Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Mel Tescho | Exclusive Excerpt: THE VIRGIN HUNT GAMES
Author Guest / January 14, 2021

Melody woke shivering, with darkness pressing in all around her. And for a moment she forgot exactly where she was before reality sank in. Fuck. She blinked, but the blackness was relentless and all encompassing. And so thick she could all but touch it. Was this some kind of a joke? Nighttime had nowhere near this intensity of absolute darkness. Even under heavy cloud cover there was a hint of stars outside, a moon. Some kind of light source. How long had she been asleep? It felt like ten hours, but she guessed it had been closer to an hour or two at most. Not counting the time she’d spent trying out her supposed invisibility gift. All she’d managed was more of the same tingling sensation, and the growing suspicion the doctors had somehow bungled her DNA results. A sharp clink alerted her to the fact she was no longer alone. But she didn’t panic, her muscles relaxed on recognizing the sound of claws digging into rock. “Damon,” she called out. “Don’t move,” he bit out. “Dangerous.” “No shit,” she said softly, pushing away Damon’s wet vest that had pillowed her head. She rubbed the gooseflesh on her arms and…

Erica Cameron | Characters: Building Them Up and Breaking Them Down
Author Guest / November 1, 2019

I love worldbuilding. It’s fun, the best kind of neverending logic puzzle, and it’s easy for me to spend days or months layering details onto a burgeoning universe. Nobody wants to read what amounts to a history book about a fictional world, though. No matter how intricate and interesting the worldbuilding is, it’s the people who populate it who are going to be the tethers that pull readers across a landscape. I’m not one of those authors who knows everything about a character down to their blood type before I put words on pages. In fact, often the non-physical truths (i.e. things other than height, age, eye color, etc) I know about a character when I start writing can be listed on one hand. I treat characters like strangers I’m meeting for the first time, and I write partially to unveil the core of an individual. For me, worldbuilding is layering up. Building characters, though, is more a process of stripping down. Everyone has a core of principles, beliefs, motivations, and needs. Sometimes (okay, rarely) these are all in easy alignment and sometimes they’re diametrically opposed, but no matter what, the core of a person is what drives everything they…

Janet Elizabeth Henderson | RED ZONE
Author Guest / May 3, 2019

Do you remember the TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century? For a while, it was my favorite show as a kid. For those who don’t remember, the premise of the show was that a US astronaut got accidentally frozen on a deep space mission and then was defrosted five hundred years later, only to find that Earth was a completely different place to the one he remembered. Although the TV producer’s vision of the future looked a lot like the era it was made—Farrah hair, shiny neon cat-suits, and mini-skirts! The thing that really stuck with me though, *mumble-cough* years later, was that the hero was a man out of his time. All the cultural references he made were lost on the people around him. His jokes fell flat because they didn’t have the context for them. But we did. And the audience laughed along with Buck and commiserated that no one else got the joke. Although to be fair, I think sometimes we were laughing at Buck rather than with him. Go back and watch an episode, you’ll see what I mean! The thought of being transported to the future has always tickled my imagination. What would…

Amber Royer | Developing the Chocoverse
Author Guest / April 18, 2019

When I started developing the Chocoverse, I wanted to tell a story without easy answers, where nobody was exactly in the right, and they are all trying their best despite difficult circumstances.  I mean, come on, my heroine commits treason to her home planet within the first few chapters of the first book – because she believes stealing a cacao pod from one of Earth’s heavily guarded plantations will actually prevent war.  (The basic premise for the series is that the aliens have made first contact, they took samples of Earth’s commodities, and now the best coffee is grown on the other side of the galaxy – only, they missed chocolate, which becomes the only unique thing Earth has, and therefore one of the most sought after substances in the galaxy. And in a messy ‘verse that runs on secrets and conflict, love obviously wouldn’t be simple either.  The books have a strong (sweetly written) romantic subplot between Bo (the aforementioned heroine who steals chocolate to share with the aliens) and Brill (an alien of the species that made the clandestine first contact and stripped Earth of commodities.)  There’s societal prejudice on both sides – the long-lived Krom view Earthlings…