Monday, March 21, 2016

RED SOLE CLUES

Hey there! March 22nd is the release date for an exciting set of short stories in our anthology RED SOLE CLUES!! In anticipation of the awesome chocolatey goodness, I'm giving you a sneak peek at chapter 1 of my story, Jack's adventure on the way to Dead End, Travelling Eye, below.  So please check out 5 stories by five of the best mystery/suspense writers around -- the New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors Liliana Hart,  Alyssa DayLori RyanMarquita Valentine, and Adrienne Giordano.







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TRAVELLING EYE (for Red Sole Clues)

Alyssa Day
Copyright Alesia Holliday



Chapter One

Jack Shepherd never would have gotten involved in the mystery of who shot Santa if it hadn’t been for the red-soled, high-heeled shoes. Well, the shoes, and the long, shapely female legs attached to the feet wearing the shoes. He didn’t pinpoint the source of the problem until later, though, when yet another Christmas Eve was almost over, and Hope Springs, Utah was only a twinkle in the rearview mirrors of his Harley.

Damn shoes.

It was another diner in a long string of diners, all so similar that Jack had quit noticing them a few weeks back. He’d been aimlessly wandering around the country on his bike, without much to do but think about life choices. Specifically, his life choices. More to the point, his bad life choices.

Like joining the rebel forces. Spending ten years battling evil vampires and other supernatural punks who wanted to take over the world, or at least their corner of it. 
Criminals—the stupider they were, the more grandiose their plans, or so he’d figured out.
He and Quinn had even kept a mental “stupid criminals” file that they trotted out over a few beers when talking to trainees.

Quinn. Put her under bad life choices? Nah. Fighting with Quinn as his partner had been the best part of it all. They’d attempted a lot and achieved most of it.

Falling for Quinn, on the other hand? Seriously bad choice.

And not accepting that he had no chance with her after that damn Atlantean came into the picture? Went beyond bad to stupid.

So now he was on the way to Dead End, Florida, to wrap up his late uncle’s effects, because the lawyers hadn’t been able to find Jack in time for him to make it to the funeral. A shot of pain hit him in the gut at the reminder that he’d never see Jeremiah again. The man who’d raised him; the man who’d believed in him. Gone.

“More coffee, hon?” The waitress had a look on her worn but pretty face that said she might have asked him the question more than once. Her tone was gentle, though, so he smiled at her.

“Sure. And can I still get breakfast?” It was two-thirty in the afternoon, and the few people still there were probably enjoying a late lunch.

She nodded. “Sure. It’s Christmas Eve, after all. If you want eggs, you should get them. I’m Donna, by the way. Merry Christmas.”

Jack blinked. Christmas Eve. Hell, he hadn’t even realized what day it was. Not that it mattered. He was officially fresh out of family members, and he’d never had much in the way of friends. Quinn would be with Alaric…

Jack shook his head to get that unpleasant picture out of his mind, and glanced down at the menu, although he didn’t know why. Diner menus were all the same.

Except, not this one.

“Merry Christmas to you, too, Donna. Ah, what does this mean?” He pointed to the list under the word SPECIALS:
The Ericka
The Gloria Ellen
The Kimberley

The waitress laughed. “Oh, that’s Charley’s little bit of fun. Those are his three daughter’s names, and the specials are their favorite meals. So, the Ericka is a PB&J with cheese and pickles on it, Cheez Doodles on the side.”

Jack’s mouth twitched, in a grin or a grimace, he wasn’t sure which. “And the Gloria Ellen?”

“That’s my favorite,” she said, smiling back at him. “A banana, pineapple, and mayonnaise sandwich on white bread.”

Jack shook his head. “I’m almost afraid to ask, but the Kimberley?”

“Tomato soup with sliced hot dogs and macaroni in it,” Donna said.

“So, these are normal kid foods?” Jack hadn’t been around kids all that much, but if he’d ever thought about it, he probably would have expected them to eat normal food, on 
smaller plates.

Donna shrugged. “Kids are weird.”

He couldn’t argue with that. “Well, with all due respect to the girls, I’d like a stack of pancakes, four eggs over medium, wheat toast, bacon, and hash browns. Orange juice. And throw in a side of ham. And a steak.”

Donna didn’t even blink at the size of his order. “Got it. Shouldn’t be long.”

She took his menu and bustled off toward the counter, and he drank some more coffee. It had been six hours since his first breakfast, it was damned cold on the bike, and the last thing a tiger shapeshifter needed was to run low on fuel. Made him cranky, and cranky tigers weren’t fit for human company.

Not that he gave much of a shit about human company.

The bell over the door jangled, and the woman who walked in made him rethink his position on that last one. She was a sleek brunette, tall and lean in a dark green peacoat and jeans, and she was wearing a very un-diner-like pair of high, sexy black heels. Her hair curved in at chin-length and swept around her face when she turned her head. She noticed him noticing her and gave him the long, slow perusal of a woman who’s used to being stared at and can give as good as she gets. He was surprised to find himself mildly disappointed when she took a seat at the counter instead of walking over to talk to him.

“Hey, Vanessa, I’ll be there in a sec,” Donna called out, on her way to drop a steaming bowl off at the table of a tiny, elderly woman.

Vanessa languidly waved a hand, apparently in no rush. She took her coat off and put it on the stool next to her and then hooked one foot over the railing and swung the other in a slow arc, none of which Jack would have noticed if it hadn’t been for those damn shoes. The shoes were black, but the soles were red. Blood red. Hell, what did he know? Maybe there was a thing with women and shoes that they had to wear Christmas-colored soles in December, and Donna’s sturdy white sneakers secretly had green soles.

Or maybe Jack’s mind was going, and thinking about shoes was the first step toward the very early onset of senile dementia. He looked out the window, determined to quit speculating about sexy brunettes with weird shoes, until Donna showed up with his food.

“Okay, hon, this keep you a while?” She stood back and surveyed the table, now covered with heaping plates of food. One thing you could say for diners, they didn’t stint on portions.

“Thanks, I’m good,” he told her, and then he bent his attention to his second breakfast of the day and worked his way through the meal. He was on his third cup of coffee, and down to nothing but crumbs and a single honey-covered biscuit on his plate, when the diner door slammed open and a teenaged boy rushed in, red-faced and panting.


“Vanessa, you’ve got to come right now. Somebody shot Santa Claus!”

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DEAD EYE is almost here!!

Countdown!! 2 weeks from today, DEAD EYE is here. In honor of my terrible singing, a snippet from Tess, who also can't sing, and Jack discovering it:

I went back to singing at the top of my lungs about my pocketful of sunshine and how people needed to shut up and dance with me. I was spectacularly bad at singing, but it helped me think. And clean. And probably scare off hot guys, small children, and grizzly bears. My secret weapon—the deadly “can’t carry a tune with a bucket” trick. I should have tried it on my attacker the night before.
“I’ll be happy to shut up and dance with you, if you’ll quit making that sound,” Jack said from right behind me, making me shriek and jump about a foot in the air.
I turned off the vacuum and glared at him. “What the heck? You can’t sneak up on a person. Especially a person who was just attacked from behind.”
“Oh damn. Tess, I’m sorry. I didn’t think about that. I knocked, and when it sounded like you were in pain, I just came in.” He looked really remorseful, so I forgave him on the spot. Except for the part about my singing which, though true, was a little bit hurtful.
“Who are you to judge? Can tigers even sing? Or is it all growl, snarl, I’m going to eat your face off?”

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

those fish are still dead

So, I have been in a very bleak period of depression for more than a year now, brought on by some publishing fucktardery, and I've been fighting the losing battle of trying to tell people that my fish are dead (see: the wonderful Allie Brosch, esp. the Allie Brosch fish post and you'll get that one.)
But today I am here to peek my tired eyes up over the blanket hiding my fetal position and admit that I might be getting a shipment of brand new fish.  Now, they'll probably be like me, fragile and a little bit broken, but they will surely have some hint of optimism and the slightest feathering of remembered joy.

I hope.  I never lost it, even in the darkest times, this hope -even when it was reduced to only a withered thing stretching her trembling hands out into the dark.

I've found her again, and made her soup, some of my quite good chicken vegetable (Homemade) and some of my even better hot and sour (also homemade) and tomorrow I might ply her with homemade turkey chili.  I want to feed her up so she doesn't waste away into one of the more nebulous emotions, or turn into vapidity or despair.

I'm crying while I write this, which is harder than you might think because I'm a tough old trial lawyer and there's no crying in litigation, as more than one partner told me back in the day.  But today I am crying, because I worry that I've let you down.  I cannot write 17 books in 6 months like so many indie authors these days. I wouldn't even try to.  Sometimes, it might take nearly TWO YEARS or even a little longer to get a book from me because my editor has to pry them from my cold, (almost)-dead hands because of the harsh perfectionism that is at the root of much of my depression.  It's the noose I use to tie up the bundles of my dead fish.

But today, I tried to be healthy and happy.  Both on the same day.  I did not "INVITE THE TRAGEDY TRAIN TO THE STATION" as my darling Navy Guy sometimes accuses, and I did not threaten my son with coming home to live in our non-existent basement once he flunks out of college (well, okay, not more than once), and I did not get caught up in a teen drama and I figured out my severe vertigo was because I had forgotten to take my anti-depressants for 4 or 5 days in a row.  DON'T DO THIS!!!

And just when I was starting to fall down on the floor with my dead fish and cry, I remembered that I have all of you, who have shown me crazy kindness and boundless love and understanding.
So.  Hey.  Send some of that stuff this way.   I will snuggle with ALL of you.
So. Thank you. You rock.
hugs,
Alyssa



Wednesday, February 25, 2015

On telemarketers

So, here's a true story. During the 6 or so years that I was a vegetarian, I once had a telemarketer call to offer me mail-order steaks.

Me: I'm a vegetarian.
Him: Okay, have a nice day. *hangs up*

This worked so well, I started using it on other telemarketers.

Caller: Would you like to buy our vinyl siding/satellite dish/lawn service/frozen eyeballs?
Me: I'm a vegetarian.
Him:
Me: Bye, now. *hangs up*

Feel free to use this yourself.  You're welcome.

Friday, February 20, 2015

My crazy might be in my DNA

I might secretly be a bear, because cold weather makes me want to hibernate.  Or at least nap, wrapped up in blankets.

My mom: It's 3 below zero here in Ohio.
Me: That's just wrong.
Her: Also, they ruined my tuna fish by putting soybean oil in it.

I think we might all see where I get my crazy from . . .

Saturday, February 7, 2015

On worrying

So, I am a champion worrier.  If worrying were a sport in the Olympics, I would have 59 gold medals by now.  I can worry about things that are not REMOTELY possible, like what if Navy Guy is on deployment and I'm driving home from the grocery store and a METEORITE hits my car and I die, but I'm smushed beyond recognition so nobody knows who I am to tell the kids, who are all alone in the world, and WITH NO FOOD IN THE HOUSE.

This was my biggest concern driving home this morning.  I am so not making this up.  It is scary inside my head.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

birthday drunkenness...

Today I made Princess eggs, French toast, and hash browns for breakfast in bed for her birthday. 15!!! I can't stand it. 

Science Ninja: Um, Mom, why is the spiced rum out for breakfast?
Me: Being your mother is challenging. I needed to take the edge off. 
Him: *worried face*
Me: It's the secret ingredient in my French toast batter, kid. Lighten up.