It’s my pleasure to have Rea Frey as our next guest on the Crime Cafe podcast.

She’s giving away a copy of her latest book, Secrets of Our House.

To enter the giveaway, just click here to sign up for her newsletter. The sign up link is at the top of the page.

Also, check out Rea and her partner in podcasting crime Joe Tower on their own podcast! It’s where (and I’m quoting here) “they take a truly no bullshit look behind the publishing industry curtain … and give you the tools to become your own best writing advocate.”

And wouldn’t you know the episode is called “Traditional Publishing is Dead”!? Sounds like my kind of show. 🙂

Here’s a short bit from that episode’s description:

“Rea and Joe catch themselves mid-conversation to record a podcast episode that you won’t want to miss, where they explore the nefarious path to traditional publishing, the emerging pitfalls and drawbacks, and the urgent demand for those of us that feel trapped in an industry that seems to be stuck in the past.

“This episode sounds the alarm for a new way of looking at publishing… and what you want out of it.”

If you’d like to know more, check out their podcast! And stay tuned for my own. 🙂

In the meantime, here’s a short sample of what Rea is working on now. This is from a story called The Other Year.



The beach was her temple.

Every year, she’d stuff her chubby feet into the sand, announcing herself to the vast ocean. Her chest aimed at the water; her defiant chin angled toward a navy sky. As she grew, she’d make comments about the salty air, the stench of fish, the way the sand scrubbed her ankles, or how violently the shells poked her toes. Now, at nine, Olivia was all business, her body primed for the impending crush of waves. She squinted up at me, as if to ask permission: If I go in alone, will I be okay?

I nodded. She was nine, she’d passed her swimming test three years ago, and she would stay close to the shore. Other children dappled the water like buoys, tow-headed, brunette, shaven—it was all one nation in the arms of the sea.

Olivia knew her boundaries, especially when I pointed to the red flag rippling in the wind.

“The current is strong, Liv. Stay close, okay?”

She bobbed her head, brows scrunched, her mind already inside the thrashing waves that churned against the shore, receding in a froth of thick, white foam. I delighted in her anticipation, wishing I’d worn my bathing suit, but we’d come straight from the car. She’d managed to wriggle into her suit in the backseat and had been so impatient to get to the water, I’d barely kept up.

The first wave smacked her square in the chest. Her squeals sent a swift punch of joy straight to my heart. It melted the tension from the overly long drive, the way we’d all been bickering and bunched together, crooked over our various screens, as we waited out a horrific car crash—which resulted in an extra hour of travel time. When we’d passed the hunk of disfigured steel on the highway, like some God-awful modern art installation, I’d told Olivia to look away. But I hadn’t. I’d memorized the flattened truck, the blood splatter along the pavement—still fresh—the endless ambulances and cop cars. I was still unraveling it, hoping whoever was in that truck was okay, but also knowing that almost no one could survive a crash like that. Still, I was so grateful that wasn’t us, had never been us.

Olivia waved. I waved back and took one picture too many as her limbs bucked and dipped in and out of the water. I sent the photos to my family, then I posted one on Instagram of my own sandy feet, which Michael insisted evolved from hobbits.

Michael had already left to go pick up pizzas and salads for dinner, and I checked the time. I was eager to get back to the beach house. Then, we could have a lovely meal and a mellow night. I stalked the beach, watching her float, dive, and pivot.

She erupted in a salty spray every few seconds, her orange long-sleeved one piece slightly too large. She was growing so fast and caught between sizes. Her crotch sagged with collected sand, but surprisingly, she didn’t complain. After a year of no vacations in an effort to save money, this was her first, and she wasn’t going to ruin even a second of it.

When my phone dinged in my pocket, I answered, one eye trained on the sea, the other on the text. It was a group text from my parents, commenting on the beautiful beach and our even more beautiful child. I fired off a reply and retrained my focus.

The waves climbed and crashed. Other children screamed and played. I searched for Olivia’s familiar head of curls, her bright bathing suit, that oversized rainbow on the chest. My heart seized, and I took a step forward toward the water.

One moment, she was there—right there.

The next, she was gone.


Rea Frey is the author of Secrets of Our HouseNot Her DaughterBecause You’re Mine, and  Until I Find You. She is also the CEO and founder of Writeway, where aspiring writers become published authors. She lives in Nashville with her husband, daughter, and three wild animals. To learn more, go to or


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