Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Morticia Knight | Love, BDSM and Social Anxiety
Author Guest / May 25, 2017

Many times when I sketch a character, when I’m right at the beginning of figuring out who this person is, I take from my real life. I’ll use aspects either of myself or those who are close to me, or perhaps someone who I’ve come across over the years who has had a great impact on me. That’s not too unusual—I think most writers do that to one degree or another. But sometimes, I make very deliberate choices. Sometimes there are challenges in my own life that relate to me, or a friend or family member, and I will inject personal experience into my stories and characters. Those choices are never made lightly and they can be scary. It can feel as if I’m allowing myself to become too vulnerable through my stories because once it’s in the hands of a reader, it’s completely out of my control. I don’t want my damaged characters, the ones who’ve had to fight in life, who’ve had to overcome—or who are still in the process of overcoming being repeatedly kicked in the teeth—to be disregarded. They’re still healing and I don’t want them to get hurt any more than they already have been….

Janalyn Voigt | The Real American West
Author Guest / May 23, 2017

My mother has a picture of me as a little girl, smiling into the camera on the back of a pony. With my hair cascading in ringlets beneath a cowgirl hat, freckles sprinkled across my nose, a missing front tooth, and my six-shooter by my side, I was ready at seven to take on the Wild West. In reality, an out-of-work photographer had taken a pony, cowboy hat, bandana, and toy guns around our neighborhood, looking to make a buck. Fast forward a couple of years, and you’d find me on a typical Sunday afternoon parked with my father in front of the television. I treasured our shared passion for vintage westerns, never noticing such flaws as poor acting, overblown plots, or camera angles that gave away feinted punches. Born in California’s Big Valley, land of the Barclays, I am a daughter of the American West. I have a vivid memory of walking home from high school in a dust storm with tumbleweeds blowing across the road. I’d grown up steeped in western mythos, but the grit I washed from my hair that day wasn’t so romantic. A fascination with the Oregon Trail took hold of me as an adult,…

MK Meredith | Beaches, Beauty, Barcelona…and Pick Pockets?
Author Guest / May 23, 2017

Though the threat of pickpockets is real, the beauty and sensuality and brilliance of Barcelona is a character all unto itself in this story. Because when it comes to Barcelona, anyone who has ever been there raves of the culture, the beauty of the people, and the extraordinary art. Barcelona boasts some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, amazing cuisine, and has been home to some of the most renown artists in history. It, rightly so, holds high priority on many a bucket lists. My own included! You can tour the Sagrada Família and sunbathe on a nude beach all in the same day. Or maybe walk the streets of the Gothic Quarter then shop for goods at La Boqueria. I’d love to go on a Vermouth bar hop. They do Vermouth very different than we do here in the states. And hello…hunky Spanish men. Ummmm…Álex González anyone? How about Javier Bardem, Antonio Banderas, or Enrique Iglesias? Phew! But in all my research, the overwhelmingly repeated advice was to keep your belongings locked down, at all times. Due to the mild climate and the expansive tourism, Barcelona is known as the #1 city in the world for pickpocketing….

Erin McCarthy | Rookie Mistakes
Author Guest / May 23, 2017

This is my first amateur sleuth novel, though I’ve written mysteries into romance novels. But Bailey Burke, home stager extraordinaire, is the first heroine I’ve actually thrust into the role of having to solve crimes, and she’s inconveniently afraid of blood, but at least she’s always dressed to the nines. I like to think that given my interest (hubby would call obsession) with crime TV, I would be able to figure out the clues and solve a crime or two. But you never know until you’re in the situation and I’ll stick to fiction, thanks. No true crime for me. So what are the rookie mistakes Bailey makes? Wrong uniform. It’s a bitch to run from the bad guy in heels. Not spotting a liar from twenty feet. Sure, we have to trust someone but not every cockamamie story she’s told. A genuine people pleaser, she is worried about hurting the detective’s feelings by prying. Growing up reading Agatha Christie novels, which I loved, I had this idea the sleuths intrinsically have information we the readers did not. I wanted a heroine more like a Stephanie Plum character, who stumbles from situation to situation, but somehow manages to hold her…

Ruth Cardello | Character Perspective Guest Post
Author Guest / May 23, 2017

Meet Brett Westerly: Interviewer: Are you comfortable? Brett Westerly: Does it matter? My grandmother wants this interview for her memories, so ask away. Interviewer: You and your grandmother have always been close, haven’t you? Brett: Yes, she essentially raised me. Interviewer: Do you support her offer to give any of her grandchild their inheritance early as long as they marry and invite all of your immediate family to the wedding? Brett (squares his broad shoulders): My grandmother has the best of intentions even if her chosen method is misguided. Interviewer: Your younger brother, Spencer, jumped at the idea and is already engaged. Brett: I am painfully aware of that. Interviewer: What do you think of his fiancée? Brett: What I think of her doesn’t matter because it’ll be a cold day in hell before I let him do anything as stupid as getting married for money. Interviewer: So, you don’t approve of Alisha Coventry? Do you feel that she isn’t good enough for your brother? Brett: My brother’s head is so far up his own ass lately that he won’t realize that he’ll never find better until after he breaks her heart. She beautiful, loyal, intelligent. She came into my…

Peg Cochran | The Origins of Cranberry Cove
Author Guest / May 22, 2017

Cranberry Cove is a small fictional town in western Michigan located right on the shores of Lake Michigan where the influence of the Dutch settlers is still strong to this day. By 1900, one third of the Dutch in America had settled in West Michigan. The Dutch were known for their frugality, industry and hospitality. Many were farmers and today many of the area’s family farms still bear Dutch surnames. Others were skilled craftsman, carvers and furniture designers who came to work in the furniture industry that at the time was booming in West Michigan. Many of the characters I’ve created for Cranberry Cove are of Dutch origin—the VanVelsen sisters who own Gumdrops, the candy store; Bart Dykema the butcher and Phyllis Bouma, the local librarian. Gumdrops carries many Dutch treats including Droste pastilles, Van Melle fruit toffees and Katjes winegums and the Van Velsen sisters always have a pot of erwtensoep—Dutch pea soup—on the stove. Ollie bollen—fried doughnuts—are a huge treat and are the precursor of the doughnuts we eat today. There are a small handful of cranberry farms in Michigan. Most of the nation’s cranberries come from Wisconsin with Massachusetts and New Jersey not far behind, while the…

Favorites Movies and Favorites Books: a Love Story
Author Guest / May 22, 2017

(Keep reading for the giveaway at the end.) A lot of times people ask me where I find inspiration to write my books. Of course it comes from many places, but a couple of times I have ended up writing about a trope of a movie I really love. Want to know a secret? Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! indirectly inspired me to write BRAZILIAN CAPTURE. I love books where either the heroine or hero is kidnapped. It gives us a lot to work with as authors, like how the relationship between captor and captive change and grow. In case you haven’t seen, Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! features a young Antonio Banderas. He’s just released from a mental institution and kidnaps the woman he’s obsessed with—a jaded porn star—because he wants to convince her to marry him. Before you throw tomatoes at me, understand this movie was written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar, therefore political correctness is not an option. Controversial or not, it’s a movie about two lost souls who end up finding and choosing each other. So as you see, when you take the general idea—finding love despite the circumstances— it’s easy to relate it…

Diane Alberts | Confident or Shy?
Author Guest / May 22, 2017

Hello, I’m Diane Alberts, though I also write as Jen McLaughlin, and I’m excited to be here today to chat with you all! Thanks so much for having me here today! <3 This might (or might not) surprise some of you who have met me at signings, but I am an extremely, extremely shy person. Like, I can meet a person three times, eat meals and have detailed conversations with them those three times, and I’ll pretty much assume that they will not remember me every time I come across them. I will, hands down, wait for the other person to come up to me before I say hello, just in case they did, indeed forget me. For this very reason, I love to write heroines and heroes who are the complete opposite of me. I love writing people who are confident, outgoing, and who will walk into a room and completely own the place without so much as batting an eye. As it so happens, one of my besties in the author world is this exact type of person, and I love her because she’s so frigging awesome like that. To be able to walk in a room with…

Who are the KILLER CHARACTERS?
Author Guest / May 22, 2017

Win a copy of KILLER CHARACTERS Take a trip south to Oyster Bay, North Carolina and meet the members of Bayside Book Writers group. When one of their members is suspected of murder it dividese the group and it’s up to Olivia to find out the truth before it’s too late! Just leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy of KILLER CHARACTERS. KILLER CHARACTERS by Ellery Adams Books by the Bay #8 From the New York Times bestselling author of Writing All Wrongs, it’s a rotten state of affairs in Oyster Bay, and the Bayside Book Writers are out to end a nasty plot… Restaurant owner and aspiring novelist Olivia Limoges is happily enjoying her new marriage. Sadly, the same doesn’t hold true for Laurel, a fellow Bayside Book Writer. While struggling with a demanding job, twin boys, and a terminally ill mother-in-law, Laurel learns that her perfect marriage is mostly fictional. When she catches her husband fooling around with his mother’s hospice nurse, she issues impassioned threats that will later come back to haunt her. After the nurse meets a deadly denouement, Chief Rawlings is forced to take Laurel into custody. While Olivia protests the…

Book Boyfriends and You
Author Guest / May 19, 2017

What makes a swoony book boyfriend? Is it the way he talks? His many talents? The way he looks at his girl? Or just the way he looks? Ana Brassfield, the leading lady of my debut novel, A SEASON TO DANCE, struggles to make her dreams come true, but has a lovely problem: two dreamy men fighting for her love and attention. Meet the guys: #TeamPeter: Peter is Ana’s fiancé. They first met online, soon after his divorce. He’s a landscape artist, a Blake Shelton look-alike, and is ten years older than Ana. Excerpt: He stood on the bridge looking out at the lake. He was cuter than I’d imagined, and anything resembling quiet reverence departed from me fast. I just wanted to go behind an azalea bush and squeal. I started walking toward him. He turned to me and smiled. The scruff on his face and his tan made him look surprisingly boyish, and his dark blue eyes were even bluer than in the pictures from his profile. “Hi.” I reached out for the metal rail to steady myself and breathed in his soapy smell. Everything about him was warm and inviting. He wore a crisp blue-and-white plaid shirt,…