Film

Hot Summer Nights: A flashy film with loads of darkness

Full disclosure: I’ll watch Timothee Chalamet in anything. I will watch him drink coffee while reading the newspaper and be enthralled. When his newest film, Hot Summer Nights (out in limited release today), got mixed reviews, did I care? Nope. I was going to see this movie, even if it was filmed before Call Me By Your Name, so the guy looks about twelve.

Hot Summer Nights is the directorial debut of Elijah Bynum. He wrote the screenplay, too, and even based it on two guys he knew from college. Well, the guys he knew were more like legends—as are the characters in Hot Summer Nights. Narrated by a thirteen-year-old observer, it’s the story of Daniel and Hunter: two mismatched teenage boys who pretty much rule a drug empire in Cape Cod for a single summer before things go totally to shit.

From the first fast-paced opening minutes, rife with over-the-top dialogue and rapid scene changes, I was hooked. Hot Summer Nights takes place in ’91, so all that music, those clothes, that hair? Oh, I remember. It was like time traveling in my chair.

As Daniel, Timothee is the perfect ambitious nerd, while Hunter (played by yum-yum Alex Roe) is his brutal, cool-guy foil. The love story between Daniel and local sex goddess McKayla is a thing of little boy fantasies, especially a certain scene involving a lollipop.

About halfway through, with Hurricane Bob inching ever closer to Cape Cod, you feel the literal and metaphorical storm coming. The shift in tone is jarring, to be frank. Bynum goes from playful bathroom make out scenes to a sense of impending doom—but, in his defense, he set it up from the beginning, all via the character of Daniel.

Bynum said he cast a very, very young Timothee Chalamet as this character because he has a boyish quality but also a certain amount of darkness. Yeah, dude, spot on.

There’s a scene pretty early in Hot Summer Nights where Hunter beats the crap out of a dude in front of Daniel, and Daniel sort of smiles about it. He’s set up as a bit of a psychopath from the get go, so when the movie takes a twisted turn, it’s not surprising if you’ve been paying attention.

loli

Honestly? Daniel is not a good guy. He selfishly lies to the two people he loves the most and makes horrible life choices—not for money or fame but for the thrill. When everything goes haywire with a literal hurricane in the background, it is not a shock. It’s sad, sure, because lives are ruined, but maybe Daniel and Hunter had this coming?

I understand why some reviewers are tearing the movie apart, because it is strange and almost a little silly. But when you consider the whole thing is told from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old boy, watching from the sidelines, every moment should feel epic and ridiculous. Yet there’s this huge amount of horror that creeps up like a monster in the night, especially a scene involving cocaine and Timothee in a trucker hat (an unexpected new fetish of mine).

Hot Summer Nights is and isn’t what you expect. It is a fast-paced summer movie about drugs, sex, and parties, but it’s also a violent drama about the end of innocence and youth. The lead players—both the boys and romantic interest Maika Monroe—are strong young actors, and there are definite glimpses of “Academy Award Nominee Timothee Chalamet.”

My advice? Get high and watch it. I mean, it’s a movie about weed. Smoke a little reefer and laugh at Daniel’s early shenanigans. Here’s hoping you mellow out by the time the storm arrives, because hell, by the end of the movie, it seriously arrives.

party

Escape Trilogy

TODAY: Escaping Exile Cover Reveal

I always joked that I would never have a half-naked hot guy on the cover of one of my books, and now, I don’t remember why. I mean, I love hot guys, especially when they’re half-naked.

While writing Escaping Exile for NineStar Press, I got to create some super hot fictional dudes. When it came time for cover design, I said SCREW IT. Give me that hot guy! Designer Natasha Snow did not disappoint …


About Escaping Exile (available from NineStar Press August 13):

Andrew is a vampire from New Orleans, exiled to a tropical island in the 1800s as punishment for his human bloodlust. During a storm, a ship crashes off shore. After rescuing a sailor from the cannibals native to the land, Andrew becomes fascinated with his brilliant, beautiful new companion, Edmund.

Edmund is a British naturalist who has sailed the world seeking new species. Intrigued by creatures that might kill him, immortal Andrew is this scientist’s dream—but so is making his way back home. Edmund will fight to survive, even while wrapped in the arms of a monster.

As light touches and laughter turn to something much more passionate, the cannibals creep ever closer to Edmund. Can the ancient vampire keep his human alive long enough to escape exile and explore their newfound love, or will Andrew’s bloodlust seal his own doom?


Add this beauty to your Goodreads shelf today and start reading August 13!

I’m so excited for you to meet Andrew and Edmund. You get three novellas with them (totaling almost 90K words!!!), but Escaping Exile is the first with Escaping Solitude and Escaping Mortality to follow in the coming months.

Which means, yes, I get two MORE covers from the amazing Natasha. Mind=blown.

Uncategorized

The Chicken Incident, Ohio, or why raccoons are evil

At 2 AM last night, I woke to the sound of chickens screaming. I’m pretty sure my husband could sleep through an atomic bomb, so of course, he heard nothing. Because I apparently have not seen enough horror movies, I ran outside in my pajamas (no bra) with a flashlight, deserving to be killed by Leatherface.

As I neared our chicken coop, I at first saw nothing out of the ordinary. Then, I got closer. I saw what appeared to be a bloody stump of a chicken leg hanging halfway out the closed door. Yes, the chicken coop was still closed. Yes, half a chicken was sticking out of it. Yes, some fanged monster had tried to drag a large chicken through a tiny hole, and oh, dear God, what is life?

About five seconds later, a pair of glowing eyes crept into my yard. Ah-ha, the culprit: a skinny raccoon. I wasn’t sure how to proceed since wildlife should be scared of humans because we’re awful, but this raccoon just stood there like he wanted to shoot the shit.

How is your night, human?

Oh, fine, Mr. Raccoon. I just sort of wish you wouldn’t do scary stuff like disembowel my chickens at 2 AM.

Noted, human. I shall now depart.

Except he didn’t depart. He stood there staring at me until I made the rash decision to run directly at the raccoon. Well, he didn’t like that, so he left. The chickens continued screaming … Well, one in particular. You guessed it: the one with half a body torn off and hanging from the chicken coop door. Yeah, that guy? He was still alive.

We had now entered Jake territory.

I calmly cleared my throat and went back to the house. By the way, I was barefoot, so not only was I chasing a raccoon barefoot but I was also trying to avoid dog poop in the dark.

I got back to the bedroom and announced, “Jake. Wake up,” in the calmest voice possible, images of silver eyes and bloody stumps just ricocheting around my brain like ping pong balls.

Jake isn’t a good waker-upper. He startled and made a confused noise before I was like, “Dude, the chickens are being murdered.” Whelp, that got his attention.

I don’t know why I joined him outside. The chickens are my husband’s project, and although, yes, I was the earlier hero, they’re his babies. Jake was understandably not pleased at the state of things. I stayed there with him, holding the flashlight, until he tugged the half-eaten still alive chicken out into the open and said something about “sorry, buddy” and … Yeah, I fled inside at that point.

It took forever to fall back to sleep. I’m sore everywhere today and have a dozen times realized I’m staring at walls and not working.

I’m not upset about the chickens, not really. It sucks that we lost four last night to a hungry fanged beast, and I feel bad that my hubby puts so much work into raising these birds—for us—and then, they go and get their dumb asses killed. (Chickens are really dumb; trust me on this.)

Instead of being upset, I’m entertained today because, before I met my husband, I don’t think I’d ever met a chicken outside of a plate and yet, last night I wielded a massive flashlight and chased a monster from my yard. Most days, I write about monsters, but I don’t often stare one down and have an imaginary conversation at 2 AM.

Life is awkward and weird and sometimes horrible, and yeah, we rush around all the time. Days go so fast, and we’re like, “How did I get here?” But, man, sometimes life is just so dang funny with its metaphorical blood and guts hanging out for all to see. It’s a mess. Enjoy the mess. Now, go about your day and try not to hear the sound of screaming chickens.

(If you want to read about The Chicken Incident, Arizona, feel free, but it’s equally as alarming as what you just read. Cheers!)

Film

Dear Mr. Chalamet: When I was 22 …

I wasn’t going to say anything, but … I’ve been cheating on Benedict Cumberbatch with a 22-year-old since January. THE SHAME! And, seriously, I wasn’t going to say anything, but there’s been an abundance of irrationality surrounding said 22-year-old recently, and I can’t keep my mouth shut.

If you’ve seen Call Me By Your Name (or paid attention at all to the previous award season), you know the name Timothee Chalamet. No? Well, here he is:

He’s freaking beautiful, okay? And intelligent and endearingly awkward in interviews and extremely talented. He speaks FRENCH, for Christ’s sake. He was at the Oscars for Best Actor, the youngest nominee in that category in almost eighty years. Ever since watching him play precocious Elio in Call Me By Your Name, I’ve been a fan, which is easy considering he’s active on social media: a universe where Benedict is noticeably absent.

Due to Timothee’s social media activity, we fans know things. Since we’re all obsessed—men and women of all ages alike—we play detective and figure things out. The paparazzi have been annoyingly helpful, too. Thanks to them (and Timothee’s Instagram), we know the following:

  1. He partied hard at Coachella.
  2. He’s been hanging out with rock stars like The Weeknd and Nicki Minaj.
  3. He was recently spotted making out with a blonde chick in France.

I applaud the guy. I mean, shit, he just lived through award season, winning thirty-three big trophies for his role as Elio. He wore designer suits and walked every red carpet and smiled and smiled and shook hands and … I’m exhausted just thinking about it. He deserves to take a few months off to party, because—lest we forget—Chalamet is twenty-two.

Instagram capture of Timothee from The Weeknd’s party palace at Coachella.

Some fans have responded harshly, worrying about what drugs he might be doing, the sex he might be having. Worrying that he’s going to trip and hurt himself. People are screaming, “He must be protected!” Right. Okay. Time travel with me, would you?

When I was twenty-two, I was still in college. I was consistently getting drunk and dancing with strangers in bars. I didn’t have a job lined up after graduation. I slept until I literally had to go to class and did laundry once a month maybe. I lived on pizza and beer. One night, my girlfriends and I even had a contest to see who could kiss the most dudes in one night. I won with seven.

Some fans have seemingly forgotten what it was like to be a freaking kid. Granted, Timothee is an Oscar-nominated kid who might get another nod this year for his role in Beautiful Boy, but he’s still a child. (A sexy adult child, but you know what I mean.)

People—media included—need to cut him some slack. We’ve seen it happen a million times before: young actors getting all messed up and ending up in rehab by thirty. Do I want this sob story for Timothee? No. But maybe part of the reason young stars end up screwy is because they never get a chance to be kids and just have fun. They don’t deserve the pressure of being held to a higher standard. They’re just growing up, going through the same motions as all of us.

As Timothee has said in interviews, the male brain doesn’t fully develop until twenty-five, but young stars are under intense scrutiny, which I imagine is terrifying. God, I shudder to think what my life would be like if I’d had cameras pointed at me in college! I’d probably be in jail.

Should young stars be expected to hide in their homes, spending their nights reading philosophy while avidly not enjoying a cocktail? Hell, no. My advice to Timothee Chalamet: have fun, man! When you’re not working, party with cool people and experience life. Get laid! Get drunk! Post ridiculous dancing videos on Instagram. You might be alarmingly successful right now, but work hard, play hard.

I feel so blessed for the life I’ve led, experiencing fully every age. When I was twenty-two, I lived it up. (I still live it up.) I hate to see anyone forced to grow up too fast. It’s important to enjoy being young. Enjoy being thirty. Enjoy being forty! You get the idea. So everyone just chill and let Tim be Tim. (I still love you, Benedict.)

Uncategorized

Am I a slut?

One of my favorite Sex and the City episodes is “Are We Sluts?” In it, heroine Carrie Bradshaw (and her three crazy friends) come to question their own sexual prowess based on strange bedfellows, a burglary, and an STD. I’m not getting into the details here, because you should really just watch the episode. It’s fabulous. I’m more addressing this question to myself: am I a slut?

Now, I realize that sounds sort of crazy. One, I’m married, so if anything, I’m a monogamous slut—which, in my opinion, is the cornerstone of a strong marriage. I’m more concerned with certain recent developments in my wardrobe. Last night is a good example.

With Jake out of town, I went barhopping with some of his twenty-something coworkers. Before leaving the house, I put on something “comfortable.” For me, “comfortable” was skin-tight Express jeans and a midriff halter-top. While curling my hair and staring at my own thirty-five-year-old reflection, I had the first tiny inkling … Sara, do you dress like a—gulp—slut?

I dress young for my age. I know this. Some days, I wear see-through shirts and six-inch heels to the  freaking grocery store. Ridiculous. Then, last night, I had a ten-minute internal battle with myself before I suddenly, coherently decided I’m not a slut; I’m just happy.

Hear me out. Currently, I’m yoga-obsessed. I don’t eat much meat anymore, and I’ve given up the majority of dairy and gluten. (Do I still drink whiskey and smoke cigarettes? Duh. I’m not a nun.) I recently went to buy the above-mentioned Express jeans, and I chose a size six. The sales boy actually glared at me—a visual “Bitch, please”—before handing me a size two. I can’t freaking believe I now wear a size two.

All my life—no matter my weight—I have felt like an awkward, chubby girl. Don’t roll your eyes; I realize this is all in my head, but my head is a very important part of my body. For months at my yoga studio, for instance, I was nervous to talk to my teachers because I thought I wasn’t worthy. I was the clumsy, thick girl, since for most of my life, that is how I’ve identified in my personal perception.

Now, I’m thirty-five and in the best shape of my life. With the help of exercise, healthy eating, my perfect husband, and maturity, I’m happy and confident in my body—which brings us back to the slut thing.

Do my clothes sometimes cling a little tightly? Do my tits sometimes loom a little large? Do I show my tummy and shake my ass in bars? Well, yeah. Because finally (finally), I’m happy with the way I look and comfortable—chuffed even—with who I am, and I don’t care who sees. My style has changed so much over the years, but I think my clothes are finally me—the me I have always wanted to be.

This isn’t political. I’m not reclaiming the word “slut” and making it into a pride statement. Honestly, this isn’t even about you. This is about me, damn it, comfortable in my skin after thirty-five years of worrying that I look bloated. With thirty-six looming in June, it’s prime time to say I’m not a slut; I’m just me.

Film · Mental Health · writers life · Writing

I watch horror movies when I’m sad

There’s something so soothing about cannibalism. While recently watching the brilliant French film Raw, I totally spaced out on bloody images of a nice girl chewing on human flesh. With the addition of a well-mixed Cosmopolitan (it’s not a during-dinner movie), I put my kicks up and relaxed. Something I’ve done very little of lately.

As a writer, we all have bad days. I’ve had a bad month. Granted, I have so far spent much of 2018 creating. By end of March, I was burnt out. I thought going to Florida for the annual Bite Somebody Pilgrimage might help. A week spent doing nothing while sitting on the beach only made things worse because it made me notice how happy I felt not producing.

Currently, I stew in a state of discontent. Life feels slightly off, like a glitch in the matrix. I’ve even had trouble reading, comparing myself to every author and feeling like I’ll never stack up. I have yet to bang my head against a desk, but I’m close. At least if I’m unconscious, I won’t obsess over all the work I’m not doing.

Jake was out of town two weekends ago. Our empty, old house reminded me how much I love scary things—which was when I remembered a friend had suggested Raw. I paid a visit to old favorites, too, like Woman in Black, Neon Demon, and Poltergeist. I turned my back on my usual genres and started reading Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. (True, I took a fluffy break to watch Alexander Skarsgard play Tarzan, but well, who doesn’t want to watch that?)

As close friends know, I watch Rocky Horror Picture Show when I’m really depressed. Something about being trapped in a spooky castle surrounded by spooky people during a champagne sex party really brightens my mood. When I speak about mental illness, I often mention my love of horror films: “No matter how bad things are, at least I’m not being chased by an ax murderer.” True—and probably why I’ve been fully immersed in the horror genre for weeks.

I’m struggling. I’m semi-drowning. A perpetual state of discontent is not a good state. My mom calls my writing a “gift.” My devotional this morning pretty much said the same. I am happiest when I’m writing, so why am I avoiding my favorite thing at all costs?

True, the “business” gets exhausting. The constant promoting and selling and pitching and rewriting and … ARG! I gave a presentation recently about “The Write Life,” and I explained to my audience that actually sitting down and writing—creating—is a surprisingly small part of the writer’s job. The birth of something, its initial inception (that blessed first draft) is the best part of the gig and, arguably, the smallest.

Which makes me want to watch every Halloween movie ever made and drink a dozen martinis.

I’m tired. I’m disgustingly discontented—and yet blessed because I have so many new releases in the coming year that are going to be amazing. Despite all the good stuff, it’s human nature to gravitate toward how messed up we’re feeling. Which I think is okay, really, as long as we don’t fixate on how messed up we’re feeling.

Dunno, guys. If I don’t feel the itch to create something new soon, I’m going to go right mad. I relate most to Mary Shaw in Dead Silence. I don’t like kids, and I already have the dolls.

Uncategorized

The Unexpected Infatuation: Sexy short story out today!

Obsessed with this gorgeous cover by Rue Volley.

He caught my gaze. “Do you realize how much you watch me?”

I frowned. “Of course I watch you. You’re handling what you call national treasures.”

He blinked his large, dark eyes and continued to work without further comment until he discovered a book he must have considered of particular import, because he shouted with excitement and ran to me. Papers ruffled as he threw a dusty tome on my desk, but instead of recounting its prominence, he leaned so close, I felt his breath on my neck.

He whispered: “You can do more than watch if you like.”


As part of their “Hot Singles” series, Encompass Ink released my erotic short story today! Read all about “The Unexpected Infatuation:”

In Victorian England, middle-aged Thomas Warwick lives a dull, sheltered life with his wife until his uncle dies and leaves him everything—most notably, an astounding library. The young James Reynolds is hired to catalogue the immense collection while on Christmas leave from Cambridge. 

It starts innocently enough with gentle touches and careful smiles. However, it’s not long before James inhabits every waking thought of the conflicted Lord Warwick. Hounded even by lustful dreams, Thomas can’t help but tumble into infatuation. Thankfully, James is only so happy to catch him.


Reviewers have been super sweet to this story!

“Would love to read more about Thomas and James. Romantic and easy to fall for.”

“A quick, sexy read with a bookish ambiance and so much regency goodness. I highly recommend as a pallet cleanser after anything filled with drama.”

“An enjoyable read with sizzle. More James please.”

I hope you have fun with it, too. Buy your copy on Amazon today, and be sure to add it to your Goodreads list!

(Hmm, yes, I’m picturing James Purefoy as Thomas and Timothee Chalamet as the delightful young love interest. Cheers!!)

Bite Somebody

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.

 

Modeling

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.)

 

Charleston · Enchanted Series · Sara Dobie Bauer

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.