Sneak Peek: The Shark

I’ve teamed up with five incredible lesfic authors to write a series about finding love, convention style.

Crowds, cosplay, chemistry – it’s all happening for these lucky ladies.

Twelve women – from tv stars to rabid fans – descend on Las Vegas for one weekend to attend the biggest mystery, thriller and suspense convention of the year.

Love connections are made, hearts are brown, and these romances are not going to stay in Vegas.

The books in this series are all interconnected – each one is a standalone and they can be read in any order, but you’ll find fun cameos, events and other ‘Easter eggs’ that we’ve hidden throughout all six books.

I had so much fun collaborating with Lily Craig, Hildred Billings, Anna Cove, Sienna Waters and Kate McLay on this series, and I hope you have fun exploring the convention! All six books are available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited.

Check out the first chapter of my book, The Shark, below.

Sabrina Grace stood in front of her bookshelves, nibbling the edge of her fingernail as she looked at the manuscripts in front of her.

There were at least a hundred of them arranged neatly on the shelves, along with action figures and Pops for all her favorite TV shows. Her manuscripts ranged from spec scripts for single episodes of existing shows to entire seasons of things that only existed inside her own head. She’d been adding to the collection since she was a teenager and there was nothing she loved more than the satisfying feeling of seeing those shelves fill up with the printed versions of all her hard work.

Of course, it’d be even more satisfying if she’d actually sold some of them, but that was why she was going to ShudderCon, wasn’t it?

She eyed all her manuscripts. She’d only have the chance to pitch one idea at the convention and it had to be her very best. That was a tricky decision. The best spec script? The best characters? The fastest plot? The one with the most world-building depth?

So many scripts to choose from and only fifteen more minutes before Sabrina’s Uber driver arrived to take her to the airport. She’d been agonizing over the choice for weeks already and when her dad called her from down the hall, she welcomed one final, brief distraction.

“Sabrina? You haven’t left yet, have you?”

“No, Dad,” she called back. “Would I leave without saying goodbye?”

She walked down the hall to meet him. She and her dad lived in a nice little Cape Cod in a decent suburb of Cleveland—a house Sabrina couldn’t dream of affording all on her own. Not on a call center employee’s salary and not when so much of her income went to her dad’s medical care. Every dollar she had left after the bills went toward her unending quest to get the attention of TV producers who could make her scripts into reality.

Well, the quest had been unending. It was coming to a very definite end now, and much sooner than she’d like. Sabrina was attending one last convention where she could pitch her ideas and chase her dreams. Then they would come to a screeching halt on Monday morning.

She shook that thought from her mind and went into the kitchen, rounding the corner with a smile. “Hey, Dad. Smells good in here—what’s for breakfast?”

“Cheesy grits,” he answered. “Carla makes them just how I like them.”

“So, mostly cheese?” Sabrina teased, crossing the kitchen.

Her dad was in his wheelchair as always, clean-shaven thanks to his homecare nurse and wearing his favorite Cavs jersey. Instead of sitting at the dining table, Carla had pushed him over to the big picture window to enjoy the late October sunshine while he ate.

“You got it,” Carla said, holding another spoonful up to his mouth. “But they’re nothing special—just the instant type. The secret is to add extra butter. Sabrina, do you want a bowl before you leave?”

“No time,” Sabrina said, glancing at her phone. “Ten minutes until the Uber arrives.”

“Did you decide which show to pitch?” her dad asked. Sabrina gave him a tortured look.

“No,” she said, covering her face. “I still can’t choose. Is that terrible?”

“You’re worrying too much, honey-girl,” he said. “All of your writing is fantastic. Besides, you know my vote.”

Sabrina smiled. “The apocalypse.”

“What?” Carla asked with a snort.

“She wrote it over the summer,” Sabrina’s dad said. “It’s brilliant—her best script yet.”

“But will it be good enough?” Sabrina asked wistfully. She leaned against the windowsill, changing the subject. “Are you two sure you’re going to be okay for the weekend? I could shorten my trip, or—”

“No, you go,” her dad interrupted. “Enjoy your last hurrah before your new job starts. You deserve it.”

Sabrina smiled, but the expression didn’t reach her eyes. She didn’t get to as many conventions and industry events as she’d like to, but she still managed to make it to a couple each year. ShudderCon was the biggest in the genre and Sabrina always looked forward to it, but it was hard to leave her dad, even just for the weekend.

He’d been diagnosed with ALS three years ago and the fact that he was still around was no small miracle. He still had pretty good control of his voice, and although he’d been forced into the wheelchair full-time about two months ago, he was still in good spirits. They were lucky the disease was progressing slowly, but each trip Sabrina took got harder to justify.

Even though Carla always took good care of her dad when Sabrina was gone, she could never quite shake the worry. What if something happened to him while she was off chasing a pipe dream?

That was part of the reason why she’d applied for a promotion when the opportunity came up at the insurance company where she worked. The hours and pay in the communications department were far better than in the call center, and it gave her dad some peace of mind. Come Monday, Sabrina would set her childish Hollywood dreams aside to climb the corporate ladder in the name of financial security.

It was just too bad she was already expecting her new job writing policy manuals to be mind-numbingly boring.

“Thanks, Dad,” she said. “Do either of you need anything before I go?”

“In the next few minutes before your car arrives?” her dad asked. “No, honey-girl, Carla and I will be just fine. You enjoy your trip.”

“Okay,” Sabrina said. “I’ll try.”

She gave him a hug, then glanced at her phone again. Five minutes to pick the best manuscript out of the bunch—the one that would make or break her TV writing dreams.

Was the apocalypse a big enough idea to get the job done?

She hustled back down the hall and scanned her shelves one more time to be sure. There was a lesbian detective agency, a small-town police department chasing down a literally invisible killer, and a Sherlock-inspired drama with an all-star dream cast of queer actors that Sabrina had spent many a night developing… but the apocalypse was her most recent project. It was freshest in her mind and her dad was right—it was good stuff.

She grabbed the script for the pilot episode and tucked it into her carry-on bag, along with a zip drive containing all her writing on the project, just as her phone chimed.

Your Uber driver, Gloria, is here.

Sabrina’s heart skipped a beat and she slung her bag over her shoulder.

When she got outside, there was a red SUV waiting on the curb and Sabrina jogged over to it. She worried about her dad when she left town, but she also couldn’t deny the excited, eager feeling that filled her chest every time she set out on a new adventure.

ShudderCon was the top mystery, thriller, and suspense convention in the country and Sabrina had only missed it once in the last five years. It was a four-day weekend filled to the brim with fans, writers, actors and every other type of industry insider all fawning over their favorite shows and stars. It was impossible not to get excited—mundane office job be damned.

As Sabrina slid into the back seat of the SUV, she resolved not to give her real life worries another thought until her plane touched down in Cleveland again on Sunday night.

“Going to the airport, huh?” the driver asked. Gloria turned out to be a middle-aged woman with her hair pulled back in a wispy bun, and she had no problem filling the silence on the twenty-minute drive to the airport. “Business or pleasure?”

“A little of both,” Sabrina said. “But mostly pleasure.”

“Sounds like my kind of trip,” the woman said with a glance into the rearview mirror. “Where are you headed?”

“Las Vegas,” Sabrina said. She was excited about the convention and trying hard not to think of the actual flight. She wasn’t the biggest fan of flying—or rather, she wasn’t a fan of take-off or touch-down.

“Oh, Sin City!” Gloria driver perked up, immediately more interested in Sabrina’s trip. “What’s your business, if you don’t mind my asking?”

“TV writing,” Sabrina said, a smile creeping across her face as she noticed a glimmer of awe in the woman’s eyes. Never mind the fact that she’d never sold a single script—her Uber driver didn’t know that, and she didn’t need to know that being a TV writer was nothing but a pipe dream for Sabrina. She leaned forward as much as her seatbelt would allow and asked, “Have you heard of ShudderCon?”

“No, what’s that?” Gloria asked, looking ready to be amazed no matter what Sabrina’s answer was.

The excitement building in Sabrina’s chest grew, making her forget about the plane for another minute. These were the moments she lived for—when she got to unapologetically geek out about her passions. “It’s incredible. You know ComicCon, right?”

“That’s the thing all the comic book nerds flock to, right?”

“Yeah. ShudderCon is just like that, only for mystery, thriller and suspense nerds,” Sabrina explained. “It’s in a different city every year and they rent a huge convention center where you can go to panels with your favorite actors, get autographs, and see sneak peeks of new shows and movies. Everyone who’s anyone in the industry will be there.”

“And you’re somebody?” Gloria asked. She was looking at Sabrina in the mirror like she was one name-drop away from veering to the side of the road to ask for an autograph.

“Not yet,” Sabrina had to admit. It would have been fun to fantasize, to pretend she’d already sold her script and she was a famous TV writer. But she couldn’t bring herself to lie to this woman, even if she would probably never see Gloria again. “But I’ve got a script in my bag that I’m hoping I can sell to one of the networks this weekend.”

“Ooh, use me for practice,” Gloria said, her eyes lighting up. “Pitch me your show.”

“Okay, so there’s this new strain of superbug infecting people all over the country,” Sabrina said, a grin forming on her lips. It really was a good script, which would make it all the more painful if she had to come home Monday morning empty-handed. She pushed the thought aside—no more worries until the weekend was over. “There’s an epidemic that’s getting really serious. People start thinking it could be the apocalypse, and the first episode opens with a group of scientists isolating themselves in a high-tech bunker, desperately looking for the cure…”

Keep reading now…

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