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2016–The Year in Review

2016
From the loss of Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, and Carrie Fisher (among so many others) to the political disasters of Brexit and Trump, I think we can all admit that 2016 kind of sucked on a macro level. I had two procedures (one major) on my spine and continue to have chronic pain, but at least I’m (mostly) out of a wheelchair now.

However, it’s wasn’t all bad.

Recommended Reads

I wanted to read more than I did in 2016, but I still have some year end recommended reads that I’ve reviewed this year. I’ve joined the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge. Follow my progress and add me as a friend here.

  • I loved Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction, edited by S. Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle. It includes two stories by one of my favorite authors, K.A. Smith. Read my rave review here.
  • Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins was so amazing, I ran out and read a ton more of her books. There aren’t a ton of authors of color in mainstream romance, and she’s possibly the best of the best. Not only are her stories well plotted, she does her homework on the history as well. My review here.
  • Basically anything by Kait Gamble (I reviewed five of her books here, but I read even more) but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Sins in the Sand. By the way, she just published a new book, Faking It, which I’ve bought and am looking forward to reading.
  • Basically anything by Alisha Rai (I three of reviewed of her books here, although I’ve read even more) but my favorite is Glutton for Pleasure.
  • Finally, one of my favorite reads of 2016 was Tamsin Flower’s serial novel, Alchemy XII. It opens on New Year’s Eve and continues month by month through December. (I was a beta reader for this series, and I loved every minute I spent with Harry and Olivia.)

Big Publication News

(Check out my Published Works page for a complete list of purchase links if Amazon Kindle isn’t available in your country)

 

Capturing the Moment

under-the-mistletoe

My first solo title, Capturing the Moment , and my first anthology, Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe were published and both have received great reviews!

 

Other Publication News

  • Intrepid Horizons, edited by Jessica Augustsson, included my story, Dumped. Blurb–A Unicorn’s (former) Virgin is left out as bait for a dragon, but things don’t go exactly as planned.
  • Rogues, edited by Delilah Devlin, included my story, Plunder.  Blurb–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. I am working on a full-length novel version of this story, which will hopefully be published in 2018.
  • Coming Together Under the Mistletoe, edited by me, included two of my stories Kid Comet and an updated version of Baby it’s Hot Outside.
  • My essay An Expat Fourth of July was published by Long and Short Reviews.

 

Other Stuff I Wrote

  • Flash Fiction (for Wicked Wednesday) Dream or Nightmare
  • Flash Fiction (A Wicked Wednesday Top 3 story) Off Limits
  • Flash Fiction (for Wicked Wednesday) Keep the Shoes On
  • What I did for Lust, will be included in the upcoming anthology, Prompted.
  • Kid Comet, the third in my North Pole Chronicles series, was in Under the Mistletoe.
  • I further updated Baby it’s Hot Outside, was in Under the Mistletoe
  • For Love of Snow White was submitted
  • I expanded my first published story, Renewal, and submitted it
  • Lab Rats, was rejected (nbd, how publishing rolls)
  • Forbidden Territory was rejected (nbd, how publishing rolls)
  • I expanded Love is a Virus, and it was rejected (nbd, how publishing rolls)
  •  I wrote the first draft of the full length novel version of Plunder. (It sucks–all first drafts suck)

2017

My writing goals for 2017 are to finish Plunder and to write 5-10 short stories, including at least one more installment of the North Pole Chronicles.

Save

Free Stories!

I’ve decided to post four of my stories my blog. These are all stories that have appeared in charity anthologies, and to which I hold the copyright. I also added links to flash fiction I’ve written for the Wicked Wednesday posts.

Curl up with a Deliciously Naughty, Deliciously Free Story

Young woman takes off bikini to swiming in the sea.

Baby it’s Hot OutsideBaby it’s Hot Outside

My little brother’s best friend stirring my libido? Cannot, Caroline. Cannot.

 

For the Holidays

New on The Naughty List

Lucy the Elf has her first fieldwork assignment. Is Matthew a Naughty sexual deviant or a Nice guy on the wrong list?

 ***This story takes place during the events of “A Reindeer by Any Other Name”***

Strange Shifters

A Reindeer by Any Other Name

He just gave the most sacred word at the Pole air quotes. Is this love?

**This story takes place during the events of “New on the Naughty List”**

Keeping Warm

The Finer Things in Life

The prim and proper exterior hides her libidinous side

 

DSC_1051

Keep the Shoes On

Wicked Wednesday Flash Fiction

man suit

Off Limits

Wicked Wednesday Flash Fiction

Obviously, if you enjoy my free work, I do hope that you’ll consider purchasing Capturing the Moment.

Giving Back Blog Hop

Strange Shifters

In the spirit of this week’s holiday of American Thanksgiving, Lisabet Sarai has organized a blog hop for authors who have participated in Coming Together anthologies called the “Giving Back Blog Hop”

I’ve taken part in three Coming Together anthologies thus far (Among the Stars, For the Holidays, and Strange Shifters) and I plan to continue submitting to them in the future.

Over the course of my life, I have benefited from many forms of help. The largest was government assistance in the form of money and food stamps as a child. I received college scholarships, without which college would have remained just a dream. Teachers sometimes covered field trip fees so that I wouldn’t be left behind. And when my daughter was in the pediatric intensive care unit at only a week of age, she was gifted with a hat and a blanket that someone had knitted and donated to Project Linus in the hopes of providing comfort to a child in crisis. So now, whenever I have the chance, I give back. I love that one of the ways I can give back is through my stories.

Young woman takes off bikini to swiming in the sea.

The first charity anthology I participated in was Summer Loving, edited by Alison Tyler, with proceeds going to help Sommer Marsden’s family during a time of medical crisis. As someone whose family has dealt with medical trauma, and a fan of Sommer’s,  I was eager to participate. This was the first time I had heard of a charity anthology, or considered the idea that the stories we tell could help people in real, tangible ways. I was so glad when “Baby it’s Hot Outside” was selected to be part of the anthology.

coming together for the holidays

I first heard about Coming Together when they put out a call for Coming Together: For the Holidays, edited by Alessia Brio. I had a Christmas-themed story, “New on the Naughty List” (which you can still read for free here until Dec 1), so I sent it in. I not only was interested in the theme of the anthology, but the charity it supported as well–Stand Up for Kids.  Being part of that anthology–as well as gifting copies of it–was the opportunity to share a story I loved and help homeless kids at the same time.

Strange Shifters

My most recent Coming Together anthology is Strange Shifters, which is also my second Coming Together anthology with Lynn Townsend. This anthology, feature sexy shapeshifters, donated all proceeds to Bat World Sanctuary. This was the first story I wrote (well, rewrote) after being critically ill this year. In a year where I am most thankful to still be alive and able to write this blog post, it is fitting that my only publication of 2015 be part of a charity collection.  My story, “A Reindeer by Any Other Name” chronicles what Blitzen was up to during the events of “New on the Naughty List” from Coming Together:For the Holidays.

 

Among the Stars

As a Sci-Fi fan, I leapt at the chance to participate in Coming Together:Among the Stars. While a fan of Lynn Townsend’s prior to participating in this anthology, I credit it as the catalyst to our friendship. If you read my story “Love is a Virus,” you won’t be surprised to know that I’m a huge Trekkie. (For the story of that one time Wil Wheaton saw my horrible TNG fanfic, go here).

As “New on the Naughty List” is currently free, and I’ve recently excerpted “A Reindeer by Any Other Name,” I decided to share a snippet from “Love is a Virus.”

When Lily turned to carry the plates to her table, the ensign was standing next to it. “You can be casual. This isn’t Central Command, and I’m too damn tired to be formal,” she said as she put the plates on the table and dropped into a seat.

“Yes, ma’am.

Oh for fuck’s sake. “Lily.” She pointed at herself. “Saanvi.” She indicated the other woman. Maybe that will calm her down.

“Yes, ma’—.” She closed her mouth abruptly. Taking a deep breath, she began again, “In that case, should I—? Can I—?” Saanvi’s voice trailed off as she indicated her uniform jacket.

“Sure, if you want to.”

Ensign Patel removed her jacket and carefully hung it on the back of the chair. Beneath the jacket, she was wearing a regulation black t-shirt.

Maybe this isn’t the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Lily glanced out at the stars, drinking deeply from her wine glass, but it was too late. The image of Saanvi’s breasts straining against the fabric of the shirt had already burned itself into her brain.

“Lily?” Saanvi seemed to be testing the word on her tongue.

“Yes?”

“I like your hair down.”

“Thanks.” Feeling a bit flustered, Lily focused on her salmon. When she regained her composure, Lily began again. “So, tell me how things have been going. I heard you really stepped up this week. Still healthy?”

“I was happy to help.”

“Personally, I was hoping for the flu. Then I’d have an excuse to go back to bed,” Lily joked, trying to put the ensign at ease.

Saanvi glanced across the room at the Captain’s large bed and sighed wistfully. “If I had a bed that big, I’d never want to leave it.”

If you were in my bed I wouldn’t let you leave it. Shit. Stop it, Dawes. She saluted the bed with her wine glass. “Rank does have its privileges.”

 

Share the name and link of your favorite charity and tell me why you support them in the comments below between now and November 30, 2015. 

On Dec 1, 2015 I’ll randomly select a comment, and I’ll donate 25 USD to your charity (I’ll send a screenshot to you via email to prove it.).

 

ETA—Thanks-Giving Back Hop Links
Sunday 22 November
Monday 23 November
Tuesday 24 November
Wednesday 25 November
Thursday 26 November
Friday 27 November
Saturday 28 November

30 Days of Singapore on Twitter

When I wrote “Baby it’s Hot Outside,” it was important to me that Singapore be integral to the story.  The heat and humidity, the oddness of a tropical Christmas, even the essential phrase “cannot” that is woven throughout the story are all drawn from my daily life over the past four years.  I really like Caroline and Erik as characters, but their story would be very different in another city.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 8.06.24 pm

Authors are finding new ways to build support and interest in their stories and to connect with their readership.  I’ve been wanting to do something special like that, but have struggled to figure out what would make sense.  Then I realized that I do have something unique to offer that I hope you’ll like.

Screen Shot 2014-08-15 at 8.06.38 pm

I’ve posted a picture here and there before, but for the next 30 days, I’ll be posting a daily picture of Singapore on my twitter account.  If you enjoyed the story I hope you’ll be interested in this sneak peek into life in Southeast Asia.  Remember that Singapore is 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so my posts will likely happen while you’re sleeping.  Be sure to look for them!

If you haven’t read” Baby it’s Hot Outside”, read excerpts 1 and 2, and then buy Summer Loving, edited by Alison Tyler

Amazon (paperback and kindle)

Amazon UK (paperback and kindle)

Smashwords (e-book)

All Romance (e-book)

Kobo (e-book)

.

Summer Loving is now available in e-book form and paperback

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 9.27.46 pmWhen Sommer’s husband was diagnosed with cancer about a year ago, writers from around the world came together to send support. Bronwyn Green was the pioneer in charge of a fundraising event. Tamsin Flowers came up with the plan to do a charity book. —Alison Tyler, here.

Summer Loving is now available!

I enjoyed reading the full collection, but several stories really stood out for me.

 

Screen Shot 2014-08-01 at 9.49.09 pm

Fireworks Display by Emerald—She had decided to watch some fireworks from the comfort of her car.  Then the truck with six gorgeous men pulls up.

Next week is National Day here in Singapore.  There is a huge display of fireworks as part of the festivities, and when I see them, I know this story will be on my mind.  The build up and tension are great.  The juxtaposition against and description of the fireworks really did it for me.  Emerald is a new author to me, and I’ll be checking out more of her work.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 4.06.27 pm

Tell me by May Deva–A pin-up photography session is the cost of losing a poker bet.

Any story that starts with “Oh, hell no!” is going to grab my attention.  This story hit all my sweet spots.  I love pin-up photography, I love banter, and I really really love twists at the end of a story.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 4.06.49 pm

Arizona, Ireland, New England by Cheyenne Blue—You never quite know where home is until you find it.

Two friends come up with the idea of switching homes for the summer.  But it doesn’t quite turn out how they expected.  As an expat who thought I knew what I was getting into when I moved to the other side of the planet, only to find out that fantasy and reality are two different things, I related to both the women in the story.  The way that Cheyenne uses sensory descriptions–the way one of them “will fearlessly sweep a scorpion from the kitchen bench with a swift flick of a tea towel” makes for a story I’ll revisit.

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 4.09.40 pmAnd of course, you can read my story, “Baby it’s Hot Outside.”

I’ve given you an excerpt before.  Here’s another one….

 

“I never liked Josh,” Erik remarked.

“Why?” My high school boyfriend had always been a sweetie.

“Why do you think?  I was crazy about you.  You only noticed I was alive when you kicked Jake and me out of the living room.”

“That’s not true.  I noticed you were alive whenever you ate the last slice of pizza, too.”  Sarcasm was my crumbling wall of defense against desire.

Down girl.  CANNOT.

“Three days with you, and I feel like a lovesick idiot all over again.”  Erik gave a bitter laugh.  “I sound like a fucking idiot, too.”

Our eyes locked.  As one, we turned and began the walk back toward my apartment.

Fingers traced the thin line of skin between the top of my shorts and the bottom of my tank top as we walked.  Erik’s arms wrapped around me, pulling me against his chest at each red light.  Arousal grew with each passing intersection.  Did the colorful illumination highlight or hide that my nipples were erect?

One more second was too long to wait.  I grabbed Erik’s hand and pulled him into the Botanical Gardens; my apartment was still five minutes away.  Silently, I led him away from the well-lit path.  Once hidden in shadows, we stopped.  The moisture between my thighs couldn’t be blamed on humidity.

It was one thing to burn my way through every battery in my house trying to cool my libido.  It was entirely another to deliberately jump into the fire.

Anyone who chooses to live in a land of eternal summer shouldn’t be scared of heat.

“Caroline,” he murmured.

I twined my arms around his neck and pressed my lips to Erik’s.

Can.  CAN.

 

Remember, all proceeds go to help Sommer Marsden’s family.

NOW AVAILABLE AT