Silver Soldiersreleases in May. I have the other authors’ short stories edited and ready to plunk into the book. Now, I have to write my own story, and I don’t want to think. Or maybe I need a nudge and a hint. That’s where you come in.
I need an idea for an older ex-military or retiring-soon military dude. The only idea I’ve struck upon is a guy who yearns to go fishing and thinks living on a houseboat is his ticket to paradise. But I’d love to hear your ideas before I go down that rabbit hole. Offer a suggestion no matter how wild or silly (he doesn’t have to be of this world or this century). If you give me an idea, even one I never use, you’re entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Plus, have you ever read any of the Boys Behaving Badly Anthologies? You might want to check them out here: Delilah’s Collections
The seventh A Boys Behaving Badly Anthology is coming soon! This time the theme is mature warriors—those ex-military silver fox soldiers! The stories are short and very, very sexy!
In the coming weeks, the authors who contributed stories will be stopping in at the Delilah’s Collections website to chat about their stories and what inspired them. There will be contests! In fact, there’s one running on that website now. Go check it out! There’s a $10 GC to win! Delilah’s Collections
I think every day until my splint comes off, I’m going to gripe. Today, I have a bumpy rash between my fingers. After I shower, I’m going to leave off the splint and let my hand dry with some anti-yeast cream to see if that helps. My fingers being forced together all day is likely making it humid there. *whine-whine-whine*
I pushed around a vacuum cleaner with my hip and left hand yesterday. Tried to dust, but it took too long, so I decided I’d live with the dust until I can bribe a grandkid to do it for me. I directed the cleaning of Loki’s fish tank, but my daughter was horrified by the smell of fishy water and the poop. Again, I’ll bribe another kid to help with that, too. *whine-whine-whine*
I wish I’d broken my left hand because I can’t write with my left, so I’m abandoning my planner for the time being. *whine-whine-whine*
Tonight, after I do some real work today (editing), I’ll clear my desktop which has been a gathering place for coffee mugs and mail I can’t open without ripping it to shreds. All my scissors are naturally right-handed. I’ll give the 9-year-old my letter opener and have her go to town opening all my mail and laying it on my newly cleared desktop. *whine-whine-whine*
EVERYTHING IS A FUCKING PROCESS THAT HAS TO BE PLANNED. I’ll shower today and maybe forgo underwear to make my life a little easier. Wish I had a muumuu to throw over my head so I wouldn’t have to deal with pulling up my pants. *whine-whine-whine*
You folks have been wonderfully patient reading through my whine-fest. Here’s your reward:
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.
Everywhere I look I’m bombarded with reminders of the impending holidays: Pumpkins, Thanksgiving turkeys, Christmas trees, glittery dresses. Don’t get me wrong, I love a pumpkin spice latte once on the first cool morning in October—not August and not every day for the next four months. That leftover turkey sandwich when the house is quiet, the dishes are all done, and I’ve got a moment of peace to reflect on what I am grateful for—heaven. I love the holidays, but I’m overwhelmed by all the effort that goes into hosting the relatives, buying the presents, decorating, cooking, and attending every obligatory event. If you’re anything like me, you’re already precariously balancing a life packed to the seams. But fear not, there is hope. After many years of trial and error, I have stumbled upon the key to not only surviving but thriving through the holidays: found family, self-care, and cocktails.
Family. We all have one. Even the best of them can be hard to take November through January. There’s something better—found family. I had not heard of the term until recently. Mine calls itself Framily, a combination of friends and family, but I discovered there is a real term and trend of found family. These are the non-biologically related people you chose as your support system. I would not have been able to manage life, much less the holiday seasons, without mine. My framily is a group of people I have known for almost a decade. We can discuss politics, not agree with each other, but listen and learn. We’re there for each other through health issues, life issues, and job issues. No matter what we face we know a text to framily will bring an immediate response of love, truth, help, and compassion without the baggage of biological family. When one of us acts bitchy, we’re called out with honesty and sympathy. If one of us suffers a slight, we fearsomely defend. Having a found family means never being alone to face the good or bad. Having a group that will make dinner when you are caught late at the office and entertaining that evening. So, when I’ve lost my sanity and am a raving lunatic, rushing to buy the perfect gift for Aunt Gertrude while simultaneously finishing a work project and planning a holiday meal, they step in and talk me off the ledge, usually over a cocktail. There is a suggestion for the hard-to-please relative, shortcuts to pull off the meal, and a book suggestion with a not-so-subtle hint to take some self-care time. I can laugh at myself, reset, and stop driving everyone crazy. So, find your tribe, those people that unconditionally love and support you, yet keep you grounded and real.
Self-care is another component for surviving the holidays, though you should make it a regular part of your life. If you don’t value and care for yourself, how can others? You can’t be your best for your friends and family if you aren’t at your best. What it looks like is different for everyone. Massage, tea with a friend, bubble bath, whatever makes you feel good. For me, it’s taking time to sit, read, and recharge. Books are an affordable mini vacation. I am transported to different locations, lost in the story, and who doesn’t need that amid holiday parties, school events, relatives’ visits, and end-of-year work projects? There is a book to suit every mood. I, of course, highly recommend Holiday Shorts that just came out this week. As a contributing author, it has something for everyone— holiday-themed stories. There’s love, romance, exploration, fantasy, and lots of toe-curling sex. Whatever book or other self-care regimens you chose, just do it. Make it a priority. You will thank me.
To complete the survival strategy is a cocktail. Much like my main character, Devon, in “The Sugar Rim”, when I am in a stressful situation, my go-to drink is a lemon drop martini. Devon also has a found family, a group of co-workers from the zoo: Peggy, Joe and Felicia. She is a recent addition to a new area with a job she loves, and she wants to share her life with someone. She has a made an artform out of bad romantic decisions, and she no longer trusts her judgment. Her found family helps her craft her dating profile, and they are there to help with the predate jitters and all the ups and downs that come with new love interests. That, and a little help from a sugar-rimmed drink, gets Devon the love she desires.
That brings me to my favorite recipe for a lemon drop martini.
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice—I prefer a meyer lemon
2 ounces of vodka—Kettle One from the freezer for me
¾ ounce Cointreau—don’t substitute with triple sec
¾ ounce simple syrup—yes, I use store bought no matter how easy they say it is to make it
Pour the ingredients into a shaker with ice. Turn on the soundtrack to the movie Cocktail and shake it like Tom Cruise. Take your martini glass, use a little of the left-over lemon juice to rim it with sugar. I love the sanding sugars for their colors and size.
Pour the contents from the shaker into the beautifully sugar rimmed glass
Sit in your favorite chair or spot
Put your feet up
Close your eyes,
Inhale the citrus scents wafting from your beverage
Take a sip
Enjoy the cool, tart, slightly sweet beverage
You are now ready to face whatever holiday challenge comes your way.
I would love to hear about how you cope with holiday stress, your found family, or your favorite drink recipe. Drop a comment for a chance to win a free copy of “Holiday Shorts.” Winner will be chosen within 48 hours.
Thank you, Delilah for the opportunity to share my survival guide with your lovely readers. Here’s to a fun, fantastic 2022 Holiday season.
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 »