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Season’s Change

I should have posted this several months ago. I’m dealing with some really intense personal stuff this year, and when it isn’t kicking my ass emotionally, it’s lobbing grenades into my plans. I may or may not post again specifically to talk about what’s going on with me, but that’s for another day.

Anyways, I’m sorry I’m just sharing this now, but I’m in a new anthology! If you remember, I loved Chemical [se]X when I read it and reviewed it in December of 2014. After I reviewed it, I told the editor, Oleander, that if she ever did a volume two to please let me know. She did better than that, and asked me if I wanted to contribute!

I first heard the song Persephone years ago after a friend shared his Escape Key album with me. Michelle Dockrey wrote the song. The line “They all forget I had a choice, y’know/I could’ve chosen not to eat or drink” clicked for me. I knew that one day I would write my take on Persephone.

Hey, guess what I wrote for an anthology about aphrodisiac chocolates?

I changed the pomegranate into a chocolate with a pomegranate filling and I had a story where eating chocolate would be a key part of the larger story. I could’ve gone with other myths (my oldest daughter’s middle name is Athena), but it made sense to do Persephone/Hades.

Rape of Prosperina by Benini
Often also called Rape of Persephone

I’ve never liked how passive Persephone is often written. So I knew that my Persephone would be in the model of Michelle Dockrey’s. She would make a choice, rather than have choices made by other people about her life. When it came to Hades, I remembered that he didn’t only create Tartarus, but also the Elysian Fields.

Excerpt:

She’d gone willingly to Apollo’s bed.  Sun was vital in the growth of plants.   But the sex had been….pedestrian.  Boring.  Uninspiring.  Just as she’d always found it.

“What’s wrong with me?” she whispered.

As if in reply, the ground started to shake. Soil exploded upward as a team of black stallions spewed forth.  The god driving the chariot was clad in unrelieved black from head to toe.  Surely he was hunting some poor lost soul.

Persephone’s breath was knocked from her body when Hades’ powerful arm snatched her.

“What are you doing?” Persephone gasped.

She was shocked when no trees bent to block her abduction, nor did sylphs step forth to attempt a rescue. The only sounds were the pounding of the stallion’s hooves and her own ragged sobs. The iron band of his arm held her tightly against him as the horses dove back into the underworld. 

They raced along the River Styx. Persephone remembered the stories she’d been told as a child—always keep a coin in your shoe in case you must pay Charon’s fee. Hades had no need of coins for passage. The stallions leapt the water with no more trouble than she might have had stepping over a small stream.

The landscape passed too quickly for her to comprehend what she was seeing.  At times she had the impression of tremendous beauty and peace while music swirled around the chariot. At others, paralyzing fear nibbled at her and cries of agony assaulted her ears.  They raced deeper into the Underworld until Persephone knew she would never find her way back to the river.

A building in the distance grew larger.  Black as obsidian, with turrets stabbing upward, the castle seemed no more welcoming than the god beside her. The stallions slowed to a stop by the entrance.  Hades hefted her over a shoulder and carried Persephone into the castle. She trembled like a sheaf of grain in a wind, too frightened and angry to speak.

It seemed as though Hades walked for hours before she was tossed onto a bed.

“Why? Hades, what purpose?” she asked, tears running down her face.

“Zeus said you can’t bring forth the harvest. He seemed to think that since the ground is dead around you, and the people are dead around me that we would be a perfect match.  He gave you to me in marriage.” Hades’ voice was emotionless.

“M-marriage?”  Her teeth chattered as his words set in.

“Yes.”

“What are you going to do to me?” she whispered.

“Nothing! I’m not interested in sporting with a terrified girl. Stay out of my way, wife.  In time, let’s hope that we can tolerate one another.” Hades frowned, before adding, “Don’t eat or drink anything. Keep out of the kitchen.” He left, kicking the door shut behind him.

Persephone shivered at the finality of the slam of the door. Fear dug into her skin like a bramble. Underneath the fear, though, there was relief. She wouldn’t have to receive the offerings of grain and flowers accompanied by pleas to warm the land for their plows.

From an Amazon review- Delilah Night’s take on Persephone, which had me hooked from the opening lines: “they forget I had a choice, you know. I could’ve not eaten.” I loved how deftly consent was woven into that tale which could’ve gone so easily into Belle & Beast terrain.

Buy it on

Story Acceptance!

I have had a long, hard drought for me since my last story acceptance. I had even reached a point where I had started questioning myself–Had I lost my talent? Had I ever really had it in the first place? While rejection is part of #writerlife, there’s a certain point where my imposter syndrome kicks in and it’s hard to keep sending stories out.

I’m really excited by this acceptance as it is a story unlike any I’ve written before. While I’ve done paranormals, I’ve never written a vampire story. Nor have I ever written erotic horror.

For as Long as You Need Me

A vampire who only hunts men.

A war veteran with PTSD.

Will she be his death or his salvation

Here’s a sneak peek…

Felicity pursued her newest prey. He hadn’t done anything wrong, yet. But if Felicity had learned anything in two hundred years, it was that with men, it was almost always yet. She just had to wait for him to fail her test.

So she followed Sam, and waited for him to slip up.

Why wouldn’t he give her a reason to kill him?

He was helping a woman with her groceries. Surely he’d make a pass at her? He didn’t. He called his mother. He always said please and thank you. He called women “miss” and “ma’am.” He tipped shoeshine boys and newspaper boys. He was irritatingly good.

He didn’t fail the first week. Or the second. He’d passed, so by the rules of her game, she should move on. Instead, she persisted in watching him—three weeks, four weeks—daring him to slip up.

Felicity was following Sam down a darkened street when a car backfired. Sam shrank down, covering his head, and let out a cry. Without thinking, Felicity shot forward, wondering what had happened.

“Are you okay?” she asked him.

I hope you’re excited to see where the story goes!

My take on Snow White

Once upon a time,a long time ago in a kingdom far away from California, a young woman wrote a story about Snow White for literotica.

I started with two premises in mind—what if beauty was a curse, and what if the Evil Queen wasn’t evil? The result was a short story called “For Love of Snow White.” I wrote it in 2002 and barely thought of it for over a decade. But I saw a call for submissions that would fit the story, so I pulled it out of my archive, polished it up and sent it in. My editor asked me to expand it–which I did by about 10k words. The resulting story is still called “For Love of Snow White,” and while it is not erotica, it is a dark feminist take on the Snow White story.

Here’s a snippet

The carriage ride to the convent was long, and my book held little interest for me. Idly, I took my mirror from the pocket of my gown.

“Mirror, Mirror in my hand, who’s the fairest in the land?”

I received the answer I’d dreaded for five years. I was told “You, my queen, are lovely as a pearl, but your beauty cannot compare to the girl’s.”

The new god’s curse had struck in full.

“Mama!” Snow greeted me with a warm embrace.

“Snow! Let me look at how you’ve grown!”

No longer garbed like a novitiate, Snow White was breathtaking. She had hair as black as midnight cascading to her waist. Her skin was pale as the snow she was named for. Snow White’s eyes glowed bluer than any sapphire. Her lips formed a perfect red bow. She was dressed in a blue gown that accented her womanly curves and she moved with a grace that even I envied. Her voice was soft, yet carried a note of seduction that she seemed unaware of. She had reached her majority and her powers, although untrained, were at their full strength.

The king and priests had spoken—she was to leave, no matter what the head of the nun’s order thought of it. I took her home, too distracted by the mirror’s revelation and worried by Snow’s beauty to take advantage of the two hours alone in the carriage. She was silent, looking out a window rather than wanting to talk. Perhaps she was thinking of Charmaine. I should’ve taken her to the stone dance right away, bespelled the driver, anything. But how could I know what was to come?

You can read my almost novella in Myths, Monsters, Mutations edited by Jessica Augustsson, forthcoming from Jayhenge in 2017

Exciting news

Capturing the Moment

Capturing the Moment

Exciting news #1–Capturing the Moment is now on sale as a paperback.  You can buy it here.

happy

Exciting news #2 is that I’ve had my first acceptance of 2107. I’m very excited to share more about this anthology when the editor gives the ok.

beta reader kitty

Finally, we have arrived back in the US after nearly seven years in Singapore. While I’m partially excited to be back, I wish it were in a different political climate. One of the things I’ll need to do is find a balance between writing and activism.

My next big project is to work on Plunder. I had some good feedback on the first draft, and although it means a total overhaul, I have faith that I can do it. When that is back in my beta’s hands, I have the idea for the start of a paranormal erotic romance series because apparently I can’t stay in my subgenre lane. I also have the plan for another contemporary, with the ambivalence of leaving and arriving in a home country that feels foreign (which is what I’m experiencing right now) with the added complication of a budding international romance.

 

Sneak Peek-What I Did for Lust

I’m excited to announce I’ll be part of the Prompted anthology, coming in 2016. Authors picked from prompts and wrote a 500-1500 word story, based on a a short prompt. I picked “oops! I sexted my boss.”.

pinao

What I Did for Lust is set in a failing piano bar. Gabby is trying to come to terms with impending bankruptcy when this happens…

Gabby’s phone buzzed with an incoming text.  She winced when she saw it was from Dev, the grad student with the golden hands who tickled the ivories four nights a week. They were supposed to be closing together, but she was hiding in her office, praying for a winning lottery ticket.

You look edible in blue.

Gabby bobbled her phone, all thoughts of impending financial ruin gone.

Months of smoldering tension had resulted in a single, torrid kiss several weeks ago in the storeroom. The sequence of events was still hazy. All she could remember was walking in on him, shirtless, muscles rippling beneath his dark brown skin as he lifted a case of vodka onto a shelf, and almost drooling. The next thing she remembered was her back pressed against the wall, her legs wrapped around his waist, their tongues mating frantically.

He had never mentioned their make-out session afterward. Gabriella had been trying to convince herself it’d been an incredibly vivid daydream. What the hell was this?

Dev had looked sinfully handsome in the white oxford shirt he’d paired with jeans tonight. Before the second set, he’d unbuttoned the cuffs and rolled the sleeves halfway up his forearms. She was pretty sure she’d whimpered, but the opening notes of Master of the House had covered the sound.

I think you look edible all the time.

***What I Did for Lust is a play on the song “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line

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Dumped (sneak peek)

On Tuesday I published my 2015 year in review. I mentioned that I have a story called Dumped in Intrepid Horizons (coming in early 2016). I realized I’d never mentioned this story or shared a sneak peek, so I thought I’d do so.

 unicorn 1I think I owned this poster when I was 8

As a child I adored unicorns. Although a bit obscure, one of my favorite series growing up was The Secret of the Unicorn Queen a six novel series about this modern girl who gets swept away to a magical land. There’s a group of warrior women riding on unicorns, a hunky love interest, and (although I didn’t know this was such a cliché at the time) scaring away the powerful sorcerer with the “magic” of a walkman. (I’m not the only fan–there is fanfic out there, people.) It seemed as if the series was coming back into print, but after the first two novels were published the final four were not, much to my disappointment.

From there I read all manner of unicorn related fantasy, and then graduated into the talking white horses of Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series (which are, let’s be real, unicorns sans horns) as a teenager.

The thing about unicorns is that they’re always presented as such magical beings of good and kindness and would NEVER do anything harmful.

Although I read a short story in one of Bruce Coville’s unicorn anthologies when I was maybe nine or ten, it has always stuck with me because the character was the first I’d seen who broke that stereotype. (It featured a jerk unicorn and a cat, if anyone remembers the story and can tell me the title.)

When my friend Jessica asked me if I was interested in writing a story for her upcoming anthology Intrepid Horizons, I wasn’t sure what she would think of my story–A Unicorn’s Virgin is fired for the crime of turning thirty, and is then kidnapped and left as bait for a rampaging dragon. Luckily Jess enjoyed it, and Dumped will be included in that publication. Below is an excerpt.

unicorn 2

“You’re turning thirty.” Storm remarked.

Neri had been weaving flowers into his mane. “Yes, tomorrow,” she said cautiously. A ball of dread formed in the pit of her stomach. Something about his tone made her nimble fingers suddenly thick and uncoordinated. Storm had been acting secretive for the past few months—she’d known something was amiss, and it seemed that Storm was ready to lower the boom.

Thir-ty,” the Unicorn repeated, drawing out the blasphemous word. He shuddered. “I have to let you go, Neri. I’ve grown so used to you, but thirty? It’s time for a change.”

“But—” Tears pricked Neri’s eyes. “What am I supposed to do now? All I’ve ever done is take care of you. I turned down offers of marriage for you!”

“Please. You wouldn’t have been happy as a trophy wife. If you want to get married, some widower will probably take you on to mother his passel of brats. Your standards are slipping anyway—there’s a dull spot, there.” Storm critically inspected the polish on his hoof.

“Who will look after you, Storm?” Neri asked. Storm might be prissy, but he was familiar. “You can’t curry yourself, and you don’t like strangers touching you.”

The Unicorn’s eyes turned dreamy. “Lyria turns eighteen today. Eighteen,” he repeated with a shiver of delight.

Lyria. You could have more interesting conversation with the grinding stone in her father’s mill. Apparently honey blonde hair and dazzling green eyes made up for a dull personality in Storm’s world. They would be a striking pair, especially once she started wearing the gorgeous gowns donated to the Virgin.

Neri glanced down at herself. She wore a comfortable pair of fawn trousers with a draped top. The top had once been the same color as Storm’s eyes, but years of wearing it for the morning curry session had faded it to a dull green. Neri’s waist-length brown hair was back in a serviceable braid. She wore boots, rather than delicate slippers.

Maybe if I’d put in more of an effort to look prettier, he’d still want to be with me?

“Eighteen, eighteen, eighteen,” the Unicorn was practically singing the word.

Maybe not.

I’ll let you know when Strange Horizons is available for pre-order/purchase. If you want to see what I can do with a non-erotica story and enjoy fantasy, you’ll like this one!

Odds and Ends

Today’s post is full of random bits, so I’m going to just do a bullet points entry

  • The very belated winner from the Thanksgiving Blog Hop is The Red Cross. A donation was made, and proof sent to the winning comment.
  • On a related note, I’ve had a story titled “The Finer Things in Life” accepted for another Coming Together anthology–Coming Together: Keeping Warm, scheduled to release on Dec 25
  • Before Keeping Warm is released, you’ll get to read “The Finer Things in Life” on Tamsin’s Supererotica Advent Calendar.
  • Speaking of Tamsin, did you know that she has released the December chapter of Alchemy XII? As a beta reader, I’m obviously a bit biased, but I’m so proud of her and I think it’s an amazing BDSM novel.
  • Thinking of novels–or Novellas, in my case–Capturing the Moment will be available for pre-order from Totally Bound on March 15, for purchase on Totally Bound on March 29 and for sale widely on April 29, 2016

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And finally, greetings from paradise. We saw this beautiful rainbow appear over our hotel yesterday.