Literary Fiction Books For Your Winter Reading List

Literary Fiction Books For Your Winter Reading List

Literary fiction readers are in for a treat this winter season thanks to some amazing new release novels. Check out these latest literary fiction books from bestselling authors Dickie Erman, Suanne Laqueur, François Houle, Helen J. Darling, Santiago Xaman, and Molly O’Keefe. Get your hands on them now!


A Spy’s Eyes: Rachael’s Story

by Dickie Erman

Release Date: September 2, 2019

The fourth book in the Antebellum Struggles series by author Dickie Erman… Follow the deeply moving story of Rachael, the interracial daughter of a wealthy cotton plantation owner. As the great Civil War rages, Rachael is determined to be a spy in the Confederacy’s secret service. After moving to Washington D.C., she infiltrates the inner circles of the Union army. There she gains a deeper understanding of the war and the men and women who are willing to die for their competing causes.

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A Scarcity of Condors

by Suanne Laqueur

Release Date: December 16, 2019

The third book in the Venery series by bestselling author Suanne Laqueur… Juleón “Jude” Tholet has survival in his DNA. His father survived imprisonment and torture in Pinochet’s military coup in Chile and his mother risked everything to gain her husband’s freedom. Jude is a closeted gay teenager in Vancouver, he has been targeted by a bully called El Cóndo. This culminates in a vicious hate crime that forces the Tholets to flee the country.

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The Little Lies We Hide

by Francois Houle

Release Date: December 5, 2019

Nearly twenty years ago, Bradley Knighton fled to Vancouver. It was the only way for him to forget the girl he let get away. Cassandra Knighton hates her husband for stealing her heart and wasting her best years. However, she stayed with him to protect a lie. Their old sibling rivalries resurface and painful memories will reopen tender wounds when they are brought together to mourn the death of the family matriarch. But a slip of the tongue from Cassandra during a heated argument will expose a secret she vowed to take to the grave.

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Terms and Conditions

by Helen J. Darling

Release Date: November 14, 2019

Jane Desmond has worked for ten lackluster years in a dead-end job. So, she can’t wait to pursue her enduring ambition of a career in the glittering NYC literary scene. But the moment she arrives, the city starts throwing her curveballs. To make things worse, her nervous mother, won’t stop texting her. In an effort to reclaim her sanity, Jane starts posting a selfie every day to prove to her mom that she is living her dream. While struggling to find an apartment and blows job interviews, her online photos tell a very different story.

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After Olympus

by Santiago Xaman

Release Date: November 1, 2019

When a Soviet spacecraft falls to earth in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1978, the three young men are forced to face a central question of modernity: When ancient sources of narrative lose their credibility, who owns the truth. These unlikely sleuths formulate an answer in their decades-long quest. But not before they have traversed the world of Russian spies, ancient mysticism and cyber-misdirection.

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A Day In The Death of Walter Zawislak

by Molly O’Keefe

Release Date: December 9, 2019

If you were given one day to relive at the end of your life, what day would you choose? Walter Zawislak doesn’t want any of it. He doesn’t want a trip down memory lane to revisit a life he wasted. His wife, Rosie, died twenty years ago, and he hasn’t done much living since. If it’s lights out, he just wants some peace and quiet. But Peter, the mysterious man in charge of Walter’s afterlife isn’t listening.

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New Mystery and Thriller Novels For Your Reading List | Winter 2019

New Mystery and Thriller Novels For Your Reading List | Winter 2019

In the mood for an exciting new book for your winter reading list? If you’re a fan of mystery and thriller novels you won’t want to miss these amazing new releases from bestselling authors William Bernhardt, Julie Howard, K. Patrick Donoghue, J.R. Ripley, Mark M. Bello, and Willow Rose. Add them to your library right now!


Trial by Blood

by William Bernhardt

Release Date: December 17, 2019

The third book in the Daniel Pike series by bestselling author William Bernhardt… Attorney Daniel Pike has earned his fair share of enemies due to his courtroom antics. But he has also freed many innocent people. When the same crooked cop that got his father locked up for life is testifying in a contested-identity suit, Daniel jumps on the case. It won’t be easy, especially since the client can’t remember the last fourteen years.

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Wild Crime

by Julie Howard

Release Date: December 4, 2019

“I’m a murderer. I’m a murderer. I’m a murderer.” Those three repeated words in an old letter propel Meredith Lowe in a cross-country pursuit to uncover her mother’s murky past. Danger follows Meredeth back to Hay City, Idaho as she dives deeper into the mystery. Who was her father? Did her mother kill him?

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Priestess of Paracas

by K. Patrick Donoghue

Release Date: December 17, 2019

The fourth book in The Anlon Cully Chronicles series by bestselling author K. Patrick Donoghue… We have all had dreams so real that you wake up wondering if they might be distant memories instead of subconscious trickery. For Pebbles McCarver, it could be a little of both. After a near-death experience, she has recurring visions of a woman running in fear, always turning to look for a pursuer who never appears. Is it just a manifestation of emotions or could it be a hidden link to an ancient mystery?

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Five More Minutes

by J.R. Ripley

Release Date: December 6, 2019

Five more minutes. That is all the woman outside Todd Jones Realty wanted. It was only five minutes, what could go wrong? When Todd Jones allows Caterina Kadlec into his office he soon finds out… He hopes that this wealthy client will lead to a big fat commission. But Caterina has other plans… plans of grand larceny. As for the murder, well, sometimes things don’t go as planned.

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Betrayal in Black

by Mark M. Bello

Release Date: December 14, 2019

In a fictional Michigan town, a man is pulled over by the local police. The officer asks for I.D. The driver then casually mentions that he legally carries a gun. The officer panics and an innocent man lays bleeding to death. The entire incident was captured on video. The shooting becomes a national headline. The dead man is black and the shooter is white. Protestors on both sides of the racial divide take to the streets. A widow struggles to make sense of the shooting and turns to lawyer, Zachary Blake for help.

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Let Me Go

by Willow Rose

Release Date: November 30, 2019

The fifth book in the Eva Rae Thomas Mystery series by bestselling author Willow Rose… Eva Rae Thomas is chasing down a vicious killer. But there’s a problem, no one believes he exists. There are no unexplained bodies or missing persons. The perfect murder is often one that doesn’t look like a murder. Can Eva Rae convince local law enforcement to help her? Or will the killer strike again?

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Books To Read If You Like Marquita Valentine

Books To Read If You Like Marquita Valentine

Marquita Valentine is a New York Times Bestselling author of contemporary romance novels. Some of her popular recent releases include the Kings of Castle Beach, Scored, and The Lawson Brothers series. Whether you like your romance steamy or sweet, we think you’ll find a new favorite in these books to read if you like Marquita Valentine. Enjoy!


Finding Jackson

by Anne Holster

Release Date: October 29, 2019

The year is 1977 and born-and-bred Jersey girl Annalise Keller has fallen in love for the first and last time. Keith “Ace” Fox wants to be a rock star and is everything a girl dreams of. They both fall hard for one another and decide to run off to California in search of their big break. But fate had other plans. After several years and three kids later, Ace has traded his guitar for a job at the post office and Anna is now a symbol for everything he has given up. Flash forward a decade and their youngest child, Jackson, is headed nowhere. But everything changes when he meets Leah.

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Atlas

by Elin Peer

Release Date: December 7, 2019

The second book in the bestselling Cultivated series by Elin Peer… Everyone thinks I am a nice guy. They see a polished, non-threating, good guy. But they are wrong, that is what I want them to see. It distracts them from the darkness inside me. No one can know my secret… that I have a sick mind like my father, the infamous monster from the Red Manor Cult. But I can suppress my urges. That was until Jolene began working for me.

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The Golden Pecker

by Penelope Bloom

Release Date: December 8, 2019

I never wanted to tell Andi Wainwright who I was. I definitely never planned to meet her. I’ve done a good job of keeping my distance but then her grandfather’s death changes everything. I was his business partner and now my future is tangled up in his ridiculous will. Now I have to personally bring Andi to his club, The Golden Pecker, and show her a mysterious video. I might be in the dark about what’s going on but I do know that she is the enemy.

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Countdown to Christmas

by Betty Shreffler

Release Date: December 4, 2019

It was a simple bet. In the ten days leading to Christmas, I just have to avoid my roommate’s delightfully wrapped package. If I succeed, I get to collect my present-a generous stack of green bills. But things aren’t as easy as I thought. Every time he looks at me, my knees quake. When he takes his shirt off, my heart skips a beat. Then he tells me his secret… All he wants for Christmas is me.

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Audition

by Skye Warren & Amelia Wilde

Release Date: December 9, 2019

Bethany Lewis danced her way out of poverty. She is now a world-class athlete but she has a debt to pay. Joshua North is a mercenary that is used to getting what he wants. And what he wants is Bethany in his bed. But she does not surrender to his kiss. Joshua isn’t going to back down and knows it is going to be a sensual fight… to the death.

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The Guy on the Left

by Kate Stewart

Release Date: December 6, 2019

The second book in The Underdogs series by bestselling author Kate Stewart… It all started with a lie. A night of blurred lines between a teacher and a student. But I wasn’t her student and I have never been the man she thinks I am. Most people have no idea about the life I have lived but there isn’t a coed on the TGU campus who knows otherwise.

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Books To Read If You Like True Crime

Books To Read If You Like True Crime

Do you have a fascination with true crime and need some new recommendations for your reading list? You won’t want to miss these books from some of the biggest names in the genre. Dive into these intriguing stories from Kathryn McMaster, Gregg Olsen, Billy Jensen, Jan Stocklassa, Maureen Callahan, and Lena Derhally.


Kids who Kill: Austin Sigg

by Kathryn McMaster

Release Date: November 29, 2019

Ten-year-old Jessica Ridgeway went missing in 2012 on a snowy morning in Westminster, Colorado. She was abducted, raped, tortured, murdered and dismembered. But who was responsible? A criminal profile was created from the little evidence they found. They were looking for a male sex offender who has definitely killed before. Then a breakthrough occurs. A 17-year-old confessed but doesn’t match the profile. Is he actually the killer?

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If You Tell

by Gregg Olsen

Release Date: December 1, 2019

The new true crime story from the New York Times Bestselling Author, Gregg Olsen… The word mom triggers horrific memories for sisters Nikki, Sami, and Tori Knotek. For years, behind the closed doors of a farmhouse in Raymond, Washington, their mother, Shelly, subjected the girls to abuse, torture, and psychic terrors. Throughout everything, the three girls developed a defiant bond that helped them escape the escalating nightmare.

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Chase Darkness with Me

by Billy Jensen

Release Date: August 13, 2019

Journalist Billy Jensen spent fifteen years investigating unsolved murders. Every one of his stories had one thing in common–they never had an ending. The killer was never found. But after the sudden death of Michelle McNamara, the author of I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, he was fed up. He decided to start investigating beyond the point when the police had given up. He planned to start solving murders himself.

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The Man Who Played with Fire

by Jan Stocklassa

Release Date: October 1, 2019

When Stieg Larsson died, the author of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, he was working on something much more twisted than his Millenium novels. He was investigating the assassination of the Swedish prime minister, Olaf Palme, in 1986. In The Man Who Played with Fire, Jan Stocklassa picks up where Larsson left off and collects the pieces of this true-crime puzzle.

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American Predator

by Maureen Callahan

Release Date: July 2, 2019

Serial killers like Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer are notorious in public consciousness. But most people haven’t heard of Israel Keyes, one of the most ambitious and terrifying serial killers in modern history. His behavior was unprecedented and he was described by prosecutors as “a force of pure evil”. Over a fourteen-year period, Keyes struck all over the United States. When journalist Maureen Callahan first heard about Israel Keyes in 2012, she was amazed at how a killer of this magnitude could go undetected for so long.

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My Daddy is a Hero

by Lena Derhally

Release Date: December 9, 2019

Everybody knew Chriss Watts as a family man, even his family. But on August 13, 2018, he murdered his pregnant wife and two young daughters. This story acts as a warning because, to this day, he lives behind bars and stills acts out the character traits that made him kill. In My Daddy is a Hero, psychotherapist Lena Derhally explores the Watts family murders and pieces together the crime and events leading up to it.

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Interview with Kathryn McMaster, author of Kids Who Kill: Austin Sigg

What can you tell us about your new release, Kids who Kill: Austin Sigg?

“Kids who Kill: Austin Sigg” is the last book in the popular series on teen killers. The case covers the abduction, rape, murder and dismemberment of ten-year-old Jessica Ridgeway from Westminster, Colorado.

This was a shocking and callous crime and I had to leave the story several times before I could complete it. Many who have read it since, have commented on how the story moved them to tears.

It was heart-wrenching to research, but more disturbing, was the intense planning that went into committing the crime by one so young. The very nature of the crime, and the meticulous effort by the killer in leaving virtually no evidence behind, the police were looking for a seasoned criminal who had killed before. When they then had a voluntary confession from a teenage boy, their initial reaction was that it was a hoax. It was inconceivable that a teen could have carried out this murder.

There is no doubt in my mind, that had they not caught the killer, he would have killed again and again.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I have been writing for as long as I can remember. My mother was an avid reader who managed a bookshop. My father was a true crime reader and the house was filled with his books no youngster should read at any age, but with the aid of a torch and some clandestine late night reading, read they were! So, with that background, crime writing was a natural progression.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl
A Town Like Alice by Neville Shute
Exodus by Leon Uris
The First Circle by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

I would love to interview Benjamin Bennett. He was one of South Africa’s greatest true crime writers of his day and he was a methodical investigative journalist. It was his books that I first started reading as a youngster. I have always admired his ability to gain access to crime photographs and files that added substance to his cases. Unfortunately, these days many court records, that used to be available to journalists and researchers, are often sealed or unavailable for general consumption. This makes research difficult for today’s crime writers. I would like to ask him about his methods of unearthing the information in the days prior to the Internet and to get him to talk about some of his famous cases.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love researching my books. Whether the research is for my novels or for my true crimes, I enjoy hunting down the information that would make the book the best it could be. With crime stories you have to keep digging until you know for sure you have unearthed everything there is to know about the case, and making sure there have been no new developments. Then, once I have the case files, the anecdotes, and the case details, I enjoy putting it all together so that if flows in a readable, cohesive manner that is still a page-turner but making sure that the story sticks to the facts with no embellishments or suppositions from me.

There are two types of true crime writers out there. One type where the author takes enormous poetic license in supposing how scenes played out and what people said. The danger here is that one loses the ability to separate fact from fiction. At the end of such books one is left wondering: how much of this is really a true account of what happened?

The second type of true crime writers presents the case strictly using the facts available; including what was said by those involved using court transcripts, interviews, and newspaper articles, with no supposition or flowery additions. To me, this is staying true to the story. It reflects what took place. I always aim to be this kind of true crime author.

What is a typical day like for you?

I run a farm, an author group, several websites and an online business, so this takes up a lot of my day. When I can steal an hour or two, I spend the time either planning, researching or writing. Most of my writing takes place in the early hours of the morning or late at night when the house is quiet and I have no distractions.

What scene in Kids who Kill: Austin Sigg was your favorite to write?

As mentioned earlier, the story was so harrowing I had difficulty writing it from time to time. However, for me, the most important chapter was the abduction of Jessica. It was important to show the reader how the killer had planned the crime by showing where he had parked, how he had had the zip ties on the back seat, and how he had hidden himself on the back seat knowing she would cross over and walk passed the car at that spot that would enable him to complete the abduction without being seen. After being caught, the killer denied he had planned any part of the crime, but it was important to set the scene and detail his actions so the reader would be in no doubt that the crime had been premeditated.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

“Life is not a dress rehearsal. It’s the main event.” I think we so often take life for granted with the attitude that tomorrow is another day. In having that approach we plan for nothing, allow life to pass us by, achieve little and waste opportunities. I have packed a lot into my nearly six decades because I never wanted to be old with a life full of regrets, for the things I should have done, but didn’t.

Even with this attitude I have still made errors in my life. Sometimes things have not turned out the way I would have liked. So, I still have several regrets. However, without my philosophy, I am sure I would have had many more regrets than those I now have.

Never afraid to tackle new challenges and meet life head on, I have to add the other philosophy that I live by. That is: “Some people make dust, and others eat dust. I don’t eat dust for anyone!”

I have enjoyed our interview and thank you for the opportunity to share a slice of my life with you all.

Kathryn McMaster is the author of the new book Kids who Kill: Austin Sigg.

Connect with Kathryn:
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Kids who Kill: Austin Sigg: True Crime Press Series 1, Book 6

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Interview with J.R. Ripley, Author of Five More Minutes

What can you tell us about your new release, Five More Minutes?

Five More Minutes is a follow-up but not a sequel to Five Minutes. I originally wrote Five Minutes some years ago and it was published under another of my pen names, Nick Lucas. It was well-received, with Booklist comparing it to the works of other Florida crime writers like Carl Hiassen, Lawrence Shames and Tim Dorsey. They even stated that “further adventures would be most welcome!”

After all these years and at the urging of readers, I decided it was time for Todd Jones to have another adventure. I had a lot of fun visiting with Todd and his quirky assortment of friends once again. I expect to write more books revolving around them. As one reviewer put it, Todd’s a bit of a lovable loser and he is rather unscrupulous. All of this makes him fun to write about.

Here is the official what’s-it-about promo copy:

Five more minutes. That was all the woman standing outside his floundering business, Todd Jones Realty, wanted. Just five minutes. What could go wrong? Surprisingly, everything. And that’s what Todd Jones is about to learn when he allows the enigmatic Caterina Kadlec to enter his office. He’s hoping that her wealthy client, and the big fat commission he’ll earn, will be the answer to his prayers. Unfortunately, Caterina has other plans and those plans include grand larceny. As for the murder, well, sometimes things don’t go as planned, do they?

Nope, they sure don’t. And that’s what Todd is also about to learn and learn the hard way. No matter, Todd always has plans of his own and has no qualms about implementing them. Because when it comes to ethics and morality, it’s all a gray area as far as Todd is concerned. To complicate matters, his girlfriend has left him. Again. And his live-in mother, who already insists on keeping an annoying pet pig named Mr. Squeals, has invited a homeless Russian woman to take up residence, thus kicking him out of his home office. If it wasn’t for downhill, it seems Todd’s life would have nowhere to go. And he’s going to have to do something about that…

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Absolutely nothing and no one. I’ve been writing and making music pretty much my entire life. Well, maybe not so much when I was in the womb, but that’s only because there wasn’t room for a typewriter and/or musical instruments.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

This is impossible to answer. I really don’t think in terms of best. Each book and author is a unique. Plus, it depends on the sort of mood I am in at the moment. So I don’t like to make comparisons. I grew up being drawn to authors like Vonnegut, Dumas, Huxley, Hesse and a lot of sci-fi. These days, I read in many genres and usually have more than one novel going at a time. I just read a novel by Ovidia Yu called The Paper Bark Tree Mystery. Ovidia is one of Singapore’s most acclaimed author and playwright. She recently surprised me by including me as a character in this, her latest novel! It’s a terrific historical crime novel.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

What would you want to ask? Hmm, I guess I’d say Alexander Dumas since I just mentioned him above, a wonderful adventure writer who lived in a very interesting time. Plus, I could brush up on my French. Of course, being a 150-year-old corpse, Alex might not have a lot to contribute to the conversation…That’s okay, I won’t have to share that bottle of Bordeaux.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I love creating something new every day and every day I am surprised to see where my stories take me. And it beats having to get a real job.

What is a typical day like for you?

Rise and shine early, work out in the home gym, shower, head to my desk with my coffee and apple. From there, I’m at my desk writing and throughout the day I am either writing, reading, playing the guitar or piano or chilling with the cat. Jeez, I sound terribly spoiled, don’t I?

What scene in Five More Minutes was your favorite to write?

Yikes, I can barely remember the book! I write quite a few novels each year. Let me think (by which I mean cheat and look at the book)…[insert final Jeopardy theme here]. Okay, I’m back. First off, some of my favorites are the scenes in which Todd interacts with his pal, Nick Durham, a Ft. Lauderdale cop with dubious scruples. I also really enjoy the scenes between Todd and Surfer Steve, the son of a wealthy Russian arms and ammo maker, who lives in his own quirky version of reality. My absolute favorite scene in Five More Minutes is the last scene in which Todd interacts with his housekeeper. It includes a twist that even I didn’t see coming!

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

Life will be better if you buy all my books. Life will be better if you buy all your friends and family copies of my books. Last but not least, life will be better if you buy copies of my books for each of your pets. They may not be able to read them, but dogs love to chew on the covers and the interior pages (once you run them through the shredder) make nice, ecofriendly recyclable cat litter. Other than that, I’m a live and let live kind of guy. We’re only here once. Let’s enjoy it and each other and not take ourselves too seriously.

J.R. Ripley is the author of the new book Five More Minutes.

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FIve More Minutes: A Todd Jones comic thriller

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Interview with Dickie Erman, Author of A Spy’s Eyes: Rachael’s Story

What can you tell us about your new release, A Spy’s Eyes: Rachael’s Story?

A Spy’s Eyes is my fourth book in the “Antebellum Struggles” series. It’s set in the civil war genre and introduces a new protagonist, Rachael, who grew up as the daughter of a wealthy cotton plantation owner. The Confederacy is losing the war, and Rachael joins the cause by becoming a spy and infiltrating the inner-circles of Washington, D.C.

But these new circumstances cause her to question the South’s reliance on the slave trade, and forces challenging decisions for her to grapple with.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve simply always wanted to write a novel, and felt that my life’s experiences would be appreciated by readers. Obviously not regarding the civil war, but with relationships between blacks and whites and their intertwined misconceptions.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Creativity. Placing my mind in a scene that’s unfolding and unrehearsed. Watching the expressions on the character’s faces, listening to their words – how they say it and the point of view they have. And then writing it down in a way that the reader can “be there”. It’s like painting a vivid picture with words.

What scene in A Spy’s Eyes: Rachael’s Story was your favorite to write?

Probably Rachael’s introduction to the black (holy-roller) church. I experienced that scene several times in real life, and the hair on the back of your neck does stand up!

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

I’ve read and heard so many “mottos” and “quotes”, they become cliché. What gives me peace and happiness is to see God everywhere, enjoy God everywhere, and give and receive as much love as possible.

A Spy's Eyes:  Rachael's Story: Book Four of Antebellum Struggles

 

Dickie Erman is the author of the new book A Spy’s Eyes: Rachael’s Story.

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Interview with François Houle, Author of The Little Lies We Hide

What can you tell us about your new release, The Little Lies We Hide?

It was a lot of fun to write. My previous books have been emotionally heavy (especially the endings), and this time I wanted it to be a bit lighter. Not to say that readers won’t go through a gamut of different emotions as they make their way through the tale, because they will, but overall, it’s a little less emotionally draining. One of my early readers sums it up nicely: “I felt hate, pity, love, betrayal and anger while turning each page.”

What or who inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always been a reader. I remember in grade 3, my friends and I used to trade comic books. In high school, I started to read novels, and when I was twenty-two, I challenged myself to write a novel. It took me 2 years and wasn’t very good, but I had learned that I had the patience to see it through.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

It’s hard to remember books that I read when I was younger and my taste has changed so much. I also didn’t start to read English books until my late teens, once I was done high school (I was educated in French so I missed on reading the English classics). These are my most recent favourite books:
o The Lightkeeper’s Daughters – Jean E. Pendziwol
o The Alice Network – Kate Quinn
o Pennie from Burger Heaven – Marcy Mckay
o Julia’s Daughters – Colleen Faulkner
o The Foundation Series – Isaac Asimov (I read those in the 1980s when I went through my sci-fi phase and they are the only sci-fi books from those days that I’ve kept).

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Marcy Mckay. Her character Copper Daniels is so refreshingly unique and I would love to know how she came up with such a sassy and strong 11-year-old protagonist.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

The actual writing process, seeing the words appear on paper (or MS Word) where nothing was until I thought of them. Sometimes, those words surprise me and they just come out fast and furious, and other times it’s a struggle just to get a page done. It’s painful and aggravating, and I’m often full of doubts and wonder why, oh why I spend so many hours of my life sitting alone in my office to write, but then when I get wonderful emails from readers who simply want to tell me how much they enjoyed my book, then I know that’s why I do this. My stories connect me with other people.

What is a typical day like for you?

I get up at 5:15am and get ready for my day job. I’m usually home by 4:30pm and might be able to write for an hour. If my wife is working late, I’ll get dinner ready. We’ll reconnect and talk about our day during dinner, and then I might be back in my den by 7:30pm and write until I’m tired.

What scene in The Little Lies We Hide was your favorite to write?

That’s a hard question as there are a lot. I really like the opening scene as it sets the story quite well (I think), but there’s a scene near the end with David (and I can’t say more) that surprised me because it wasn’t what I had planned but the story did.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

• I just try to be a decent person, a loving husband, and a supporting father.

François Houle is the author of the new book The Little Lies We Hide.

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The Little Lies We Hide

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The Story Behind The Golden Pecker by Penelope Bloom

By Penelope Bloom

I finished Anyone But Nick about four months ago and was faced with the wide open unknown. It’s always an exciting and daunting prospect to finish a series. It means coming up with a “brand” for your new books. New titles. New cover concepts. New characters, etc. As fun as all of that is, it’s scary, too. Every little decision could be one that ultimately comes back to bite you and tanks your series. No pressure!

A lot of my stories pop in my head with the meet-cute moment. I’ll have an image, like I did for Her Cherry. I saw William coming in her shop and “stealing her cherry.” That was pretty much all I had when I started writing the first chapter, but an exciting idea like that can really power the story for me.

This time, it came a little differently. I knew it had been forever since I’d dabbled in the world of BDSM, and I wondered what it would be like to write a BDSM book as a romantic comedy. And four months later, here we are.

The path from there to here wasn’t exactly smooth, so I thought it’d be fun to talk a little about the issues I ran into with getting this book off the ground.

The Cover and Title

Problem number one was that I originally planned to sort of “pitch” this series to Montlake. If they liked my pitch, it would mean a contract for another group of books I’d do with them. The part I didn’t realize is that Montlake can’t advertise BDSM books. Whoops.

I also didn’t realize Anyone But Rich and Anyone But Cade weren’t exactly going to be bestselling hits. I’ll probably make a post talking about that whole situation soon, too.

But my early drafts of titles and covers were all with the idea of pitching the series to Montlake. So I was trying to make more cute kinds of titles that were clean and wouldn’t create any advertising issues. One of my leading concepts was something like, “How to Tie Down Your Boss,” or, “How to Tie Down A Dickweed,” etc. The cover was just going to be a guy’s hands tied to the title by a tie on a white background. Very simple, very rom-com, bla bla.

Well, once I learned that the book I’d started writing wasn’t something Montlake could touch, even if they wanted to, my options opened up. I still remember showing my editor my cover (she’s usually my first critic with covers, and I’ve come to really trust her opinion). I was almost done with the hands being tied to the title and I basically presented it to her thinking she was going to congratulate me and tell me how talented I was.

Instead, she said the title was kind of “meh” and the cover wasn’t really working for her.

Womp womp. I didn’t exactly believe her that it was bad at first, but I was kind of driven to make something crazy just out of frustration. So I don’t even quite remember how the idea popped into my head, but I thought it would be wild to call the book, “The Golden Cock” and just have a golden rooster emblem on the cover. When I showed her the finished draft, she loved it. She said it reminded her of the kind of crazy that made His Banana so fun.

I kind of mulled it over, just like I had with His Banana. The title “The Golden Cock” was almost guaranteed to draw some unwanted attention from the watchful eye of Amazon. But I really liked how brash and in-your-face it was. It was fun, and I love fun things. I also didn’t really have another word for Cock that would’ve worked with the chicken image as I was brainstorming. I considered maybe just calling it “The Golden”, but it felt so safe and a little boring.

That was when it hit me. Pecker! No, it didn’t have quite the impact of “Cock”, but it was also about 99% less likely to get me banned from Amazon. So Pecker it was.

The cover itself went through 0 drafts once I had this concept. It was a rare case where the image in my head is pretty much exactly what I got on the cover on my first try. If only they could all be like that.

The Story

Ugh. I learned a very important lesson about writing books early in my career: editing is something you do once the book is finished. At all costs, avoid going backwards and making changes that will require re-writes and deletions when you’re still in the process of writing.

Basically, if you want to write a book every month or two, you really can’t afford to bounce around and re-write things. You’ve got to do your best on the first round, and then attack the finished manuscript in editor mode as much as you can once it’s all in place. That way, you’ll stop yourself from changing things that don’t absolutely need changed.

So, what did I do with this book? I jumped around like crazy. I constantly went back and re-imagined how I’d open the book up. I changed motivations, rules, personalities, even names.

This will come as a surprise to absolutely no one, but books are complicated. If you’ve written 25 chapters and you decide to change something in chapter 2, you’re most likely creating a ripple effect. Just for fun, let me give a real example from this book:

I ended up changing the hero and heroine’s dynamic for the first few chapters, which meant I also had to axe some lines that didn’t fit with the new tone of their encounter.

One such axed line was the heroine (Andi) joking that she doesn’t usually cum until the second date.

No big deal, right? Except while I was carefully re-reading after making a bazillion changes, I noticed a line where the hero (Landon) and Andi are debating whether something qualifies as a date. This prompts him to make a reference in some way to the fact that she doesn’t cum until the first date and how he plans to challenge that, etc. THEN, that comment also leads the conversation down an entirely different path that I liked. So now I needed to find some other way to pivot the conversation naturally in that direction, delete the reference, etc.

And THEN even farther down the line there was a joke about how she doesn’t sign sex contracts until the third date, which didn’t make sense anymore. So that had to go, along with the conversation it led to.

Maybe it seems crazy that you wouldn’t remember all the spots you reference back to things in a story or build off of them as the author–but it all blurs together. So the only way to really be sure you’ve covered your tracks when you make a change is to re-read the entire story.

I wound up re-reading the entire story three times before sending it to my editor to scan for inconsistencies like that, and then another time when I got the edits back to make sure the additions I made didn’t make new problems.

My brain probably looks like a fried potato right about now.

The Good News

It’s done now, and I’m super happy with the finished product. I’m also relieved to finally be launching another self published book. It has been way, way too long, and I regret how I started shifting my focus to the world of traditional publishing so much.

Yes, I still want to take advantage of the opportunity to work with publishers if I get another chance, but I’m also not going to be so ready to jump off the self publishing train. This is part of who I am. All the marketing and hustling it takes outside of actually writing the book is how I’ve helped make a career for myself. Completely leaving it behind just wouldn’t feel right.

Oh, last thing! I probably won’t really go into talking about this anywhere else because it’s kind of awkward to bring up, but I’m going to give a test run to launching my books at the $3.99 price point instead of $0.99. If you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, it won’t impact you at all. Borrowing is still free.

The reasons behind the change could make for a post by themselves, so I may holster that one and save it for another day. The short version is that there is a growing feeling among authors that we can’t afford to keep giving away our books for pennies (we earn $0.33 per sale at $0.99). The last thing I’ll say on it is that the only reason $0.99 books are so common is because it’s essentially a marketing strategy. You are trading the monetary value of those sales for rank and hoping your gamble pays off. If it does, the book ranks high enough to gain organic traction and it can repay what you lost selling it for so little. If it doesn’t, you basically wrote, marketed, and planned an entire book for nothing. A higher price point lets your loyal base of readers enable you to have a living wage without feeling like you’re rolling the dice with every launch. In theory, at least!

Anyway, that’s all for now. I just mentioned two things I need to make posts about soon, so I will try to remember to get to those soon. Thanks for reading!

Penelope Bloom is the author of the new book The Golden Pecker.

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The post The Story Behind The Golden Pecker by Penelope Bloom appeared first on NewInBooks.

Interview with Anne Holster, author of Finding Jackson

What can you tell us about your new release, Finding Jackson?

When I started writing ‘Finding Jackson’ I had no idea where I was going with it. All I had in mind is that I thought it would be fun to write about a young girl experiencing love at first sight. I also thought it would be kinda cool if the object of her affection wasn’t at all a guy most would describe as ‘classically handsome’. So, from that, ‘Finding Jackson’ was born! Although the story starts out with the blossoming relationship between Jackson and Leah, there’s also a backstory and that backstory is Jackson’s past, a past that he doesn’t want Leah knowing anything about. The story is told from three different perspectives – Jackson, Leah and Jackson’s mother, Anna. Anna’s story is told in flashbacks and begins when she first meets Jackson’s dad, ‘Ace’. The book spans several decades and involves all around major character growth – some good and some not so good. I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say this…’Finding Jackson’ has it all – romance, heartbreak, betrayal and lastly…love, a real lasting, all consuming perfect love.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

Anyone who writes a book – particularly a novel – is inevitably asked what their inspiration was. Of the many questions I have been asked as a fairly new writer, the most common are concerned with how the story came to me, how I created the characters and how I chose my setting. Like most writers, I was inspired in large part by the books I love – you know, the ones you can’t wait to get home and read? The ones that make you ignore a ringing phone or stay up hours past your bedtime, even if it means you’ll be tired for work the next day? For me those books include the Twilight and Fifty Shades series, and much of their allure lay in the unique qualities of their male leads – Edward Cullen and Christian Grey. So, in the nutshell, I guess I was inspired to become an author by my love of reading!

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

1. Thoughtless, S.C. Stephens
2. Beautiful Disaster, Jamie McGuire
3. Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James
4. Twilight, Stephenie Meyer
5. How to Kill a Rock Star, Tiffanie DeBartolo

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I like the solitude of writing. I also consider myself to be an avid, conscientious reader which I think is important because it allows you to learn from the experts in terms of storyline, character development and realistic dialogue. The more you read, the more you learn and it teaches you what you can get away with as an author and what you can’t. I learned just as much from books I didn’t like as those I did.

I’ve so far stuck with writing within the new adult genre although I haven’t ruled out writing in another genre at some point in the future – mystery, perhaps? New adult is what I mainly read, though, and you know what they say – write what you love to read!

What is a typical day like for you?

My typical day is similar to most – kids, work, making dinner, etc. – I’m not that complicated so, in turn, I keep my writing process pretty simple. I usually start out writing on my laptop in the evening and most nights I keep going until I run out of ideas. On some nights when the ideas are flowing, I could literally write for hours, but then there are those nights when I seem to develop a bad case of writer’s block and on those nights, I just turn in early. I always keep a pen and pad on my nightstand in case an idea comes to me out of the blue during the night – believe it or not, this happens quite often. Of course, there have been many a morning when I had quite a hard time deciphering what I’d written the night before!

What scene in Finding Jackson was your favorite to write?

There were a lot of scenes I loved writing in ‘Finding Jackson’ but I guess if I had to pinpoint one in particular it was the one where Jackson finds out the truth behind why his father became so bitter towards his mother and him and his siblings. It was a very moving scene.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

My favorite quote is from Irish-born author Iris Murdoch and reads, “One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” It’s so true! It’s the little things that make life so special!

Anne Holster is the author of the new book Finding Jackson.

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Finding Jackson

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The post Interview with Anne Holster, author of Finding Jackson appeared first on NewInBooks.