I’m Lexxie Couper. Some of you may know me or have heard of me (I’ve been around for a very long while) and some of you might be wondering who the hell I am. I’m an Aussie, a geek, a serious lover of chocolate, and a writer of romance. I write contemporary romance, paranormal romance, horror romance, sci-fi romance, romantic comedy… pretty much all kinds of romance, except historical (no way I have the research skills to write historical romance even though I love reading it). I’m also the proud owner of a rescue dog and a proud owner of a rescue cat (who pretty much rules the house).
I’m a part of a ten-author boxset called Rescued: A Collection of Contemporary Romances with Heart, Heat, and Dog Treats that’s available now for $0.99 pre-order and releases May 17th. All the books in the boxset feature rescue dogs in some way. My book in the Rescued boxset is called Who’s a Good Boy? and tells the tale of Chelsea Parker, a feisty dog trainer, and Timothy Holt, a single-dad environmentalist, and how one very special rescue dog (called Wilbur) changes everything for them. It’s a feel good, steamy rom-com that will make you smile. Promise.
This is my rescue dog, Ebony. She’s a border collie/kelpie/whippet cross. She was abused by her previous owners and now suffers from anxiety. But she is the sweetest doggo you’ll ever meet who just wants you to love her, no matter who you are. She sat at my feet or at my side as I was writing Who’s A Good Boy? and whenever the words stopped flowing I gave her a pat and she licked my hand and the words came again.
Here’s a little snippet from Who’s A Good Boy? I hope you enjoy it.
Who’s a Good Boy?
Timothy Holt is totally out of my league. He’s damn-near Australian royalty and I’m just a dog-trainer. There’s no chance he’d want anything to do with me, especially after I accidentally spilt juice all over him just before he’s about to go on national TV. And then the success of my business suddenly hinges on us being in a relationship. How the hell am I going to make that happen?
Romance isn’t on my agenda. Nor is dog ownership. And then Chelsea Parker slams into me. Literally. She’s a complication I don’t need, but for some reason I can’t stop thinking about her. Her smile, the way she makes me laugh, the way my body reacts to her…. I want everything about her. But what is she going to do when she discovers the truth I’m hiding from her? A truth involving a three-legged mutt called Wilbur?
Excerpt from Who’s a Good Boy?…
My hair has never been a perfect anything. God, did I even do it this morning? I try to remember. Nope, no clue.
Let’s hope the curls hide the possible absence of a brush. Maybe everyone will think I’ve just got a really expensive beach hairdo.
I clear my throat, struggling not to reach up and touch my hair. “I need to go as well,” I say, looking at the very cute, very familiar guy.
His gaze grabs mine again, and yep, he’s definitely holding it. “Sorry for getting in your road,” he says.
“Anytime.” I let my lips curl into a smile as I turn away. “Sorry for knocking you off your feet,” I finish over my shoulder.
I’m flirting. I’m actually flirting. Go me!
“Anytime,” he calls after me.
And he’s flirting with me. I think. Is he? He is, right? Oh God, why am I so bad at this?
Because you suck at dealing with humans, Chelsea. Suck, suck, suck.
His daughter waves at me, and I wave back. And grin. At him. At the delicious little butterflies-flutter his playful compliment stirs in my stomach.
Maybe I don’t suck at dealing with humans? Maybe I’m better at it than I thought. A year after being dumped by Roger—the only serious relationship I’d ever had—a year after many failed first dates and aborted Tinder interactions, I’d begun to believe I was.
But perhaps this serendipitous moment with the familiar stranger is proving Roger wrong.
Okay, maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse. One little flirtatious interaction and one brief second of eye-contact does not a femme fatale make. But still, when was the last time a living creature apart from an animal has made me grin?
Because I can’t help myself, I shoot a look back over my shoulder.
He’s watching me, poised to climb into the backseat of a black Audi SUV, the older gentleman who’d asked if he was okay holding the door open for him.
Holding the door for him? What the…?
Who the hell is this guy? A celebrity of some sort? Is that why he looks familiar?
He smiles at me.
Before I know it, I smile back.
And then, with a small wave, he disappears into the backseat of the Audi.
A thick sense of loss ripples through me and I let out a sigh. “Yep. Missed opportunity right there.”
The older gentleman closes the door, pins me with a contemplative scrutiny I feel all the way to my spine, and then strides around to the driver’s door.
Lyle and the cutie-pie munchkin are nowhere to be seen. In the car already, no doubt.
I chew my bottom lip. With the possessive way Lyle kept glaring at me, it’s probably better it’s all over but the singing.
Still, damn, he was cute. The guy I knocked over. Not Lyle.
*** So…what did you think?
I really enjoyed writing Who’s a Good Boy? Maybe in part because I loved writing about not only people falling in love with each other (and boy, do Tim and Chelsea fall hard), but also people falling in love with rescue dogs (Tim never planned to have a dog, and then Wilbur entered his life). I grew up believing every home should have a dog and every dog should have a home. Now, for no other reason than why not, here’s a photo of Chris Hemsworth and his dog. 🙂
***A Little Lexxie Contest***
To go into the running to win two eBooks from my backlist of the winners choice and a signed Lexxie Couper print book, leave a comment here on my guest blog post here on Delilah’s blog between now and May 20. 🙂 Tell me what you thought of the snippet, tell me about your pet, tell me about your breakfast, tell me something you know about Australia. 🙂 Tell me anything, or even just say g’day.
And don’t forget to pre-order Rescued for only $0.99!
Thank you, Delilah, for hosting me today. You’re very kind.
I’ll admit a secret – I didn’t think the current war would happen. I follow politics and world events, and I couldn’t conceive of this happening. From the beginning—from the first bombs falling—my worldview changed. I felt powerless and, as atrocities continue, my heart breaks a little more each day.
So, what could I do? I can’t influence politicians. I can’t solve the crisis. And asking for world peace, although laudable, isn’t realistic. I donated to a worthy cause. I reached out to my Ukrainian friends to offer unconditional support. But I continued to feel powerless.
Then a friend told me Dakota Willink was putting together an anthology to benefit Ukraine. I’d seen several before, but this one provided me an opportunity to sign up. I immediately threw my name into the ring. I’d written a novella previously for another charity anthology, so I knew I was capable of writing a 10k word story in a short period of time. And I have a world to set that story in, so that was easy.
Still, I wanted to do more. I have another pen name, under which I write very different books. I asked them if I could write a second story, and they agreed. In fact, I’m not the only author who’s done that. With my task at hand, I sat down at the keyboard.
To be clear, none of these stories are about the conflict. We recognize that it’s far too painful for many readers to tackle at this point. But love? Our readers are always up for reading about love. The stories span broad categories such as contemporary, paranormal, and dark, and delve a little deeper into gay or BDSM or other subgenres. There’s something in here for everyone.
My first story is The Lightkeeper’s Love Affair. From my description, it’s a 10k lighthearted gay romance with forced proximity, a loner, a future schoolteacher, and Buddy, the adorable beagle. So, a little something for everyone. The story takes place in a fictional world I’ve created in British Columbia, Canada, and has some familiar sights to those from here. If you’re not, I invite you to immerse yourself. This book is under my pen name Gabbi Grey.
My second story, Toronto Tryst, is also, clearly, based in Canada. I’m showing my roots. Again, from the description, this is a 5k word BDSM-light romance short story with a surprise that will delight. My dark erotic BDSM series, under the pen name Gabbi Black, is, frankly, very dark. It touches on black places but always with a happy ending. That series takes place in Vancouver. The final book in the trilogy is coming out early next year, so I didn’t want to disrupt the series. Yet I wanted to write the story for the anthology. My solution? Pull someone from the BDSM club on the west coast and transport them to Toronto for a nice evening of fun. Don’t be afraid of the BDSM—this is definitely a fluffy read. A nice sampler for those who are new to the subgenre, and a amusing story for those who are more familiar with it.
Obviously, I’d love if everyone purchases a copy of the anthology. It contains hundreds of thousands of words—all written by authors who just want to do their part. 100% of the proceeds go to United Help Ukraine.
Thank you again, Delilah, for giving me a place to share my great news. I would love to give a $10 Amazon Gift Card to one lucky commentator.
Let me know your favorite romance trope! Mine turn out to be instalove and forced proximity. And a dog (or cat). I know pets aren’t a trope, but I just always have to throw one in. Share your thoughts for a chance to win!
Seeds of Love: A Romance Charity Anthology to Benefit Ukraine Synopsis
You can help us make a difference.
SEEDS OF LOVE is a romance anthology to benefit Ukraine. This collection of short romance stories is not available anywhere else. 100% of the royalties will be donated to United Help Ukraine, a charitable organization dedicated to helping the Ukrainian people affected by Russia’s invasion. They are a grassroots, entirely volunteer-based organization that provides aid to wounded Ukrainian warriors, assistance to their families, and support to internally displaced people.
This anthology features 48 authors. The stories include various sub-genres of contemporary romance, paranormal romance, dark romance, and romantic comedy.
SEEDS OF LOVE is only available for a limited time! Stand with the people of Ukraine and get your copy today!
UPDATE: The winners are…Denise, Jennifer Beyer, and Stacey Kinzebach!
I love writing short stories. I used to submit short stories to publishers all the time because writing short, getting to The End quickly, gave me a rush. Writing short also gave me a chance to try new things out without a lot of risks. It’s how I discovered my love for writing bounty hunter stories! Eventually, I “graduated” to editing and publishing my own collections of short stories because I love the process of seeking stories from talented officers, making choices regarding which stories work together, editing every precious word, and then sending the book out into the world for readers to enjoy. I’m working on volume #7 of my Boys Behaving Badly Anthologies right now—Silver Soldiers—that I think you’ll like.
It releases later this year! The book will be a big thick volume of shorties and will be dirt cheap—just $0.99—like all the Bad Boy anthologies are. No excuses at all for anyone not to pick up a copy!
You can check out previous anthologies by clicking on the covers. And yes, they are all just $0.99—not because they’re not worth full price, but because the authors of these stories want as many people as possible to devour their stories! They’re a great deal and a great way to find new-to-you authors!
Comment for a chance to win the download of your choice of
one these anthologies! There will be three winners!
Excerpt From “In the Wild” inside First Response…
If not for her GPS device, Martika Mills wouldn’t have had a clue where she was. All she knew was that she was soaked to the skin, mud sucked at her boots, and two days into this hunt, she was no closer to finding Marlon Oats.
Earlier that morning, after sliding a twenty to a gas station attendant on the Montana border, she’d thought she was getting close. She’d gotten a description of the car Marlon had “borrowed” on his flight into the wilderness and had found it parked in a narrow roadside viewing point, just inside Yellowstone National Park.
After that, she’d followed the narrow stream into a deep gully off the road, knowing Marlon considered himself quite the fisherman, or so his mother had said. No doubt he intended to live off the land until the heat died down after he’d failed to make his date with the judge in Helena, where he was due to be tried for robbing a pawn shop in Springdale at gunpoint. His mother had been very helpful, liking the fact that Marti seemed like “a nice girl” who might “ask” her son to let her put him in handcuffs rather than shooting him. His mother didn’t want Marlon hurt, even though his skip might cost her the home she’d lived in since she’d married Marlon’s no-account, long-dead father.
Marti was just about to call it a day, figuring she had just enough daylight left to get back to her SUV parked behind Marlon’s at the roadside park, when she spotted a puff of dark smoke rising over the gully. Noting its direction, she climbed up a steep embankment, seeking footholds in mud and rock and grabbing vines along the sides of the rocky face until she stood at the top and realized the land on this side of the stream was flatter and filled with tall spring grass—and a herd of buffalo that didn’t seem to pay her any mind as she bent over and dragged in deep breaths. She glanced at her hands braced on her knees and grimaced, because they were covered in mud, which she shouldn’t give a shit about because her jeans were streaked with dirt as well.
Marlon had a lot to answer for, but thoughts of the rich bounty she’d score kept her from throwing in the towel. Her mother liked to say that stubborn was her middle name, which was a quality that worked well in her line of work. She always got her man because she never, ever gave up. She’d been bounty hunting for nearly three years now, the last one going solo because she didn’t like sharing her bounty with a partner or an agency, although she was considering working for one again. Agencies often served as bail bondsmen, too, and therefore had the downlow first on the richer bounties. Fetch Winter from Montana Bounty Hunters had been working on recruiting her to join a new satellite office he was trying to get off the ground in Dead Horse, Montana, to service southwest Montana and into Wyoming. He needed hunters with experience, and he’d heard good things about her.
She’d heard good things about the agency, too, if you discounted the cable TV show that followed his hunters out of Bear Lodge. Fetch gave his crews a higher percentage of the bounty than most agencies did, and he’d assured her that he wouldn’t be looking to do any spin-off series featuring his other offices, but he had admitted that the bonuses for the hunters who permitted the production crews to accompany them were very generous. The job was hers, if she wanted it. But first, she had to find Marlon Oats.
Trying her best not to draw the herd’s attention, she walked along the edge of the ravine, keeping within the narrow line of trees standing along the edge of the ravine as she made her way toward the place she believed a campfire had been lit.
As she drew closer, she stayed hidden and peered into a clearing. A small tent had been pitched, one that had seen better days. One of the screen windows was torn, and one of the poles that held up the tarp over the door was missing. But she couldn’t make out whether anyone was presently occupying the campsite.
Just then, she heard movement coming from the stream below and a soft off-key whistling. Hunkering down, she waited patiently until the person climbed over the edge of the embankment and stood.
“Marlon, you sweet idiot,” she said under her breath. Her heartbeats quickened, and she drew slow breaths. She needed calm, not adrenaline, to get closer to her target.
Marlon strolled toward his campsite holding a string of four fish, which he lowered into a pot beside the fire. As he began taking them out, one at time, gutting and filleting them, and then tossing the pieces into a pan he’d filled with oil, she moved closer, choosing her footsteps carefully, grateful for the chorus of gargling grunts from the buffalo nearby that masked the sounds her feet made in the suctioning mud.
She studied Marlon to see what challenges he might present. A rifle leaned against the tent, and he held a knife in his hand. Slowly, she dropped her backpack to the ground and drew her own 10mm Remington from the holster on her thigh, and then began to work her way toward the edge of the tree line, knowing she’d eventually have to expose her position to prevent him from making a move toward the rifle.
Soft chuffing grunts sounded from the herd, but she ignored the animals, keeping her gaze fixed on the more dangerous game in front of her.
Then she stepped on a twig, and it snapped.
Marlon’s gaze swung toward her position, and his eyes widened. His gaze shot to the rifle, but she shook her head.
“I’m a Fugitive Recovery Agent, so you know why I’m here,” she said, keeping her tone low and hard.
Eyes still wide, his body tensed as though he was preparing to bolt upwards and make a run for it.
“Don’t even think about running,” she bit out.
He blinked, and his gaze went to something behind her. “Bitch, you might want to think about making a run for it.” Then a smile stretched across his face as he slowly stood and waved his arms.
What the fuck…?
Then she heard it. A deep, gargling grunt. With her handgun still held in both hands in front of her, she darted a glance behind her. Read the rest of this entry »
After a few authors mentioned their disappointment that they wouldn’t have their stories done in time, I decided to extend the deadline. So, authors, keep writing those Silver Soldiers stories! DD
SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY
Editor: Delilah Devlin
Deadline: April 5, 2022
SILVER SOLDIERS is open to all authors.
Editor/Author Delilah Devlin is looking for stories for a romantic erotica anthology tentatively entitled SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY.
Why write a short story for this collection? Well, it’s certainly not about making a lot of money, so why do it at all? I’ve said this before, but here are my thoughts…
Writing a short story for a call for submissions is a chance to flex your writing muscle! It can be a chance to experiment with a genre you’ve never written. If you’ve never written a story in first person but don’t want to begin by writing an entire novel using it, start short! For myself, I’ve written stories in new genres or with fresh themes that ended up being so much fun to write they’ve spawned entire series.
You have a deadline! I don’t know about you, but I have trouble keeping my butt in the chair without one!
It’s a promotional opportunity! If selected, you’ll be joined by 12-15 other authors for the launch, sharing your audiences and, hopefully, picking up new readers along the way. Having your story in the collection is another chance to be “seen.”
And remember, you retain the rights to your story, so you can republish it for individual sale or give it away to attract subscribers to your newsletter. You might even decide there’s more story to tell and expand your short story into a novel.
Here’s what I’m looking for…
SILVER SOLDIERS: A BOYS BEHAVING BADLY ANTHOLOGY will include stories that satisfy the reader who craves stories with older alpha male heroes. Those salt-and-pepper hotties with crow’s feet earned through rugged training and years of combat. Former soldiers finding their footing after their first careers, or current soldiers nearing the end of their military careers. They’re ready to find the right partner to put down roots, ones who aren’t afraid of scars and rough edges.
SILVER SOLDIERS will seek stories with varied settings here on earth, grounded in reality, or soldiers who might be something a bit more than human—supernatural creatures, or even aliens and cyborgs. The only requirement is that these soldiers understand loyalty, allegiance, and real courage.
I’m open to any subgenre of erotic romance you want to write. I’ll accept contemporary, historical, science fiction, or paranormal stories, and I won’t be picky about whether the stories are hetero, LGBT, ménage… Basically, you, the author, can go anywhere your imagination takes you so long as 1) the story is a romance, and 2) you have a bad boy somewhere in the pages!
The anthology will be sold at a low price—my intent is exposure for you and your writing. The more readers reached, the better! You will retain the rights to your story so that, at a later date, you can republish your stories individually.
I’m seeking hot and inventive stories from authors with unique voices, and above all, I’m looking to be seduced by tales filled with vivid imagery and passion.
Published authors with an established world may use that setting for their original short story.
This is erotic romance, so don’t hold back on the heat. Stories can be vanilla or filled with kink, but don’t miss describing the romantic connection between strong-willed individuals learning to trust and love one another. A deep sensuality should linger in every word. Keep in mind there must be a romantic element with a happy-for-now or happy-ever-after ending. Strong plots, engaging characters, and unique twists are the ultimate goal. Please no reprints. I want original stories.
How to submit: Prepare your 2,500 to 5,500 words story in a double-spaced, Arial, 12-point, black font, Word document (.doc or .docx) OR rich text format (.rtf), with pages numbered. Indent the first line of each paragraph half an inch, and double space (regular double spacing; do not add extra lines between paragraphs or do any other irregular spacing). U.S. grammar (double quotation marks around dialogue, etc.) is required.
In your document at the top left of the first page, include your legal name (and pseudonym, if applicable), mailing address, email address, and a 50-words or less biography, written in the third person, and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are using a pseudonym, please provide your real name and pseudonym and make it clear which one you’d like to be credited as. Authors may submit up to 2 stories. I will try to respond no later than June 15, 2022 with decisions.
Payment will be $25.00 USD, ninety days after publication at the end of that month.
Who is Delilah Devlin?
Delilah Devlin is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of romance and erotic romance. She has published nearly two hundred stories in multiple genres and lengths and has been published by Atria/Strebor, Avon, Berkley, Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora’s Cave, Entangled, Grand Central, Harlequin Spice, HarperCollins: Mischief, Kensington, Kindle, Montlake, Penthouse, Running Press, and Samhain Publishing.
Her short stories have appeared in multiple Cleis Press collections, including Lesbian Cowboys, Girl Crush, Fairy Tale Lust, Lesbian Lust, Passion, Lesbian Cops, Dream Lover, Carnal Machines, Best Erotic Romance (2012), Suite Encounters, Girl Fever, Girls Who Score, Duty and Desire, Best Lesbian Romance of 2013, and On Fire. For Cleis Press, she edited Girls Who Bite, She Shifters, Cowboy Lust, Smokin’ Hot Firemen, High Octane Heroes, Cowboy Heat, Hot Highlanders and Wild Warriors and Sex Objects.
She has also edited Conquests: An Anthology of Smoldering Viking Romance, Rogues: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Blue Collar: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Pirates: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, Stranded: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, First Response: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology, and Cowboys: A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology.
Direct any questions you have regarding your story or the submission process to Delilah at email@example.com.
This post is a duplicate of the one I put up on the Collections website today. I didn’t have a guest here and was feeling a little lazy—plus, I love to introduce new authors to you all. Be sure to welcome Izzy and take advantage of her special offer!
Good things come to those who wait?
I’ve been writing for years—familiar story—without thinking about a next step! They say, write what you want to read. I write stories about love, lust, romance, relationships, and am now just realizing, hey, someone else might enjoy these suckers. Being a fan of Delilah’s racy romances, I’m over-joyed for Izzy’s debut in the Cowboys Behaving Badly Anthology. I hope you love Deacon in “Something to Talk About” as much as I do, and please reach out if you’d like more of my strong, silent, hunky cowboy! My brand-spanking-new website went live today. Come find me!
Izzy Archer is my pen name… shhhh. She’s badass.
I discovered my love for erotic romance in a writing course: How to Write SEX. I’m currently working on a collection of erotic short stories revised from my old homework assignments.
Paris is my favorite city and will definitely factor into future stories!
I recently moved into an old Victorian in the Boston area, so it’s a good thing I’m handy, own power tools, and can fix things. Although, this place is over my skill level. But what’s more inspiring to a romance writer than crews of interesting workers coming and going? Everyone has a backstory!
I turned into a wine snob from living in California. Reds from boutique vineyards. My favorite kind of day is wine tasting while taking in a view of the mountains.
I believe in true love, soul mates, and the destiny we make. I create strong female characters. Don’t get me wrong, I love an alpha male. But, if there’s rescuing to be done, she’s fully capable.
My stories will always have a happy ending. Otherwise, what’s the point?
I believe good things can come at any time! And if you’re willing to wait until late winter/early spring, I’d love to send you a freebie of my story collection when it’s out! Sign up on my new—as in HITTING-THE-LIVE-BUTTON on 12.30.21 (TODAY!)—website newsletter list. The Mailing List link is on my Contact page. Mention Delilah or Cowboys, and I will send you a book in 2022! Find the link here: Izzyarcher.com
Cafe Paris is for Lovers
SNEAK PEEK from short story, Prêt-à-porter (Ready to Wear) inside Cafe Paris is for Lovers…
Caroline, in Paris for Fashion Week, meets her longtime lover at a café in Le Marais, where he has arranged a special lunch for her…
Caroline wove her way through the outdoor seating of tiny marble-topped tables and caned-back chairs to the inside warmth of the cafe. She inhaled the smell of fresh bread and dark roasted coffee.
“Jean Claude, you waited for me.”
“Caroline, pas du problem. I’d wait a thousand years for you.” Jean Claude stood immediately and discarded the paper on the chair. He kissed her on each cheek, Parisian-style, right-left-right, and then they embraced. Tight at first, like old friends. When his hand lingered around her waist, his lips grazing her neck, Caroline smiled to herself. Only a tourist would think we were just friends.
About the Author
Izzy Archer writes erotic romance with a pen in one hand and a glass of Casamigos Reposado in the other. On the rocks, with a twist of lime. She has a fondness for both cowboys and cowboy boots. Not always in that order. Find out more about Izzy at IzzyArcher.com!
Thank you so much for hosting me and giving me the opportunity to share this amazing charity anthology with your wonderful and loyal fans.
I was thrilled when presented the opportunity to join other authors to create the ultimate Christmas anthology. Secret Santa: A Romance Collection is 80 stories and over a million words. The best part? Net proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House. So, a great anthology, a great charity, and a fantastic price. All this for 99 cents!
The stories range from super sweet to super sexy. A number of subgenres are represented as well. My own story is a gay romance, and I can’t wait to share it with readers.
Thank you for letting me share my great news.
Hope everyone has a lovely holiday season.
Meet me under the mistletoe…
In this limited-edition Christmas romance collection love blooms underneath the mistletoe as secret admirers finally confess their love and secret Santas make holiday wishes of the heart come true.
Get into the Christmas spirit by diving into these stories where anything can happen through the magic of Christmas—and love.
Authors in this collection are:
Mandy Melanson – USA Today Bestselling Author
J. Shanee Byers
Adina D. Grey
Stacey Jaine McIntosh
Elle Ryan – USA Today Bestselling Author
Rachel A. Smith
Jennifer M. Miller
Amy C. Beckinsale
Grab your copy now to experience the magic of love during the holidays! Net proceeds go to Ronald McDonald House.
I found it in the midst of utter chaos. I was chasing down the perfect gifts for loved ones, planning a party, and juggling visiting family with different schedules, dietary needs, and pets. Facebook was my escape from reality. It was my coping mechanism—don’t judge. There was a picture depicting Jolabokaflod. I looked at that photo of a blazing fire with an inviting chair under the snow-covered windows. A hot beverage next to a pile of books lay beside it. I was immediately transported to Iceland. The house was quiet; the fire crackled; all my friends were curled up with books. I wanted that. Okay, I lived on the gulf coast, so snow and a roaring fire were not realistic, but I could give books on Christmas Eve. Setting up little reading nooks and an array of warm beverages were possibilities as well. I was now on a mission to adopt Jolabokaflod. It helped me rediscover my love of the holidays. Gone were the worries of making everything perfect and attending every party. What fun I had shopping for the perfect stories for my house full of guests.
Jolabokaflod is the Icelandic tradition of giving books on Christmas Eve then going off to read them with a non-alcoholic hot drink. It started after World War II, when paper was not rationed, and booksellers were trying to hawk their wares. They published a list of books and mailed it to everyone in November encouraging the giving of books for Christmas.
At my house, the big night arrived—Christmas Eve. The weather was warm. I kicked on the air to frigid, so people could snuggle up with cozy blankets. I had chosen to keep my guests in the dark about the evening’s event, so their faces were filled with anticipation as I handed out the beautifully wrapped gifts. I even learned how to make fancy bows, which is a huge feat since I am the least crafty person on Earth. Thank you, YouTube. My drinks trolley overflowed with cider, teas, coffee, and hot chocolate. I explained the tradition. Then everyone took turns revealing their books. There were oohs and ahhs and a few puzzled hmms. Friends selected beverages and dispersed to find the perfect reading spots. It was amazing. We were alone but together, kind of like a silent book club. After a couple of hours, we gathered back for a late supper of roasted lamb and flatkaka to keep with the Icelandic theme. The conversation flowed and ranged. Huge success. It was all that I had hoped for and more. Jolabokaflod is now my annual Christmas Eve event. The participants and books change, but the feeling of discovery and friendship thrive from year to year. Give it a try.
If you are looking for a book gift, I highly recommend Passionate Ink’s Falling Hardanthology (which is currently FREE in KU!). It contains seven steamy stories to warm your cold December nights. Michal Scott writes of Eve trying to escape an unwanted marriage in 1898 in Who Can Find a Virtuous Woman. Ryley Banks’ hot ginger TJ comes face to face with his teenage crush, Harley. Who doesn’t love a hot ginger? Find out what happens in Hard Cider Crush. Calia Wilde’s Burned Bones doesn’t disappoint with demons, dragons, and scorching sex. Learning that there is life after tragedy is the story of Roger Callahan. Ryan T. Osborn’s Claiming Papa is a daddy story that stays with the reader. Jordyn Kross’ Open Enrollment has you rooting for Dr. Chandra Russell from the first paragraph. What a steamy alien love story that has you hoping for a sequel. “When it comes to love and death, time is just another four-letter word.” Deni Dawson has a way with words. In her Between Love and Death, you find yourself thinking about houses and ghosts in a new way. A Facebook (can you tell it’s my story?) reconnect of first love leads to more than chaste kissing in The Homecoming.
All proceeds for Falling Hard go to Proliteracy.org!!
Want a sexy variation on Jolabokaflod? Pick up an erotic novel from your favorite author, pour your favorite beverage for a special person(s) of your choice, and take turns reading passages out loud. You don’t even have to wait until Christmas Eve!
Do you have a book tradition that you would like to share? I am always looking for new ways to celebrate with books or just celebrate!
Thank you, Delilah, for letting me share my favorite holiday tradition with your readers. Happy Holidays and Reading.
To find out more about Candice LaBria, visit her website at www.CandiceLaBria.com or her socials at Bria_writes on Instagram and Twitter and Candice LaBria on Facebook.