Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Joseph Schneider | The Top Five Crime Stories that Made Me
Author Guest / January 18, 2021

You’ve had it, just as I have–that delicious moment when you read something that shatters you.  “I didn’t know you could do that with words,” you think, your relationship with literature forever changed. There’s a great scene in The NeverEnding Story when the bookseller tells Bastian how certain stories aren’t safe, that they won’t simply release you on your own terms. Here are five pieces that still haven’t let me go, and that’ve shaped my life as a writer of crime fiction. Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? by Joyce Carol Oates I was in 9th grade when our English teacher assigned this out of our thumping short story anthology. Oates begins her tale in the most unassuming way: Connie–fifteen, and with all the drama that entails–decides to stay home while her parents and sister go to a most uncool family barbeque. Sometime into the afternoon, two men show up in a convertible and honk the horn. Connie goes out to see what they want, and the terror begins to unspool. This story was a revelation. The idea that the most hideous things could happen in the middle of a blue day, and right where you lived, cut…

Fresh Fiction Reviewer Spotlight: Courtney Blanton
Author Guest / December 14, 2020

Have you ever wondered who writes all of the reviews posted on Fresh Fiction? You’re in luck! Throughout December and January, we’re introducing you to some of our favorite people: OUR REVIEWERS! We may be biased, but we think they’re the best.  Your Name Courtney Blanton How long have you been a Fresh Fiction reviewer?  A few months What are your favorite genres to read and review? Memoirs, thrillers, true-crime What are your TOP 3-5 Books of 2020? The Night Swim by Megan Megan Goldin The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell Bright Side by Kim Holden This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf What do you like to do outside of reading? Listen to music, stream television shows/movies, and play my Switch Lite What are some of your holiday traditions?  Decorating the Christmas tree, opening a present a few days before Christmas, opening all the presents late Christmas Eve night, having big dinners with the family (this year, my birthday falls on Thanksgiving!). What are your reading resolutions/intentions/goals for 2021?  Read books from different genres more What do you love about being a Fresh Fiction Book Reviewer? I love being able to share my opinions on books on a…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: GIRLS OF BRACKENHILL by Kate Moretti
Author Guest / November 13, 2020

Jen: What was your inspiration behind Girls of Brackenhill? Kate: When I was a kid, we didn’t take big fancy vacations. Our only trip to Disney World lasted two days: we drove down in a rented car and stayed an hour away with my great grandparents in July. Instead of hotels and airplane trips, we went camping. Up and down the East Coast, to whatever state park was drivable. When I was about fourteen, we camped in the Catskills and drove through a town called Roscoe NY. My dad parked the car and led us up a steep incline to Dundas Castle. At the time, it was marked as private property, but it was abandoned and not monitored in any way. The doors were all unlocked and we spent (to my memory) hours there, exploring every square inch of this abandoned castle. Memory is a fickle thing but I do remember the basement being a series of very small rooms. I remember this day with more clarity and fondness than either of the two days I spent at Disney World. When I had to plan my next book, I really wanted to write a ghost-like story. The memory of the…

Davis Bunn | Exclusive Excerpt: BURDEN OF PROOF
Author Guest / November 2, 2020

Ethan was staring at the moon. He sat up, gasping and choking. He rolled off the padding and clawed at the raw planks of the floor. Then he heard the water. A soft summer breeze blew up tiny waves. They splashed like cymbals against the pilings that rose to either side of where he lay. He gripped the nearest strut and forced himself to his feet. The night was utterly dark. He was dressed in a pair of raggedy cutoffs and a T-shirt. On his feet were leather sandals curled and cracked by salt and hard days. He was completely alone. Ethan cried out, a choking sound wrenched from the terror and confusion that filled him. He knew where he was. What was more, he knew when. The summer before his final year at the university, when he and his best friend had wrangled jobs at the Holiday Marina. The long pier ran back to the shore, every plank in place, the pilings straight as arrows. The marina’s unmistakable form was silhouetted by yellow streetlights. Four A-frames housed the sailing classes, the repair shop, the store, and the stockrooms. An old canvas inflatable raft lay on the pier, with a…

Nicci French | Exclusive Excerpt: HOUSE OF CORRECTION
Author Guest / October 26, 2020

The screaming started at three in the morning. Tabitha had never heard a human being howl in that way before. It was like the screeching of an animal caught in a trap and it was answered by shouts, distant, echoing. Tabitha couldn’t tell whether they were cries of comfort or anger or mockery. The screams subsided into sobs but even these were amplified by the metal, the doors, the stairs and floors. Tabitha felt they were echoing inside her head. She sensed a movement from the bunk above her. The other woman must be awake. “Someone’s in trouble.” There was silence. Tabitha wondered if the woman was ignoring her or really was asleep, but then a voice came out of the darkness. She was speaking slowly, as if she were talking to herself. Her voice was low and gravelly, a smoker’s morning voice. “Everyone’s in trouble,” she said. “That’s why they’re here. That’s why they’re crying, when they think about their children or what they did. Or what they did to their children. When there’s real trouble, you don’t hear any screams. You just hear the screws running along the corridors. When it’s really bad you hear a helicopter landing…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewels Interview: IN THE DEEP by Loreth Anne White
Author Guest / October 23, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write In The Deep? Loreth: Thanks for hosting me, Jen. In The Deep was inspired by a visit to my brother who lives in a small oceanside town in New South Wales, Australia. He’s a big wave surfer, and a man of the sea in every way, so of course we went out deep sea fishing in his tiny boat. When we were ten miles off the coast, heaving about on the white-veined swells of the deep blue waters of the Tasman Sea, with the Australian coastline just a distant purple haze, I got to thinking: Anything could happen out here, and there would be no one to witness it, and what if someone did go overboard, and maybe not by mistake. Later, while eating dinner outside under a vermillion sky, and listening to the flying foxes squabble overhead and the lorikeets and ‘cockies’ fighting in the gum trees, my brother regaled us with tales of some of his adventures, like the time he got a treble hook stuck in his neck. And he told us how the flying foxes–giant bats–can swarm in groups along the highway as they migrate, and more . . ….

Victoria Ellis | Author-Reader Match: Deceitful
Author Guest / October 19, 2020

Instead of trying to find your perfect match in a dating app, we bring you the “Author-Reader Match” where we introduce you to authors as a reader you may fall in love with. It’s our great pleasure to present Victoria Ellis. ABOUT: Twenty-something author seeks readers who have a passion for all things mysterious, badass female main characters, and fighting to reveal the truth, always. The ideal reader match would be one who likes to get lost in a good mystery book every now and then; especially ones that include waking up in a cabin with no idea how you got there, or why your ex is serving you breakfast in bed. . . What I’m Looking for in My Ideal Reader Match: Their idea of a perfect date includes a weekend away in a secluded cabin! Prefers a strong female lead who takes control of the situation and handles it like a boss. Enjoys a fast-paced and emotional storyline Falls easily for the bearded old flame who resurfaces. Wants to get to the bottom of something a little bit. . . What to Expect if We’re Compatible: A wide selection of genres (I’m a multigenre author!) Frequent giveaways via my Newsletter, Facebook Page, & Instagram…

Stephanie Kane | Five Hopper Paintings and the Story They Tell
Author Guest / October 15, 2020

Mid-century American realist painter Edward Hopper is celebrated for Nighthawks, his 1947 work in which customers in an all-night diner are viewed through a plate glass window lit by a neon light, and his 1927 Automat, where a girl in a cloche and fur-trimmed coat gazes pensively into a coffee cup in a lonely cafeteria. Hopper returned to that enigmatic woman again and again. He painted her throughout his career. In AUTOMAT, Denver Art Museum Conservator of Paintings Lily Sparks pursues a killer who targets actresses who bring Hopper’s works to life. Lily’s perfect eye tells her the man in Hopper’s paintings also holds clues to the killer’s identity. And just as the famous artist kept painting the same iconic woman, the killer must keep killing her. Five top Hopper paintings convince Lily she’s on the right track. Hopper started out illustrating trade magazine covers. In 1906, on his first trip to Paris, he painted the watercolor Couple near Poplars. In the style of the day, a Gibson girl with upswept hair and a pinafore over her corseted waist stands with a beanstalk of a man with a pencil moustache and a beret. He’s trying to draw her closer, but…

Michael Brandman | Exclusive Excerpt: MISSING PERSONS
Author Guest / September 28, 2020

Chapter One A scorching heat wave blanketed the West Coast, bringing with it record temperatures, rolling blackouts, and a general feeling of malaise that infected everyone. A fast-moving Mexican monsoon, however, was now gaining strength in the Gulf of Mexico, steaming up the California coast accompanied by gale force winds and heavy rain. It would most likely reach the township of Freedom by late afternoon. I sat staring out the office window, elated that the storm would finally end the stultifying heat, but also apprehensive of the possible havoc it might wreak. I was locked in a debate with myself as to whether I would order a takeout meatball-and-onion pizza from Larry’s or the kung pao chicken from Tsai’s when I noticed a late-model green Toyota Camry pull up in front of the County Courthouse. I watched as a middle-aged woman emerged, looked around, then headed inside. After a few moments, I heard Sheriff ’s Deputy Johnny Kennerly talking with the woman. Then he appeared in my doorway and stood there, fanning himself with a legal-size yellow pad. “There’s a Rosalita Gonzalez here to see you.” I swiveled my chair around to face him. “What about?” “You mean what does…

Jennifer Vido | Jen’s Jewel’s Interview: THE SILENT CONSPIRACY by L.C. Shaw
Author Guest / September 25, 2020

Jen: What inspired you to write THE SILENT CONSPIRACY? LC: Jack and Taylor’s story wasn’t finished in THE NETWORK and I wanted to continue it with a new storyline in THE SILENT CONSPIRACY. Themes that I felt drawn to include were those of bias in the media, the health care crisis in this country, and the continuing theme of spiritual warfare. As both characters are investigative journalists, there are so many different stories that could pull them in. I’m also very attached to both characters and was excited to have the opportunity to have their journey continue. For those readers not familiar with THE NETWORK, what is the premise of the story? In THE NETWORK, a shadowy group is manipulating society through the media, entertainment, and legislature. Jack Logan, an investigative reporter, is drawn into the conspiracy when Senator Malcolm Phillips comes to him with a desperate plea to protect his wife, Taylor. Taylor is the one woman Jack truly loved, and when Jack hears the news that the senator has indeed been found dead, he springs into action. Jack and Taylor embark on a harrowing search for the truth as they are pursued by unknown assassins until they uncover…