Free Fiction Thursday – Famous

Happy Thursday, everyone!

Lots of fun stuff this week.  If you look over at the sidebar under New Releases, I’m happy to announce that the next issue of Fiction River–How to Save the World–is out, and it includes my story “The Shape of a Name.”  Cool beans!  How to Save the World is available in ebook and will be available soon in paperback and audio formats as well.  You can also subscribe to the entire Fiction River series, which is a heck of a good deal.

I also just got done listening to the audio of Fiction River #1: Unnatural Worlds.  Boy, was that fun or what?  The book was narrated by a full cast, who all did a great job.  It’s the first time I’ve heard a story of mine narrated.  Jane Kennedy did a wonderful job with my Diz & Dee story “Here, Kitty Kitty.”

This week’s free fiction is my dark fantasy story “Famous,” which has a brand spanking new cover as well as a paperback edition that’s currently on sale at Amazon.  Enjoy!

Famous cover smallweb

Famous

 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright © 2011, 2013 by Annie Reed

The cab pulled into the loading zone in front of Kitty’s Kool Kat Lounge.  The pink neon sign over the entrance promised live nude dancers.  Jeremy doubted they’d be totally nude, but that wasn’t what he was really here for.

“Seventeen-fifty,” said the cab driver.

The windshield wipers slapped a steady beat against the late night rain off the Bay as Jeremy dug out two tens from his wallet.  Enough for a tip, not enough to make an impression on the driver.  Not enough for the man to remember he was here.

Jeremy passed the money through the slot in the clear plastic shield between the driver and the back seat.  “Keep the change,” he said.

The driver grunted as he took the cash.  He was a bald guy twice Jeremy’s age.  He had a scar bisecting one eyebrow, and the kind of muscular neck Jeremy had seen on guys who worked out but never really bulked up.  The driver’s eyes were bloodshot, and he had enough scruff on his lined face to make him look like Bruce Willis after a three-day bender.  He’d driven as if he was sober, and he’d taken Jeremy to the kind of place he wanted to go.  Beyond that, Jeremy didn’t care if the guy was drunk off his ass.  In fact, that might make things easier in the long run.

“Let me give you a piece of advice,” the driver said.

Jeremy was about ready to make a run from the cab to the club.  The driver hadn’t said a word to him since Jeremy caught the cab downtown and asked the guy to take him to a nightclub, any nightclub, in The Shadows.  Jeremy kept his hand on the door handle but didn’t open the door.

“I give you a tip and now you talk to me?” he said.

The driver looked at him in the rear view mirror.  “Think you’re a smart guy, don’t you?”

Jeremy tensed.  “What did you say to me?”

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – A Death in Cumberland

Happy Thursday, everyone! And happy first day of November.

I’ve got a couple of cool things happening this month. The first is the release of my brand-new mystery novel, A DEATH IN CUMBERLAND, featuring rural Nevada sheriff Jill Jordan. To celebrate, this week’s free fiction is an excerpt from the novel. Enjoy!

A Death in Cumberland
Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press
Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed

 

Chapter 1

Nora Corbitt parked her car at the very edge of the dirt parking lot at Founders Park.  The lot was full, but at this time of night no one would see her back here so close to the street.  The two baseball diamonds on the far side of the lot were lit so bright it looked like the middle of the day over there, but the banks of lights were focused on the playing fields, and the parking lot didn’t have any lights of its own.  Where Nora stood next to her car, she was hidden by the long shadows thrown by the few spindly trees that separated the lot from the baseball fields, and that was just the way she liked it.

It seemed like everyone in Cumberland had turned out for the city league tournament.  Grown men playing softball like their lives depended on it.  She’d seen flyers for the tournament at the grocery store.  Nora didn’t like crowds, and she hated sports and the men who played them.  She wouldn’t have left her house at all except for the cat.

“I have this cat, it’s a stray, but my dad won’t let me keep it.  Can you take it?  I hear you do that, right?  Take in cats?”

The voice on the phone that afternoon had been young.  Nora didn’t trust the young, and she hadn’t answered right away.

“I’m afraid my dad will kill it.  He doesn’t like cats.”

Nora had stroked the calico in her lap, a beautiful cat with only one eye.  The cat was like her, a survivor.  That’s all Nora had ever wanted to do—help the cats survive.

“Yes,” she’d said to the young voice.  “I can take it.”

They’d arranged to meet in the parking lot at Founders Park.  “After the games start.  My dad will be playing and he won’t notice if I’m gone for a few minutes.”

Nora didn’t ask why the meeting had to be secret.  She’d lived in Cumberland long enough to know that people who lived in small towns had their secrets, just like the town itself had secrets.  Nora was one of them.

(read the rest of the excerpt here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Peaches

Howdy, Internets!

Boy, I get back from a cool, jam-packed with information ten days on the Oregon coast only to be swamped with work at the day job. I guess I was missed. *g*

Anyway, enough with the nattering. This week’s Free Fiction Thursday story features another one of my Kris Sparks stories, Peaches.

Peaches

Kris Sparks

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Copyright 2011 by Kris Sparks

 

They met at lunchtime in a busy noontime Saturday line at Subway.  Henry ordered roast beef on sourdough, Marianne turkey and provolone on whole wheat, no oil or mayonnaise.

For years afterward he remembered the smells of that day — the rich yeast of bread fresh from the warmer, the campfire aroma of the smoky provolone, the sharp vinegar tang of pickles and hot peppers.  The motorcycle rider in dusty leathers in the line behind Henry reeked of sweat, cigarettes, and stale beer.  But most of all, he remembered the feminine smell of her perfume.  Subtle, but there.  It made him notice her.

He stood in line behind her looking at the back of her neck.  Did she wear her perfume there?  Perhaps a dab behind each ear.  His mother had done that.  He remembered when he was little watching his mother at her dressing table as she took the stopper out of a cut crystal bottle and dabbed the wet end of the stopper behind each ear.  The crystal was clear glass, but the end of the stopper was rough and opaque.

For the longest time he’d thought the perfume had eaten away the glass, and that’s why the stopper was rough.  Funny the things you remember.

He’d never known the name of the perfume his mother used.  She was gone long before he was old enough to think to ask.

Ahead of them in line a young woman held a toddler in her arms.  Boy?  Girl?  He couldn’t tell.  The child was dressed in one of those unisex outfits, neither pink nor blue but shades of green and red and yellow, like a street light.  The child smiled at him, the kind of sweet, innocent smile only young children can give.  He smiled back.  The child laughed and pointed a chubby finger at him.  He chuckled and waved the tips of his fingers.

The woman with intriguing perfume turned around and looked at him.  “She likes you,” she said.

The woman was young, younger than his own twenty-eight.  Her skin was smooth and gently tan, and her dark hair cut in short curls that hugged her face.  Her eyes were vivid blue.  Was that how she knew the child was a girl?  Could she see things with those eyes he couldn’t?

(read the rest of the story here)