Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss
Melissa Koslin | NEVER MISS: What’s in a Name?
Author Guest / May 4, 2021

My husband and I have this long-standing disagreement. He likes names like John and Jane—literally the more boring the better. I, however, like something with some interest. While I have to work with him on naming our baby, I don’t have to give a hoot what he thinks about my character names! I am a collector of names. I have files in my phone for girl names, boy names, and surnames. Whenever I come across something interesting, I add it to the list and then pull my character names from there. Side characters usually have something I like but not one of my top favorites, except when I have a theme going. In NEVER MISS, which is a Christian romantic suspense book releasing from Revell on May 4, 2021, my female main character’s family all has names related to combat and fortification, which is fitting for a family of snipers. Their last name is Tolle simply because I’ve always liked that name. Bastion – her father Redan – her uncle, Bastion’s brother Caponier – her cousin Ravelin – her cousin The male character’s parents’ names are more personal. Lee Vaile is his father. Lee is my father’s middle name, and…

P.J. Manney | Exclusive Excerpt: (CON)science
Author Guest / April 29, 2021

CHAPTER EIGHT Peter Bernhardt woke up again. He felt odd, unlike anything he had yet experienced as a digital entity. His peripheral vision registered a clean engineering room’s wipeable acoustic tile ceiling and walls. From the ceiling hung three accordioned mobile ventilation ducts. He focused on the square mouth of one duct. The image was clear but edgy, as though his digital vision tried to blend each pixel together into an approximation of human sight, but had not quite succeeded. He lay supine in the center of the room, probably on a workbench or table. Raising his index finger, he tapped the surface three times and heard the muffled thud of a thick silicone skin on metal. The table seemed real, tangible, yet his finger felt jerky, electronic. He lifted his head and heard the faint sound of servos as he stared down along the length of the table at an android body. The skin appeared to be high-end silicon, with body hair tastefully punctured into the surface. The build was athletic, but not pumped. Slim, but not skinny. Pecs had definition and the stomach was flat, with a subtle six- pack. He lifted his head two centimeters more. Below…

Kym Roberts | Cozy Corner: Mysteries in Bloom
Author Guest , Cozy Corner / April 26, 2021

As I write this blog my flower beds are in bloom. My irises are gorgeous, my daisies are abundant, and my carnations are fragrant. It’s too bad something dark and sinister is creeping into the shadows. That’s right, a murderer is on the loose in my garden and an APB won’t do my beauties any good. Because tonight they will face one of the worst killers known to their kind—Jack Frost. Their death by his hand (or heroic saving by mine) might lead to some nail-biting moments on my part, but I have a feeling I’m the only one who’s truly invested or interested in their next chapter. I mean it’s not like the New York Times will write about their premature death or my valiant attempt to save their lives. But I have dug up some truly newsworthy mysteries Jack Frost can’t touch. The covers caught my eye like the blossoms in my yard, the plots are much better formed than my best buds and the characters charmed me with their style and wit. Yes, the mysteries are in bloom, and all we have to do to catch the culprits is keep turning the page. Wicked Honeymoon  An Ivy…

Kym Roberts | Cozy Corner: Break Away with a Mystery
Author Guest / March 29, 2021

Everyone needs a break, including authors. I’ve been on a personal hiatus for several months from everything but family, and I have to say it was nice. Like all good things, however, my recess had an end date. Now I’m back with fresh a perspective, and a whole bunch of books to talk about! (No reader actually takes a break from cracking open a new book, do they?) While away I found several new authors that made me wonder what rock I’ve been under the past few years. (No, it wasn’t Dwayne.) I mean seriously, these are good books, how did I miss them? One series in particular just rocked my world, the Veronica Speedwell Mystery series by Deanna Rayburn.  And this series has the added bonus of audiobooks performed brilliantly by Angele Masters. I was hooked with the first book A Curious Beginning and lucky for me, book six, An Unexpected Peril, was released March 10, 2021—Yay! So yes, since December I have listened to books 1-5 and have thoroughly loved the characters and the mysteries and I’m totally thrilled to have this latest release in cue for this weekend! An Unexpected Peril  A Veronica Speedwell Mystery by Deanna Rayburn 3/10/2021 A…

Alicia Anthony | Risky Fiction
Author Guest / March 15, 2021

Inspiration is a funny thing. It is sometimes found in the oddest of places and often leads us down paths we never saw coming. Such was the case for my upcoming psychological suspense novel, Fractals. My ideas generally start small. This one born of my own fascination with an article about the microscopic topography of tears and the life events that might influence those tears. But it wasn’t until a conversation with a former student sparked life into my main character, Carly Dalton, and with her came the driving force of this novel: trauma. We all experience trauma to varying degrees, and I’ve not shied away from it in my Blood Secrets Series, but I knew from the start that this story was different. My heroine was a teenager and my hero her teacher, their relationship taboo from the start. And although Fractals is not a romance, it does straddle the line of moral code on more than one occasion, which was a risk from the start. But one thing I’ve learned is that when a character begs for her story to be told, as an author it’s my job to ignore the risks and set pen to paper. Unlike…

Debbie Herbert | What if you could SEE when someone is lying?
Author Guest / March 1, 2021

Synesthesia is a rare neurological condition where sensory paths are crossed in the brain. You might see musical notes as colors, taste textures like “triangles” or “squares” while eating food, or have a sequence-space form in which dates and numbers occupy a spatial location in your mind. The condition has always intrigued me, and I’ve long wanted to write a novel in which the main character experiences the world through this lens. In my latest book, NOT ONE OF US, Jori Trahan has a rare form of synesthesia commonly known as “colored hearing.” For Jori, every person’s voice has particular colors and textures as they speak. This ability ultimately gives her a unique edge to solve an old murder. Jori, like most synesthetes, enjoys her condition; for her, this is just the way the world is. But sometimes the condition can be overwhelming if she is enclosed in a noisy room. In one scene at a crowded bar, the background noise “formed a steady drumbeat of colors that swirled and morphed into blackish splatters of ugly blobs.” Her friend Dana’s voice is the color of “fizzing green arrows” and another character’s voice is “a bruising purple-black, the color of storm…

Tom Threadgill | Exclusive Excerpt: NETWORK OF DECEIT
Author Guest / February 1, 2021

Chapter Four Amara’s next stop was the one she most dreaded. Zachary Coleman’s parents. When she’d phoned the father, his raspy, monotone voice penetrated her heart and sent an ache through her chest. The man’s joy was gone. Back in Property Crimes, she dealt with her share of angry and frightened people, but that paled in comparison to this. The Colemans lost their son. How did a person deal with that? When Amara’s dad died, the pain had been deep and overwhelming. How much more at the loss of a child? The death of Benjamin Reyes, the five-year-old boy who triggered the investigation into Cotulla, at least had a silver lining. Nearly fifty other children saved because of his bravery. Had that eased the pain for his parents? Could it? And the Colemans had nothing like that to cling to. Their son died and nobody could tell them why. Natural causes or OD or bad luck or homicide. Would any of those reasons be better or worse than the others? Zachary was gone, and he wasn’t ever coming back. Dr. Pritchard had texted last night to let her know the boy’s body was being released to the parents. The funeral…

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…