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Explore the universes between…

As I’ve said before (probably enough time that your eyes are starting to roll into the back of your head), I love portal fantasy. I love doorways, garden gates, secret passages, moss-covered stone steps curving away into the mist, you name it. I think it’s about the potential for magic. What special secret thing awaits, just out of sight? Come with me, take my hand and we’ll go find out…

I love portal fantasy so much that I’m editing a volume of it for Fiction River. I can’t say much until the contracts are signed, but the lineup of authors is stupendous! I’ve just figured out my own story—I just need to find the time to write it!

To keep me (and you) satisfied until then, check out the Universe Between bundle from Storybundle. If I wasn’t in this bundle, I’d be making grabby-hands at it. (I still made grabby hands at it. The bonus was that I got a free download for having a novel in the bundle. Mine!) Some of my favorite authors are in this bundle: Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Annie Reed, Leslie Claire Walker, T. Thorn Coyle… (I had the pleasure of copyediting both Leslie’s and Claire’s novels, so I can attest to their marvelousness.)

Here’s the deal: for $5, you get four novels, including mine. For $15, you get five more novels and an anthology of “between” stories. Plus, you can choose to give a portion of the money to an amazing charity, Able Gamers, which helps people with disabilities enjoy the imaginary worlds of video games.

My novel, What Beck’ning Ghost, is an atmospheric gothic romance.

For more information, and to purchase this bundle, visit Storybundle.

But do it soon…this will be available only for eight more days!


If you’d like to get this sort of information—and more!—directly in your In Box each month, you can sign up for my newsletter. Each issue has publication news about stories, collections, novels, and other fun stuff. BONUS: you get a free short story every month! What are you waiting for? Subscribe today!

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Eclipses past and present

I chose not to leave home for the eclipse on Monday, because there were a reported one million people traveling to Oregon to view it and we expected the roads to be inside. (They weren’t, for the most part…live and learn.) NASA said my house would get 99.77% totality, and that was good enough for me. As was our back garden for viewing.

Almost exactly 18 years ago, we got to witness a near-total eclipse in Newport, Wales, where we were living at the time. (The totality was in Cornwall.) I still have the safety viewing classes from that time. This either means I’m prepared for this time, or I’m a hoarder….

We were living in a 400-year-old cottage with a lovely back terrace. Our friends Chris and Elizabeth, and Julie and her son, Jake, came to stay with us and witness the event.

Clockwise from top: Julie, Jake, Chris, your charming hostess, Elizabeth. Not pictured (because he’s taking the picture!): Ken

The other notable event that day involved one of our kittens. Back on Easter Sunday that year, a stray cat had shown up at the cottage…long story short, she had a broken leg that had to be amputated. Through the various vet visits, and even at home, nobody clued in that she was pregnant. While we were on a trip to Scotland in late June, she’d graced us with three kittens.

I don’t remember now if we’d named the kittens already, or if Eclipse got her name that day. The owners of the cottage had redone the kitchen and had, in their infinite wisdom (that was sarcasm), put the wine rack next to the stove. Not being wine aficionados, we had only one bottle in there.

Sometime during the eclipse viewing, we heard a bang in the house.

We discovered the bottle of wine still in the rack, but with a chunk broken out of it. We also discovered Eclipse the kitten, formerly black and white, now black and wine red. Our best guess is that she’d gone under the bottle and brushed against it enough to make it give way.

She was not amused.

Monday, no bottles of wine exploded on Clara, Max, or Goose. We met up with friends for dinner, and talked of writing and publishing and the marvelous universe we live in. And when I watched the sun disappear and reappear, I meditated on peace and love and transition.

The light always returns….


If you’d like to get this sort of information—and more!—directly in your In Box each month, you can sign up for my newsletter. Each issue has publication news about stories, collections, novels, and other fun stuff. BONUS: you get a free short story every month! What are you waiting for? Subscribe today!

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Cat update (this is the clowder so far)

Back in February, we said farewell to our beloved eldercat, Grimoire, who was with us for more than seventeen years, ever since the stray who’d shown up at our door in Wales, Eostre, surprised us with three kittens. We had intended to wait until after Ken went on a trip in March to adopt again, but within two days I was looking at cats online. I hated being home alone. Hated it. It was just too weird and sad.

So off we went to Animal Aid, a shelter that specializes in special needs animals. We went to look at one cat in particular, but we had no chemistry with him. Soft-hearted Ken was willing to take him anyway, but I said, “Let’s just meet some other cats,” and asked the volunteer who she’d recommend. She said, “Come meet Clara.” I stuck my fingers out for her to sniff, but she was having none of that. She bonked right into my fingers for scritchies. And she stole my heart right then and there.

We were told Clara didn’t like many other cats, but she did get along with Max, who had been rescued from the same hoarding situation as Clara. So we met Max, and that was that. We scheduled to have them delivered after I got back from a workshop in early March.

Now, five months later, it’s hard to imagine life without them.

Their size difference isn’t clear here. Seriously, he’s nearly twice as big.

Clara (aka Clara Bug, Little Bug, Pudge) is a short-haired dilute calico and Max (aka Maxamillion Purrs, Maximus Cattius, Snuggle Bug) is a long-haired white and brown/grey calico. I suspect Max has at least some Maine Coon in him, given the shape of his furry head. They are like the Mutt and Jeff of the cat world. Clara is pudgy (the vet says she’s at a healthy weight, but she just looks round) and has short legs and a small head, and because she’s mostly deaf, screams as if she’s being tortured to let you know she’s lonely and doesn’t know where you are. She also makes an adorable, indefinable, almost-cranky noise when you wake her up, and purrs really loudly. Max, on the other hand, has long legs, a long body, a long tail, and an enormous head. His head is at least half again as big as Clara’s, possibly almost twice as big. He has a gentle little miaow that he uses sparingly, a quiet purr, and he moves silently; we are often startled to discover he’s levitated on a sofa or the bed or my desk. Whereas you can hear Clara’s every little thumping footstep, especially when she’s running up or down the stairs.

The shelter thinks Max is about 6, and Clara about 8. It’s especially hard to tell with Clara because most of her teeth had to be removed. She has only her little front teeth, and even when she’s unhappy with you, she barely bites you, and immediately comes back to snuggle with you because she can’t hold a grudge for more than a nanosecond.

Worse, her previous owners were neglectful and her claws grew so long they embedded in the pads of her feet, and two claws then started growing in wrong. Sadly, we had to have them surgically removed because they were causing her pain. Even though I know it was medically necessary, it broke my heart, because declawing is mutilation. Then she had to have a second surgery because the ends of the bone were pressing against her skin and causing her pain; her two middle toes have now been amputated and she walks on the center pad and her outer toes with a little limp. She also looks like she’s flashing the rock-n-roll devil horns, which is appropriate for a cat in this house!

Max, although young, is already in early stages of kidney disease. Right now all he needs is special food, but we’re prepared to do subcu fluids and whatever else as things progress. Cats can live quite a long time with kidney disease, so we expect many years with him. He has a flea allergy and lost a lot of his fur before we adopted him, and it’s pretty much all normal now. As I suspected from the outset, he has an extremely fluffy tail.

But the story, my friends, doesn’t end there. Oh no, it doesn’t. Because before we adopted these sweeties, we were debating between getting an older cat (because my heart breaks for elderly cats who get left at shelters) or two bonded pairs, because the house is big, y’know?

Good thing we only got two cats, because more were coming…

In June, a friend of ours was moving in with her new partner, into a household with a dog, and couldn’t take her beloved 15-year-old cat with her. We here at Casa Dermatis-Meese (aka The House That Needs a Name, Dammit) have a No Cat Left Behind Policy, so of course we took Goose.

Is this an angel or a devil on my shoulder?

Goose is named after the Spruce Goose but we are just as likely to croon, “Goose, you big stud…” He’s also known as the Silly Goose, of course.

Goose is lanky and orange with a triangular face, bigger than Clara but only a pound heavier, and not as big as Max. Goose is not a lap cat. Goose is more of a lie-across-your-boobs cat. Or a drape-around-your-neck cat. His goal in life seems to be attempting to force his nose and, eventually, his entire head into your nostril, or occasionally your ear, all while purring madly.

A couple of days after we adopted Goose, I texted his former owner, “Um, did you forget to tell us your cat is a vampire?” Because Goose also likes to jam his face against your neck and knead your neck like he’s a phlebotomist trying to get your vein to pop up. Turns out he was a bottle baby, so his humans are the same thing as Mom. She did, she said, train him to not actively suckle, cutting down on the number of hickies she had on her neck and face for a while.

Goose may be 15, but you wouldn’t know it. He’ll jump from the floor into your arms with a little encouragement. He’s the most talkative of the three with a wide range of miaows and sounds, including one low sound, when he’s separated from you, that sounds like “Hello?”

We were slowly integrating them until the heatwave hit, at which point we bought a window AC, installed it in my office (which is upstairs, along with the master bedroom), and said, “Okay, cats, you now all live together in the safe temperature zone. Deal.” There’s still some hissing, a bit of yowling, and the occasional tussle, but they’ll all sleep on the bed with us, and it’s the happiest feeling in the world. In fact, today while watching TV, I had Clara on my lap, Goose leaning against my left thigh, and Max against my right calf. All within inches of each other. (Of course, there were unhappy noises later when they were all hungry and cranky and in the stairwell, which is a choke point, but still. Triple snuggles!)

We’re already planning on cat #4, a super-sweet, friendly outdoor cat that some friends have been caring for. Lydia has some behavioral issues but we’re confident we can work with her. We just don’t want her to have to fend for herself in an apartment complex parking lot anymore, you know? So that’ll probably happen in September or early October (since I’ll be away for a week at the end of September).

We have wonderful, snuggly, loving, purring cats, and the house is a home once again.

This is the clowder so far… Top: Clara; left: Goose; right: Max


If you’d like to get this sort of information—and more!—directly in your In Box each month, you can sign up for my newsletter. Each issue has publication news about stories, collections, novels, and other fun stuff. BONUS: you get a free short story every month! What are you waiting for? Subscribe today!

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Thrilling…

A few years ago I wrote my first thriller story to submit to an anthology called Pulse Pounders, edited by Kevin J. Anderson. To my delight, he purchased the story. To my astonishment, Publisher’s Weekly called the story “a nail-biter,” and then I was gobsmacked when the story was shortlisted for The Year’s Best Crime & Mystery 2016.

Now the follow up volume, Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline, has come out, containing a new, but very different, thriller story by me. The first story was about a mother saving her child, present-day. The new story is set in space, near future, and there are more lives at stake. But it’s also a very personal journey for the heroine…

It’s a story I’ve had in mind for nearly 10 years, but finally felt I had the chops to write. I hope readers enjoy it. (And I hope it’s another nail-biter!)

Right now, the only way to get Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline is part of The Bump in the Night Thriller Bundle (curated by none other than Kevin J. Anderson himself), via Storybundle.

For $5, you get the following novels:

Cold Hard Steele by Alex P. Berg
The Demon in Business Class by Anthony Dobranski
The Devil’s Churn by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
Lady Sherlock – Circle of the Smiling Dead by Brooks Arthur Wachtel
Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter
The Daredevil’s Club Artifact by Janet Berliner, F Paul Wilson, Kevin J. Anderson and Matthew Costello

For $15 or more, you get these, too!

Grave Beginnings by R.R. Virdi
The Deep Sunset by Dean Wesley Smith
Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson
Pulse Pounders: Adrenaline by Fiction River
Into the Fire by Patrick Hester
Living Dead Girl by Susan Sizemore
Death Wind by Travis Heerman and Jim Pinto
Night Terrors by J.A. Pitts
Whack Job by Mike Baron

That’s 15 ebooks for $1 each. That’s an amazing deal. I cannot wait to read these!

Click here to buy!

A bundle of bundles for your summer binge-reading pleasure!

It’s summer, and when you’re lounging by the pool or on the beach, or hiding inside in blessed air conditioned comfort (because the sun, it burns, my precious), what do you want to do? Read!

Read all the things!

And now, if you’re a fan of fantasy and science fiction, you can!

StoryBundle’s latest offer is a bundle of bundles. Mmm hmm, you read that right. In total, you get 19 novels and 7 anthologies (I’m not counting up all the short stories in those anthologies), for the low low price of $15. That’s less than a dollar per book. With all that savings, think how many mocha frappacinos you can enjoy.

With the novels, you get the first three to four books in a series, for your binge-reading pleasure. These’ll last you all summer long—or a couple weeks, depending on how fast you read. 😉

There’s rousing space opera, light and funny romantic fantasy, gaming fantasy, Western time travel, and so much more.

I’m delighted to have stories in several of the anthology bundles, including Uncollected Anthology: Year 1 and The Faerie Summer Bundle. There’s also the Fantasy Bundle from Fiction River, and I know I have stories in a couple of those anthologies, too. Holy moly!

The list:

• The Digital Sea Complete Box Set by Thomas K. Carpenter
• Uncollected Anthology: Year 1 by Uncollected Anthology
• The Fates Trilogy by Kristine Grayson
• The Faerie Summer Bundle by Jamie Ferguson
• The Washington Witches Series, Volumes 1-3 by Mindy Klasky
• The Diving Series Starter Bundle by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
• Fantasy Bundle by Fiction River
• The Thunder Mountain Starter Bundle by Dean Wesley Smith
• The Science Officer Omnibus 1 – Volumes 1-4 by Blaze Ward
• Feyguard Books 1-3 by Anthea Sharp

This crammed-full-of-ebooks package is available only until August 9, so binge while the binging is hot (and so is the sun).

As a bonus, you can choose how much money you want to give to the attached charity, AbleGamers, which tailors game equipment and systems to help disabled gamers join the large online community of gaming, providing social outlets and entertainment for folks who usually struggle to participate.

Seriously, what’s not to love? You can get more info and buy it at StoryBundle to read on your favorite device, by the pool or hiding from the evil sun.

 

Love, in Stitches by Sophie Mouette is HERE!

I’m delighted to announce that, after much love and toil and many phone calls, Sophie Mouette’s new novel, Love, in Stitches, is finally here!

Love, in Stitches is the second book in the Hollywood Spice series, following Out of the Frying Pan. But you could conceivably read Love, in Stitches first if you really wanted to—the heroine is the best friend of the heroine in the previous book, but the events aren’t linked in such a way that the order is important.

What’s important is that it’s here! And it has a gorgeous cover! And it’s a funny and sexy romance between a fashion designer (who moonlights making pretty clothes for closet crossdressers) and a movie producer/writer who looks like a pirate.

Luanna Deveneax dreams of designing couture fashion. But when she loyally refuses to tell her employer about her side job—secretly sewing custom women’s clothing for high-powered LA crossdressers—her high fashion dreams flush right down the toilet.

With his rakish grin, dark, flashing eyes, and tiny gold hoop earring, producer and writer Derek Acosta looks like a sexy pirate. He kisses Luanna’s hand, making her weak in the knees…and offers her a job designing costumes for his first movie.

Far from her dream job—and you know what they say about mixing business with pleasure. But in the wild world of Hollywood, dreams come true in the most unexpected ways.

Sophie Mouette expertly weaves a seductive tale of desire, dresses, and delightful romance in Love, in Stitches, the second novel in the steamy and wacky Hollywood Spice series.

EbookAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords
Print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

And if you haven’t already, you might also want to pick up Out of the Frying Pan

EbookAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords
PrintAmazon | Barnes & Noble | Powells

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Two fantasy stories and a romance (and a cherry on top!)

I’ve been remiss in announcing some new publications, so here are three—two fantasy stories and one romance story—for your reading pleasure.

Still-Waking Sleep by Dayle A. Dermatis
literary alchemical fantasy short story

Fiction River’s latest anthology contains my story “Still-Waking Sleep,” which is one of the more unusual stories I’ve written. The editor of the volume said I created a new subgenre: literary alchchemical fantasy. Okay, I’ll take that!

Tangent Online reviewed the issue and said of “Still-Waking Sleep,”

“Dermatis has a love of lush language…that fits well into the story.”

(I recommend you read the issue before you read the review, because it contains some minor spoilers.)

Here’s what the issue is all about:

Humans prove great fodder for fiction. But what about the universe of possibilities offered by the nonhuman protagonist? The eighteen daring humans of Fiction River’s latest volume explore just that. From a goblin who must choose whether to risk everything for love to a heroic rat adventuring at sea to sentient underpants (yes, underpants), these nonhuman tales demonstrate why Adventures Fantastic says: “If you haven’t checked out Fiction River yet, you should. There’s something for everyone.”

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks
and in print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

You can also check out the book’s product page here and learn more about the entire Fiction River series.


Girls That Glitter by Dayle A. Dermatis
urban fantasy short story

Fans of my Nikki Ashburne/Ghosted series, rejoice! For here is a new Nikki story. It has drag queens in it. It has a search for missing paperwork. And it’s my homage and fond farewell to the Sunset Strip House of Blues.

Here’s what the issue is all about:

Think you know a tavern tale when you hear one? Think again. The seventeen stories in this volume run the gamut of genre and mood. Bars filled with glitter and ghosts stand alongside taverns filled with orcs and adventurers. Exclusive members-only drinks served at the end of the universe war with coffee bars with strange employee policies in the Pacific Northwest. Dive bars, afterlife bars, gay bars—you name it, and you’ll find it in Tavern Tales. So, grab a drink and get ready for one of the most entertaining Fiction River volumes yet.

I love every story in this issue.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks
and in print: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The book’s product page
More about the entire Fiction River series


Leave a Candle Burning by Dayle A. Dermatis
romance short story

The second issue of Heart’s Kiss is out now, with my story “Leave a Candle Burning.” Hurrah!

About my story:

Claudia lives a vagabond life, crisscrossing the country doing research for a reality show about American myths and legends. Christmas finds her in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York, at a small hotel allegedly haunted by the Lady in White, who leaves a candle burning for her husband, lost in the snow.

The ghost might not be real, but Claudia’s attraction to the mysterious Reese, who once lived in the Victorian house, definitely is. Will he be what it takes for Claudia to change her wandering ways?

You can buy the issue on Amazon or Barnes & Noble in ebook or print form, from Kobo in ebook, or purchase directly from the website. You can also subscribe to the magazine, which might not be a bad idea, because I have a story in issue #3 coming up, too…!

emagazine: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
print: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Heart’s Kiss website


If you’d like to get this sort of information—and more!—directly in your In Box each month, you can sign up for my newsletter. The May newsletter has publication news about three additional new stories plus an upcoming novel! BONUS: you get a free short story every month! What are you waiting for? Subscribe today!

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Heaven Has Eyes

Cassie suffers from a chronic disease and hides her sexuality from her family.

Feeling alone and adrift in her new home in Southern California, she turns to crafting little white lies—and maybe little white spells.

But when her only friend disappears, Cassie discovers a deeper magic than she ever thought existed…and must choose whether to come clean once and for all.

Especially to herself.

“Heaven Has Eyes” combines myth and reality in a touching YA short story.

Buy it at any of these fine online retailers:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboSmashwords | iBooks

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The Faerie Summer Bundle

The Faerie Summer Bundle
20 faerie stories

The summer sun bathes the earth in warmth and light
Faeries dance under the moon at night.
Cross through the portal into a land ancient, beautiful, and wild.
See the wonders that enticed the stolen child.
Come away, O reader! To the Realm of Faerie.
But if you want to make it back home, you had better be wary…

This collection includes twenty tales of faeries and magic set in our world – and in others.

THE FLAT ABOVE THE WYND by Alexandra Brandt
SILVER DUST by Leslie Claire Walker
UNICORN MAGIC by Roz Marshall
BENEATH THE KNOWE by Anthea Sharp
LEXIE’S CHOICE by Deb Logan
FLOWER FAIRIES by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
PAULALEENA by Leah Cutter
ROLO THE GREAT by Annie Reed
THE FAKE PATH TO TRUE MEMORY by Brigid Collins
PROOF OF DEVOTION by Dayle A. Dermatis
BY DAWN’S BLOODY LIGHT by DeAnna Knippling
ONDINE by Brenda Carre
SNAP A TRAP, INC. by Louisa Swann
THE FAERY’S CHOICE by Jamie Ferguson
THE QUEEN OF MAY by Linda Jordan
SKYWALKERS by Marcelle Dubé
STORMRIDER AND THE LADY OF SOUL by Karen L. Abrahamson
THE BODY PLOT by Rebecca M. Senese
THE WISHING RING OF OLD QUEEN MAAB by Steve Vernon
HAWTHORN & WILLOW by T. Thorn Coyle

Buy it at any of these fine establishments:

Breakfast in Bed by Andrea Dale

Jennie’s husband, Cal, wakes her up for a naughty meal involving a bit of restraint and some creative use of strawberries and crepes. Breakfast in bed never sounded so tasty—or sexy!—in this wickedly delicious short story from legendary erotica heavy-hitter Andrea Dale.

“Breakfast in Bed” originally appeared in Afternoon Delight: Erotica for Couples (Cleis Press, 2009).

Buy it at any of these fine online retailers:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboSmashwords | iBooks

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