nearly squeaked. “What?” he snapped. “We’re both warriors, coworkers as you put it, and I may not be as drenched as your clothes were, but we’re both covered in blood.” His shirt was on the floor now, and those large…

Jerri Chisholm | Exclusive Excerpt: UNRAVELING ELEVEN
Author Guest / November 19, 2021

“Why is it,” Jeffrey Sitwell asks, “that you want to become a guard?” Under the desk, my steel-toed boot taps against the floor. Unsteady fingers smooth my ponytail, they tug my blazer straight. The past two hours were spent celebrating; Emerald is now a professional fighter, though it was never in question, and Maggie is a writer for Compound Eleven’s paper. I am happy for my friends, but now it’s my turn. I take a steadying breath and glance around the small office where I sit, one located on the fourth floor where the guardship is housed. A concrete room, no decoration or ornament whatsoever. Nothing to distract me from the two men sitting across the table. One of them has black hair and black skin, and his name is Dirk Nkrumah. He wears the uniform of a guard, but he is no regular guard. He is the most senior guard of the compound, and I loathe him for this reason alone. Beside him is Sitwell, a man much older, a Preme, one dressed in a navy-blue suit with gold cufflinks, one with white hair and a sharply cut nose. The one in charge of Compound Eleven’s security. His skin…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: THE ATTIC ON QUEEN STREET by Karen White
Author Guest / November 19, 2021

Jen: THE ATTIC ON QUEEN STREET is the seventh and final book in the Tradd Street series. How did you arrive at the premise? Karen: The best part of a series is that it’s basically one long book with multiple plot lines that get resolved throughout the series.  Since I knew THE ATTIC ON QUEEN STREET would be the last, I knew that for the first time that loose ends weren’t a possibility.  Every single unanswered question, mystery, plot, character arc had to come to a complete resolution.  And, of course, the conclusion of the major cliffhanger at the end of the previous book, THE CHRISTMAS SPIRITS ON TRADD STREET.  This gave me the main guide I needed for this book’s premise.  The second, but equally important guide, was the spin-off series that will follow the Tradd Street Series.  Nola Trenholm will be the main protagonist, as will a new character, Beau Ryan, who is introduced in The Attic on Queen Street.  Beau is from New Orleans which is where the new series will be set, and there is a lot of mystery surrounding him and his family.  This is why at the end of the book, Nola is headed…

Mary Hughes | Exclusive Excerpt: NIGHT’S BLISS
Author Guest / November 18, 2021

To lure his nemesis, the Shadow Lord Umbra, out of hiding, Kai Elias allowed himself to be beaten and poisoned. He became lost and sick and thought he was human. Rey Kean found him and nursed him and named him Greyson, and he fell in love with her. Rey infiltrated Umbra’s castle to get her sweet Greyson’s antidote. Umbra discovered her and used her as bait to bring Elias to his castle. Umbra has now trapped both Elias and Rey in his dungeon. While Elias is in a trance to try to effect their escape, Umbra threatens harm to a girl Rey cares about to make Rey attack Elias. Elias wakes from the trance just in time to catch Rey’s attack. *** Elias wasn’t surprised Rey had attacked him. Umbra loved using others to make his prey vulnerable. He’d pull out all the stops to make Rey do his dirty work. The male had a lot to answer for. Elias had been fighting the Shadow Lord’s minions for years, but now it was personal. “If you’re going to kill vampires,” he said to Rey, “I’ll show you some more effective techniques.” Her jaw dropped; she’d expected retaliation. Natural, though it…

Author Guest / November 18, 2021

My first book in the Enchanted Rock Series was GOODBYE, LARK LOVEJOY. With its many characters, the novel provided threads to pull from later when I began writing the future books in the series. Of those, Sissie Klein was a minor character, married to a man who, to put this kindly, was confused about his commitments and priorities. Although her role in the first novel was that of a supporting character, Sissie whispered to me, “I have a story, too.” I considered how easily we make assumptions about relationships from the outside, asking: Why is she/he with her/him? How did they get together? What keeps them in the relationship? What’s keeping them from leaving? So I gave it a whirl, writing Sissie’s story in first-person because I wanted to see what Sissie saw, hear her thoughts, and sense her emotions. I sat with her when she learned she was pregnant. I feared for her newborn daughter’s fragile health, and I grieved when her marriage hit the rocks. Sissie taught me a thing or two about assumptions, but that’s not all I learned while writing this novel: Everyone has a story. Don’t overlook the possibilities of the quiet girl at the…

Allison B. Hanson | Exclusive Excerpt: HER FORBIDDEN HIGHLANDER HUSBAND
Author Guest / November 17, 2021

In the stable, Liam kicked the stall door, startling a few horses with his outburst. Their disgruntled whinnies and snorts had him apologizing to the beasts he’d upset. It wasn’t that he’d expected anything but another rejection; however, his heart was still reeling with disappointment and loss. He’d dreamed of a life with Evelyn Stewart as his wife. But, as it was with the dreams he’d had as a lad, it wasn’t to be. He often wondered what he’d done to be punished so. And from the time he’d heard the stories of God’s wrath he’d tried to atone for whatever sin he still paid for. Being a warrior piled on the debt with the lives he’d taken, but he hoped killing to protect his clan was redeemed in some way. “What did I do?” Liam’s question was for God, but he spoke it to the white mare that had come to stare at him accusingly over her stall door. She didn’t have an answer. Instead, she lifted her head a few times and snorted before pulling back inside to leave him alone once more. Alone. It seemed he’d been alone all his life. He had snippets of memories from…