Today I am so pleased to welcome Gregory Ashe to Joyfully Jay. Gregory has come as part of the Coastal Magic Blog Tour to talk to us about his upcoming release, Stray Fears. He has also brought along an exclusive excerpt. Please join me in giving him a big welcome!
Hi, everyone! It’s a pleasure to be posting here today—thank you, Jay, for the opportunity.
I’m thrilled to be part of the Coastal Magic Blog Tour. This is my first year doing Coastal Magic (and sadly, as you know, it’s virtual), but I’m already in awe of the level of commitment that the organizers and convention-goers have shown.
A quick plug: if you know my work, you’re probably already familiar with my contemporary mysteries. Yesterday, my most recent one, They Told Me I Was Everything, launched at retailers everywhere (https://books2read.com/u/bpDn6l). It’s also available for free at my website (https://www.gregoryashe.com/they-told-me-i-was-everything). Today, I’m beginning serialization of the next novel in that series—you can get a chapter of Yet a Stranger every day by signing up for the mailing list (https://bit.ly/qstories).
I’m excited to share an exclusive sneak peek of my upcoming paranormal horror mystery, Stray Fears, which releases on 10/24. Elien is the survivor of a horrible tragedy; Dag is a sheriff’s deputy. Together, they’ll have to hunt down a monster that is terrorizing their sleepy Louisiana parish. I hope you enjoy!
“He’s smoking hot,” my dad said. His voice sounded tinny playing from the phone where it lay on the dash.
Mason pretended to upchuck into his takeout bag.
“Gross,” I said.
“No, Dag, you’re not listening. He’s gorgeous. He’s perfect.”
My mom’s voice came from the background: “He’s very handsome.”
“Do you hear that?” my dad said. “Your mom says he’s very handsome.”
“I heard. Thank you. I appreciate your unconditional love and support. Now, I’m officially terminating this conversation.”
“I told him I didn’t know if you preferred to host.”
I wondered if I could melt into my seat. “Dad, you cannot talk to guys about stuff like that for me.”
“Is that what it’s called when guys come over for sex? Hosting?”
“I think it’s called running a train,” my mom shouted in the background.
“You are no longer my parents,” I said. “Goodbye, strangers. I wish you the best of luck.”
“You’ve got to text him,” my dad said. “Promise me you’ll text him. I see him every week at Rouses, and I won’t be able to look him in the eyes if you don’t text him.”
“So go to another grocery store.”
“You know Rouses has the chicken salad I like.”
“Fine, I’ll text him if it means we never have to talk about this again.”
“And you’ve got to put some effort in when you host, Dagobert,” my dad said.
“I really think it’s called running a train,” my mom said.
“This is the best thing of my life,” Mason whispered.
I reached for the phone to take it off speaker, and Mason wrestled me away from it.
“I’m just saying,” my dad added, “if you shave, if you pick up the place, if you put on a nice jockstrap, I think you have a chance. This guy’s right at the edge of your weight class, but I think you’ve got a chance.”
“Jesus, Dad,” I said, giving up and letting Mason force me away from the phone. “Give your only son a little credit.”
“Do not take the Lord’s name in vain, young man,” my mom said.
“I was reading on Out.com that jockstraps are highly in demand if you are a bottom,” Dad said. “But a lot of the commenters said tops or bottoms look hot in a jock.”
“You are a straight, middle-aged Republican in Louisiana. Why are you reading Out.com?”
“The world is changing,” my mom said.
“This guy, he looks a little bit like that twink you used to bring over. Gloria, what was his name?”
“Jackson,” Mom called back.
“Jackson,” my dad said. “He looks like Jackson, only hotter.” I could picture him sitting back, glowing with self-satisfaction as he added, “How’s that for father of the year?”
“Jackson?” Mason whispered. “Jackson Sanders?”
“Shut up,” I whispered back. Louder, I said, “Mom, Dad, I’ve got to go. I’m working.”
Elien Martel is a survivor, but surviving, he’s beginning to discover, isn’t the same thing as living. In the house he shares with his much older boyfriend, Elien spends his days trying to stay as far away from living as possible. Living, he has learned, means that sooner or later you’ll get hurt.
When a member of Elien’s support group dies under strange circumstances, though, Elien finds himself in a web of bizarre coincidences. The responding officer turns out to be another member of Elien’s support group—a man named Mason, who has made no effort to hide his dislike of Elien. Then, just a few days later, Mason tries to kill Elien in front of dozens of witnesses.
As violence ripples through Elien’s world, he begins to suspect that the coincidences are not coincidences at all. Something is at work behind the cascade of tragedies, something vicious and intelligent. Something that has wanted Elien for a long time.
To defeat it, Elien will have to do what he fears most and face the darkness in his own past. Worse, he’ll have to take the risk of trying to live again.
Gregory Ashe is a longtime Midwesterner. He has lived in Chicago, Bloomington (IN), and Saint Louis, his current home. When not reading and writing, he is an educator.
Coastal Magic Convention takes place virtually February 18-21, 2021. You can find out more about the convention, as well as how you can join in for the panels and events, by checking out the site here and some of the ways you can get involved virtually here.