Pandemic tales

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Monday musings by bestselling authors

Hopefully, we will soon live in post-pandemic world. But we all know that everything has changed. So much of what we once thought of as “normal” is now over and done.

How will this affect the stories and books we love to read? BestSelling Reads authors weigh in on how the Covid-19 pandemic will influence their writing in the future.

Scott Bury, mystery, historical fiction, fantasy, biography

Scott Bury

I anticipate writing about situations where isolation and physical distancing will be story elements. Relationships and gatherings will be changed. At least, there will be a current of concern about risks. At the very least, a character will have to think a second and a third time before getting close to a stranger, starting a new relationship, or before tackling a bad guy.

David C. Cassidy

David C. Cassidy, horror

I’ve actually given this a lot of thought as I work on my current book. If we find we’re living in a post-Covid world where masks are the norm, do we need to mirror that in our stories? I think it’s a personal choice for every writer or director.

Of course, we’d all like to write “realistic” stories that reflect reality, but for me, I’m going to write as if masks aren’t the norm. If that’s not depicting reality, I can live with that. I think readers will, too, and most, if not all, would prefer it that way. They want us to give them an escape from the everyday, not a dose of ugly reality, especially when it comes to entertainment.

Raine Thomas, new adult, young adult and romance

Raine Thomas

I’m with David on this topic. I write fiction (and romantic fiction, at that). My readers want to escape from their everyday realities, so I don’t intend to write about a world in the grips of a pandemic where my characters have to wear masks and stay six feet apart. That said, I do feel this experience will change how many authors develop future projects.

Alan McDermott

Alan McDermott, action-thrillers

I don’t plan to include Covid-19 in any of my future works. My books have imaginary presidents in alternate reality timelines, so no need to drag this up again. I’m sure people will be sick of reading about it by the time it’s over. As for what life will be like, I think everyone will get pretty much back to normal before too long. I’d like to think there would be major changes, like a higher minimum wage to reflect on the importance of ‘menial’ jobs that are keeping the country going, but I doubt that will happen.

DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree Gladden: romance, mystery, fantasy

I think the biggest changes for my personal writing will be on the marketing side and focusing on engaging with readers online. It’s something I’ve slacked on the past few years, and being stuck at home has reminded me of how important having that community is.

As far as writing about situations reflecting the lockdown, I’ve already seen a few “love in lockdown” type books pop up, but I think portrayals will focus mainly on business and activities and less so on relationships. We all still need to connect, and physical contact is a huge part of that.

I do think a lot of people and businesses are realizing the benefits of teleworking and virtual events, though, so I think that will be featured in fiction more often now.

J.L. Oakley

J.L. Oakley, historical fiction, cozy mysteries

I agree with what’s been said. I write historical fiction and cozy mysteries. I could fix those four cozy mysteries.

Sometimes there is hard stuff in the stories as part of the action—my WWII in particular—but I won’t be writing about mask. I always say that I write about characters who stand up for something in their own times, whether its resistance in WWII, women going against the norm and climbing mountains, or being present in multi-cultured pacific NW in the 1860s.

I plan to write a sequel to Tree Soldier showing women in the Forest Service during the war. I am looking for different ways to reach readers. Doing a Zoom talk to the Sons of Norway Lodge with Powerpoint has shown me a way to connect. There was even a member in Nord Kapp, Norway.

Gae-Lynn Woods

Gae-Lynn Woods, mystery, thriller, comic thriller

Interesting question, and some interesting answers. I write crime novels to escape reality, and I think that’s what most readers are looking for: an escape.

At least in the near term, I don’t think the good (and bad) folks of Forney County will have to deal with masks or social distancing. As the death toll from Covid-19 grows more personal, the topic is too raw. However, a virus-ridden world could make things interesting from the perspective of crimes committed and how they’re solved. We’ll just have to see how the stories unfold.

Seb Kirby

Seb Kirby, thriller, psychological thriller and science-fiction

There are times when you don’t know what the future holds. My parents experienced that in WWII. My father was a submariner in the North Atlantic, chasing U Boats, seeking to avoid depth charges launched by German destroyers. My mother served in Air Raid Protection (ARP), driving an ambulance during air raid attacks on Birmingham, UK. They had no idea how that war would end: in success and democracy, or failure under a Nazi dictatorship.

My generation has been blessed up till now. We’ve never known a time when we’ve had to face existential uncertainty of that order. Our problems and heartaches have been strictly second order. Until now.

The road ahead is at a junction. And we face the kind of existential uncertainty my parents and many generations before them faced. One road leads to a successful vaccine. Then our blessed lives will return and return quite quickly. The other road leads to a world where we will need to live in the shadow of Covid-19, making changes to how we live and relate to each other with far reaching outcomes that will affect how we write as much as everything else. Until we know which fork in the road we will take my art continues as before.

If the outcome is long-term containment of the virus, I’m sure my art will change along with so much else in what we’ve been able to take for granted up till now.

What do readers think?

Do you want to see the pandemic reflected in stories and novels in the future? In mysteries, science-fiction or romance tales? Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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Repelling the Shark: Date Shark book 5

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An excerpt from the upcoming contemporary romance from the USA Today bestselling author

DelSheree Gladden

“Look,” Katheryn said, “I’m happy to hang out with you any time, but I’m out for the kid parties and group picnics and whatever else involves sticky toddler hands and holding babies for hours on end.”

Leo huffed, understanding more than what she was saying. He was in no rush to settle down, but he’d been honest with Katheryn that it was something he wanted eventually. She didn’t. That had always been fine, because they both knew they weren’t anything more than friends in the long term. Her refusal to attend baby Moira’s first birthday party signaled and end to their friendship.

Katheryn had ordered her drink and muffin by the time Leo came out of his thoughts. He stepped up to the counter as she moved along to collect her iced coffee further down.

“Hey, Leo. You want your regular, or what? You’re holding up the line.”

He scowled at her, but there was no heat behind it. “Hey, Piper. Yeah, the usual.”

Her chuckle lifted his mood a little. He couldn’t remember exactly when she’d started working at the coffee shop, but it had been at least a few years and he always enjoyed her banter. She seemed at home in the shop and always knew just how to handle each customer.

“You and Legs,” Piper said, tilting her head toward Katheryn, “time to part ways, if you ask me.”

“I didn’t,” Leo said with a snort.

She winked. “Yeah, but you were going to.”

Chuckling, he shrugged before handing over his credit card. Leo wouldn’t call Piper a friend, seeing as he knew almost nothing about her outside the realm of the coffee shop, but he’d asked her opinion on women more than once. She’d never been wrong before, and he knew she’d assessed the demise of his relationship with Katheryn just as expertly.

Repelling the Shark

Leo Bailey is the only one in his circle of friends whose involvement with the date shark business has yet to see him tied down to marriage and family. Even if thoughts of one day creep into his mind occasionally, he’s not ready to give up the casual relationships or be expected to devote what little free time he has outside of the hospital to handling family emergencies.

When Piper Moretti witnesses the death of another friends-with-benefits situation between her favorite customer and the woman she refers to as Legs, she doesn’t think much of it. It isn’t the first of his relationships she’d seen fizzle, and she has a long list of more pressing responsibilities and stressors to occupy her mind. Friends, and the strings that go with them, are at the bottom of her priority list.

A date shark client who tops the list of bizarre behavior Leo has seen while helping out with the business drags Piper into the chaos and into Leo’s life. Neither one wants more than a simple, no-stress friendship. Secrets and surprises force them to admit neither one is nearly as in control as they think they are. Helping each other means getting involved, making promises, and opening themselves up to the hurt and hope they’re both terrified to face.

Coming to an e-tailer near you in July 2020. Watch for the announcement on BestSelling Reads and DelSheree Gladden’s website.

DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read. Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing.

She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by.

When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting and sewing.

Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at

And find her on social media

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Where does inspiration strike?

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Monday musings by BestSelling Reads authors

Photo by Ameen Fahmy on Unsplash

One question that every writer gets is about inspiration. “Where do you get your ideas from?”

The answers are as varied as the writers themselves. Many writers find inspiration from everyday events, from people walking past on the street, or from news stories. Often, ideas come not when we’re looking for them, but at really inopportune times.

Writers are not the only people who find this. Ludwig van Beethoven said he got his inspiration from walking in nature. There are stories about him walking in the countryside surrounding Vienna, singing his new compositions as they came to him. Unfortunately, being deaf, he had no idea how loud he was — until city officials told him about complaints from area farmers, who said he was scaring their cows.

Your favorite BestSelling authors also have found inspirations at … interesting moments. 

Alan McDermott: 

“My inspiration normally comes when I lay down for my afternoon nap. I started a new exercise routine a year ago, which involves getting up at 6 a.m. to check my emails and social media with a couple of coffees, then exercise on the bike for 40 minutes (the first of two stints during the day). At lunchtime, I do 15 minutes of weights, then have something to eat. Half an hour later, I’m ready for an hour in bed. That’s when the ideas usually start to flow. I guess I find it helpful to get away from the laptop for a little while.”

Scott Bury 

says he does his best writing when he’s not in front of his computer or typewriter. “My best sentences come to me when I’m doing something else: washing dishes, walking to the coffee pot, shovelling the driveway … 

“Then the real challenge is remembering the sentences, the particular arrangements of words, that come to me long enough to get back to the keyboard and jot it down.”

Bestseller Seb Kirby, 

author of the Take No More series and other psychological thrillers, also says he finds inspiration other than from his typewriter. “I get my best ideas early morning when getting out of the shower and drying. These can be plot developments, snatches of a character’s upcoming conversation or fragments of place description. I always have my tablet handy and use the Notes feature to capture those ideas before they fade.

“The beauty of using Notes is that this is not only captured on the table but is also synced through the cloud to my desktop, so as I write it’s easy to pull up those observations. 

“Overall I think this way of developing a story is proof of the comment made by the great surrealist painter Max Ernst: All good ideas arrive by chance.”

For Samreen Ahsan,

inspiration tends to come at inconvenient times: “In the gym, in the shower, before sleep, anywhere except when I sit in front of computer.” 

DelSheree Gladden

“I frequently get stuck in loops of insomnia, especially when I get stressed out or overwhelmed. I’ll lay awake for hours with my brain running wild with all the things I should or shouldn’t have done, need to do, am worried about, etc. To calm things down and attempt to get control of my thoughts, I plan out scenes for books I’m working on, or just random scenes that pop into my head. It helps me focus and usually helps we work through story issues.

Eventually I fall asleep, and half the time I forget most of what I worked out in those sleepless hours, but the major points usually stick with me long enough to get them down on a sticky note (which I will hopefully not lose before I can make use of it).

Raine Thomas

“When working through writing challenges, it’s most often while walking my dog that I get inspired.

If that doesn’t help, I chat it through with my alpha reader, my husband, or a close friend who isn’t as close to the project.”

Sydney Landon,

bestselling author of romances, also says she gets her best writing ideas far from a keyboard or screen. 

“I think I do my best thinking when I’m in the car driving alone.  Scary for the other drivers on the road probably!  But when you have kids, that can be your only quiet time.”

D.G. Torrens

agrees. “My best ideas come to me when I am not writing at all. I am a vivid dreamer. By that I mean, I often have dreams that thrust me awake during the night. The dreams are often intense and leave me wide awake for quite some time. One of my favourite novels that I wrote was born from a dream—Broken Wings.  

“Great things rise from the dirt—you only have to look at the rainforest”—from D.G. Torrens’ 2019 book, Midnight Musings

Keep coming back to BestSelling Reads to read the results of this inspiration from all our members. Better yet, subscribe to our e-newsletter, and download a free book from one of our members. Until the end of March, you can get Raine Thomas’ bestselling Estilorian Plane novel, Return of the Ascendant, for your Kindle or other e-reader. 

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Romance is coming your way

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It’s Romanceuary at BestSelling Reads again, and your favourite bestselling authors are not about to disappoint you. Not only can you get wonderful romances that will warm your heart through the cold, dark month, they’re busy bringing new books to your e-readers and bookshelves.

Take a look at our latest and soon-to-publish tales of love and longing.

Toby Jane: Somewhere in Wine Country

The bestselling author of mysteries and thrillers has rebranded and rereleased her Somewhere series of romances with Somewhere on St. Thomas, Somewhere in the City and Somewhere in California. Ruby, Pearl and Jade are three sisters who grew up in the paradise of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands. Each young woman has a unique path to walk, and a powerful, thrilling love to discover, each as different as the gemstones they’re named for.

Also re-released with a new cover is Somewhere on Maui: A Second Chance Hawaii Romance.

And there’s more: Toby will launch a new Secret Billionaire Romance series with Somewhere in Wine Country in March—less than a month away.

Toby Jane is the romance pen name for bestselling mystery writer Toby Neal. Romance allows her to indulge in the delight of love stories with happy endings, big families, and loving pets.

Toby also writes memoir/nonfiction under TW Neal.

Visit the author’s BestSelling Reads author page.

Raine Thomas: For the Win

Raine Thomas ignited the bestseller lists with her first New Adult baseball romance, For Everly. Readers loved the story of the love that grows between physiotherapist Everly Wallace and Major League pitcher Cole Parker, and Raine followed up with another baseball romance, Meant for Her.

Her work in progress, For the Win, brings her back to baseball just in time for the boys of summer to play ball.

Visit Raine Thomas’s BestSelling Reads author page.

D.G. Torrens: Unforeseen

With Forbidden, bestseller D.G. Torrens introduced us to Jessica Hamilton and Ajay Sharma, two lovers who must hide their relationship from their respective conservative, unforgiving families. In the second book of the series, Dissolution, Ajay searches for the person responsible for nearly killing the love of his life while facing the stone-hearted rejection of both their families.

With Unforeseen, the author concludes the trilogy as only D.G. Torrens can.

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

DelSheree Gladden: Memory’s Edge, Book 2

Most people only have one life-changing experience, but John and Gretchen are on round two of having their lives sent into utter chaos. After a year of living with Gretchen after being attacked and left for dead with no memory of his former life, John’s memory returns when his wife and children find him.

The two lovers have to find a way forward through conflicting love, memory loss, family infighting and the risk of financial ruin.

Date Shark series relaunched

DelSheree Gladden has just re-launched her bestselling Date Shark series with new covers.

Visit her BestSelling Reads author page.

J.L. Oakley: Mist-Chi-Mas

Mist-Chi-Mas is a novel of captivity as well as a historical romance. Jeannie Naughton flees 1860 England to an island off the Pacific northwest coast, home to Coast Salish and Hawaiian people working for the Hudson’s Bay Company. There, she meets and falls in love with American Jonas Breed, who as a boy was held as a slave of the Haida—a mist-chi-mas. Her search for Jonas after he disappears stirs up and old and dangerous struggle of power and revenge.

Visit J.L. Oakley’s BestSelling Reads author page.

Sydney Landon: Nicoli

BestSelling romance author Sydney Landon continues the Pierced series of crime-family tales of love and danger in Nicoli, coming to your favorite book e-tailer on February 18.

In this riveting novel, Nicoli Moretti, the top lieutenant and best friend to the head of the Moretti family, thought he knew everything about the man he considered a brother—but learns he was very wrong. Still reeling from that blow, he discovers that not only did the woman he loves know before him, but she also has secrets of her own—ones that could well get her killed.

His thirst for revenge is almost overwhelming—yet so is his love for Minka Gavino. A relationship with someone from another mafia family would be complicated on a good day, but was it even worth fighting for now? Once the trust is gone, can it ever be rebuilt? Or, will he walk away from the only life he’s ever known and the only woman he’s ever loved?

Visit the author’s BestSelling Reads author page.

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A great year ahead for avid readers

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Photo by Jamie Street on Unsplash

Did you notice the new year, or were you’ve been too engrossed in that latest series from that new favorite author to notice when it came time to replace your calendar.

But the new year and (according to some), a new decade have arrived. And with them, some exciting developments for avid readers out there: new contests, new ways to connect with your favorite authors, and best of all, lots of new books.

We have new books from your favorite bestselling authors coming out, including a new Tom Gray prequel, Gray Genesis, from action/thriller author Alan McDermott.

Scott Bury is hard at work on the long-awaited sequel to The Bones of the Earth, The Triumph of the Sky, and has plans for a new Hawaiian Storm mystery before the summer comes.

The prolific DelSheree Gladden is going to publish the second half of her two-part contemporary romance, Memory’s Edge.

D.G. Torrens is bringing us a whole new “Secret Romance” with Full Circle and Full Intention. It’s a story about how the passing of time and age cannot break a connection sealed in youth.

Now separated by oceans and their different lives, will Matthew and Dena’s connection survive, or will it be severed once and for all?


More benefits for readers and subscribers

As a group, we’re planning new ways and new platforms to converse with you, our readers. We want to hear what you love, what you hate and what you’re looking forward to when it comes to reading.

We also have some generous promotions and giveaways coming: e-books, paperbacks and collections, as well as some great swag. Keep watching this blog!

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Memory’s Edge, Book 2

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A Thursday teaser from the upcoming bestseller

By DelSheree Gladden

The cab lurched forward, finally jarring her from her shock. “I can’t believe you just did that.”

John had just spared her from public humiliation. He didn’t understand why she seemed so upset, almost angry. “Didn’t you hear what they were saying? How they were talking about you?”

“There were cameras,” Corey said quietly.

“So?”

“What will the headlines be tomorrow?” she said, panic thick in her voice.

John shook his head. “Headlines?”

She stared at him, confused. “You do remember your parents, don’t you? You remember their rules, right? You know what they’ll do if you hurt their reputation more than you already have.”

“More than I already have?” I asked. “I was beaten within an inch of my life and lost my memory.”

Corey braced herself against the door. “That’s the story now,” she said quietly, “but up until a week ago you were the son who ran out on his family and business…the scandal of the year.”

John didn’t understand. He was back. The story had been corrected. There was no scandal anymore.

Slowly, Corey turned to face John. Her face was a mask as she watched him, scoured him for understanding. “You don’t remember, do you? Not everything has come back.”

“No,” John said, “You and the kids, I remember most of that. The rest is still hazy.”

“Who wasn’t there, Alex? Who wasn’t there to greet you?”

For a moment, John didn’t know what she was talking about. She had said his parents would be there. They were. When John had thought about his family earlier, he’d remembered his brother, his nephew. Frowning, he tried to remember what would have kept them from being at the airport. After a year missing, wouldn’t they want to run up and hug him as well?

A sound, almost a cry of dismay, slipped out of Corey. “You really don’t remember.” It wasn’t a question that time.

“Why wasn’t David at the airport?”

Corey half-laughed, half-cried. “At least you remember you have a brother.” Shaking her head, she then looked up and blinked several times to stall the tears that had pooled in her eyes.

“Two years ago, your parents found out David’s wife was having an affair. David didn’t even know. He came home to find them throwing her out of his house. When he tried to stop them and figure out what was going on, they accused him of knowing and allowing it to continue, ruining the family’s reputation. He threw them out, mostly just so he could talk to Allison and try to understand what was happening. They went ballistic. They ruined him, Alex. When they disinherited him, it blocked him from accessing his trust, and then they demanded he return all the money they’d invested in his construction business—which forced him into bankruptcy. It didn’t matter that they had been right and he ended up divorcing Allison. He’s not allowed on any of their properties and they haven’t seen Parker in almost two years.”

Even with the explanation, John felt somewhat lost. “But, all I did was defend you.”

Spearing her hands through her hair. “Of all the times for you to finally stand up to them…” She shook her head. “Why did it have to be in front of the media?”

“I don’t understand,” John said.

“No,” she said, “you don’t.” Falling back against the seat, Corey seemed to grow smaller. “I’ve spent the last year trying, with David’s help, to keep our businesses going. Businesses we started with money from your parents. Money they could find a way to take from us, ruin us just like they did David. We could get you back only to lose everything else.”

Memory’s Edge

Book Two

Most people only have one life-changing experience, but John and Gretchen are on round two of having their lives sent into utter chaos.

After a year of living with Gretchen after being attacked and left for dead with no memory of his former life, John’s memory returns when his wife and children find him. Leaving Gretchen weeks before their planned wedding breaks both their hearts. Being reunited with his family is a balm to that loss, but John quickly realizes the old adage that you can never go home again is even truer when you still don’t remember huge sections of your former life. A spotty memory compounds family infighting, a risk of financial ruin, and having no idea how to step back into a marriage that is complicated by his lingering love for Gretchen.

Even though Gretchen was the one to release John and step aside, going home to her friends and family and the curiosity and pity of an entire community quickly overwhelms her. Friend and neighbor Carl has been in love with Gretchen nearly since the day they met. She knows he would be more than willing to help her forget the pain of losing John, but diving into a new relationship is the last thing Gretchen needs. Feeling lost, broken, and confused leaves Gretchen floundering to figure out how to move on.

As they both face starting over, again, the pull to fall back into the familiarity of each other’s arms weighs heavily against facing the struggle to move forward.

Memory’s Edge, Book One

Gretchen brought her car to a screeching halt in the middle of the highway, terrified she had just killed someone. The body lying on the road appeared so suddenly, she barely had time to hit the brakes. Luckily, she stopped short of him. Unluckily, someone else hadn’t. Her call for help may have saved his life, but the damage done may be impossible to repair.

Waking with no memory of who he is or how he ended up a broken mess in the hospital, he has no choice but to rely on his rescuer for help. “John Doe” is his only identity until fragmented memories begin cropping back up. They are only fleeting images of a woman, but John hides even that from Gretchen, afraid it will lead him back home and away from the woman he is quickly falling in love with.

Get it from:

DelSheree Gladden

DelSheree Gladden

was one of those shy, quiet kids who spent more time reading than talking. Literally. She didn’t speak a single word for the first three months of preschool, but she had already taught herself to read.

Her fascination with reading led to many hours spent in the library and bookstores, and eventually to writing. She wrote her first novel when she was sixteen years old, but spent ten years rewriting and perfecting it before having it published.

Native to New Mexico, DelSheree and her husband spent several years in Colorado for college and work before moving back home to be near family again. Their two children love having their seventeen cousins close by.

When not writing, you can find DelSheree reading, painting, sewing and trying not to get bitten by small children in her work as a dental hygienist.Check out her latest books, get updates and sneak peeks of new projects at

And find her on social media

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