Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: SOMEBODY’S HOME by Kaira Rouda
Author Guest / January 21, 2022

Jennifer Vido: What inspired your new release, SOMEBODY’S HOME? Kaira Rouda: Actually, although it doesn’t mention the pandemic, the idea was inspired by those lockdown times early in the pandemic where home felt like the only safe place to be. And then I thought, but what if it isn’t. Let’s talk about Julie Jones. What’s happening in her life that sparks a new beginning? Julie realizes her daughter, Jess, is about to leave home for college and she is running out of time to find a real connection between them. Her marriage is a sham, and she is longing for a more genuine life. It’s time for a fresh start: A new home for herself and her daughter. Who is Tom Dean, and what’s his connection to the house Julie and her daughter desire to call home? Tom Dean is a lost twenty-something. He and his father, Doug, are estranged, his father’s wife, his stepmom Sandi, has tried to reach him without success. When Sandi and Doug sell the family home, Tom feels the last connection to his real mom slip away. Tom decides he won’t move from the carriage house in the back, despite the fact the new owners…

Melinda Leigh | Exclusive Excerpt: HER SECOND DEATH
Author Guest / December 6, 2021

Bree’s gaze snapped around the room and fell on some framed snapshots on a side table. Most of the photos focused on a little blonde girl. Bree’s heart kicked against her ribs. She’d known homicide would be challenging. Instead of the occasional dead body, death would be her focus on a daily basis. She’d come to terms with her new reality, but kids . . . For most cops, it was the child victims who broke them. “Lena is your daughter?” Romano asked. “Yeah.” Kelly jumped to her feet, her eyes wild. “You gotta find her.” Bree studied the photos.“How old is she?” “Five.” Kelly covered her mouth with one hand. She wrapped the other around her own waist. “Is there anyone James could have left Lena with?” Romano’s voice remained calm, but the tone had shifted. There was a layer of urgency under the quiet words. “Maybe his father. That’s who he lives with.” Kelly shoved a hand through her limp hair. She pulled out a phone and jabbed the screen. She turned on the speakerphone and held the cell in front of her mouth. A man answered in an angry voice. “Why are you calling me?” Kelly ignored…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR by Tara Laskowski
Author Guest / October 8, 2021

Jennifer Vido: What inspired you to write THE MOTHER NEXT DOOR? Tara Laskowski: I’ve been in several mom groups on Facebook or other places, and I’ve seen so much inner sniping and judging in those groups—along with a fierce protectiveness and defending as well. That, coupled with the strong community that forms with the parents in various schools, really got me thinking about how competitive and cliquish parents can be, especially when it comes to their kids. I think that was maybe the kernel of the story, and the rest of it fell out from there. Let’s talk about Theresa Pressley. How does she feel about moving to the idyllic suburban cul-de-sac Ivy Woods Drive? She thinks it’s a dream come true for her. I used to love driving by people’s houses at night and catching glimpses of families inside and wondering what their lives were like. When I was in grad school, I used to drive past this one house in my apartment’s neighborhood, and I loved that house. I always thought it would be a great house to live in. This is how Theresa feels. She used to look at Ivy Woods as the place that she’d live…

Melissa Koslin | NEVER MISS: What’s in a Name?
Author Guest / May 4, 2021

My husband and I have this long-standing disagreement. He likes names like John and Jane—literally the more boring the better. I, however, like something with some interest. While I have to work with him on naming our baby, I don’t have to give a hoot what he thinks about my character names! I am a collector of names. I have files in my phone for girl names, boy names, and surnames. Whenever I come across something interesting, I add it to the list and then pull my character names from there. Side characters usually have something I like but not one of my top favorites, except when I have a theme going. In NEVER MISS, which is a Christian romantic suspense book releasing from Revell on May 4, 2021, my female main character’s family all has names related to combat and fortification, which is fitting for a family of snipers. Their last name is Tolle simply because I’ve always liked that name. Bastion – her father Redan – her uncle, Bastion’s brother Caponier – her cousin Ravelin – her cousin The male character’s parents’ names are more personal. Lee Vaile is his father. Lee is my father’s middle name, and…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: DO NO HARM BY CHRISTINA MCDONALD
Author Guest / February 12, 2021

What inspired you to write DO NO HARM? I’ve spent much of my adult life watching my brother’s addiction to opioids. Watching someone you love go to war with themselves is a special level of hell. The experience profoundly changed me and my view of addiction and opioids. So I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to write a thriller set against the backdrop of the opioid epidemic. Then one day I saw a news story about a podiatrist who’d been arrested for starting an opioid ring and it got me thinking: why do people start selling drugs? Is it money, power, status? What would drive someone to do that? The only thing I believed I could ever understand, given that I’d watched my brother’s descent into addiction, was love. My children. I would do anything for them. And that was the moment I first thought of the story for Do No Harm. When Emma’s son is diagnosed with a rare cancer, how does her life change? After a troubled and lonely past in which her parents were killed in a car accident and she was raised in foster care, Emma has finally found the happiness and belonging…

Joseph Schneider | The Top Five Crime Stories that Made Me
Author Guest / January 18, 2021

You’ve had it, just as I have–that delicious moment when you read something that shatters you.  “I didn’t know you could do that with words,” you think, your relationship with literature forever changed. There’s a great scene in The NeverEnding Story when the bookseller tells Bastian how certain stories aren’t safe, that they won’t simply release you on your own terms. Here are five pieces that still haven’t let me go, and that’ve shaped my life as a writer of crime fiction. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates I was in 9th grade when our English teacher assigned this out of our thumping short story anthology. Oates begins her tale in the most unassuming way: Connie–fifteen, and with all the drama that entails–decides to stay home while her parents and sister go to a most uncool family barbeque. Sometime into the afternoon, two men show up in a convertible and honk the horn. Connie goes out to see what they want, and the terror begins to unspool. This story was a revelation. The idea that the most hideous things could happen in the middle of a blue day, and right where you lived, cut…

Victoria Ellis | Author-Reader Match: Deceitful
Author Guest / October 19, 2020

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 Victoria Ellis. ABOUT: Twenty-something author seeks readers who have a passion for all things mysterious, badass female main characters, and fighting to reveal the truth, always. The ideal reader match would be one who likes to get lost in a good mystery book every now and then; especially ones that include waking up in a cabin with no idea how you got there, or why your ex is serving you breakfast in bed. . . What I’m Looking for in My Ideal Reader Match: Their idea of a perfect date includes a weekend away in a secluded cabin! Prefers a strong female lead who takes control of the situation and handles it like a boss. Enjoys a fast-paced and emotional storyline Falls easily for the bearded old flame who resurfaces. Wants to get to the bottom of something a little bit. . . What to Expect if We’re Compatible: A wide selection of genres (I’m a multigenre author!) Frequent giveaways via my Newsletter, Facebook Page, & Instagram…

Susan Allott | 20 Questions: THE SILENCE
Author Guest / May 18, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  The Silence 2–What is it about?  Isla returns home to Sydney after 10 years living in London, to support her dad who is under suspicion in the case of a missing neighbor. Her home country, and her family, are more troubled than she expected. Her loyalty to her dad starts to waver when family secrets come to light. And it seems her community has been holding on to an older secret that goes to the heart of Australia’s colonial past. 3–What word best describes your main character? At the start of The Silence I would describe Isla as lost. She is hiding from life, at the beginning of a process of recovery but scared of the uncomfortable truths she really needs to face up to. I’d probably also say she’s tough, but she doesn’t know that about herself until later on. 4–What makes your story relatable?  The Silence is about people trying to figure out who they are, coming to terms with the things they regret and taking responsibility for those things. Some characters are doing better than others at the taking responsibility part, but they are all faced with that challenge and…

Maxine Mei-Fung Chung | 20 Questions: THE EIGHTH GIRL
Author Guest / March 16, 2020

1–What’s the name of your latest release?  The Eighth Girl: A Novel 2–What is it about?  The Eighth Girl is about a young woman named Alexa Wu who is living with DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) previously known as multiple personality disorder. Only three people know about her condition–her stepmother, Anna; her psychiatrist, Daniel and her best friend, Ella. When Ella starts work in a high-end gentleman’s club and catches the attention of its shark-like owner, Alexa finds herself the unwitting keeper of a nightmarish secret. With lives at stake, she follows Ella into London’s cruel underbelly on a daring rescue mission. Threatened and vulnerable, Alexa will discover (with the help of Daniel) whether her multiple personalities are her greatest asset, or her most dangerous obstacle. 3–What words best describes your main character(s)?  Alexa is a complicated heroine. While having survived trauma, she finds beauty in nature and small acts of human kindness which she records with her camera. She is also someone who others underestimate, and an advocate for the greater good. At the heart of Alexa is a longing for connection, a need to be understood. Daniel, who has also survived trauma at the hands of his alcoholic father…

James R. Hannibal | Exclusive Excerpt: CHASING THE WHITE LION
Author Guest / March 2, 2020

From Chapter Twelve State Route 123 Langley, Virginia Jordan had played her. Talia’s mind spun as her Civic clanked over the flattened hydraulic barriers of Langley’s southern gate. How foolish she’d been. No conversation with Jordan was ever just a conversation. “Leave them wondering how much you know,” Jordan had told her moments before Talia walked into her first mock interrogation back at the Farm. “That’s the key.” The Art of Interrogation–one of Talia’s worst memories from her training despite a syllabus that included Arctic Survival and Sewer Navigation. The memory filled her with regret. “But how?” she had asked Jordan. “Scott won the toss and played interrogator first. He has the advantage.” Talia watched him twiddle his thumbs on the other side of a two-way mirror. “The information is new, but the format is the same. The game favors Player One.” All Farm students spent time on both sides of the table in a two-player game. Each had to extract a set of unique, fictional information from the other. The more information extracted, the higher the score. Talia held up well under Scott’s shouting, but he had gained enough points to take the lead in the class. “Then think…