Find Your Joy.

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Can I be honest?

2018 has been a bit of a trash fire of a year, hasn’t it?

Stepping away from the chaotic whirlwind of bad news has been a struggle. Being creating in 2018 has been even more difficult. It’s important to write, even in the middle of the muck.

I think, more than any other time, it’s also important to find happy moments and pursue them.

For me?

This weekend, that meant baking, reading, and video games.

Baking? That went brilliantly. I made Mary Berry’s recipe for profiteroles, photo evidence above. They tasted AMAZING. They also didn’t last the weekend lol. Yum.

Reading? I finally got around to reading Alison Weir’s Jane Seymour, The Haunted Queen, which I enjoyed immensely. I love a good historical fiction. And this one was definitely half fact and half fiction. Brilliantly done though.

Video games? I’ve gotten completely obsessed with the latest Assassin’s Creed game, Odyssey. Epic, brilliant, amazing. Love it so much.

Now, I’m back to writing on my new work in progress–an urban fantasy. Should be great fun.

How about you? What moments of joy are you finding for yourself this year?

And it was true love.

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This week I thought I’d share just a few of the many reasons Bishan and Valor from The Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy belong together.

1. Poirot.

2. Pudding.

3. School boy bonding.

4. Pudding.

5. Friendship.

6. Patience, on both their parts for different reasons. Bishan is patient when Valor has a rare moment of spoilt pratness. And Valor is infinitely patient with all of the ways being autistic affects Bishan.

7. Opposites attract.

8. They were defeinitelymade for each other.

9. Laughter.

10. A mutual love of mytsery and intrigue.

 

Surprise!

This week I thought I’d share five different ways writing The Grasmere Cottage Mystery Trilogy surprised me.

And boy, did it surprise me.

  1. Cinnamon. I won’t say how, or why. But…it was definitely an eye-opening bit of research on my part.
  2. The ending. As someone who doesn’t really outline, I rarely know what’s happening in the end. The person who ended up saving the day was a surprise for me.
  3. Valor’s family, specifically, his little sister.
  4. One death in particular in the first novella shocked me. I didn’t see it coming.
  5. Gnomes.

I can think of a few more, but I don’t want to spoil anything.

Next week, I’ll be back with another post on the series.

What is in a mystery? Part Two

I thought with my cottage mystery trilogy coming out in October. I’d share a bit about the main characters. This week, here’s five things to love about Valor.

  1. He has a healthy love–obsession with pudding. Just like Bishan.
  2. Valor doesn’t care at all about having been raised in a titled family.
  3. He cherishes his friends.
  4. Bishan is the most precious, brilliant, amazing man in the world according to Valor.
  5. He runs a biscuit shop.

Next week, I’ll be back with another five ways the Grasmery Cottage Mystery trilogy surprised me.

What other things do you like knowing about book characters?

 

 

What is in a mystery?

I thought with my cottage mystery trilogy coming out in October. I’d share a bit about the main characters. This week, here’s five things to love about Bishan.

  1. He has a healthy love–obsession with pudding.
  2. Music is his greatest passion. He practically breathes it.
  3. Gnomes are one of his favourite things.
  4. His family are amazing.
  5. He considers being autistic to be his super power.

Next week, I’ll be back with another five bits about Valor, Bishan’s long time lover and best friend.

What other things do you like knowing about book characters?

 

 

Cheese Addicts Anonymous (A Sin Bin Flash Fiction)

In celebration of my upcoming Sin Bin release, Haka Ever After. I decided to do a small flash fiction event. Today’s the second one titled, Cheese Addicts Anonymous. It features Freddie & Tens from The Caretaker.


Poke.

Poke.

Waving a hand absently, Taine tried to dislodge whatever had slapped him in the face. He’d barely drifted off when it whacked him again. The lack of snickering from Freddie made him slowly wake himself up.

Frederick?”

With a groggy grunt, Taine opened his eyes in the middle of the night to find himself in bed alone. Well, not completely alone. Freddie’s monster of a cat sat firmly on his chest. One paw continued to periodically poke him in the face, which explained what had been the cause of waking up so early.

“All right, you obnoxious beast.” Taine plucked Bitsy off his chest to avoid being cat-slapped for the umpteenth time. “Let’s go find our wayward Freddie.”

Padding barefoot through their house, Taine checked the bathroom, spare bedrooms, and office. Where’s he gone? He eventually found Freddie in the kitchen.

What in the world is he doing?

Is he actually… where the hell is my phone?

Quietly retracing his steps, Taine grabbed his phone from the nightstand. He had every intention of obtaining video proof to use to tease Freddie. Bitsy definitely deserved the most massive piece of tuna he could find for the cat.

With phone recording, Taine watched his beloved Freddie hold a small grater in one hand and a block of cheese in the other. He had his head tilted back with his arms up, grating the cheddar straight into his mouth. It was like being David Attenborough and observing a rare species in their natural habitat.

And here we have a lone cheese addict, partaking in his secretive ritual never before seen by man.

Taine stared in pure amusement as Freddie grated his favourite cheddar cheese directly into his mouth. “Is this what you get up to when I’m asleep?”

Freddie froze mid-grate and peered over at Taine with wide eyes. “Hello.”

“Do we need to talk about your addiction?” He chuckled at the flush on Freddie’s cheeks. “Is there a Cheese Addicts Anonymous out there? Twelve steps to resisting the siren call of cheddar?”

“You’re not funny.” Freddie set the grater on the counter. “I was hungry.”

“And grating cheddar into your mouth seemed the most logical way to solve the problem?” Taine leaned against the counter. “Is this what you do every night when I fall asleep?”

“Not every night.” Freddie toyed with the grater.

“Do you dream about me grating cheese into your mouth?” Taine watched Freddie turn immediately to clean up the counter. “Am I naked or wearing a tongue? Are we going to need to get a chaise lounge for you to recline on?”

“Tens,” Freddie groaned. “Can’t you pretend this never happened?”

“No.”

Coc y gath.” Freddie finished washing the grater and set it aside. He moved to rewrap the cheddar, returning it to the fridge. “I should be glad you didn’t capture photographic evidence. You didn’t, did you?”

“Freddie, I need to ask you a serious question.” Taine moved further into the kitchen. “How often do you do this?”

Cach.” Freddie dropped his head in his hands, continuing to matter himself in Welsh. “Not often.”

“Frederick.” He fought hard not to burst out laughing at how red Freddie had gone.

“Taine.”

“Will you tell me if I promise to grate cheese into your mouth while naked?” He grinned when Freddie’s head popped up. “And I’m the kinky one?”

“Yes, you are.”

‘How much wanking have you done to this cheese grating fantasy you have?” Taine figured if he had to wake up at an ungodly hour, he might as well amuse himself.

“Taine Afoa.” Freddie attempted to dart by him. “I’m going to sleep.”

Taine caught Freddie by the arm, dragging him into his arms and thoroughly enjoying the warmth of him. “That’s not an answer.”

Cachu hwch.


Welsh Translations:

Coc y gath – The cat’s willy (Or – Bollocks)

Cachu hwch – Pig’s poo (It’s all gone wrong)

Cach – Shit

For more on Freddie & Taine, be sure to check out their story, The Caretaker – Book Two of The Sin Bin & the upcoming Haka Ever After.


Cheese Addicts Anonymous © 2018 by Dahlia Donovan

All rights reserved. No part of this eBook may be used or reproduced in any written, electronic, recorded, or photocopied format without the express permission from the author or publisher as allowed under the terms and conditions with which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorized distribution, circulation or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s rights, and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly. Thank you for respecting the work of this author.

Cheese Addicts Anonymous is a work of fiction. All names, characters, events and places found therein are either from the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any similarity to persons alive or dead, actual events, locations, or organizations is entirely coincidental and not intended by the author.

Cheese Addicts Anonymous by Dahlia Donovan (PDF Download)

 

Nice Arse (A Sin Bin Flash Fiction)

In celebration of my upcoming Sin Bin release, Haka Ever After. I decided to do a small flash fiction event. Today’s the first one, titled Nice Arse. It features two characters I get asked about a lot — Remi Chardin and his lovely wife, Sarah Chardin.


“Who’s he, then?” Sarah leaned forward in her seat to see over the rows of rugby fans in front of her. “He’s a hairy beast. Nice arse on him.”

“Remi Chardin. Captain of the French team.” Ivan reached a hand out to drag her back into her seat when she stood up. “Heard he’s taking up a coaching position in the next year or so in England. Supposedly he’s friends with some of the British team. He’s a brilliant player.”

“I thought you hated the French team.” Sarah had been shocked when Ivan actually accepted her invitation to the Italy vs. France game in Paris. She hadn’t been surprised when he spent the entire time complaining. “If you’re going to grumble at me under your breath again, why’d you bother coming with me at all?”

No answer.

Each year, she’d watched her brother turn more and more into an angry recluse who closely resembled their father. The trip had been her idea to goad him into a better mood. It hadn’t worked.

Ivan was as unreachable in Paris as at home. Her gaze returned to the bearded Frenchman with a sigh. Well, at least I have someone to ogle with Mr Rain Cloud sitting beside me.

By the time the game ended, Sarah had realised she’d spent the entire time watching Remi Chardin. He stood taller and broader than most of the men on the filed with long, wild dark brown hair that bled into his beard. The French Captain seemed more ancient warrior than rugby player.

“Want to go—”

“No.” Ivan cut her off instantly. “We’re going to the hotel.”

“Already?” She’d assumed they’d see the city a little. “It’s barely four in the afternoon. It’s Paris. I mean, Paris. We can’t spend the entire day in the hotel.”

“And?” Ivan shouldered his way through the throngs of fans trying to exit, leaving an easy path for his sister in his wake. “What’s to see?”

“The Eiffel Tower? Museums? Shops? Actual French macarons and patisserie.” Sarah planned to eat her weight before returning home. “Don’t you want to explore with me?”

Once they made it safely out of the stadium, Ivan stormed off toward the hotel to brood. Moody twit. Sarah had no intentions of wasting the day inside. In the end, she thought it a blessing in disguise since her brother would’ve ruined her fun.

Not wanting to get lost in a crush of other tourists, Sarah wandered the streets around their hotel after seeing the Eiffel Tower. She indulged in an embarrassingly large number of pastries and more coffee than was probably good for her. It had been a dream in her teens to spend weeks in Paris, but she thought she had a better appreciation for the city now in her twenties.

As the sun started to set on the city of lights, Sarah wanted a warm meal before dealing with her brother. Ivan tended to play the protective older brother almost as badly as their eldest brother, George, did. She needed more than coffee and sweets to put him in his place.

She found, of all things, a cosy Irish pub. Midway through her half glass of wine and salmon, a crowd of boisterous men came stumbling inside. Their accents made her think they’d come from London, and she groaned internally when several of them spotted her sitting alone.

Not now, please don’t ruin my beautiful day with your nonsense.

“Buy you a drink, love?”

Sarah lifted her glass. “I’ve got one. Thanks.”

“Buy you another one?”

“No.”

“Stuck up twat.”

Sarah got to her feet, appetite gone. She started toward the door only to find her path block. “Could you move?”

“I just want to buy you a drink.” He had definitely had more than enough liquid courage. “What’s the harm?”

“I don’t want any trouble.” Sarah tried to back away from the drunks only to find herself in a far corner of the pub out of the view of the staff. She cursed her decision to visit a pub and not stick with a fancy restaurant. “Let go of my arm.”

The aggressive drunk leered toward her only to be yanked away from her a second later. He was sent careening into his friends. They stumbled into a wall of sober, muscled men who seemed familiar to her.

With a lot of shouting in French and English, the drunks cleared out fairly quickly. Sarah gripped the table to her left with her hands shaking. She breathed through her need to vomit up her dinner.

Tout va bien?”

Sarah found herself face to chest with Remi Chardin and her half a glass of wine gave her the idiotic courage to blurt out her first thought. “You’ve a really nice arse.”

His dark brown eyes stared intensely at her. “Merci.”

“Can I buy you a drink?” She hoped the dark lighting in the pub hid the faint tinge of pink on her cheeks and the slight trembling of her fingers. “As a way of saying thanks for being my hero.”

“Are you in Paris for long?”

“No.” Sarah found herself being led across the pub to a different secluded corner that had couches. She waved at what appeared to be most of the French rugby team. “Just another day.”

“Pity.” Remi ordered a fresh glass of wine for her and a beer for himself before guiding her to sit with him on one of the leather sofas. “Can I change your mind? I haven’t had enough time to tell if you’re as vibrant as your hair.”

“Ginger’s vibrant?”

“Red. Not ginger.” Remi made the word red sound sexual in a way that had Sarah chugging down her wine. “Surely another day won’t matter?”

And he said day as though he meant week.

Sarah bent forward, with the impulsive courage that had run in her family for years, and brushed her lips against the corner of his mouth. “Want to show me Paris?”

Nice Arse © 2018 by Dahlia Donovan


Nice Arse by Dahlia Donovan (PDF)