Beware: Love spell gone wrong!

It’s Halloween time, which is the time of year I love the most. ‘Tis the season for witches and werewolves, vampires and ghosts. Every October, I drink too much Pumpkin Spice coffee. I watch horror movies I’ve seen a million times. I decorate my house to look like a crypt. My neighbors probably think I attended Hogwarts, so it seems apropos that today would mark the release of two very witchy tales.

From World Weaver Press, SonofaWitch! presents six stories of spells gone wrong. In my comedic short, “The Trouble with Love Spells,” witch Violet has been crushing on her local Coffee Boy for over a year when she decides to work some magic and make him notice her. Things don’t quite go to plan …


Read a teaser for “The Trouble with Love Spells:”

A year earlier, Violet had never expected to order a tall redeye and meet the man of her dreams, but one look into those big, grey eyes, and she was finished. Maxwell was hipster hot, and he walked like he knew it, in his tight trousers, vests, and multi-colored button downs. He kept clean-shaven, without the traditional hipster stubble, but his hair was long on top, short on the sides, and it often flopped down over his eyes.

“Have we decided if his hair is black or brown yet?”

Zoe sipped her chai tea. “I vote brown. I saw him in the sun once, and it was kind of reddish on the ends.”

Violet gawked at her friend’s good fortune. “You saw him in the sun?”

Zoe lifted dark brows. “Yeah, it’s official: he’s not a vampire.”

“Okay, there’s no one in line, and I need a refill. How do I look?” She ran her palms down the sides of her blonde pixie cut and pressed her lips together.

“Gorgeous. Now, go get that hot piece of ass.”

Violet focused on walking with a little hip shimmy as she made her way up to the counter, where Maxwell leaned on a bar stool and read a faded book by Elmore Leonard. “Hey,” she said. She attempted nonchalance but felt awkward with her hands hanging at her sides. She crossed them under her chest instead and gave her breasts a boost.

He looked up momentarily. “Hey.”

“Could I get a refill? French roast.”

He put the book down and reached across the counter for her cup but not before a blue spark flew from her finger and into the back of his hand. “Ow!”

“Sorry!” It was only the eighth time she’d done that—the wussy witch’s subconscious equivalent of a hand caress. “Must be static electricity.”

He gingerly picked up her mug and filled it. “I’m worried if you have anymore coffee, you’re going to start bouncing around the room.”

She laughed, surprised at her own volume, and tucked her hands behind her back. “Uh, I can hold my caffeine.”

“I know.” He slid the mug across the counter, smiled just a little, and picked up his book.

Violet practically danced across the floor. “I zapped him again, but he talked to me at least,” she whispered to Zoe.

“Well, I would hope so. It’d be weird if he just stood there in silence.” She turned a page just as Violet noticed her chai tea refilling on its own.

Violet put her hand over Zoe’s mug. “Hey. No magic in public.”

“Says the girl who occasionally shoots blue sparks at the guy she likes.”


Already, SonofaWitch! has been called “a must-read for anyone who loves modern fantasy” and “heartily recommended for all fans of funny romance.” If you liked the Bite Somebody series, this is an anthology for you! Buy your copy today!

Also out today is Elphame Realms Issue #2, featuring my story, “Forget Me Do.” A bit on the serious side, this one features a witch who believes she can heal a broken heart … but what if that heart doesn’t want to be healed? The eBook is currently on sale for .99 but won’t be for long! If you need MORE witches in your life this holiday season (and who doesn’t?), buy your copy of Elphame Realms HERE.

Happy spell casting! Remember to cuddle your black cat, burn your sage, and curse not lest ye be cursed. Blessed be.

“The Trouble with Love Spells” aesthetic.

Sexy new cover reveal for Wolf Among Sheep

My scary-sexy novella, Wolf Among Sheep, was originally published by Hot Ink Press in 2016, but it’s just had an overhaul. The new cover is gasp-worthy, but before I share it, read all about this twisted tale. (It’s not for the faint of heart.)


“What exactly do you deduce we proposed?”
“That I enter into a sexual relationship with a married couple.”

Avery Collins is an ambitious young journalist in early 1900s Charleston, South Carolina, when exotic newcomers Timothy and Vonnie Duke spot him at a fancy gala on the Battery. The Dukes like bringing pretty playthings to their marriage bed, and with a promotion in mind, Avery entertains their advances not knowing lust can quickly turn to love — and love to murder.

Vividly atmospheric and told from three points of view, Wolf Among Sheep proves sexual prowess can get a man far in life in exchange for his soul.


Now, do you wanna see the cover? Thought so. Many thanks to designer Rue Volley for being so dang talented. I swoon every time I take a look …

What people are saying about Wolf Among Sheep

“Sporting sexy characters, erotic manipulations, and sensual settings, Sara Dobie Bauer’s new novella is riveting, delicious, and delightfully decadent.” -Jeff Mann, author of Desire and Devour

“Incendiary, sensual, and wicked, Wolf Among Sheep is a thrilling reminder that the ecstasy of lust can be peppered with dark and sinister desires. With crackling prose and tension aplenty, Dobie Bauer weaves a sumptuous picture of the American South, alight with characters that will lure you into their beds … and then won’t let you go.” -Tiffany Michelle Brown, author of Spin and Give It Back

“Sly and sexy, Wolf Among Sheep captures three beautifully fierce creatures straining against proper Southern society and shows what dangerous passions can happen when their lusts break them free.” – Cassie Alexander, author of the Edie Spence Series


IF YOU LOVE A BIT OF DARK ROMANCE, BUY WOLF AMONG SHEEP TODAY.
CLICK HERE!!!!!


 

I left my liver in South Carolina

A three-day there-and-back trip involving airports and road trips is not my idea of a good time. However, I was promised two things: Charleston, South Carolina, and time with my little brother.

Jake, a group of our friends, and I left Ohio Friday afternoon to head south via Cleveland airport, flying into Myrtle and then, driving to Charleston. By the time we finally arrived at our hostel Friday night, I was in desperate need of beer.

We went out that evening, did a quick tour of downtown—which had changed markedly since my time living there nine years ago—and headed back to the hostel for some sleep. Everything felt crowded thanks to the Charleston Pride Festival, an event taking place in conjunction with our trip.

The thing about hostels: you share the area, which meant six of us friends had to share the room with two strangers, one of whom snored like a grizzly bear. I acquired approximately three hours of sleep from 2 to 8 AM, which was when I finally admitted defeat and took a shower.

No wonder horror movies take place in hostels.

(I did, incidentally, chat with Grizzly Bear Saturday morning. I jokingly asked him if he slept well. He didn’t get the joke.)

Pretty quickly, I realized Saturday was going to be a good day, though. Jake and I ditched our still-sleeping chums and headed to Sunrise Bistro for the best breakfast bagel in history, followed by The Bearded Café for cold brew coffee, where we were charmed by the cheerful owner.

With “the kids” awake (Jake and I call our friends “the kids” because they’re all about ten years younger than us), we headed to Folly Beach in our rented minivan. We stopped on the way for Firefly—sweet tea vodka, a Charleston staple. Cocktails in hand, we attacked the beach … or maybe the beach attacked us. The height of the waves was alarming, but we dove in headfirst. I only lost my top twice.

My bro and his wife arrived, and off we went to Taco Boy for margaritas and Mexican snacks. Something I love about Charleston is the endless beach vibe. The music, the clothes, the décor: everything screams, “You are on vacation,” even if you live there.

By the time I returned to my friends on the beach, I had a stomach full of tequila and quickly realized that, despite this, I was one of the most sober of the group because my gang hit up a bar and did shots in my absence.

Back at the hostel, we met a dozen other party animals, including travelers from France, England, and India (by way of New Jersey). As a massive group, we Ubered our way to the Recovery Room, where shenanigans included foosball, dancing to 90s rap, and having drinks spilled all over us by drunken strangers.

Following the purchase of thirteen-dollar burritos—worth it—we went to bed around 3 AM and got up at 8:30. Overall, I slept a total of about nine hours over the course of two nights. Again: worth it.

Sunday was spent reminiscing as we walked the Battery and Rainbow Row, stared over the edge of the Pavilion Hotel rooftop, and ate pralines before rushing to make our flight and, yes, almost missing it.

Whether it was the bit of confusion in regards to my guy friends (“Y’all must be here for that gay pride parade”), fear of the minivan back seat, or the realization that we were in “the path of totality” all weekend, I laughed for two days straight.

Did I feel worse Monday than Sunday? Of course, which means I must have still been drunk all day Sunday and the hangover just kicked in Monday morning. Am I a little old to be doing shots and dancing until 2 AM? Nah. That’s like saying I’m too old to laugh, and the laughter, the inside jokes, the awkward TMI conversations … those memories are evidence of a fabulous trip.

Good friends are great, but friends who can make you laugh until you might vomit are priceless.

You gotta see IT on the big screen

When a child’s arm gets bitten off early in a movie, you need to be prepared. Granted, in horror films, the opening sequence can be the most terrifying (see Jaws). In the case of the modern IT revamp, nope, things just get progressively worse.

We all know the Stephen King story: a bunch of loser kids in the 80s are terrorized by a weird clown. Something is wrong with the sewers, and their lives are haunted forever.

Although the original miniseries was pretty dang good, the movie surpasses it in fear factor. This is probably due to the cutting edge special effects. It’s also due, largely, to the style. The creators of this film utilized slow build suspense that escalated and escalated. (There’s a particular scene in a library basement that had me crying inside.) The technique of slow build was what made each and every moment so horrific and unforgettable.

Of course, I have to talk about Pennywise. I watched Bill Skarsgard in Hemlock Grove and despite some pretty despicable behaviors on that show, I still fell for the guy. He’s hot, okay? But here’s how things went while watching IT …

Prior to IT: Oh, hey, Bill. Mm, yeah, can’t wait to see you on big screen, baby.

At the beginning of IT: You’re pretty scary, but I can still see that sexy mouth.

Halfway through IT: Oh, but, Bill, you … uh … no! Bill, no, you … But …

Toward the end of IT: BILL, I NEVER WANT TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN, YOU MONSTER!

I am seriously not one to overlook the brilliance of original Pennywise, Tim Curry, but the handsome Mr. Skarsgard has stolen the trophy for most effed-up clown of all time. Apparently the director kept Bill away from the kids during filming so they wouldn’t get friendly. The kids didn’t even see Bill as Pennywise until they were all in a scene together, so their terror is real.

Speaking of great acting, the little kids were perfect, including one troublemaker from Stranger Things. The writer gave each character interesting back stories, although evidently parents are all totally evil. Young actress Sophia Lillis really stole the show as the only female lead. Comedy was interspersed throughout, but even the moments of levity couldn’t compare to the bone-shaking horror.

IT is a film that should be viewed on the big screen, even if you do have to hide behind your hands half the time. It’s as beautiful as it is gross. Sitting next to my husband, trying not to choke on my Sour Patch Kids, I was frankly too scared to scream. I just sat there, clawing his forearm for two and a half hours.

How did IT end? Ha, I’m not going to tell you that. We’ve all been making fun of the miniseries ending for decades, but I will say this: I’m happy with the conclusion. I mean, I didn’t sleep at all the night after we saw the movie and I won’t go in my basement anymore, but, you know, totally worth it.

Got witches? Enchanted: Magic Spark Cover Reveal and Giveaway

It may come as no surprise to you that I love witches. I’m a Halloween fanatic who adores Harry Potter and actually owns a magic wand. When Pen and Kink Publishing editor Cori Vidae asked if I wanted to be part of a series about witches, I was like, YES.

The Enchanted series is three parts:
Magic Spark
Magic Ember
Magic Flame

The first part, Magic Spark, comes out January 9, 2018.
(Enter the giveaway for a free copy on Goodreads HERE.)

My story is called “Destiny’s Dark Light,” separated into three segments. Read all about its witchy wonder …

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.

So have I teased you enough? Urg, okay. Here’s the cover for Enchanted: Magic Spark!

I’m lucky to be joined in the Enchanted series by Wendy Sparrow and Em Shotwell, two women whose work I greatly admire (and whose Magic Spark stories are fantastic).

It’s too soon for me to give you an excerpt from “Destiny’s Dark Light,” but I will say it’s funny, sexy, and angsty. It features a witchy girl with blonde dreadlocks and a sweet boy with an Irish accent. In Charleston. It doesn’t get more magical than that.

For now, be sure to add Enchanted: Magic Spark to your Goodreads list by clicking HERE.  (You can read about Wendy and Em’s stories, there, as well.) Pre-order links coming in November, but you can enter this giveaway for a free copy. Blessed be!

“Destiny’s Dark Light” aesthetic.

Author Lyssa Dering made me love monsters

I’ve been on a huge paranormal M/M romance kick. For those of you who don’t know, M/M refers to love stories between men. During my newfound reading frenzy, I stumbled upon Lyssa Dering, among many others. (Shout outs to Dessa Lux, KJ Charles, and Jordan Hawk).

Something about Lyssa’s work really stood out to me, though, especially her new release HOW TO LOVE A MONSTER. Her lead character, Fiend, is a monster, okay? He eats brains … and yet, I loved him. I rooted for the monster. Yes, I adored the romantic interest: innocent, beautiful Seraphim. But Fiend! How did she make me love a brain-eating murderer?

I had to pick her brain … Oh, that was a bad joke. Braaaaaaains. Seriously, I had to know more about my newest author crush, Lyssa Dering.

SDB: You’ve written love stories about vampires, demons, and now, brain-eating figments of imagination. What inspired your love for the paranormal? Any literary influences?

I first and foremost have a fascination with vampires. It all started with Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ books when I was in middle school. I read In the Forests of the NightDemon in My ViewShattered Glass, etc. Most of those stories were also love stories. Plus, Atwater-Rhodes got published as a young teen, and that really inspired me to be a writer.

In high school, I became obsessed with the movie Underworld, which features vampires and werewolves. I think my love of other paranormal elements naturally evolved from there. When I was seventeen, I discovered internet roleplaying on Xanga with the help of my high school best friend, and the first group RP I joined featured characters with superpowers. RPing was a great way for me to escape up until my first year after college, and I explored all kinds of paranormal elements weaved into sex and romance that way.

SDB: Why do you write M/M romance? What’s your fave thing about two dudes in love?

I’ve been drawn to M/M pairings since I first discovered fanfiction. My first fandom was Harry Potter, and though I also shipped some M/F pairings, I was a huge Harry/Draco shipper. I’ve come to the conclusion recently, after trying to understand why I’m not as drawn to F/F pairings, that M/M allows me to escape in ways other pairings don’t.

I’m nonbinary, but I am also AFAB (assigned female at birth), so reading and writing about characters assigned male at birth allows me to escape my female body and all the societal pressures I’m under as a result of it. Of course, M/M can feature trans and nonbinary characters, as well, but though I’ve written a male-bodied genderqueer character, I’m not in a place currently where I want to explore female-to-male trans characters in my work.

SDB: Your newest book, HOW TO LOVE A MONSTER, features a very strange creature. Tell us a bit about Fiend and the idea behind his “world.”

The idea for How to Love a Monster started a few years ago while I was browsing through the Superpower Wiki, trying to get inspired. I came upon the power of Absolute Will and tried to come up with a character from there. So Wish, the creator of Fiend’s world, came first. He has the power to create or destroy anything, but I put limits on his power to make the story more interesting.

The world Wish created is called Wish City because he’s a bit of a narcissist, and it’s a city because he grew up in one, so it’s easiest for him to create what he knows, just like for most writers. As I brainstormed, I came up with Fiend, who is Wish’s childhood monster or bogeyman who slips into Wish City unbeknownst to Wish.

I originally planned an angsty love story between Wish and Fiend, but it didn’t quite work out that way. When I came back to the story after much writing practice and education about structure, I came up with Seraphim and gave Wish a different role.

SDB: Your romantic interest in MONSTER is Seraphim. He lessens the darkness with some comic asides. Do you think comedy (and/or snark) is an important part of literature? Why?

Absolutely, especially in stories of a darker nature with a lot of angst, which is what I tend to write. If the story is all angst/suffering with nothing light in it at all, it can make it not worth it for the reader. Comedy/snark makes the reading experience more pleasant and can keep the reader from discarding your book out of frustration.

SDB: Tips for writing great sex scenes?

Remember that character comes first. Everything in every story should filter through character, and sex scenes are no different. There’s nothing more boring or frustrating to me as a reader than when a sex scene could basically be taken out of one book and plopped into another and still make sense.

Also, at least for me and especially in a romance, sex scenes should strengthen the connection between the main characters (or do something else to that connection depending on the scene’s purpose and each individual story). This means it can’t just be physical but must have an emotional aspect.

SDB: What are you working on right now?

I’m in the planning stages for my next book. I don’t have anything concrete to share yet as I’m busy hunting for that special kind of inspiration that can carry a full-length novel.

SDB: If you had to create a fantasy movie cast for MONSTER, who would you cast as Fiend and Sera?

Anthony Carrigan was my inspiration for Fiend’s appearance. Carrigan plays Victor Zsasz in Gotham. He has spoken publicly about his alopecia, which contributes to his hair loss, and I was fascinated with how villainous he appears in Gotham but how adorable and lovable he looks in photos when he’s just being himself. So I’d definitely cast him as Fiend. For Sera, I’d go with Max Thieriot.

Buy your copy of HOW TO LOVE A MONSTER today by clicking HERE!

About: Lyssa Dering is an author of erotic M/M fiction. Her work is often romantic, always emotional, and features shifters, vampires, and regular old humans in whatever subgenres inspire her. She seeks to share the kind of fiction she loves to read: intense and addictive with engaging characters and situations.

Lyssa is nonbinary and demisexual and often draws upon her time in the BDSM community when writing intimate scenes. She resides in the Midwestern United States with an aggressively affectionate tabby cat. When not writing, she enjoys livetweeting about the books she’s reading and dicking around in Photoshop.

Follow Lyssa via her website or on Twitter.

When your mental health takes a nosedive

Photo by Chris Loomis.

The past month has been a special version of Hell. I seriously injured a rib while helping my neighbor move a heavy chair. I knew the moment it happened that I was in trouble. When you feel something inside you go *pop*, reassess all your life decisions.

The pain spread from my rib to my back to my neck. I no longer slept through the night. I woke up at 2 AM and cussed at my TV for hours. I wandered through my days like an angry zombie … but I didn’t eat human brains. I didn’t eat anything, because OH, HELLO DEPRESSION! I WAS WONDERING WHEN YOU’D SHOW UP AGAIN!

As most of you know, I’ve suffered from depression since I was fourteen. This is nothing new. It reached its climax … valley … I don’t know which metaphor to use … when I lived in Phoenix and took some pills and drank some vodka and, oops, emergency trip home to stay with my parents.

Ohio has been a revelation for my mental health, possibly because I’ve come to realize I actually dislike sunshine and love rain and snow. I also love the small town lifestyle. I signed my first book deal here for the Bite Somebody series, and I have  my family nearby. All these things put depression in the rearview mirror. But now, thanks to some unfortunate life circumstances and a rib injury, it’s back.

What do I do when my mental health takes a nosedive?
1. Hide in my house.
2. Drink gin.
3. Read Sherlock fan fiction.
4. Stop writing.
5. Stop eating.
6. Stop smiling.
7. Reconsider medication.

I haven’t been on antidepressants in over three years, and weaning off of them last time scared the bejeezus out of me. Am I at the point where it’s time to revisit medication? Well, that’s still up for debate, but as my friend put it last week, “At least you can acknowledge when you need help.” Many people with mental illness seem incapable of reaching out for help. They wander through life in a sort of denial haze telling themselves they’ll get better, they’ll get better, when they actually need support.

Photo by Chris Loomis.

Medication isn’t the only answer, of course. There’s therapy and exercise and dietary changes and getting rid of alcohol (a HUGE depressant). There are any number of treatments for mental illness, but so many people don’t even want to admit they have a problem in the first place.

It’s been a long time since I had a “problem,” but that doesn’t mean I’m depression free. Whenever I speak about depression, I make it damn clear that there is no cure. You don’t just get kicked in the head by a horse and feel all better. Depression is a lifelong battle with peaks and valleys (see, I can use metaphors). I’ve been lucky to be on a peak for a long time, but now, I’m visiting the valley … and that’s what this is, a visit. I won’t be building a house here anytime soon.

It has been a month since my unfortunate *popping* incident. Two weeks ago, I wanted to cut for the first time in years. I saw my doctor and promised not to cut myself and spent a week on Effexor before its side effects freaked me out. I went to the gym today for the first time since my injury. I stared at Benedict Cumberbatch giggle gifs on Tumblr and watched the entirety of Yuri On Ice all over again. I’ve been talking again, too, smiling again, and I’m working on eating. Oh, I’m even sleeping again, and nightmares notwithstanding, it’s good. It’s all good.

I’m climbing out of the valley, slowly, but this has been an important and eye-opening reminder that mental illness is indeed the monster under your bed. It waits and it waits, until it grabs you by the ankle one morning and says, “You didn’t think I’d gone, did you?”

We need to take care of ourselves, mental illness or not. We also need to admit when we need help. See doctors. See friends. See God. When your mental health takes a nosedive, know that you are not alone. We all have bad days, weeks, months … Please don’t fight the fight by yourself. When you’re depressed, find the thing that makes you happy and surround yourself with that thing, even if it’s a good book. Even if it’s the sound of rain. Even if it’s ice cream. I’m clawing my way out of the pit. So can you.

Author Beth Cato on Writing Her First Sex Scene

Author Beth Cato and I have been friends since before either of us had a book set free upon the world. I first fell in love with her Clockwork Dagger series, but I’m now obsessed with Breath of Fire, especially book two, Call of Fire, which just came out yesterday. If you like brave women in a steampunk world, check out all her books.

Aware that writing sex is one of my favorite things to do (and arguably one of my biggest literary strengths), when Beth had to write her first sex scene in Call of Fire, she texted me to tell me all about it. I figured I’d embarrass her further by making her write a blog post about the experience …

Writing My First Sex Scene
by Beth Cato

When my heroine Ingrid Carmichael decided she needed to get it on in my next book, I debated her. “What about tearing apart another building? Or slapping down another misogynistic jerk? I can write those things. Those are destructive fun.”

Ingrid was not to be swayed. My book needed a sex scene. Oh boy.

I have nothing against sex scenes. Goodness knows, I snuck into my mom’s romance book stash often enough in my teens to find out what was really hidden beneath kilts. I just don’t usually write the kinds of stories and books that escalate romance to that level. But Ingrid is a demanding lady. From the start of my first book, Breath of Earth, it’s clear that she’s twenty-five, a woman of color, and enraged at how society constrains and judges her. When she meets bookishly handsome Cy Jennings, she is awed at how he treats her with genuine respect. Talk about a major turn-on!

By the time the second book, Call of Fire, starts, they’ve endured hell together and fallen in love. Some seriously bad people are after Ingrid. Capture or death may come at any time. Ingrid wants to live life to the fullest in the time she has left–and that includes sex.

I skimmed over my bookshelves and examined other writers’ sex scenes on a technical level. Seriously, do this. There’s a science to this stuff, and I don’t just mean the biological aspects. I mean the flow. Rhythm means everything. Romance writers get sneered at a lot, but here’s a fact: sex scenes take some serious skill, and a lot of writers (me included) find them to be very intimidating. It’s an intimate act for the characters, and for the author, too.

My characters already had the chemistry, so really, it came down to finding the right pace to move things along through their nervous chatter and the physical seduction. My editor offered some additional comments to help me smooth out the flow, too.

In the scene, Cy lets Ingrid take charge; I let Ingrid take charge, too. She’s a woman who knows what she wants. I’m not going to get in her way, even if I’d rather write about knocking down buildings instead of stripping off clothes.


Excerpt from Call of Fire:

Ingrid dried herself and tucked the towel around her body as she stepped to the door. “Are you still out there?”

“Yes.” His voice was a low rumble right on the other side. “Did you get out of the tub already?”

“Can you help me?”

Hesitant pressure on the door handle made it twitch, but it didn’t open. “What do you need?”

She leaned on the handle and took a deep breath to steel her resolve. “You.” She opened the door a crack.

“Me, Ingrid?” He peered through the opening.

“You. I’m wondering if you can distract me in a pleasant way for a while.”

Through the gap, she saw Cy blink rapidly, his throat bobbing as he swallowed. “Oh.”

At that encouragement, she pushed the door open. Cy stepped back. He wore an expression of calm rapture as he took in the full sight of her in a mere towel.

Ingrid looked down at herself and wondered what he really saw in her, what he’d seen from the first time they met on the Cordilleran Auxiliary steps. She adjusted the towel over the generous curve of her breasts. Naughty pulp novels made seduction look so easy. A kiss here, a moan there, and next thing the couple knew, suspenders and stays were undone and passion occurred in sly euphemisms.

Truth was, her anxious heart thrummed like a Porterman engine at full power. She was desperately, horribly afraid that he still might balk and refuse her in a gentlemanly way, and leave her ashamed to face him for the rest of forever. Or even worse, that something might happen in the building across the way while they dared to take this respite. That’s how their luck had worked over the past week, like a leprechaun’s curse.

“You mentioned that you’ve thought about this,” Ingrid said. “I hope that it wasn’t just in terms of honor, but about especially pleasant things.” She shakily giggled. “Good grief, I can barely talk.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t speak, then.”

With a single long stride, Cy cupped her jaw and brought her lips to his. His touch sent a spiral of heat straight through her core. The rough skin of his thumb stroked her cheek as he tucked a stray tendril of hair behind her ear. She pulled back enough to gaze into his eyes, her breath rapid.

“I’d like to think I know what I’m doing here, but I’m relying on a score of purple novels that no proper lady should’ve ever read and my own rather active imagination.”


Read all about Ingrid and the delicious Cy (I really have a thing for Cy) in Beth’s newest novel, Call of Fire, now available everywhere!

About the book:

When an earthquake devastates San Francisco in an alternate 1906, the influx of geomantic energy nearly consumes Ingrid Carmichael. Bruised but alive, the young geomancer flees the city with her friends, Cy, Lee, and Fenris. She is desperate to escape Ambassador Blum, the cunning and dangerous bureaucrat who wants to use Ingrid’s formidable powers to help the Unified Pacific—the confederation of the United States and Japan—achieve world domination. To stop them, Ingrid must learn more about the god-like magic she inherited from her estranged father—the man who set off the quake that obliterated San Francisco.

When Lee and Fenris are kidnapped in Portland, Ingrid and Cy are forced to ally themselves with another Ambassador from the Unified Pacific: the powerful and mysterious Theodore Roosevelt. But even his influence may not be enough to save them when they reach Seattle, where the magnificent peak of Mount Rainier looms. Discovering more about herself and her abilities, Ingrid is all too aware that she may prove to be the fuse to light the long-dormant volcano . . . and a war that will sweep the world.

BUY CALL OF FIRE HERE.

Author Randi Perrin talks angels, hot dudes, and the end of an era

Author Randi Perrin and I have been through some stuff together. We have worked, played, and bashed our heads on desks together. It seems meaningful that her trilogy would come to a close so soon after my two-book Bite Somebody series. We’ve both given birth (metaphorically), but what do you do once you’ve sent your baby out into the world?

The Earthbound Angels trilogy follows a family with divine powers. Three different couples must fight three different battles while trying to live long enough to love each other. Randi might have had to deal with some emotional lashing from me as I made her promise not to kill off certain favorite characters of mine because that would be just MEAN. Now, with the release of Virtue and Honor, I’ve read all three, and I’m sad to see the angels go. These are must-read romantic adventure novels with super hot male and female leads that offer a little something for everyone.

Despite her insanely busy schedule, Randi agreed to do an interview with me. So read on and learn a bit about sex, angels, and the mysterious writers’ life.

SDB: With the release of Virtue and Honor, you’ve completed the Earthbound Angels trilogy. How do you feel? 

Relieved. A little empty. A whole lot nervous.

One, I’m relieved to have finally completed it. This final trilogy ender remained elusive for so long to me, that there were times I thought I was going to wind up leaving the angels as a duology.

Empty because, well, my angels have been my life, my blood, sweat, and tears since November 2015. This world and these characters are so real to me, that I almost feel as if I’ve lost a friend. A piece of me. You just ended your own duology. Didn’t you feel a little bit of sadness to leave Imogene behind? God knows I’ll miss Cheryl something fierce.

SDB: Imogene goes with me everywhere, as you well know …

Nervous because, well, I’m always nervous with a new release. But this one took me places I didn’t intend to go, and I’m scared as to how it will be received. Inevitably, here comes the question: where’d you end up? In left field. Virtue and Honor is darker than the other two, the stakes are higher, the villain more diabolical and determined.

In Virtue of Death, the conflict was between the two sides of Sera. Angel and human, which will win? In Promises of Virtue, the conflict was Cheryl struggling to find her place in the world, but also an external force trying to right wrongs from the past. In Virtue and Honor, essentially all of those come into play for poor Angela. She struggles with being an angel, legacy, love, and an external force that is hell-bent on taking her down. She’s got to figure out who she is, how to love, and comprehend the legacy she didn’t ask to be a part of, in order to take on that external force. It’s a lot to handle for anyone, but especially a young and naïve twenty-one-year-old.

SDB: Did you have the whole trilogy outlined when you started, or did you make things up as you went along?

God, no. I don’t outline anything. I tried to outline Virtue of Death and Sera and Cheryl gave me the middle finger (they can’t swear, but flipping the bird is all right, apparently) and took the story in their own direction. I ran out of steam at 37,000 words and began to think it would just be a novella, and I’d need a novella about Cheryl to make them publishable length.

Luckily, I regained momentum and that wasn’t necessary. Which was really good because the original novella idea involved Cheryl being a flight attendant because she missed flying so much. Let’s be honest, can you see that happening? I mean, dear Lord, she’d get fired after her first flight. “Yeah, okay, you know how a seat belt works, right? Just stick the pointed end into the hole, much like everything else in life. Oh, oxygen, it’ll be there if you need it, cover your mouth with the thing and inhale, exhale. Not that hard, right? Okay, good. Don’t mess with the smoke detectors, that’s illegal and it’s just bad form. Look for your closest exit, but it doesn’t matter because if we’re going down you’re not going to remember where it is anyway.”

SDB: She and Imogene should hang out. Within the bounds of your trilogy, you made three couples fall in love. Do you have a favorite couple? Was one couple easier to write than the others?

Sera and Destin gave me fits, but they were the victims… I mean subjects… of my first novel. We were bound to have hiccups. Cheryl and Luc, though, they were the easy ones. Their story flew together easier and faster than the other two, despite the fact I was about halfway through it when I decided to change Luke to Luc, thereby changing his nationality and backstory. I think, however, it all turned out for the best.

SDB: Fantasy cast!!! Who would play the romantic leads: Destin, Luc, and Mason?

Destin: I’ve cast him for you before, and I stand by my original casting of Derek Theler. I can totally see perfectly-timed snark coming out of his mouth, followed by a scorching kiss. Yeah, that can happen.

Luc: I can totally see Randy Wayne pulling him off, don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

SDB: Yes to this man. Yes.

Mason: He was based on Luke Bryan, so definitely him. He’s got the southern drawl and some hellacious dance moves already.

SDB: Sex scenes: easy to write or difficult? Tips for writing a good sex scene? Tips for writing a bad sex scene haha?

Sex scenes are the hardest things ever! (Pun not intended… or was it?) I am so nervous when it comes to sex scenes. Did I make it believable? Do body parts bend that way? Just where is that line between swoon-worthy and “this dude cannot be real.”

In Virtue and Honor, we’ve got two characters who come at sex from experience versus inexperience. Angela’s a virgin, so there’s going to be some awkwardness. But it’s also so damn hot to see how Mason guides her through it. He genuinely cares for her, and it shows in that moment.

SDB: Of all the men in the Earthbound Angels trilogy, who would YOU most likely end up with and why?

Me? Most likely Destin. Because of his smart-ass mouth. Takes one to know one, and to put up with one.

SDB: … Which is why we’re friends. Favorite Benedict Cumberbatch picture? Because I’m shameless and I like the pretty.

I do love slightly scruffy and floofy-haired Sherlock Ben, so I almost said this one… I mean, look at that eye crinkle. JUST LOOK AT IT!

SDB: He has a fantastic eye crinkle.

But then I ran across this one with glasses, dimples, and a mischievous little smile that just did me in. Geeky Ben, for the win. (See, and *that* is also why I’d end up with Destin.)


Buy your copies of the Earthbound Angels Trilogy by Randi Perrin!

VIRTUE OF DEATH (EARTHBOUND ANGELS BOOK ONE)

Hot Tree Publishing | Amazon US | Amazon CAAmazon AU | Amazon UK | Nook | iTunes | Kobo

PROMISES OF VIRTUE (EARTHBOUND ANGELS BOOK TWO)

Hot Tree Publishing | Amazon US  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU  |  iTunes  |  Nook  |  Kobo

 VIRTUE AND HONOR (EARTHBOUND ANGELS BOOK THREE)

Amazon  |  iTunes  |  Nook   | Kobo

STALK RANDI

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Dunkirk is the last war movie I will ever see

Jake made a compelling argument. Not only was Dunkirk killing it on Rotten Tomatoes, but it was a Christopher Nolan movie. I’ve been in love with Nolan films since Memento. Yes, Dunkirk was a war movie, and I generally avoid war movies. But Jake said, “It’s rated PG-13. It can’t be that bad!” Plus, two of the stars were Tom Hardy and Cillian Murphy, and I want to have a hundred of Cillian Murphy’s babies (metaphorically).

Saturday, I agreed to spend a rainy afternoon watching a critically acclaimed war movie from one of my favorite directors starring a two men who take my breath away. Sure, why not?

Oh, what a mistake.

I was okay for a while. Sitting in the darkened theater, eating my popcorn, I didn’t start freaking out until about halfway through. There was a very claustrophobic scene involving a bunch of young men trapped underwater, and I lost my shit. I think I hid it well. I cried silently and covered my eyes. Nobody noticed the woman falling apart at the Willoughby Regal Cinema.

It got worse. Popcorn forgotten, I watched the rest of the movie while hiding behind my hands. Then, things escalated. Following an abrupt ending, the credits rolled. Jake, eyes alight with Nolan’s brilliance, turned to ask, “What did you think?”

I started sobbing. I hate crying in public. Hate it. Jake grabbed my hand and guided me back to the parking lot. I hid behind my sunglasses. Once in the passenger seat, in the privacy of my own car, I really let go until I was a sniveling, hiccuping mess. I said it over and over: “I can’t do war movies. I just can’t. I can’t.”

Saturday was destroyed. No matter that we went shopping and ate wings at my favorite dive bar, I was still trapped underwater, struggling for breath. I drank enough beer to surface, but I still feel Dunkirk today and its lingering effects. I woke up sad.

I recently read a brilliant novella by Em Shotwell called “Forget Me Not” that really messed me up. In a good way. Follow me on this.

One of the lead characters in “Forget Me Not,” Rex, has the ability to never forget anything. When he’s sent off to Vietnam, it’s horrible because every death, every terror, is burned onto his brain. The horror of war is with him forever. In “Forget Me Not,” watching a lovable character crash and burn is painful. Watching what war does to a beautiful, innocent man like Rex made me want to curl into a little ball.

Shotwell does an excellent job of bringing Rex back from the edge, but many soldiers aren’t so lucky. As is the case in Dunkirk, many soldiers don’t even come home. Many of the ones who did (see Cillian Murphy’s character), came back totally messed up.

Nolan did a brilliant job in Dunkirk of using the minimum dialogue to address huge issues. For example, Cillian Murphy’s character, who escaped what we presume was a sunken battleship, won’t go below deck on the ship that rescues him. Shell shock forces him to sit outside, covering his ears. Much of the communication between actors is done through eye contact and nothing more. The cinematography makes me suspect Nolan is actually a wizard, because how else did he get some of those shots? The score is like a constant time bomb, ticking away as one young man after another is killed. (Tick-tock-tick …)

Dunkirk was a fantastic movie, and it’s the last war movie I will ever see because I can’t do this to myself anymore. There were beautiful moments of hope, bravery, and friendship, but those moments weren’t enough to make me feel glad I spent my Saturday afternoon crying.

Jake made a good point: it’s important to know history, especially for younger generations. My counter argument: an internet search won’t have such long-lasting effects on me. Like Rex in “Forget Me Not,” flashes of the film still scream through my head. I still see the dead bodies and the wild, panicked look in Cillian Murphy’s eyes. (I joked with my mom this morning that if my beloved Benedict Cumberbatch had played the same role, I would probably still be crying. Like, forever.)

I don’t understand war. I know it must be fought, but I don’t understand how young men can so easily kill other young men just because some general tells them to. Dunkirk portrayed how quickly we turn on each other in the name of survival. It showed the honor of battle but also its fruitlessness. The movie busted a bigger hole in my chest: a hole that’s been growing for years the more I watch the news. Dunkirk was brilliant, but I know when enough is enough. I wish I could say the same about the world.