Promises of Lightness and Dark

This is what comes of fooling around on line all night and then getting a good night’s sleep:  you look at things in a different light, and ideas pop into your head.  Maybe they’re not good ideas, but they do come up, and you’re a damn fool not to do anything with them.

I really was intending on working on my NaNo Novel last night, getting the lexicon worked out, because I truly do need that cat in the bag.  But I didn’t.  I waited for a package that didn’t come, and by the time I’d stopped waiting, it was getting on six-thirty.  So in for a shower, getting nice and clean, and I pop back out and it’s already seven-fifteen.  I did go to plug in my external drive–

But I had people wanting to speak with me.

The one part of The Burg that is so much like being back in Indy is having little or not personal contact.  Yes, you can speak with people at work, but there is no one here who you can hang with after the day is over and chat up, and maybe go out for a couple of drinks afterwards.  I have this lovely balcony and sitting out there is nice, but it would be wonderful to have someone over to speak with.

At the same time, during one of the conversations, my mind started working on its own side project.  I was reading what they typed, and I responded one way, but in another part of my brain I saw myself typing something else.  Something that was dark and not a little strange.  I know, you’re saying, “You, honey?  Strange?”  Shocking, right?  Sometimes I surprise myself.

While I have a lot of story ideas, very few of them are dark.  Maybe that’s because I have enough darkness surrounding me and while I might not write the most uplifting prose, I at least have something close to a happy ending by the end of the tail.  What I saw last night, what was being typed on the other side of my mind–it wasn’t happy, it wasn’t light, it wasn’t a good ending.

Or was it?

Every so often I dip into the horror.  Every so often I imagine the dark spaces in life and wonder what exists there.  Oh, sure, cannibal hillbillies and shambling zombies and things going bump in the night are good favorites.  But what if someone was drawn into the darkness, and embraced it willingly?  Not because they’re crazy, but because what was promised . . . touched them in a special way?

At the end of the novel Hannibal, Clarice ran off with Doctor Lecter because she’d spent too much time staring into the abyss, and when it stared back, she shrugged and said, “Ah, fuck it:  this isn’t that bad.”  Sure, you can say the drugs and the brain washing played a part, but I’m of a mind that after all those years chasing the darkness, she finally caught it and allowed it to become her own.

I need some dark writers.  The people in my stories better watch out.

All Hail the Spider Queen

Well, isn’t this an interesting start to the week?  Actually that happened last night when I was working on Fantasies in Harmonie, and I started working things out in the initial scene . . . then again, maybe it started with the dreams last night, which were very bizarre.

Lets get this in order, shall we?

First off, I didn’t think I was going to write a lot last night.  I thought, “Yeah, did five hundred words last night, maybe do the same tonight.”  Right.  So I started writing after I got some information out of my ideas file and put into the current project.  I looked at the layout of the cabin, and started in with a question asked and answered.

I had no real idea about what was going to be in the scene, what was going to happen, and yet, the moment I started writing I didn’t feel as if I was going to need to search for words.  I knew what would happen, and I didn’t need to go into a lot of discussions about the why of being in the cabin–that’s probably left for tonight–but rather I wanted to show the ladies together as a group.  It doesn’t get simpler than that.

So I have the set up, the witty banter, the insinuation that one of the women is into My Little Pony fan porn (we’ll call it “Fifty Shades of Flutershy”), the unsaid feeling that something isn’t right with one of the characters–it’s all there.  It’s getting things set up for the big bangs to come–no pun intended.

I know tonight the words might not come out as easily as they did last night, but it felt good to be creating again.  It’s a silly little story, but so what?  It’s my story, and I feel for my characters.  Maybe you’ll feel them, too, when you read this.

As for the dream–hey, lets spend some time with this madness now . . .

Of late my dreams haven’t been that important.  They’ve been there, but nothing that has stood out, nothing that made me wake up and think, “What the hell was that all about?”  That doesn’t mean I haven’t had my semi-waking moments, but it’s been nothing like the dreams I had last year.

This time, though–let me tell you.  First I was out shopping, and no big deal there.  I was in a modest skirt, sandals, tee shirt, the sort of thing one wears on a warm, sunny day.

That somehow transitioned to ending up in an adult clothing store, and I was trying on this black latex mini dress and boots combo, and the girl who was waiting on me was pretty much drooling as she watched me in the mirror.  She kept calling me “Spider Queen” for no reason that was then apparent–

Then I was back home, and I was with someone I know, and she was having trouble containing herself.  At one point she says, “Take me, Spider Queen,” and before you can say “Metebelis III,” I’ve got six arms and I’m doing some rather strange and kinky things to my friend, who is more or less mumbling “I love you” between moments of ecstasy.

I mean, what the hell?  Me, the latex clad Spider Queen?

Maybe there’s a story in there–

Sensual Vacuum

Yesterday was crazy writing day.  Interviews, blog posts, guest blog posts, research, and my story.  Busy bee, you say?  You know it.

I’ve said–or, as some of you might say, bemoaned–that at times being a writer can be a real chore.  When you are a writer, you are always writing.  That’s the job, honey bunny.  You sit and put words to whatever medium you prefer.  So whenever anything comes up, it’s always do 500 words on this, 300 words on this, maybe a 1000 on that.  When it’s needed you go get your writing cap (or shawl, or slippers–I could use some writing slippers), slip it on, and get to work.

That was me starting 6:30 yesterday morning.  I hit the ground running, with a break or two here and there.  But I spent a good part of the day writing.  If I wasn’t doing, you know, writing-writing, I was formatting something for a blog tour I’m on.  Or putting a picture inside a blog post because I am just a cock-eyed wonder when it comes to these fancy computers.

The biggest thing, however, was I got into Part Eight of Diners at the Memory’s End, and I finished that sucker.  Did it in two parts, because I was taking my time with the writing, doing about 1,100 words on one end, and finishing up, around 10:15 PM, with a final 360 words.  So a little over 1,450 words, and Part Eight slips into history as the–so far–longest part of my current story.

The thing that really seemed to hold me up?  The sex scene.  I stopped the first time because my head was threatening to explode, and I needed a break.  I knew I’d start getting into a bit of the sexy, as I like to say, and I didn’t want to try and write that while forcing myself to hold my head up.

But when I got back into it, all the stuff I envisioned about what was going to happen, all the language and the sensations and so forth . . . they didn’t feel right.  Actually, they didn’t feel real.  It felt a bit contrived, like I would have been writing a sex scene for the sake of writing a sex scene.

I remembered something I did in my NaNo Novel.  During the final battle between my protagonist and antagonist, I had all these visions of it being huge and protracted.  Then I thought about it:  if you have two people with incredible powers squaring off, getting ready to kick each other’s ass with magic, how long would a battle like that really last?  Generally speaking, you have a lot of defense, a few jabs to wear each other down–then, when you see a weakness, you clobber the other person.

In the mean time, however, you probably destroy everything around you, and have whatever passes for the magical cops on your ass.

I figured these two would likely go right at each other, flat out, trying to score the knock out pretty quick.  One of the combatants wasn’t suppose to know magic real well, so taking her out right away seemed prudent.  It didn’t work, and the other witch got her ass kicked in short order.

If less was more for a battle, then it’d work for sex.  After all, I don’t have to show everything, or even much of anything.  Just get the party started, and let people wonder was really happened in the cold, quiet, vacuum of space so far from anyone else.

So I went that route.  I got it started, but everything after the initial contact became fantasy fodder for the reader.  This isn’t erotica, it’s science fiction.  That doesn’t mean I can’t go for the sex in the story, but describing the exact proportions of Meredith’s vagina, how it might appear as it glistened in the dim light of unblinking stars . . . yeah, didn’t need that level of detail.

It’s out of the way, and it was a long week dealing with a part that, for some reason, was totally holding me back.  Now I’m beyond.

Time to break the heartbreak and resolution.

All That We Take With Us

All that I seem to have these days is writing.  Oh, man.  It’s all about the story these days, it seems.  That, and getting ready to head to the Undisclosed Location.

Yes, that moment in time is looming for me.  I haven’t talked about it much, because . . . frankly, I haven’t wanted to talk.  But situations have arisen where I have to leave my little cocoon of comfort and strike out for another city for a while.  It’s not forever; it’s really all about paying the bills–which is coming to a head finally, as we started overdrawing one of our saving accounts horribly the other day while buying stuff for my move.

Irony, as some might say.

I’ve been a bit on the freaking edge for a while about this move, but, Saturday evening, after I returned home from a trip to get things arranged, I more or less calmed myself and put it in prospective:

There was a time in my life when I used to travel on business a lot.  And I don’t mean like going from Chicago (the city I live very close to) to, say, Denver–which I have visited on business, but that’s another story–but more like going to Chicago to Hong Kong.  Yes, I’ve been to China.  Yes, I’ve visited there for many weeks at a time.

I’d pack up my stuff, head for the airport, fly to Minneapolis or Detroit, then fly to Tokyo, then fly to Hong Kong, and roll into the Sheraton Hong Kong Towers on Nathan Road almost 25 hours to the minute after I rolled out the front door of my house.  After that I’d head for my final destination, just up the river in Shekou (where I’d see this as I approached my hotel, which is on the far right of the picture), and I’d settle in for a stay.

I’m looking at this move pretty much the same way.  I’ve settled in for what looks like a 6 month stay at the moment.  I may re-up for a year, may not; it really depends on how the position goes.

But after 25 years in IT, I’ve decided I don’t want to stay.  I’m creeping up on 55, and that means I maybe have another good 10 years in IT before I’m told to call it quits again.  It’s not the way I want to go, and I won’t go there.

Ergo, the writing thing.

I’ve been on a writing jag since the end of July.  At this point I’ve written about 145,000 words for stories, and close to another 70,000 words just within the confines of this blog.  For me, that’s quite an accomplishment.  Not because I’m writing, but because I’m finishing.

The newest story, Couples Dance, is moving along well.  I wrote another chapter yesterday, 1,270 words for the day and bringing the story total to 6,435 words.  Now I’m moving into the “erotica” part of the story, a chapter where the sexual relationship between the two main characters is explored.  It seems with this story I’m going an “every-other” flow with the chapters: there’s sex, and then there’s exposition.  Get off, then get information.

And I like how this is working.  Of course, I have two more chapters set up, and I know there will be more chapters after that.  I just haven’t figured that part out yet.

Actually, just now, I went down to get coffee . . .

While  getting a cup I had this post in my head, and I realized after the last chapter I have listed, there needs to be one where the couple in my story realizes something is happen, but they don’t know what; then one more bit of exposition, then one last really hot sex scene (and, yes, I know what that scene will be, because I’ve thought about it for a while), and then the coda, and ta-da!  Story over.

Funny how I do that.

So, there.  I have the story plotted out, and I just need to set up the note card chapters in Scrivener, and I’m ready to rock.

This is the sort of thing I want to lean on as I approach 60.  Work as I knew it is over.  It’s a dead end.

Pouring out my imagination to others . . . that’s where it’s at.

Just a reminder, I’m getting interviewed tomorrow, as I pointed out in this post.  Bernadine Feagins from Phillybookpick’s Blog will interview me on Blog Talk Radio, and it’s gonna be a good time.  Tomorrow, 18 January, at 1 PM EST, Noon CST, and 10 AM PST.  Be there or be square.

Standing at the Crossroads

Early morning, and there’s snow all over the place.  Was out at 5:30 clearing the drive, and man, I didn’t miss that at all.  Now with a 3 Above wind chill out there.  The only thing that was good is that it’s all light, lake effect snow, and not the heart attack-inducing wet snow that Chicago usually gets.

Today I was suppose to be on the road . . . not going to happen.  Not with snow all over the place, and down to the south of me is where I have to go–or was suppose to.  Calls to be made to let people know I’ll be in their town tomorrow morning, because with the weather the way it is now, I’m not going to travel 300 miles for something I’m not very excited about.

The writing was good yesterday.  Couples Dance moved onward, hitting 2,350 words yesterday.  Ended a sex scene and then proceeded into a discussion of old houses in Massachusetts and eating disorders.  Did I mention that even though this is erotica, there’s a story here?  See, that’s the one thing a lot of people don’t get: just because it’s got a lot of good sex in it–well, only one scene of good sex so far–that doesn’t make it smut or porn.

As pointed out in a discussion I had yesterday–and this is something I like to bring up a lot–if there’s sex in the course of the story, and it plays a part in the story, it’s erotica.  If it’s just sex for the sake of sex, just to watch people get off, then it’s porn.  Frankly, porn is boring: I stopped watching it in the 1970’s when I realized I should be out having sex rather than watching a lot of obviously stoned people having it.  And I saw a lot of porn, because I grew up in a town where the local drive in showed porn flicks every weekend, and getting in was about as difficult as pumping gas, so I knew what I’m talking about.

The story is interesting, because I’m really not viewing it as erotica, per se.  I’m looking at it as a horror story with a lot of sex in it, which is probably why I’m thinking of it as “Paranormal Erotica”.  This might make it difficult to market, but I’m hoping that the story is going to carry the day, and people will enjoy the story, not because it’s paranormal, not because it’s got great sex, but because it’s a good story.

I spent part of the day thinking up another story as well.  It revolves around the role playing character I created, Kerry, and how, after he begins teaching back at the same school he graduated from, he deals with a student who is transgender.  Kerry feels strongly for the boy–mostly because there are many issues in his life that allow him to identify with the student–and he’s also very good when it comes to transfiguration magic.  I’d actually looked at his story here before, months ago, and yesterday was pretty much a retelling of it in my mind, my way of getting all the lines finished the way I’d like them.

Like I’ve said before, Kerry is a character I’ve developed and grown with over the last 9 months–yeah, it’s been almost that long.  And I know as an adult, he’ll go through some crazy things.  But for him, helping this student is an important thing for him, because as time goes on he’ll find himself in a position where he feels the need to want to help.  Help those who are upset, who feel as if they have nothing going on in their lives . . . who feel like they are different.

Hey, you could almost say the same about me.

Storytime Fantasies

Strange things, I’m telling you.  With Echoes done and sort of out of the way–I’ll likely start the first edits on it at the end of the month–I decided to run it through The Gender Genie and I Write Like to see how is stacked up.  Gender-wise it came out female by a long shot, which I think had a lot to do with the last few chapters–though strangely enough, the longest chapter in the story involved a long chat between two men and that came out as very female-like.

But now I get to how I write and I’m bummed.  The individual chapters all come up looking pretty well, but when I threw the whole shebang into the editor and ran it . . . it said I write like Dan Brown.  Really?  I write like a fucking hack?  I write like a guy who couldn’t cut it as a musician and decided writing would be an easier way to generate coin?

I gotta work on that, ’cause that’s sort of embarrassing.

Yesterday I did more work on a little thing I’m doing on the side that I call The Salem Project.  This is really nothing more than me taking the stuff I did when I was role playing at the Salem Witches’ Institute and putting it in a Scrivener project, so that if I want to see something, I have it right there where I can see it without having to search through a ton of threads.

I seemed to be doing this more out of a sense of melancholy than anything else.  Late in the evening of 10 April will mark the 1st Anniversary of the “founding” of the Institute by the lovely Annie, and to put it bluntly, I miss the days when I helped create this place and then ran with Annie into the adventure of our characters.

Right now it sits quiet and empty, and perhaps one day Annie will find the time to return and continue our story.  Right now I dream of what might be–as I was doing last night–and think about how this adventure did a lot to keep me from falling into the abyss.  And I catalog everything so that I’ll have it.  Oh, yes: I’ll have it all.

Last night was a time for reflection.  I was a little bummed, I won’t deny that, and when I went to bed I had a lot of conflicting things going on in my head.  That’s not a strange thing: my mind is my own worst enemy: it’s this fracking pain in the ass that does nothing but grind me down when I least need said grinding.  So I ran a few scenes through my head–well, actually talked them out as I sat looking out the window–and drifted off to sleep.

My dream was, for once, pleasant, one where I was sitting around the house with someone I know, and we were chatting about nothing in particular, and there was a bit of touching and hand holding, and it ended with a cuddle that made me feel warm and protected.  I still remember it as I write.  It was nice.  It was simple.

It was something I needed.

But then I started waking up, and I was in that crazy half-sleep state where you don’t know if you’re awake or dreaming.  And it was then that I started having vision, and it was related to a story I talked about some time ago–in particular one scene that has sort of stuck with me–and in the vision something came to me: the end of the story.  In a matter of, I don’t know, maybe 5 minutes, the way the story should ended was right there.  The vision told me, “You have it all now”, and then sat back and laughed its ass off, as if it were taunting me to do something.

Yeah, I know how you work.  Make me feel like a schmuck and browbeat me into writing.

This story has been with me for some time–at least the opening scene has, because it came about when I was talking with a friend and they told him it was something they would love to have someone to do them.  The way I was hit this morning, I get the impression that I should do this.  Because it’s prodding me to get to work.  And it’s going to keep prodding.  And if I don’t do something, eventually it’ll just whip out a big stick and club me over the head.

Erotic fantasy, here I come . . . once again.

Wolf Moon and Lesbian Teachings

It was another night under the full moon for me.  Last night’s full moon is also known as the Wolf Moon, because it was during this time when the hungry wolves could be heard howling in the distance.  The wolf was out with me, though it wasn’t howling.  Hell, there isn’t even any snow on the ground, but this is the Midwest–give it a week.

So there I was, driving along just after midnight–it was that time exactly when I left my friend’s apartment last night–and thinking and, as always, talking to myself.  I do that, but I’m not really talking to myself, I’m usually speaking in the voices of characters that I’ve made.  I know, that sounds strange, but it’s one way I work out scenes in stories.  I’ll wait until no one is around and I’ll talk in their “voices” and see how a story should sound.

Last night I was with Kerry, my role playing character, and one of his instructors, Erywin.  She’s actually one of my favorite characters, which, if you knew about the times I’ve spoken of her, then you’d know how I feel about her.  I sort of see her as the friend I would love to have, but don’t.

She’s had a very troubled, tortured past.  Erywin is a lesbian, and came out as such at school, as a young girl, in 1979.  Not a good time to stand up and say, “I’m gay and proud,” and she ended up getting her ass beat not long after her pronouncement.  Of course, said ass beating led to her meeting the Love of her Life, which eventually became a very good thing.

The conversation was a simply one: it was just Kerry and Erywin sitting and talking about Kerry’s and, by this time, his wife Annie’s, graduation from school.  He was asking about when Erywin graduated, and it brought back a painful memory of how, in 1985, her girlfriend, the Love of her Life–who is a year younger–stayed around to watch Erywin graduate.  When Erywin went to introduce her Love, Helena, to her parents, her father walked away, still refusing to accept that his only daughter loved another woman.

In the course of the conversation it was reveled that Erywin’s father died of a heart attack in 2003.  He told her a few year before that he could almost accept that she was a lesbian, but he never apologized for the way he snubbed Helena.  It lead Erywin to say:

 

“Friends say I have unfinished business with my father, and the only way I’ll put this behind me is to forgive him.  But how do you forgive a dead man?  How do you forgive someone who grew uneasy the moment you entered his presence?  How do forgive someone who hated your friend, your lover, the woman I wanted to spend my life with?  How do you forgive someone who never apologized for his hateful behavior, and now can’t?

“No, the business with my father is finished, well and good.  I won’t forgive, but I don’t ever dwell.  I’ve moved on.  And so should everyone else.”

 

It is true: sometimes you have to put the past behind you, accept that things were never good, and keep going.  Believe me, I understand where she’s coming from.  And one should, at times, forget the past and keep looking to the future.

But I came up with something even more interesting from her.  Something that applies to writers in particular.  Because there was a question that Kerry asked a few minutes later.  It was an innocent question, and one that he could ask as he is a good friend of Erywin’s.  And at the same time, it’s one of those questions that, the moment it leaves your mouth, you wish you could recall the damn thing:

 

“Do you ever wish you were straight?”

 

Yes, 17 year old boys know how to bring the awkwardness.  But Erywin likes Kerry; she likes him a lot.  And her reply–as I remember it–was simple:

 

“Oh, now that’s a conundrum, isn’t it?  Hum . . .

“I’ve never been interested in men.  Never.  When I was younger it was always the girls, and as I grew older it became women.  But men?  I can have them as friends–as I am friends with you–but as an object of desire?  (shudders)  It would be all wrong for me.  The sight, the touch, the smell . . . the taste . . . (thinks for a moment)  It’s so . . . alien.

“But most importantly, I couldn’t ever know how to love that person, not the way they should be loved.  And without love, everything else is so empty.  I can certainly love a man as a friend–as I love you, Kerry–but I can’t see how I would ever love beyond that.

“I could never wish to be straight, because how does one wish for something they can’t ever imagine?”

 

And there is a conundrum as well, because, as writers, you’re always having to imagine those things that, frankly, you may never know.  How does one, who isn’t a lesbian, get into a 51 year old lesbian’s head, and imagine them thinking about something that is really kinda foreign to a man?  As someone who’s written erotica and fetish fantasy fiction, how do you take something that’s truly alien, something that’s way, way, ’round the bend, and make it “real”?

For some reason I think this conversation will stay with me a while.

This is what I get for being out with the Wolves, howling at the moon when I should be sleeping.