Author JL Gribble lists her fave urban fantasy authors

(JL Gribble is one of my girl crushes. We met at a book nerd convention and were basically friends in, um, five seconds. Eventually, we had drinks with Severus Snape. No big deal. Her new urban fantasy novel, Steel Blood, came out Wednesday, so I asked her to tell me about her must-read urban fantasy authors … not counting herself, of course. Oh, and all gif choices are mine because I just had to. Take it away, JL!)

When celebrating the new release of an urban fantasy novel with very nontraditional vampires, the best place to go is the online home of other authors with nontraditional vampires! If Celia, Imogene, and Victory walked into a bar together, I imagine Victory would travel the following emotional journey: shock, amusement, confusion, possibly more shock, and then acceptance of her fate (preferably with beer).

Grab your own beer, blood bag, or other drink of choice and join in the party as we celebrate Victory’s newest adventure in Steel Empires Book 3: Steel Blood. Since I write more on the urban fantasy side of the speculative fiction spectrum, Sara asked me to talk about my top 5 favorite and/or most influential urban fantasy authors.

I first fell in love with Mercedes Lackey when I was introduced to her epic fantasy Valdemar books in middle school. Once I ran out of those, I started in on the rest of her novels and found that she also wrote some crazy adventures in “our” world, too. While I enjoyed the books with elves and Guardians, what really piqued my interest was her retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in early 20th century San Francisco. The Fire Rose introduced me to a world of elemental magic that didn’t exist in a medieval allegory. The rest of her Elemental Masters books showed me that urban fantasy doesn’t need the trappings of an immediately identifiable modern society to be successful.

In the His Dark Materials trilogy, which I also discovered while still in school, Philip Pullman solidified my love for alternate universes. As he dragged his characters through epic adventures, I was more than happy to go along for the ride. To this day, I find myself considering what sort of invisible animal companion a person might have, whether for characters in my own books or a person I know in real life, as a metaphor for characterization and personality. For the record, mine is a blue-point Siamese cat. (His name is Alex.)

I have a ton of respect for the modern Young Adult genre and the barriers it is breaking in the speculative fiction world, but I’m kind of glad that it wasn’t as much of a thing when I was younger. Instead, back in high school, authors like Laurell K. Hamilton were on my go-to list for strong female characters kicking supernatural ass and saving the world. Though I no longer follow the Anita Blake series or this author, I’m glad that part of my early urban fantasy education involved a world that mashed together every paranormal creature (and the kitchen sink), letting me know that I shouldn’t be afraid to do the same.

For a while, it seemed like every urban fantasy series involved a strong female character kicking supernatural ass and saving the world. But as in all things, the mold gets more fractured with every use. These days, I thoroughly enjoy authors such as Carrie Vaughn. Even though her Kitty the Werewolf series still embodies some traditional elements of how urban fantasy “should” be done, it quickly did away with the tortured love triangle and presented characters in committed relationships who supported each other through their adventures. This was a refreshing find in a world that seemed Twilight-mad.

These days, the books that immediately get bumped to the top of the to-be-read pile are those by Ilona Andrews. I especially enjoy the Kate Daniels series, with it’s incredibly unique urban fantasy setting, but even the books marketed as paranormal romance still feature well-crafted world-building and dramatic characters, despite the half-naked men on the covers. In homage to this favorite author, the books in my series all start with the word “Steel,” just as the novels in the Kate Daniels series all start with “Magic.” I may have picked up the first book on a whim because the author shares a first name with my mother, but I was immediately sucked in—pun not intended.

I hope this list has helped you revisit some old friends or learn about potential new favorites! In the meantime, I hope you consider checking out the Steel Empires urban fantasy/alternate history series as I celebrate the release of the third book in the series.

ABOUT STEEL BLOOD:

As her children begin lives of their own, Victory struggles with the loneliness of an empty nest. Just when the city of Limani could not seem smaller, an old friend requests that she come out of retirement for one final mercenary contract—to bodyguard his granddaughter, a princess of the Qin Empire.

For the first time in a century, the Qin and British Empires are reopening diplomatic relations. Alongside the British delegation, Victory and her daywalker Mikelos arrive in the Qin colony city of Jiang Yi Yue. As the Qin weredragons and British werewolves take careful steps toward a lasting peace between their people, a connection between the Qin princess and a British nobleman throw everyone’s plans in disarray.

Meanwhile, a third faction stalks the city under the cover of darkness. This is not a typical romance. It’s a good thing Victory is not a typical vampire.

BUY STEEL BLOOD NOW!!!

Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Raw Dog Screaming Press

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

By day, J. L. Gribble is a professional medical editor. By night, she does freelance fiction editing in all genres, along with reading, playing video games, and occasionally even writing. She is currently working on the Steel Empires series for Dog Star Books, the science-fiction/adventure imprint of Raw Dog Screaming Press. Previously, she was an editor for the Far Worlds anthology.

Gribble studied English at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. She received her Master’s degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, where her debut novel Steel Victory was her thesis for the program. She lives in Ellicott City, Maryland, with her husband and three vocal Siamese cats. Check out her website or find her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

The Best Part of Being a Writer

I’ve spent the past month (longer) preparing for the release of Bite Somebody Else. Last year, it was the same story for my debut, Bite Somebody. I can now say I have successfully launched two novels into the world with the help of my publishing house World Weaver Press and my editor Trysh Thompson. What have I learned?

Launching the book is literally the hardest part of the authoring process.

Sure, it’s fun doing interviews because we all like talking about ourselves (or, in my case, expounding over why Benedict Cumberbatch is my muse). It’s fun doing book signings, especially when you get to rub elbows with author friends and people who’ve known you since you were a fetus. The positive reviews are fabulous. The social media explosion is, frankly, alarming. It’s all very magical, and yet, it’s the most draining, terrifying, and stressful experience of my life because I am a writer and all I want to do most days is write.

You see the conundrum.

In order to be a successful writer, one must take part in book signings (in public AHHH), guest blogs, retweets, advertising campaigns, interviews (on video AHHH), and more and more until you think you’re going to go quite mad. As a population, most of us writer folks are introverts, so this is daunting as hell. But we do it because promotion is one of the biggest parts of being a writer—and the most difficult.

The week of my final Bite Somebody Else signing, I realized I hadn’t written anything creative in a very long time. I was losing my mind. I saw some romance publishers were looking for erotic novellas, so I started writing. I wrote, and I felt sane again. In fact, I felt amazing. I realized writing is the best part of being a writer. Sounds obvious, right? It wasn’t until now.

See, I’ve been writing for years. I always figured the best part of being a writer would be the ego boost of a book launch and the excitement of meeting fans face to face (which is great, don’t get me wrong). I thought that publishing a book would bring me all sorts of joy—and it has—but not the kind of joy I feel when I’m hunched over my computer all alone, laughing at my own jokes.

Writing is a solitary thing. Writers are solitary people. Expecting us to be promoters and social butterflies is ludicrous, but we do it because we have to. The world we live in requires writers to not just craft sentences but craft personas. We need to be out there on social media and at conventions, and we do it—because we must. However, at the end of the day, the thing that brings me the most joy is writing words that become sentences that become paragraphs.

Having now launched two novels, I’ve come to realize the things I always thought would make me happy—fortune and fame—won’t make me happy. Am I rich and famous right now? No, but I’ve had a taste of both at book signings and on release day. It feels good to be appreciated, but compliments sometimes make me want to hide. Ask my editor Trysh: the only thing that keeps me standing and smiling at book conventions is beer. Once I’m allowed to stop smiling, I hide in my hotel room.

I just want to write. I want to sit on my ass every day and tell stories—even if those stories never get published. There is something so fulfilling about creation. (In fact, I’m pretty sure creation feels a lot better than birth.) Writing is the best part of being a writer. What a relief to remember.

Intelligent erotica that’s both hot and heavy

The first time I heard the name Anais Nin, it was in Jewel’s “Morning Song:”
“You can be Henry Miller and I’ll be Anais Nin.
Except this time it’ll be even better,
We’ll stay together in the end.”

As a teenager, I had no idea Nin would have a huge effect on my life, but eventually, I found an aged copy of Delta of Venus. I found Anais Nin, and I fell in love.

Some would consider her the mother of modern erotica. Her work is gritty, dark, depressing, and lovely. In real life, she paired up romantically with author Henry Miller (and his wife). She and Miller inspired each other … and me. I even went to the Henry Miller Memorial Library when I was out in Big Sur.

What does this have to do with Mofo Pubs’ newest anthology, HOTEL? Editor Megan Lewis mentions both Nin and Miller in her introduction. For the collection, she sought out “authors who weren’t afraid to explore human sexuality while still maintaining a standard of literary excellence.”

When friends first read my HOTEL story, “Breathing Underwater,” they looked at me kind of funny and asked if I was feeling all right. I had fun stepping outside the playful banter that usually characterizes my work, and I went to a dark, angry place.

I am truly honored to be part of the HOTEL anthology. I’m among authors who amaze me with their prose. Although most of the stories are quite short, each writer manages to create complex characters who not only leap off the page but also writhe, scream, and claw your eyes. Are there happy endings? Several. (Bad joke.) There actually aren’t many happy endings in the emotional sense, but that’s what makes the stories feel so real. I think Anais Nin would approve.

Below, read an excerpt from my HOTEL story, “Breathing Underwater,” then buy the anthology. Not only is it an erotic adventure, but it’s a lesson in great literature.

“Breathing Underwater” (Excerpt)
By Sara Dobie Bauer
Featured in Mofo Pubs’ HOTEL anthology

We skipped the elevator and took the outside stairs all the way down to the pool. Middle of the week, the hotel was kind of deserted, except for the boys at the other end, splashing each other in their tiny trunks. I took off my shoes, sat on the edge of the pool, and stuck my calves in cold water. Amused me to no end when David Francis knelt down, untied his wingtips, pulled off his socks, and rolled up his trousers. His bare feet hit the water with a quick plunk as he took a cigarette from me and we wallowed in a silence of mistakes.

“How the hell did you knock a woman up? Half the country is hungry for your sperm.”

He exhaled a cloud of white that floated on a wave of classic Beach Boys. And we’ll have fun, fun, fun … “We used a condom. I don’t know.”

“She probably poked holes in it.”

His tall brow furrowed. “But it was my condom.”

I rolled smoke around my mouth—a cancerous jawbreaker. “Maybe the baby isn’t yours.”

“Maybe. So what kind of man cheats on a woman who looks like you?”

“It’s not all about looks, dude. I can be a real bitch.” I tossed ash right into the crystal clear water. Death to imaginary fishes.

He chuckled, but the sound came out through his nose, so it was half hiss, half deep rumble. I didn’t like seeing him that way. I don’t mean his pale calves in the water; he had nice calves. I mean shoulders slumped with pathetic face. In a movie, David once squeezed a guy’s head until his eyes popped out. Now, some crazy wench had him trapped via crotch fruit?

Oh, Jesus, but what did he see in me? Jaded, washed up thirty-year-old in a slutty dress. I probably had pathetic face on, too.

You know that moment when everything seems so clear? Like when you’re really drunk and you suddenly realize no amount of water is gonna sober you up? Water. We needed water.

I grabbed the front of his navy blue suit and leaned back. I had just enough time to watch him flail before my head went under, which was the first time I learned they played Little Mermaid ballads beneath the surface of the Clarendon hotel pool. I opened my eyes, holding onto him for dear life, and shit, David even looked hot under water. Pathetic face was gone, replaced by something like glee. Glee or horror, I suppose. Depended on how expensive that suit was.

We came up for air, both sputtering, laughing. I looked past six stories of balconies and the edges of white umbrellas on the roof to that cheerful cerulean sky and wished for a big strike of lightning. Bring it, God. Go ahead.

But then his hands were on my waist, and those lips of his were good for more than just talking—they were good for kissing. Naw, they were fantastic for kissing. We both tasted like chlorine-soaked ashtrays, and yet, our tongues shoved, lips sucked, and teeth nibbled, nibbled. My hands latched onto his ears like handlebars and tugged him underwater again. I’d never done much underwater kissing, but I give it two thumbs up—big thumbs—especially when his hand made it up my dress.

(Read the rest of “Breathing Underwater” and the HOTEL anthology in all its gorgeous glory. Buy your copy HERE.)

The Clarendon Hotel pool in Phoenix.

Creating the Romantic Lead in Bite Somebody Else: Lord Nicholas

As I’ve made abundantly clear, Bite Somebody Else did not exist in my brain until World Weaver Press signed me for two books. At first, it was a scramble to think of a plot … which was when I realized I was doing things backwards. I didn’t need the plot of Imogene’s love story first. I needed the romantic lead. But WHO would Imogene fall in love with? I was clueless.

Help arrived in the shape of my gorgeous husband. While bemoaning the mystery of an Imogene love connection, he made a suggestion. Knowing I’m obsessed with Benedict Cumberbatch, my husband said, “Why don’t you just base the romantic lead on him?”

Well, that was just silly. I told my husband to leave the writing to the professionals … until I realized he was exactly right. (I hate when he’s right.)

As proven via her actions in Bite Somebody, the character of Imogene is uncouth, irreverent, disrespectful, and totally homicidal. Mr. Cumberbatch is posh, British, disturbingly polite, and … pretty much the complete opposite of Imogene. Which, in romantic comedy, is the perfect personality cocktail.

When creating a love match (in fiction and in life), there have got to be differences and similarities. For instance, my husband is really good at cleaning our house; I am not. We’re both huge Harry Potter nerds, though, so we’re obviously perfect for each other.

In Bite Somebody Else, Imogene and Lord Nicholas Christopher Cuthbert III are hugely different people HOWEVER they both love to dance. Dancing is, in fact, what brings them together in the first place.  (They also both love sex and blood, which makes for some vamptacular uber-passion.)

They’ve got the romance thanks to their similarities, but they’g got the comedy thanks to their differences. Nicholas might think Imogene is beautiful, but he also thinks she’s a maniac. Pretty sure this is Nicholas’s permanent expression in Bite Somebody Else:

And yet, it works, because their disagreements and their banter build a magic equation of character chemistry. My husband, for example, thinks it’s insane that I enjoy the sound of him singing off-key. I think it’s funny that he find me adorable in mismatched pajamas. (I look like a homeless person in the morning.)

Love is less about the perfect stuff and more about the awkward fumbles, adorable idiosyncrasies, and shared moments of extreme embarrassment.

Once I had Nicholas, I had the plot to Bite Somebody Else. The story wrote itself once this ancient British vampire showed up, and I have my hubby to thank. (The book is dedicated to him, after all.)

According to my editor at World Weaver Press, Imogene needed a love story. With Bite Somebody Else running rampant around the world, she now has one, as does once-lonely Lord Nicholas. What is it they say? Love is love, baby, even between a twisted 80s-obsessed vampire and her 350-year-old blood-sucking Mr. Manners.

Get your copy of Bite Somebody Else today:

     

Bite Somebody Else is out TODAY

My dog woke me up this morning because she was so excited about Bite Somebody Else. Okay, not really, but she did whack me in the face with her big ass and try to squish my head. Same thing, right? I, for one, am very excited to unleash Imogene and Nicholas upon the world. I may look calm, but inside, I’m like …

Today, Bite Somebody Else will be arriving in people’s mailboxes and Kindles, and my plan of world domination will be complete. … Um, I mean, my plan to make you laugh will be complete. Yeah, that’s what I meant.


About Bite Somebody Else:

Imogene helped her newbie vampire friend Celia hook up with an adorable human, but now Celia has dropped an atomic bomb of surprise: she has a possibly blood-sucking baby on the way. Imogene is not pleased, especially when a mysterious, ancient, and annoyingly gorgeous vampire historian shows up to monitor Celia’s unprecedented pregnancy.

Lord Nicholas Christopher Cuthbert III is everything Imogene hates: posh, mannerly, and totally uninterested in her. Plus, she thinks he’s hiding something. So what if he smells like a fresh garden and looks like a rich boarding school kid just begging to be debauched? Imogene has self-control. Or something.

As Celia’s pregnancy progresses at a freakishly fast pace, Imogene and Nicholas play an ever-escalating game of will they or won’t they, until his sexy maker shows up on Admiral Key, forcing Nicholas to reveal his true intentions toward Celia’s soon-to-arrive infant.


What the cool kids think …

“Raunchy and irreverent, BITE SOMEBODY ELSE is a vampire romp oozing with sexual tension and laugh-out-loud surprises.” – Beth Cato, author of the Clockwork Dagger series

“Funny, sexy, and whip-smart, BITE SOMEBODY ELSE is a hilarious ride through the trials of vampire romance and what it means to be your own hero … and still fall for the swoony British guy.” – The Novel Novice

“In BITE SOMEBODY ELSE, Bauer concocts a devilish brew that’s one part What We Do In the Shadows and one part She’s Having a Baby. If you loved the charm and wit of Bite Somebody, its sequel is sure to intoxicate!” – E. Catherine Tobler, author of the Folley & Mallory series

“Chock full of unparalleled wit, the most unexpected and stupidly adorable love connection ever, and Imogene’s signature miniskirts, BITE SOMEBODY ELSE will have you laughing from cover to cover!” – Tiffany Michelle Brown, author of Give It Back


THEME SONG!!!!!!

You can rock out to the full Bite Somebody Else soundtrack on Spotify.


I think it’s very important to your happiness that you buy a copy of Bite Somebody Else right now, so don’t hesitate.

    

And reviewing is caring. (Damn, that didn’t rhyme.) Anyway, if you like Bite Somebody Else, review it and tell all your friends! Now, I’m going to go drink a rum punch with Imogene. Don’t look at me like that. She’s a real person. Didn’t you know?

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

The Bite Somebody Else Soundtrack

As you know, Imogene loves to dance. She loves music. She should basically have wireless earbuds surgically attached to her head. Of course she needs a soundtrack. Well, Bite Somebody Else needs a soundtrack … and here it is. (For you Spotify people, find the fun HERE.)


PRESENTING THE RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING
BITE SOMEBODY ELSE
SOUNDTRACK OF AWESOMESAUCE

1. “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen

I love Freddie. Imogene loves Freddie. Plus, she doesn’t want to be told what to do. And she is a “sex machine ready to reload.” Personally, I used to rock out to this tune in my friend’s car on the way to high school, smoking our illicit cigarettes before choir practice. Imogene would approve.

2. “Elastic Heart” by Sia

Not only do I picture Imogene and Nicholas having an epic dance-off to this kick ass song, but it fits Imogene’s persona perfectly. She’s got thick skin, and she bounces back from bad stuff. She’s a tough cookie. I wish I was a bit more elastic myself.

3. “Africa” by Toto

I tend to dance around my house with this song at full volume to annoy my husband. Nicholas similarly uses this song to annoy Imogene in Bite Somebody Else. I’m not saying my husband and I are a lot like Nicholas and Imogene, but … hmm, maybe we are.

4. “Sunglasses at Night” by Corey Hart

Imogene wears her red, plastic 80s sunglasses all the time to shield her glamour powers and to look cool. She unleashes said glamour powers in Bite Somebody Else big time, so watch out!

5. “Alone” by Heart

Ah, the height of 80s hair band angst! This, my darlings, is the love song of Imogene and Nicholas. For both of them: “Till now, I always got by on my own / I never really cared until I met you!” Oh, the gnashing of teeth and face-melting guitar! Swoon!

6. “The Mating Game” by Bitter:Sweet

First off, I want to see Nicholas enter a room adjusting his cufflinks in slow motion to this song. I don’t know why. Secondly, for the entirety of Bite Somebody Else, Imogene and Nicholas are playing a game. They’re playing each other. Who will win, hmm?

7. “Come on Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners

A classic wedding dance song, played at the nuptials of one Celia and Ian. Makes me hop around the room. I dare you to stand still when this one’s on full blast.

8. “Space Oddity” by David Bowie

Just like my love for Freddie, I also love Bowie, as does Imogene. This tune is part of Nicholas’s slow seduction of our purple-haired heroine. I don’t know why I find this song so soothing, by the way. It’s about a man in a spaceship, and I’m claustrophobic.

9. “Turning Page” by Sleeping at Last

Oh, the irony!!!! This is from one of the Twilight movies, and I love it. Really, though, it’s sort of melancholy and lovely. Plus, it’s about a guy who’s waited a hundred years to find the woman he loves, and Nicholas has been waiting for, like, a million. It’s perfect! Just try not to picture Edward and Bella.

10. “Under Pressure” by Queen and David Bowie

Two worlds collide! Freddie and Bowie in one song! Genius. I’ve had a soft spot for this song since two of my best gal pals in Charleston made this their karaoke tune. In Bite Somebody Else, everyone is under a lot of pressure, especially Imogene who will do just about anything to avoid falling in love with a guy who’s perfect for her.


Bite Somebody Else will be released Tuesday, June 20th. Pre-order your copy from World Weaver Press. If you’re in the Ohio area, I’d love to see you at one of my upcoming launch parties: Toledo and Cleveland. Until then, dance, you mad things, DANCE!

(Again, for you Spotify people, find the fun HERE.)

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Light and Scales: Freaky Friday Fiction

There are people out there who would have you believe love cures mental illness. Find the right guy or girl, and your depression will go away. Your monsters will go away. Fact is, no one can heal you but YOU. Be wary of thinking otherwise …

Light and Scales (Excerpt)
by Sara Dobie Bauer
Featured in Twisted Sister Magazine

You meet him your second day in Charleston. More so, perhaps, you meet his violin. He’s wearing a suit you imagine cost as much as a car. As he speaks to you, he’s still holding his violin: a red piece of wood with scratch marks and a faded veneer. You wonder at the abuse the instrument has taken but soon think these are not marks of abuse but marks of love—of devotion.

You’re in a place called the Charleston Grill. Waiters scurry like albino beetles in white shirts and dark slacks. The restaurant smells of butter and fish but mostly butter.

After the jazz quintet finishes their last set, you find out his name is Graydon Kelly and he would like to take you to dinner. At first, you think you should say no. He has that look about him: the thorn on the rose, the sugared rim of a poisoned glass.

When he shows up to your date, though, you reassess. He’s in a pastel linen button-down and torn jeans. He has on boat shoes, and his curly black hair is a mess. He smells like pine.

“Rosin,” he explains. Something to do with his violin.

He takes your hand and leads you to a table in the courtyard. His left hand is callused against yours. Outside, winding, wrestling fig vines grow up the exterior wall, illuminated by white twinkle lights that mimic the stars. He pulls out your chair and sighs into his seat.

He must notice you looking at him, because he smiles. “I look different when I’m not on stage.”

You fall into conversation, and it’s not the usual, polite, getting to know you babble. Graydon Kelly says odd, irresponsible things like, “You seem like you’re running from something” or “You have an amazing mouth” or the worst, “What do you think of me exactly?”

You only respond to the last comment: a terse, “I’m not sure.”

He walks you home in a rainstorm, leaving you both soaked on the crooked front porch of the yellow plantation house you rent. He smells like rain and marinara sauce with the lingering touch of pine. He tastes like tiramisu.

Later, in your bed, you find him conversational. He makes himself at home. He is comfortable with pillow talk, even with an almost stranger. Again, you doubt your assessments.

He seemed so dangerous in his dark suit at Charleston Grill but so playful in his boat shoes with his messy hair: almost innocent. His comfort in your bed, though, is his tell, his admission. He does this all the time. He makes love to women he doesn’t know because they ask him to, because of his violin and his face and the strange questions he spouts over champagne.

When you ask about a white scar on his rib cage, he tells you his father used to beat him. One day, his father broke his ribs. One poked through the skin. In Graydon’s words, the bone looked like “a stick dipped in marmalade.”

His honesty makes you awkward. You feel a need to share something, too, so you tell him you’ve been diagnosed schizophrenic. He doesn’t know what this means, not really, so you explain to him that you see things sometimes—children in white light on sidewalks; grown men covered in red scales. You tell him things have been better since the medication …

Read the rest today at Twisted Sister Literary Magazine.

The Bite Somebody Else Photo Shoot

I do love a warm blood bath. To prepare for this spectacular homage to the Bite Somebody series, I didn’t drink any blood for weeks! Some brave folks got close enough to snap pictures, but … well, I may have taken a couple little bites. Imogene would approve.

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Photo by Steph Gentry.

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Photo by Steph Gentry.

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

In case you didn’t notice, June is the birthday month of Bite Somebody Else. The second and final book in the Bite Somebody series comes out June 20th. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy from World Weaver Press, what are you waiting for? Click HERE for more info.

Finally, a shout out to the amazing people who made this photo shoot happen. Blood bath bombs by Ocean Bubbles Bath and Body. (They smell soooooo good!) Photographs by Bill Thornhill and Steph Gentry. Hair and makeup by Megan Lacy Sullivan. (I love you guys. So much.) Here’s a shot of us being ridiculous behind the scenes. Megan is hiding, Steph is fixing my bra, and Bill is having an all right time.

Underlanders: When the world ends …

When the world ends, I’ll be sitting on my back porch with a bottle of scotch, toasting the zombies on their way to eat me. I don’t see myself as much of an apocalyptic fighter. (I mean, how do you expect me to live without Netflix?) However, some people are fighters: namely, the people in my new short story, “Underlanders,” featured in Arizona State’s literary magazine Canyon Voices. Here’s a teaser …

“Underlanders:” An Excerpt
By Sara Dobie Bauer
Published in Canyon Voices

Marie found her boys in the library, where they rested in all manner of recline. Tiny sat in the large, leather desk chair, with a book in his hands. The other boys sat on couch cushions and cafeteria seats. Some were on the ground—others stood in corners—but they all listened as Tiny stuttered through the rhyme of “The Raven.”

Marie listened to the words, but she also listened to the sounds of the abandoned hospital at night. She knew what sounds were welcome—the settling of the building, rain against windows, boys shuffling to the restroom. She knew sounds that were not: heavy, adult footsteps; the slamming of doors; inhuman growls. She heard none of these noises, nothing at all, and yet, the stranger suddenly arrived at her side.

He said, “I’ve always loved Poe.”

The boys turned. Shippy was the first to stand up, squint, and point. “Did you hear him talk? He is James Bond!”

Voices surrounded the stranger as he walked to the stacks of books, arranged in messy piles on heavy, metal bookcases that covered the windows and walls. She noticed he walked with no sound.

Yellow stood behind Shippy and shouted, “Can he stay? Will he stay, Mother?” His blond head shined silver.

Marie was too busy watching the stranger to respond. She could see his eyes change. From cold, dark blue, his eyes began to shine. He reached out long, pale fingers and took hold of a battered volume of William Shakespeare. She thought she saw his hand shake, and his eyes watered.

“Where did you get all these?” He put the book under his nose and sniffed.

“People left them behind.”

Then, Shippy ran to the stranger’s side—out of character for a boy taught to trust no one. “Are you really James Bond? You are, aren’t you?”

The stranger ran his thumbs over the picture of Shakespeare’s face. He glanced at Marie before looking down at the boy who needed glasses. “Yes, I am.”

“I knew it!”

The sad hospital library erupted in sound, but Marie hushed them until the room was silent.

“Would you read to us?”

“Tiny, the man needs to rest,” she said.

“No, I …” The stranger rubbed his eyes. “I would love to.”

“Can he, Mother? Please?”

Marie nodded.

“Do we call you Mr. Bond or double-oh-seven or—”

“James is fine.” He put his hand on Shippy’s head as he walked past the boy. Tiny vacated the desk chair and gestured with dusty hands. The other boys returned to their states of recline, but their eyes were bright. Unaccustomed to a new voice, they waited. They were the most patient group of children in the history of Earth, and they remained that way, frozen.

(Read the whole story at ASU’s Canyon Voices HERE. I promise nothing bad happens …)

 

 

Vivian’s Boots: A Bite Somebody Short

Originally featured as part of Literary Escapism‘s “Hidden Treasures” series, here’s a quick note from host Jackie …

My longtime readers should know by now that I love the mini-fiction events; a glimpse into the world, a story by a beloved side character, or an introduction to never before seen action.

I’m hosting Rust City Book Convention here in the Metro Detroit area, and to help spotlight the authors attending, I’ve come up with a fabulous new feature series – Hidden Treasures. I’ve asked the #RustCity authors to write a story, featuring any or all of their characters as they discover a new bit of treasure.

With that in mind, let’s see what hidden treasures Sara Dobie Bauer’s characters from Bite Somebody have discovered.


Vivian’s Boots: A Bite Somebody Short

Ian was on his usual morning bike ride—or more like race. Not literal, of course, as that morning he only raced against himself, but he had to prepare. He had an actual race that weekend, against hundreds of other people, that stretched all the way from one end of Admiral Key to the other, and he was going to win if only to impress Celia.

With the Florida sun beating on his forehead, his brain felt sort of melted and too warm, which got him thinking about how his body felt whenever Celia was around. They were a couple, officially, but he still sometimes caught her looking at him, staring really, as if she couldn’t believe a guy like Ian would love a girl like her.

Or, more accurately, a vampire like her.

She really didn’t get it. She seriously didn’t understand how sexy she looked in those yoga pants of hers or how her bright red hair made his pants feel much too tight. It was embarrassing really. What was he, fifteen? He was a full grown man, and yet, his vampire girlfriend really got his blood pumping.

He wondered if she noticed. Could vampires, like, hear heartbeats? Could they see the flow of blood beneath skin? He’d have to ask when he saw her that night.

Since it was Saturday, a lot of front yards on Admiral Key were full of junk. It was spring, so prime time for garage sales, before the humidity got too crazy along the Gulf. Ian usually ignored those sorts of things; he wasn’t much for clutter. Still, he stopped short when he passed a squat blue house by the side of the road. He stopped so quickly, his brakes squealed and he almost tumbled into a hibiscus bush.

The middle-aged lady handling the cash gave him a suspicious glare until she got a look at him. Then, she smiled. Even Ian could admit that being handsome had its perks.

“Hello,” she said, puffing away on a cigarette. Her skin looked like a baseball mitt from 1954.

Ian was too busy moving to stop and chat. His sneakers skidded to a halt in front of a table of shoes. On the very top were boots but not just any boots: thigh-high black pleather boots with a three-inch heel. “Whoa,” he whispered, picking one up.

The lady with the cigarette stepped up to his side, looked him up and down, and said, “It takes all sorts.”

The boots were practically identical to the ones Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman, Celia’s favorite movie. Hell, Ian thought they might be the actual boots, the resemblance was that strong. He didn’t know Celia’s shoe size. They’d only been making out for a week. He didn’t know if she’d even wear the things, but he had to buy them for her if only to let her know how beautiful he thought she was—how much like Vivian from the movie.

A beautiful woman with a heart of gold.

Ian brushed his sweaty black curls back from his forehead. “How much?”

“Honey, if you have the guts to wear ‘em, you can have those puppies for free.” The older lady elbowed him and wafted a cloud of smoke that made his blue eyes water. “There might even be some cocaine in the lining somewhere. Oh, the eighties.” She crossed herself and waddled to a worn out chair.

Ian took the Pretty Woman boots and hung them around his neck before climbing back on his bike and riding home to the Sleeping Gull Apartments. He couldn’t wait to make Celia smile. He loved when she smiled.


If you haven’t read Bite Somebody already, what the hell? Read it, dude, because Bite Somebody Else comes out June 20th, and you don’t want to be the only person who doesn’t understand the inside jokes. (Ralph.) Buy both books NOW at the World Weaver Press website.