Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Debbie Wiley | New Urban Fantasy & Fantasy Novel Recs!
Author Guest / February 13, 2020

By Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley Winter is in full swing in most of the country, while here in Central Florida we’re still trying to decide whether to even participate. So far temperatures are wildly swinging from the 40s to the mid-80s with a nice gusting of wind (all day for two days, I might add) thrown in just to keep us on our toes. So why does that matter? Because it’s the perfect weather to stay inside where I can adjust the heat or the AC (sometimes both during the same day!) and curl up with a book! Even better, January and February have given us some phenomenal urban fantasy/fantasy novels to choose from. Here are a couple of my favorites: Jennifer Estep concludes her Mythos Academy Spin-Off series with SPARTAN DESTINY. Rory Forseti, a Spartan and Mythos Academy student, and the rest of Team Midgard are determined to keep powerful artifacts out of the hands of the Reapers. Unbeknownst to the rest of Team Midgard, Rory has been secretly replacing real artifacts with copies. . . but will she be able to save her friends when their latest attempt to obtain an artifact goes sour?  I love…

Tessa Gratton | Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup: LADY HOTSPUR + Giveaway!
Author Guest / February 13, 2020

Ready for yet another delicious dessert, perfect to share with your valentine? Fantasy author Tessa Gratton is here to tell us more about Lady Hotspur and a delectable dumpling dessert. *** Prince Hal has loved Hotspur since the moment she saw her–on a battlefield, rebelling together against an unjust king. Hal is a terrible prince, afraid of ruling, and hides herself in alcohol and wild parties, while Hotspur is consumed with duty to the land, her family, and her queen. But both women long to make their country better, and that mutual passion for Aremoria and each other ties them together with fire. Though their courtship is fraught with true Shakespearean romance, tragedy, war, redemption, and star-crossed destiny, Hal and Hotspur keep managing to come back to each other. Lady Hotspur doesn’t cook. She eats what’s put in front of her, whether it be charred meat from an army fire, or fine cream and candied apples at the queen’s table. Hal, on the other hand, loves distraction, and if she had the chance, would concoct a delightful plan to whisk Hotspur away for a date. She’d have to make something simple, that didn’t require many ingredients or delicate timing, and…

Joanna Hathaway | Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup: STORM FROM THE EAST + Giveaway!
Author Guest / February 13, 2020

Another day, another fabulous author and book to feature on our Valentine’s Day Recipe Roundup. . . Let’s see what Joanna Hathaway has to offer us!  Romantic dinners are tough when you’re in a forbidden romance with the son of your family’s greatest enemy. For princess Aurelia Isendare, it would take a Romeo-and-Juliet worthy effort to arrange a simple date night with her beau fighter pilot Athan Dakar–especially since war has broken out and he’s invading the kingdom she has sworn to protect. But if the stars align, they might just manage to sneak away and savor a moment of peace, forgetting the rest of the world behind (and how much their parents would hate this traitorous kissing!). Since wartime is rough and leads to rationing, something simple and quick is in order. . . How about War Cake? This aptly named treat is a recipe from WWII, when many ingredients were scarce, and it’s made without dairy or eggs. But don’t let the simplicity scare you! It still tastes good, and it’s easy to throw together. It also allows for some creativity, which both Aurelia and Athan appreciate as artists who enjoy experimentation. This cake (with an almost muffin-like…

Courtney Moulton | Five Ways My Life Has Changed Since Becoming an Author
Author Guest / January 23, 2020

When I was a teen, I wanted nothing like I wanted to be a published author, and my dream came true in 2009 when I was 23 and sold my first book to a major publisher. Over ten years later, I feel like I’ve grown up in the publishing industry. My fifth release, WARDENS OF ETERNITY, is a historical fantasy about a young woman who must use her wit and magic to outmaneuver Nazis and Ancient Egyptian gods to prevent global destruction. My dream has come with amazing experiences and daunting responsibilities, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! My art has become my job. That’s amazing! Not many people get to do their art every day and get paid for it. That’s because it’s very hard to make a living doing art. My life depends on my writing and that’s a huge weight on my ability to focus and create. In addition, authors get paid different amounts on different schedules. There’s very little we and our agents can do about that. Sometimes an author is living on a fixed income for a long time. I’ve been able to travel and see amazing cities and meet wonderful people. Some of…

Jon Sprunk | Top 5 Influences on My Writing
Author Guest / December 17, 2019

As a fantasy writer, people often ask me where I find my inspiration. So, here is a list of my Top 5 influences. The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I am hardly the first author to be inspired by these amazing novels by J.R.R. Tolkien. I first read The Hobbit when I was a child, and I can still remember getting lost in the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and company. I quickly moved onto The Lord of the Rings trilogy and was completely hooked. To this day, I am amazed by the artistry and breadth of this series. And, of course, I feel challenged by it, to write something that might measure up to its greatness. Star Wars. I was seven years old when the first movie (A New Hope) first arrived in theaters. I saw it seventeen times with my father that year. It was truly a magical experience; unlike anything I had seen before. The adventure, the heroism, the battles, and the dynamic conflict between good and evil for the fate of the galaxy. Years later, when I began to experiment with writing my own stories, Star Wars was never far from my mind. Not the…

K.D. Edwards | 5 Interactions with Readers After Becoming a Published Author that I Did Not Expect
Author Guest / December 16, 2019

1–How much my series would change because of readers. A lot of authors will tell you not to read reviews. Dental surgery and spinal taps are more preferable than risking the maelstrom of reader opinions on Amazon or Goodreads. And that makes sense, to a degree. Nothing has ever been published that everyone loves. You’re going to get negative reviews, and some of those negative reviewers are going to tell you what they hated with zest & passion. Me? I’ve read every word people wrote about THE LAST SUN. And the thing that amazes me? How much insight there was in those reviews. How many fair criticism were filled with support, but also guidance for immediate course correction. For instance: many readers who really, really liked my book also faulted it for having few positive female characters. (I’ve written about this before – it’s part of my Journey as a writer, learning that having a book filled with gay white men isn’t as diverse as I’d once imagined it to be.) And so in THE HANGED MAN, you have Lady Death. And Anna Dawncreek. I am so excited where these new characters will take me. I am half in love…

Debbie Wiley | Fall Fantasy Book Recommendations!
Author Guest / November 14, 2019

Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley  Fantasy novels are magical with their ability to transport you to other worlds. Worldbuilding is crucial to the success of any fantasy novel as we need to believe in these imaginary and sometimes quite fantastical worlds. Character development is important as well since we have to care about the fates of the characters. Despite the fact that both elements are important to any genre but particularly the fantasy genre, most readers have a preference for one or the other and I have to admit I prefer complex worldbuilding over character-driven novels. Here are some of my recent favorite fantasy novels in which the authors do a marvelous job at balancing both character development and worldbuilding. Who doesn’t love a series featuring a Library in charge of the world? Rachel Caine’s brilliant series, The Great Library, recently concluded with the fifth and final book, SWORD AND PEN. SWORD AND PEN showcases all of the characters we’ve grown to love and cheer for putting it all on the line in hopes of finally creating a world of peace and information, where the Library doesn’t squelch knowledge it doesn’t like. The worldbuilding is phenomenal, as we have…

Elle Katharine White | Exclusive Interview: FLAMEBRINGER
Author Guest / November 14, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Elle! Please tell us about yourself and about your latest novel, FLAMEBRINGER. Hello! Thanks so much for having me. I’m Elle, I write books, read books, and enjoy any and all things nerdy. Flamebringer is my third book and the last in the Heartstone trilogy, which follows a healer, her dragon-riding husband, and their no-nonsense dragon as they hunt down the monsters plaguing their kingdom.         FLAMEBRINGER marks the third and final book in your Heartstone fantasy series! Without giving too much away, what has been the most satisfying part about finishing this fantasy epic? It was a bittersweet experience, saying goodbye to these characters, but it was a good feeling to tie off their character arcs and (hopefully) give them and the readers a sense of closure. It was fun too, resolving mysteries from book one. Little clues, offhand conversations, subplot threads you might have missed in Heartstone will come back in a big way in Flamebringer. It was satisfying to bring it all full circle. It’s interesting that this fantasy series is inspired by Jane Austen! What are some of the ways Austen’s work influenced you while writing the Heartstone series? The first book…

K.V. Johansen | Top Five New Characters
Author Guest / October 22, 2019

Everyone has their favourite character once they settle into a book, the one they’re rooting for. As an author, you have to care about them all if you’re going to do them justice and bring them to life as real people, but you still end up caring about some more than others. If I were choosing my top five characters from the series, this list might look a little different. (For starters, it would contain some enemies of Moth’s who are now quite definitely dead, the usual fate of Moth’s enemies.) However, for The Last Road, which is book five of my epic silk road fantasy Gods of the Caravan Road, here’s a top five characters list. 1. Moth The Last Road is an interlaced story told in five novels and a short story, containing separate but interconnected adventures. Moth — the devil Ulfhild Vartu — is the thread that binds them all together. She’s the one who wanders in and out of other people’s stories, sometimes taking on a central role, sometimes only brushing by on the periphery. She’s a middle-aged (centuries-old, immortal, but middle-aged) warrior, wizard, storyteller, and devil, a being of two intertwined, conjoined souls, who have…

C.R. Richards | Author-Reader Match: CREED OF THE GUARDIAN
Author Guest / October 18, 2019

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-ReaderMatch” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present C.R. RICHARDS! Rabidly Reads and Writes: Heart pounding, spine chilling, emotion-stirring Dark Fantasy Novels About the Author: C.R. Richards loves dark fiction stories. She enjoys the sensation of sitting on the edge of her seat, intensely anxious to discover the next twist in a good book. Yes. She loves being scared, but not too scared. No slasher movies, please. In a secret confession, the author admitted she still watches reruns of Supernatural tucked under her covers. Richards makes her books all about the characters. She spends a great deal of time developing their personalities, desires and their failings. If the reader doesn’t care about the character, then what’s the point? What I’m Looking for In My Ideal Reader: Adventures with me won’t be comfortable or light-hearted. Expect journeys into the dark and creepy. My ideal reader will boldly embrace the unexpected, laugh in the face of danger and fortify their reading nook with the warm fuzziness of a loyal pet. I’m looking…