Around the Scott household, the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas all seem to be jam-packed with Christmas parties and family get-togethers. Some years, we have too many to fit into two short days. Over the last couple of years, I’ve let activities crowd out some of our most memorable traditions. Not this year.
This year, we’re having a real tree which we’ll decorate to the strains of NSync’s Christmas album (it’s tradition, you know). Then, we’ll gather around the fireplace to light our Yule log and eat sugar cookies we made to distribute to the neighbors as gifts.
These cookies are, in our eyes, masterpieces. No, they aren’t those gorgeous things you see in bakery windows, but have the quirks that our family is known by. We decorate Christmas fish, only one of which is given three eyes and made especially for our friend, Jon. There are some traditional shapes, stars and Santas, but you are just as likely to find rocket ships amongst the Christmas trees, a T-Rex waiting to devour the red and green bunnies, and there is always a haunted church cookie -- complete with sugar black bats in the belfry.
Given the oddities of our family, I guess it’s no surprise to find that my holiday tales aren’t full of Christmas cheer, instead they tout titles like A Christmas Curse, which can be found in the ‘Twas a Dark and Delicious Christmas Anthology (http://www.erickascott.com/books/cursed-for-christmas-in-twas-a-dark-and-delicious-christmas-anthology/) and my latest, Tidings of Fear (http://www.erickascott.com/books/tidingsoffear/). I guess I enjoy making readers shiver from more than just the cold.
TIDINGS OF FEAR
A psychic, a skeptic, and a serial killer…
Psychic Lia Morgan sees portents all around her. Although estranged from her family, she joins the search for her missing sister. A simple case gets complicated fast when she discovers her sister’s plethora of secrets includes a son.
Professor Jared Trimble’s world has no room for paranormal mumbo-jumbo. When asked to consult on a case involving a series of crossword puzzles, he’s conflicted. Is he a suspect, or an investigator?
While Lia uses her physic gift and follows signs, Jared uses his wits and experience. When the two collide, passions flare and the final clue brings them both into the bull’s-eye of a serial killer’s target.
“Hello?” she called. A creak sounded from above and a trickle of discomfort slid down her spine. She pulled out her key chain, from which hung a small canister of mace. Another creak made her jump.
“Hello?” she called again. Taking a deep breath, she strode purposefully into the house and found herself in a small living room. Lia glimpsed a small alcove off to the side and expected to find a small dining area, or perhaps an attached office.
Her breath caught in her throat as she walked into another large living room and straight into the past. Positioned under the window were the couch and loveseat she remembered from growing up. A recliner sat in the corner, a newspaper already opened to the comics on the seat.
She shivered. A tall enclosed bookcase, the one that had resided in Lia’s bedroom, stood next to the window. If she stepped closer, she knew she’d recognize every title on its shelves.
A small wooden rocking chair sat next to the recliner. A Raggedy Ann doll vied for seat space with her twin, Raggedy Andy.
“Oh, God,” Lia said. The memorial to her family should have been macabre. Instead, it brought tears to her eyes. Even the antique desk her sister, Sylvie, had thrown a fit to own and then despised when computers became popular and her father wouldn’t let her buy a more functional desk had a place in the room. A smile tugged at the corner of Lia’s mouth.
She could almost hear Sylvie’s famous whine, “But, Dad…”
As memories flooded her mind, she had to blink back a sudden rush of tears. She took a step back, turned and nearly ran back to the hallway. A light dimmed and brightened in another room. Lia didn’t need to count the pulses to know there would be eight.
A short walk found her in the kitchen. The stainless steel appliances sparkled and even the floor seemed to have been freshly waxed. She wished her kitchen looked this good. A towering pile of newspapers indicated they were sisters, after all. The stack teetered on the corner of the kitchen table. All of them were opened and folded to reveal the crossword puzzle.
Had Sylvie left these here? She couldn’t remember her sister having a penchant for crosswords, but she obviously didn’t know Sylvie as well as she’d thought.
Or had someone else brought these in and put them there?
Speaking of which, where was her sister?
She headed upstairs, calling as she went. Just as empty as downstairs. And just as neat. A small blue plastic item on the floor of her sister’s office appeared to be the only thing out of place.
Lia scooped it up. A thumb drive. She went to put it on the desk when a loud creak sounded behind her. She shoved it into her pocket and fumbled for her keys.
Heavy footsteps approached up the stairs.
Lia turned as a shadow fell across the doorway.
Check out the Free Reads Page on my website in December for our infamous sugar cookie recipe (it contains eggnog) and also one for a decadent chocolate Yule log (yum).
And yes, Virginia, there were once camels in California…
Ericka Scott is a multi-published, bestselling author of seductive suspense. She's written stories for as long as she can remember and reads anything under the sun (including the back of cereal boxes in a pinch). She got hooked on romantic suspense in her college days, when reading anything but a textbook was a guilty pleasure. Now, when she’s not chauffeuring children around, wishing she had a maid, or lurking at the library, she’s spinning her own web of fantasy and penning tales of seduction and suspense. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.
Get a behind the scenes look at her writing and zany family on her blog at http://erickascott.blogspot.com
She also loves friends, so come friend her at http://myspace.com/erickascott
She's also on Facebook at http://facebook.com/ericka.scott and Twitter @ErickaScott
You can find out more about her books at www.erickascott.com
Thanks for being with us today, Ericka. We wish you much success with your books!