Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Laurence MacNaughton | My Funny (and Totally True) Ghost Story
Author Guest / October 15, 2019

The funniest ghost story I’ve ever heard is actually a true story. I know, because it happened to me. First, a little context. Here in Colorado, we have our fair share of spooky history. First off, there’s the Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King to scare the pants off of generations of readers with The Shining. In real life, the hotel’s creaky halls are supposedly haunted by restless spirits. Four of them, in fact–named Lucy, Paul, Elizabeth, and Eddie, if you believe everything you read. Now, I don’t know how scared I can personally be of a ghost named after Frasier Crane’s dog, but there you go. Right in the heart of Denver, there’s Cheesman Park, a sunny and popular picnicking spot bordered by pricey real estate, and also built on an abandoned cemetery, where unsuspecting landscapers occasionally dig up Wild West-era skeletons. And you thought your Mondays were rough. And we’re not even going to talk about the Museum of Colorado Prisons, certainly the creepiest stone-walled structure for five hundred miles. I’m not sure why anyone visits this place. Maybe because one of the colorful inmates was a convicted cannibal? Because there is that. No, what fascinates me most…

Davis Bunn | Exclusive Interview: UNSCRIPTED
Author Guest / October 14, 2019

Welcome to Fresh Fiction! Please tell us a little about yourself and your latest novel, UNSCRIPTED. These past several years have been a time of transition for me.  After writing with Janette Oke for going on a decade, she retired.  I decided this was my last-best opportunity to do what I had always dreamed of ‘someday’ – writing for the screen as well as novels.  So I obtained a degree in screenwriting and got to work. UNSCRIPTED is the outcome of these first experiences within the film world. Both of the main characters are trying to prove something about themselves – Danny, that he wasn’t at fault for what landed him in jail and restart his career, and Megan, to show she can do things on her terms and still be successful. Talk a little bit about what their struggles tell readers about them as people.  There is a saying you often hear in the film world:  ‘Hollywood likes to bury their dead while they are still breathing.’  I think Clark Gable was the first to say this, but I’m not sure.  Anyway, what they mean by this is, many people are looking for an excuse to write you off.  To be…

James R. Hannibal | Double Feature Mashups
Author Guest / September 30, 2019

Ask any marriage counselor and they’ll tell you the top three reasons couples fight are money, mothers-in-law, and what to watch on movie night. Okay, I totally made that up, but those topics are up there, right? Let me spare you a few arguments with the infographic below. Even better, these are all double features. So, if you and your spouse are not into staying up super late, this list might be good for ten movie nights. Here’s a little context: I love spy movies, and I love heist movies. This came out in spades in my latest thriller, The Gryphon Heist. Review after review has called it a mashup of “Mission Impossible” and “Ocean’s Eleven,” and you don’t see me complaining. In fact, I decided to take the idea a step further. This infographic pairs ten of my personal favorites–five heist movies and five spy movies–into epic double features. As a bonus, each comes with a mashup–the movie we might have seen if the film canister contents got all jumbled up. Take a break from the movie argument, pop some corn, and enjoy. . . *** THE GRYPHON HEIST by James R. Hannibal Talia Inger is a rookie CIA…

Meg Tilly | Exclusive Excerpt: HIDDEN COVEN
Author Guest / September 30, 2019

HIDDEN COVE is the latest Solace Island novel by award-winning actress and novelist, Meg Tilly. Be sure to check out the Fresh Fiction Podcast for an exclusive interview with Meg, available TOMORROW! You can find the Fresh Fiction Podcast on Apple Podcasts or the podcatcher of your choice. Now, on with the excerpt!!  *** Gabe leaned against the boardwalk railing, tipped his head upward, and shut his eyes, enjoying the early-morning sunshine on his face. He could hear the seagulls behind him, wings flapping, and the occasional shrill caw. They were flying into the air with clams in their beaks, dropping them onto the rocks and then swooping down to eat the contents. Sometimes a wily seagull would lurk below and snatch the prize from the broken shell. Made him laugh. Reminded him of his dad. When they’d spoken this morning, his dad had sounded much improved, eager to pick Gabe’s brains about the place. “Take your time, boyo. No need to rush back. Enjoy all that the island has to offer. Beautiful women, hikes, biking, art galleries, artisan cheese makers, bakers, beautiful women . . .” His dad had repeated the last one with a laugh. “It’s all those damned yoga…

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…