Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Amber Royer | People Change
Author Guest / July 29, 2021

People change.  It’s one of the oldest adages in the book.  And yet, there’s a deeper truth: people RESIST change, even change they ought to embrace (because often change equals opportunity). For example, we moved in December 2020, because the company my husband works for relocated to a different part of North Texas.  I did not want to move, and the re-location was close enough that – in theory – we could have stayed where we were, and Jake would have just had a longer commute.  Much longer, but still doable, especially since he was partly working from home.  So much had already changed during the pandemic.  I had started teaching my continuing education writing classes from home.  I’d even had to have a virtual book launch party. But by wholesale saying no more change, I was missing out on an opportunity.  Jake and I were living in a one-bedroom apartment, which had worked until suddenly we were both working from home – with different work styles.  I have to have noise on in the background.  Jake needs quiet to focus.  We needed a change – just to function.  Once we committed to the move, we found a place that…

Amber Royer | Eight People In My Protagonist’s Life
Author Guest / January 28, 2021

You know one thing I like about writing cozy mysteries?  They’re series, centering around the life of the protagonist.  Which means they need a large cast of friends, family, and business associates, all with the potential to get developed as the series progresses.  Of course, some of these people will be developed into murder suspects – and victims.  But the people closest to your protagonist are generally safe bets for readers to get attached to. Cozies also allow for elements of romance, as new people come into the character’s life as a result of the murder investigation.  Which gives a whole other layer of tension to the plot. I’ve taken advantage of all of that in GRAND OPENINGS CAN BE MURDER, the first book in my Bean to Bar Mysteries.  My protagonist, Felicity Koerber, moved home to Texas after her husband died.  She’s made some new friends, and her old friends – especially her best friend Autumn and her Aunt Naomi – have rallied around her, to help her through this time of grief.  And Naomi is a bit of a matchmaker, determined to get Felicity dating again, so there’s bound to be some cute guys dropping into her world,…

Amber Royer | Five Things I Love About Chocolate + Giveaway!
Author Guest / April 17, 2020

Somebody asked me the other day if I ever get tired of chocolate, since my funny, romantic Sci-Fi series revolves around it.  And I Instagram about it.  And post recipes, and cooking videos, and have a whole chocolate-themed cookbook.  And – I’m growing it. Don’t tell anybody, but yes, I go through phases where the last thing I want to do is think about another piece of chocolate – let alone eat one.  But when we travel, I’ll check out the shops in town, to find craft chocolate makers and mom-and-pop candy shops, and unique chocolatiers marching to the beat of their own kazoos. Talking to someone about their passion for chocolate as an art form, or for blending flavors the way a wine-maker does, or teaching kids about food or using chocolate to connect with the local community – or to communities of farmers around the world — is some pretty heady stuff.  And getting to taste the chocolate they’ve put all that passion into – that’s the kind of thing you can’t get tired of. There’s an almost universal connection that people have to chocolate.  Often, when I go to handsell the Chocoverse books I say, “The aliens…

Amber Royer | Developing the Chocoverse
Author Guest / April 18, 2019

When I started developing the Chocoverse, I wanted to tell a story without easy answers, where nobody was exactly in the right, and they are all trying their best despite difficult circumstances.  I mean, come on, my heroine commits treason to her home planet within the first few chapters of the first book – because she believes stealing a cacao pod from one of Earth’s heavily guarded plantations will actually prevent war.  (The basic premise for the series is that the aliens have made first contact, they took samples of Earth’s commodities, and now the best coffee is grown on the other side of the galaxy – only, they missed chocolate, which becomes the only unique thing Earth has, and therefore one of the most sought after substances in the galaxy. And in a messy ‘verse that runs on secrets and conflict, love obviously wouldn’t be simple either.  The books have a strong (sweetly written) romantic subplot between Bo (the aforementioned heroine who steals chocolate to share with the aliens) and Brill (an alien of the species that made the clandestine first contact and stripped Earth of commodities.)  There’s societal prejudice on both sides – the long-lived Krom view Earthlings…