Saying goodbye: The end of Enchanted

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

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

“Do you feel like you know me now?”

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

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

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

“Is that a no?” she asked.

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


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

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

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

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

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Am I on fire or just burning out?

Photo by Chris Loomis.

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by J. Dell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meet the sexy small town boys of Craving: Country

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

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

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

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

“Must Love Grapes”
An Excerpt
By Sara Dobie Bauer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Did Janis drive you into Geneva?”

“Yes.”

“Where is she?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But I have a secret,” she said.


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

What are reviewers saying?

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

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

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

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

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


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

Photo by Bill Thornhill.

Vampire love stories are yours today in Ravenous

You may have noticed I love vampires. Well, I love vampires in love even more. Today, Pen and Kink Publishing releases its newest anthology, just in time for Halloween. Ravenous “explores saucy, sexy, and sweet tales of forbidden vampire/vampire hunter love, vampire threesomes in space, kink as only a vampire could enjoy it, and so much more.”

My noir horror-romance story, “Forever Dead,” fits into the forbidden vampire/vampire hunter love category: When ancient vampire Dario almost murders Detective Zach Mede for the fun of it, he is stopped by a sexual connection that threatens to ruin both their reputations. Despite keeping their forbidden tryst secret from the world, a vengeful female vampire finds out and makes Zach a target. Will Dario be in time to save the young mortal he has come to love, and at what price?

Here’s a teaser of “Forever Dead” to whet your spooky appetite:
(Warning: sort of explicit dude on dude content to follow.)


I first saw Zach Mede when he worked SWAT. His team tumbled into this blood club in Miami. Word was vampires were killing humans in the club bathrooms, a serious no-no in the so-called modern world where vamps and walking blood bags were supposed to live in unity. Instead of going along peacefully, a gang of male vampires, myself included, fought back at the injustice of the bust.

As fate would have it, I got matched up in hand to hand with Zach. I was so impressed with his strength and speed, I let the kid beat the shit out of me. He didn’t move like other humans. He moved too fast, and I suspected he’d been trained by one of my own. Oh, yeah, and he smelled good, looked good. Something about that black hair; those angry, dark eyes; and the immensity of his shoulders—I just let him whack away at me until I decided to play dead. I snuck out before they could cuff me and then tailed him home.

I politely let myself into his apartment.

He wasn’t even out of his shoes when I threw my first punch. I lifted him about ten feet off the ground and dropped his dead weight on the kitchen table. I pinned him down and let him know, “I was just playing earlier. Now, I’m gonna kill you.”

He didn’t even yell when I tore at his throat. He barely struggled. Guess he figured when your time’s up, your time’s up. But then his hands were in my hair. He made a pleased “ung” noise. Before I knew what the hell I was doing, my mouth covered his parted lips. I shoved my tongue against his teeth, setting up imaginary flags that said “Mine, mine, mine.”

I distinctly remember the sound of clothes tearing as I sought bare skin. That first time was and always will be a ménage of images, sounds, and smells: Zach’s tan chest, the sound of his voice, and the blood that pooled down the side of his neck.


Wanna read some more? (Oh, God, yes.) Check out the full Ravenous anthology, featuring stories from Wendy Nikel, V. Hummingbird, Tiffany Michelle Brown, and several others. Celebrate Halloween early with some sexy vampire lore.

Also check out my guest post on the Pen and Kink Publishing website. Click HERE to read about the “Forever Dead” atmosphere, soundtrack, and even fantasy movie cast.

Oh, and in case you didn’t hear … Speaking of vampires, my paranormal rom-com Bite Somebody won Best Paranormal Romance Novel in the 2017 Imadjinn Awards. We’re pretty dang pleased around here, let me tell you. I even put my trophy on the fireplace mantle, because I think that’s where trophies are supposed to go? Many thanks to my publisher, World Weaver Press, along with the people who made it all happen: Sarena Ulibarri and Trysh Thompson. Love you ladies! Now, go read “Forever Dead.”

Amazing “Forever Dead” art by Turner B. Davis.

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!!!!!


 

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.

The Best Part of Being a Writer

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

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

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

You see the conundrum.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intelligent erotica that’s both hot and heavy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She probably poked holes in it.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Clarendon Hotel pool in Phoenix.