Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Glen Zipper & Elaine Mongeon | Exclusive Excerpt: DEVASTATION CLASS
Author Guest / September 17, 2020

Tell us a little about your latest project, the upcoming YA science fiction novel, DEVASTATION CLASS.  EM: The book is set in the distant future, with seven military cadets and seventy civilian students aboard a starship on a mission of science and learning. When most of the adults are off-ship, the ship is attacked by the Kastazi, a vicious enemy alien race thought vanquished. Our protagonists–best friends and cadets JD and Viv–are forced to make an impossible choice that will change their lives forever: obey their superiors and die, or mutiny to save the ship and the lives of everyone aboard. But that’s just the beginning. What at first looks like an obvious re-invasion by a former enemy turns out to be something much darker and shocking, and a mystery eons in the making will have to be unraveled for them to have any hope of surviving. GZ: Devastation Class is a multi-POV story, so we get to spend time in the heads of more than one character. Viv and JD are trying to succeed under the weight and long shadows of their war hero parents. There’s Nicholas, a cypher whose intentions and motivations are shrouded in mystery, and who…

Ian Douglas | Exclusive Interview: ALIEN SECRETS
Author Guest / June 25, 2020

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Ian! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest sci-fi novel, ALIEN SECRETS. Well, I’m Ian Douglas, also known as William H. Keith, H. Jay Riker, and a few other names. Alien Secrets is the first book in the Solar Warden series.  Solar Warden, in real life, is a conspiracy theory about a top secret US government program of the same name, involving our government back-engineering crashed flying saucers, trading abductees for advanced technology, working with various alien species, and keeping it all hidden from the public. This is the first book in your new series, Solar Warden. What do you enjoy about starting a new series? What will readers find within the world you’ve built in ALIEN SECRETS? Unlike much of my SF writing, the Solar Warden series is set pretty much in the present day. While I get to imagine the various alien technologies available, I can also reference recent world events without having the characters think of them as ancient history.    There’s quite a bit of history throughout ALIEN SECRETS. Did you initially intend for this? Where did the idea come from? I’m a history buff anyway, and much of the current conspiracy…

Amber Royer | Five Things I Love About Chocolate + Giveaway!
Author Guest / April 17, 2020

Somebody asked me the other day if I ever get tired of chocolate, since my funny, romantic Sci-Fi series revolves around it.  And I Instagram about it.  And post recipes, and cooking videos, and have a whole chocolate-themed cookbook.  And – I’m growing it. Don’t tell anybody, but yes, I go through phases where the last thing I want to do is think about another piece of chocolate – let alone eat one.  But when we travel, I’ll check out the shops in town, to find craft chocolate makers and mom-and-pop candy shops, and unique chocolatiers marching to the beat of their own kazoos. Talking to someone about their passion for chocolate as an art form, or for blending flavors the way a wine-maker does, or teaching kids about food or using chocolate to connect with the local community – or to communities of farmers around the world — is some pretty heady stuff.  And getting to taste the chocolate they’ve put all that passion into – that’s the kind of thing you can’t get tired of. There’s an almost universal connection that people have to chocolate.  Often, when I go to handsell the Chocoverse books I say, “The aliens…

Nino Cipri | FINNA
Author Guest / March 5, 2020

I got my first job at eleven, working at a doggy daycare, and I’ve been more-or-less continuously employed since then. Now, at age 34, my full work history is long and weird: server, gas station attendant, construction worker, theater set builder, house cleaner, bookseller, landscaper, bike mechanic, teacher, freelance writer, and editor. A lot of this work brought me joy, particularly when I was lucky enough to have great coworkers, or supervisors who invested in their teams. I’ve also seen firsthand the ways employers can exploit, belittle, and manipulate their workers. I poured years of frustration into my novella, FINNA. FINNA begins in an enormous homegoods store where, thanks to the uniquely awful corporate layout, reality has a tendency to tear doorways into other worlds. When an elderly customer wanders into a wormhole in a furniture showroom, the task of tracking her down falls to Jules and Ava, the workers with the least seniority. (There used to be a specialized division that handled these cases, but they were cut during the Recession.) Navigating a series of hostile, alien worlds would be hard enough, but Ava and Jules broke up three days ago. Before you ask: no, there’s no overtime (unless…

Barb Han | 20 Questions: SELECTED
Author Guest / February 6, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release? SELECTED 2–What is it about? A teen who comes from nothing and finds herself at an amazing school with a golden ticket for the future. She quickly learns that nothing at the school is what is seems and falls for a guy who she isn’t sure she can trust. 3–What word best describes your heroine? Gifted. 4–What makes your hero irresistible? He’s superpopular but turns his back on his shallow friends to find something real in life, to find someone real. I love that quality in him. 5–Who are the people your main characters turn to when they need help? My main characters turn to their friends when they need help. They are also very self-reliant. 6–What do you love about the setting of your book? I loved playing around in the near future, like, twenty years ahead. I loved playing around with what society would look like if an overarching government broke down. And I loved setting a story in a make-believe prep school. There’s so much pressure on teens today that I think is captures at Easton Prep. 7–Are you a plotter (follow an outline) or a pantster (write by the…

Debbie Wiley | Fall Fantasy Book Recommendations!
Author Guest / November 14, 2019

Fresh Fiction Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley  Fantasy novels are magical with their ability to transport you to other worlds. Worldbuilding is crucial to the success of any fantasy novel as we need to believe in these imaginary and sometimes quite fantastical worlds. Character development is important as well since we have to care about the fates of the characters. Despite the fact that both elements are important to any genre but particularly the fantasy genre, most readers have a preference for one or the other and I have to admit I prefer complex worldbuilding over character-driven novels. Here are some of my recent favorite fantasy novels in which the authors do a marvelous job at balancing both character development and worldbuilding. Who doesn’t love a series featuring a Library in charge of the world? Rachel Caine’s brilliant series, The Great Library, recently concluded with the fifth and final book, SWORD AND PEN. SWORD AND PEN showcases all of the characters we’ve grown to love and cheer for putting it all on the line in hopes of finally creating a world of peace and information, where the Library doesn’t squelch knowledge it doesn’t like. The worldbuilding is phenomenal, as we have…

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…

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…

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…

The Gods and Goddesses of ANALIESE RISING
Author Guest / January 7, 2019

Many gods and goddesses from the many mythologies around the world populate the pages of my newest release, Analiese Rising. I had a lot of fun researching and learning about them. Some I’ve heard of before, others I didn’t even know existed. The challenge was taking from their stories and creating a modern version of each—giving them unique personalities based on their legends. Today, I thought I’d introduce you to many of them from my book. I’ll start with Sid, aka Sidapa, and Bulan. Sidapa and Bulan are gods from Philippine mythology. Theirs is a love story between two male gods. Sidapa admired the seven moons’ beauty that he tried to romance them until one, Bulan, answered Sidapa’s attempts to romance the moons. He came down to Earth, and they lived together as lovers on Mt. Madjaas. This story intrigued me so much that I had to add the gods to Analiese Rising. In my story, Sid loves to wear makeup and seems like a player, but when the moon calls, he’s off to spend time with Bulan who only comes to earth on a full moon. Lugh, a Celtic sun god of many skills. He’s a trickster god and…