Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
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,…

Kat Martin | Exclusive Excerpt from THE CONSPIRACY
Author Guest / January 14, 2019

Harper hadn’t thought she would be this nervous. But as an ominous fall wind whipped her pale hair and dark clouds threatened rain, Harper’s mouth felt dry and her palms were sweating. Crossing the sidewalk, she paused to take a deep breath, then pushed through the glass front door into the single-story brick building that housed the offices of Maximum Security. For her meeting with Chase, she had dressed with care in a navy blue cotton pencil skirt, a crisp print blouse, tucked in and belted, and high-heeled navy pumps. Simple, classic pieces, moderately priced, from the latest Elemental Chic collection. “May I help you?” A perky little receptionist, pretty and dark-haired, with big blue eyes behind round tortoiseshell glasses, sat at the front desk. “I’m Harper Winston. We spoke on the phone yesterday. You made an appointment for me with Chase Garrett.” “Yes, I remember. Chase saw it when he checked his calendar this morning. I’ll let him know you’re here.” She buzzed him and announced Harper’s arrival. Harper had no idea what sort of greeting she would receive. The petite brunette smiled. “You can go on back. His office is just through that door.” Harper crossed the room,…

Lynette Eason | Code of Valor + a recipe!
Author Guest / January 11, 2019

Happy New Year to you all! I’m so excited about my new release, the third book in the Blue Justice series, CODE OF VALOR (available now!) and am so honored to be on the Fresh Fiction blog once again. Since we’re right around the holidays – or just coming off the sugar high related to them – I thought I’d share a favorite recipe that I can see the St. John family enjoying. It’s a recipe that I found somewhere and through a bit of experimentation, changed it up a bit to suit me. 🙂 Not a whole lot, but a little. It’s a Strawberries and Cream Cheese Pie with an Oreo crust. – 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips – 2½ tsp shortening – room temperature (I start with 2½,  you can add more if you find you need it.) – 1 Oreo pie crust – 1 8-oz block cream cheese, softened to room temperature – 1/2 cup sugar – 1/2 cup sour cream – set it out to room temp and it mixes better. – 1 tsp vanilla – 1 tub Cool Whip (8 oz) – I also let this sit out and warm up to room temp before…

Michele Pariza Wacek | Top 5 Reasons Why Mixed-Genre Novels are Best
Author Guest / November 28, 2018

Before I was an author, I was a reader. I read A LOT of books over the years. (In fact, I taught myself to read at 3 years old because I wanted to write stories so badly.) And, one of the things I began to realize is I preferred books that mixed genres over just a single “pure” story. I’m also of the belief that I’m not alone. Look at the popularity of certain mixed genres categories. (Romantic suspense anyone?) So, as an author who has taken mixing genres to a whole new level (my current Secret of Redemption series combines psychological thriller, mystery, romance, paranormal and even a touch of women’s fiction) I thought I’d share my top 5 reasons why mixed genres are best. 1. There’s a little something for everyone. No matter what sort of story you prefer (romance, mystery, fantasy, sci-fi) in a mixed-genre book, you’re more likely to find something you like. Better yet, in a mixed genre book, even if you’re not crazy about one of the genres, you may still like the book because you like the other storylines. 2. Less chance of boredom. So, it may just be me, but one storyline…

Kat Martin | Mining for Stories + Exclusive Excerpt
Author Guest / November 5, 2018

All year long I search for new and interesting stories.  Each year, they seem more elusive. November 1st, WAIT UNTIL DARK, a digital novella was released.  It’s a prequel, and introduction to my Maximum Security series that starts with THE CONSPIRACY, out January 22nd.   As I worked to come up with a plot, the only thing I knew was that Jonah Wolfe and April Vale would be thrown together in a tale of greed and murder.  I had no idea how the story would play out. Or who, exactly, would wind up being the villain. I knew the setting.  Maximum Security is the Dallas security company where Cassidy Jones, the heroine of Beyond Danger, worked as a private detective.  I wanted to introduce some of the other men and women who worked at The Max, and WAIT UNTIL DARK gave me the perfect opportunity.   I wasn’t sure how I was going to put Jonah and April together, but little by little, a plot began to unfold in my head.  Since the book is a novella, I thought I’d start right off with the action. A bloody murder? Humm…why not? Halfway through, I was still finding my way, trying…

Kat Martin | Wait Until Dark
Author Guest / October 22, 2018

WAIT UNTIL DARK is a digital novella that introduces my new Maximum Security series, set around a private security company in Dallas, Texas.  The story gives you a sneak peek at the private detectives, bail enforcement agents, and bodyguards who work at The Max.   If you read BEYOND DANGER, Beau Reese’s story, you might recall meeting Chase Garrett, the owner of Maximum Security, where female detective, Cassidy Jones, was employed.   The first full-length novel in the series, Chase’s story, THE CONSPIRACY, will be out January 22 of next year–just in time for Valentine’s Day! In WAIT UNTIL DARK, Jonah Wolfe, a private investigator, has a knack for spotting trouble. When April Vale storms into his office, all his warning signs flash neon red. April’s been accused of murder–but has no memory of how she awoke in her coworker’s bed, drenched in his blood, the deadly bullet fired from April’s own gun.  April must convince Jonah to help her prove her innocence and the clock is ticking. The real killer is out there–and if they don’t find him before it’s too late, April may be his next victim. I hope you enjoy WAIT UNTIL DARK and that you’ll watch for…