Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Davis Bunn | Exclusive Excerpt: BURDEN OF PROOF
Author Guest / November 2, 2020

Ethan was staring at the moon. He sat up, gasping and choking. He rolled off the padding and clawed at the raw planks of the floor. Then he heard the water. A soft summer breeze blew up tiny waves. They splashed like cymbals against the pilings that rose to either side of where he lay. He gripped the nearest strut and forced himself to his feet. The night was utterly dark. He was dressed in a pair of raggedy cutoffs and a T-shirt. On his feet were leather sandals curled and cracked by salt and hard days. He was completely alone. Ethan cried out, a choking sound wrenched from the terror and confusion that filled him. He knew where he was. What was more, he knew when. The summer before his final year at the university, when he and his best friend had wrangled jobs at the Holiday Marina. The long pier ran back to the shore, every plank in place, the pilings straight as arrows. The marina’s unmistakable form was silhouetted by yellow streetlights. Four A-frames housed the sailing classes, the repair shop, the store, and the stockrooms. An old canvas inflatable raft lay on the pier, with a…

DiAnn Mills | Author-Reader Match: AIRBORNE + Giveaway!
Author Guest / September 8, 2020

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present DiAnn Mills! WRITES: DiAnn Mills writes romantic suspense. Her latest title, Airborne, releases in print today, September 8, 2020. ABOUT: Romantic suspense writer seeking readers who want to ride the wings of a suspense-filled adventure with FBI Special Agent Heather Lawrence. She’s pregnant, her husband wants a divorce, and a deadly, mysterious illness appears onboard her transatlantic flight. What I’m looking for in my ideal reader match: Expects every scene to vicariously export them into an adventure. Desires a suspenseful story seen through the eyes of a strong heroine or hero. Prefers a clean story that doesn’t hold back on the reality of crime and the world we live in. Craves an emotional experience through the heart and mind of point-of-view characters. Wonders how the FBI, CDC, and federal and local agencies work together to solve a horrendous crime. Questions how a virus could be unleashed to unsuspecting people. Wants a thrilling FBI story. Discovers how a heroine responds to betrayal and abandonment. Longs for a thread of romance…

Rachelle Dekker | Exclusive Excerpt: NINE
Author Guest / August 31, 2020

I opened my eyes, and once more I was sitting on a bench between the sweet neighborhood to my right and the bustling downtown to my left. The thoughts I’d recovered earlier crashed into my brain, and their rumbling fears with them. My heart rate spiked. I could feel beads of sweat collecting at my hairline. I had to control this. Deep breaths. Internalize the fear. See it, switch it off, stomp it out. I’d been trained to do so. Wasn’t that what Dr. Loveless had said? “You came back,” the small voice beside me said. I turned and saw the high ponytail and unicorn shirt. “You lied to me.” The girl’s face went sour. “Did not.” “You said you would show me the game.” “I did. It’s not my fault you lost.” Lucy, remember, this is your mind. You are safe. Dr. Loveless’s voice echoed like a whisper in my ears. I had to keep my brain trained on the truth of her words. “Are there more games like that one?” I asked the child. “Oh yeah, lots,” she said, her eyes widening. “Can you show me?” “Not until you win the first one.” Fear beat against my heart….

Beth White | Birthplace of the King
Author Guest / June 3, 2020

Writing is a creative enterprise for sure, but there’s also an element of pragmatism involved. While considering the setting for a new book series three or four years ago, I wanted to find a place that had some familiarity for me (theoretically cutting down on research time), but at the same time might spark curiosity in my audience. What could be more fun than reading about the beginnings of a little Southern town that spawned one of the greatest rock ’n roll legends of all time? It just so happened that Tupelo, Mississippi, the birthplace of Elvis Presley, was incorporated in 1870—precisely in the middle of the Reconstruction Era, the tumultuous setting I’d chosen for the Daughtry House series. Giving myself leeway to create whatever I needed to for the story (for example, there were no real plantations left in the area by the end of the Civil War; Ithaca/Daughtry House is based on Waverley Plantation, which is actually in nearby West Point, Mississippi), I tried as much as possible to ground the little town of Tupelo in life as it would have been back then. Boarding houses, saloons, mercantiles, and other businesses set in a grid not too far…

Mike Nappa and Melissa Kosci | Exclusive Excerpt: A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM
Author Guest / June 2, 2020

“Let’s try this,” she said. “Tell me what you know about The Dream, and I’ll be on my way.” “If I knew something, I’d tell you. Why is this Dream person dangerous? What did he do?” She leaned closer. “He murdered two men in cold blood.” “I never have gotten that saying. In cold blood. What does that even mean?” Agent Uribe gritted her teeth. “It means he showed no remorse. He feels no empathy.” The waitress walked back over. “Do you want to ordah somethin’ to eat?” “No, tha—” “Absolutely. I’m famished.” Samuel smiled and picked up the menu. “Hmm . . . are the jalapeño poppers good?” “If you like hot.” Samuel pursed his lips. “Maybe the burger, beer, and fries. What’s a Narragansett? Wait, isn’t that the name of a town?” Uribe was glaring at him. “They make lagahs,” the waitress said. “Eh, maybe I shouldn’t have a beer. What about . . . kabobs? You serve kabobs? That’s interesting.” “Is that what you’d like?” The waitress sounded slightly annoyed. “No, I don’t think so. Just give me a cheeseburger and fries.” He folded the menu. The waitress wrote down the order and went back into the…

Robin Carroll | DEAD SILENCE
Author Guest / May 18, 2020

Hi, there. . . Robin here. I’m getting so excited for the release of my thirty-fourth novel, DEAD SILENCE. I have to say, I love this book. The heroine is strong, yet flawed in how she perceives some of what is going on around her. She’s kicked into action when her son is threatened. Her love for her son–willing to do anything to protect him is a mother’s instinct I relate to so well, having three daughters and two grandsons. The love of a mother for her child is so ingrained in me that I forewent any romance in the story, allowing the love between mother and child to take the forefront emotion. I’ve been asked why I opted for a heroine who is an ASL translator and who has a deaf son. Many years ago, I became friends with someone who is deaf. She shared with me some of her frustrations, but also how her way of life is in comparison to mine. It got me to thinking that being deaf could be thought of as a disability, but could also be used as an advantage. . . it was all in how you looked at it. My friend…

Natalie Walters | 20 Questions: SILENT SHADOWS
Author Guest / March 30, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  Silent Shadows 2–What is it about?  Pecca Gallegos moved to the tiny town of Walton, Georgia, to protect her son and escape the dangerous lifestyle that once defined her. When a series of strange circumstances evolve into threats, Pecca finds herself confiding in an unlikely ally–her stubborn patient. Army veteran Colton Crawford is desperate to recover from the undiagnosed disorder that is ruining his life, and his instincts are on high alert when threats against his nurse and her son force him to take action. But Colton’s involvement only ramps up the danger when he uncovers a family secret revealing that whoever is after Pecca is closer–and more deadly–than they realized. 3–What word best describes your heroine?  Feisty. 4–What makes your hero irresistible?  His vulnerability. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help?  Pecca turns to her friends in Walton, who have become like family: Lane, Sheriff Huggins, Ms. Byrdie. Colton turns to his Uncle Jack and friends, Kekoa Young and Vincent St. James. 6–What do you love about the setting of your book?  Sometimes smalltown living can feel claustrophobic or like a fishbowl, everyone knowing your business…

James R. Hannibal | Exclusive Excerpt: CHASING THE WHITE LION
Author Guest / March 2, 2020

From Chapter Twelve State Route 123 Langley, Virginia Jordan had played her. Talia’s mind spun as her Civic clanked over the flattened hydraulic barriers of Langley’s southern gate. How foolish she’d been. No conversation with Jordan was ever just a conversation. “Leave them wondering how much you know,” Jordan had told her moments before Talia walked into her first mock interrogation back at the Farm. “That’s the key.” The Art of Interrogation–one of Talia’s worst memories from her training despite a syllabus that included Arctic Survival and Sewer Navigation. The memory filled her with regret. “But how?” she had asked Jordan. “Scott won the toss and played interrogator first. He has the advantage.” Talia watched him twiddle his thumbs on the other side of a two-way mirror. “The information is new, but the format is the same. The game favors Player One.” All Farm students spent time on both sides of the table in a two-player game. Each had to extract a set of unique, fictional information from the other. The more information extracted, the higher the score. Talia held up well under Scott’s shouting, but he had gained enough points to take the lead in the class. “Then think…

Lynn H. Blackburn | Author-Reader Match: ONE FINAL BREATH
Author Guest / September 20, 2019

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Lynn H. Blackburn! Writes: Lynn writes romantic suspense novels set in the south. Her latest, One Final Breath, is the final book in the Dive Team Investigations series. All of Lynn’s novels explore the intersection of faith and fear with relatable heroes and heroines who happen to have some of the most interesting, and dangerous, jobs out there. About: Lynn writes romantic suspense because her childhood fantasy was to become a spy–but her grown-up reality is that she’s a huge chicken and would have been caught on her first mission. She prefers to live vicariously through her characters and loves putting them into all kinds of terrifying situations–while she’s sitting at home safely and sound in her pajamas! When she’s not writing, Lynn loves to entertain friends and family with healthy doses of southern hospitality and that desire for connection and community is evident in the close relationships shared by the characters in her stories. What I’m looking for in my…

DiAnn Mills | 10 Ways to Deepen the Craft of Writing
Author Guest / September 6, 2019

Writers search for ways to add professionalism to their writing. They explore technique, study the how-to guides, and invest in quality software that helps them create dynamic fiction and nonfiction. The following 10 guidelines are proven methods to deepen the craft of writing. Develop three sentences describing the writing project. As difficult as this may sound, the clarity and conciseness not only help the writer focus on the writing project but also serve as a great pitch to share with others. Incorporate the five senses. Today’s readers yearn for an adventure. If the project is fiction, the reader must experience the story. If the project is nonfiction, the reader needs to be rooted in the material. Instill proper grammar. Nothing is more frustrating or throws a reader out of the experience more than poor grammar and punctuation. With textbooks and websites available to teach and correct our errors, there isn’t an excuse. My go-to editing tool is prowritingaid.com. I also value the word frequency counter at http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp. Paste a document into the site and it lists the number of times every word is used. Network with other writers. Most creative types see life with a bit of quirkiness. The truth…