Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Debbie Wiley | Blame It On Baby Yoda…
Author Guest / May 10, 2021

by Senior Reviewer Debbie Wiley Streaming companies had a huge economic boost during the last year or so, and I have to admit I’ve hopped on that bandwagon. Normally, I watch very little tv and only go to the movies occasionally, so I blame Baby Yoda specifically for my latest tv marathon viewing, as it all started with The Mandalorian and Baby Yoda! After all, who can resist that little adorable frog-eating, egg-stealing, tiny force-wielding hero?! A few of my favorites since then have been The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, WandaVision, and of course, this long-time Godzilla and King Kong fan couldn’t resist Godzilla vs Kong – the movie that made me want to go back into a theater even when it still wasn’t a good idea for me (and is why I now have HBO Max LOL). Obviously, most of my favorite movies and series to watch tend towards the sci-fi or hero themes, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. After all, my all-time favorite book character is Harry Dresden from the Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series as his heroism shines through even in the worst of times as he strives to do the right thing, even when…

P.J. Manney | Exclusive Excerpt: (CON)science
Author Guest / April 29, 2021

CHAPTER EIGHT Peter Bernhardt woke up again. He felt odd, unlike anything he had yet experienced as a digital entity. His peripheral vision registered a clean engineering room’s wipeable acoustic tile ceiling and walls. From the ceiling hung three accordioned mobile ventilation ducts. He focused on the square mouth of one duct. The image was clear but edgy, as though his digital vision tried to blend each pixel together into an approximation of human sight, but had not quite succeeded. He lay supine in the center of the room, probably on a workbench or table. Raising his index finger, he tapped the surface three times and heard the muffled thud of a thick silicone skin on metal. The table seemed real, tangible, yet his finger felt jerky, electronic. He lifted his head and heard the faint sound of servos as he stared down along the length of the table at an android body. The skin appeared to be high-end silicon, with body hair tastefully punctured into the surface. The build was athletic, but not pumped. Slim, but not skinny. Pecs had definition and the stomach was flat, with a subtle six- pack. He lifted his head two centimeters more. Below…

Kim Bo-young | Exclusive Excerpt: I’M WAITING FOR YOU
Author Guest / April 8, 2021

His First Letter One day into the voyage, one day in Earth time  I said goodbye to the guys, as they won’t be seeing me until the wedding. In four years and four months, to be precise. They all said they’d come. We took photos and I gave each of them a small leather frame on a lanyard to hold the pictures. The wedding venue gave them to me for free when I paid the deposit on our booking. I told them to come to the ceremony wearing the photos around their necks. That way I won’t make a fool of myself asking each of them who they are. They made fun of me. “It must be great to be getting married. Leaving your pesky friends behind, huh?” “You interstellar marrying types are all traitors.” I told them it wouldn’t be an easy time for me either. I almost got punched when I added it was going to take me a whole eight weeks to get to our wedding day. A month to get up to the speed of light, and a month to slow down enough to make a safe landing. That’s how it works. And that’s even with…

Danielle Jackson Dresser | Reading Outside of My Comfort Zone
Author Guest / February 16, 2021

It’s still early enough in 2021 that I’m still mulling over my goals and intentions for the year. Drink more water. Write more. Move (with intent) for at least 30 minutes a day. Read more. This last one is always on my list. READ MORE. Is it truly possible? There are so many uncertainties right now, it’s hard to carve out dedicated time to really read. But one thing I do have control over is what I read and every year, I try to push myself to read things that I might not normally gravitate toward. I chose a few recent reads I’ve enjoyed that have been squarely outside of my comfort zone and that I really enjoyed. *** SCIENCE FICTION Look, I love Star Wars a whole bunch, but I’ve never been able to get into “Science Fiction” the “genre.” I stumble over worldbuilding that relies on a ton of explaining, but when it is done well and woven into the fabric of the narrative, I can relax and fully enmesh myself in the setting and the story. WINTER’S ORBIT by Everina Maxwell – What starts out as an arranged marriage to keep political alliances in line turns into…

Janet Stilson | Exclusive Interview: THE JUICE
Author Guest / February 11, 2021

Welcome to Fresh Fiction, Janet! Congrats on your new novel, THE JUICE. Can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your book?  Thank you so much for featuring me! I’m thrill-honored. I kind of live a double life. On the one hand, I’m a longtime journalist who fell into writing about media companies a long time ago. They are constantly changing, and utterly fascinating to me. On the other hand, I have been a teller of fictional tales ever since I was a little girl in a tiny upstate New York village called Franklin. (Now I live in the Bronx, and I can pull out the attitude to prove it!) I like to write fantasy and sci-fi stories that take conditions present in the world today and play them forward, into another space and time. That’s what I did with THE JUICE, which is a cyberpunk sci-fi tale about a secret substance that makes people incredibly charismatic, with god-like abilities. They are “used” by a media company to bend public thought to its will. Three unlikely allies try to stop this: a dirt-poor, homely teen who becomes a sort of Cinderella when she takes the Juice; a…

Everina Maxwell | 20 Questions: WINTER’S ORBIT
Author Guest / February 4, 2021

1–What is the title of your latest release? WINTER’S ORBIT 2–What is it about? In an intergalactic empire, charismatic social butterfly Prince Kiem is commanded to marry Count Jainan, a serious and duty-conscious diplomat from a vassal planet. But Jainan’s last husband died unexpectedly, and Jainan himself is under suspicion of murder. The pair must work together to solve the mystery of his last husband’s death, while they find themselves unexpectedly falling for each other. 3–What do you love about the setting of your book?  I had fun writing a royal family under a media spotlight and what that meant for the public perception of the main relationship. And while I was working on it, I enjoyed living in a world where queer relationships are so normalized they’re totally unremarkable. 4–How did your main character(s) surprise you?  Prince Kiem is one of those people who reacts to every situation by opening his mouth and starting to talk—some of the time I had no idea what he was going to say, but it always took the scene to fun places. 5–Why will readers relate to your characters?  I found it very easy to write Jainan, a habitual overthinker completely baffled by…

Michelle Diener | Working on Worldbuilding
Author Guest / October 29, 2020

The best feeling in the world for me is when I am reading a book and fall so completely into the story that I feel like I’m there. That feeling of being transported is why I wanted to be an author from a young age. I loved that sensation and want to create it for others. I work hard to suck my readers in, and some of the best compliments I receive about my books is readers telling me they didn’t want to leave the world I’ve created, or that the book can’t be long enough for their liking. Or that they read through the night and ended up going to work in zombie mode. Winning! 🙂 I started out writing historical fiction, and while the times and places I wrote about really existed, as we don’t (yet) have the ability to travel back in time, it is still a foreign landscape. The world-building was just as intricate and challenging for my historicals as the worlds I create for my fantasy and science fiction romance novels. I think that’s why I was able to move from historicals into fantasy and science fiction so easily. The world-building skill-set was the same….

K. Eason | HOW THE MULTIVERSE GOT ITS REVENGE
Author Guest / October 22, 2020

THE THORNE CHRONICLES started out on a hot strip of the 405 in traffic, where heat-induced frustration made me blurt out, “I want to write a feminist Sleeping Beauty story with a mohawked punk 13th fairy! In a spiked leather jacket! And what if she gives the princess a bullshit detector?” It’s fair to observe that I was already planning to break a few genre conventions. There are punk fairies in a pre-industrial, pseudo-European medieval setting. Also, there is…okay, no, there is a lot of bullshit in that setting, and in fairytales in general, but that made me think about Princess Leia’s no-bullshit attitude in, well, all the films. Which pretty much settled me on the setting. Fiction set in space (space opera, SF, however one decides to parse out the definitions) deals with tech that looks like magic to most people anyway (FTL, wormholes, jump-gates, laser-beams, sentient machines, cybernetics). Also, aliens! Which at their heart, is what fairies are. As my fairies became xenos, and once upon a time started on a distant planet, I soon realized the difficulty would be to preserve the feel of the fairy tale. I needed magic (even if no one says oh, this…

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…