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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

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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.

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Will The Real Delilah Please Stand Up? (Wicked Wednesday)

This week Marie’s Wicked Wednesday promp is In the (erotic) blogging community people frequently hide their real identities. This week we want to hear your thoughts on this…

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When I first began writing erotica, I was a public school teacher. Teachers are a profession where a career as an erotica author has the potential to create a lot of moral panic and outrage. I was literally scared of losing my job because someone discovered I’d written smut about wanting to fuck Wesley Crusher. I needed plausible deniability.

Today, the truth is that it’s not that hard to ferret out my real identity. I write an expat blog where I have promoted Capturing the Moment. Can you figure out my irl name? Yes, with minimal effort. I’m not a teacher anymore, so I’m not worried about getting fired. However, I find it useful to write non-fiction under my legal name while using Delilah Night for fiction.

(This post is super short because I’m still newly out of the hospital and high on painkillers–I find it really hard to focus.)

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Sometimes there’s no such thing as a good choice

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Greetings from a hospital in Singapore. This is my sixth or seventh time here in three years. With one exception, every hospitalization has been because of my bad-and-getting-worse-low-back.

Without getting into medical terminology, I first hurt my back when I was sixteen and because it wasn’t really properly cared for then (we didn’t have health insurance) it didn’t heal properly. Over the years it became progressively worse.

Ten years ago this October I had surgery on a herniated disc that was compressing the sciatic nerve root (which runs from your back down your leg into your toes) to the point where the nerve hurt so much I literally could not walk.

Three years ago this past March, I was putting my second daughter (who was just over a year old at the time) into her stroller from the car seat and the disc above the one from ’06 tore.

In the past three years I’ve gotten so many MRI’s I’ve lost count. I was excited that on my last two visits the hospital I go to can pipe music into the headphones they have you wear while getting the MRI from Spotify, so you can request your music. I can sleep during an MRI, but this last time I quietly sang along to Hamilton in my head for the hour or so it took to do my full spine.

We know that my back is a disaster as is my sciatic nerve, but we don’t know the full story. Scar tissue isn’t visible on any imaging system, and can compress nerves and create persistent pain with no easily diagnosed cause.

Six days ago I had eight injections at various levels of my spine to deal with four disc herniations (two in my back, two in my neck) and three surgeries (two for my low back discs and one to deaden the sciatic nerve).

Were any of these the right call? I have no idea.

I’ve been living in chronic pain for the past three years, but the past six months have been the worst. A “good day” became one where I had enough energy to drive to my daughter’s schools and pick them up. My daughters even know to avoid the right side of my body as even a casual hug at the wrong moment can lead to severe pain.

In doing one of the surgeries, my doctor confirmed that there is a lot of scar tissue, because he could barely force the needle into the disc to perform the nucleoplasty. (In layman’s terms, they burn out the center of the disc and the idea is that the disc will shrink back down).

I carry a lot of guilt that I’m not the mom I wish my kids had. I can’t get on the floor and play with them. I can’t run around outside. If I’m lucky I’ll be able to swim with them again (which given that we live near the equator is a year-round activity). My days of roller coasters and waterslides are behind me.

Six days into my hospital stay I’m asking myself if I made the right choice, but honestly–sometimes there is no such thing as a good choice.

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Wicked Wednesday–Aspirations

Becoming a published author has been a life-long aspiration of mine, and I have several stories that prove it.

For example, here is my story “Bee Queen” from my third grade book, Animal Fairy Tales.

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Bee Queen

by Delilah (age 8)

The bee queen was very upset. She cried ever since the bears had found their honey tree. My children are dying. They’ve nothing to eat for weeks. I’m going to go sting those bear good and proper and so will all the bumblebees, hornets, honeybees and yellow jackets.

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We still teach them a lesson. As soon as Captain Stinger is ready, we’ll take care of those bears. And they did just that!

But my third grade magnum opus was “The Last Unicorn,” which I previously published. Read parts 1 and 2 if you want a good laugh.

wp-1453292076597.jpgThirty years later, Totally Bound published my first book, Capturing the Moment.

Does that mean all my aspirations have been fulfilled? Nope. Next up is a full length novel, and seeing my book in a bookstore, and not just on Amazon. Dreams and aspirations are what keep us moving forward.

Click below for more stories of aspirations.

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Wicked Wednesday: Dream or Nightmare?

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Why am I here?

Here was a seedy bar in get-me-the-fuck-out-of-here Maine. I’d hated all four years, but the advent of my tenth high school reunion had me returning to my small town like a swallow to Capistrano. There wasn’t enough Facebook stalking on the planet to feed my schadenfreude-fueled fantasies about how much better my life was than the hicks I’d left behind.

I certainly hadn’t come back to spend time with my mother. They say that the mother-daughter bond improves once the daughter ages out of being a difficult teenager, but we’d certainly done our best to disprove that theory.

Why am I here?

Right, because after another round of accusations thrown back and forth, I’d left the house and begun to drive aimlessly. Nothing else was open. And the allure of a glass of wine, even a piss-poor one, had been overpowering

Was avoiding my mother worth bleeding from my eardrums? Either way, more alcohol was going to be necessary.

This part of Maine is littered with dead zones. No scrolling on Twitter, no updating Facebook, no bitching on Whatsapp or Messenger. I tried to brace myself for misguided attempts at country, screaming rock lyrics, and unfortunate attempts at the current pop hits. I imagined they’d make a charming counterpoint to the various sounds made when one’s mouth is so close to a microphone that one might as well be fellating it.

I decided to ignore the impending cacophony and read a thriller I’d downloaded to my phone before beginning the trek north. It was topping the New York Times Bestseller List, not that anyone in this room had likely ever read the Gray Lady.

My head snapped up when I heard the opening notes of “The Impossible Dream,” from Man of LaMancha. Broadway? Here?

To dream the impossible dream/To fight the unbeatable foe/To bear with unbearable sorrow/To run where the brave dare not go…

The room didn’t appreciate the scene that was unfolding in front of them. A baritone with perfect pitch.

To right the unrightable wrong/ To love pure and chaste from afar/ To try when your arms are too weary/ To reach the unreachable star

He wore the same flannel and work boots as the other men. This was no fellow city slicker home for the holidays, or if he were, he was far better at blending than I.

The audience continued to talk amongst themselves. He sang on, unaffected by their disinterest.

This is my quest/ To follow that star/ No matter how hopeless/ No matter how far

Our eyes met, and held.

To fight for the right/ Without question or pause/ To be willing to march into Hell/ For a heavenly cause

I abandoned my drink, drifting closer to the chunk of floor with the masking tape denoting the “stage.”

And I know if I’ll only be true / To this glorious quest/ That my heart will lie peaceful and calm/ When I’m laid to my rest

I mouthed the words along with him.

And the world will be better for this/ That one man, scorned and covered with scars/ Still strove with his last ounce of courage/ To reach the unreachable star

At the key change, a shiver whispered over my skin.

This is my quest/ To follow that star/ No matter how hopeless/ No matter how far

He was singing to me now.

To fight for the right/ Without question or pause/ To be willing to march into Hell/ For a heavenly cause

The world shrank down to the two of us.

And I know if I’ll only be true / To this glorious quest/ That my heart will lie peaceful and calm/ When I’m laid to my rest

I yearned. Every note seared my soul.

And the world will be better for this/ That one man, scorned and covered with scars/ Still strove with his last ounce of courage

Beneath the music, he was propositioning me.

To reach the unreachable star

He belted the final note. I nodded my answer.

The anemic applause barely registered as he took my hand and led me through the bar and out into the chilly night. For once, I didn’t have a snarky comment to make about pick-up trucks.

The door clanked shut. He didn’t bother to turn on the engine.

I heard the zing of a zipper, and he yanked me to straddle his lap. Rough fingers reached under my skirt and tore my panties, the rip echoing in the cabin. With one thrust he entered me and I rode him like the cowgirl my family would’ve probably preferred to an MBA.

Our groans harmonized. My pleasure spiraled up into an operatic soprano note of joy. Several seconds later, his baritone fell into a long bass note as he came.

The seduction spell woven through song shattered when he spoke.

“I can’t believe I just fucked Wendy Adams.”

I never knew a nine-hour drive could double as the longest walk of shame of my life.  I still don’t know who he was. I swear upon the holiest of holies–the Louboutin boots upon which I blew my savings rather than therapy–I will never google my high school reunion, because I don’t want to know.

Maybe my mother was right after all. Stick your nose high enough in air and you’ll trip over your feet.

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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

 

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Keep the Shoes On

Wicked Wednesday Flash Fiction

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Off Limits

Wicked Wednesday Flash Fiction

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

Wicked Wednesday: Milestones

1997

 I enter college, terrified of failing. I will not go back to managing a sub shop or working at JC Pennys. I am not the first person in my family to take a college class, but I am determined to succeed. I balance a fulltime job, a fulltime courseload, and manage to pick up a boy by asking him if he’s taken his girlfriend to Titanic yet.

1999

I am shaking as I board the very first plane I’ve ever flown on. I’m leaving Boston for the south of France for a study-abroad. The French professors have a bet as to whether I’ll get on the plane or not. I do. I have my wallet stolen in Arles, and learn how you report an atm credit card stolen. I hope they enjoyed my Tower Records video rental card and the five dollars in cash I had. I fall in love with a terrible boyfriend, and am dumped in favor of his ex-girlfriend right before New Year’s Eve. But we’ll still be friends. Sure. This is my first New Year’s Eve as a twenty-one year old, and I get plastered. I end up making out with a drunk Northeastern hockey player in a porta-potty (I know, I know) and take him home. This is also the year I start to come to terms with my queerness and seek therapy because I’ve bought into all the toxic stereotypes about bisexuals.

2000

I call my “friend” who dumped me to ask how his New Year’s Eve went. He tells me he hung out with a friend, played video games and drank beer. He asks me what I did. I reply “A hockey player.” Mic drop. The porta-porty make-out was worth it.

2001

I am a college senior, writing an honors thesis for the history degree I’ve realized qualifies me for exactly nothing. My boyfriend introduces me to Literotica and I start writing. I write the infamous Wesley Crusher fanfic. I am now hooked on writing erotica. I graduate from college and become the first person to do so in my family. I become a manager of a retail store because I have a degree in History.

2002

I move to New York to pursue an MA/PhD in History. This is a terrible idea, and I flame out. New York is a cruel city and I have never been more alone and unhappy than I was there. But I saw a ton of Broadway, made new friends, and wrote like crazy. I have no regrets when I leave.

2004

After realizing how much I hated the PhD program, I get a Master’s in Teaching and get my first classroom.

2005

I meet my husband and after our first date, I tell him I want to be “just friends.” When I realize I’m an idiot several weeks later, he gives me a second chance.

2006

We get married. I write the ceremony. The West Wing is mentioned. My husband slips a Babylon 5 reference into his vows. I herniate a disc in my back and spend several months high as hell and unable to walk properly until I get surgery. This is not the best start to a marriage, but my husband is awesome. Serious props to him.

2007

I lose a baby in a miscarriage. I was only 10/11 weeks along but I am devastated. I do not move from my bed for almost a month.

2008

My eldest is born, and we almost lose her at a week of age due to an infection. She spends a month in the hospital. When she gets out I suffer from intense post-partum depression. I consider suicide a lot.

2009

My bipolar disorder is finally correctly diagnosed. I have a mild form that is often misdiagnosed as depression. I finally get useful mental health medication. My daughter, while highly medical, much to everyone’s surprise and joy does not have developmental delays or serious complications.

2010

We move to Singapore. All I really knew about Singapore before we moved here was that gum was banned and they caned some American kid named Michael Fay when I was in high school. We visit and it is hot as hell. But what the heck–we always said we wanted to live abroad, so we jump in.

2011

Kid number two is born and I sell my first story.

2014

I go to Cambodia, alone. It is the first time I’ve been outside the US on my own. I am so proud that I have a wonderful vacation all on my own.

2015

I write and sell my first novella. I nearly die from a kidney infection and deal with the medical and emotional fallout from that. Around a third of my hair falls out and I cope by dyeing it bright blue. Because why not.

2016

We are still in Singapore, despite our initial assumptions that we’d be here only a few years. My children study Chinese as a second language. I am getting a baptism by fire as my eldest progresses through local schools. We are going to celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary. I just finished the first draft of my novel.

What’s Next?

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