• Join 560 other followers

  • Facebook

  • Twitter

  • Most Recent Posts

  • What I’m writing about

  • Archives

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

Healing

I haven’t updated in a few months because I haven’t known what to say, which is difficult for someone who makes their living as a writer.

I got out of the hospital in late April and spent the next chunk of time just trying to cope with what had happened, and what the illness had done to my body. Weeks in a hospital bed had stolen away muscle tone. Medication that helped save my life also made me brutally ill with nausea and vomiting. Coming to terms with my own mortality left my psyche in tatters. I began to fall back into a pattern of disordered eating as a way to feel like I had some small bit of control over a life that felt wildly out of control.

Sex? What’s sex?

About a month ago I began writing again. Not erotica, but small things here and there. Some of it was very private; self therapy to go along with the counseling I’d sought out. Then I moved on to non-fiction freelancing that didn’t require the kind of emotional investment that fiction does.

Last week I stumbled across an itemized list with all the anthologies I was thinking of contributing to. For obvious reasons I’d missed every deadline between April first and July first, and I felt defeated. Going from 2014 during which I’d done a lot of writing and had some publication successes to 2015 which had started out so promisingly with the Siem Reap novella had ground to a dead end. There was one last anthology on the list, and I decided I had to submit something. Even if it were to get rejected, submitting would mean I’d gotten back on the proverbial horse.

Santas reindeer

I had a rough draft from several years ago–if you read my story “New on the Naughty List,” (published in Coming Together: For the Holidays) you’ll remember that it’s Blitzen who gives Lucy the Elf a ride to Boston. While we know what Lucy was doing (pun intended), I had always intended to write a story that showed what kept Blitzen occupied so late into the evening as well. I pulled out my rough draft and polished/tweaked it until I was as happy as I could be without fresh eyes (my husband and I having both read it countless times by then). A final draft will definitely be ready for the submission date.

I’m not better, exactly. The physical side of things is going to be measured in months. The emotional side of things will ebb and flow–we dealt with serious medical trauma with Ms 6 as a baby so I know that it’s easy to go months without thinking about what happened and then be blindsided by something and have all of the trauma come roaring back. I’m relieved to say that with the support of my husband, some close friends, and my therapists I’m no longer engaging in dangerous behavior surrounding food. The rest is a work in progress.

As I’ve been coping with this, I’ve stayed away from Twitter. On one hand, this was not exactly a rational choice–I’m very lucky to have a community of friends/fellow writers who have reached out to me to check how things have been going. On the other hand, given that my creative side was a blank page, being Delilah Night publicly felt fraudulent. Yesterday, given that I was ready to share the story with beta readers and thanks to the gentle nudge from a few friends I started posting again.

After such a long absence, I’ve the lost the habit of tweeting and blogging, so please do continue to poke me if you think I’ve been too quiet. I’m not up to date of who’s had what published, so please share your triumphs with me in comments (and let me know if I can review something for you).

To celebrate returning to writing, I’m briefly sharing “New on the Naughty List,” which served as the inspiration for my new story “A Reindeer By Any Other Name,” here.

2014 Book Reviews/Recommendations

If you’re a last minute shopper, here’s a round-up of my book reviews for 2014, including a few new micro reviews as I’m running out of time before the end of the year.

Screen Shot 2014-12-15 at 6.22.32 pmPut these books in the hands of your loved ones…

A reminder–If I don’t love a book, I won’t review it here.  I don’t want to waste anyone’s time on books I didn’t like, or to throw around bad karma by ripping apart someone else’s book.

Books I’ve reviewed this year, with best of awards given by me

Twisted, edited by Alison Tyler

Those Boys by Alison Tyler  **Best Novella, 2014**

Summer Loving, edited by Alison Tyler

The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica, edited by Rose Caraway  **Best Anthology, 2014**–my top anthology

Zombie Erotoclypse by Tamsin Flowers  **Best paranormal, 2014**

Skirting the Issue by Alison Tyler, Sommer Marsden, and Sophia Valenti

Roll By Lynn Townsend **Best LGBT, 2014**

The Mighty Quinn by Sommer Marsden  **Best novel, 2014**

Chemical [se]X, edited by Oleander Plume  **My husband’s top antho, 2014** (runner up as best antho from me)

Alchemy xii: New Years Eve by Tamsin Flowers  **Start of something amazing for 2015**

Books I haven’t gotten around to reviewing at length, but wanted to review before the end of the year are

Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors, edited by Delilah Devlin.  If you like your erotic heroes alpha and carrying swords, you’ll love this one. My favorites included

  • “The Promise of Memory” by Regina Kammer is a sexy and poignant story set in ancient Rome.
  • “To Love a King’s Man” by Emma Jay features a strong woman who isn’t about to let love walk away from her.
  • “The Squire” by Cela Winter has our heroine pretending to be a male squire and all the awkward that happens when she falls in love with her new knight.  (If you loved Tamora Pierce’s books when you were younger, this story is for you.)

Sex and Cupcakes by Rachel Kramer Bussel.  I really enjoyed Rachel’s essays.  As a plus sized woman, I found her piece about dating a plus sized man (“My Boyfriend’s Fat”)  particularly poignant.  I also really liked “What kind of submissive are you?” because it gets to the heart of how aroused I am by a specific kink is affected by who I’m playing with, what else is going on in my life, etc.  This was my favorite non-fiction piece on sex this year.

Coming Together: For the Holidays, edited by Alessia Brio.  My story “New on the Naughty List” (excerpt here) is part of this anthology (and I have 5 pdf reviewers copies), but I want to talk about which stories I enjoyed reading the most.

  • “Holiday Hours” by Lynn Townsend is the tale about a bored convenience store clerk on Christmas and the unexpected gift she receives.
  • “Fox’s Holiday” by Leigh Ellwood was an enjoyable shapeshifter story that made me want to read beyond the end of the story–what would happen next?
  • “Accosting Santa” by Sommer Marsden is the story of a neighbor who attacks the man she sees sneaking into the yard next door and combines her trademark hilarious banter and sizzling sex.

Other Days, edited by Jessica Augustsson.  Not erotica, but if you have a speculative fiction enthusiast on your list, this is a great one.  (Yes, I’m in it).

  • My favorite story in the book is “Lessons Learned” by Jessica (which I excerpted here) in which we learn the identity of Jack the Ripper (full disclosure, I beta read the story, too).
  • “Crux of a Faded Soul” by Jennifer Silverwood is a suspenseful ghost story narrated by a someone who insists she isn’t a ghost.
  • “The Karelian Egg” by Robert Young is the story of Anna, who is tasked to go back in time and steal one of the Faberge eggs for a mysterious man holding her brother hostage.

My story Choices (excerpt here) is included.  I have pdf reviewers copies if you would like one.

I have only just begun to read Coming Together: Among the Stars, edited by Lynn Townsend, but I’m still going to tell you to buy it if you have a sci fi fan on your list who would enjoy some kick in their Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.  I’m sharing pages with Rose Caraway, Lynn, Jade A. Waters, and Malin James among others, so I know it’s going to be awesome.  I have one pdf reviewers copy available.

******

If you want a reviewer’s copy of Coming Together: For the Holidays, Coming Together: Among the Stars, or Other Days, leave a comment here or email me at delilahnight at gmail

 

***

Also, there’s less than a week left to read my story, “Baby it’s Hot Outside” for free.  It’s a Christmas story set here in sweltering Singapore.

A bunch of lovely authors…

lovely blog awardThe very lovely Lace Winter nominated me for the “One Lovely Blog Award.”  I’m going to accept-and use this opportunity to heed Alison’s call to arms

What if we promoted each other in little surprise ways like this—posting covers, pimping stories, sharing the wealth. Read a book you liked? Put up the cover and a link. Discover an author you think is fabulous—give an unexpected shout out, an unplanned review.–Alison Tyler

I’m going to tell you about 15 authors I love.  If I tag you, carry on the award or not as is right for you 🙂

The rules of the award state that I must thank Lace for nominating me.  Thank you, sweetie.  But more than that, thank you for becoming a friend over the past few months.  I’m so glad to have met you–and hopefully I’ll meet you in person one of these days.

The award also says I need to share 7 things about myself my readers don’t know.  I don’t often talk about my non-writing life here, so I thought that would be fun to do.

about me

1-I suffer from pinterest addiction.  I’ve yet to try something worthy of a Pinterest FAIL blog, but my ambitions almost got the better of me with Ms. 6’s birthday party earlier this month.

IMG_9445Pinterest Success!

2-I don’t speak Mandarin.  However, both of my girls are learning it, so I’ve picked up a few words here and there.  Today when my aircon repair guy was on the phone with my landlord I could make out the words I, you, can’t, this one/that one, and because.  Which is just enough knowledge to make me panic–hearing “can’t” over and over from a repair man when my air conditioning isn’t working and it’s in the 90’s was freaking me out.  Other words in my vocabularly include the words for “I don’t want to,” which my three year old whines ALL THE TIME.

3-For all that I’m an expat and have traveled all over the place now, the truth is that I never flew on an airplane before I was 20 years old.  I was TERRIFIED the first time.  Now it’s old hat.

4-I told my husband I was buying the new Taylor Swift album for Ms. 6’s birthday, but mostly I bought it for me.  He saw right through it.  Kind of the same way he saw through it when I  bought tickets “for her” to Taylor Swift concert earlier this year.

5-I spent my childhood wanting to be Kristy from The Baby-Sitter’s Club book series.

6-If I had a better voice and less stage fright I would love to be a Broadway star.

7-I picked a bad partner the first time I had sex.  He invited me to his room to WATCH ANIME and I was naive enough to think that’s what it meant.  When I realized he had other ideas I decided “eh, why not?” and we had sex.  After it was over, we realize that I’d bled.  My reaction was to sigh because I didn’t have a pad in my purse.  HIS response was to say “Why didn’t you tell me you were going to bleed--I could’ve put a trash bag down or something so you wouldn’t stain my sheets.”  Like I said–I did not pick a good partner.  But I did get a good story out of it, so there’s that?

Now we get to the good stuff–I’m going to tell you about some of my favorite authors.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.54.46 pm

1–My very first story acceptance was from Rachel Kramer Bussel.  She has a new collection of essays out called Sex and Cupcakes.  It’s currently sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to get through this insane week so I can dive in.

2–The next editor to accept my work was Alison Tyler.  If you’ve read my blog you know I LOVE her work.  She has a number of recent releases–including a story in Filthy Housewives, edited by Violet Blue.  My favorite novellas from Alison are Those Girls and Those Boys–Sandy is one of my favorite fictional Doms.

3-I have to say that Sandy is ONE of my favorite fictional Doms because I just got a sneak peek at Tamsin Flowers‘ new project Alchemy xii, and given the chance, I don’t know if I could pick between Alison’s Sandy and Tamsin’s Harry.  I’ll post a review a little closer to the release date.  Tamsin also wrote Zombie Erotoclypse, which contains “Peeping Zom”-which contains the only Paul Revere reference I’ve ever seen in an erotica story.  I have a degree in History, so I think we should all take a page from Tamsin’s book and throw in clever lines like that one.  If you like your zombie erotica aurally, check out Rose Caraway reading “Red Hot Zombie Cock” on the Kiss Me Quick Podcast.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.55.38 pm

4-Speaking of Rose Caraway, have you read The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica?  It’s my current pick for best erotica anthology this year.

5-Pillow Talk is a collaborative effort brought to us by Tamsin Flowers, Malin James and Jade A. Waters.  It’s so great to see a conversation between fellow erotica authors on topics like how their writing has evolved to be more selective about which details to include in a story and which to leave to a reader’s imagination.

6-Malin James‘ blog should be required reading for anyone interested in sex.  Her recent post “Ownership: On Sexuality & Feminine Relations” really resonated with me.

7-Jade A. Waters is a new author to me, but I’m looking forward to reading more of her work, including her story in the upcoming Lynn Townsend anthology Among the Stars.  I really enjoy hearing her opinions in Pillow Talk and on Twitter.

8-Lynn Townsend caught my attention with “Full Frontal Neighbor” in  The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica.  I subsequently read her novel Roll, which I loved.  I’m eagerly awaiting the publication of Blues in early 2015.  Lynn recently edited her first anthology and Among the Stars is going to be so awesome.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.56.34 pm

9-I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sommer Marsden.  I started reading Sommer’s work because she came so highly recommended by Alison.  I quickly became a huge fan of her clever twist endings.  Her new book is The Mighty Quinn, also on my kindle.  (Have I mentioned how crazy this week is? CRAZY busy).  I also loved her story “The New Girl” in Skirting the Issue  , “Appetizer” in The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica, and I’m looking forward to seeing her story in Coming Together: For the Holidays.

10-Janine Ashbless grabbed my attention with her story “Three Legs in the Evening” in The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica because I’m a Greek Mythology fangirl.  One of my daughter has a middle name pulled from Greek Mythology.  I’m super excited to read her new release Cover Him with Darkness.

11-Delilah Devlin edits some seriously hot anthologies with alpha males.  I  loved her antho Cowboy Lust, .  I’m currently reading Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors .  If you prefer Firemen, she also just released Five Alarm Alphas .

12-I’m a sucker for erotic fairy tales, and Kristina Wright has edited A Princess Bound,  Fairy Tale Lust, and Lustfully Ever After.

13-Lace Winter (who tagged me for this post) is not yet a published author, but I’m certain she will be soon.  She’s been posting excerpts from her WIP, and I can’t wait to read the whole thing.

14-I know Sophia Valenti‘s work from Alison’s anthologies, and her story “A Lesson in Lust” in Skirting the Issue is one of my favorite F/F stories.

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 9.57.34 pm

I’m going to leave  #15 empty—tell me who I should be reading that I haven’t discovered yet.

WIP–Santa’s Elf

The end of the year is insane for my family.  Although right now we are more preoccupied with birthdays and Halloween, the focus will soon shift to Christmas.  Since I left childhood behind, Christmas became more of a chore and a hassle.  Then I had children.  Christmas is now still something of a hassle–if you ever want to test your marriage, try putting together a tricycle on Christmas Eve with your spouse–but it is also magical all over again for me.

One of the things I love about Christmas with little kids is the belief in Santa.  Sometimes I use this belief for evil–such as threatening to call Santa to report bad behavior when they’re on my last nerve.  But most of the time Santa is reminds me of that time in my life when magic was real.  When I truly believed that good people would be on the Nice list, mean people would be on the Naughty list, and that Santa would dispense justice accordingly.

The idea of Santa’s Naughty and Nice lists inspired a story that recently found a home.  I’m pleased to announce that “New on the Naughty List” will appear in Coming Together: For the Holidays.

For the Holidays

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

Typically I’d tease a sex scene, but I really love the set-up and world-building of this story.  My plan is to write more stories set in this world and eventually release an anthology.

Lucy cleared her throat.

“What?” Kendra snapped.

“I have a Naughty that can’t be video verified,” Lucy said cautiously.

“So? Base it on their history on your list.”

“It’s a new Naughty. I think we need to arrange for someone to do a physical verification.”

Kendra heaved a sigh and rubbed her temples. “Take Blitzen. Go down and do the verification yourself, but get it done today. I don’t have to remind you it’s the 23rd.” She made a shooing motion at Lucy. “Give the rest of your list to Andrew; he was bragging that he’d finished his. That’ll shut him up.” She returned to her work.

Lucy stammered, “But I’ve never done a field assignment. I’m—”

“Are you kidding me?” Kendra’s head whipped up. “You’re going to bitch about a field assignment on the twenty-third? The twenty-third? Get your ass down there, do the verification and get back here!”

Reindeer Complex was buzzing with activity. Prancer’s handlers were counting reps as he did something resembling push-ups. Cupid was screaming at her elves for putting decaf coffee in her bucket.

Blitzen’s stall was the only one without a crowd outside the entrance. Lucy peeked in to see the reindeer sprawled on the floor, watching Star Wars. There was a bag of potato chips half-hidden under some hay.

Lucy knocked. “Blitzen?”

Blitzen grunted, but didn’t look up from Leia’s pleas to help her.

“I have to go South and verify a new Naughty? The video system isn’t working? Kendra suggested that you give me a ride? To Boston? I know it’s the twenty-third, but it’s a new Naughty.”

A long-suffering sigh was his only response.

Lucy knew she couldn’t screw up her first field assignment. “Please, Blitzen?”

Dancer’s voice erupted from the stall opposite Blitzen. “These bells are tarnished! How is that acceptable? Does no one care about standards anymore?

Blitzen’s ears flattened at the increasingly shrill noise. “Fine. At least I’ll have a valid excuse for getting out of here.”

Blitzen explained how to ride reindeer-back and then they were off. Lucy’s emotions swung betwixt excitement and terror. This field assignment could mean big things for her career if she was able to verify a Naughty.

Coming Together: For the Holidays is a charity anthology for StandUp for Kids, an organization trying to end Youth Homelessness in the US.  Publication will be this December.  I’ll let you know when I have more information.

*****Edited to add***** Apparently I posted an excerpt of this story last November, which you can read here.  The elf’s name was originally Gemma, as in that excerpt.  I have a story coming out with a protagonist named Jenna, which is why I changed the elf’s name to Lucy.