Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Miranda Owen | Fresh Fiction Reviewer Top Reads of 2019
Author Guest / December 20, 2019

Our reviewer retrospective continues with Miranda Owen‘s favorite books of this year!  I love making lists. At the end of a year, friends and fellow readers will post about their top favorite five or ten books of the year. I’m not configured that way. Trying to pick only five or ten favorite books out of the hundred or so I’ve read over the course of a year is unfathomable to me. Instead, I’ve picked about five or so titles in four different categories. Many of these selections fit a few of different categories listed here. I mostly read and review romances, but cozy mysteries are my jam too. Christmas-themed Romance Picks THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton A COWBOY UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Jessica Clare ONE HOT HOLIDAY by Cynthia Eden MEET ME UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Stacey Kennedy ONE CHRISTMAS EVE by Shannon Stacey There was a ridiculous amount of amazing Christmas-themed romances that came out this year, many of which came out at the end of October. The ones I’m discussing were my absolute favorites, but there were a bunch more that put a smile on my face. THE MATCHMAKER’S MISTLETOE MISSION by Jaci Burton and A…

Kym Roberts | Cozy Corner: Give the Demons a Break
Author Guest , Cozy Corner / May 27, 2019

Everyone has renovations they want to do, have to do, or are forced to do. We chose to do multiple renovation projects with one scheduled right after the other. I spent months choosing the right contractors. Some more expensive than others, but all of them with good reputations for the work they did and the timelines they kept. I even scheduled Murphy’s Law into my master plan. We were going to be done by May first. It’s Memorial Day and we still have contractors coming and going. My office has been covered with plastic for two weeks. Before that, it was loaded with furniture and boxes for a month. The month before that, it was empty. The last time I got to sit at my desk and write, was the last week of January. I’ve actually missed most of spring, not because of the weather, but because I’ve been working my butt off and keeping contractors inline, on time, and Murphy out of my blasted projects. (Ha!) The time that I’ve missed away from my work, I’ve actually gained in reading. It a known fact that I can get interrupted while I read, but if you interrupt me while I…

Miranda Owen | Bookish Mysteries
Author Guest / March 18, 2019

They were always there for you, books, like a small pet dog that doesn’t die. – Ian Sansom, THE CASE OF THE MISSING BOOKS Books are my life. In addition to spending time either reading or writing about books, I have worked in various libraries for years, and even met my husband while we were both working at our local library. Books about books – specifically stories about librarians, and people who collect books, or work in bookstores – are a favorite sub-genre of mine. Then there are books that take characters from classic works of literature and put them in the role of amateur sleuth. As I’m a huge fan of mysteries, I love combining these types of characters and themes with the quirkiness of a cozy mystery. The results can be delicious. He was sick of the excuses and the lies. He was tired of the evasions and the untruths, of people refusing to stand up and speak the truth and take responsibility for their own actions. It seemed to him like yet another symptom of the decline of Western civilization; of chaos; and climate change; and environmental disaster; and war; disease; famine; oppression; the eternal slow slide…

Jenn McKinlay | Exclusive Interview
Author Guest / February 5, 2019

Today we have a delightful interview with Jenn McKinlay, author of a new contemporary romance, THE GOOD ONES, and Fresh Fiction reviewer Miranda Owen!   I love your cozy mysteries and your Bluff Point romance series. What inspired you to write this new Happily Ever After series? Thank you – you’re very kind! As for the new series, I was looking for something new and different that I hadn’t seen before and then I started following The Ripped Bodice on Instagram. For those who don’t know, The Ripped Bodice is a romance bookstore (the only romance bookstore in the U.S., I believe) and it’s run by sisters Leah and Bea Koch. They are funny and smart and wonderfully engaging so they were my kernel of an idea that I took to North Carolina and added a rescue kitten, of course, and a hot cowboy architect guy, natch. What can you tell readers about the Happily Ever After series? Is it built around a particular family? A group of friends? Friends. My books are always built around groups of friends. My entire life has been spent traveling in various squads – I have my mom squad, writer squad, library squad, top…

Jenn McKinlay | Her Top Three Favorite Libraries
Author Guest / September 10, 2018

Asking a former librarian to tell you her favorite library is a lot like asking a mom who her favorite kid is. Impossible! I have been very fortunate to work and visit some of the coolest libraries in the world. Every single one of these jobs or tours has helped me write the library lover’s mysteries, which has its ninth title, HITTING THE BOOKS, coming out on September 11th! It’s so exciting to see this series and the characters within it develop with each new story, but I digress! My favorite library is… Yeah, no, I can’t choose so I’ll tell you my top three – in no particular order. First, there is the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. I was fortunate enough to do a tour of duty there while I was in library school and it was one of the most transformative experiences in my education. Housed in an iconic building, they have a collection which has to be seen to be believed. Samples of their holdings include works by Benjamin Franklin, John James Audubon, George Eliot, the Mellon Collection of Alchemy and the Occult, the Romanov family photo albums,…

The Golden Years
Cozy Corner / June 26, 2018

Whoever said these were our golden years, was either living on martinis on the beach or hadn’t reached the gilded age when every bone and joint in their body screamed for attention. I’ve ignored the screaming for a few years, but the noise is now coming from a woman in a white lab coat with the initials DR imprinted in front of her name. The fun of my youth (and beyond) has a price to pay, and it’s time to pay. So I’ll be taking a few months sabbatical from blogging, podcasting and writing and working on physical fitness. Unfortunately, surfing is on doc’s ‘no-no’ list for the next year—grrr. The best part of that news, however, is that I have lined up some amazing guest bloggers from July to October! As soon as I put the news out, authors came through for me in overwhelming numbers. That’s how awesome the community is;) Here is your line-up for the Cozy Corner for the rest of the summer—until we meet again in October, get cozy and read on! Rebecca Adler Karen Rose Smith Rhys Bowen Krista Davis Olivia Matthews Tina Kashian Sofie Kelly Libby Klein Jenn McKinlay Winnie Archer Lena Gregory…

The Joy of Spring Mysteries
Cozy Corner / April 17, 2018

It’s springtime! Although many of us are not feeling the effects yet, we can benefit from all of the hard work mystery authors did while hibernating with their computers over the winter. This week I have four great cozies for you to check out. Magic by the sea with cupcakes at a festival—it doesn’t get any better than that! A MAGICAL MATCH by Juliet Blackwell Witchcraft Mystery #9 Witch and vintage store owner Lily Ivory faces her most difficult mystery to date with a case of mistaken identity that hits close to home… Lily Ivory and her friends are planning a 1950s-themed brunch to benefit the local women’s shelter. When a figure from her past shows up unannounced, threatening her unless she returns something that belonged to him, Lily’s fiancé, Sailor, steps in to defend her. After the same man is found dead later that day, Sailor is the primary suspect. He swears he’s innocent, but multiple witnesses ID him as the perpetrator of the assault. Lily vows to clear his name…only she’s not sure where to start with the mounting evidence against him. When she sees Sailor in the neighborhood despite knowing he’s in jail, Lily starts to wonder…

Jenn McKinlay | Library Lover’s Mysteries
Author Guest / November 11, 2014

One of the many things I enjoy about writing the Library Lover’s Mysteries is that I get to flex my librarian research muscles. As I devised the plot for ON BORROWED TIME, I knew that Lindsey’s brother Jack was going to be a globetrotting economist. But when it came to the business crisis that would cause him to be on the run, I was stumped. This happens frequently during the plotting stages of a novel. I’ll have a kernel of an idea but no idea how to make it pop. There are a variety of methods to try and get a lock on the idea. I walk my dogs a lot. Sometimes inspiration hits during the pooper scoop portion of the walk and sometimes it hits when my girl dog launches herself off the sidewalk in some crazy attempt to take down a passing bread truck. She has issues. If the dog thing doesn’t work, I move on to baking. I will bake myself into a three pies, two rounds of cupcakes, several batches of cookies sugar coma in an attempt to get my ideas to blossom. When that doesn’t work, it’s back to walking the dogs, because by then…