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Rogues is now available for pre-order

Rogues

Rogues, edited by Delilah Devlin, is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle, and will be published on May 17, 2016.

I have to confess that my story in this anthology, Plunder, is one of my all-time favorites.

Sparks fly when the Caribbean’s most fearsome pirate falls under the spell of a sexy spitfire who’d rather send him to Davy Jones’s locker.

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Here’s a snippet (which I shared in October 2014, but it’s worth sharing again)

Put it down, lad. Don’t think to try me,” he warned her.

Defiantly she stepped out of line and faced him. He raised an eyebrow when he saw she was no lad. His distraction presented the perfect opportunity; her sword sliced through the air. Bree grinned fiercely as she scored first blood, but her victory was short-lived. It was humiliating how quickly he disarmed her. She found herself face down on the deck with the pirate captain’s boot planted firmly on her back.

This would never have happened if Papa hadn’t sent me away. Fighting had been yet another useful skill she’d had to abandon in favor of nonsense like bossing around servants. Maids were bigger crybabies than seasick boys on their first sail.

“This girl has more courage than the rest of you scum put together. At least she tried to kill me,” he said derisively.

The boot was removed and he hauled her to her feet. She immediately cocked a fist. “Quite the spitfire, aren’t you?” He picked her up and tossed her over his shoulder.

Her blood boiled. “Go to hell!” She beat at his back ineffectively as he carried her to the quarterdeck. She was put down with her back to the railing.

The pirate imprisoned her hands in one of his own. “I have a proposition for you, minx. You’ve given me more amusement in the past five minutes than I’ve had in a long time. Amuse me tonight and I don’t kill your crewmates. Maybe you’ll even please me so well that I’ll let you keep your ship.”

The roar in her ears wasn’t the ocean. “What?”

“Don’t disappoint me now. Is the idea of my bed so repulsive that you’d rather lose your ship?”

Brianna swallowed. “How do I know you’ll honor the bargain?” My body is to be a bargaining chip no matter what.Better to use it for the Maya than submit to whomever Papa chose.

He gave her a feral smile. “You don’t.”

Writing Schedules, Pantsing vs Plotting, and a Sneak Peek

I recently spent a week fully immersed in what I hope will be my first full length-novel, Plunder (based on the short story soon to appear in Rogues). I had an absurdly productive week unlike any other writing experience, except the one I had when I wrote the first draft of the Plunder short story, am now roughly halfway done with the first draft.

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However, I am a pantser, not a plotter. So what I have is an incredibly rough half of a book that will require extensive editing.

Does this mean I don’t know what’s going to happen next? For me, it means I have the complete arc of the story in my head, and am filling in all the empty spaces.

It’s easy to say that I’ll refine the first half and then write the second half, but if I learned anything from the ghost novel, which holds the record for most starts and zero finishes of any story I’ve ever written, ever, it’s that you suck it up and keep going.  My goal is to write the entire first draft and then fix it.

It’s only apt that I pepper this post with pirate memes not only because Plunder is a pirate story, but because even when I have plotted a story, my characters have committed mutiny and gone off to do whatever they want despite my outline. I have learned that I write more effectively by pantsing than plotting.

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When will the first draft be done? Damned if I know. People talk about daily word counts and schedules, but as Jade A Waters said in her post called “The Process,” I kept fooling myself into believing I have a systemized process, and it’s become abundantly clear I’m full of shit. I laughed with delight when I read that line, because I find it to be so true for myself as well.

I’ll write in the mornings, when the kids are at school–Oh crap, I have to grocery shop. I don’t want to grocery shop with my four and seven year old, do I?

I’ll write in the afternoons, while the kids are absorbed in tv–Assuming I can block out Sofia the First or whatever other inane tv show is on/am not on Ms 7’s case about homework.

I’ll write in the evenings, after the kids are in bed–Well, sure, once I’ve done the other at home things, and if I’m still conscious enough to not fall asleep at the laptop/have enough energy to do anything other than watch tv listlessly. Or if I don’t have a freelance article due.

I’ll write on the weekends, when Mr. Night is around to run interference with the kids–Sometimes. Sometimes we actually want to do stuff as a family.

I don’t have a hard and fast policy because my life isn’t regimented enough to have one at this point (and probably never will be as I’m just not that organized). I have hopes that I’ll finish it before Capturing the Moment comes out on March 29 (pre-order will start March 14), but have accepted that it may not be.

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I think that Plunder came along as well as it did during my intensive writing week was due to the fact that I love this story. This is a story I am happy to give up my free time to, and characters I absolutely adore. William is an alphahole (a term I only just learned thanks to Ilona Andrews post on that trope–btw, I loved her book, Clean Sweep). Brianna is an equally alpha heroine who has no desire to bow to the whim of any man. All she wants is to be a sailor, and eventually the captain of her father’s ship, the Maya. Both William and Bree are strong personalities with lots of opinions about everything, and throwing them together is often delightful.

If anything, I think the reason that things have slowed down is that they are currently apart because William was, well, an alphahole. Entirely his fault. I’m finding it hard to keep the story moving until they meet up again. Which is not to say that the middle bit is bad (although it’s a draft so it probably does suck–all first drafts suck), but rather than I have more fun and thus write faster when they’re butting heads.

pirate 3

Speaking of William and Bree, here’s another glimpse into their story

“What are you doing?”

“Darling, clearly it’s your nature to argue over everything, but it’s a blanket. It’s warm. You sleep under it.”

“I didn’t say I was ready to sleep.” Bree plucked the blanket from his hand and tossed it back to the floor. “I’ve yet to fully explore your territory with my tongue.”

“If you must. I suppose I can close my eyes and think of my duty to cartography.”

Bree’s hand had been trailing through his chest hair. At his comment she grabbed a fistful and yanked.

“Vicious little vixen.”

“Damned pirate. Turn over.”

“Aye aye, wench.”

All mine.

Her hands roamed his body. Freckles were scattered over his back, and Bree pressed a kiss to each. She had never considered a pirate would have such a banal thing as a freckle.

“Where did you get this?” An odd scar marred the perfection of his buttocks.

“Slight disagreement with a shark.”

She dug her nails into the cheek.

William sighed deeply. “Slight disagreement with a fishing hook. Rum was involved.”

Bree laughed with delight. “Turn over, and let me see what other wounds have been inflicted upon you. I wish to catalog them all.”

He turned onto his back. “What of the wound you gave me, minx?”

“A memory I shall always cherish.” Her tone was tart, but her eyes were soft as they made a study of his form

Capturing the Moment–Cover Reveal

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I received a wonderful email from Totally Bound today-my cover for Capturing the Moment!

 

Meg and RJ were passionately in love. But that was six years and a broken engagement ago.

Meg has only one day in Siem Reap, Cambodia. She fulfills her dream of taking a photograph of the sun rising behind Angkor Wat, one of the oldest temples in the world. But her joy is short -lived when she turns around to see RJ standing behind her.

RJ threw himself into work after Meg ended their relationship. He’s built a successful business, but it’s a hollow victory. He’s come to Siem Reap to win back the woman he’s never stopped loving. But first he has to convince her to spend the day with him.

Meg is as physically attracted to RJ as she ever was. Maybe the secret to getting over him is a one-day-only, no-strings-attached fling?

Can RJ win Meg back, or will she love him and leave him?

Pre-order starts on March 14. I’ll keep you updated as we get closer to the date.—

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

 

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

 

Other Days

Other Days

I’m very proud to announce that Other Days has been published.  The story I excerpted the other day, “The Choices that Damn Us” is included in this anthology.  Available now on Amazon US/US in kindle form (book form in a week or so) and in paperback on createspace.  Kobo, smashwords and other formats in early 2015 (due to some Amazon rules).

Obviously I’m proud of my story, but I want to take a moment to tell you about my friend Jessica’s story “Lessons Learned.”  If you have ever wondered who the real Jack the Ripper was, you’ll want to read this one. I love the build of dramatic tension throughout and the ending gave me chills.

Here’s an excerpt of “Lesson Learned”

“Come on, Polly,” I overheard Ellen try to convince Mary Ann to go back to the lodging house, and remembered seeing the nickname in the files. Mary Ann was drunk and refused to go. I heard her tell Ellen she’d earned her doss money three times over already that night (and then spent it all at the Frying Pan) and was certain that with her new bonnet, she’d make it again.

Ellen gave up and walked away. I went cold. The bonnet. The new bonnet. Would she be out here at all if it weren’t for me and that bonnet? I felt dizzy, like the whole world was spinning around me. Leaning against a cool brick wall, I tried to catch my breath.

“Jules? Julie! You there?” A cacophony of voices shouting my name in my ear brought me back to my senses.

“Uh…yeah. Yes, I’m here.” I shook my head to wake myself out of the stupor.

“We’ve been trying to talk to you for over a minute already,” Tom’s worried voice crackled over the earpiece. “What’s going on?”

“Are you still trailing her?” Martin asked apprehensively.

I looked around for Mary Ann, but she must already have turned up Whitechapel High Street; I couldn’t see her anymore. I ran around the corner and trotted as quickly as I could in these damned heeled-boots up Whitechapel Street past Garden Street and St. Mary’s. Still no sign of her. I turned left in a panic up the short bit of road called Baker’s Row and then right onto Buck’s Row (as Durward was known then) and everything was still and empty.

“I see you, Jules,” came Martin’s voice in my ear, clearly relieved. “What happened?”

Out of breath and lungs stinging like fire, I just shook my head and threw my hands in the air in response, knowing Martin would be able to see everything through his goggles. I didn’t know what had happened. I hadn’t seen anything. Hadn’t heard anything. I turned in a full circle, looking everywhere. My chest and throat felt tight with fear and frustration. I just wanted to cry. Had I missed some clue as I’d dashed along Whitechapel Street? Or maybe Mary Ann had turned up Thomas or Court Street instead of Baker’s Row? Or perhaps Jack already had her before I’d gotten myself together, back when I realized about the bonnet. I didn’t know her, but she was a living, breathing person, and I no longer wanted to find her killer—I wanted her to live.

Here’s the full Table of contents

  • Habejari’s Break by Kimber Camacho
  • House Call by Brandon Nolta
  • Deja View by Tim Koch
  • Affaire de Coeur by Susanne Hülsmann
  • A Fair Trade by Johannes Svensson
  • Escape Velocity by Melissa Swanepoel
  • Fire in the Bones by Marguerite Croft
  • Lesson Learned by Jessica Augustsson
  • Glass and Mirrors by Sharon A. Brown
  • Man, and None by Brandon Nolta
  • The Grande Complication by Christopher Reynaga
  • Contraband by Susan Hülsmann
  • The Karelian Egg by Robert Young
  • The Choices that Damn Us by Delilah Night
  • The Mer-Bell by Kimber Camacho
  • A Bird in the Hand by Johannes Svensson
  • Crux of a Faded Soul by Jennifer Silverwood

Edited to Add…Buy it here

Sometimes you have to suck…

I’ve been stuck on Chapter 6 of my ghost book for over a month.  I’ve tried writing it multiple ways and no matter what, I hate it.  HATE IT.

Screen Shot 2014-09-24 at 8.44.14 pmBurn, chapter 6.  Burn.

I am giving myself permission to suck.  To write it, knowing it will be weak and will likely be cut entirely or hacked to pieces in the second draft, so I can move on with things.

I have tried to write this novel on and off for about a decade–a draft of it was written for a Halloween contest, and the characters have never left me alone.  But this is what inevitably happens to me when I’ve tried to write full length pieces–I hit a speed bump and get mired in the desire not to suck.  So the book has gone through several incarnations with characters of different names, different plot lines, and so forth.  But it always seems to hit a point where I can’t move past the momentary bad writing.  I second guess every choice I make until I have a zillion starts to the chapter, but no finish line.

So what changed?

Lynn Townsend.  I’m going to have to paraphrase because otherwise I’ll spend forever trying to track down exactly what she said to me, which was “Just write.  It’s okay that it sucks.  Just keep writing through it.”  Which is obvious.  Which is advice I’ve given.  But hearing it from a REAL AUTHOR who actually is willing to put one of my stories in her anthology (and thus thinks I don’t suck) changed something for me.

Now, you may say “but Delilah, you’re an author.”  To which I would tell you “Yeah, but I’ve never written or published a book, so I’m not a REAL AUTHOR like Lynn or Alison or Insert Name Here.”

So I’m going to suck it up, and I’m going to suck.  So I can move on.

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September 30th.  I’m stating it publicly–I will send some terrible sad chapter 6 to my editor and move on with my life by September 30th.