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Pre-order Capturing the Moment Now (including a sneak peek)

Capturing the Moment

When I was a little girl I dreamed of being a real author like Ann M. Martin, because The Baby-Sitter’s Club was the pinnacle of literary achievement to me in fourth grade. I dreamed of seeing my name on a book one day, a dream that would persist long after I gave up on being an astronaut or a prima ballerina.

In January, 2015, I started a story that was called “Siem Reap,” because it was set in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Meg and RJ’s story wasn’t as simple as I first thought. I had envisioned them as one-time lovers, but as the story emerged, I realized that they’d once been engaged and Meg had called off their wedding. Why had she done that? Could they have a one-day fling, or get back together without dealing with all of their existing baggage? Thanks to my beta reading team of my husband, Tamsin Flowers, and Lynn Townsend (and a few irl friends) the end result was Capturing the Moment, which is now available for pre-order from Totally Bound.

I am so flooded by emotion right now seeing my book–MINE, not an anthology I’m part of--available for pre-order. My book–MINE–has a goodreads page already. It feels surreal, and thrilling, and I’m so scared I’ll wake up from this dream any moment.

There’s a short excerpt on the website, but I’m going to offer a more extended view of that scene.

Angkor Wat at Dawn

Angkor Wat, silhouetted against a pre-dawn sky, was the photograph Megan had waited over a decade to take. She stood at the edge of the pond, in front of the twelfth-century Cambodian temple, making minute adjustments to her tripod. The night sky, once inky black, transformed into a riot of pink and purple. The sky and Angkor Wat were perfectly reflected in the water. The moment Meg had dreamed of had arrived. She stepped up to the tripod and looked through the viewfinder. Her finger tapped the shutter button repeatedly.

 

To: Meg

From: Mother

 

I don’t see why you insist on complicating everything. If you’d just come directly to Bali like you should have, you wouldn’t be stuck in the Beijing airport. Two canceled flights are a sign, Megan. Why are you still bothering with Cambodia? You’ll only have one day there. Between Rachel and her destination wedding, and you with your Cambodia caper, the two of you are driving me crazy!

 

The bright colors gave way to pale dawn light. Although the number of tourists clicking away on their iPads was still growing rapidly, Meg and her fellow early birds were ready to move on. They knew the magic hour—and the best shots—were done. Meg slipped the camera from the platform before folding up her tripod.

“Get any good shots, Meg?”

Meg spun around and nearly dropped her equipment. If life were fair, exes would become repulsive to you the moment you broke up. But no, she itched to run her hands through his black hair. She remembered licking and sucking her way across every inch of his brown skin. Her eyes flicked to his full lips and she almost whimpered as her panties grew damp at the memory of his eager tongue. Nope, life was decidedly not fair.

“Arjun? What are you doing here?”

“I was looking for a date to a wedding.” He grinned. “Want to be my plus one?”

“Bite me.” Suppressing the urge to slap him, she turned to thread her way out of the crowd as fast as she could.

Stop picturing him naked. Stop it!

A line of stalls selling goods ranging from postcards to T-shirts to food was slowly coming to life.

“Can I have a Coke, Uncle?” she asked the owner of a stall. The guidebook had told her to address everyone older than her as Auntie or Uncle. Whether due to the rapid increase in heat since the sun had crept over the horizon, or the shock of seeing RJ, she was dying of thirst.

I can’t believe he’s here. This is almost as bad as if he were at the wedding.

“Oh. My. God. Wedding.” The bottle froze halfway to her lips. “A date to a wedding.”

Maybe it’s some other college friend’s wedding that just happens to be on the other side of the planet the exact same weekend as Rachel and Paige’s, and oh my fucking God he’s going to be at their wedding. Oh God, oh God, oh God—

Wishing it was a beer, Meg took a swig of the soda.

“Want to share that?”

Meg choked on the liquid. RJ’s hand pounded rhythmically on her back.

“Stop that! I’m—” She flapped an ineffective hand at him as she fought her way through another coughing fit. “Fine!” Panting, she took a cautious sip. What was supposed to have been blissfully cool relief was now cloying sweetness.

She glared at RJ. “Why are you here? Don’t feed me any of your charming bullshit.”

“Rachel told me you’d be here.”

Traitor! Exasperated, she threw the soda into the trash and turned to face him. “If you wanted to warn me you’d be at the wedding, you could’ve used email like a normal person. Or my sister could’ve told me you would be there. What made you think crashing my dream vacation would be fun?”

“This wasn’t just your dream vacation, remember?” His tone was mild, but she caught the flash of anger in his eyes. “This was our dream vacation.”

“So you decided to invite yourself along? Clearly, your ego is as massive as ever.” Meg shook her head in disbelief. She picked up her camera bag and tripod.

He stepped in front of her. “Megan, spend the day with me.”

“Why should I?”

“If you don’t, you’ll always wonder what it would have been like. C’mon, Meg, it’ll be fun.” He offered her a winning smile.

You were trying not to think about him even before you knew he was here. Have you ever had much willpower when it came to those dimples? It’s been six years since the break-up and they’re lethal as ever.

“If I agree to hang out with you today, you’ll try to sweet talk your way into my bed. Don’t think you’re going to succeed, RJ.”

“I didn’t say anything about rolling around naked on your bed. You’re the one who brought it up.”

 

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Capturing the Moment is now available for pre-order on Totally Bound’s website. It will be on sale March 29 on Totally Bound’s website exclusively for one month. On April 29th, it will be available on Amazon and with other retailers.

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

Guest Post: Lynn Townsend

Lynn Townsend is one of my favorite authors, beta readers, and friends (not in that order). Her new book, Classic is the third installment of the Rainbow Connections series. I can’t wait to read the conclusion of Vin and Beau’s story, and to see one of my favorite #fictionalcrush characters, Ann-Marie.

(My review of book 1, Roll is here)

classic

Hi everyone! Thanks so much to Delilah for hosting me here on her blog. This Delilah, as opposed to yesterday’s Delilah (as opposed to my EDITOR, Deelylah… seriously, I go from having an overabundance of Elizabeth’s in my life to quite a number of Delilahs!) and I met… I think it was when I did Rose Caraway’s Sexy Librarian’s… or it might have been when I sent out a call for Coming Together: Among the Stars… anyway, Delilah and I have become fast internet friends — she lives VERY far away… and is one of my favorite internet peeps. So, thanks to Delilah again, and it’s lovely to be able to chat with her readers and fans. Thanks for having me.

One of my favorite writers is quoted as saying, “When a man writes a romance, the woman dies. When a woman writes one, it ends all tidy and sweet.”

The Rainbow Connection, a series of novels I have been writing for the last four years, is a romance. Admittedly, it is a gay romance, and until very recently, the likelihood of it ending in legal wedding was up for debate. But it was always meant to end happily.

The truth is, I was inspired to write what started as a short story and grew into a series of novels (three have been, or will be soon, published. One that’s being written, and one — maybe two? — that are in preliminary planning…) from an event that took place shortly before another wedding, many years ago. I had a tumultuous affair planned, for characters who took on a life of their own, ripped my control right out of my hands, and took me on a ride that I’ll never forget.

So, when I offer forth this little short story, I say to you, this is not a true spoiler. You always knew we were going this way. The road has been long, it has been winding, and it has had a great many bumps in it. But you knew the destination when you got in the car with me…

These books were always meant to be a romance, and a romance often needs a good wedding…

The Rainbow Connections Series (with links to purchase)

Book 1-Roll  (Torquere, Amazon)

Book 2-Blues (Tourquere, Amazon)

Buy Classic (Book 3) from Torquere (New in print!)

A short story, in parts….

Wedding March, Part Four

by Lynn Townsend

Part One, Wedding March is hosted at VL Locey’s blog, Thoughts from a Yodeling Goatherder.

Part Two, Wedding March is hosted on EM Lynley’s blog

Part Three, Wedding March is hosted on Delilah Devlin’s blog

Vin was quite convinced that he gained fifteen pounds just walking in the door at Ty & Knots’s Cake and Bakery. The air was absolutely pungent with sugar and chocolate, cream frosting and fondant. And then — oh, dear God in Heaven — Aglaia led them over to the tasting station. The owners, Tyler Shaw and Sonya Knots, were on top of their game. Two full tables were loaded with tiny cake squares, each labeled, and then dozens of tiny dishes of frosting samples with itty bitty spatulas to spread each kind of icing on whichever sort of cake.

Find your perfect flavor, a banner read, hanging over the samples. As Vin understood it, the wait for a Ty & Knots cake, off the street, was over nine months, but Aglaia held special commissions open for her clients. Because of course she did.

Mexican themed round wedding cake with modeling chocolate carnations and piped buttercream frosting cascading dot design in many colors by Wicked Goodies

Mexican themed round wedding cake with modeling chocolate carnations and piped buttercream frosting cascading dot design in many colors by Wicked Goodies

After they tried every possible combination — and a few of them more than once, and oh, sweet lord, was Vin going to have to work out, later. His knee ached just thinking about it. But worth it, oh, so worth it — they came to the mutual conclusion that neither of them was going to speak to the other ever again in their entire lives.

Because they couldn’t decide between salted caramel and chocolate or pumpkin walnut with cream cheese.

“It’s astonishin’ to me,” Beau said in Vin’s ear, “how we’ve managed t’ live together for near on six years an’ I never realized what an ornery cuss you was.”

“Careful, babe,” Vin said, “your dixie’s showing.”

“You know,” Sonya suggested, “you don’t have to have just one cake. It’s very popular these days, especially when we’re talking about a reception of your size, to have several smaller cakes. You can have one largish cake, for the cutting ceremony, and then smaller, themed cakes scattered around at set-ups all around the room. And we’ll put one of each of your favorites on the sides of your main display cake, so neither of you feels the lack?”

“So what do we put as the main cake?” Beau asked. He had a smut of raspberry white chocolate filling on the side of his mouth and Vin was resisting the urge to lick it off. Not that Sonya probably hadn’t seen that behavior before. Vin was just trying to adult. Look at him, adulting all over the place today. Responsible, respectable business owner. That was him. He was reminded suddenly of the couple he’d spotted boning up against the back of one of his art displays, the late end of a show that hadn’t done particularly well, and smirked. He hadn’t interrupted them because he was just nice like that. But he had watched them, because he wasn’t that nice.

“Second favorite?” Sonya suggested.

Vin eyed the plates of cake cubes and groaned. He wasn’t sure he could go through another round of tasting.

“Don’t worry,” Aglaia said, pulling up her tablet. “I wrote them all down while you were tasting the first time. I think I got your general preferences.”

“You’re a genius and I love you,” Vin said, expressively.

“No, no, you love him,” Aglaia said. “You merely worship me.”

“And we should get one that’s red velvet and cream cheese,” Beau added, loftily ignoring this display of adoration and life-long devotion between his fiancee and his wedding planner.

“Why?” Vin made a face. “Red velvet is old-lady cake.”

Beau snorted. “Because it’s Ann-Marie’s favorite, and she has put up with God knows how much shit from both of us for the last several years and we owe her. Also, because I love you, I won’t tell her you said that.”

Vin made a face and decided not to argue, because if he did argue, and lord knows he was tempted to, it might become general knowledge that he had no freaking clue what Mila’s favorite kind of cake was. He wasn’t as good with the people thing as Beau was; he probably never would be. Note to self, he thought, ask Mila what kind of cake she likes. Because it was Aglaia, and it was Ty & Knots’s Cake, and he could always call one or the other on the sly, later, and have an extra ordered for his sister. Because, of course he could.

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Lynn Townsend is a geek, a dreamer and an inveterate punster. When not reading, writing, or editing, she can usually be found drinking coffee or killing video game villains. Lynn’s interests include geek comedy music, romance novels, octopuses, and movies with more FX than plot.

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Find Lynn on Social Media

Acceptance! Strange Shifters

My illness in April of this year derailed a lot of plans, both personally and professionally. After my professional hiatus, the first story I (re)wrote when I got back on the proverbial horse centered around one of my favorite secondary characters to date; Blitzen the nerdy shape-shifting reindeer.

Blitzen

This morning I received wonderful news; my story “A Reindeer By Any Other Name” has been accepted into the upcoming anthology Strange Shifters, edited by Lynn Townsend, which will be published Halloween 2015.

Proceeds from Strange Shifters will go to Bat World Sanctuary

I chose this particular charity because I love bats. They’re part of our circle of life, they eat bugs, and they’re like miniature flying foxes. Bat World Sanctuary cares for injured bats and homes ones that cannot return to the wild, as well as helping to spread awareness, prevent deforestation, and other bat-saving efforts.–Lynn Townsend

You can read an excerpt from “A Reindeer By Any Other Name” here.

Review: Heat Wave: Burlington by Lynn Townsend

Heat Wave Burlington

Heat Wave: Burlington is a novella by Lynn Townsend, one of eighteen Heat Wave novella being released by JMS Books over the course of July and August.

Brandon Russo is having another hot, boring day at work. Scott Seay is a photographer on the trail of Champy, the lake monster said to live in Lake Champlain. Their paths intersect when Scott is knocked off his bike and Brandon is the good Samaritan who helps Scott get medical attention. An attraction sparks instantly.

I really enjoyed this fast, sweet read.

Scott (a photographer who has an open mind about things like Champy) and Brandon (working at his aunt’s storage facility) are both very likeable characters. They interact and banter well, and their attraction is believable. Alison (Brandon’s older sister and a nurse) is a great secondary character.

The setting (the storage facility, for the most part) is not one I’ve run into before in erotica, but it works surprisingly well. This is a running theme for me when it comes to Lynn’s stories–another one of my favorites of hers, Holidays Hours (from Coming Together: For the Holidays) takes place in a convenience store. She has the ability to take a unconventional setting and make it the backdrop for a sweet love story.

My only real complaint is that it’s such a short read. I’m greedy, and I like Lynn’s stories, so I always want more.

Pick up your copy on Kindle for 3.99 (also available as an e-book from other e-tailers)

Writing and Monkeys

Today I’m over at Lynn Townsend’s blog, talking about writing, Among the Stars, and monkeys.  Head over to Paid by the Weird to read my interview.

Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 12.49.16 pmPhoto credit: me

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.

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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

 

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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.