Publishing

How to write a vampire threesome

In celebration of Blood in the Rain 4, let me tell you that writing a threesome took some serious visualization skills. In my new short story “Miracle Monsters,” ancient vampires Flech and Ivy spot Addison at the club. Addison is deaf, and his handicap sets him apart from the sweating, writhing mob. (It doesn’t hurt that he’s freaking gorgeous.) Soon, they take him home and make him a mysterious offer …

But that’s enough. No spoilers here! The only obvious spoiler: yes, there is a threesome in “Miracle Monsters,” and yes, it was hard to choreograph. As a writer, it’s difficult enough writing a scene where three people are talking, let along fu … having fun. They’re having so much fun. My suggestion for writing a threesome scene: use your imagination. Picture everything. And, you know, do your research.

Blood in the Rain 4 is a collection of vampire erotica from Cwtch Press, and you can order your copy today. Read all about it:

Bite me, you say? Be careful what you wish for… These searing vampire short stories go straight to your unspeakably dark desires. Biting, drinking blood, sucking souls—they do it all in this scorching new collection. Whether they are out for a meal or a good time, the vampires in these stories are sure to make you hot and bothered. Savor each story one bite at a time, or devour the collection whole. These tales are sure to entice and ensnare you, whatever your kink or inclination!

Now, go buy all the vampire sexy goodness. Click HERE.

Enjoy an excerpt of my story, “Miracle Monsters” below. (And if Addison maybe looks like Timothee Chalamet, sue me. The kid is hot right now. There miiiiiiiiight be some Only Lovers Left Alive vibes, too …)


“Miracle Monsters:” An Excerpt
by Sara Dobie Bauer
Featured in Blood in the Rain 4

I spotted one such creature under the moving, colored lights. While I leaned halfway on my husband’s lap and played with his long, black hair, I watched the handsome stranger stand off from the crowd, his hip against the bar. He just barely nodded his head to the heavy bass as young men and women shouted at the bartender for another drink and another. He didn’t appear to hear them. When he was approached, I understood why.

“Fletch.” I squeezed his shoulder. “Look.”

The handsome stranger put down his drink and signed. He was deaf. The rapid motion of his hands allowed me a close study of his long, pale fingers. His friend responded in kind, and they laughed together. The stranger had shaggy, dark hair like my husband, so he twitched his head back to clear his view.

“Shall we give him a miracle?” I asked Fletch.

His nose tickled the side of my neck. “You don’t even know the man, dear.”

I wrapped my arms around him, the leather of our jackets sticking together in the muggy club. “But don’t tell me you wouldn’t like to. Look at him.”

“I’m looking.”

“He has the face of an angel, but the body of a man.”

“A boy, perhaps. He’s thin as a rail.”

“But tall. As tall as you.” I kissed the side of his face. “Don’t dare lie to me, husband. You would love to have him in our bed.”

“Your Good Samaritan is showing, wife. You only want to f**k him because he’s deaf.”

“Let me at least meet him.”

Fletch gave my thigh a playful squeeze as the stranger watched the crowd.

“Look how he moves,” I whispered above the music, right in Fletch’s ear. “He can feel the bass but nothing more, yet he watches the way people dance. He moves with them.”

“Like a man stumbling in the dark.”

“Yet, he is the light.”

When a young woman shoved up to the bar, the stranger tilted his body further toward us. Fletch was right, he was thin and delicate in the way flowers are with androgynous features that tricked the eye—every eye—into believing this creature belonged in bed. I could see them all looking, even the rude woman behind him. They all wanted, but we had the advantage: Fletch and I could actually sign.

“Good God, look at that mouth.”

I laughed at Fletch’s low growl.

“Fine. Go on, go get him.” He gave my ass a squeeze as I stood. “Just be sure to bring him back.”


Just in time for Halloween, buy your copy of Blood in the Rain 4 today. Click HERE, and enjoy all the vampire yumminess.

Bite Somebody · Bite Somebody Else · Public Relations · Publishing · Sara Dobie Bauer · writers life · Writing

The Best Part of Being a Writer

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

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

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

You see the conundrum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Publishing · Sara Dobie Bauer · Writing

LEGENDARY, spooky urban legends with a romantic twist, now available

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Urban legends. We’ve all heard them, and we’ve all told them. They fill the role that fairy tales once held—morality lessons meant to frighten us into sticking with the herd, obeying society’s rules, and not taking any chances.

In most urban legends, once someone transgresses, we know things won’t end well for them. In other words, drink or have sex and you’re dead. But what if romance gets in the way of total terror? What if romance, in fact, saves the day?

LEGENDARY is the newest anthology from Pen and Kink Publishing, and it’s out today. (Buy it HERE.) For my story, I went with an old classic: the couple making out in the car who gets attacked by a hook man. Of course, I made my couple two gay college dudes. And the hook guy? Well, he’s got some history.

Of all the stories in LEGENDARY, mine is by far the most ridiculous, but that’s due to my love for B-horror films and camp comedy. Here’s a teaser of “Not Again.” To see how things work out for Rob and Colin, you’ll have to buy a copy of this spine-tingling anthology!


“Not Again”
By Sara Dobie Bauer
Featured in LEGENDARY

Mord Hollow College sat less than a mile from the rocky, often frigid Oregon coast like a gargoyle hanging from the side of a grand cathedral. Colin liked its grand spires, poking up into the habitually gray skies. He liked how it resembled a Carpathian castle, identical to something Bram Stoker would have imagined, but more so, he liked its proximity to the sea—and the fact that Rob Clooney walked its green, tree-lined paths.

As Colin and his housemate, Izzy, loaded the back of their car full of cases of beer, he considered the remaining months of his senior year and the likelihood he would graduate never knowing what Rob’s mouth tasted like.

“You’re doing it again,” Izzy said, bottle of whisky in his hand.

“Doing what?”

“Pining.”

Colin slammed the trunk of his beat up automobile, a hand-me-down from his parents who lived a couple hours away. Colin had only set foot outside Oregon once, and that was to see the California Redwoods on a family vacation. Depending on where he got a job as a hotshot reporter, he could end up anywhere. The thought frightened and thrilled him in equal measure… sort of like Rob.

He circled to the front of the car. “Do we have enough blankets? What about firewood?”

legendaryMouth full of whisky, Izzy leaned his head back and gargled, “Pining.”

“I’m not pining. I’m thinking. I want to make sure everyone has a good time tonight.”

“Did you invite Roberto?”

Colin winced. “Don’t call him that. He’s not even Hispanic. He’s paler than—”

“Freshly fallen snow,” Izzy sang.

“God, I hate you.” He laughed and climbed into the driver seat. Colin only ever drove his car to the ocean, so it smelled like salt and mold inside. They didn’t technically need to drive to the seaside, but it was the general consensus that carrying multiple cases of beer through the woods just off campus sucked. Ergo, they drove. He started up his car. It wheezed, sputtered, and vibrated as the engine kicked to life.

“That’s our pretty girl.” Izzy pet the dashboard and took another glug of cheap liquor as Colin pulled out of their driveway.

They lived in a crooked house a block from campus. The roof leaked when it rained, which was often, but it was all either journalism student could afford.

“So you didn’t invite him?”

“No, Izzy, I didn’t invite Rob Clooney.”

“Tick-tock-tick-tock.”

Colin pointed his car toward the black sea, stars overhead. They were lucky to have a clear night, although a possible thunderstorm was in the forecast for later. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“One semester left before you have to leave campus, get an actual job, and stop ogling the kid on a daily basis.”

Colin scoffed. “I do not ogle.”

“You get pathetic puppy dog face whenever he’s in a twenty foot radius.” Izzy reached into his back pocket.

“You will not smoke in my car, and you know it.”

“No shit, Sherlock. I got Rob’s number today, and I invited him.”

“What?” Colin’s grip wobbled on the wheel, making the car sway across the narrow road.

Izzy’s thumbs poked away at his keyboard, and light illuminated the acne scars on his face like sunshine crossing the moon. “Did you not want him to come to the kick ass drunk fest we’re about to have so that you could take advantage of him?”

“I wouldn’t—Izzy, he doesn’t party. Everyone knows that. He’s a health nut and with good reason.”

Rob Clooney was one of the only male dance majors at Mord Hollow College. Not only was he a dance major, but he was also a ballet dancer. Colin never knew ballet could be sexy until he covered a school dance show for the college newspaper. That damned show had changed, possibly ruined, Colin forever. Once he saw Rob flying across that stage, dark eyes ablaze, there was really no use hitting on anyone else. No one else would ever compare.

“I told Rob you have a crush on him.”

Colin hit the brakes.


To read the rest of “Not Again,” as well as four other amazing scary-sexy stories, buy your copy of LEGENDARY by clicking HERE. And if you’re of the social media ilk, we’re having our Facebook launch party tonight. Come join us for some silly fun and book giveaways from 5-7 PM EST HERE.

Bite Somebody · Bite Somebody Else · Book Review · Entertainment in CLE · Film · Modeling · Ohio · Publishing · Sara Dobie Bauer · Wolf Among Sheep · Writing

Vampires, movie magic, and best books: 2016 in review

Every December, I do inventory of what the hell happened over the course of the previous twelve months. As you may have noticed, 2016 was (by far) the most chaotic and successful of my life … which might be why I refuse to get dressed today. In fact, you’re lucky I’m even sitting upright. In homage to a year of utter, beautiful insanity, I offer you a look back.

1. BITE SOMEBODY

bitesomebody_final

Dreams do come true. After years of angst, in June, my first published novel was released into the innocent, unsuspecting world. Bite Somebody–a ridiculous paranormal romantic comedy about an awkward vampire, her sexy human surfer boy, and a psychotic blood-sucking best friend–found fans the world over. I hosted two massively successful (and anxiety-inducing) launch parties and attended my first conventions as an author. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, click HERE, because as you may have heard, the sequel, Bite Somebody Else, comes out in 2017. The rodeo is far from over, folks. With all the upcoming promo and additional events, let’s just hope I don’t start looking rode hard and put away wet.

2. DECENT PEOPLE

decent

Once upon a time, I was an actress, so when my high school buddy asked me to be in a movie, I agreed. I had an absolute blast making Decent People, but I had no idea how hard it is to make a full-length film. (You can read all about it HERE.) Despite the laughs and new friends made, I walked away from the experience with bronchitis, laryngitis, and a phobia of having to smoke on screen ever again. (The reality just isn’t as sexy as it looks.) The film should be released in spring or summer of 2017. Since I refused to watch the dailies, I’ll surely watch the film from between my fingers, but I’m so glad I got the opportunity to slip back into my acting shoes–and have a damn good time playing a bitch in the process.

3. MODELING

modeling2016

Moving to Ohio from Phoenix (where I had a full, colorful cast of photographer friends), I wasn’t sure how much modeling I would do in my new state. Surprise! About a ton. Thanks to networking, I’ve gotten to shoot in a famous cemetery, in a creepy church basement, and yes, in my underwear. I even got to do a runway show in Cleveland. As always, I encourage everyone to do a photo shoot at least once. You won’t believe what you look like on camera, and when you’re old and crinkly, you’ll be amazed at how beautiful you are and always have been. (Above photos thanks to Bill Thornhill, Devon Adams, Steph Gentry, and Dennis Mong.)

4. SHORT STORIES

Other than Bite Somebody, what else got thrown into the world this year?

Wolf Among Sheep (Hot Ink Press)
“I was not at all prepared for what I deduce you proposed yesterday,” he says. I just adore that strange accent, so much like my husband’s: a mismatch of places and times, trapped somewhere between New York and the low south—musical yet clipped and precise.
“What exactly do you deduce we proposed?” I ask.
“That I enter into a sexual relationship with a married couple.”
I laugh; people around us turn to stare. I take Timothy’s hand. “Well. Perhaps these Americans aren’t quite as close-minded as I thought.”

I Hate Myself for Loving You (Lunch Ticket Magazine)
Timmy shoves him over and joins him in the dirt. He thumps Jason in the side of the face. I think I should tell them to stop—scream it even. Instead, coward that I am, my boys keep going until they see blood. Then, they fall back. They yell about catching Jason’s “gay disease,” named by some mad scientists a couple years back in ‘82. My best friends drag me away.
Jason rolls onto his side in the dirt and wipes at the split skin below his right eye. He doesn’t look up at me, but I keep watching as we hurry from the scene of the crime. I keep watching Jason and think I’d like to wipe his blood all over me.

The Saguaro Apocalypse (Stoneslide Corrective “Striking Use of Wit” Winner)
I opened the door. At first I thought it was some really tall, skinny dude with short arms.
Then, I realized it was a saguaro cactus. Must have been a young one, since its limbs were only about two feet long and pin wheeling in my face. I had the momentary thought: What the hell was in that weed? The cactus kept brandishing its T-Rex arms at me.
“Thomas?”
“What now?” I heard the shuffling of his sock-clad feet.
By the time Thomas reached me, the cactus was banging its rounded top against the doorframe; guess it couldn’t figure how to duck.

You’re Glowing (Omnia Veritas Review)
I haven’t had sex in two years. This unfortunate situation could be ignored except men have started glowing. The doorman outside my apartment glows dark blue, like his nicely tailored suits. I shudder beneath his smile and barely acknowledge his mannerly door holding.
The cop on the corner near the elementary school, he glows green. I don’t know if he’s supposed to, but he always holds up his orange “Don’t Walk” sign when I pass his crosswalk. He winks at me every day, which makes my forehead sweat.
The guy who makes my morning coffee glows pink. I hate the color pink, but I don’t hold it against him. He’s always nice to me. He tells me I smell good. I’m probably old enough to be his mother.

Forget Me Do (Red Rose Review)
Her friends called her a witch. It was only a joke. Whenever one of the girls posted on Facebook that she felt a cold coming on, Debra was on the road with her herbal tea mixtures and tinctures. Then, miraculously, within days, her girlfriends would be completely healed and winning track meets. That was why they called her a witch. That and, well …
“You just made out with Stan in the back of his dad’s car.”
“I hate when you do that,” Rebecca said.
Debra couldn’t help knowing things.

If It Ain’t Broke (Marked by Scorn Anthology)
“This thing for Henry Oliver … You’ve got it under control, right?”
“Of course. I’d never do anything about it.”
“You are kind of touchy-feely with the kid.”
Nate slowly turned his mug on the sticky, wooden table. “God, am I?”
Ella shrugged one shoulder. “A little. I think it’s cute, but other people might not.”

Ghosts of Ice Cream (Bop Dead City)
My fingers rest like a sleeping spider against his collarbone. I breathe the scent of him: salty sweat with an undercurrent of men’s cologne, leftover from his day at the office. He take small inhales, exhales, and hums a little when my fingers touch his throat.
And then I hear it: the ice cream truck. I finally recognize the song: an off-key, off-tempo version of “Beyond the Sea” that comes to me like screams through water. It was our wedding song. I shiver and pull closer to Michael, who falls apart, a pile of ash in my hands.

Sick Like Me (Honeydew Erotic Review)
“What kind of help do you need exactly?”
Evan shrugged. He played with the strap on his motorcycle helmet. He had long, skeletal fingers with squeaky-clean nails. He chewed on his bottom lip. “You think I’m attractive.”
“I’m sure a lot of people think you’re attractive.”
Evan shook his head. “I’m not talking about them.”
Cam sighed. “You’re making this too easy.”

5. BOOKS READ: 58!!

bestbooks2016

Best of the best:
The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Wreck You by Randi Perrin
The Train Derails in Boston by Jessica McHugh
Captive Prince Trilogy by CS Pacat

6. COMING IN 2017

Bite Somebody Else (Bite Somebody, #2). Read all about it HERE.
“Not Again” – LEGENDARY Anthology (January 13)
“They Lived in the House On Cherry Street” – Black Denim Lit
“The Emmett File” – Stoneslide Corrective
“Painted Red” – kINKED Anthology
Enchanted Series: Magic SparkPen and Kink Publishing

Frankly, I’m exhausted just reading all this. I guess I should go take a nap, duck and cover until 2017 officially rolls around. I do want to thank everyone who supported me this year, whether that involved a Tweet or a glass of whiskey. I have wonderful friends, family, and fans, and I could not have achieved all of this without YOU. So here comes my British boyfriend to blow you a kiss … Cheers!

ben

 

Book Review · Interviews · Publishing · Writing

New collection The Cut Worm encompasses the things you fear

“That night it is something of joke. On TV there is a reporter standing outside with a crowd of people. The news station turns one of their giant lights into the road. One person after the other stands in front of the light. Their shadows grow and stretch the width of the street, then vanish as they move back into the darkness, all except one boy’s, fourteen year-old Myles Veech. He dances and laughs, moving in and out of the light, it making no difference. The light never changes. His silhouette never comes to life, yet he laughs. He looks … free. Nothing about Myles, his laughter, his dancing, his glee, makes you have any reason to believe that three days later he will hang himself with a guitar string, a sun lamp in the corner of the room, shining right on him, no proof of his corpse in the light.”

scary

Gulp. Yeah. Ready for more? Author Mitch James is a skilled writer with the capability to terrify you down to your toes. In his new collection, The Cut Worm, he’s not writing about vampires or werewolves. He writes about us–what would happen to us if we thought the world was ending, if we lost our shadows, if we embraced despair in the snow. Read on for a look into the talented mind of a master of pain in prose.

How’d you come up with the title?

When I was a sophomore in college, I took a literature course where we read William Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell,” and in that poem, one of his proverbs is, “The cut worm forgives the plow.” That line has stuck with me, partly because I grew up in the Midwest, and at that time in my life (and earlier) I did some work on farms, and partly because that line just really made me think in a lot of different ways.

cut-wormOne way to see the world is that there is beautiful growth, development, and life all around, meaning life is good. Another is that there is beautiful growth, development, and life all around, but, in nearly every case, something must be drastically altered, maimed, or destroyed in order for that growth, development, and life to occur, yet life is still good.

And yet another way of looking at the world is that because something must be altered, maimed, or destroyed for there to be good in life, life is actually just a really f***ed up jest.

Blake said the cut worm forgives the plow. I wonder, does it? Every time? This chapbook is full of people absorbing the damage of living, but the question remains in each case, is the sacrifice truly bearable? Do we have it in us to always forgive the plow?

Do you have a favorite story in the chapbook … or are you not allowed to say?

There’s not one story that I necessarily like more than another, but I like each for a particular reason and am satisfied with how certain approaches or techniques worked out. For example, “Snow Blind,” “What We Always Did But More,” and “Without a Shadow” are all written very differently, despite the heart of the content in each piece being quite similar. I’m happy with the brevity and power of “What We Always Did But More;” with the success of the generally scorned, second-person perspective in “Without a Shadow;” and ”Snow Blind”, while being its own story, is also in homage to Raymond Carver, and to have somebody say, “Yeah, I want to publish that,” is rewarding. In fact, the editor liked “Snow Blind” the best, which is why the chapbook cover is what it is.

What’s your daily writing routine look like?    

I’m a pretty firm believer that writing is a process that starts way before “ink” hits page, so my most important routine is to pay attention. Every person, movement, and change has a cause, and that cause is a story. At some point, though, one must put his or her ass in the chair and write, and that part of my writing routine is like clockwork.

mitchFor four to six weeks, I will write Monday through Friday, 3 AM to 5AM. Then, the next two to four weeks (it depends on how much material I have circulating), I will revise old work and send it out for publication. It’s not the amount of time I would like to spend writing and editing, but I learned early on that the people who want money from me don’t give a shit about my fiction or poetry.

Once, in lieu of a check for a water bill, I sent the water company a series of three poems. Three days later, when I flushed the toilet at 3 AM and it didn’t fill back up, I assumed they didn’t care very much for my writing. So it goes.

You’re a teacher, too. What’s harder: writing or teaching?

Teaching is more challenging. The writing part is up to me. I either do it or don’t, so writing is easy. When you’re teaching, you’re working with several people who, like everyone else, have lots of things going on in their lives, things that oftentimes overshadow your class. But I find teaching insanely rewarding and don’t see myself doing anything different for a while, unless, of course, a big publisher wants to write me fat checks for my work.

Who are your biggest literary influences and why?    

There are a few. I would say the writer whose work I’m most floored by, the writer who makes me feel it’s a waste of my time to write because my work will always pale in comparison, is Cormac McCarthy. He’s an absolute master. Period. But I also study writers, sometimes even those whose work I’m not overly fond of, so that I can understand the skills they have that make them so unique. I’ve learned the most from Raymond Carver. But sometimes as a writer it is stylistically better to tell than show, and for that I’ve been influenced pretty heavily by John Updike and especially John Cheever, neither of which are my favorite writers but are great when trying to locate and study long pieces of narration that effectively tell rather than show.

Does your wife ever get annoyed being married to a literary geek?  

I annoy her for many other reasons, but my love of books and writing is both welcomed and reciprocated by her. I think that having the right kind of partner does matter if you’re an artist. I have a wife who actually admires my drive and dedication to writing and thinking. It’s part of what she loves about me. She is by biggest supporter, hands down. She doesn’t feel like she’s playing second fiddle to my work or intellectual aspirations. But I also consider her too. For example, I write at 3 AM because she will never be awake from 3 AM to 5 AM. I try to do most of my work when we can’t be together, even if that means starting my day at an ungodly time. A little give and take on both sides goes a long way.

Why are books important?

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. There are two reasons.


Check out Mitch’s short story collection, The Cut Worm, on Amazon and get your copy today by clicking HERE. You will not be disappointed!

Book Review · Interviews · Publishing · Writing

Breath of Earth author Beth Cato talks historic San Fran earthquakes and … foxes?

breath

Author Beth Cato creates steampunk worlds of mystery and excitement, starting with her Clockwork Dagger series and now with her new book, Breath of Earth, released yesterday.

Beth has created SUCH an amazingly beautiful (and terrifying) world of earthquakes and magic in Breath of Earth. Her heroine, Ingrid, is strong and vivacious with the occasional weaknesses and romantic reveries of all young women. Cy is a delicious, Southern dreamboat as her brave sidekick. The action never stops, nor does the mystery. This book is a real thriller for fans of steampunk, adventure, tough chicks, and gorgeous writing.

Let’s sit down for a quick chat with Beth and see what she has to say about her newest steampunk duology …

Earthquakes are magical (and deadly) in Breath of Earth. What’s your personal experience with them, and why did you choose to focus on earthquakes in this book?

I’m a native Californian, so I have plenty of personal experience with earthquakes. The first and most devastating one occurred when I was three years old, in the bathtub, with the epicenter of the 6.2 quake only about 40 miles away. It pretty much obliterated the nearby city of Coalinga. My mom and grandparents used to live there, so we drove to see the devastation. Buildings had their walls sheared off and resembled dollhouses. From then on, I was fascinated by earthquakes.

A few years ago, I mulled over ideas for a new steampunk series. I realized that no one had explored the 1906 San Francisco earthquake from that angle, so I resolved to take on the challenge!

beth-headshotOver the past few years, you’ve acquired award nominations and many accolades for your Clockwork Dagger series. What has been the most surprising thing about having a dream come true?

That strangers have read my works. I’m like, “Whoa, someone other than my mom and my husband has read this?” I don’t know how long it takes to work past that stage of disbelief, but I have been a published novelist for almost two years at this point and I am still baffled by it all.

I love that Breath of Earth is a bit sexier than your previous series. What made you decide to heat things up in your newest opus?

I wanted to write about a strong woman who was very different than Octavia in my Clockwork Dagger books. Octavia is very frank about the human body because of her experience doctoring, but she is also quite proper, too. I wanted to set Ingrid apart and make her a distinct person. Along those lines, she’s a very passionate person in most every way. She has a knack for surprising me even though I’m a heavy duty outliner!

What is your favorite thing you’ve EVER written?

I have a story called “The Souls of Horses” that is set against a more steampunk American Civil War. It had the most “almosts” of any of my stories at all the major magazines. It broke my heart. I loved this story, and it was rejected at about a dozen places until it was finally accepted for Clockwork Phoenix 5. The story is the only one of my works to be called out in a starred review on Publisher’s Weekly, and even Ellen Datlow recommended it on Twitter. Vindication! Here’s hoping it can get some nice attention in the upcoming award season.

Fantasy movie cast: Who’s playing brave, snarky Ingrid and sexy, sexy Cy?

I haven’t seen a good actress to play Ingrid! For that, I blame Hollywood and its lack of diversity. For Cy, I could envision a younger Viggo Mortenson. I should also add that his appearance was inspired by Daniel on Stargate (movie and series) who was a teenage crush of mine.

"Ms. Cato, I answer your call."
“Ms. Cato, I answer your call.”

What’s it really like being a published writer? Give us the honest truth, good and bad.

It’s exciting, humbling, and depressing all at once. I have actual FANS, and not just the kind attached to my ceiling. My publisher is fantastic and my publicist is magical. On the flip side: I have had signing events where all of one person shows up. I still get tons of rejections on my stories and poems. Writing and editing and waiting for feedback is the same as ever: utterly terrifying. My cat pees on the carpet.

Is Breath of Earth a duology? Trilogy? Do you know exactly where the series is headed and where it will end up? No spoilers haha …

It is a two book deal, but I think I’ll need three books to wrap up the arc. That means Breath of Earth needs to sell well so I can write another book! The second book is written and I’m awaiting edits; I have ideas about the major events for book three and where I want action to take place, but I am still reading through a lot of research material. As for an evil hint: foxes are excellent predators.

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“I … GOTCHA!”

If you could hand Breath of Earth to anyone, alive or dead, and have them read it, who would it be?

Well, when it comes to selling books and expanding readership, there is really only one person who wields that god-like power: Oprah. So yep. I’m going with Oprah.


I gave Breath of Earth five big, shining stars on Goodreads, so pick up your copy today by heading HERE. Learn more about Beth (and get some amazing recipes) by visiting her website, http://www.bethcato.com/.

Bite Somebody · Public Relations · Publishing · Writing

Rust City 2016: Why do we go to book conferences?

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Last Thursday, I told my husband I was terrified. I had to drive up to Detroit for the very first Rust City Book Con, and I did not want to go. I wanted, in fact, to curl into a tiny ball and cry all weekend. Instead, I had a four hour drive, followed by three days of panels, workshops, and socializing.

Jake, ever patient, said, “You’re going to have fun.”

Of course, he was right. I arrived at Rust City Friday morning, one workshop already under way. The organizer met me barefoot and with a smile, which made me think, “Okay, if Jackie’s barefoot, I’m going to be all right.” (Don’t ask me why this was so comforting, but it was.) Then, fellow author Cali helped me carry stuff up to my hotel room. I’d made a friend.

I sat in on some panels that morning and learned fantastic things about character motivation and the industry. I laughed with other audience members. During the long lunch, I had a beer and was invited to join a table of women with whom I immediately fit. I could cuss and say silly things, and they laughed. They actually LAUGHED.

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Pin the fangs on Bela!

Over the course of the weekend, I sat on some panels of my own. I gave an 8 AM workshop on planning the novel. I did a book signing. A fan ran up and called me “Ms. Bauer,” which made me giggle because no one calls me that. I organized a “Pin the Teeth on Bela Lugosi” game, because why not? I sold some books, but mostly, I guess I networked.

As authors, why do we go to book conferences? Since Rust City was my first as an official author person (thanks to Bite Somebody), I wasn’t sure going in. Now, I think I’m getting an idea as to why conferences are necessary.

It’s not for the money. I did not come close to breaking even, when you consider travel costs, conference costs, and oh, beer costs. Although I learned a few things, the conference was not about education for me, as most of the topics discussed were things I already knew.

Networking? Yes. I think we go to book conferences to network. I was lucky enough to have breakfast with one lovely lady who plans to refer me to her agent. I met authors who think like me, write like me. I have a cornucopia of new Facebook and Twitter pals, and yes, I found a few new readers.

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Roselynn and me

However, maybe just maybe, we authors go to book conferences to feel not so alone. Yes, as writers, we are “high-functioning introverts.” New soul mate Roselynn had a shirt that said, “I’m Done Peopling Today.” I get it; I hid in my hotel room as often as was appropriate.

Despite our general tilt toward the anti-social, though, we need each other because we need to talk about writing. We need to talk about books we love. We need to talk about rejection and how much it can suck being an author, even once you’ve been published.

It’s wonderful to meet our readers, but it’s wonderful to meet other authors, too, and commiserate. And for those of us who write about sex, how nice to have our jokes actually land.

I made the mistake of leaving Rust City Saturday night. I had a lovely, wonderful dinner with old Detroit friends, until a lady at the table behind us complained about me saying “orgasm” in public. Funny how empty it feels when you’re no longer surrounded by “your people.”

I drove home yesterday completely exhausted and “done peopling.” I have a stack of new books to read. I have new friends across the country to keep in touch with. For my first book con as a published author, I’ll call this one a win, not because I made any money but because I felt the love. I laughed. I connected. That’s what Rust City Book Con was really about.

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Book Review · Interviews · Publishing · Religion · Writing

The Tiffany McDaniel Interview: “I’m drawn to the crash, not the landing”

As you may have noticed in my book review Tuesday (read it HERE), I’m kind of obsessed with new book release, The Summer That Melted Everything. As soon as I finished the book, I online stalked the author, Tiffany McDaniel, because I HAD to speak with her. I would have searched the whole world to talk to Tiffany. Luckily, all it took was an email (although, since we both live in Ohio, we have agreed that one day we will meet up for whiskey). So. Meet Tiffany.

What inspired you to write this book?

The Summer that Melted Everything began its life as a title.  It was one of those Ohio summer evenings that I just felt like I was melting. When beginning a new novel, I do always start with the title, with no real plan for what the story is going to be.  Once I have the title, I write the first line always.  Together the title and the first line determine the entire course of the story for me.  In this case, not planning on writing about the devil, the first line really determined I would.  I never do an outline or synopsis so the story is always created that moment I’m sitting in front of the computer.  For me it’s not so much as being inspired by a particular thing outside of the story, but really just allowing the story to naturally flow without being forced into a specific direction. And once the foundation of the story is built, I’m inspired by the characters themselves. To do right by them and really let their voices be heard.

The story is really very sad. As a writer, did you ever want to stop and turn away from the world you created?

I’ve always said I’m drawn to the crash, not the landing. I want to explore the wreckage, the broken fragments, the things that were once whole and are now scattered upon the ground. I never have that urge to stop or turn away because to me these moments that test us emotionally are moments we’re closest to the truth of our own infinite selves. The novel does deal with heavy issues, as all my writing does.

tiffIt’s important to write about these heavy issues but usually when a female author does it, she’s often told she’s too dark and shouldn’t go there, as I have often been told during my writing journey. But when a man writes something that digs into the deep interior, he’s merely being brilliant or a daring risk-taker. The answer here has suddenly turned into a discussion of gender and where we fit in contemporary literary fiction as female authors. So I’ll conclude by saying yes, the novel is at times sad. But I truly believe it’s the hard things in life that define our souls in enormous and even magical ways, because sadness is not just tears on the face and tissues on the floor. It’s being reminded to be present in our lives, to be appreciative of what it means to value each day and those we love in it.

What’s your religious background? How do you think your background (religious or otherwise) affected SUMMER?

I think sometimes that discussion of the author’s religious background can lead readers in a direction the novel itself is better equipped to do. I tend to avoid personal questions, so I won’t go into all that but just say that I tried to find in the novel a balance between traditional religion and rogue religion. Furthermore, exploring singular belief but also that shared belief of who the devil is and who we are in relation to not just our own beliefs, but belief as a whole on that greater scale which pivots in the clouds with the stardust and all the things we cannot see by physical eye.

Is the devil really just other people?

I think this is a great question readers themselves will ask after reading the novel. And after having read the novel, readers will really be able to answer this. I don’t want to give any spoilers away at this point, so I’ll just redirect the answer by saying you learn very early on in the novel that the devil we’re dealing with in this story is not the stereotypical devil found in the biblical narrative. Gone is the beastly appearance of horns and serpent scales and all that we’ve grown accustomed to in thinking about the devil. As I say in the novel, “Sometimes it’s the flower’s turn to own the name.” And in this town of wildflowers, the fields are not left in want.

Who’s your favorite character in SUMMER?

I don’t know if I’d say my favorite character all around. But one of my favorite characters to write was Grand who is Fielding’s brother. Though Grand’s personal battle is specific to him, his struggle for true self and identity is universal. I think also because we see Grand through Fielding’s eyes, we fall in love with Grand just as Fielding has. Grand is the older brother we all want to have. That heroic, selfless human being, who in the end proves himself in more ways than one. If Grand is anything, he is a billion blurry lights become a galaxy of clear illumination, and how can a character like that not be someone to hold dear.

What do you hope people get out of your debut?

That family is more than a house structure and the people inside are more than the titles we give them like father, mother, son, brother.  We should always strive to know and understand each other and that goes for the community as a whole as well. Just because someone is called devil doesn’t mean they are the devil.  It’s up to us to figure it out for ourselves and to know peace and harmony never lie at the end of those paths paved with hate and paved with the type of red surface others have had to bleed to make.

summerWhat’s next for you? 

While The Summer that Melted Everything is my first published novel, it’s not the first novel I’ve written. I wrote my first novel when I was eighteen years old. I didn’t get a publishing deal until I was twenty-nine. Some authors publish much sooner than that, others take longer still. What’s true in most cases is that the road to publication is oftentimes a very long, difficult journey. It’s full of rejection, and even still with a novel coming out, you face rejection with subsequent novels and their publication. It’s never easy, but what’s next for me is to just continue writing. The novel I’m hoping to follow The Summer that Melted Everything up with is titled, When Lions Stood as Men. It’s a novel I really hold dear as the subject matter demands that. It’s about a brother and sister and their guilt of surviving the Holocaust. But more than that it’s a story about this brother and sister surviving each other and surviving a love that both defines and determines the course of their entire lives. Sometimes we think the lions in our lives are standing, but really that’s only because we are crawling at their feet, and this novel, while complex in its layers and emotions, is universal in its theme of what it means to stand after tragedy.

The Summer that Melted Everything is the novel to introduce my writing style to readers, but When Lions Stood as Men is the novel that’s going to solidify my style and genre as a writer. It’s a novel I’ve put a great deal of work and love into and I can’t wait for these characters and their stories to be heard. That’s what it all boils down to. Hoping readers hear and find me. Readers have all the power. They’re the ones who give writers like me a career because they buy the book and read it. And that’s all I hope. That folks read what I’ve written and in the end close the book and say, “Hey, that’s a pretty good story. I’m really glad I read it.”

(If you haven’t already ordered your copy of The Summer That Melted Everything, do it soon. It’ll change your life. Click HERE.)

Publishing · Sara Dobie Bauer · Writing

Magic realism and coffee house sexploits in “You’re Glowing”

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Omnia Vanitas Review is a small, literary erotica press. They are “a delicate mixture of féminine écriture, new narrative, and clit lit.” They are, self-admittedly, publishers of “pretentious porn.”

My short story, “You’re Glowing,” might not be pretentious per se, but it is pretty, considering the men in the story literally glow. Catherine, the editor, said, “It was the colors. Nothing captures me like color.” She called my piece “joyful, irreverent, flushed.” She said Ella Fitzgerald played in the background as she read, which just felt right.

True, this is X-rated, but it’s X-rated with class and comedy and a cute coffee boy named Crosby. I think you’ll love it.

“You’re Glowing”
by Sara Dobie Bauer
An Excerpt

It’s been so long, I don’t remember how to get laid. I don’t only mean the two years of stagnancy at the end of my marriage; I mean Paul and I were married for ten years. I haven’t hit on a guy in over a decade, and I’ve never in my whole life asked a man for an afternoon boink. I’m setting myself up for failure. What was I thinking? I’m thirty-nine years old, horny, and alone.

I snuff out my cigarette and sigh a cloud of smoke. Then, I think: coffee. Coffee makes everything better.

My usual place is only two blocks from the newspaper stand, so I walk slowly and think of all the movies I’ve seen. Women can order men, right? Massage therapists who come to your house and get naked? I’ve seen that in a movie before, I think.

My shoulders slump. I don’t have the guts to do that. Might as well close up shop. Drag a gate over the door and let the cobwebs grow.

I pass the black Harley on the sidewalk. It’s always parked outside my coffee shop. Then, as he’s leaving, a guy in a gray suit holds the door for me and smiles. He glows red. I scurry inside.

My coffee boy is behind the counter. His name is Crosby, and as usual, he glows pink. He’s reading the newspaper and doesn’t look up when I walk in. His shaggy, dark brown hair covers his forehead and eyes. He yawns as I approach.

“Hey,” he says. He’s reading the entertainment section. Maybe he’s gay, what with the whole glowing pink thing.

I put my fingertips on the edge of the counter and study the menu on the chalkboard above his head, as if I don’t know what I’m getting. I always get the same thing: the Vienna Latte, with cinnamon and honey—which makes me realize … I just got divorced. Maybe I should try something new.

“The usual?” Crosby turns the page.

“No.”

He looks up at me. “Are you okay?”

“Yes.” I don’t look at him, because the pink aura around Crosby is throbbing today, and I think if he touches me, I will fall across the counter in the thralls of orgasm. “Café Mocha, please, double.” I dig in my wallet for cash and toss a five-dollar bill near the register.

I turn away from the counter and take a seat at a tall table near the front window. I used to sit at this table with Paul, and I realize it doesn’t matter if I just ordered not my “usual” drink; I’m still just usual me, despite the divorce. I’ll probably never get laid again. I’ll grow old in the apartment I used to share with my husband—the one I got in the settlement—and die with a vibrator in my gnarly, old woman fingers.

Crosby sits down across from me and hands me my mocha. He’s poured the foam in the shape of a heart. “What’s with you today?”

I don’t touch my drink. “I just got divorced.”

He’s silent for a moment—this man who I’m guessing is in his early twenties. Before he started glowing, I used to enjoy watching him work. I know he has a little scar on the bottom right edge of his lip, and he smiles a lot. He’s got bright colored eyes that change color depending on what he wears. Crosby is what women consider “cute.” I used to enjoy talking to him, before all men started glowing with sexual energy and before a simple touch equated to an ocean between my legs.

I actually jump when I feel his fingers on my left hand. I look down, and his thumb and forefinger hold on to my wedding band. Slowly, he wiggles the ring off and drops it in the center of the foamy heart of my mocha.

“Hey,” I say. The heart is now empty in the middle.

I look up at Crosby, and he’s smiling. He doesn’t have a line on his face, not like Paul. His skin looks baby ass smooth. His dark brown hair falls like ocean waves up and over his head. His arms are crossed on the table, and I follow the line of forearm muscle up to the edge of t-shirt fabric that strains against his biceps.

The pink has been replaced by dark magenta, and he’s glowing like some blinking stoplight at midnight.

“Will you have sex with me?” I ask.

He blinks his eyes, slowly. “I don’t even know your name.”

Read the rest of “You’re Glowing” at Omnia Vanitas Review HERE.

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Bite Somebody · Book Review · Publishing

Gone Girl ruined women’s fiction

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As part of my job, I review books, which means I receive about nine advance review copies a week. Yes, nine. My husband just loves the immense stack of never-to-be-read books piled willy-nilly in my office. Why will some books—many books—never be read?

Because they’re all the same book.

I’m not saying I blame Gillian Flynn for the current overbearing trend in women’s literature. In fact, I think she’s extremely talented and introduced a groundbreaking genre with her masterpiece Gone Girl. The publishing industry apparently agrees, considering they’re now almost exclusively publishing Gone Girl wannabes OR books about Sad Shit.

Allow me to quote some cover copy from upcoming releases:
“A provocative and relentlessly gripping novel about seduction and betrayal …”
“The heartbreak is overwhelming …”
“A suspenseful novel about a woman who fakes her death …”

There are troubled girls, missing girls, revenge, and ostensibly, everything is now Suspenseful, Stunning, and Shocking. (I guess alliteration is big right now, too.) In this new era of women’s fiction, everyone is betrayed or abandoned. Everyone is broken.

I used to get excited when FedEx knocked on my door with another specially-wrapped ARC from HarperCollins, St. Martin’s Press, et cetera. Now, I barely bat an eye, because I just know I’m going to open that package and see another book with a sad woman on the cover.

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Why won’t you LOOK AT ME?

(By the way, this is a trend we can’t blame on Gillian Flynn. There’s a joke that all Nicholas Sparks books should be called “White People Kissing,” based on the covers. Well, now, all women’s lit books are pictures of women facing away from the camera, presumably because they’re all crying. Yawn.)

I am so tired of a) suspense novels about disappearing wives/murder/deceit/dead children and b) sad ass stories about redemption and reconciliation. If I get one more book with “gripping” in the marketing copy, I might scream.

The publishing world is so oversaturated with depressing women’s fiction, I have to wonder if the big publishing houses are even paying attention. I understand they’re looking for the next Gone Girl or Girl on the Train, but I’ve had enough.

I’m not innocent. I do write some depressing stuff on occasion, but for the most part, I write stories so far outside the realm of reality, I dare to say I’m depressing no one. Take my novel, BITE SOMEBODY. It’s about an awkward, 80s-obsessed vampire named Celia who’s in love with the smell of her neighbor. She drinks A-positive blood because it makes her feel like she got a good grade.

Now, you could say, “Not another vampire book!” However, mine is different. It’s a vampire book that makes fun of vampire books. It’s also not particularly “gripping” or “provocative” or “shocking” (unless you count the bit about a pilfered Virgin Mary statue).

I’m really hoping someone notices the Gone Girl trend and writes a parody. It would be super simple. Just make the husband run away, have nobody notice he’s gone, and The End.

Thanks to popular publishing, we are now being fed the same book over and over infinitum. Do we blame Gillian Flynn? No. It’s not her fault her book was successful. However, she did start this whole mess, so perhaps, she gets a bit of my flack. More so, it’s the industry itself that can’t stop publishing depressing shit in an era when depressing is the last thing we need because, oh, terrorists.

I say go out and read something funny. Read something not under the umbrella of “suspense thriller.” Read something that isn’t about cancer or betrayal or infidelity. I realize that really cuts down on your modern literature options, but maybe, if we all huddle together and read funny books, the publishing houses will realize there are only so many incarnations of Nick and Amy Dunne we’re willing to read.