Bite Somebody is FREE!!

Thanks to the magic of Instafreebie, you can read the first eleven chapters of my bestselling vampire rom-com for free starting right now! (Let’s face it; you didn’t actually want to work today, did you?)

About Bite Somebody:

“Do you want to be perfect?”

That’s what Danny asked Celia the night he turned her into a vampire. Three months have passed since, and immortality didn’t transform her into the glamorous, sexy vamp she was expecting but left her awkward, lonely, and working at a Florida gas station. On top of that, she’s a giant screw-up of an immortal, because the only blood she consumes is from illegally obtained hospital blood bags.

What she needs to do–according to her moody vampire friend Imogene–is just … bite somebody. But Celia wants her first bite to be special, and she has yet to meet Mr. Right Bite. Then, Ian moves in next door. His scent creeps through her kitchen wall and makes her nose tingle, but insecure Celia can’t bring herself to meet the guy face-to-face.

When she finally gets a look at Ian’s cyclist physique, curly black hair, and sun-kissed skin, other parts of Celia tingle, as well. Could he be the first bite she’s been waiting for to complete her vampire transformation? His kisses certainly have a way of making her fangs throb.

Just when Celia starts to believe Ian may be the fairy tale ending she always wanted, her jerk of a creator returns to town, which spells nothing but trouble for everyone involved.


Claim your free eleven-chapter excerpt of Bite Somebody on Instafreebie!! There’s even a little box you can check to subscribe to my mailing list, which will keep you updated on upcoming releases, reading suggestions, and random weird news. Come on, join the SDB Cook Kids Club!

CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE GOODIES:

And, hey, if you’ve already devoured the entire Bite Somebody series, feel free to pass this along to a friend who might also like ridiculously awkward blood-suckers in Florida! The freebies are unlimited! And remember: Only bite the people you love.

 

The Naked Photo Shoot

It’s not what you think … Back in January, I visited family out in Tucson, Arizona. My brother and I hit up the gay bar, and I got a little wild (as one is wont to do at the gay bar). In the hungover morning, I posted a silly selfie wrapped in a sheet. Photographer Bill Thornhill, who’s obviously quite mad, messaged me immediately and said, “I want to shoot you like THAT.”

What he meant was: shoot me with almost no makeup, no hairstyling, and pretty much just out of bed at my house. Considering most of my photo shoots are so theatrical, it was a pleasure sitting around, drinking coffee with Bill while the camera captured moments that were just … me … laugh lines, freckles, and all.

I give you “The Naked Photo Shoot:” naked in that we’re being completely honest and, frankly, just having a good time. (All photos by Bill Thornhill Photography. Many thanks to Bill, who I am blessed to know.)

 

Saying goodbye: The end of Enchanted

“I should have told you about the paintings,” Cyan said. “Earlier.”

Liam chuckled and shook his head. “No. I think working up to that was probably a good idea. It’s kind of offputting when a girl you don’t know has, like, fifty paintings of your face.”

“Do you feel like you know me now?”

“Of course I know you. I might need therapy for the rest of my life because of it, but I know you.”

Cyan sipped her tea and held tightly to the small cup as if it might protect her. “Do you think you could ever love me, Liam?”

He closed his eyes and pressed his thumb and forefinger against his eye sockets. His forehead wrinkled, and his breath turned shallow as if his own ribs threatened to suffocate.

“Is that a no?” she asked.

He opened his eyes. She couldn’t be sure in the dimness, but she thought they looked wet, red around the edges.


Oh, the angst! It’s so weird that today, today, today … the final book in the Enchanted Trilogy marks the end of an era. I have spent the past two years with Liam and Cyan, and it is so strange to wave goodbye. I know, it sounds super dramatic, but if you’re writer, you understand: our characters are real people, and today, I say farewell to two of my favorites. Read all about part three of my novel, “Destiny’s Dark Light:”

The love story of Cyan and Liam comes to its enchanted end. With the identity of the dreaded dark witch revealed, both Cyan and Liam must find ways to deal with the ramifications. War approaches at an ever-increasing pace. Dark witches and white will soon battle on the streets of Charleston. Still, Cyan remains focused on the man she’s come to love. She is destined to protect Liam, but how can she keep him safe and save the world when her powers are barely under control?

I have to thank the boss lady at Pen and Kink Publishing, Cori Vidae, for trusting me with this three-part opportunity to write about witches and romance. Without her faith in me, this story never would have happened. Many thanks also to Pen and Kink publicist Elesha Teskey for making me look so good (and even sound mildly intelligent in interviews). Finally, thanks to my creative sisters Em Shotwell and Wendy Sparrow for joining me on this incredible journey.

It’s time for me to leave Charleston and head back to the real world. Do Liam and Cyan get their happily-ever-after, or will their love story be twisted as their destinies? Find out in the final installment of Enchanted. Get your copy today!

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Am I on fire or just burning out?

Photo by Chris Loomis.

Best friend, writer, and editor Trysh Thompson has been warning me for months about “burnout.” When a creative person creates too much, we crash.

Over the past three months, I wrote the final 30K word segment of the Escape Trilogy. I wrote the Bite Somebody screenplay.  I wrote a 10K word Sherlock fan fiction. I have so far celebrated the release of parts one and two of the Enchanted Series in January and February (the third coming in April). And as of Friday, I rewrote an entire 55K novel called We Still Live over the span of 18 days … and then, had to attend a three-day geek convention to promote my work.

Monday night, after sending We Still Live to my famed first readers, I panicked. Dunno why really. Would you like a taste of my hysterical text messages?

“The more I think about it, the more I think my rewrite sucks and I’m kind of having a panic attack and should just be a stripper because I’m a horrible writer. Jesus, what’s wrong with me? Seriously, I feel sick.”

“I’m in crisis. Can’t even read right now without fixating on how every writer is apparently better than me. Feeling highly talentless and impostery right now.”

Photo by J. Dell.

Yeah, that is just a smidgen of what my closest friends have been dealing with. But is this burnout, or is this basically what happens in the mind of every writer, everywhere?

Do you know what I did yesterday? (I hope not, because if you do know, you’re a stalker.) I went to a fancy lunch place with my friend Ingrid, had a total vocal-vomit fest, and downed two, yes TWO, huge IPAs before dragging her to a dive bar for round three. I fell asleep last night listening to my favorite Debussy, Chopin, and Puccini tunes because the idea of picking up a book made me sick. Words have become the enemy.

So is this burnout? I have no idea. I just know it’s unlike me, especially as I prepare my line edits for the Escape Trilogy to be released by NineStar Press this July.

My brain is a fuzz ball of angst and confusion, maybe partially due to the beers of afternoons past. Or perhaps it’s time to step away and not write for a couple days? See what happens. Will the muse return, or will I spend eternity staring at walls?

When “career stuff” is going well, we assume we’ll feel a sense of peace, but let’s face it: the better the “career stuff,” the busier we are. I’m not complaining about the early success of 2018, but I will say I am overwhelmed and probably need to step away from creative writing for a little while.

Luckily, the famous (infamous) Bite Somebody Pilgrimage to Longboat Key, Florida, is in two weeks. There, I can unwind and think about nothing but cocktail hour. I think I’m ready. In the meantime, take a look at your own job and make sure you’re not burning the proverbial two-sided candle. It’s hell on the bar tab.

Good witch or bad witch? Choose sides in Enchanted: Magic Ember

PART TWO of the Enchanted series is out today from Pen and Kink Publishing!

The love story of Cyan and Liam continues in Enchanted: Magic Ember. Due to the violent arrival of a dark witch in Charleston, Cyan’s powers awaken. She is the foretold white witch, fated to save the world, but her skills must be honed with the help of her powerful family.

Liam fears the loss of his beloved Zoe while feeling strangely connected to Cyan. His entire life is turned upside-down when wicked witches involve him in the forthcoming War. The search for a dark witch intensifies, as do questions surrounding Liam’s past.

Enchanted: Magic Ember also features stories from Wendy Sparrow and Em Shotwell!



She glanced at Liam. “There’s this old prophecy in the Celtic Book of Shadows. It speaks of the rise of a dark witch and also a light witch, who will save the day. It’s the Dorcha versus the Loach in a great War.”

“The Dorcha is bad. The Loach is good.”

Cyan nodded. “The prophecy is obnoxiously vague, but we do know the lifelines of the Dorcha and Loach will transect.”

“How does it go exactly?”

She seemed hesitant to tell him, as though revealing some grand secret, and perhaps she was—some secret of witches.

“You don’t have to tell me.”

“It’s all about murder and death.” She wrapped her arms around her knees. “Before I was born, my grandmother foretold that I was the Loach, which meant the Dorcha was alive somewhere, as well. My father suspects the dark witch who flipped the trolley might be the Dorcha, which would explain why my powers have arrived.”

“What do you mean, arrived?”

“I didn’t have any powers until the accident. In fact, the first spell I ever cast was to get rid of your headache.”

“I don’t understand,” he said.

“Part of the prophecy states the powers of the Loach won’t show up until the Dorcha makes an appearance. Their powers feed off each other.”

“And what of this War?”

“The Dorcha wants to cover the world in darkness. The Loach has to stop him.”

“Kill him.”

She nodded.

“Good,” Liam said.

Cyan stared. He wondered if he’d said something wrong but then realized he didn’t care. He’d be willing to kill this Dorcha himself—if he thought he stood half a chance against a man who could flip an entire trolley with the power of magic.


Be sure to read Enchanted: Magic Spark before picking up your copy of Enchanted: Magic Ember. You really don’t want to miss PART ONE of Liam and Cyan’s story. Then, in April, the big finale with Enchanted: Magic Flame. It’s getting very witchy around here!

Buy your copy of Enchanted: Magic Ember on Amazon today! Click here:

Call Me By Your Name: A Powerful Writing Lesson

As I write the Bite Somebody screenplay, I’m constantly doing “research.” Recently, my research included seeing Oscar-nominated film Call Me By Your Name and then reading the book.

Mind, blown.

If you don’t know, Call Me By Your Name (nominated for Best Picture) is the  story of Elio and Oliver, two young men who fall in love over the course of a summer in 1980s Italy. Elio is seventeen; Oliver is twenty-four. In the film version, Elio is played by Timothee Chalamet (at 22, the youngest Best Actor nominee since 1944). Oliver is played by Armie Hammer.

The movie messed me up in a good way. Watching it is a visceral, emotional experience … although it was semi-awkward watching CMBYN in the theater, surrounded by middle-aged heterosexual couples. Chalamet and Hammer do not hold back in the sensuality department. In fact, despite its lack of nudity, CMBYN is possibly the sexiest movie I’ve ever seen.

The book, written by Andre Aciman, was so much darker and more disturbing. I chalk this up to the power of movie magic. In the book, we are in Elio’s head the whole time. We are there as his infatuation with Oliver grows. We are there for his eventual heartbreak. We are present for both emotions in the film version, as well, but the book takes it to another level because we don’t hear Elio’s thoughts in the film; we see only his actions.

What an excellent reminder for me as I wrestle with the Bite Somebody screenplay. My novel is all from Celia’s perspective, so—like Elio—we’re with her through every moment of self-doubt. In the screenplay, I have little more than dialogue to work with. I am forced to simplify, as was CMBYN screenwriter James Ivory (nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay).

Simplify, simplify is exactly what occurs when Ivory translates the book into film, which worked wonderfully. Ivory cuts characters and lengthy scenes, and it’s his artistic decisions that (for me) make the movie so much stronger. Yet, he also managed to make some characters more important (like Elio’s parents and Marzia) with resounding success.

And the dialogue? Bless me, baby Jesus, I can’t even … Astounding! There’s one scene in particular in which Elio and Oliver circle a fountain and Elio tells Oliver he’s a virgin but literally never says anything about virginity. For real, I can’t even. Watch:

Don’t get me wrong, Aciman is an outstanding author. I’d like to slurp some of his sentences with a spoon. And yet, the film … Young Timothee Chalamet is a marvel as Elio. Rarely have I fallen in love with a character so quickly. He and Armie Hammer have sizzling chemistry, even as they navigate messy kisses and boyish wrestling. The two actors (both heterosexual BTW) grew very close in real life over the course of filming, and it shows.

Elio is just more likeable in the film—sweeter, softer—and although, yes, he does have sex with a peach, Ivory cut some of the more unsavory scenes from the book. Scenes so disturbing that I cringed. The most disturbing thing about the movie was that Hammer is so much bigger than Chalamet. I worried the cute, little guy might get hurt.

Chalamet: ” a skinny, little nugget.”

Ivory also chose the perfect place to end the movie, and well, SPOILER!!!! (Skip the next paragraph if you’re worried.)

In the book, we jump forward in time and watch Elio age and never get over Oliver. In the film, Elio and Oliver say goodbye when Elio is just seventeen. Sure, the final movie scene is just … sob … but there’s a glimmer of hope that Elio will someday have another great love. Maybe he’ll even meet up with Oliver again. We don’t know what will happen, and I love the openness of the film’s conclusion. It doesn’t feel as definite as the book. It’s not so damn tragic.

Seeing Call Me By Your Name and reading the novel was fun, albeit emotionally daunting. What an amazing learning tool on so many levels. For one, I usually believe books are better than film versions. Wrong in this case. I also witnessed what sorts of things to streamline in a screenplay and even what moments make a character likable. I owe a lot to both James Ivory and Andre Aciman for their unique brilliance. This movie deserves awards, and what an inspiration for a fledgling screenwriter!

Meet the sexy small town boys of Craving: Country

I rarely write anything “sweet.” Sure, there’s always a hint of romance in my work (even in the twisted stuff), but it’s rare that I write traditional romance. I finally did for the new romance anthology from Crave Publishing.

About Craving: Country: “There’s something about a country boy that makes us hot for denim jeans and leather hats. They’re mysterious, intriguing, confident, and demand our attention in everything they do. Then there’s the fierce loyalty you see in their eyes that makes you think of tangled sheets and sinful deeds. So pull on those jeans, roll up your sleeves, and grab your boots. Things are about to get dirty.”

In “Must Love Grapes,” California wine saleswoman Emily travels to the small town of Geneva, Ohio (right near where I live), to test out the famed Tuppence Estate wine cellars. She never expects to be so seriously attracted to grumpy grape farmer Shelby Tuppence, especially since she just broke up with her boss. But, well, sparks fly … or corks pop … or … you get it.

Here, Emily has a drunken encounter with Shelby. If you want to read the rest of “Must Love Grapes,” order your copy of Craving: Country today, available in eBook and paperback from Crave Publishing!

“Must Love Grapes”
An Excerpt
By Sara Dobie Bauer

By the time it occurred to Emily that she should maybe slow down, it was too late. At wine tastings, she always made it a practice to spit, which probably explained her level of inebriation upon her return to the estate. Over the course of the late morning and early afternoon, she’d spit nothing but venom toward Todd.

Janis declared she would be taking a nap before starting dinner preparations, but Emily made her way to the kitchen. The way was slow, considering there appeared to be two of everything—Shelby Tuppence included.

“Oh.” She stood in the kitchen doorframe, hands on either side for balance, and frowned at the man in front of her. “You. Fantastic. Do you have any cheese and crackers?”

He stared at her from his seat at the butcher-block kitchen island. “What happened to you?”

“The Jamboree.” She moved her hand in a circle and made a clicking sound with her tongue. “I don’t think Ohio wines are that bad, but maybe the high residu … resid … that’s a hard word. Res-i-du-al sugar was high, so maybe it’s in my brain.”

He laughed once, quickly, before covering his mouth with his hand.

“You have a nice mouth.” She stepped over the threshold. “Too bad you’re mean.”

She wasn’t so drunk that she missed the sad look on his face. He pushed the bar stool out from behind him and stood, moving quickly for the fridge. “What kind of cheese do you like?”

Emily slumped onto his abandoned seat. “Any kind. And crackers! I need to soak up the alcohol.”

“Did Janis drive you into Geneva?”

“Yes.”

“Where is she?”

“Sleeping. She needed a nap. But I …” She pointed to herself. “Needed cheese and crackers. Did you know wine and cheese go well together?”

“I did.” He stood there, frozen, a block of what looked like white cheddar in his hand. “I’m sorry about yesterday, but I’m not mean. I’m just not very good with people.”

“No, you are good with grapes.” She nodded as if she’d just come to some until-then-unknown conclusion and watched him hurry to the pantry as he unwrapped the cheese.

Shelby looked much as he had the day before in dirt-covered jeans and another slim fitting, worn button-down—plaid, that day, in shades of light blue that should have matched his eyes but didn’t since his eyes were dark brown. It was equal parts unnerving and attractive, the way his dark eyes were in direct contrast to his light, bright hair. And her earlier drunken confession was accurate: he did have a nice mouth with a full bottom lip that would have been perfect for sucking.

In front of her, he placed a small cutting board, complete with a big block of cheese and water crackers. She grabbed the little knife from his hand and went to work while he lingered, standing, across from her.

“I usually spit, you see, which you’re supposed to do at wine tastings. This immaturity here.” She waved her hand in front of her face. “This is newbie shit, and I’m not a newbie. I’m thirty-four. Thirty-four.” She groaned and shoved some cheese and cracker into her mouth. “It’s your sister’s fault. Janis wanted to get me drunk so I would tell her all the dirty secrets about Wallace Distribution, but—”

“I don’t know that you want to be talking to me right now. Should I leave?” He took a backwards step toward the door.

“No, stay. No, you’re so cute, you have to stay.”

He grinned and turned the shade of, well, red wine.

“Oh, you smiled again. You’ve smiled twice today. That’s good.” The cheese was definitely aged and salty and perfect.

Shelby rushed toward the sink. “Water. You need water.”

“So there’s nothing really bad about Wallace Distribution, except maybe Todd.” She put her head in her hands and moaned. “Oh, my God, Todd. Todd is my ex-boyfriend. He wasn’t really my boyfriend. He’s my boss, but we were sleeping together, and I messed it up. Just like you messed up your marriage, I guess. All work and no play …”

He handed her a glass of water and blinked—a lot.

“Look at those eyelashes.” Emily sat up on her knees on the bar stool, and he hurried around the counter to steady her with his hands on her upper arms. Up close, he carried that smell again, of clean earth and yummy sweat. She grabbed his face. “You have amazing eyelashes. Look at them!”

“Ms. Seymour, I should really give you some time to sober up.”

“But I have a secret,” she said.


“Must Love Grapes” and a steamy assortment of love stories from other authors is available today in Craving: Country! Buy your paperback copy from Amazon HERE, or your eBook copy HERE.

The X-Files: My First Love Story

I was eleven years old when the first episode of The X-Files premiered. I wish I remember how I found out about the show and how I knew to watch it when I was just a kid. Granted, I was already creepy and weird and loved Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark—but how did I know about Mulder and Scully?

Once I started watching, I became a rabid fan. I owned all the behind-the-scenes books, episode guides, and posters. I knew all the trivia and fell desperately in teenage love with David Duchovny. I wanted to be Scully, albeit in a better suit. With the full approval of my paranormal-infatuated father, I researched UFOs, Bigfoot, ghosts, and even serial killers. If there had been government watch lists in the mid-1990s, I would have been on all the watch lists.

I’ve now made it through all ten seasons, two movies, and am thoroughly enjoying the new revamp. Have I always loved the twisted comedy? For sure. The jumps and screams? Totally. But last week’s episode, “Plus One,” made me realize that, at its most basic, The X-Files is a love story. My very first love story.

For so many years, we watched Fox Mulder and Dana Scully dance around each other. Maybe they were a little heavy handed in the series pilot when Scully panicked about a bug bite and ran into Mulder’s hotel room in her bra and undies, but things stayed platonic. Ever since then, Chris Carter and the rest of his team made these two mismatched FBI agents not only a great duo but also madly in love.

Spoiler: When they had sex in recent episode “Plus One,” I was like YES! Mulder and Scully deserve all the sex! They belong together always and forever!

Do I have this cheerleader mentality because of the character chemistry or because I spent so much of my childhood watching these two characters adore each other?

The X-Files taught me, at a very young age, that men and women could be just friends. They could work together, and the woman could even be tougher and smarter than the man. Perhaps most importantly, though, The X-Files taught me how crucial it is to be best friends with the person you love.

Mulder and Scully were best buddies long before sex got involved. They had fun together, respected each other, and protected each other way before the nookie. What an amazing example for a lonely, young goth girl.

Sure, in my youth, I still wanted to date a dude that looked like David Duchovny, and yeah, I totally wanted to hunt monsters. But the takeaway that has stuck with me to this day? Laugh with the person you love. Take care of them. Be best friends, first and foremost.

The X-Files was my first love story, and I waited a long time for Mulder and Scully to finally get laid. It was worth the wait. Next episode airs Wednesday at 8 PM EST on Fox, and it looks like it’s gonna be a classic.

Enchanted: Magic Spark – Soundtrack and Pretty Things

I love music. I consider music one of my main inspirations. Thanks to programs like Pandora, I can be driving to yoga, hear a new song, and have a new story. For Enchanted: Magic Spark, set in the Lowcountry of Charleston, South Carolina, I needed songs not only Southern but also sort of dark. These aren’t happy tunes really, but they’re beautiful and haunting … sort of like my story. Bring on the love and angst!

1) “Disarm” – The Civil Wars

2) “Storm Comin'” – The Wailin’ Jennys

3) “Bottom of the River” – Delta Rae

4) “I Still Care For You” – Ray LaMontagne

5) “Tell Me True” – Sarah Jarosz


Now, for some aesthetics, because we all like pretty things. When considering the witches in Enchanted: Magic Spark, I looked through plenty of Pinterest. I found images that set the right mood, for the story and for the photo shoot I did in homage to the series.

Prior to writing, I also had to get an idea of what goodies my witches might own. For instance, below, you’ll see the Plainacher family scrying mirror, crystal ball, and Cyan’s lucky necklace.

In closing, need a feel for the whole book? Well, here’s a final tease of people, places, and things. If you haven’t bought your copy of Enchanted: Magic Spark, it’s now available for order on Amazon. I hope you enjoy my magical story of a witch destined to love her sexy Irishman.

 

I put a spell on you … Enchanted: Magic Spark is out TODAY!

Liam reached out to wipe a tear from the edge of her cheek, and Cyan’s small hand covered his. He knew he should feel wrong with Zoe comatose behind him, but something about Cyan made it all so innocent. Yet, she also felt powerful.

Just as the thought passed, Cyan’s skin burned blue. Her eyes popped open as Liam twitched his hand backwards, fell on his ass, and smacked the back of his head against Zoe’s hospital bed.

“Shit,” he said, hand to his skull. “Did you see that? Did you just glow?”

She was on her feet and running before he could even stand. He yelled after her, but the sound of her retreating feet indicated she had no intention of turning back—and he wasn’t sure he wanted to follow.


TODAY, TODAY, TODAY! Enchanted: Magic Spark is finally out today! The first part of my witchy, Southern gothic trilogy is HERE!

Read about my story “Destiny’s Dark Light:”
In modern day Charleston, lonely white witch Cyan Burroughs has waited her whole life to lead the battle against dark witches and eventually meet the man she is fated to love. A tragic trolley accident brings Liam Cody into her life. He is her destiny, but he’s also in love with someone else. Now, Cyan and her magic family must find the dark witch who caused the accident while Cyan fights her feelings for Liam—a charming Irishman with secrets of his own.

Enchanted: Magic Spark also features stories from Wendy Sparrow and Em Shotwell!

What are reviewers saying?

“The writing was awesome, with great descriptions and well-defined characters that will keep readers engaged and turning pages.”

“The first thing that struck me with each story is that they’re all quite quirky, reminiscent of indie music in the fact that they have their own feel and individuality. They’re like hidden gems just waiting to be found.”

“Each author brings a little something different, but all of them bring something magical, and I can’t wait to dive into the next one.”

(One more with a bit of a “Destiny’s Dark Light” spoiler …)
“The characters were solid, believable, and relatable. The world Sara has created is colorful, mysterious, unique, and magic-filled. I can’t wait for more! And even though I was a bit irked that this was a ‘To be continued…’ ending, I’m hooked and will be really looking forward to what comes next in this world.”

(Don’t worry; part two, Enchanted: Magic Ember, comes out February 20.)


The Enchanted series and “Destiny’s Dark Light” mean so much to me since I’ve always had a thing for witches and I miss living in Charleston, South Carolina. Writing it was like going on a vacation of the mind. If you’re like me and couldn’t get enough of The Craft, Practical Magic, and the Harry Potter series, get your copy of Enchanted: Magic Spark today …

Photo by Bill Thornhill.