Freebies, New Releases, and a Great New Bundle!

Boy, there’s a lot of stuff going on around here for a Monday! Let’s dive right into it, shall we?

An astute reader recently asked me where the heck my Free Fiction Thursday stories went. Good question! I’ve been so busy working on new projects that my weekly free stories have fallen by the wayside. But no more! Free fiction rides again, only instead of once a week, I’ll be posting free stories once a month under the Free Stuff tab on this website.

First up is “The Magic of Home,” the first story I wrote for the Uncollected Anthology. “The Magic of Home” introduced Twig, my street-smart elf, and her friend Jocko, the oversized dwarf.  Why did I start out with a Twig and Jocko story?  I’m happy you asked, because I have a brand new release featuring my favorite mismatched elf and dwarf.

UNBROKEN FAMILIAR won’t officially be released until October 1st, but if you’d like to get your copy now, UNBROKEN FAMILIAR is part of the wonderful new The Universe Between Bundle over at StoryBundle!

In addition to UNBROKEN FAMILIAR, this bundle features nine other great fantasy books by some of the best writers working in urban and contemporary fantasy today. Here’s what bundle curator Dean Wesley Smith has to say about the idea behind the bundle:

I grew up on Twilight Zone back in the late 1950s and through the early 1960s. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I heard the sentence, “In the middle ground between light and shadow…” in that opening sequence to the Twilight Zone.

Thankfully, my parents didn’t seem to mind that I watched that show every week. And for some reason that sentence out of the opening sequence stuck with me for my entire life. I loved living in that middle ground. All my writing falls in the middle ground between two places. Every story. Some more obviously than others, but without a doubt, every story or novel that I write, or every book or magazine I edit, falls in the “between” place.

I revel in that, no matter how hard rules tried to force me one way or the other. I liked living there in the middle, in that place between light and dark. With this bundle, I was looking for the very same thing.

This bundle once again features one of my favorite charities, AbleGamers. So not only can you get UNBROKEN FAMILIAR two months early along with nine other great titles for one low price, you can support a nifty charity, too!  Don’t delay, though. StoryBundles are only available for a short time and then they’re gone for good.

~~~

UNBROKEN FAMILIAR is just one of my new releases.  The latest issue of Fiction River – PULSE POUNDERS: ADRENALINE features my story “Dust to Dust.”

Here’s what editor Kevin J. Anderson had to say about “Dust to Dust.”

Annie uses her mystery and fantasy chops to create a heroine with a mission straight from Hell, a ruthless demon bounty hunter with a hole in her heart and a quest from that most horrible of bosses—and she manages to give us a story both edgy and touching.

Nifty, right? PULSE POUNDERS: ADRENALINE is available now in ebook and paper from your favorite online booksellers.

~~~

And last, but certainly not least, the latest issue of the Uncollected Anthology – MYSTICAL MELODIES – just released my new story “The Last Night at the Crowley.”

People say haunted houses contain the longings and nightmares of the dead who couldn’t leave their lives behind.

But what about places where the living left parts of their souls behind? Where singers and musicians willingly played their hearts out, night after night, just for the love of music?

What haunts places like The Crowley?

Mazie’s about to find out.

You can purchase each individual story in MYSTICAL MELODIES from your favorite ebook distributor, or you can purchase the entire issue at one great low price!


That’s right, due to popular demand (and the great folks at BundleRabbit), we ‘re collecting the Uncollected these days. Check it out!

And happy reading!

New Release!

Happy New Year, everyone!

To kick off 2015 with a bang, the third issue of the Uncollected Anthology releases today, and this time around the anthology welcomes its first totally awesome guest author — USA Today bestseller Kristine Kathryn Rusch!!  Woot!  (Can you tell I’m excited? *g*)

This issue’s theme is Heartspells, and my contribution is “Love Stinks, Inc.,” featuring none other than Dyte, the immortal daughter of Cupid and Psyche, who made her first appearance in my Diz & Dee story “Omens and Oracles and Eros, Oh My.”

Annie HS cover webIf you’re unfamiliar with the Uncollected Anthology, here’s the deal:

Each quarter all of the UA authors pick a theme and write stories to that theme.  This quarter’s theme is Heartspells.  Each story is published individually, so it’s kind of like going to a buffet–you only buy the stories you like.  Of course, we hope you’ll buy them all, and I think you’ll want to–they’re just that good.

Who are the other authors participating in the Uncollected Anthology, you ask?  Here’s this issue’s lineup:

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Dayle A. Dermatis

Leah Cutter

Michelle Lang

Leslie Claire Walker

Phaedra Weldon

They’re fabulous writers, each and every one of them, and I’m a big fan.  In fact, that’s how the Uncollected Anthology started.  We’re all fans of each other’s work, and we wanted to read more of it.  I hope you will too.

Free Fiction Thursday – The Case of the Missing Elf

Missing Elf webThe Case of the Missing Elf

Annie Reed

I was having a non-argument argument with my partner about whether we should get a Christmas tree for the office when the front door opened and a whole passel of elves piled in.

Up front, I should tell you that my partner is an elf. A tall one. Broad-shouldered, pointy-eared, strong-jawed, and with the most drop-dead gorgeous blue eyes I’ve ever seen. You might be thinking Legolas from those movies, but Diz is more The Rock than Orlando Bloom. He even has The Rock’s glower. The cinnamon and marshmallow-colored mullet, though—that’s all Diz’s own.

Yeah, I know. A mullet. But considering how great the rest of him looks, who am I to complain?

Together, Diz and I run a private detective agency called D & D Investigations out of a former bakery in a rundown neighborhood on the mainland side of Moretown Bay. I’m Dee, the other D in D & D. I’m not an elf. Or a dwarf. Or a fairy or any one of a hundred other kinds of magic folk who call the area around the Bay home. I’m a plain old vanilla human with curly brown hair that tends to frizz when it’s humid, which is just about all the time. I also have a touch of precognition I’ve yet to learn how to control any better than my hair.

“You find missing people?” the nearest elf in the pack said.

I looked down at him. Unlike Diz, who’s a good foot taller than my medium height, these elves were all way shorter than I am. I counted seven of the mini elves. They all wore variations of the same outfit: forest-green pants, red-and-green shirts that were more tunic than shirt, and red, green, or white scarves. The elf who asked me whether we find missing people had curly salt-and-pepper hair peeking out from beneath a red knit hat with a white pom-pom on top. They made the office look like a seasonal munchkin convention.

“Uh, yeah,” I said. I resisted the urge to point to the lettering beneath the agency name on the plate glass window of our office—Missing Persons Are Our Specialty. We’d paid extra for that, but no one ever seemed to read it.

The elf behind the guy with the red knit hat elbowed him. “I don’t care what you say, this can’t be the right place,” he said in a stage whisper I could hear fine even though his voice sounded like he’d just taken a hit of helium. “Just look at it.”

The rest of the elves nodded and muttered among themselves. Except for the elf with the red hat, they all sounded like helium addicts.

(end of sample)

 

# # #

The Case of the Missing Elf

Copyright © 2014 Annie Reed

This story can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords.

If you liked The Case of the Missing Elf, check out these other Diz and Dee Mysteries!

Free Fiction Thursday – Rolo the Great

Rolo webMagic mixes with everyday life in this charming tale of hope and determination.

Rolo the Great, a courtly, pint-sized peddler of tourist trinkets, has at last found the woman of his dreams. Unfortunately for Rolo, she’s trapped in the belly of a brass pig.

In a place where magic co-exists with the mortal world, how can one small man with no magic of his own hope to rescue a damsel in distress?

Worse still, what if she doesn’t want to be rescued?

This story is no longer available to read for free, but it can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, and Smashwords.

Rolo the Great

Annie Reed

Rolo the Great owned the corner of Sussix and Wales. Or at least, that’s what he called it.

In reality, Rolo’s home turf was a six-foot wide strip of concrete sidewalk on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Madison Boulevard, just a mere two blocks from the tourist trap that was the fishermen’s and farmers market in Moretown Bay. Rain or shine, Rolo could be found on the corner hawking his wares, which this month happened to be spiral wires enchanted to sparkle in all the colors of the rainbow, with little trinkets of gold or silver jewelry or a small feather hanging off the ends. Given his courtly manner, not to mention more than his fair share of charm and wit and a smidgen of rugged good looks, Rolo was able to eke out a living by charming the ladies, tourists and locals alike. The spirals he sold were hair charms, which he was more than happy to show each lady how to wear, provided they bent down low enough for Rolo to reach their heads.

Rolo was only four foot tall, you see.

He wasn’t properly a dwarf or a halfling, and he was too tall to be a gnome. Whenever a potential customer was crude enough to ask him if he was an elf, he would happily brush back his unruly brown curls to show them his perfectly human-shaped ears, which meant he was also neither fairy nor nymph nor leprechaun. He was simply a somewhat short person who thought he was the King of England. In a past life, of course.

So it all made a certain kind of sense when he fell in love with a princess.

An enchanted princess.

Of course.

(end of sample)

# # #

“Rolo the Great”

Copyright © 2014 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Free Fiction Thursday – The Case of the Missing Elf

Happy Thursday, everyone!

I feel like asking how Christmas shopping is going, but I’m afraid you’ll all throw things at me. That’s kinda what I felt like doing the other night when a perky local newscaster asked, since there were only 22 days until Christmas, if we were all stressed yet.

This week’s story features a group of stressed-out elves who’ve lost Santa’s stand in right before Christmas. Who do you call when you’ve got a missing person? Private detectives Diz and Dee, of course. Enjoy “The Case of the Missing Elf.”

missingelf_2 bright

THE CASE OF THE MISSING ELF

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2010 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

I was having a non-argument argument with my partner about whether we should get a Christmas tree for the office when the front door opened and a whole passel of elves piled in.

Up front, I should tell you that my partner is an elf.  A tall one.  Broad-shouldered, pointy-eared, strong-jawed, and with the most drop dead gorgeous blue eyes I’ve ever seen.  You might be thinking Legolas from those movies, but Diz is more The Rock than Orlando Bloom.  He even has The Rock’s glower.  The cinnamon and marshmallow-colored mullet, though—that’s all Diz’s own.

Yeah, I know.  A mullet.  But considering how great the rest of him looks, who am I to complain?

Together, Diz and I run a private detective agency called D & D Investigations out of a former bakery in a rundown neighborhood on the mainland side of Moretown Bay.  I’m Dee, the other D in D & D.  I’m not an elf.  Or a dwarf.  Or a fairy, or any one of a hundred other kinds of magic folk who call the area around the Bay home.  I’m a plain old vanilla human with curly brown hair that tends to frizz when it’s humid, which is just about all the time.  I also have a touch of precognition I’ve yet to learn how to control any better than my hair.

“You find missing people?” the nearest elf in the pack said.

I looked down at him.  Unlike Diz, who’s a good foot taller than my medium height, these elves were all way shorter than I am.  I counted seven of the mini elves.  They all wore variations of the same outfit: forest-green pants, red-and-green shirts that were more tunic than shirt, and red, green, or white scarves.  The elf who asked me whether we find missing people had curly salt and pepper hair peeking out from beneath a red knit hat with a white pom-pom on top.  They made the office look like a seasonal munchkin convention.

“Uh, yeah,” I said.  I resisted the urge to point to the lettering beneath the agency name on the plate glass window of our office—Missing Persons Are Our Specialty.  We’d paid extra for that, but no one ever seemed to read it.

The elf behind the guy with the red knit hat elbowed him.  “I don’t care what you say, this can’t be the right place,” he said in a stage whisper I could hear fine even though his voice sounded like he’d just taken a hit of helium.  “Just look at it.”

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Rolo the Great

Good morning, everyone!  Happy Thursday!

This week’s Free Fiction Thursday story is a brand new addition to the stories set in Moretown Bay, the Pacific Northwest town my detectives Diz and Dee call home.  “Rolo the Great” is not a Diz and Dee mystery, though.  It’s a romantic fantasy about a courtly street peddler who finally finds his one true love.  Only one problem: she’s trapped in the belly of a brass pig.

I hope you enjoy “Rolo the Great.”

Rolo the Great

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover and layout Copyright © 2012 Thunder Valley Press

Cover art © 2012 Annie Reed

Rolo the Great owned the corner of Sussix and Wales.  Or at least, that’s what he called it.

In reality, Rolo’s home turf was a six-foot wide strip of concrete sidewalk on the southwest corner of Fourth Street and Madison Boulevard, just a mere two blocks from the tourist trap that was the fishermen’s and farmers market in Moretown Bay.  Rain or shine, Rolo could be found on the corner hawking his wares, which this month happened to be spiral wires enchanted to sparkle in all the colors of the rainbow, with little trinkets of gold or silver jewelry or a small feather hanging off the ends.  Given his courtly manner, not to mention more than his fair share of charm and wit and a smidgen of rugged good looks, Rolo was able to eke out a living by charming the ladies, tourists and local alike.  The spirals he sold were hair charms, which he was more than happy to show each lady how to wear, provided they bent down low enough for Rolo to reach their heads.

Rolo was only four foot tall, you see.

He wasn’t properly a dwarf or a halfling, and he was too tall to be a gnome.  Whenever a potential customer was crude enough to ask him if he was an elf, he would happily brush back his unruly brown curls to show them his perfectly human-shaped ears, which meant he was also neither fairy nor nymph nor leprechaun.  He was simply a somewhat short person who thought he was the King of England.  In a past life, of course.

So it all made a certain kind of sense when he fell in love with a princess.

An enchanted princess.

Of course.

You might think by now that I’m the headwaiter in the local looney bin, which in a way might be true.  I’m the assistant manager at Sessions, a sort of combination coffee shop/pastry shop/open mike night lounge (yes, such things really do exist), which means my customers range from the merely under-caffeinated office worker to the extremely over-caffeinated and severely depressed wannabe grunge rocker.  Sessions is located—you guessed it—on the corner of Fourth and Madison.  Since I’ve been at Sessions long enough to work my way up the non-corporate ladder from mere coffee brewer to coffee brewer with an official title, I’ve gotten to know all the regulars, including Rolo the Great.

“Matthew!” Rolo called out to me one night as he barreled in through the open front door.  “I have met the most extraordinary woman.”

(read the rest of the story here)

Free Fiction Thursday – Changeling

Good morning, everyone! Happy Thursday the 12th, one day before Friday the 13th. Anyone going to celebrate the 13th with a horror movie marathon, or perhaps by going to see Joss Whedon’s new movie, The Cabin in the Woods? Me, I’m holding out for The Avengers. *g*

I have a new five-story collection available at Amazon and Smashwords, and soon to be available at Barnes & Noble and the iBookstore. TALES FROM THE SHADOWS collects five of my dark fantasy stories set in the Pacific Northwest city of Moretown Bay. This week’s story is “Changeling,” the lead story in the collection. Enjoy!

CHANGELING

Annie Reed

Copyright © 2012 Annie Reed

Published by Thunder Valley Press

Cover art Copyright © Bblood|Dreamstime.com

Cover and layout Copyright © 2012 Thunder Valley Press

The changeling reclined on her narrow bed in the squalid little room, rumpled sheets testifying to a busy night already spent on her back.  Features flowed across her face, flesh moving like liquid to thin her lips, widen her brows, sharpen her chin and the delicate shells of her ears.

“This what you want, sugar?” she asked.  Her waist narrowed, lean muscle flattening her naked belly.  Her breasts shrank from the porn queen size they’d been when Rory picked her up on the street to something he could cup in his hand. “This what you’re after?”

Most normals couldn’t watch a changeling shift.  Couldn’t witness human features rearrange themselves and know, deep in the gut, it wasn’t an illusion.  The wrongness of it hurt the eyes, made the stomach heave and the pavement tilt underfoot.  Rory didn’t have a choice.  He had to watch.

The changeling hadn’t turned on the overhead light when she let Rory in her room.  Enough watery streetlight filtered through the sheets of rain beating against the window for Rory to see her try to become what he wanted.  What he’d told her was his fantasy.

A half-full World’s Best Mom mug sat on the bedside table next to an overflowing ashtray. Lipstick smears circled the rim.  In the dim light, the lipstick looked black.  Judging by the boozy smell, the mug hadn’t seen coffee in a long time.

“You got a kid?” he asked.  No toys littered the room, but that didn’t mean anything. Not every mother was the world’s best.

She saw him looking at the mug and laughed.  “Goodwill, sugar.  Got it cheap. Someone’s momma didn’t want it no more.”  She took a drink.  “You want some?  I got a clean glass and a bottle in the closet.  Five bucks extra.”

The place stank of sweat and cigarettes and sex. “No.” A drink wasn’t what he was after. He leaned one shoulder against the wall at the foot of her bed.  Unzipped his coat.  She didn’t have a kid.  He couldn’t stay if she had a kid.  He allowed himself to hope.  Maybe she’d be the one.

(read the rest of the story here)