All Hallows’ Eve is nearly upon us.
Over the past month, I’ve been gorging myself on horror movies (the good and the dreadful) in between the day job, WIP revisions, and writing sprints.
I have so much stuff to share with you, including a brand new erotic story over at Bellesa.co, plus some social media developments and new ways to keep in touch.
Let’s dig in!
First off, I now have a mailing list. If you’d like to be the first to know when I put out a new story or when my next anthology is up for preorder, go ahead and click the subscribe link below. This mailing list isn’t a newsletter so much as a method for sharing news (if that makes sense).
Basically, I’ll only email you when something important is afoot. No spam ever. Promise.
I also created a Pinterest account where I pin pretty and interesting things like old Victorian homes and sexy people who inspire me. This week it’s half-naked dudes with (and without) beverages.
I have a new post up over at the Sisters in Smut blog called “Busting the Writer’s Ghost.” In keeping with the holiday, I introduce you to my own personal ghosts and explore some common writerly fears and offer advice on how to quell them. If I’m particularly skilled at anything (besides writing smut) it’s being stubborn enough to keep at the dream in the midst of a destructive thought storm.
You can check out that post here.
No tricks, just treats: my new short story from Bellesa.co
“Haunted Hearts: A Ghost Story” is a bittersweet, sexy—and dare I say haunting—tale about an eccentric widow, Rose Abbot, who taps into the mysterious power of her own grief to reconnect with her late husband.
Written with Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic and Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells in mind, “Haunted Hearts: A Ghost Story” is brimming with love and bursting with magic.
Read an excerpt below.
Rose drew the box of Ethan’s ashes into her lap. It was a simple dark wood box with a bronze latch. Not heavy, but substantial enough that she couldn’t pretend it wasn’t there. Unable to reconcile how a man who had been larger than life could be made to fit inside such a small vessel, she began looking for a place to set the box down. First, she tried the mantel, but that didn’t feel right. Then Ethan’s trophy case, but that wouldn’t do either.
Cradling the box, Rose wandered the house, making streaks in the dust on the furniture with her fingers. She skimmed her hands over Ethan’s clothes and their shared bookshelves, until a spark like a carpet shock zapped her as she touched one particular volume.
Her grandmother’s grimoire. A heavy tome bursting at its covers with spells and recipes for all manner of ills. She pulled it from the shelf.
Setting the box on the big oak desk, Rose leafed through the well-worn pages until she found what she had unknowingly been looking for: a spell to summon a spirit to you. The instructions, scrawled in her grandmother’s looping hand, said to bundle five sprigs of thyme, twelve strands of the deceased’s hair and one other personal item into a small pouch to be worn around the neck of the caster from noon until the sun went down.
Rose glanced at the clock. It was already half-past eleven.
Acting quickly, she fetched her husband’s hairbrush from the bathroom cabinet. As for the “other item,” she reckoned it couldn’t get more personal than one’s own ashes. For the pouch, she scrabbled together a small drawstring pocket tied with a leather cord. Then, she hurried downstairs to the attached greenhouse, praying the cold outside hadn’t weaseled in and strangled the herbs.
In the kitchen, she got to work threading thyme sprigs with Ethan’s honey-blond hair. Careful not to tear the stitches, she eased the bundle into the drawstring pocket. The ashes dusted her fingers as she gathered up a handful. Careful not to spill, she sprinkled the sandy cremains into the pouch.
With the charm around her neck, Rose parked herself in Ethan’s favorite reading chair and waited.
She waited all afternoon.
As the last of the sun’s rays disappeared behind the garden fence, so too did Rose’s optimism. What had she expected? A phone call from the great beyond? She wasn’t enough of a sucker to believe in Heaven, though she’d been fool enough to think that her strangeness could actually be useful for once.
Ethan wasn’t coming back. That should’ve been obvious.
Tearing the pouch from her neck, Rose marched through the living room and threw open the French doors. Cold air pricked the parts of her not shielded by her nightgown. With a howling snarl, she hurled the pouch out into the snow.
Rose slammed the doors and then slid to the floor, curling in upon herself like a dying spider.
Having sobbed herself to sleep, she didn’t notice the breeze on her skin or the strong arms that carried her up to bed like a child. It wasn’t until she woke squinting into the darkness of her bedroom, confused and disoriented, that she sensed the heat against her back and an arm around her midriff.
Lips brushed the nape of her neck. Fear seized like burnt chocolate in her stomach as hope ballooned in her chest. Sliding her hand under the covers, Rose traced the length of the arm across her belly until she found fingers.
“Say something,” she whispered.
The hand on her stomach slid to her breast. She shivered. If this wasn’t Ethan, then it could only be a stranger. Had she forgotten to lock the doors after she’d thrown the pouch into the snow? She couldn’t remember.
Bracing for the fight of her life, Rose balled her fists and turned to confront her silent bedmate.
Moonlight spilled onto the other half of the bed. It was empty.
The spell had worked.
“Wait.” She pawed at the sheets but found no trace of Ethan. “Come back. Come back, I’m here!”
Had she dreamt the feel of his hands and lips, or worse, lost her chance to reunite with her husband?
No. He had to still be around. She just needed a way to make contact.
Rose ran to the kitchen for a shot glass and a marker. Back in the bedroom, she folded up the threadbare rug to reveal a strip of hardwood on which she scrawled an arching alphabet, plus the words YES and NO. She laid the upturned shot glass on the floor and placed her finger on top.
“Ethan, are you still here?”
Nothing happened, not for a good long while, though the air around her felt charged and leaden. As if pushed by an invisible hand, the shot glass slid across the floor to YES.
Rose stared in amazement as the glass spelled out, HELLO ROSIE.