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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

Just in time for Halloween–Blood in the Rain Vol 4

Ready to get into the Halloween frame of mind? Just love Vampires? Blood in the Rain, Vol 4 is now on sale. 3.99 on Kindle. 

For as Long as You Need Me is my story

A vampire who only hunts men. A war veteran with PTSD. Will she be his death or his salvation?

 

Audiobooks

Recently I learned that Irresistible has an audiobook. I have not purchased it, but I’m curious.

While at WorldCon, I attended a panel on audiobooks. I’ve never created one, although I’ve certainly considered recording myself reading the first chapter of Capturing the Moment. I learned how expensive they are to create, how complicated they are to make, and why you shouldn’t just give away your audiobook rights when negotiating your contract.

I’ve grown to love audiobooks and I currently have two going in the car. The first is The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas with my older daughter, Athena. I want to take her to the movie in October and I think she can handle the book, even though it is intense. The narrator does a great job at reading the story, and I nearly started crying when she narrrates the scene where Khalil is shot. (Not a spoiler–it’s in the flap copy and is the incident that puts the book in motion). The second is Discount Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire, which I am enjoying a bit less because I don’t love the narrators choices (including mispronouncing Aeslin mice, based on the cannon pronunciation guide per Seanan). David Sedaris is a great narrator, and that’s how I super recently fell in love with him–not through his written essays, but by listening to him narrate them on the drive from San Francisco to LA. Ditto David Rakoff (RIP), who I have loved for years. I’ve listened to What Happened by Hillary Clinton on and off, but thinking about the 2016 election (and how she was right) is still tough for me.

But then there are terrible narrators. I love Madeline L’Engle, but she shouldn’t have narrated A Wrinkle in Time. There has also been several dreadful audiobooks of The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe. If the narrator is crap, the experience of listening to it is crap.

To revisit the question of the Irresistible audiobook–should I get it?

Have you read Under the Mistletoe?

Last year I released my first anthology, Coming Together Under the Mistletoe.

Under the Mistletoe is a December themed anthology of poetry and prose featuring great stories by Ashe Barker, Malin James, Sonni de Soto, Sommer Marsden and more. The anthology opens on December first and a reindeer learning she’s joining Santa’s Team with only a few weeks of warning and ends with a couple reuniting on December 31st.

All proceeds go to Project Linus, a cause very dear to my heart–they give hand made blankets to children in crisis. My elder daughter, Athena, received one when she was in the Intensive Care Unit as an infant, and it was a kindness that was a bright moment in a time of darkness.

Winter themed smut plus a good cause? Who can resist? If you’ve read it, please leave an Amazon review, even if it’s just “great anthology.” Author and anthology visibility is highly dependent upon the number of (positive) reviews, so I can’t stress the importance of reviews enough.

If Mom’s Happy

In the midst of my unpacking/end of school year haze, I forgot to announce a book. So, embarrassingly late, I want to share that my story Renewal has been reprinted in If Mom’s Happy.

If Mom’s Happy: Stories of Erotic Mothers

This anthology shows that mothers love hot sex, too.

What happens when the mom in the mirror is a stranger to the woman inside?  How do you reconnect with the man behind the dad?

Read an excerpt from an updated reprint of Renewal here

Release Day–Under the Mistletoe!

Happy Release Day!

under-the-mistletoe

 

Today marks the publication of Coming Together Under the Mistletoe! I’m over at Delilah Devlin’s page talking about the inspiration for the anthology, Project Linus, and sharing one of my favorite poems from the anthology–Frosty by Corbin Grace.

With my daughter’s permission, I’m also sharing a picture of her. She knows about the anthology, that all proceeds go to Project Linus, and that it’s for grownups. This was my very sick as a baby but today healthy daughter, Turtle. (obviously not her real name)

Turtle
If you’d like a chance to win a free pdf of Under the Mistletoe, go check out my post on Delilah Devlin’s blog.

Under the Mistletoe is available for pre-order and a sneak peek at “Kid Comet”

under-the-mistletoe

Great news! You can pre-order Under the Mistletoe at the following shops!

Santas reindeerI have something of an annual tradition–writing one of my North Pole Series short stories.

It all began with a story called New on the Naughty List, about Lucy the Elf who investigates if Matthew is Naughty or merely a Nice guy on the wrong list. (read it for free here) By the end of writing that story, though, I was in love with sarcastic, nerdy Blitzen the Reindeer. Last year I wrote A Reindeer by Any Other Name, which tells the story of who what Blitzen was doing during the events of Lucy’s story. (read it for free here) Each story works as a stand-alone story as well as part of the larger on-going series.

I knew I wanted to write another story in this universe for Under the Mistletoe, and the result is my new f/f story, Kid Comet, set one year after A Reindeer by Any Other Name.  (Disclaimer—Kid Comet is a comic book reference–there are no underage characters)

Claudia was drafted to cover Comet’s emergency maternity leave with only twenty-three days instead of months to prepare. When she visits New York to get a crash course, she falls head over hooves for Jillian, the elf in charge of the region.

If you’re a fan of the reindeer, you’ll want to read the next chapter. (Blitzen fans–he makes a cameo.)

Here’s a sneak peek.

I took notes on a tablet as Jillian’s staff ran me through the buildings we were scheduled to visit throughout the region and where I should land the sleigh. I fiddled with my stylus, sneaking glances at Jillian, who sat opposite me. I hoped no one noticed my nipples pointing directly at the object of my desire.

The afternoon was spent on regional geography. Meteorologists walked me through typical weather patterns and the biggest outliers. My notes grew frantic, my handwriting deteriorating.

I can’t do this.

Memorize every building in the territory, every flight pattern through it, the name of every elf in it? Plan a path through the region? Pull the sled? Put up with being called Kid Comet? That I could do.

Make decisions in the air where the entire team and Santa would defer to me? The room was going in and out of focus. My pulse thundered in my ears.

“Sorry all,” Jillian interrupted the meeting. Her voice sounded far away. “I’ve got an urgent incoming call for Comet. Clear the room!” A second later, paper pushed against my lips. “Claudia, breathe into this! You’re going to be okay. Breathe in. Hold it. Now out.”

She breathed in and out with me until I was no longer gasping for air.

“Tell me what happened.”

I shook my head. “All I’ve ever wanted was to join the team, but I can’t do this. Not with less than a month to prepare. I can’t!”

“Yes, you can,” she took my face between her hands. Her eyes glowed with intensity.

“What if I make the wrong call?” I whispered.

“Then you’ll figure it out. The team will help you. You’ll be yoked next to Blitzen in part because this is his home territory. He’s abrasive, he can be a jerk, but he won’t let you fail. No one else will, either. The nine of you are a team, Claudia. They’ll trust you, they’ll let you take charge, but they won’t let you send them into the ocean or approach a snowstorm the wrong way. I promise.”

Jillian stood, and returned with cold water. I gulped it gladly.

“I’m canceling the rest of the day. Rest, then we’ll go to the show.”

I nodded. I retreated to my bedroom, where I buried my face in my hands in shame.

What kind of reindeer has panic attacks?

“She won’t let me fail,” I whispered to the room over and over.

I have FIVE copies of the anthology to give away in exchange for an honest review. Please email me at delilahnight at gmail dot com or leave a comment on this post if you are interested.