Chapter Six: The Religion of Mall Santas
“He toed the tile with his shoe. In slow, deliberate swipes he searched the floor for cracks, for hairline fractures slick with the remains of his last coherent thoughts.” (page 97)

The day after.


I want to thank you all for making A Torch Kept’s release day a success! It was awesome. Thank you!


Still got my mind.

That’s always a plus on the day after. Have you ever woke up with nothing but an echo of the alarm clock clanking around between your ears?

Yeah, not pleasant.

Especially when you don’t own an alarm clock.

*hums a little “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”*

On a day when the blog is entitled “The Religion of Mall Santas,” I thought it would be the perfect time to announce that my 14th novel for Ravenous Romance will be… a Christmas story!

Yes, Chloe does the guy in the big red suit… well, uh, you know what I mean.


Great. That’s one big check on the “naughty” side of the tote-board for me. I really don’t need any help on that side of things. My naughtiness is all fleshed out, thank you very much. Hello. Smut writer here.


As it’s becoming readily apparent that I am still hung-over from yesterday’s festivities and delusional breaks, I’m going to end all our suffering by ending this blog a little early today.

For your patience, however, I will leave you with a small parting gift…

The title of my 14th novel will be Miracle on Lombard Street. Yep, I’m hitting the streets of Frisco with this one, babe. All new characters, all new storyline! What a merry rush it will be! The deadline for the manuscript is November 25, so expect a mid-December release, my friends.

Until tomorrow (when another HUGE announcement will be made), I wish you all a little early “Fa-la-la-la-la!”


Chapter Seven: When All is Well
“Her footsteps were small, fragile against the hard hospital floors. There was no sense of certainty about her movements. From the way she held her elbows tight against her sides, to the hesitant downward tilt of her chin, (the woman) slipped through the long, solemn corridors with the presence of a banished wraith.” (page 105)

Good morning and welcome to the penultimate blog for the “Peak and Thrust 12 Day Sneak Peek Event!” Only one more day until you won’t have to hear those words again (I admit they’re a mouthful and my fingers are starting to groan every time I start typing them… bet you didn’t know fingers could groan, huh? Well, hop on my medication train and you’ll learn all sorts of cool things.)

I’ve got to say that the response to yesterday’s “For that 18 year old girl” blog was tremendous! It tied with my Thanksgiving Day “Panic Attack – blog interrupted” high.


Thank you.

As you all seem to warm up to my confessional pieces, I’ll continue in that light until you beg me to stop. I will be turning in novel #9 (Shafts of Torchlight) Saturday, December 3 so you should get another Chloe Stowe blog spree just in time for Christmas. Yes, I am the gift that keeps on giving.

So, on to today’s peek inside my mind…

The joy of anticipation… it is one thing that my mental illness has stolen from me that I would dearly love to have back.

I’m talking about that “kid on Christmas Eve” feeling, that “crossing days off the calendar as your vacation beckons” thrill. Hey, I’m even talking about the mundane “There’s a great movie on tonight; it’ll be great to watch it” warmth that sees us all through a long week… I don’t get to have that anymore.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. I’m not so mellowed out on my meds that I don’t get giddy, that I don’t bounce on the balls of my feet like a three year old when my team wins or I get some incredible publishing news. I’m one of the more excitable people you’re likely to ever meet… there lies the sick irony.

Anticipation, the joy of knowing something really good is about to happen, filters through my brain as panic. Talk about crap.

All the same buttons are pushed in my head whether I’m clinging to a cart at Target trying not to pass out (see Thanksgiving Day blog) or am waiting for Santa to come rolling down that chimney.

Book a trip to Paris and what do I get? A bone deep dread, an immediate counting down of the hours that I have left before I have to go. We’re not talking butterflies, here. We’re talking monsters rabid and hungry in your belly and in your head… and it doesn’t go away. It stays with me until whatever it is that I was supposed to be so excited about passes in a haze of exhaustion and a general sense of “Thank God that’s over.”

It’s sad, really.

I miss sitting in front of the fireplace on Christmas Eve. I miss waiting on the “Santa’s” of life. But do you know what’s really messed up?... I still do it. I still wait by the fireplace on December 24th.

So if you’re looking for me on Christmas Eve, you’ll know where to find me. Sick, trembling, panicking, but still waiting on Santa.

Now for your sneak peek of this rainy Sunday morning…

Chapter Ten: Once Upon a Sweltering Detroit Night

“Joey kept staring out at the Alaskan night like maybe if he looked long and hard enough an answer would come riding in on the tail of a Northern Light. He shook his head and pulled his gaze away. Man, he was fucking losing it.” (page 144)

Until tomorrow (Release Day!)…

Chloe Stowe, the woman by the fireside