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)

 

Let Them Eat Cake.

Food.

Glorious food.

My stories always seem to feature a lot of tasty treats.

(Or, in the case of The Caretaker and the upcoming Haka Ever After, ALL THE CHEESE.)

I’ll be perfectly honest, half the time, I wind up making myself hungry and get annoyed because I don’t always have access to some of the foods my characters enjoy. One Last Heist was a prime example. Toshiro and Mack indulge quite a bit in the story. I have to live vicariously through them.

Tragic.

Food adds a layer to stories. And I’ve discovered one person’s weird is another’s delicacy.

As an autistic, the smell, texture, spice levels, and even colour of food can affect whether I’ll be able to eat it. I also tend to have weeks and even months where I’ll eat the same meal over and over and over again, much to my hubby’s dismay. =) It’s something I try to stay cognizant of with my autistic characters.

Toshiro’s sister Charlie enjoys having her eggs in a particular way, especially when made by her brother.

The other side of the food coin is weird–odd–gross foods. And I’ll admit that one person’s weird is another’s delicacy.

Here are some of the foods (I find weird) that I’ve tried over the years:

– Blood Sausage.

Ew. Gross. Don’t.

– Jackfruit

Weird texture. Weird on the outside. Tastes amazing.

– BBQ Stingray

Tried this in Singapore. So good. Silky texture and no odd fishy aftertaste.

– Turtle Soup

This one traumatised me for years. My dad made me try his soup. I was horrified. Also, it was rubbery. But, I had pet turtles, and I had nightmares about eating them. lol

What are the weirdest or most unusual foods/dishes you’ve ever tried?

Do you enjoy learning about foods/dishes in the novels you read?

Puff loves GubGub.

One thing that stood out to me at the RT Convention last year was the number of authors who talked about how their significant others weren’t supportive. Their husbands (or wives or whatever) treated their writing as a hobby. At best, it seemed completely dismissive to me.

It made me appreciate my husband even more. He’s always encouraged me to follow any path or dream I had even the one time I thought I could become a soap mogul. Don’t ask. It didn’t end well. =)

He always takes my copies of my paperbacks and shrink wraps them to make sure they don’t get damaged. He’s so cute. He plans to have a special bookshelf just for my books.

And I think my heart grew three sizes. lol

It’s the little things that always remind me how much I love and appreciate my husband.

Like how he leaves love letters in random spots in my notebooks…address to Puff from GubGub. (Don’t ask.)

We do romance in our own way, but it’s remarkable and special because of it.

 

Once Upon an Indie.

Indie, Hybrid, Traditional.

Sounds more like different types of cars, not authors.

After I finished writing my first full novel, Ivy (a paranormal romance) in 2013, I had no idea what to do next. Submit it to agents? Try to publish it myself? Look for one of the many small publishing companies out there? It was overwhelming.

REALLY overwhelming.

I’d heard a lot of nightmare stories from indie authors about how they’d been royally screwed over by editors, cover artists, publishers, agents.  On the flipside, I’d also heard amazing stories about brilliant companies to work with.

It was hard to know what the right route for me was.

Traditional publishing ended up not being for me. It didn’t feel right. I was already so far outside of my comfort zone with trying to get publishing, I decided not to make it harder on myself.

And to me, that’s the most important part of the journey.

Find what works for you.

It’s your writing path–no one else’s.

As a general rule, I don’t believe in giving author advice. Advice on writing is always best taking with a grain of salt because everyone has their opinions.

And those opinions will quite frequently conflict with another author’s advice.

There are two things I think every indie/hybrid author should know: 1. professional covers are essential. 2. research your editor before hiring them.

I’ve heard so many nightmare stories about authors getting taken by disreputable editors when a little bit of research could’ve saved them a lot of hassle and money. Ask around. Talk to other authors whose work is well edited.

When I started looking around for an editor, I looked at a couple different companies before discovering someone I already knew had started an editing company–Hot Tree Editing. They were brilliant. Worked with me…and were understanding when I didn’t always get things and had questions. (Fun #actuallyautistic fact: I struggle with instructions A LOT.)

It was a no-brainer for me to submit After the Scrum when Becky decided to start Hot Tree Publishing to them. I trusted Hot Tree. And…dealing with everything as an indie was so stressful. Traditional publishing didn’t feel like my path, but the more hybrid route fit me perfectly, mostly because of the incredible women who support me and my writing.

I suppose this long rambling post is mostly to say–write your own way and publish in a way that works for you.

And avoid comparing your path to others.

What about you?

Are you an indie, hybrid, or traditionally published author?

 

What Are You Watching on the Television?

I have a confession. I watch loads of TV, more than I should.  My favourites tend to vary. I quickly fall into and out of obsession with some.  So here’s my top ten shows or genres I’ve been watching lately.

  1. Bake Off. The version with Mary, Sue, and Mel. It’s just not the same without them.
  2. Most of the shows on ID Discovery. I love crime shows. I’m particularly fond of Joe Kenda’s Homicide Hunter.
  3. Doctor Who (Though, I’ll admit I prefer Doctor’s nine and ten.)
  4. Deadliest Catch
  5. Forged in Fire
  6. Project Runway
  7. Hunted
  8. Food Shows. All the food shows. So many food shows.
  9. Hoarders
  10. Queer Eye (The old & the new versions)

What’s currently fueling your TV obsessions? Do you watch at all?

Deja Who?

There’s no reason for the subject to be spelt wrong. It just made me laugh. I am a nerd.

I think most writers probably have certain themes that follow them through their stories. Character traits, or backstories, or tropes we can’ t help using. Often times, we might not even realise we do it.

It’s a question I’ve had on my mind for a while now.

What are the ones to follow me through my writing?

Here are the ones I thought about (and maybe why):

  • Banter

  • Adoption – I’ve had a few characters who were adopted, or orphans, or foster kids. It’s probably because I’m adopted, so there’s a wealth of emotional stuff there I can explore.

 

  • Autistic Characters – I’m autistic. That one is:

  • Pets. All the pets. So many pets. From Taine’s hamster to Sherlock in After the Scrum. I’m a fan of memorable animals.
  • Absurd moments. I find absurdity humourous. (Like giving a large rugby player a hamster for a pet.)
  • Rough childhoods. A theme running through many of my stories are characters who have survived abusive or neglectful childhoods. Again, as something I had personal experience with, I think it’s important that not ALL of your characters have blissful, amazing parents. I’ve found as a reader that I cherish the books that I can relate to. When I find a character who has pulled through terrible times as a kid, I see a bit of myself.
  • Nerds. I’m quite a bit geeky, so admit to giving some of those quirks to my characters.

How about you? If you’re a writer, do you notice certain themes consistent throughout your different novels?

As a reader? Do you pick up on these sorts of things?