Laurie Cass | Where I Get My Ideas

To tell you the truth, I have no idea where the plots of my books originate. Not really. Not even when I’m writing them. For me, a book comes together in chunks. These chunks are of different sizes, ranging from huge (the identity of the killer, say) to very small (the name of a new restaurant in town).

The other thing that keeps me from remembering where I get my ideas is my incredibly poor memory. Case in point: a couple of months ago I was talking to some nice ladies who knew I also wrote the PTA Mysteries under the name Laura Alden. They asked about the motive of the killer in that book and—please believe me when I say I am not making this up—I had no idea who killed the victim, let alone why.

It was not a proud moment in my life, and I’m sure those nice ladies think I’m a nutcase (“You wrote the book and you don’t remember?”) but I truly could not summon up the killer’s name. And I never remembered to go back and look so I still don’t know.

Anyway, CAT WITH A CLUE started with the following idea: What if, one morning, Minnie found a murder victim in the library? Okay, that would work. Now what? Well, then I had to figure out why anyone would be killed in a library in the middle of the night. So it most likely had something about books, right? What on earth could that be?

That’s pretty much how it went for the entire outline. (Yes, I outline my books. I didn’t always, but in the interest of less time spent rewriting, I moved to detailed outlines a number of books ago.) I figure out one thing, which leads to another thing that needs to be figured out, which leads to another thing and umpteen hours of hair-pulling later, the outline of a book is complete. Ta-dah!

I do, however, remember the origins of a couple things in CAT WITH A CLUE. One particular character came out of an information-gathering spurt I’d undergone while working on a book proposal. The main character of this particular novel featured a female conservation officer who had Asperger’s Syndrome. She was on the functional end of the autism spectrum and had never been diagnosed, but developed a friendship with a teenage boy who also had Asperger’s.

To develop those characters, I read up on Asperger’s, talked to a number of people, etc., and learned a tremendous amount. Then I wrote character studies of the main character and her young friend, incorporated their personalities into a detailed synopsis, wrote fifty pages of the book, and sent it off to my agent, who was excited about the whole concept.

Sadly, no publishing house agreed, and the novel was never completed. But no research is ever wasted, right? When CAT WITH A CLUE needed a secondary character who happened to have a bizarre amount of knowledge about a particular thing, I knew exactly what kind of character to create. Hooray!

The other thing I know for sure about CAT WITH A CLUE is where I got the idea for the layout of the historical museum. Though it isn’t exactly the same as the museum in the small northwest lower Michigan town in which I work, there are a tremendous number of similarities.

Bottom line, as I said at the beginning, I basically have no idea where I get the ideas for my books. I spend a lot of time staring at the computer and thinking and, with any luck, something that isn’t complete crap will transfer itself from my head to the laptop.

In many ways, the act of writing is itself an adventure. Every single time you sit down to write you never know exactly what’s going to happen, not for sure, and that’s a big part of the fun.

CAT WITH A CLUE by Laurie Cass

Bookmobile Cat Mystery

Cat With a Clue

The national bestselling author of Pouncing on Murder returns as librarian Minnie Hamilton and her rescue cat Eddie discover there’s a true
crime story unraveling in their own nonfiction section. . . .

Early one morning while shelving books in the library, Minnie stumbles upon a dead body. Authorities identify the woman as an out-of-towner visiting Chilson for her great-aunt’s funeral. What she was doing in the library after hours is anyone’s guess . . . but Minnie and Eddie are determined to save the library’s reputation and catch a killer.

As rumors about the victim circulate through Chilson, the police are in a bind over a streak of baffling break-ins. Luckily, Minnie and Eddie are traveling the county in their bookmobile, and they’ll stop at nothing to find the spineless killer before the final page is turned on someone else.

Mystery Pet Lovers | Mystery Cozy [Obsidian, On Sale: August 2, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780451476555 / eISBN: 9780698405509]

About Laurie Cass

Laurie Cass

Laurie Cass grew up in Michigan and graduated from Eastern Michigan University in the 80’s with a (mostly unused) Bachelor of Science degree in geology. She and her husband live on a lake in northwest lower Michigan. When Laurie isn’t writing, she’s working at her day job, reading, yanking weeds out of her garden, or doing some variety of skiing.

Bookmobile Cat | Victoria Square Mystery

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Margaret Coel | Butch Cassidy Shopped Here

The sign in the window of a hardware store on the Main Street of Dubois, Wyoming, stopped me in my tracks. Butch Cassidy? Here? I opened the heavy oak door and stepped into a treasure/junk hunters’ dream. Everything you can imagine had been jammed onto sagging shelves and hung from hooks: shovels, axes, pitchforks, hammers, screws, nails, hinges, brackets, chains, knobs, saddles, tack, chaps, ropes, gun racks, guns, oilcans, generators. Smells of dust and grease and dried leather clogged the air. Yes, I could imagine Butch Cassidy browsing through all this stuff.

Tacked on the wall was a poster of Butch himself with his wide grin and cowboy hat and the story of how he used to shop here in 1890 to buy supplies for his ranch just outside of town.

Just outside of town? That meant Butch Cassidy had ranched next to the Wind River Reservation which lies south of Dubois. I couldn’t believe my luck. I had been writing crime novels set among the Arapahos on the reservation for almost twenty years. Before that I wrote history, and I will forever remain a history nut. Even though my novels are contemporary, with two modern-day sleuths, Vicky Holden, Arapaho attorney, and Father John O’Malley, Jesuit priest, the stories always dive into the past. I am fascinated by old crimes, frauds and injustices and by the larger-than-life western characters whose lives intersected with the Arapahos. I stared at Butch’s grinning face knowing I had just found another novel.

Writing about the past requires doing a lot of fun research. I read all the books on Butch Cassidy that I could lay my hands on. I crossed the reservation and spoke with Arapaho friends who were generous enough to pass on family stories about Butch. Everybody knew him, it seemed, and everybody liked him. He never missed a get-together on the rez or the chance to dance with the girls. If you needed help, Butch was your man. Once, when a neighboring rancher took sick, Butch pitched in and kept his ranch going until the neighbor was well.

For Butch, ranching was an attempt to go straight, but it didn’t last long. After a couple years, he was back on the outlaw trail, rustling horses and robbing banks and trains. There simply was more money in it than in ranching. But Butch never forgot his friends on the reservation. He visited many times over the years—sometimes hiding out from posses and sheriffs in hot pursuit. None of his friends ever gave him up. Still generous, Butch would share his loot. He helped ranchers pay off mortgages before the banks could foreclose, and I suspect he enjoyed the irony that the banks were paid off with the money he had liberated.

Before I could start writing the novel, I had to find a way to connect Butch Cassidy to the present. I found the connection in an old rumor that Butch had buried treasure on the rez. It made sense. After all, he was on the run, and if the posses ever caught up with him—they never did—they would help themselves to the loot. Why wouldn’t he bury it somewhere to be reclaimed later?

I started asking the “what if?” questions I always ask when thinking through a novel. What if someone today found the treasure Butch left behind? And what if someone else wanted that treasure badly enough to commit murder?

With the connection made, the novel took off. Vicky and Father John swung into action. Other characters stepped onto the stage to play their roles: Cutter, who may or may not be who he seems, Ruth, the air-headed widow desperate for a better life. Butch himself appeared in several chapters, hiding out on a former girlfriend’s ranch in the 1890s and leaving behind a map to buried treasure. Once the pieces were in place, The Man Who Fell From the Sky, like all of my novels, seemed to pretty much write itself. All I had to do was type the words into my computer.

About Margaret Coel

Margaret Coel

Margaret Coel is the New York Times best-selling author of the acclaimed Wind River mystery series set among the Arapahos on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation and featuring Jesuit priest Father John O’Malley and Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden.

She is a native Coloradan who hails from a pioneer Colorado family. The West — the mountains, plains, and vast spaces — are in her bones, she says. She moved out of Colorado on two occasions — to attend Marquette University and to spend a couple of years in Alaska. Both times she couldn’t wait to get back.

She writes in a small study in her home on a hillside in Boulder. The window frames a view of the Rocky Mountains and the almost-always blue sky. A herd of deer are usually grazing just outside, and one summer a couple of years ago, a mountain lion made its home closeby.

“Every day,”she says, “I drink in the West.”

Wind River Mystery

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THE MAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY by Margaret Coel

Wind River #19

The Man Who Fell from the Sky

New York Times bestselling author Margaret Coel returns to Wind River with Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley investigating a lethal link between legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy and a present-day murder…

When Robert Walking Bear’s body is found in the Wind River mountains, his death appears to be accidental—except for the fact that he had been hunting for Butch Cassidy’s buried loot with a map he had gotten from his grandfather, a map believed to have been drawn by the leader of the Hole in the Wall gang himself.

It isn’t long before rumors circulate that Robert was murdered by his own cousins to get the map and find the treasure themselves. Despite there being no evidence of foul play, the gossip gains credibility when both Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley are contacted by an anonymous Arapaho claiming to have witnessed Robert’s killing.

When one of Robert’s cousins falls prey to another deadly accident, Vicky and Father John are convinced the victim is the witness who confided in them, and the hunt for the killer is on in earnest—before more die in search of Cassidy’s cache.

Mystery Woman Sleuth [Berkley, On Sale: August 2, 2016, Paperback / e-Book (reprint), ISBN: 9780425280317 / eISBN: 9780698191280]

Nancy Herriman | My sleuth, the nurse: a historical perspective

I have a long-standing fascination with characters who work in medical fields and feature them regularly in my books. So when it came time to develop the idea for my new mystery series set in 1860s San Francisco, I gravitated toward my sleuth being a nurse, a woman who would regularly encounter death.

According to the 1867 Directory for San Francisco, there were approximately seventy-five women working in various medical occupations–midwives, nurses, female physicians (a euphemism for abortionists), and a handful of self-styled physicians utilizing spiritual or water cures. Even for those women offering traditional care, the training would have been sparse, the medical professions still ruled by men who resisted the attempts of females to invade their territory. The only information most women gained came from books, or from their mothers or other female relatives who knew how to prepare herbal treatments or homeopathic remedies.

Beginning in the 1840s, religious societies in Europe were the main source of trained nurses. Their training also was rudimentary, with nearly as much or more time spent on receiving religious instruction as on any clinical exposure to patient care. In America, it wasn’t until 1849 that the first woman, Elizabeth Blackwell, received a degree in medicine, and her path to achieve that degree had been difficult and nearly accidental. Even with her success, avenues for women to pursue legitimate training remained elusive.

Furthermore, nursing as an occupation was considered unsuitable for gently-raised women. However, the need for nurses came to the forefront during the Crimean War, when understaffed British field hospitals suffered high mortality rates among the soldiers. However, nursing duties consisted primarily of women providing ‘female companionship.’ Viewed as fragile and possessing an inferior intellect, female nurses were generally restricted to simple chores–preparing and serving meals, bathing feverish foreheads, reading to the patients or writing letters for them. Any tasks resembling what we consider today to be the jobs of nurses were left to male orderlies and doctors. Nonetheless, some women gained a taste of their possible roles in the medical field and hungered for more opportunities.

In 1850, the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania opened. This was the first college in the world with a primary purpose of conferring medical degrees upon women. In 1861, the school’s role expanded to include the training of nurses. It is at this school that my fictional sleuth, Celia Davies, receives her education.

Celia will put that education to use when she opens a clinic in San Francisco treating women of limited means. The world she serves is often struck by violence, and Celia is too committed to her patients to leave all the detective work to the police. Her training will prove a valuable asset to her newfound role of sleuth.

About Nancy Herriman

Nancy Herriman

Nancy Herriman abandoned a career in Engineering to chase around two small children and take up the pen. She hasn’t looked back. A multi-published author, she is also a former winner of the Romance Writers of America’s Daphne du Maurier award for Best Unpublished Mystery/ Romantic Suspense.

When not writing, she enjoys singing with various choral groups, gabbing about writing with friends, and eating dark chocolate. After two decades in Arizona, she now lives in her home state of Ohio with her family

Mystery of Old San Francisco

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NO PITY FOR THE DEAD by Nancy Herriman

Mystery of Old San Francisco #2

No Pity For the Dead

The author of NO COMFORT FOR THE LOST returns with a new mystery of Old San Francisco…

British-born nurse Celia Davies runs a free medical clinic to assist the poor women of San Francisco. Aided in her endeavors by her half-Chinese cousin Barbara and feisty housekeeper Addie, Celia has earned the trust and friendship of many of the city’s downtrodden, including a young orphan named Owen—who’s just confided to her that he’s stumbled upon a corpse.

Owen recently started working for the ruthless real estate and development group, Martin and Company, and discovered a dead body in the office’s basement. Celia turns to Detective Nick Greaves for help, only to learn that one of the main suspects—the husband of Celia’s dearest friend—is an old enemy of Nick’s.

Now, Celia and Nick must put aside their personal feelings about the case—and each other—if they’re going to bring a killer to justice…

Mystery Historical [NAL, On Sale: August 2, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780451474902 / eISBN: 9780698192270]

Lori Stanley Roeleveld | When a Novel is Homegrown

Writers often find the best stories lurking as close as the person sitting across from us at the dinner table. I found this to be true in both the inspiration and the research for my historical novella, Red Pen Redemption.

I wasn’t close to my father in my youth but he mellowed with age. Since he turned eighty, he’s begun sharing stories from his past and I’ve enjoyed seeing a new side to him. It’s been fascinating to observe that he’s now asking as many questions about life as I did in my college years. So many parallels between these stages of life – entering young adulthood and then entering senior adulthood. It made me wonder what would occur if something happened to make a woman in her eighties question everything she’d believed. From that question, I created Helen Bancroft and the adventure she encountered one Christmas Eve.

The true time lapse of the book is just a few hours but readers travel back through every decade of Helen’s eighty-one years and experience her fiery personality, her quirky family, and her eventful history against the backdrop of American history from the 1930’s to the present day. Helen was a journalist for most of her career so that allowed me to explore everything from the ‘38 hurricane to the assassination of JFK to Woodstock and the March on Selma. Of course, I did hours of historical research but I also asked countless questions of my parents. Their stories added a texture, depth, and detail to Helen’s life that has resonated with readers. Even my own recollections make an appearance. The pivotal event for most of us in 2001 occurred on 9/11. For this portion of the story, I was able to tap into my own vivid memories as well as those of my children who were Helen’s grandchildren’s ages when it happened.

There are also portions of the story where I drew on my relationship with my parents growing up in the sixties and seventies. Life was changing on so many levels and parents were mystified by the choices their children were making. Helen raises three children and each of them makes choices that leave her feeling set aside and sometimes entirely lost. One of the taglines of Red Pen Redemption is “Helen is not a sweet woman and this is not a sweet story.” Helen’s spitfire, overly confident personality was also a homegrown inspiration. My great-grandmother was a salty woman with a sharp tongue and strong nature. I thought she was a hoot and it was delicious to incorporate her into Helen’s character. Often, strong personalities are best appreciated from a distance and this is reflected in Helen’s relationship with her grandson as compared to that with her own children.

No story or person from my own family’s history made it into the book without undergoing transformations of details that make them unique to the characters. This was important so that the novella is truly Helen’s story and not at all mine. Still, the emotional truth of these tales remained so clear I have to imagine that’s why I’ve had readers let me know they laughed aloud and then cried, sometimes on the next page.

I’m happy I was able to recognize the treasure of living research as close as my dad’s recliner. It not only made Red Pen Redemption a better story, for me, it’s made it especially meaningful and my father is proud of his contribution. I now pay close attention at family events to everyone’s stories and jot them down for my next homegrown novel.

RED PEN REDEMPTION by Lori Stanley Roeleveld

Red Pen Redemption

What if God took you up on a dare?

Helen Bancroft’s led a good life and feels no need for her daughter’s Savior. When God accepts Helen’s dare to edit her autobiography and prove her righteousness, she’s in for a lesson in her own history. One woman’s journey from unbelief to acceptance turns into the Christmas Eve adventure of a lifetime beneath the red pen of Christ’s mercy and grace.

Inspirational Historical | Holiday [Elk Lake Publishing, On Sale: November 19, 2015, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781942513711 / ]

About Lori Stanley Roeleveld

Lori Stanley Roeleveld

Lori Stanley Roeleveld is a disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored an unsettling blog since 2009; a pursuit that eventually resulted in her first book, Running from a Crazy Man (and other adventures traveling with Jesus). Her next book, Jesus and the Beanstalk (Overcoming Your Giants and Living a Fruitful Life), releases September 2016. Her historical Christmas novella, Red Pen Redemption, is a quick but satisfying read if you love history and life’s big questions. If you don’t find her at her website, www.loriroeleveld.com, know she’s off somewhere slaying dragons. Lori is a retired homeschool mom with a day job who lives her adventure in Rhode Island with her husband, Rob and family full of characters.

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Barry Napier | When the Lines Begin to Blur

My book BREAK EVERY CHAIN is, for the most part, a Christian adventure novel. I could simplify things and call it Christian drama, but Christian adventure sounds a little more interesting. It’s a story about faith and how we can find hope in unexpected places when the world is at its darkest.

On the flip side, I have also written horror novels featuring a grave-robbing witch, a haunted house that gets its power from human blood, and an enormous sea creature that lays its eggs in the digestive tracts of human beings.

So yeah, I’m a horror guy at heart.

This can confuse some readers and I totally understand that. I get that one question all of the time: “As a Christ follower, how can you write such horrific stuff?”

And while the answer is worthy of an essay, it can also be summed up rather easily. As a Christ follower, my faith is structured around stories within scripture that are, in and of themselves, quite horrific. The dead coming back to life, beheadings, crucifixions, demonic possession, people being burned alive, a global flood, and on and on.

Whether Christians want to admit it or not, the Bible is filled to the brim with horror.

But I must also admit that I was writing horror long before I gave my life to Christ (I’m only about 8 years into this thing). But rather than abandon my love of all things horror, I decided to try to use it to supplement my faith. I believe that all Christians should use their talents for the betterment of the world and, when possible, to pass along the message of the gospel—just without beating people over the head with scripture, guilt, and the hellfire and brimstone spiel.

So it made me start to wonder what it might look like to have flawed characters with shaken faith confront things of a dark nature. Where does faith come into play? Where does our reliance on our own logic end and a curiosity about divine things begin?

And do you know what I discovered? The balance of these things is just about the same in both traditional Christian stories as well as horror.

This is one of the reasons it baffles me that Christian horror isn’t more popular than it is. As another not-so subtle plug for my own work, I’m currently in the middle of writing a series of books that, while not faith-based enough to be considered Christian fiction, has an underlying narrative that deals with faith and how it can be used as a way to better understand the unknown—even when the unknown consists of poltergeists, mythology, and dark science-fiction tropes.

Look around any writer’s forum and you’ll see many people expressing the opinion that now is one of the best times to be a writer in the history of forever. I agree with this not only because the lines between genres are beginning to blur more and more, but because someone like me can write an uplifting and personal book like BREAK EVERY CHAIN and then turn around to write about vengeful ghosts and lake monsters and it won’t be considered odd (not too odd, anyway).

So the discussion to have is this: as readers, just how blended can genres be before you feel displaced or fooled by the writer. And writers, to what extend to you give a certain genre power of your story before bucking tradition and doing your own thing?

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How blended do you like genres for reading? One reader will receive a copy of BREAK EVERY CHAIN

About Barry Napier

Barry Napier

Barry Napier has had novels, short story collections, poetry collections, and a chapbook published by small press venues. He has had work appear in a wide range of publications, from a Norton anthology to a horror collection thematically based on The Wizard of Oz. He is the author of Break Every Chain, Dark Water, Serpentine, The Bleeding Room, and Nests, among other titles.

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BREAK EVERY CHAIN by Barry Napier

Break Every Chain

Can you imagine what it would be like for a person who has no real faith to be thrown into a situation in a foreign place where his faith is the only thing that can save his life?

After running his life into the gutter through alcoholism and sexual addiction, Ryan Fulbright takes part in an impromptu mission’s trip in an attempt to redirect his life. Ryan visits a rescue home for underage girls in Nicaragua who have been rescued from sexual slavery. Seeking answers, he quickly finds himself at war with his fragile faith.

In the midst of this, he becomes involved in an ill-advised rescue attempt that leaves him stranded and wounded in the mountains of Nicaragua. With only a six-year-old girl to help, Ryan needs to not only figure out how to survive, but also how to save several young girls who have recently been sold into sexual slavery.

Inspirational Mystery | Suspense [Elk Lake Publishing, On Sale: October 30, 2015, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781942513605 / ]

David B. Coe’s Newly edited CHILDREN OF AMARID

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CHILDREN OF AMARID by David B. Coe

LonTobyn Chronicle #1

Children Of Amarid

For a millenium, the Children of Amarid have served the people of Tobyn-Ser. Drawing upon the Mage-Craft, which flows from the psychic bond they forge with their avian familiars, the Mages of the Order have fulfilled their oaths by healing the injured and ill, repelling invasions by the land’s enemies, and caring for the people in times of crisis. They are governed by laws handed down by Amarid, the first of their kind, who committed the Mage- Craft to the people’s protection. Only once in a thousand years has a mage defied those laws. Theron, a contemporary of Amarid, sought to use his powers to gain wealth and glory. For that he was punished, though not before he brought down a terrible curse on his fellow mages and all who would come after them.

Recently, dark rumors have spread across Tobyn-Ser. Children of Amarid have been seen destroying crops, vandalizing homes, massacring men, women, and children. Have the mages forsaken their oaths? Has Theron returned from beyond death to take his vengeance? Or does Tobyn- Ser face a new threat, one it is ill-prepared and ill- equipped to face?

With the land in turmoil and faith in the Mage-Craft badly shaken, it falls to Jaryd, a young mage with extraordinary potential, but little knowledge of the power he wields, to find and destroy Tobyn-Ser’s enemies before they destroy all he holds dear.

Science Fiction | Fantasy [Author Self-Published, On Sale: June 30, 2016, Hardcover, ISBN: 9781622680498 / ]

About David B. Coe

David B. Coe

David B. Coe, who also writes as D.B. Jackson, is the award-winning author of nineteen novels and more than a dozen short stories.

Writing under his own name (http://www.DavidBCoe.com) he has most recently completed a contemporary urban fantasy called the Case Files of Justis Fearsson, published by Baen Books. The first two books,SPELL BLIND and HIS FATHER’S EYES came out in 2015. The third volume, SHADOW’S BLADE, has recently been released.

Writing under the D.B. Jackson pen name (http://www.DBJackson-Author.com), he writes the Thieftaker Chronicles, a series set in pre-Revolutionary Boston that combines elements of urban fantasy, mystery, and historical fiction. All four books in the series, THIEFTAKER, THIEVES’ QUARRY, A PLUNDER OF SOULS, and DEAD MAN’S REACH, are available from Tor Books.

David is the author of the LonTobyn Chronicle, his debut trilogy, which received the Crawford Fantasy Award as the best work by a new author in fantasy. He has also written the critically acclaimed Winds of the Forelands quintet and Blood of the Southlands trilogy, and the novelization of director Ridley Scott’s movie, ROBIN HOOD, starring Russell Crowe. David’s books have been translated into a dozen languages.

He received his undergraduate degree from Brown University and his Master’s and Ph.D. in U.S. history from Stanford University. He co-founded and regularly contributes to the Magical Words group blog (http://magicalwords.net), a site devoted to discussions of the craft and business of writing fantasy, and is co-author of How To Write Magical Words: A Writer’s Companion.

LonTobyn Chronicle

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DiAnn Mills | The Scoop on Research

Writing romantic suspense is my passion. I stay awake at night planning a story in which a strong and vibrant heroine attempts the impossible, the forbidden, or the dangerous for the good of others. She meets a hero who compliments her strengths and challenges her weaknesses. Together they take the writer and the reader on an adventure.

However, research can be difficult, especially if I’m not familiar with the character’s profession and its rules of conduct. I educate myself through online research and the library until I have accumulated enough knowledge to contact a real person who has this profession. My goal is to pose questions during the interview that are realistic for the character in my book. Sometimes I must preface my inquiry with, “I need to know if this situation could happen, not if it has.” The answer allows me freedom to create plot twists and circumstances that add tension and conflict to my story while staying true to the character’s profession.

Some professions are easier to research than others. The FBI wants public support, and they are patient in responding to questions. Both agencies allowed me to tour their facilities.

The FBI offers solutions for my questions, and I’m grateful for their assistance.

Other professions involved in national security are required to keep their techniques secret. Makes sense to me. If we are to be protected from those who seek us harm, then methods must be hidden from the public. The CIA and Secret Service are two agencies that can’t reveal how we are to be kept safe. The writer is on her own to figure out how crimes are prevented and stopped. Sometimes a person in one of these fields will tell me what I’ve written is wrong. On those occasions, I become more creative in addressing a situation in my story.

The romance portion of romantic suspense has to be accurate. Some agencies frown on their employees fraternizing within their ranks. The reasons are sound. Think about a man or woman in a high-risk situation in which their priorities might be another person instead of his/her responsibilities. For a man and woman who are attracted to each other, employer guidelines might mean hiding their relationship. More juicy conflict.

Writing romantic suspense is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. The pieces have to fit in a way that are credible and in character. Every scene of the novel has to add conflict while the plot adds layers to the story problem. I encourage writers who are fascinated by romantic suspense to conduct realistic research. Book sales will grow!

How do you research your stories? We want to hear!

DEADLY ENCOUNTER by DiAnn Mills

FBI Task Force #1

Deadly Encounter

Airport Ranger volunteer Stacy Broussard expected a peaceful Saturday morning ride around the perimeter of Houston’s airport. What she encounters instead is a brutal homicide and a baffling mystery. Next to the body is an injured dog, the dead man’s motorcycle, and a drone armed with a laser capable of taking down a 747.

Though FBI Special Agent Alex LeBlanc sees a clear-cut case of terrorism, his past has taught him to be suspicious of everyone, even witnesses. Even bleeding-heart veterinarians like Stacy. But when her gruesome discovery is only the first in a string of incidences that throw her life into a tailspin, Alex begins to wonder if Stacy was targeted. As a health emergency endangers Stacy’s community, and the task force pulls in leads from all directions, Alex and Stacy must work together to prevent another deadly encounter.

Romance Suspense | Inspirational Mystery [Tyndale House, On Sale: August 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781496410979 / eISBN: 9781496414427]

About DiAnn Mills

DiAnn Mills

Expect an Adventure

DiAnn Mills is a bestselling author who believes her readers should expect an adventure. She combines unforgettable characters with unpredictable plots to create action-packed, suspense-filled novels.

Her titles have appeared on the CBA and ECPA bestseller lists; won two Christy Awards; and been finalists for the RITA, Daphne Du Maurier, Inspirational Readers’ Choice, and Carol award contests. Library Journal presented her with a Best Books 2014: Genre Fiction award in the Christian Fiction category for Firewall.

DiAnn is a founding board member of the American Christian Fiction Writers; a member of Advanced Writers and Speakers Association; International Thriller Writers, and the Faith, Hope, and Love chapter of Romance Writers of America. She is co-director of The Author Roadmap with social media specialist Edie Melson where she continues her passion of helping other writers be successful. She speaks to various groups and teaches writing workshops around the country.

DiAnn has been termed a coffee snob and roasts her own coffee beans. She’s an avid reader, loves to cook, and believes her grandchildren are the smartest kids in the universe. She and her husband live in sunny Houston, Texas.

Call of Duty | FBI: Houston | FBI Task Force

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Fresh Fiction Matchmaker: Meet Anna Bradley

Looking for the perfect author reader match? Fresh Fiction is here to help. Today we’re presenting ANNA BRADLEY. She’s got lots to offer a reader so check her out!

What I Write

Sexy, steamy Regency historical romance—if you’re into wild, wicked alpha heroes and sassy heroines who bring the naughtiest, haughtiest rogue to his knees, then you’ve found your perfect book match!

About Me

I’m looking for readers who will risk their hearts on a handsome rake. Are gowns, gloves and garters your thing? Do you want to spend an evening flirting with earls and waltzing with dukes? Then you’re the reader I’m looking for! Warning: my books are not for the faint-hearted. The Regency is rife with scandalous intrigue. Dangerous flirtations, deadly duels, seductive scoundrels, and arrogant rakes with riding crops abound.

I’m Looking for a Reader who . . .

  • Love a great romance more than she loves sleep.
  • Has an appreciation for bad boys heroes—Regency style.
  • Thinks cravats and breeches are sexy (readers with kilt obsessions are also welcome!)
  • Loves to see a wicked hero redeemed
  • Craves love scenes that give her a reason to use her fan.
  • Believes in sizzling passion, life-altering kisses, and love at first sight
  • Can recognize a hero’s heart under a rake’s disguise.
  • Knows a good climax when she sees one!

What to Expect from Me:

  • Humor and drama, a bit of angst, and sizzling passion—get ready for all the feels!
  • Historical accuracy when it counts, and a vivid imagination when it doesn’t.
  • Hot new book boyfriends!
  • Wicked heroes who make you want to tear your hair out, then tear your gown off.
  • Fun times on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/annabradley472) and Twitter (@annabradley472), and a new newsletter every month (subscribe at www.annabradley.net).

A Season of Ruin

A SEASON OF RUIN by Anna Bradley

Sutherland Scandals

A Season of Ruin

Even the Best Laid Plans . . .

Lily Somerset has the perfect plan. A quick London season, a proper courtship, and then marriage to a carefully chosen respectable gentleman. All she has to do is avoid scandal and sidestep the wicked London rogues and she’ll be rewarded with quiet, peaceful life as Lady Atherton. Simple.

That is, until one tiny misstep at a musical evening leaves Lily on the edge of social ruin and she’s forced to depend on a wicked rogue to save her reputation. And Robyn Sutherland isn’t just any rogue—he’s the wickedest gentleman in London.

Have a Way of Going Awry . . .

Robyn doesn’t save reputations—he ruins them, and it’s best for everyone if no one expects too much more of him. He’d rather spend the season in the seventh circle of hell than escort dull, proper Lily to every tedious entertainment in London, but he’s trapped in the palm of her dainty hand, and there he’ll stay for as long as it takes to repair her tattered reputation, no matter how hard she squeezes.

When Desire Overwhelms Reason

What begins as a ruse to deceive London soon flames into an uncontrollable passion. Robyn calls to the fiery spirit trapped under Lily’s prim exterior, and Lily awakens the hero’s heart that beats in Robyn’s chest. But can these unlikely lovers trust themselves enough to let desire overrule reason?

Romance Historical [Berkley, On Sale: August 2, 2016, Mass Market Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9780425282649 / eISBN: 9780698406131]

Kari Lynn Dell | Giving It Up For Your Love

The best writing advice I’ve ever gotten was from the incomparable Jennifer Crusie’s blog, Argh Ink. She said, paraphrasing, give the hero and heroine a dream, and then create a situation in which they can have their dreams or they can have each other, but not both. To find their happily-ever-after, one of them will have to be defeated—aka, give up their dream for love.

The key to making this a truly happily-ever-after is that of one of the dreams is, in some way, a compromise, or in the case of my new book, a deal with the devil. Signing on that dotted line will make that character less than the best version of themselves.

In RECKLESS IN TEXAS, Violet Jacobs isn’t going anywhere. She’s an unmarried mother tied to the Texas Panhandle by her son—whose father also lives in their tiny hometown—and by her family’s small time rodeo stock contracting business. But she has big dreams, and she’s going to find a way to push Jacobs Livestock into the national limelight even if she has to drag the rest of the family along kicking and screaming…bless their hearts.

Joe Cassidy fell deeply, irrevocably in love when he was fifteen years old—with the High Lonesome Ranch in Oregon. Trouble is, the ranch doesn’t belong to him. But Joe has managed to stick for fifteen years, working as a bullfighter for ill-tempered, unappreciative rodeo stock contractor, Dick Browning, and saving every dime for the day that Dick finally recognizes his value and offers him a share in the business.

Then Joe meets Violet, and sparks ensue, but it’s apparent to all that as soon as his contract is up, Joe is headed back to Oregon and the High Lonesome. How can he possibly walk away from the ground where his roots are buried?

I know the feeling.

I grew up on ranch in northern Montana, in a remote part of the state that—much like Joe’s beloved high desert of eastern Oregon—is harsh and beautiful and forever entwined in my heartstrings. I had to leave that ranch because the economics of three siblings and one small cow/calf operation did not work out in my favor. I was lucky enough to find another career—sports medicine—that I loved, and it took me to some wonderful places. Texas. South Dakota. Oregon.

But no matter where I went, how long I stayed or the fact that I married a Dakotan, the ranch was always home. A whiff in a grocery store aisle would transport me, and I’d be skirting a bog on a cool evening, wild mint crushing beneath my horse’s hooves. On a hot July day, the scent of sage would send me into a spiral of yearning to ride across sun-baked pastures of native bunch grass, wild roses and buck brush. And I could never look west without wanting to paint in the jagged blue upthrust of the Rocky Mountains on the horizon.

Like RECKLESS IN TEXAS , my story has a happy ending. Eight years ago, my husband and I returned to work this ranch with my parents, and the good Lord and the cattle markets willing, I will wake to the sight of Chief Mountain out my window for the rest of my days. Yet even as I gaze across this familiar, irreplaceable landscape, or watch bald eagles wheeling overhead, there is still a tiny ache around my heart, a love that runs almost too deep to bear.

Sometimes, I feel bad for the hell I put Joe through. Regardless of the choice he makes—Violet or the High Lonesome—a part of his heart will forever be broken. I know, because I’ve shared his pain.

On the other hand, leaving our ranch meant finding my husband. Twenty-five years and a whole lot of adventures later, I can confidently assure Joe that Violet’s love will be more than worth the sacrifice, no matter where life takes them.

GIVEAWAY

What do you think about Kari Lynn’s and Joe’s sacrifice for love? One reader will get a copy of RECKLESS IN TEXAS

RECKLESS IN TEXAS by Kari Lynn Dell

Texas Rodeo

Reckless in Texas

He’s a hotshot in the ring…but love is a whole new rodeo.

Violet Jacobs is fearless. At least, that’s what the cowboys she snatches from under the hooves of bucking horses think. Outside the ring, she’s got plenty of worries rattling her bones: her young son, her mess of a love life, and lately, her family’s struggling rodeo. When she takes business into her own hands and hires on a hotshot bullfighter, she expects to start a ruckus. She never expected Joe Cassidy. Rough and tumble, cocky and charming, Joe’s everything a superstar should be—and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out he’s way out of Violet’s league.

Joe came to Texas to escape a life spiraling out of control. He never planned on sticking around, and he certainly never expected to call this dry and dusty backwater home. But Violet is everything he never knew he was missing, and the deeper he’s pulled into her beautiful mess of a family, the more he realizes this fierce rodeo girl may be offering him the one thing he never could find on his own.

Romance Western | Romance Contemporary [Sourcebooks Casablanca, On Sale: August 1, 2016, Paperback / e-Book, ISBN: 9781492631941 / eISBN: 9781492631958]

About Kari Lynn Dell

Kari Lynn Dell

Kari Lynn Dell is a ranch-raised Montana cowgirl who attended her first rodeo at two weeks old and has existed in a state of horse-induced poverty ever since. She lives on the Blackfeet Reservation in her parents’ bunkhouse along with her husband, her son, and Max the Cowdog, with a tipi on her lawn, Glacier National Park on her doorstep and Canada within spitting distance. Her debut novel, The Long Ride Home, was published in 2015. She also writes a ranch and rodeo humor column for several regional newspapers and a national agricultural publication.

Texas Rodeo

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Christina McKnight | A World of Mystery

Thank you for stopping by Fresh Fiction for all your reading needs and recommendations. I’m bestselling historical romance author, Christina McKnight. My writing style focuses on strong heroines who are out to right a wrong done to them…and men who don’t always fit the classic ‘hero mold’. I also enjoy throwing together unlikely couples and letting their story take over. My earliest Regency Romance inspiration was Amanda Quick. I love her use of mystery as a subplot to further deepen her stories. You’ll notice a majority of my books also have a hint of mystery to accompany the romance—and to make my characters work harder to secure their Happily Ever Afters.

I write heroes for every woman; from brooding alphas, to compassionate betas, and even the occasional scoundrel needing redemption or introverted scholar. With each book I write, I see it as the opportunity to write a completely different story with a new setting, fresh characters, and unsurmountable obstacles to their love match.

Another element I love weaving through my plot lines are historical facts; including obscure French history (SCORNED EVER MORE, A Lady Forsaken Book Three) or rare wind instruments said to have been created by Greek gods (THE THIEF STEALS HER EARL, Craven House Series Book One). My latest hero, Simon Montgomery, the Earl of Cartwright, lives his life according to math, statistics, and science. Due to his uncle’s betrayal, it is safer for Cart to surround himself with facts and historical objects as opposed to anyone who can hurt him again.

In THE THIEF STEALS HER EARL, Cart is a subscriber to Silliman’s Journal, currently known as the American Journal of Science. Professor Benjamin Silliman started the publication in 1818 and focused primarily on the natural sciences and geology. My hero uses the knowledge from an article to explain the natural forces that make it impossible for my heroine and him to stay apart. He believes that there are unseen forces at work, things that modern science cannot yet explain, but were there, nonetheless. This research added an entirely new level to the story, deepening my character’s motivations and beliefs. (More information)

One of my favorite parts about writing is including minor characters who will eventually have their own story. It is always exciting when readers discover my hero or heroine was first introduced in a completely different series. The heroines from my Craven House Series are first seen in FORGOTTEN NO MORE, A Lady Forsaken Series (Book Two). Simon Cartwright, my hero from my latest release, THE THIEF STEALS HER EARL, is lending his little sister, Theodora, for me to use as my heroine in a new series, Lady Archer’s Creed Series, releasing in January 2017.

As a writer—and lover of books—I believe that story ideas are endless and I find inspiration everywhere; from relationships I observe, to interesting locations, to folklore and legends. My goal is to take readers on an entirely new adventure with each of my books—and if you fall in love along the way, that’s GREAT too.

You can keep up-to-date on my coming releases on my website (www.christinamcknight.com) or connect with me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/christinamcknightwriter) and Twitter (@CMcKnightwriter).

THE THIEF STEALS HER EARL by Christina McKnight

Craven House #1

The Thief Steals Her Earl

Following the passing of his father and an unforgivable act by a family member ending in near ruin for his family, Simon Montgomery, the new Earl of Cartwright, is forced to return home without finishing his education. However, that doesn’t stop Cart from absorbing every morsel of knowledge he can.

Unfortunately, doing so and applying his every moment to restoring his family’s lost heirlooms while seeing to his sister’s upbringing and attempting to wrangle his mother’s frivolous spending habits has made him somewhat of a recluse, a man unsure of how to live life unless it’s focused around academia, order, and routine. But what happens when Cart is faced with a woman as intelligent as he but far more cunning?

Miss Judith Pengarden has lived her entire life under her eldest sister’s firm yet loving guidance. When she discovers her family is in jeopardy of losing their home, Jude decides to use her skills to help them pay off their unsettled debts. However, when Jude attempts to steal from the wrong house, she finds herself alone, locked in a dank room at the night watchman’s residence, and she vows to stop thinking so spontaneously and risking her family’s name to scandal. Unfortunately, there are some loose ends that need to be tied up before she can. Luckily for her, however, she may have just met the man who can help her family and also steal a piece of her heart.

When Jude meets Lord Cartwright at a London garden party, he seems the perfect man to solve all her problems—a recluse unfamiliar with London Society and studied in antiquities. A lord like none she has met, Jude soon realizes that Cart is more valuable to her than any painting, sculpture, or vase. But when she’s caught in possession of Cart’s long-lost family heirloom, completely unaware of what it really means, can she convince him that things are far from what they seem? That despite the deceit and subterfuge, her heart is in the right place. With her family…and with him.

Romance Historical [Author Self-Published, On Sale: July 26, 2016, e-Book, ISBN: 2940153116259 / eISBN: 9781945089039]

About Christina McKnight

Christina McKnight

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. Currently, she focuses on Historical Romance.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

Craven House | Lady Forsaken

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