Do you like your mystery, thriller, and suspense stories to have sapphic characters? If you do, and you haven’t heard about this giveaway yet, it’s your lucky day.
Seven authors, myself included (Anne here. Hi!) penned original short stories or novellas to give away for a limited time. The giveaway ends July 5th.
You can go right to the giveaway page here, or read on below for my brief review of each story. For those of you leaving, enjoy!
My own book in the giveaway is called, Hunting You Down. It’s suspense with a little bit of thriller rather than my usual mystery. I won’t review my own work, of course, but I will say this story was a departure from what I had planned…something my loyal mystery readers will benefit from later.
I started writing a short story for this months ago, when I first put the giveaway together. It quickly became apparent that my ‘short story’ was going to become novel length. It grew to over 30,000 words before I set it aside for later and started another short story featuring the detective character from the first story.
That second story got away from me too. You see, I don’t plot short stories like I (meticulously) plot novels. In fact, I don’t plot them at all. I just let them flow, and flow it did. So much so that 14,000 words in I was just getting started. That short story will now be a prequel novel for an all new series that will start coming out in 2025 and the original short story turned novel I started will be the first book in the series. Stay tuned!
I had to get completely away from my love of investigations to arrive at a true (and finished!) short story for this giveaway. I hope you like it. I’m interested in what you think about the ending. Love it? Hate it? Either way, I’d love to hear it.
My good friend Barbara Winkes is one of the few people I know with a longer sapphic mystery/suspense/romantic suspense series than I have. Her Carpenter and Harding series is at 15 books. Plus, she’s started a couple of other series in similar veins too. She’s always busy writing and she has many, many books out and in the works, but she managed to contribute a story for each previous giveaway and now one for this one she’s contributed, Exes and Lies.
The story starts off seemingly tame, moves into suspense, then becomes a real thriller. The couple in the story? They have issues and needs only a full length book (or three) will resolve. Barbara really needs to add writing a book for this couple to her to do list…but it will probably be romance. Hopefully, the suspense/thriller days for Pax and Ashton end with this short!
In a total coincidence, which we had a back and forth email conversation about, Pax is the name of the detective in the mystery short stories turned novels I started a few months ago then set aside to publish in 2025. Small world. Great minds…pick your cliché!
I admit to not having read any of Elliott Hay’s work prior to reading this short prequel story, Friends in Need, because there’s no mystery work released yet. I pre-ordered the first novel in her series (only $.99 right now) and I’ll read it when it releases July 11th. I’m looking forward to it. Elliott also publishes gender bendy Sci-fi as Si Clark.
This story is a great introduction to the ‘grannies,’ Madge, Peggy and Carole, and the hurting friend they try to help, Gertie. There’s a riddle in the names there that comes out in the story…but if you can’t glean it from what I’ve given you, you’ll have to read the book.
The premise is these friends have a little knitting club that meets at a café, and they murder people when necessary, only this time, murder isn’t an option because that might do more harm than good for Gertie. I love the premise for the series, and I can identify with the reason they can’t do what they would normally do in Gertie’s case…but I can’t tell you why I identify without giving a chunk of the plot away. Let’s just say, they come up with a unique solution to the problem.
Please be sure and read through to the acknowledgements portion of this short. You’ll get some insight into Elliott’s creation of the characters and the upcoming series.
Ocean and I have been friends for a long time. Back in 2019, pre-covid, we sat down at the Pittsburgh GCLS conference and made plans to write a series together. Covid messed that all up and, it would seem, the time for the idea that was hot at the time has now passed. Maybe someday we’ll revisit it.
Ocean can be an enigma. She writes imaginative fiction (Lesbian Sasquatch, anyone?). She writes poetry. Mostly, she writes horror. It’s not blood curdling horror, but she sure knows how to give you the creeps.
Ocean participated in the first original short story giveaway we did. Her story was a little more horror than mystery or suspense, but you could definitely put it in the thriller category.
She’s back for our third giveaway and this time she’s written a full on suspense story with Skull Castle that will have you thinking everything is fine until about half way through. At that point, you’re going to think one character is nuts for doing the things she does, especially if you’ve read any of Ocean’s horror work, and you’re going to question the sanity of the other main character for going along with it. The payoff is worth it though. You’ll be shaking your head that you didn’t put it all together a lot sooner.
Cade Haddock Strong, like Ocean, participated in the first original story giveaway and now she’s back for the third one. We’re happy to have her back too!
Cade’s story, An Uncanny Resemblance, has some themes that are similar to another story in this round of books. I don’t want to be a spoiler, so I’ll let you dear readers figure out which one…
One of the requirements of this particular giveaway, other than the story being either mystery, thriller, or suspense, is the story must be ‘sapphic.’ There is indeed a sapphic main character in this story, but her sexuality is not at all the focus of the story. That’s a constant debate among readers who lean more toward romance versus those who have a preference for mysteries and thrillers. Romance readers tend to feel overt/pervasive sexuality is what makes a book sapphic, whereas many mystery, suspense, and thriller readers don’t care to see it on the page unless it fits in the story. Those of you in the former camp will be disappointed with this story. The rest of you will enjoy it.
Lori G. Matthews is new to these mystery, suspense, thriller promotions, and apparently to the genre as well. She’s previously published romance novels with Bella Books. Known for her romantic comedy, she brought those writing chops to this short, entertaining mystery, The Birder Murders.
In another round of ‘great minds think alike’ this story has a few things in common with Ocean’s story. It also has characters that are 40+ like in my story, though age doesn’t come out until well into this story. You’ll like these ladies. In fact, one of them finds herself liking the other in spite of herself.
If you’re into birds, this will be a great story for you. If you’re not, you’ll learn some new things, like the concept of a ‘big year.’ I had an inkling what it might be but I still looked it up! Google is your friend.
Last, but by no means least, is a story from fairly new friend to me, someone I’ve come to know and worked with a little over the past year, Edale Lane, with Nefarious Intent. Edale has the same problem I do; she has trouble writing ‘short’ works. She tends to run long too. We almost didn’t get a story out of her for this giveaway and that would have been a shame.
Her story is reminiscent of a work by Barbara Winkes, Amber Alert, but it’s also very different. If you’ve read that, you’ll find some of the same themes running through this story. Too, the ending is similar, but also different. The investigator in Barbara’s story wasn’t sapphic but some victims were. Here, both sides are sapphic.
Like Barbara, I’d like to see Edale take two of these characters and carry on with them and that’s all I’m going to say!
This giveaway runs through July 5th. After that, the authors can do with their stories as they wish. Some may continue to give them away. Some may not. Why take a chance?