Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Steven Cooper | ?#@*&%! – Why I Cuss in my Writing
Author Guest / September 17, 2019

Four words into my new novel, Valley of Shadows, I drop my first f-bomb. Nine words later I drop my second f-bomb. That’s two f-bombs in a hyper-short paragraph. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. Rip the bandage off, say it upfront, and get it out of the way. I realize that one f-bomb is enough to stop some readers; two f-bombs will prompt some people to return my book to the shelf. My books are not for those people. I respect those people. But I’m not writing for those people. When I create my stories, I try to develop characters who reflect the true human condition, whose lives–their loves, their losses, their joys, their strife, their conflicts, and their celebrations–are uncensored. The human condition is uncensored. Our lives are uncensored. And, thus, so are the words in the worlds I create. I write police procedural murder mysteries. I’m a former news reporter. I’ve done ride-alongs with cops. I’ve spent endless hours with them on crime scenes. I have yet to meet a cop who doesn’t curse. In fact, in researching Valley of Shadows, I did my typical fact-checking exercise by visiting the Homicide bureau at a local law enforcement…

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…

Lizzy Barber | Exclusive Interview: A GIRL NAMED ANNA
Author Guest / September 6, 2019

by Teresa Cross I read that your novel, A GIRL NAMED ANNA (My Name is Anna in the UK), won the Daily Mail First Novel Competition in 2017. I can see why because I absolutely loved it! Can you share with us where your inspiration for this amazing novel came from? Thank you so much – that is such a pleasure to hear! The inspiration came from a number of different places. The idea of a child being taken from a theme park was an innate fear my mum had when I was growing up. We used to go to Disney World in Florida every year, and she had a superstition about me being snatched, based on an urban legend about children being taken from theme parks and having their shoes changed and hair cut off. Thankfully I managed to get through many a visit without this happening! I was also very interested in a rash of cases which seemed to come to light about young women who had been abducted when they were children and had been found, alive, kept captive for years. These women were all abducted when they were old enough to remember who they were – I wanted…

Stephanie Kane | Lily Sparks’ Top Five Forgers
Author Guest / September 4, 2019

A PERFECT EYE pits Lily Sparks, a paintings conservator who was trained to believe her eye is perfect, against a forger-turned-murderer who is hiding in plain sight. When Lily zeroes in on the killer as a failed artist, she learns this: Some forgers aren’t in it for the money; they do it to prove a point. And the ones who are caught tend to meet very bad ends. Here are Lily’s top five forgers: 1 Eric Hebborn: A British painter who trained at the Royal Academy of the Arts and forged Old Master drawings. Hebborn sought revenge against the art world because critics called his works “derivative”, “labored” and “self-conscious”. In 1996, shortly before he published The Art Forger’s Handbook with tricks of the trade including modern recipes for period pigments and ink, he was attacked and killed on a street in Rome. Hebborn’s murder is still unsolved. 2 Mark Hofmann: A mild-mannered Utah Mormon (“a scholarly country bumpkin”) who forged historical documents about the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. To lull experts, Hofmann expressed doubts about the authenticity of his finds. “Do you really think it’s genuine?” he’d say. In 1985, to buy time before his forgeries were discovered,…

Elka Ray | Top 5 Things About Moving Away From Your Hometown, Then Moving Back
Author Guest / August 20, 2019

In my next book, the romantic mystery Divorce is Murder, divorce lawyer Toby Wong is forced to move back to the small town she was happy to leave. I set the series in my own hometown – a place I love, yet left – on Canada’s gorgeous Vancouver Island. Writing about Toby got me thinking about why it’s good to leave – and come home.   1) You expand your worldview Every town and neighborhood has its own culture. By the time you hit adulthood, whether you fit in or not, you understand your hometown’s norms. Maybe you grew up somewhere super conservative, the kind of place where church is mandatory and couples marry young. Or maybe your parents’ friends were constantly organizing protest marches and writing letters to Amnesty International. Whatever your reality, to you, it was normal. Now move across the country – or better still around the world. You’ll soon see that your “normal” is someone else’s “certifiably crazy”. It’s mind-blowing how differently different people interpret things. Just yesterday, in Vietnam, where I live, I met a fisherman throwing styrofoam boxes and dirty diapers into the ocean. I told him off. He told me he was cleaning…

Karin Slaughter | Exclusive Interview: THE LAST WIDOW
Author Guest / August 19, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your latest book, THE LAST WIDOW. THE LAST WIDOW is a Will Trent and Sara Linton book. But I wrote the story so that you don’t have to have read any of the previous books in order to know what’s the what. The stakes for Will and Sara are higher than ever before, as Sara is in imminent danger and has to do something she’s never done before–hurt people instead of trying to help them.  Which was fun!  The plot is really twisty, turny, sexy, and dark, with some moments of levity. It has some cult stuff. Some domestic terrorism. Some family drama. And a chihuahua. Everything you want in a good thriller. THE LAST WIDOW is the 9th book in your long-running and beloved Will Trent mystery series. How do you keep this series feeling fresh after so many books? Are there any advantages or challenges to writing about characters who are already so established?  Standalone and series novels each have their own challenges. It seems like it would be easier to write a Will Trent book because I’ve known him a long time, and I’ve…

Ann Aguirre | Author Reader Match: THE THIRD MRS. DURST
Author Guest / August 9, 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 Ann Aguirre!  Writes: Science fiction, romance, and thrillers. My latest book is a thriller, entitled THE THIRD MRS. DURST, and it’s a standalone story, an edge-of-your-seat read, releasing on August 8, 2019. About: Forty-something multi-genre author seeks readers for a dark and twisty thriller with a cunning, ruthless heroine determined to get revenge on the monster she married, who gets away with everything. Even murder. If you like revenge stories, this one is a must-read. What I’m looking for in my ideal reader match: They devour books and they’re not afraid to take a walk on the wild side… Dark stories call to them, and they enjoy seeing bad people receive comeuppance Not too squeamish Prefers heroines who aren’t particularly “nice”, but who are smart as hell, loyal, cunning, and ruthless, committed to achieving their goals Enjoy varied settings, visiting locales like Frankfurt and Prague Is always trying to figure out that final twist (but I hope they can’t this time!) They…

Carl Vonderau | What to Do and Not To Do If You Think Your Father Is A Serial Killer
Author Guest / July 8, 2019

All right, he’s always been a bit weird. But a serial killer? Actually, several children have faced this question about their fathers. Fred West and his wife killed at least twelve people. His daughter suspected something was up. So did the daughter of Edward Wayne Edwards, who killed five people. Here are six things you should you do, and two things you shouldn’t, if you think your father secretly kills people. Look into his childhood history. Sixty percent of serial killers wet the bed beyond the age of twelve. Many were abused as children. Others were peeping Toms and voyeurs who also had violent fantasies and were fascinated by fires. Jeffrey Dahmer and David Berkowitcz tortured animals. But it’s not like your father’s going to talk about his aberrant history. You should investigate with his siblings or cousins. You may find he didn’t do any of this. That doesn’t mean he’s innocent. Dennis Rader, the BTK killer who murdered ten people, had a perfectly normal childhood.  Analyze his abnormal behavior around you. Maybe he once inexplicably erupted in violence as Dennis Rader did when he lunged at his son and tried to choke him. Or maybe he goes out wandering…

Jennifer Ryan | Exclusive Interview: THE ME I USED TO BE
Author Guest / July 2, 2019

Welcome back to Fresh Fiction! Can you tell readers a little bit about THE ME I USED TO BE, and what inspired it? Thank you for having me back! THE ME I USED TO BE is a big family drama with lots of intense suspense, betrayal, and a budding romance between Evangeline and Chris, the cop who arrested her. It’s a lot of what I do in my romance series all wrapped up in a single book, but you get a glimpse of how all the family members perceive what happened, even though what they think happened wasn’t the whole truth. The book was inspired by something I’ve come to realize in my own life – People say beware of strangers, but family are the ones who can hurt you the most. I loved Evangeline Austen – a woman who is recently out of prison for a crime she didn’t commit. She comes home only to find out she’s inherited the failing family ranch, and even though they don’t want to, everyone is relying on her to pick up the pieces. What was the hardest thing for Evangeline to accept as part of her normal life once she got out?…

Emilie Richards | Exclusive Interview: A FAMILY OF STRANGERS
Author Guest / June 28, 2019

Two sisters, Ryan and Wendy, are at the core of this novel, and even though they don’t always see eye to eye, Ryan is ready to help Wendy when she needs help. How does their relationship fuel the plot of this suspenseful novel? Ryan, who is much younger than Wendy, has always been in awe of Wendy. They’ve never lived in the same house, because Wendy was on her way to college when Ryan was born, and afterward she was married and traveling with her new husband. Wendy was the beautiful, seemingly perfect stranger who was so beyond Ryan in everything she did or could do, that there was no hope to compete or to truly win her sister’s affection. Then, suddenly, as the book begins, Ryan is given the chance for both. I really love the title of this book: A FAMILY OF STRANGERS. It’s very captivating! What does feeling like a stranger in one’s own family do to the characters in your book? I originally titled this book The Perfect Daughter, and we all loved it. But suddenly there were dozens of books scheduled everywhere with “perfect” in the title. So when I started looking for a new…