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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

New Release: Strange Shifters

Strange Shifters

Strange Shifters is now available in print and digital versions!

My story “A Reindeer by Any Other Name” is included in this anthology. If you liked “New on the Naughty List” from Coming Together: For the Holidays last year, you’ll want to read “Reindeer.” It’s the story of what Blitzen was up to while Lucy the Elf was seeing whether Matthew belonged on the Naughty or Nice list.

“Going home for Christmas?” I asked.

Nik shrugged. “My parents are Hindu, so we didn’t do the whole ‘Christmas’ thing.”

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

“I’m waiting for the twenty-sixth, y’know? Back to normal,” Nik continued. “You?”

“Yeah, I’m going to spend the holiday with my family. I’m over it, but they’re really into Christmas. I’m the weird one,” I replied. Really into Christmas was an understatement. The lives of Santa’s team revolved around Christmas. It dictated everything from whether we could fly to the strength of our magic. Every day on the calendar was all about how many days were left until Christmas.

“Good thing I’ve always found weird synonymous with sexy,” Nik said.

Intending to share a friendly kiss, my lips brushed his. He responded by taking possession of my mouth, and pulled me tight against him. I met his hunger with my own, until we reluctantly broke apart. Much more of that and we’d be naked in the middle of Newbury Street in minutes.

I’m sharing pages with so many awesome writers. I can’t wait to read the rest of the anthology.

Introduction: The Animal Inside…

Bored in Heaven                                      Daniel Burnell
A Hand Outstretched                       Elizabeth L. Brooks
Gator Tail                                                 Leigh Ellwood
Mine                                                     Emma Whitehall
Small Change                                              Adrik Kemp
Moonlight Ride                                            Marie Piper
Water & Fire                                          Jaap Boekestein
Circus                                                      Nickie Jamison
The Storyteller                                            Tony Haynes
The Dive                                                       Lukas Scott
A Reindeer by Any Other Name               Delilah Night
Tar Pit Triage                                               Lily Malone
Valkyrie                                                  Nickie Jamison
Champ                                                  Margot McGuire
Woman without a Shadow                          Bruce Meyer
Rezoned                                                          T.B. Bond
Mouse Games                                       Lynn Townsend
Snowbound                                                Lisabet Sarai

I have FIVE free pdf copies of Strange Shifters available to anyone willing to write a review (amazon, goodread–or cross posted). You do *not* need to review my story.

Also, I am making New on the Naughty List available for free through Dec 1, 2015. Read Lucy’s story, then buy Strange Shifters to catch up with Blitzen. Or vice versa.

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.