As you may have noticed, sometimes it happens that life takes over my ability to post as frequently as I'd like. However, being busy means that when I do get a chance to post, I've got lots of updates for everyone.
So here's what I've been up to -
Two short stories went out in February and the beginning of March, one dark erotic short story and one succinct, almost flash-fiction length fairy-tale. I hope to post soon that they were accepted, but even if they aren't, I'm excited about how both turned out and feel they are a good representation of my current abilities as an author.
Last October, my story People who live in Glass Sanitoriums was published in HAUNT, a collection of nine tales about haunted dwellings. This was the second anthology put together by a writer collaborative group I work with. The experience has gone so well the last two times that we're working on a third anthology called Summer Fair to be published later this year. Everyone involved has been asked to brainstorm on what could happen during summer festivals. The ideas that have been tossed back and forth make me very excited about how this project will turn out. Bonus, Aleisha Knight Evans, who designed the stunning covers for the previous two anthologies, has agreed to come back and work with us on this collaboration. More info as that develops.
I've been working quite a bit with SinCyr Publishing. Because of my recent proofreading, I can without a doubt recommend their recent romantic urban fantasy A Nose for Trouble by Jill Webb. It's a quick read with a healthy dose of mystery and unexpectedly fun characters. In November, CM Peters and I co-edited Working It, a collection of sexy stories from the workplace. We're planning on collaborating on another project for SinCyr late this year, this time a romantic anthology around a bookish theme. The pitch has been accepted and we're working out details. The open call should go up next month.
I continue to plod away at my novel in progress and am looking at a few other writing projects for the year that I'll keep under wraps for now. No conventions so far this year, although I did help sponsor the Writers On the River event happening in July because it helps support Thistle Farms and the Center for Prevention of Abuse. We'll see if there's time later this year.
And finally, a shameless plug for another project of mine. For anyone interested, I've started a website called Creativity Blender where I'm exploring the idea of creativity, what it is, and what helps creative people be more creative. It's a very new project and one I'm working on in my limited spare time, so be patient, but I will be trying to write blog posts and link to creative articles and projects I find. Check it out if you have time.
For those of you who missed it, I had another short story published last week in the second annual charity anthology for a small collaboration of writers I like to work with. Last year, Marie Piper talked five writers into crafting novellas based around the theme of being snowed in. The resulting romance collection was Melt, and all proceeds went to charities that support mental health research and aide.
This year, Ms. Piper challenged us all to create short stories around the theme of a haunted house for the aptly named Haunt. The writing group swelled to nine talented authors with backgrounds ranging from science-fiction, to historical romance and each author brought their A game for another good cause. All proceeds from Haunt will go to Chicago-area charities that provide services for the homeless. Click here to read about the inspiration on behind the stories on Gregory Norris's Blog.
I've since been asked why I participate in these collections. The reasons are many. The camaraderie of talented creators is always invigorating. It's fun to see where my brain will take me when I'm under the constraints of a specific call. But mainly, in a world as full of upheaval as ours has been the past few years, it feels good to put my talents to use helping others.
Now you can feel good by purchasing a book you know will help others. Go grab your copy of Haunt (get Melt too if you haven't already) and settle in for some great short stories that also help put a little good back in the world. I promise it's worth every penny.
It's been a while since I've posted. Those of you who keep up with my various forms of social media might have seen that I've been working on a few different projects and I've had friends in from out of town. Life will do that.
So here's what I've been up to -
Since it's October we'll start with the spook stuff. Get the shivers with HAUNT, a collection of nine brand-new and wide-ranging tales all about haunted dwellings. The call asked for what we thought of when we thought "Haunted House" so these stories range from a little romantic to straight up suspense thriller. I've been gleefully surprised to see what my fellow authors did with their stories. Haunt is the second annual charity anthology by some of my author friends (following last year's MELT - Link here) and all proceeds will go to Chicago-area charities that provide services for the homeless population. The anthology wraps with my story People who live in Glass Sanitoriums. It goes on sale Oct 17 but you can Pre-Order it Here.
Love Thy Neighbor, my short story about femdom in an abandoned church, is in SinCyr Publishing's new release GETTING IT Buy it here This Femdom Anthology is comprised of thirteen sexy stories ranging from the sweet, new Domme finding her footing to the young man discovering that pain doesn’t have to be self-inflicted. Whether French cuisine tickles your tongue, pain twists into pleasure, or rape fantasies occupy your dreams, this delicious collection is for you. Mild dominance and hardcore BDSM entwine in Getting It, pushing characters and readers to embrace their innermost sensational desires in healthy, consensual ways. The book is edited by S.B. Roark and Sienna Saint-Cyr. SinCyr Publishing is dedicated to "Shifting rape culture one sexy story at a time."
It was big news for me earlier in the year, and this November you finally get to see the finished product. The lovely CM Peters and I get to launch our own anthology for SinCyr Publishing. WORKING IT is full of hardworking men and women who like to play just as hard. We've got a fantastic lineup of authors both new and well-established. The presale link will be out to you soon!
I'm reading as much as possible right now, letting some thoughts bubble on a new novel I've been itching to start and possibly another collaboration in the works. Never a dull moment!
I'm often told that once I decide on a course of action, I don't do things small. So, of course, the first writer's convention I attended in person was one of the largest in the country. With somewhere around four-thousand-plus attendees, the Romantic Times Booklover's Convention is extremely overwhelming for a newbie and I'm still processing most of what happened last week. Between taking part in my first ever author reading and trekking back to my room with an unbelievable amount of books, I didn't make nearly as many panels as I wanted, but I tried to be fully present wherever I was. Most importantly, I allowed myself time to go to "fun" panels as much as "informative" panels. Some last minute decisions brought me to panels with the best information. Here's what I came away with.
To wrap up, my first writer's convention was as enlightening as it was exhausting. I came away with a renewed sense of optimism and purpose. Take advantage of the above tips from some of the best in the romance business. I know I'm going to.
Getting to my April post just by the skin of my teeth. It's been busy as usual. Living the life of a part-time writer means sometimes the day job has to take precedence. On the plus side, lots of fun projects are on the way.
All this, and next week is the RT Booklovers Convention in Atlanta. Hoping to come back with some new ideas and lots of news!
March has been super busy, so please forgive the delay in posting. Here's what's been keeping me occupied.
Celebrated Ebook Week at Smashwords earlier in the month and was pleased to see so many people taking advantage of the free and reduced price ebooks.
Ticket to Ride is now at ebook retailers. Just click the link to purchase. It's got a few nice reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, although my favorite so far is this one from reviewer Stuart Hoffman:
So, after the positive response I got for buying my mum the ‘Fifty Shades’ series, I figured I’d get this. So far, it’s a big thumbs up! ;-)
It's hard to beat such an honest and straight forward review. I hope any of you who have picked up the anthology find it similarly to your liking.
I've had to keep quiet for awhile, but I can finally announce that I was asked to participate in an upcoming rock star themed anthology for Sexy Little Pages. Riffs and Licks is still in production, but it's going to feature some of my favorite collaborators from the past, including CM Peters, Anna Sky, Jordan Monroe, and Torrance Sene. My story is about a formerly famous drummer and the woman who mistakes him for someone else. I'll get you updates as soon as I have them.
Marie Piper and I will be at the RT Convention in May and I'm packing up books to be sent to the Goodie Room. Riverdale Avenue Books is putting together a fun, unique romance anthology titled Gone with the Dead to be published, in both print and digital editions. The title will debut at the convention. My story submission has been sent in, and so has Marie's.
Speaking of Marie, it's nothing new that I fangirl over her work. Case in point, I recently read Callie's Embers, the third installment of the Cricket Bend trilogy. I don't usually read westerns, but Marie writes sweet tales with plenty of adventure. If you have some spare time, check it out. Here's my review.
I've been waiting for Callie's story ever since Haven's book came out last year. It certainly didn't disappoint. Callie's Embers takes us right back to Cricket's Bend with the same cast of characters, but all has not been perfect in the far-from-sleepy little town. Without tossing about spoilers, I can say that Matthew and Haven haven't been having the easiest time since the first book in this trilogy. Callie Lee has been hiding news from her friends and trying to raise her son alone. Jasper has been doing some growing up and Sheriff Anderson has had his hands full with a couple of feuding farmers threatening to cause trouble for the town.
All the favorites resurface in Cricket Bend as Piper takes us on a journey filled with unexpected heartbreak, sweet simplicity, and plenty of action. While Marie can write a steamy romance scene, I found myself also enjoying the quiet moments in the book, especially the scenes involving family dinners and how various characters relate to Callie's son. Piper has grown her characters, crafted them in a way that makes them almost solid. Readers can sympathize with the characters in Callie's Embers, really understand the motivations behind certain actions even if they don't agree with what a character does.
As with most of Piper's books, I found Callie's Embers to be a quick, lighthearted read that sprinkled light bits of morality between the escapism. Cricket Bend is a place where women have resolve that matches their imagination, even trouble-makers can prove to be genuinely good, and neighbors take care of each other. I'm going to miss this little town and can only hope Piper decides one day to let us revisit it.
That's all for now. Happy Spring!
So much going on, as usual.
Ticket to Ride is now available for pre-order. Just click the link to purchase. It'll be available on February 16. In the anthology, ten authors take you on a ride with sex on public transport. My story, The Dividing Line, is about a girl who sits in the middle of the bus between two disparate groups of students and finds herself attracted to a man from each group.
Melt (available for purchase here) launched in November. At the end of January, the five authors involved in that project made our first donation to The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (https://bbrfoundation.org/), an international organization committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness. I'm pretty proud of our effort and really excited about our first donation.
A few short stories were turned in last month and my book pitch was accepted for a new anthology for SinCyr Publishing. If you're a writer, check out this Call for Submission to submit a story for the anthology.
In a few short months I'll be making my way to Atlanta for the Romantic Times Convention. Friend and fellow Melt author Marie Piper will be there as well. She's got a spot at the Giant Book Fair and I got a table of goodies along Promo Lane. Stop by and see us if you're at the convention!
This weekend was full of peaceful protests, and I applaud the people who were able to get out there and make a difference. I, myself, was not at the march or able to stand in solidarity. Why? Because I know myself and my anxiety all too well, and I refused to have a panic attack in the middle of such an important protest.
So what was I doing while other people were marching? I was protesting my way. I was writing.
Last year I was invited to take part in a wonderful project that resulted in the novella collection Melt: Five Stories to Get Snowed In With. The best part of the project was when all five authors agreed that our creative efforts should benefit people other than ourselves. The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation (https://bbrfoundation.org/) is an international organization committed to alleviating the suffering caused by mental illness. Donor contributions are invested in NARSAD Grants that fund research into depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, and bipolar, attention-deficit hyperactivity, post-traumatic stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. This weekend, the authors of Melt were able to make a donation from the book's proceeds. I hope it’s the first of many. In a time of such unease for so many people, I believe that the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation's work is more relevant than ever.
So what does any of that have to do with my Saturday writing? Well, I'm back at it, working to pen another short story/novelette for a new charity project. Of course, every story has to go through the drafting, polishing, editing, querying, and possible rejection stages. I am under no illusion that this project will be any easier, but I'm looking at my writing projects in a new way. Last year held some real challenges and setbacks for my writing career. Some of the obstacles made me question why events unfolded the way they did and whether I was doing what I was supposed to be doing as a writer. Now I know that I was exactly where I needed to be to make the contacts I needed to quietly rebel.
I may not be able to stand in a crowd of protesters, but I can work with publishers that support women's rights. I am not always able to donate funds, but I can donate my time and writing for projects that give when I can't. I don't subscribe to any particular political party, but I can be political by writing positive relationships and viewpoints in a relatable manner so readers might think about them. I am part of the quiet rebellion, as are so many others.
It's not hard to do small things that add up to a big difference. As a reader, consider the authors and companies you support. As a writer, consider where you submit your work. As a human, consider that people don't protest in the same way. Many people are doing what they can. Sometimes their voices are just a little softer.
Happy New Year! It's been a busy year with a new novella, editing a new anthology, a few new stories selected for anthologies, and my first ever sci-fi and magazine publication. 2017 is already shaping up to be just as busy, but, for now, I'm celebrating 2016 by raffling off one copy of each ebook I worked on this year. Join in the raffle by using the rafflecopter form beside this post. Have a wonderful and productive new year!
Lots to share. Tomorrow Melt goes on a one day sale. So get it for only $0.99 It's getting some really great reviews. Also, I've had a new story accepted for the Ticket to Ride anthology set to launch mid- February. More about that as it develops. I've been working on a few other projects that are still hush hush. Look for some exciting news in the first couple months of 2017.
Harley Easton is a Renaissance woman dabbling in everything life offers. She's worked at a theme park, found expert witnesses, been a guest lecturer at a national museum, and worked with medical students. Putting experience and insanity to good use, she's become an author specializing in erotic, romantic, and speculative fiction.