Book Review

Cozies in Quarantine

It’s no secret that I love a good cozy mystery! They’re usually fun, fast reads with an idyllic setting and a quirky cast of characters. Even though the main character is typically solving a murder, there’s usually nothing vulgar or gory in the descriptions and the reader always knows there will be a happy ending. In these scary and uncertain times, I’ve been reading cozy mysteries mostly for that guaranteed happy ending as well as the brief escape from reality. So, I wanted to share my top cozy mystery suggestions for this continued quarantine/pandemic time:

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Title: The Quiche of Death

Series: Agatha Raisin

Author: M.C. Beaton

The Agatha Raisin cozies are probably my favorite (especially the audiobooks read by Penelope Keith!) Agatha is a bit unlikable but in a funny and endearing way. I love following her antics just as much as exploring the murder mysteries in this series. Also, the Cotswolds is an amazing setting – each book make me want to move to a cozy village in the English countryside!

 

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Title: Books Can Be Deceiving

Series: Library Lovers Mysteries

Author Jenn McKinlay

This book features library director Lindsey who has to clear the good name of her children’s librarian who is accused of murder. This was the first cozy series I started reading (right after college) and it’s still going strong. The coastal small town setting is super charming, and I love the romantic story elements too. Plus, this one feels extra special to me since I also work in a public library!

 

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Title: Brownies and Broomsticks

Series: Magical Bakery Mysteries

Author: Bailey Cates

In this series, protagonist and baker Katie moves to Savannah to help with her aunt’s bakery and discovers she comes from a magical family. I love the blend of magical elements and baking – plus, this series has a love triangle that actually intrigued me instead of irritating me. The world-building in this series is great, and I have enjoyed learning more about the magic right alongside Katie as she’s exploring her heritage. Of course, Katie is always solving murders too!

 

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Title: Murder, She Knit

Series: Knit & Nibble Mysteries

Author: Peggy Ehrhart

This knitting-themed cozy series is another fun addition. When the newest member of Pamela’s knitting circle is found dead and impaled with a knitting needle, Pamela has to solve the murder. This one has a slower pace, but I have definitely still enjoyed the series – in fact, the slower pace makes it feel extra cozy. I like that Pamela is an older protagonist who still seems very believable. Plus, I enjoy the descriptions of yarn and knitting since it’s a hobby of mine too!

 

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Title: Her Royal Spyness

Series: Her Royal Spyness

Author: Rhys Bowen

Georgie is one of my favorite protagonists! In this historical cozy series, Georgie is related to royalty but is far enough removed from the crown that she struggles to have money. So, she puts her ingenuity to the test and ends up solving a bunch of murders (and making a living while she’s at it). Georgie is both spunky and kind-hearted, and I adore the rest of the cast of characters in this series, especially the mysterious Darcy, Georgie’s genial grandfather, and Georgie’s flamboyant best friend Belinda.

 

I hope you enjoy these cozies if you decide to give them a try! What have you been reading during the pandemic? Be sure to let me know in the comment section!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

Update

New Project – Dreaming in Fiction

I have some more exciting news for 2020! Earlier this year, I launched Ephemeral Elegies to support new and emerging poets, and now I’ll be doing the same for authors of fiction with: Dreaming in Fiction. While the stories won’t be published until this autumn, we are already open to submissions, and you can learn more about our submissions guidelines by clicking here.

dreaming in fiction logo

Dreaming in Fiction will be the home for short stories and flash fiction across the genre spectrum. From supernatural stories to compact capers to heartfelt romance and even some terrifying tales, we’ll be exploring every facet of fiction. One new story will be published each Saturday, so your next adventure is never too far away!

I hope you’ll consider submitting to Dreaming in Fiction or exploring it post-launch to support and discover some new authors!

Wishing you all heath and happiness during this pandemic!

Tiffany

Book Review

Quarantine Book Recommendations

During this time of global fear and uncertainty, I’ve been escaping back into familiar fictional worlds. Reading has always been one of my favorite coping mechanisms, and so I wanted to share some of the books I’ve been enjoying during this time of quarantine (a lot of them are rereads of books I own because I love them so much).

grey and white long coated cat in middle of book son shelf
Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery – This is probably my favorite book of all time. It seems like each time I reread it, the experience is different but equally rich. This books covers a wide range of topics: philosophy, classism, cultural appreciation, and unlikely friendships.

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Scarlet O’Hara is unlikeable but in such a realistic, interesting way. I’ve enjoyed rereading this tale of hardship and growing up, even when you don’t want to.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – While certainly not uplifting, I did enjoy exploring this book again. It’s a hard read since it’s about a school shooter, but it delves into nature vs. nurture in such a fascinating way.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple – This is such a fun journey about both motherhood and childhood. There are some really zany characters that create a lot of humor in this one.

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – Even though I read it for the first time just last year, I knew I wanted to reread this one. It was just as great the second time with its themes of love, loss, and murder as well as its rich setting.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – This is a magical realism romance that is so well-realized. I’ve read it multiple times now and look forward to each reread.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – I’m a huge fan of this franchise, especially the movies. The book is just as fun (though some of the characters are drawn much differently). I always enjoy rereading this harrowing adventure.

What have you been reading during this coronavirus epidemic? Feel free to share your own recommendations in the comment section!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

 

Personal, Update

Upcoming Published Poems

Welcome to day 137(?) of quarantine! While the need to social distance has made it seem like time is now irrelevant (seriously, I’m thinking about buying day-of-the-week underwear to help me keep track), I’m excited to announce that I’ve found homes for two poems:

I’ll be featured in the next issue of Poetry Quarterly as well as the “For a Better World 2020” anthology by SOS Art Cincinnati.

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Photo by Nóra Zahradník on Pexels.com

This has been a strange year for us all! But I’ve honestly been enjoying the extra quiet time at home to explore different creative avenues. Becoming a publisher this year with Ephemeral Elegies has been an exciting new challenge, and I’ve been continuing my charity knitting projects with Warm Up Ohio. I’ve also been doing a lot of editing for Suburban Secrets, my debut novel coming out this summer.

The world may seem kind of stuck right now – but that doesn’t have to mean we remain creatively immobile. What are some passion projects you’re excited to be working on? Please, feel free to share in the comment section. I think that we should all be celebrating any sort of victory or milestone these days, and I’d love to know how to cheer for you!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

Industry News, Poetry Review, Update

National Poetry Month – Call for Submissions!

April is National Poetry Month! This time of year, I love hearing about new and emerging poets who are using this month to hone their craft and take new chances with their work. So, as we go throughout the month, I just wanted to send a quick reminder that Ephemeral Elegies is open to submissions! In this time of uncertainty, I’m sure lots of people are processing what’s going on with the world by exploring the creative process of writing confessional poetry. We still have a few openings for our May issue, and we’re already looking forward to the summer!

Ephemeral Elegies

Personal, Update

Quarantine Projects – and a Special Announcement!!!

I hope everyone reading this is doing well! Here in Ohio, everyone is pretty much quarantined until further notice (well, at least the next two weeks). Anyway, it’s been a while since I blogged and I wanted to share a few updates of what I’ve been doing:

 

Ephemeral Elegies

Ephemeral Elegies

Ephemeral Elegies, an online poetry journal I run, is still doing well. We’re currently accepting submissions for our May and June issues. I’ve been really enjoying interacting with and supporting some great emerging poets. Check it out if you have some extra time (and/or submit some of your own work!)

 

Warm Up Ohio

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I also run the local branch of Warm Up America: Warm Up Ohio. Although Spring is bringing warmer weather, I knit and crochet all year long so that I have enough to donate each winter. Since we’re a really small chapter, the focus has been less on squares and more on clothing. Hats and Scarves are simple and fun projects – and they are great donations for the many amazing Homeless Shelters in Greater Cincinnati and beyond.

 

Suburban Secrets

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Surprise! Here is the cover reveal for my first novel Suburban Secrets – coming out later this year! It’s a work of romantic suspense that I began in grad school and finished last year. I’m still in editing mode, but I’m getting really excited about this project and can’t wait to share more with all of you when the details are all finalized.

 

So, those are my big projects for this Quarantine time. Please, let’s all do our part to stay in and help Flatten the Curve!

What are you doing with your extra quarantine time? Let me know in the comment section!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

Update

First Published Painting!

An unseasonably warm February has put me right in the mood for spring. I’m so glad we got to skip winter almost entirely. This year is really starting to feel like a year of change and growth already, and the seasons seem to agree.

The Ampersand Project, the publisher that accepted my first painting, decided to make it a featured post instead of just using it to illustrate a story or essay. They really liked the story behind it, and (while obviously biased) I do too! Anyway, I just wanted to share.

And to wrap up this brief update, I just wanted to share that Ephemeral Elegies is going well – we’re currently scheduling our May issue, so feel free to send over any confessional poetry you have sitting around!

Thanks for reading,

Tiffany

Personal, Update

Two Poems and Exciting Updates!

The first month of 2020 seemed to last forever. Cincinnati has had a very mild winter so far, which I greatly appreciate, but there’s something about not seeing the sun that really makes the days seem to all blend together. Still, January (and the beginning of February) have produced some exciting things already!

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Two poems have been released already in February:

“The Vanishing Act” is now available in the February Aurora Issue of Down in the Dirt Magazine. This issue can be viewed digitally or a physical copy can be purchased as well.

Dancing in the Dark” is now available from Writing in a Woman’s Voice as well.

And my first painting is soon to appear on The Ampersand Project‘s website! (More details coming soon).

Lastly, Ephemeral Elegies has celebrated its first official month! In January, we published 9 poems by some amazing people. I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback and volume of submissions. It’s looking like 2020 is going to be a very good year!

Thanks for reading!

– Tiffany

Update

2020 – the Year of Painting and Poetry

It’s been a new decade for a whole week now, and this has already been a great one! I’m trying to embrace the things that make me happy, even if they’re not things that other people support or understand. For me, that’s coming in two forms: Painting and Poetry.

I’ve always loved painting, but it’s a point of insecurity for me. I like abstracts, and I know that these are not super popular kinds of paintings. Still, I’m getting too old to avoid things I love just because they’re unpopular. So, I’ve set up a small gallery here as well as on ArtPal.

Regarding poetry, I’ve already been hugely encouraged by the volume of poets who want to join in the experience of Ephemeral Elegies (still open to submissions!) There are so many amazing poets who want to share, and it makes me want to share too. I’m feeling really confident that this is going to be a creatively productive year. This is the year that I’m going to take myself seriously as a writer and artist. I’m going to take risks and really work on removing the plague of self-doubt.

Thanks for reading and coming on this journey with me.

XO – Tiffany

 

 

Personal, Update

2019 – a Year in Review

I can’t believe the year is almost over. It’s been a huge year of growth and discovery for me, and while that process is never-ending, I’m so grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and the people I’ve met on my journey this year.

In terms of the writing life, there have been a few milestones:

  • I finished my novella Suburban Secrets (stay tuned for more information about this project in 2020!)
  • My poem “The Vanishing Act” appeared in Down in the Dirt Magazine.
  • My story “Appendix A” was published by Clever Magazine.
  • My story “St. Isabelle’s Downfall” was published in Fiction on the Web.
  • The Aftermath of Giving Up” finally found a home in The Scarlet Leaf Review.
  • I have many pending submissions with a variety of online and print publications.
  • Ephemeral Elegies has launched – This is a poetry-centered publication I’m running to help support new and emerging poets.
long exposure photography of firecrackers
Photo by Fabio Eckert on Pexels.com

So, what’s in store for 2020? I hope to be a lot more consistent when it comes to writing and submitting. I’m also going to be putting a lot of energy into Ephemeral Elegies and poetry in general. When I was younger, I wrote to escape into a different world and explore new ideas and emotions. I feel like I’ve lost a lot of that. While I loved college and my MFA experience, writing became a performance for others. My main writing goal for 2020 is to go back to writing the subjects, styles, and forms that make me feel most alive. And for now, that means poetry.

As always, thanks for reading.

-Tiffany