I’m always happy to contribute stories to charity anthologies. I’ve done several this year with charities such as Ukraine Aid Groups, LGBTQ causes, and Ronald McDonald House. All of my contributions have been gay romances, and I love adding that flavor to the books. All have been instalove with guaranteed happy endings because that’s what I write. What I want to read. What I know will both vex readers and make them secretly smile.
After an anthology is removed from circulation, the proceeds are tallied, and the money is sent off to the various charities. Then the rights revert back to the author to do whatever they choose. I like to wait a bit of time and then release them so that people who happened to have missed the anthology can snag a copy. To be clear, though, I always want readers to grab those anthologies, which are always great deals and can introduce them to new authors, and where the money goes to charity.
In the end, though, I like my stories to live on and find new readers. The problem is the cover. When the stories are in an anthology, the organizers provide amazing covers. Life’s great. When your rights revert, you need to put something on the front of it before sending it out into the world. Now, I’m getting better at this problem. I skulk around premade cover sites and occasionally pick up one (or five) for stories I think I’m going to write. Or, frankly, covers I just love.
I was shopping for another story when I came across a cover with two guys and a lighthouse.
I loved it and snapped it up a year ago. When I came to write the short story for the Ukraine Charity anthology, I remembered that cover. It still spoke to me, and so I was happy to write a story about it. An interracial gay couple and a lighthouse. My imagination took me to Canada’s west coast—to Tofino in particular. I wrote an instalove, forced proximity, short story that I kind of loved. I sent the story off to the anthology, promoted the hell out of it, and then—when the rights reverted—I looked at releasing the story by itself.
But as much as I loved the cover that had prompted the story, it didn’t fit with most of my other covers. It’s loosely part of a series of books I’ve written about a small town in British Columbia, and all those covers have solo men. I contacted the artist who had done the rest of the series and asked her to make one for me. I gasped when I saw it. Not only had she found the perfect Isaac, but she’d found a photo of the real Tofino lighthouse for me. I did a quick clean-up edit for the book, sent off the script to be produced in audio, and published the short story.
And there you have it—a long-winded story to explain how the genesis of the story was one cover, but how I wound up with something else. To be clear—I LOVE both covers. Inspiration is a funny thing, and some writers, like myself, take it from wherever we can find in. Anyway, I hope you’ll snag Ben and Isaac’s very Canadian gay love short story.
After reading all that, I’d love to hear your take. Which cover do you prefer? Drop your comment in the chat for a chance to win a $5 Amazon GC to a random commentator. There is no right answer—I’d just love to hear what you think!
And, as always, thank you Delilah for hosting me.
The Lightkeeper’s Love Affair
I just graduated. I should be out celebrating. Instead, a storm’s coming and I’ve got no to place to sleep except the backseat of my car. At least I have my beloved beagle with me, but seriously, how is this my life?
After a horrific week, I hate being unable to retreat to my island sanctuary. Perhaps sharing my hotel room with a stranger in distress and his dog will take my mind off things. Afterward, we’ll separate and never meet again. Right?
*A 10k lighthearted gay romance with forced proximity, a loner, a future school-teacher, and Buddy, the adorable beagle. This short story was originally published in the anthology Ukraine: Seeds of Love.
USA Today Bestselling author Gabbi Grey lives in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin-poo keeps her safe from the nasty neighborhood squirrels. Working for the government by day, she spends her early mornings writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances. While she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love. She also writes m/f romances as Gabbi Black and Gabbi Powell.
I want to first thank Delilah for welcoming me onto her blog. I’m so excited to share my thoughts and inner musings with you.
Less than a week ago, my dear husband and I took our youngest son to college, changing our lives forever. A little context. We have two sons, one 27 and the other 19. When our oldest moved out, it took a while for us to adjust. We still wanted him to be at home with us so we’d know he was safe and sound. Five years later, we’ve gotten better, yet we still wish he was here with us. He lives about thirty miles up the road, but even that seems too far. For his first year of college, he stayed home with us, giving us an extra year. For his sophomore year, he decided he’d had enough. It was time for him to leave the nest and spread his wings.
For my husband and me, it was a defining moment. We’d always heard others talk about the Empty Nest Syndrome. The overwhelming feeling of grief. The questioning of ourselves and our parenting skills. And finally, the sadness of realizing our kids, our babies, have moved on with their lives.
Then I had an epiphany.
Our children were our lives, but their leaving home is not THE END of our lives. It’s the beginning of the next phase. With no other kids in the house, dear husband and I now have FREEDOM! We could focus on the things we wanted to do, but with each other and on our own. Hobbies we wished to pursue could be explored. I could take my writing to another level. And with that realization, the joy returned.
From that moment, I began to plan out my writing schedule for the next year. It took a moment, but I identified which new books I would publish, which already published books I would refresh, edit, and reintroduce to readers, and outlined the #AuthorGoals I want to accomplish in the next year. The enhanced focus on my writing is something I haven’t had in many years, and I’m so excited about my planned projects. At least ten stories will be coming out in the twelve months, and I can’t wait for everyone to read what I have in store.
When your children move on and begin their own lives without you, it can be difficult to adjust. That’s not to say they won’t be back to ask for help with groceries, cell phone bills, or car payments, but that’s a different type of dependency.
The transition for parents will include feelings of sadness, doubt, and fear. While all those feelings still exist, I’m choosing to use this new normal to grow my writing career into something more. Something exceptional that will make me proud of my accomplishments, while also focusing on the reasons I began writing in the first place:
My love of reading.
The joy of reading a book that featured women who look like me.
Getting lost in a world where anything is possible.
Feeling the tears on my face when I read a book so emotional, I can’t help but cry.
Books open people up to learning about new worlds, cultures, and celebrating love in all its forms.
My desire to bring stories like this to the world is why I published my first novella, To Love a Marine, in May 2009. After ten years and 30+ novels, novellas, and short stories, I’ve fulfilled that need. I can only imagine what will happen in the next ten years, but I’m glad for the journey ahead.
PS – My latest release, Tangled Lies, formerly included in Crossroads, a USA Today Bestselling book. The book is Now Available as a single release.
What’s done in the dark, will always come to light.
Tristan Lucarelli’s life was irrevocably altered the moment his parents were killed. Under the tutelage of his favorite uncle, he entered a world of violence, death, power, and loyalty to family above anything else. Now a man to be reckoned with, no one dared get in his way without paying the price.
Camille Sperry could never be described as an average woman. Hellbent on creating her own path in the world, she didn’t apologize for who she was, or how she lived her life. Often misunderstood and underestimated, her no-holds-barred approach allowed her to create a life well-lived. She was happy and fulfilled. Or so she thought.
From the outside looking in, Tristan and Camille didn’t belong together. They didn’t fit, and their lives were too different. The challenges involved in trying to make a relationship work would be too difficult. Then again, Tristan and Camille have never played by the rules.
Reana Malori is a USA Today Bestselling Author of Multicultural / Interracial Contemporary Romance. She writes romance stories full of romance, love, and steam that pull the reader into her world. Her heroes are the kind of men you want to run away with and live happily-ever-after. The heroines are the type of ladies with whom you want to have a glass of wine. She began her writing journey in 2009, releasing her first novella, To Love a Marine. Since then, she has published more than 30 novels and novellas of varying length, to include Weekend Fling, Finding Faith, Conall, and Wicked Nights.
Is free love really free? When I sat down to write about a commune set in the late 60s, I had to figure out what kind of pairing to use. Happily-ever-afters can happen a lot of different ways—with one person, two, or three… Despite what went on in a lot of communes, I decided not to do a sexual free-for-all. It’s hard to build emotional bonding that way. But I did start writing it as a menage. When that didn’t feel right, I went for the traditional male-female pairing. Not an easy feat with such a mesmerizing and sexy hero who wants to recruit more followers at any cost and use sexual bonding to do it. With lots of pretty women and handsome guys around, temptation lay in every corner. Is the emotional bond between Jeremy and Adele strong enough to keep them in their own bed and out of everyone else’s?
Where were you in the summer of ‘69? Picketing, peacemaking, or falling under the spell of a magic man?
The day Adele Robbins turns eighteen, she flees her mother’s house to escape her lewd stepfather. She aspires to help people, but for now she simply needs a roof over her head. When she stumbles over a generous—and sexy as all get-out—hippie playing guitar on the street, she grabs at the chance for a temporary refuge.
While replacing the family he lost to tragedy as a child, Jeremy Dobson also plans to make the world a better place. Recruiting new followers should be easy, but one headstrong woman threatens to upset all his plans.
Unpeeling the layers of this unusual man makes Adele wonder if she’s jumped from the frying pan straight into the fire. She refuses to be a doormat like her mother, but Jeremy’s magnetism is a force not to be trifled with. When he beckons her to the edge to pursue their mission, will she follow?
Until the door closed, Adele didn’t dare move. Instead, Jeremy flung it wide open.
“Get off him,” he bit out.
The barely controlled fury in his voice filled her with a thrill with fear close on its heels. The man should have a high-voltage warning label on his forehead.
“I’m just following your orders, master,” she said sweetly.
After he ripped the sheet from their bodies, exposing their jeans, he frowned but let out a shaky breath.
“You disobeyed me,” he told her.
Adele scrambled off Denny who jumped up and grabbed his shirt. “You recruit your way, and I’ll recruit mine.”
“I-I didn’t touch her,” Denny told Jeremy, his eyes round and wide. “In fact, I’m going to split, okay?”
Jeremy, looking wild-eyed himself, shook his head so hard his long hair danced above his shoulders. “Don’t leave, man. In fact, I told her to pleasure you so you’d stay here.”
“Oh, well…um…I’m going to crash on the sofa.” Denny dropped his gaze as he slunk out the bedroom door and closed it.
Jeremy jammed his hands on his hips. “You disobeyed me,” he repeated.
“I heard you the first time,” Adele said as she put her blouse back on. “I’m not some whore you can pimp out.”
He paced around the bed. “You have a duty to help recruit new members.”
“You should have thought of that before you slept with me.” She headed to the closet to pack. “This place is not my scene. It’s high time I left.”
“And where will you go, Adele?” He rocked on his heels. “Out in the cruel racist world where you’ll be treated like a second-class citizen the rest of your life?”
She paused and squeezed her eyes shut. “I’d still have more dignity out there than being a whore here.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me you had a problem with your assignment?” he asked. “Why lie on top of the guy with your blouse off?”
She shrugged. “The same reason you did it with Mindy, I suppose. How did it feel, Jeremy, seeing me that way?”
He stepped forward until he was so close she could feel his body heat. “I think you’ve forgotten who’s in charge here. Maybe you need to be taught a lesson.”
His words sent a shiver of fear and desire through her. “Don’t you get it?” she whispered. “I can’t be with anyone but you.”
He grabbed her arms and pulled her against him so suddenly she gasped. “I dig it, sweetheart, and your loyalty is wonderful. But you still have to be punished.”
She rolled her eyes, chasing away the tender feeling she’d just had. “What am I, a child?”
“No, but you must trust and follow me one hundred percent.” He held her at arm’s length and gave her a gentle shake. “The journey you’re taking with me won’t always be easy. Your obedience may come down to life and death someday.”
Ice filled her veins. “You’re scaring me.”
“Put your fears in me,” he said as he reached for her waist and unzipped her jeans.
Desire rolled through her so hard, her knees buckled.
I think I’m going to like being punished.
Look Into My Eyes– in case you missed the Crossroads boxed set
The month of November is full of opportunities to observe, remember and celebrate special causes, events and people. Some of personal interest to me are National Radiologic Technology Week because I just received my Dental Radiology License and Veterans Day because I’m proud to have served. Thanksgiving gives us the opportunity to remember what we are grateful for… in the company of friends and family, while watching football and eating huge amounts of comfort food.
But a few weeks before, we start preparing turkey and watching Charlie Brown concoct a feast of potato chips and toast, we have a day to celebrate authors and the books they write. November 1st is National Authors Day.
The idea was originated in 1928 by Nellie Verne Burt McPherson an avid reader and president of the Bement, Illinois Women’s Club. a resolution was passed, declaring November 1 as a day to honor American writers. But if you ask me, National Author’s Day should really be November 30th. You see, November 1st is not only National Author’s Day, it also marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo, a thirty-day period during which many writers bleed, sweat and cry onto the pages of their latest work. As participants race to write 50,000 in 30 days, there’s likely some frenzied hair pulling and heads banging on desks all over the world. So, the end of November is when there should be balloons released and confetti thrown wherever these writers go. Free wine and coffee should be made available in abundance to all authors to celebrate their work, dedication and willingness to present a piece of themselves to the world.
So, raise your glass, thank an author, support them if they’re participating in NaNo. Buy a book, or request it at your library or local book store. Write a review. Share a book and author’s info with a friend. Post it on social media. On November 1st, throughout the month of and any day — really, show your support for the authors who’ve entertained you, scared you, made you laugh or made you to cry.
About the Author
Sha Renée is a native New Yorker who joined the US Navy right after high school. She now lives in New Jersey where she creates stories on the pages where duty, honor and passion unite.
Sha loves meeting people and attends book-signing events and conferences whenever she can. She also enjoys networking with other writers and is a member of RomVets (military women and veterans who are writers), Liberty States Fiction Writers and Marketing for Romance Writers. She is also the creator and organizer of Emerging Authors of New Jersey.
A true nature lover, Sha enjoys spending time outdoors, usually with a camera in her hands. She has a passion for motorcycles and sports cars and is a fan of auto racing, military air shows and The X Games – pretty much any high-speed activity involving wheels or wings.
She hates cooking, loves music and believes every day should include a cup of hot coffee and a glass of chilled wine.
Her Military Romance, Forbidden Kisses, is available on Amazon.
When Navy pilot, Ethan Parker falls for the woman he met at a coffee shop, he knows she’s the one he’s waited his entire life for. She’s sensual, sassy and smart. What he doesn’t know is she’s also in the Navy, and her enlisted rank means a relationship with her could potentially get him discharged from military service.
While on leave from teaching at a top Naval facility, Layla Matthews tumbles head-over-heels for the sexiest man she’s encountered in a long time. The fact that he can hold an intelligent conversation is an added bonus. Her world is turned upside down when she later discovers he’s a Navy lieutenant. A senior officer. Her new boss. Definitely off-limits.
Continuing their relationship could ruin their military careers. Ending it would break both their hearts. Do they end their sizzling romance or keep it a secret… and pray no one finds out?
What does a coffee CEO and reggae bandleader have in common with a cup of coffee?
-Keeps you awake all night
-Great to wake up to
When I planted the seeds of romance for Latasha, the heroine’s best friend in Jamaican Temptation, I didn’t know which man she’d actually get with in the next book. Fast forward to the day I sat down to write this book, and I still couldn’t decide. She demanded BOTH men. I’ve learned never argue with the characters, so here is her fantasy…
Having grown up in foster care, Latasha looks forward to a stable happily-ever-after with K.C., her Jamaican boyfriend. But his band, Caribbean Climax, is flat broke. When Jonathan Lance, CEO of Third Mountain Coffee, propositions her for one paid night of ecstasy, she does it for her and K.C.’s future.
Jonathan has admired Latasha from afar since the day he met her, but his company comes first. His father, who controls part of it, would never approve of an interracial relationship. After the business transaction, however, emotional ties remain, and Latasha is torn between two men who differ in every way.
And when the unthinkable happens, will her choice be easier—or impossible?
K.C. planted a proprietary hand against the small of her back as they stood in front of him. “You the one paying,” he told Jonathan. “What you want us to do?”
Every nerve ending in Latasha’s body sizzled as K.C.’s dark, sensual lips lowered to hers. Knowing the other man observed them made everything feel twice as erotic. The stiff hairs of her boyfriend’s moustache scraped her upper lip. Jonathan had a slight one as well. Would it feel similar?
She rested her hands on K.C.’s shoulders when he slipped his tongue into her mouth. Her nipples hardened against the thin material of the dress, making her wish she’d worn a different one, with a bra.
Gentle but persistent, his lips claimed every bit of her mouth. He hadn’t kissed her so thoroughly in a long time. She guessed he wanted to give Jonathan a good show so he could get his money’s worth. Or maybe he wanted to prove no one could pleasure her as well as he could.
Whatever his reasons, she’d enjoy the ride. This wasn’t so bad. She could think of tougher ways to earn money.
When he finished, her fingers were interlaced in his braids, practically supporting her weight because she’d gone boneless. His tongue had also gone so deep she ached to taste the rest of him.
Encircling her waist, K.C. turned toward Jonathan. “Dat suit you all right, mon?”
“Perfect.” Had the other man’s eyes grown bluer since she’d last glanced at him?
“What next?” K.C. asked.
“Take off her dress. Slowly.”
Oh crap. Things just got difficult. A deep, insistent ache filled her cunt as K.C. stood behind her, giving Jonathan a full frontal view. She shivered as her man slid one thin strap off her shoulder, then the other, and unfastened several buttons.
The tight dress clung to her hips, which luckily kept it from falling straight to the floor. But her exposed breasts pebbled with gooseflesh. The nipples, already erect, swelled into large peaks.
She didn’t even have to look because she saw her nudity mirrored in Jonathan’s eyes. Her flesh burned, feeling raw and exposed. When K.C.’s hands slid down her sides, to push the rest of the dress past her hips, she covered half her face with a palm and clapped the other across one of her breasts.
“God, your tits are so full and beautiful,” Jonathan breathed. “I knew they would be.”
She stepped out of her sandals to steady herself, but the deep beige carpet caressed her bare feet, making her feel more erotic.
“Wait! I don’t know if I can do this.”
What was wrong with her? She had to earn that check and help K.C. keep his band. Convincing him to do this shenanigan had been harder than herding elephants. It was too late to chicken out.
Both men waited, silent, as they watched her.
After taking a shaky breath, she fanned her flushed face and nodded. “Sorry. I’m okay, now.”
“You sure?” K.C. asked.
“Take your time, sweetheart,” Jonathan said. “We have all night.”
When ideas are flowing fast, it’s all I can do to write fast enough to get it all down. I need a clone. LOL. I love when I’m deep into a story, and the story is going well. When I write, I connect with each moment in the story. Connect with the characters and walk with them as they go through whatever happens in the story. The book drives me to keep writing. I’m eager to see what happens next right along with my characters. The adventure of it all is such fun, and I love it.
Each book has its own personality and quirks that are unveiled as you write. It’s like getting to know someone you just met. Of course, you have impressions from what you view of them, and you are either proven right or wrong once you get to know them. Then as you get more familiar with that person, you get more in-depth with them and learn so much about them.
That is how I view a book—a new person I want to know so much more about. So when I write, that is my goal—to take a reader from that initial first impression they get when they read the blurb to making them become a part of the story. To make the reader become part of the fabric of the story. I love getting to do that when I write. Taking a journey of a story then bringing a reader along with me.
Seducing a God
When a God meets a woman who is a decadent distraction, he finds himself being seduced.
Taige Crenshaw has been enthralled with the written word from time she picked up her first book. It wasn’t long before she started to make up her own tales of romance.
With interracial and multicultural novels set in today, in alternate dimensions, or in the future, she writes with adventure, fun sassy heroines, and sexy heroes.
Always hard at work creating new and exciting places, Taige can be found curled up with a hot novel with exciting characters when she is not creating her own. Join her in the fun, frolic, interesting people and far reaches of the world in her novels.
I have a confession to make. I originally wrote Drunk on Men before I wrote hot romances. Many things in the book got overhauled, including the sensuality level. How did I do this? I listed all the love scenes, analyzed the dynamics that should be there, including conflict and emotion, and expanded them. It was almost like writing them from scratch but harder because I had to fit them in with what was already there. It was also a lot more fun than I thought. The story really came alive in ways I’d never envisioned the first time around. Usually when writing a new book, the hot scenes are intermittent. But here, I spent a few days rewriting nothing but one hot scene after the next. At the end, I needed a cold shower!
You may think it’s sloe fizz gin But honey we’re sober, just drunk on men
When three African-American women meet at a resort on the Jersey Shore in the 1920s, they say goodbye to their old lives. Finding men as intoxicating as bootleg liquor, they pin their futures on happily ever after. But love can be worse than a hangover when the men’s flaws threaten to destroy them.
Hannah knows it’s time to replace her fiancé who died in the war, but the abrupt white man who rescues her from rough surf hardly fits the bill. Belle longs to ditch her latest meal ticket, but is the rich African-European owner of an upscale hotel out of her league? And while Edie struggles to face her upcoming arranged marriage, a rugged Hispanic-white fisherman decides to stake his own claim on her.
This 8-volume serial is a heady romance cocktail stirred with addiction, abuse, betrayal, and scandal. These women aren’t perfect and neither are their men. If you think you can handle it, read on and watch three steamy interracial relationships explode across the pages.
Wait Till The Sun Shines on You – Gary Puckett & the Union Gap
He sighed and made a rude gesture with his hand and chin. “What did you think, Belle? The booze simply drops out of the sky into my bar? I am performing a necessary service for the town of Ocean Promenade.”
Excitement rippled down Belle’s arms and legs. Tonight’s joyride was the most thrilling thing she’d ever done.
“How much booze does this town drink, anyway? The Sands is the only place I see that’s even wet. I have a hard time believing you could buy a car like this on that speck of business.”
“I see you are shrewd businesswoman.” He leaned between the front seats and shot her an admiring glance. “I am much impressed. Since you ask, the product also gets shipped to Washington, Philadelphia, and New York City.”
“So, what happens next?” she asked. “Where’s the booze?”
He slid his jacket sleeve upward with two fingers and glanced at his watch. “It’s coming. Please join me in the front seat where I can see you.”
“Not with the gun lying there. A girl could get her cha chas blown off with a thing like that. Besides, how do I know you’re not planning to bump me off for knowing too much?”
“You are too beautiful to kill,” he crooned as he moved the monstrous weapon to rest against his door. “However, you have become heavily involved. I wanted to protect you from this.”
“It’s okay,” she said, shrugging as she scrambled to the front passenger seat. “I’m a big girl. I’ll survive.”
He reached over and grabbed her chin, forcing her to face him. Adrenaline flooded her body. Without thinking, she smacked him across the face.
He reared back in his seat. “What was that for?”
“Don’t manhandle me,” she said coldly. “I don’t care for it.”
She hadn’t pegged him as abusive, but she wasn’t about to take any chances. Especially in this abandoned place. She’d do a lot for money, but she refused to tolerate violence.
Please tell me you’re not one of them, Raoul. I don’t want to have to give you up.
“Bella, please. You shocked me, and I think you broke my jaw.” He stuck out his bottom lip like a little boy and dazzled her with another smile.
She couldn’t help laughing. “Oh, you’re all wet. I did not.”
“I’m only trying to make you understand something.” He leaned closer but without touching her this time. “You will see things and people who don’t want to be recognized. If you do not keep your pretty kisser shut, you could endanger your life and mine.”
Belle took a shaky breath. “Understood.”
“And it means you are my lady. You cannot walk away from me. Not after tonight.”
As if she wanted to. They sat in silence for a moment. He caressed her hand and then the thigh it lay on through the thin hem of her dress, making her breath draw in with a hiss.
“I want to show you my hotel room soon,” he said, lazily stroking. “I have a circular tub with flowing water. It is like the ocean, yes?”
“Sounds divine,” she whispered.
“We don’t have much time, and I need you to show me your loyalty.”
Belle watched, fascinated, as he reclined his seat until it lay almost horizontal.
His voice dropped very low. Very soft. “Come here, Bella.”
Turning the Tide: A Siren’s Revenge – Wiccan Haus series – Decadent Publishing – paranormal