Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
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…

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…

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…

M.C. Planck | Author Reader Match: BLACK HARVEST
Author Guest / June 12, 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 M.C. Planck!  WRITES: Science Fiction and Fantasy ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I was born in the USA and spent a good four decades there, studying philosophy at the University of Arizona and co-founding a small scientific instrument company. After that I spent a few years convincing missiles to fly but that was never really satisfying, so when I met an Aussie girl in an on-line debate forum I packed up and moved to Melbourne. We now have a brilliant daughter and two lazy cats, but sadly no kangaroos. WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR IN MY IDEAL READER MATCH: Readers who want to read about heroes, who care as much about the side characters as the main, who want a world they could imagine living in, who want to see happy endings even while they know that the real world does not sell its victories cheaply. WHAT TO EXPECT IF COMPATIBLE: Realistic, believable worlds with real human characters even while they are zooming around in…

Tracy Townsend | Author Reader Match: THE FALL
Author Guest / June 11, 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 Tracy Townsend!  What do I write: I’m an author who looks at fantasy and science fiction and says, “This is great. I want to do all of it.” I love fantasy that dabbles with technology; futurism riddled with fun anachronism; big-concept genre plots with deep, personal, character-driven stakes; people who are almost monsters and monstrous beings that are almost people. I love writing that appeals to a sense of adventure and doesn’t give up on literary style to do it. My novels are set in a world full of washed-up mercenaries, crooked cops, charming criminals, scrappy pickpockets, cynical clergy, murderous trees, nightmarish ogres, and endless secrets and conspiracies. More about me: I teach science fiction and fantasy literature as well as creative writing, so you can bet I put story craft and knowledge of genre fiction at the front of my writing. Of course, there’s a lot of my background as a martial arts instructor and acting coach mixed in, too. I…

David Walton | Top Five Ways a Self-Driving Car Might Kill You
Author Guest / June 11, 2019

Self-driving cars are coming! In my latest novel, THREE LAWS LETHAL, New York City is swarming with fleets of them, all competing for your business. The cars are programmed to keep people safe…right? Of course they are. But as the AIs driving the cars find more and more creative ways to beat the competition, they start to develop minds…and goals…of their own. But what about you? Are you lining up to buy a Tesla? Or staying as far away from them as you can? The question brings us to our Top Five list! A self-driving car might kill you in the following five ways: By Saving Someone Else. Let’s say a tree falls in front of a self-driving car and you’re walking nearby. Does the car kill its passengers by hitting the tree, or swerve to save them and kill you instead? With a human at the wheel, there would be no time to consider the question, but an AI has plenty of time to make a choice. In fact, it’s been programmed ahead of time to find the “best” option in any situation. So which one is best? Should it value the life of its owner more than it…