Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Veronica Forand | Writing on the Run
Author Guest / April 1, 2019

Writing had never been a linear process for me. My stories haunt me while writing them. Some of my favorite lines pop into my head at the worst possible times. If I ignore them, I have learned to my detriment, they will be lost to me forever. Therefore, I try as hard as possible to capture the words when they tap me on the shoulder. Here are some of the strangest places I write. I have a dictaphone for walks. I can dictate hundreds of words in a short amount of time while strolling down country roads with my dog Scout. I drive with lots of napkins in my car and if an idea comes to me, I pull over and write as much as I can fit onto the napkin. Sitting in the back of a homeowners association meeting, the notes on my laptop are more likely for my book than notes of the meeting. In spin class, I have a pen nearby and when I have an idea, I write it on my wrist until the class is over and I can get home to add it to the appropriate scene. The weirdest place a character ever spoke…

Katie Ruggle | Exclusive Excerpt: IN HER SIGHTS
Author Guest / March 25, 2019

A knock on the door interrupted Molly’s perusal of the Colorado criminal statutes. Completely caught up in the sentencing guidelines that may be her mom’s future, she jumped at the sound. Warrant, on the other hand, didn’t even lift his head off the floor where he was sprawled out over an air-conditioning vent. Instead, his tail thumped lazily a few times before he fell back asleep. The dog’s reaction made Molly fairly certain of who was at the door. As she stood up, she swallowed a groan at the feel of her spine popping back into place. Glancing at the clock, she saw that she’d been hunched over her laptop for most of the afternoon. It was no wonder her body was protesting. After peeking through the peephole in the front door, she unlocked it and swung it open. “This is becoming a habit.” “What is?” John slipped past her, striding into the house as if he owned the place. Making a face and pretending that she wasn’t glad to see him, she closed and relocked the door. “You showing up on our doorstep uninvited.” “If you want me to leave, I can take this very valuable information and go.”…

Susan Stoker | DEFENDING MORGAN Exclusive Excerpt
Author Guest / March 4, 2019

Clearing his throat, Arrow said, “I came in here to see if you wanted to try to get those mats out of your hair. The guys found conditioner.” He held up a white bottle. Morgan brought a hand up to her head self-consciously. She knew how bad her hair was, had seen it firsthand in the mirror. She hadn’t wanted to take a pair of scissors to it, but was afraid it was going to be inevitable. “Sure. But I don’t know if it’ll do much good,” she told him honestly. Arrow stood and held out a hand to her. “We can try.” She liked that. We. She felt his fingers brush over her cheek in a barely there caress before he tugged on her hand, urging her to walk toward the bathroom. Maybe it was her time in captivity that made her appreciate the little things more. Arrow grabbed the ice bucket on the way into the bathroom. Morgan stood there feeling awkward as Arrow set the conditioner on the edge of the bathtub, then put his hands on his hips, surveying the room. He turned to her and gestured toward the tub. “Go on and have a seat…

Frankie Y. Bailey | Dead Bodies and Romantic Tension
Author Guest / February 25, 2019

I didn’t set out to create a series with a sleuthing couple. But Lizzie Stuart, my crime historian protagonist, found John Quinn, Philadelphia homicide detective, intriguing when they met in Cornwall England in Death’s Favorite Child. In A Dead Man’s Honor, when Quinn astonishes her by applying for a position at the Virginia university where she is going to spend a year doing research, she is both dismayed and even more attracted. This relationship between my amateur sleuth and a police officer is common in mystery novels. There are even series – at least three or four — with a male amateur sleuth who is involved with a female cop. The reason for these pairings is often convenience. If the amateur sleuth has a relationship with a police investigator – whether romance or friendship – the sleuth can then: gain access to crime scenes gain access to autopsy and crime lab reports find out what witnesses and various suspects claim have a man (or woman) with a gun handy when one is needed The relationship also introduces on-going tension between two primary characters because the amateur sleuth – prone to getting into situations involving murder and other crimes – has…

Karen Rose | Exclusive Interview
Author Guest / February 18, 2019

We are pleased to share this interview between bestselling author KAREN ROSE and Fresh Fiction reviewer Pat Pascale. Karen’s new book, SAY YOU’RE SORRY, is in stores now. If you’re in the Houston area, Karen Rose and Lisa Gardner will be at Murder by the Book this Wednesday, February 20, for a fun event. You can find out more here: https://www.murderbooks.com/event/lisa-gardner-karen-rose. Now, on with the interview! I’ve been a fan of the bestselling and award-winning author Karen Rose since she published DON’T TELL in 2004. SAY YOU’RE SORRY is among my best reads of the year so far. It’s over 600 pages of pure terror, excitement with a touch of sweet romance kept me glued until the end. The serial killer in this novel is a monster who must be stopped before he mutilates, assaults, and kills another victim. He has a strange “code of ethics” behind how he chooses victims. Please tell us more about him, and how this character formed in your mind while writing SAY YOU’RE SORRY. I wanted to write a killer whose fury might be understandable to readers, even when his actions were totally wrong. SAY YOU’RE SORRY’s killer tells himself he’s taking out this fury…

Julie Rowe | How Staying Creative Through the Bad Times Can Save Your Life
Author Guest / February 4, 2019

The last couple of years have been a challenge. 2016 saw a massive wildfire force the total evacuation of my home city (Fort McMurray, AB) for a month. Since then, I’ve had several family members become sick and/or pass away. It seemed like just when I thought things were going back to normal, some new horrible thing would happen. The stress was unrelenting and my creative output suffered as a result. Thankfully, I have an amazing editor who stuck with me, offered advice, and encouraged me to keep writing despite the often overwhelming grief I was mired in. Writing Sleight of Hand, the latest release in my Outbreak Task Force series, probably saved my life for several reasons: – It gave me an outlet for my grief and stress – It was something positive to focus on – I worked through some of my own trauma while my characters worked through theirs – Daily writing meant keeping a schedule, setting goals, and feeling a sense of accomplishment – Achieving a goal (creative or otherwise) releases dopamine in the brain (the happy chemical) All of this reduced my stress level, which had a direct, positive, impact on my health by: –…

Connie Mann | A Captain’s Life for Me!
Author Guest / January 28, 2019

Many of my writer friends long for the day they can quit their day jobs to write full time. When people ask if that’s my plan, too, they’re often surprised when I say, “Oh, no. I love my ‘other’ job!” I’m a USCG-licensed boat captain and have been working for our local school system for almost 11 years. Several days a week, I take 5th graders out on Central Florida’s Silver River in a 33-foot pontoon boat and get to show many of them their very first alligator. It is such a fun job! (Well, except when it’s 38 degrees out and misty and windy. Then, not so much.) Is it a challenge to juggle two very different careers? No question. But over the years, I’ve realized that my captaining brings a balance to my life that would be missing if I was home all the time. Here’s what I mean: It Forces me Out of my Writing Cave Writers often tend toward introversion. Somehow, I’m a hybrid–an extroverted introvert, meaning, I need my alone time, but I also crave time with people. If I’m alone in my house for too long…well, let’s just say the places my unsupervised brain…

Danielle M. Haas | How My Contemporary Romance Turned Into A Romantic Suspense That Got Me Published
Author Guest / January 23, 2019

When I first started writing Bound by Danger, the story started out as a flirty rom-com about a flight attendant who hurries off the plane to meet a blind date. She rushed to the restaurant only to discover the man she’s meeting had been on her flight, and she’d forced him from the bathroom with a woman he was on the verge of joining the mile-high club with. Enter the weak excuse, add a desperate man needing a date for a wedding, and the first half of the book was complete. But something was off. My hero had engaged in very unheroic behavior. How could I give him a plausible reason for his actions at the beginning of the book and still make him worthy of my heroine? Turns out I couldn’t. I could, however, give him a reason for being on that same plane. Instead of him chasing after a girl, he could chase a bad guy who tried to take over the plane. Then he and my heroine could meet under fast-paced, exciting circumstances that throw them together…leaving both a little shell-shocked and dripping with attraction. Wait a minute, I write sweet contemporary romance. Not fast-paced, sexy suspense…

Kat Martin | Researching Columbia for THE CONSPIRACY
Author Guest / January 21, 2019

Sometimes what you think is going to be a great idea for a novel turns out to be a whole lot of work!  That’s what happens when you realize the idea you are now in the middle of isn’t going to work the way you thought it would. In THE CONSPIRACY, I got the idea for a book that started in Texas, moved to the Caribbean, and ended up in Venezuela.  With all the trouble country is having, I thought it would be a great setting for a Romantic Thriller. Unfortunately, after I was well into the book and started doing the necessary research for that segment of the story, I realized the geography I needed and the rural setting didn’t exist in Venezuela.  I I spent days digging around in South America, looking for a rainforest that could be reasonably reached from the Caribbean island of Aruba.  Nothing worked. Finally, I realized there actually was spot that exactly fit the image in my head.  (This happens to writers all the time. No one knows why.) The spot was in Colombia, a place I had no desire to write about, but fit the story exactly.   So I went to…

Kendra Elliot | Exclusive Excerpt: A Merciful Fate
Author Guest / January 17, 2019

She leaned across the table and held his gaze. “I heard they found a murdered body not too far away.” Her voice was appropriately quiet, but fascination burned in her eyes. Alarms rang in Ollie’s head. “Do you know if that’s true?” Tabitha asked. “Or are people making stuff up?” “It’s true,” he admitted. Her eyes widened. “Oh! How scary … Did they catch who did it?” “It happened a long time ago,” Ollie informed her, feeling a little guilty for talking about the dead. “It wasn’t really a body … Just a skeleton was left.” An image of the skull’s bullet hole flashed in his mind. “Do they know who it was? Or how long ago it happened?” She took another bite, her gaze never leaving his as she hung on every word. Melted soft serve dripped on the table. “Well … don’t tell anyone, but they think it’s related to a big robbery that happened in Portland a long time ago.” “You’re not talking about the Gamble-Helmet Heist, are you?” Ollie froze. “How’d you know?” “Everyone knows about it.” She shrugged and looked at her parfait as she scooped up fudge and peanuts. “If it’s related to that,…