Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Nicci French | Exclusive Excerpt: HOUSE OF CORRECTION
Author Guest / October 26, 2020

The screaming started at three in the morning. Tabitha had never heard a human being howl in that way before. It was like the screeching of an animal caught in a trap and it was answered by shouts, distant, echoing. Tabitha couldn’t tell whether they were cries of comfort or anger or mockery. The screams subsided into sobs but even these were amplified by the metal, the doors, the stairs and floors. Tabitha felt they were echoing inside her head. She sensed a movement from the bunk above her. The other woman must be awake. “Someone’s in trouble.” There was silence. Tabitha wondered if the woman was ignoring her or really was asleep, but then a voice came out of the darkness. She was speaking slowly, as if she were talking to herself. Her voice was low and gravelly, a smoker’s morning voice. “Everyone’s in trouble,” she said. “That’s why they’re here. That’s why they’re crying, when they think about their children or what they did. Or what they did to their children. When there’s real trouble, you don’t hear any screams. You just hear the screws running along the corridors. When it’s really bad you hear a helicopter landing…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: IN THE DEEP by Loreth Anne White
Author Guest / October 23, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write In The Deep? Loreth: Thanks for hosting me, Jen. In The Deep was inspired by a visit to my brother who lives in a small oceanside town in New South Wales, Australia. He’s a big wave surfer, and a man of the sea in every way, so of course we went out deep sea fishing in his tiny boat. When we were ten miles off the coast, heaving about on the white-veined swells of the deep blue waters of the Tasman Sea, with the Australian coastline just a distant purple haze, I got to thinking: Anything could happen out here, and there would be no one to witness it, and what if someone did go overboard, and maybe not by mistake. Later, while eating dinner outside under a vermillion sky, and listening to the flying foxes squabble overhead and the lorikeets and ‘cockies’ fighting in the gum trees, my brother regaled us with tales of some of his adventures, like the time he got a treble hook stuck in his neck. And he told us how the flying foxes–giant bats–can swarm in groups along the highway as they migrate, and more . . ….

Stephanie Kane | Five Hopper Paintings and the Story They Tell
Author Guest / October 15, 2020

Mid-century American realist painter Edward Hopper is celebrated for Nighthawks, his 1947 work in which customers in an all-night diner are viewed through a plate glass window lit by a neon light, and his 1927 Automat, where a girl in a cloche and fur-trimmed coat gazes pensively into a coffee cup in a lonely cafeteria. Hopper returned to that enigmatic woman again and again. He painted her throughout his career. In AUTOMAT, Denver Art Museum Conservator of Paintings Lily Sparks pursues a killer who targets actresses who bring Hopper’s works to life. Lily’s perfect eye tells her the man in Hopper’s paintings also holds clues to the killer’s identity. And just as the famous artist kept painting the same iconic woman, the killer must keep killing her. Five top Hopper paintings convince Lily she’s on the right track. Hopper started out illustrating trade magazine covers. In 1906, on his first trip to Paris, he painted the watercolor Couple near Poplars. In the style of the day, a Gibson girl with upswept hair and a pinafore over her corseted waist stands with a beanstalk of a man with a pencil moustache and a beret. He’s trying to draw her closer, but…

Aimee Molloy | 20 Questions: GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL
Author Guest / October 12, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release? GOODNIGHT BEAUTIFUL 2–What is it about? A newlywed couple named Sam and Annie move from New York City to Sam’s sleepy home town. Sam, a therapist, opens a home office, unaware that his sessions with patients can be overheard from a room upstairs. Listening ensues, an alluring patient transpires, Sam disappears, and all hell breaks loose. (I would like to add that Sam’s disappearance is very much related to him participating in an eerily similar 20 Questions column for a local newspaper, so I’m suspicious of this already.) 3–What word best describes your main character(s)?  Sam: sensitive hunk Annie: clever 4–What makes your story relatable?  The story is premised on a person discovering a chance to eavesdrop on therapy sessions, forcing you, as the reader to question if, in that position, you would choose to listen. (Which, of course you would.) But what I find more compelling is that underneath the plot is an exploration of the lasting impact of a father’s influence on his son–and in particular, when a father teaches his son a toxic idea of masculinity. I think toxic masculinity is something we all can relate to at this particular…

Michael Brandman | Exclusive Excerpt: MISSING PERSONS
Author Guest / September 28, 2020

Chapter One A scorching heat wave blanketed the West Coast, bringing with it record temperatures, rolling blackouts, and a general feeling of malaise that infected everyone. A fast-moving Mexican monsoon, however, was now gaining strength in the Gulf of Mexico, steaming up the California coast accompanied by gale force winds and heavy rain. It would most likely reach the township of Freedom by late afternoon. I sat staring out the office window, elated that the storm would finally end the stultifying heat, but also apprehensive of the possible havoc it might wreak. I was locked in a debate with myself as to whether I would order a takeout meatball-and-onion pizza from Larry’s or the kung pao chicken from Tsai’s when I noticed a late-model green Toyota Camry pull up in front of the County Courthouse. I watched as a middle-aged woman emerged, looked around, then headed inside. After a few moments, I heard Sheriff ’s Deputy Johnny Kennerly talking with the woman. Then he appeared in my doorway and stood there, fanning himself with a legal-size yellow pad. “There’s a Rosalita Gonzalez here to see you.” I swiveled my chair around to face him. “What about?” “You mean what does…

Jo Jakeman | Books Inspired by Cornwall, England
Author Guest / September 25, 2020

Like the main character in Safe House, I moved to Cornwall on the south-western coast of England recently. Only I wasn’t running away from my past, or starting over again with a new identity. And, as far as I know, no-one is after me to make me pay for past misdemeanours! I’ve always been devoted to Cornwall, having been on holidays here when I was a child to quaintly named villages such as Mousehole, and explored the ruins of Tintagel Castle imagining myself an Arthurian Knight. One of my all-time favourite books is based here too–Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. The new adaptation is soon to be released by Netflix and I wonder whether people’s interest in books based here will increase. I hope more people will fall in love with Cornwall, just as I have. If you’ve got a hankering to read more Cornish novels after Rebecca and SAFE HOUSE, here are five of the best. 1-Jumping straight in with the best non-fiction book I’ve ever read. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn. Raynor and her terminally ill husband walked the entire South West coastal path after losing their home and being left almost penniless. Not just Cornwall but…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewel’s Interview: THE SILENT CONSPIRACY by L.C. Shaw
Author Guest / September 25, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write THE SILENT CONSPIRACY? LC: Jack and Taylor’s story wasn’t finished in THE NETWORK and I wanted to continue it with a new storyline in THE SILENT CONSPIRACY. Themes that I felt drawn to include were those of bias in the media, the health care crisis in this country, and the continuing theme of spiritual warfare. As both characters are investigative journalists, there are so many different stories that could pull them in. I’m also very attached to both characters and was excited to have the opportunity to have their journey continue. For those readers not familiar with THE NETWORK, what is the premise of the story? In THE NETWORK, a shadowy group is manipulating society through the media, entertainment, and legislature. Jack Logan, an investigative reporter, is drawn into the conspiracy when Senator Malcolm Phillips comes to him with a desperate plea to protect his wife, Taylor. Taylor is the one woman Jack truly loved, and when Jack hears the news that the senator has indeed been found dead, he springs into action. Jack and Taylor embark on a harrowing search for the truth as they are pursued by unknown assassins until they uncover…

Melissa Bourbon | Writing the Book Magic Mysteries
Author Guest / September 21, 2020

Have you ever planned something so perfectly, only to have it be a complete flop? On the other hand, have you had something randomly brilliant happen that came at the right time because you were in the right place? TheBook Magic Mysteries, for me, is that bit of random brilliance. The beginning of the Book Magic Mysteries started about three years ago with a neighborhood walk. I was with my good friend and fellow mystery writer, Wendy Lyn Watson. On this walk, she had been musing about a book idea featuring a bibliomancer. Being a book lover, I was immediately hooked by the idea. I insisted that she write this book, but adulting got in the way (in the form of other book contracts and Wendy’s day job as a professor). Fast forward to 2020. Wendy and I were talking from afar (I moved to North Carolina, and Wendy is still in North Texas) and the bibliomancy series came up during our conversation. One thing led to another, and pretty soon we were plotting an epic series that spans two coasts, features cousins Cora Lane and Pippin Lane Hawthorne, and centers around the Lane women’s gift (or curse) of bibliomancy….

Martin Edwards | 20 Questions: MORTMAIN HALL
Author Guest / September 21, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  Mortmain Hall, published by Poisoned Pen Press 2–What is it about? It’s a history-mystery set in 1930, and like Gallows Court, it features Rachel Savernake and the journalist Jacob Flint. They investigate a series of bizarre murder cases apparently involving miscarriages of justice and their enquiries eventually take them to an old country house on the north Yorkshire coast – Mortmain Hall 3–What word best describes your main character(s)? Rachel Savernake is mysterious. Jacob Flint is impetuous. 4–What makes your story relatable? It’s a story set in 1930 and involves bizarre murder mysteries, but above all it’s about human nature, and how people behave at times of stress 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help? Jacob turns to Rachel. Rachel is supported by the Trueman family. 6–What do you love about the setting of your book? Mortmain Hall is set in a coastal area near where I used to go on holidays as a child. It’s a beautiful coast, but can be eerie.   7–Are you a plotter (follow an outline) or a pantster (write by the seat of your pants)? Both; it depends on the story…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels: DON’T LOOK FOR ME by Wendy Walker
Author Guest / September 11, 2020

Jennifer Vido: What inspired you to write Don’t Look for Me? Wendy Walker: The book began with a personal experience, which has never happened before! I was driving back from my son’s soccer game four hours from home. The game had been hard to watch – rough play, bad ref calls, jeering from the other team’s classmates that was cruel. I felt terrible for my son and realized, perhaps for the first time, that I could not protect my children from many of the uglier things in life. I was also in a difficult stage of my own life so this was coming on top of an already heavy emotional load. I was halfway home and had to stop for gas. Standing at the pump, unable to stop my spinning thoughts, I saw this long road flanked by cornfields. Out of nowhere, I had this flash of a thought to just leave everything and walk down that road. Of course, I didn’t do that and the thought left immediately. But the rest of the way home, I wondered where it had come from and if, perhaps, there was a bigger story there which other people might relate to. It turns…