Saturday, November 4, 2017

moving right along...

in the last few weeks these things have taken place:

1. i got my second book back from final editing

2. i finished the sexy sci-fi book i had put aside, and it turned out that
     a. i loved writing it,
     b. it taught me a new way of approaching plotting, and
     c. it was fun to let loose with language and not have to stick to the sort of semi-fancy form that one assumes fits the fantasy genre

3. i picked up book 3 in the 3K series and was about to finish when i realised it was missing half the story (the story that takes place "back home") so that's going to translate into more writing and plotting but that's ok, because i also

4. had a massive brain wave about book 4 in the 3K series and i'm already deep into it. in fact i'm just writing the first sex scene, and who doesn't love MOAR SEX (as my beta readers are always haranguing me ... well, one of them, but the most dedicated one, so she gets to be demanding).

all this means that i have 2 books ready to publish once i get the covers done

i don't know what it says about my mental health but writing is currently keeping not only sane but also relatively happy, and who doesn't want to be both happy and sane? right?

so, to recap.

ready to publish:

1. livia enthralled

2. the crimson cloak (book 1 in 3 kingdoms)


finished and needing more feedback:

3. the silver dagger (book 2 in 3K)


in the final stages of writing:

4. the black quill (book 3 in 3K)


just started:

5. the brass helm (book 4 in 3K)


possibly going to write

6. the feral blade (book 1.5? 2.5? hard to tell... in 3K)


i promise to keep my 3 staunch readers updated on the latest news.

over and out.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

to boldly go...

i have just finished my sci-fi novel. it clocks in at an unprecedented 75k words (my usual, so far, has been around 60k) and has been a lot of fun to write. now comes the hard part - the polishing, the massaging, the strategic excisions, the dicking around with commas. oh hell, that's not really the hard part - that's the fun part! the hard part is going to be getting this bad boy ready for publishing, and then marketing the hell out of it. all this is speculation at this point, since i haven't done any of those things for any of my books so far. the first one is technically ready to go, only awaiting a glorious cover, but since i'm about two weeks away from yet another international move, i figured i'd let it slide until i'm relatively close to settled (which, more than likely, is most people's version of very unsettled).

i quite enjoyed writing this book because, unlike the pseudo-historical one, and the fantasy ones, this one placed fewer restrictions on my vocabulary and tone. There's swearing in it, and i think people have more fun (sometimes even while having sex). i even came up with a title that made sense. these placeholder titles can be tough to get rid of. i think in the future i will just use the main character's name instead of something silly like "slave to love" which is cringeworthy, especially when i think how close it came to being the actual title. ugh.

at this point i have one more book to finish, and i'm experiencing a tiny lick of anxiety because i don't have anything lined up in the 3 kingdom series as of yet, and i prefer to have two things on the go at a time. there are inklings, but i need more. i'm told by friends to ease up, seeing as i've produced the better part of 5 books since i began this madness in april, but without exaggerating, writing is the thing that keeps my demons at bay. whenever my mood plummets or my sads rear their ugly heads, sometimes just thinking about plot or character is enough to gently guide me off the ledge. writing - the new FDA approved antidepressant! who knew?

not sure if anyone is reading this. don't matter, since i'm really writing here for my own personal edification and to keep tabs on the journey i've embarked on. but if you are, gentle reader, know that as soon as i've published, you shall be told. right here. right in these pages.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

life without google is not a life worth living

yes, i certainly use google for research. why do you ask?



in the end google helped with the donkey ride (about 4-5h), but failed me on the deer one forcing me to consult an expert. i've been supremely lucky to be surrounded by people who are experts in the following fields:

-fire arms
-hunting
-flora, fauna, natural phenomena like floods, etc.
-horse and all horse-adjacent information
-general science with a focus on chemistry
-general geology

i also have a website saved that tells me exactly how to stab someone so they bleed out in a set amount of time, complete with diagram and exact times to unconsciousness and death for each portion of the anatomy named. and of course 245 sex positions with diagrams which i might have mentioned before. anyone looking at my search history is either really worried or realises that i'm writing. 

Monday, October 23, 2017

enthralment

a good friend of mine mentioned my post about happily ever after, and how reluctant people are to admit that it's not realistic. it made me think again about the huge disconnect in my mind between my personal beliefs for real life, versus my hopes and dreams for the imaginary people in my books. it's been bothering me for so long. writing about "true love" and "love at first sight" and "happily ever after" comes naturally to me but at the same time fills me with shame for perpetuating the narrative that has set up so many people for marital and sexual disappointment. so why do i do it? and why does it feel so real? and not just real, but inevitable?

i was doing yoga last night, standing up in mountain pose when it hit me. when i'm writing my characters, their feelings are real to me, and when i'm writing that they're falling in love, the happily ever after comes naturally. i write about that moment right on the cusp of falling, that moment of first finding those feelings stirring within them, and i'm right there with them. and from their perspective, forever is right within reach. happily ever after is natural and obvious in those first heady moments of falling in love. happily ever after is just a promise of more of the same in the future - more excitement, more thrills, but we all know real life doesn't work like that.

where i am as a person is years later - but i remember how simple forever was in those early years. it isn't anymore, and if i were to write a book about people who've been together for two decades, it'd be a very different story. but that's not the kind of story i want to write. not now, anyway.

i'm glad i thought this through, and realised that the belief in ever after is largely predicated on where you find yourself. i'm not saying it's impossible to keep love alive long term, far from it, but i am saying that all of those fairy tale endings, all those stupid and unrealistic promises of things remaining as magical forever as they are now, all of them are natural to the place from which they spring.


Saturday, October 14, 2017

man:woman woman:man

as i might have said before, i haven't been an avid reader of romance novels in years... decades, really, so my exposure to what is out there is rather limited. one thing that has struck me repeatedly in the several authors* i've read recently, is the recurrence of the standard narrative. man: powerful, large, strong, dominant versus woman:small**, relatively powerless except through the use of her body, etc.

i've found this in so many books now that i'm reeling. granted, in my first book, the female lead is carried to bed on more than one occasion, but in all other areas of life she's got all the power, baby: wealth, status, prestige, etc.

in the series i'm currently working on, i make damn sure that either the women save the men or they save themselves. i'm so damn tired of prince charming riding in on a horse and slaying the dragon. that's not to say that the men are useless fuck-toys. not at all. but i cannot have another besuited rich guy screwing a barely legal woman because i'm just bored to tears with that trope.

this isn't some sort of moral high road. i'm just bored and i won't do it. or at least i'll do it as little as possible, because, damnit, fuck patriarchy!



*research. you gotta see what the competition's doing, non?

**some authors stress the female characters' smallness so vehemently that i sometimes think men only want to fuck dainty big-breasted oompa-loompas. for all us amazon-sized women out there, i certainly hope that's not the case

Friday, October 6, 2017

isn't it romantic

writing smut has made me revisit my own relationship with the idea of romance.

a few years back, i was in a book club (i'm pretty sure i wrote about it at length in my other blog) and i still remember coming out of the theatre where we had just watched "water for elephants" whereupon i was told by some cranky book club members that i didn't have a romantic bone in my body. all because i refused to suspend my disbelief and found many of the characters' motivations to be irrational and stupid. i don't remember if i felt as strongly about the book as i did about the movie (hollywood does tend to oversimplify the most complex emotions) but i do remember feeling shocked at this assessment of my personality. up till then, i had honestly considered myself a romantic. i just didn't think that being a romantic meant i had to be stupid.

these days i know i don't subscribe to a lot of the tropes inherent in the term "romantic":

  1. i don't believe in love at first sight* - we learn about each other over time, we can have lust at first sight, sure, but do let's be adult about it and call it what it is
  2. i most certainly don't believe in the notion of "the one"- the idea of there being one perfect mate for each of us is simplistic - i'm not now who i was at 20, nor who i will be at 50 - to think that there's someone who will match my changes perfectly over the span of my life is idiotic. the most i can hope for is someone who will fit reasonably well over a few decades, if i'm lucky
  3. i seriously question the idea of forever love - see above
so no, i don't think i am a romantic. i'm open to a lot of ideas that true romantics would find abhorrent and yet... and yet when it comes to my books i'm utterly addicted to the idea of semi-old fashioned romance** and each time i try to steer the storyline toward something more in line with my personal beliefs, i fail. it's not that i write crap and need to rewrite. it's that i am physically unable to write a story in which the characters have an open relationship or in which they eventually part ways. sure, if they're not linked in some magical way, they can come and go as they please, and fuck all and sundry on the way. but as soon as there's a magical link, fugaddaboutit! that's it! they're one another's perpetual soulmate 4evah.

sad thing, too, is as i re-read my stuff (post-editing or incorporating beta readers' comments) i get caught up in the romantic notions that i'm peddling and get all warm and fuzzy inside. then again, fairytales are there for a reason and what are my books but fairytales with a whole lot of sex?

also, in my defence, there is always magic involved, so i can use that as a loophole and say that no, i do not believe in any of that crap, because the ONLY way for all the above romantic tropes to be true is if there's fucking magic involved. and i provide the magic.



*the only time i experienced something that felt very much like love at first sight, it ended up being the worst relationship i'd ever been in with a mentally unbalanced man twice my age who then continued to stalk me for well over a decade.

**semi because i refuse to have men rescuing women. for the most part the women are doing the rescuing, though the men are allowed to help on occasion.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

back from ed!

this morning i got slave back from second editing and it's good to go. which means i now have to... umm... publish the fucker, i guess? sigh. the fun is over, kids. the hard part begins.

also got crimson cloak back from first editing and i have to say i'm surprised at how little there is that i need to change. except for one pretty major thing - i need to sit down and figure out the ins and outs of a particular ... let's call it "superpower" for now. when i wrote the first book in the three kingdoms (3K) series i had no idea more would come and that the more would require further detail. i also tossed some things in without really thinking them through.

though the book had been stewing in my brain for years, i'd focused so much on plot and character that i simply failed to get detailed about the superpower. well, now that i'm finishing book 3 of 3K, the rules of how the superpower does and doesn't manifest are gaining increasing importance and i was more than willing to ignore it but alas, not my editor. she called my bluff and i've been bugging one of my betas relentlessly to help me figure this out.

the thing that i'm discovering is how much i need to talk things through to really get them. i'm also discovering the need for maps and excel spreadsheets, so perhaps i need to do the same for the superpower - what can it do? what can it not do? can it do different things for different manifestations? i suppose that's my homework for tonight. oh well, at least it beats trying to figure out how to get slave published!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

bathing suit areas

when i sat down and started writing my first book i immediately ran into a problem. a linguistic problem to be precise: what words should i use for all the sexy bits? are we to go with hardcore "cock" and "cunt" or take it down a notch and use the euphemistic "manhood" and "sex"? there were many discussions with my beta readers about this. also many interesting google searches in case someone is keeping tabs on me.

one of the benefits of the age of google is the vast wealth of websites dedicated to ALL your information needs, including your need for 439 synonyms for vagina or loins, or 257 clearly illustrated sexual positions for when you want your protagonists to do the dirty deed against a wall or beside a well or in an american standard sized bathtub. let me tell you: i sure am learnin' lots!

oddly enough i had two unrelated people ask me if i was going to use "purple headed warrior" in my books, which i found strange seeing as i'd never come across this poetic moniker in my years of reading. granted, i'm not a huge smut reader, but still, you'd think something like that would have stuck in my mind. but the short answer is: no. no, i am not using "purple headed warrior" in my writing because i'd be laughing too hard to type.

truth is, it's difficult to hit the right note when writing about sex. and though i've finally decided to go the more euphemistic route, i do tend to say "cock" and "ass" on occasion, because sometimes the occasion calls for it. i'm also using far more explicit words in the sexy sci-fi than in the sexy fantasy books because it fits better in the world i've created. 

one of the best things that's come out of the search for the perfect sex words was my unofficially official writing support group whom i named after those early discussions: the itty bitty titty and kitty committy. they're definitely getting a mention in the acknowledgment section of all published works. i couldn't have done it without them. more on them later, because they really do deserve a blog post (or several) just about how awesome they have been.




Friday, September 29, 2017

east is west

last night i was lying in bed, thinking, and it suddenly became obvious that since i made the first map of the three kingdoms (needed to make a map to clarify various storylines to myself) it has been backwards. granted, i've always tended to confuse east and west in my head, but when i take things slowly i can eventually explain them to myself (sorta like the whole spring ahead, fall behind thing... as i've noted before: i never said i was smart).

in my head, each time a character travels west they're really travelling east, and vice versa. last night i was forced to face the fact that i done fucked up. so this morning i went into illustrator and flipped the map and lo, it now aligns with what is in my head. which means that i now have to go back to three books (+/- 60k words each) and change every east to west, every west to east, every southeast to southwest, etc. etc. and i need to make sure sunrises watched on the beach become sunsets. thank the GODS for the ctrl-f function.

i could ignore things and leave them as is, but the feeling of disaster averted, of visceral relief, when i see the reversed map is too damn strong to ignore. after all, these stories are in my head so they'd best be in line with their birthplace.

sigh. i'm off to change a few things.


old map:


new map:



i realise it's not a big deal to you, but for some strange reason it is a big deal to me. and now it's done.


EDIT. NOTE: when you ctrl-f for "east" you soon realise how often you've written "breast" - a lot. i've written "breast" A LOT.

the telling of tales

as far back as i remember, i used to tell myself stories. i'm an only child and it was the 70's, which meant that my parents were busy living their own lives instead of hovering over me ensuring that every single one of my physical and emotional needs was being met the moment it manifested if not before. as a result i was pretty much left to fend for myself (please, don't call social services; it's too late) and develop an overactive imagination which continues to haunt me to this day. so. anyway. STORIES.

i used to tell myself stories and as i got older, this continued, though the stories changed. they were intricate, detailed, and shifting. they would go on for months, sometimes years (i'd always have several on rotation so i wouldn't get bored). the characters would develop or change motivation over time. the dialogue would get fine tuned. sometimes a book or a movie or a song would inspire me and i'd incorporate aspects of it into my story. they were like movies or books you return to for comfort (well, i do, anyway. i realise some people don't do that and find it weird, but hey, chacun à son goût, as they say). so over time i'd develop characters that i'd get to know. i'd invent places and times and bend them to my will. i'd create new situations for my characters to show their mettle (what IS mettle? how does one show it? isn't that rude?)

because i have always loved writing, people would often say to me, "you should write a book" at which i'd invariably roll my eyes and tell them that 1. i didn't have a book in me, and 2. my favourite writing format is the short but opinionated essay, and maybe 3. just because you can write doesn't mean you can write a book, goddamnit. this kind of thinking persisted until sometime this spring when, once again, i found myself stuck in the suburban dreamland of southern texas, depressed, unemployed, and missing home something fierce, and something clicked into place. one day, out of the blue, for no reason that i am able to pinpoint, i thought to myself, hey! you! you're not doing anything productive! why don't you sit yo ass down and write one of the stories in your head? i mean, they're already IN there. all you have to do is write them down.

so i did. that was april sometime. i sat down and wrote the abysmally titled* "slave to love," followed in short order by a sexy fantasy book, "the crimson cloak" which is currently in editing. then i started a dark sexy sci-fi that i put aside for now. next, i toiled my way through "the silver dagger" which is the first book that i had to make up versus pulling it out of my brain ready made. that one hurt but for various reasons it needed to be written. i'm still working on it and it continues to feel like my weakest book so far - i'm still waiting on my beta readers' comments. i am now finishing the third part of the series (i never knew it was going to be a series!) called "the black quill." turns out that when i immersed myself in the world i created in "the crimson cloak" it suddenly refused to let me go, and more and more stories demanded to be told.

so, to recap:

  • one rome-adjacent non-historically-accurate sexy slave narrative
  • a sexy fantasy series (tentatively called "the three kingdoms") with three titles so far and more on the way
  • one dark sexy sci-fi put aside for now
and yes, they're all sexy and fairly explicit which, if you were paying attention, you'd have gotten from the title of this blog. does this mean that all the stuff that's in my brain is sexy? well, i refuse to answer this question on the grounds that i may incriminate myself, but let's just say that my brain and the brains of 15 year old boys have some serious overlap. don't judge me. apparently i do the sexy bits decently well (thanks, beta readers**!)

so if in january you'd have said to me, "hey! you should write a book!" i'd have rolled my eyes and nodded politely with a distant look in my eyes. by may i was on my second book and now, at the end of september, i'm finishing the fourth. weird, right? who knew? well, apparently all the people who over the years told me that i should write a book, that's who. i certainly wasn't paying attention to the fact that i had a bunch of stories already roiling around in my brain, but then again, i never said i was smart.




*it was meant to be a tongue-in-cheek placeholder title but i have as of yet been unable to find anything that works better. ideas? it's a sexy romp through ancient rome-adjacent place featuring a feisty wealthy roman-adjacent widow and a younger norse slave she purchases on a whim. see? "slave to love" works!

** the beta readers are so freaking important to this whole writing process that i shall dedicate multiple future posts to them and what they do for me.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

welcome to my dirty mind

hello darlings,

if you're here, it means that either you were googling "smut" and inadvertently ended up here (sorry!), or you already know me from my other blog. either way, welcome.

the reason i started a separate new blog is because i've started writing books. smutty books, to be precise. turns out i love talking about them to the point of absurdity, which means that my poor long-suffering friends have had their virtual ears talked off, and so in order to offer them some succour, i thought i'd blab about my books here instead.

sorry, you won't be inundated with sordid scenes of sexual depravity. that will be IN the books for which i'm hoping to eventually get paid (once i get them published, natch). this will be all about the process, baby,  process. why? because i've never written a book before i sat down and wrote these four, and i find it fascinating. so, take a comfortable seat, pour yourself a beverage, and prepare to be bored to tears.

welcome to my filthy mind.