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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

Intrepid Horizons is now on sale!

Intrepid Horizons

I’m so excited to share that Intrepid Horizons is now on sale for paperback and kindle! I absolutely love Dumped, my story from this anthology. It’s the story of a Unicorn’s Virgin who is dumped for the crime of turning thirty. When she’s left out as food for a dragon, things don’t go as planned.

I’ve shared a sneak peek before. Here’s another…

Gingerly, Neri lifted her pounding head. It was still dark—although whether the same day or another, she had no idea. Bewildered, she looked around. She was alone, in a field. Her travel clothes were gone. She was now wearing a white gown. A metal band was fastened around her ankle.

I’m chained to a stake in a field wearing ceremonial Virgin’s robes.

“Wonderful. I’m going to be Dragon food.”

The post she was chained to was well-rooted in the ground. The chain was sturdy, and the padlock at her ankle secure. Neri spent the better part of an hour searching for a stone to hammer against the lock, but there were none. Whoever had set the proverbial table had taken every precaution to ensure that dinner couldn’t escape.

A rhythmic flapping grew steadily louder, as a shape took form in the sky, spiraling, practically dancing through the clouds. Neri calculated that the Dragon was easily three times Storm’s size. In the moonlight, its scales flashed a soft blue. As it neared, each flap of its enormous wings caused the grass to flatten and the trees in the distance to bend. When it back-winged to land, Neri was knocked to the ground by the wind whipping across the field.

Neri closed her eyes, and hoped it would at least be a quick end. But nothing happened. She opened one eye, then the other.

The Dragon’s face was only a foot away from her own. Its head was cocked to one side.

“Where are my sheep?” it—she—asked Neri.

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!