Story – Witches’ Eve

witches_eveI realized that for all my discussion of being a speculative fiction writer and wanting to explore speculative fiction erotica, I didn’t actually have any spec fic stories available. Allow me to remedy that.

The following is a story that I wrote last fall for the annual ERWA Halloween challenge, which encourages topics in the fantasy, paranormal, and even horror genres.

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Isabel ran like the devil was chasing her. He might well have been; few other things would drive her to run toward the woods. By all accounts, traversing the woods at night was a risky prospect at best, but entering it tonight, on Witches Eve, was suicide. But the roars of her father behind her spurred her on.

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You Know You Might Be a Writer When….

writingAs I’ve mentioned before, I am inordinately fond of Cracked.com. They are bizarrely insightful for a site self-described as a humor site. I will frequently click in to one of their articles with one set of expectations, only to be completely surprised (and often informed) by what it actually contains. One of their recent articles, though, is once again not quite what I was expecting.

The article (listicle, rather) is 4 Weird Side Effects of Learning How to Write. I was half expecting it to be filled with straightforward writing-y things, like your grammar gets better and you become a snob about em-dashes. The things they list, though, are more craft-of-writing things.

But what was most surprising to me was the fact that I already exhibit almost all of these effects.

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Winter Wrap-up

The changing of the guard has just occurred at the ERWA. I started my tenure as one of the editors for the regular galleries of published work submitted and informally-workshopped by our dear community there. This year, the group is trying something new by having galleries up for three months at a time, rather than one each month. Hopefully that means each story will get greater exposure. Check out the selections I helped curate in the 2014 Winter Gallery.

Additionally, some of my stories from this year were selected to go into the 2013 “Treasure Chest,” sort of a best-of compilation. The stories will remain posted there for as long as I wish, which means I can easily link them here. Check out my bibliography page to see new links to some of these stories!

Flasher – Holiday Surprise

A flasher is a very short story about 200 words in length. Although they are short, they are still supposed to convey some amount of character development and plot.

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“Sir?” Her voice was soft, slightly quivering.

He raised an eyebrow at her over his morning paper. She stood in the kitchen, hands clasped in front of her, wearing nothing but a thong and a few fading bruises on her ass from the night before.

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All I Want For Christmas….

…Is more time to do all the things I want to do. But then don’t we all.

The last couple months have been a flurry of activities and events for me, across worlds both real and imaginary. I’ve been working on a longer story for an anthology submission, my friends and I are embroiled in a seriously complicated RPG campaign, and I’ve had multiple classes and practices each week for a dance show my troop is performing this month.

Still, amongst all this activity, I was able to come up with a quick holiday themed flasher for this month’s Holiday-themed ERWA Gallery. Mine is “Holiday Surprise,”  a playful little tale with some BDSM themes.

I am also honored to announce that I was asked to be one of the rotating editors for the ERWA email list-serve for the upcoming year. I am pleased that I will be able to help give back to the community, which has already taught me so much in a relatively short period of time. I am also excited since I hope this responsibility will help me “keep my head in the game,” so to speak, and lead to more advances in my own work.

Stay tuned for more details on that front!

Flasher – The Importance of Scheduling

A flasher is a very short story about 200 words in length. Although they are short, they are still supposed to convey some amount of character development and plot.

***

I walked into my boyfriend’s apartment just in time to find him balls-deep in another woman bent over the back of the couch. Read the rest of this entry

A Year’s Harvest

campfiresI am proud to announce that this month, two of my stories are being featured on the ERWA gallery. Both of these stories were inspired by real events that happened to me this year. First is “The Accidental Fetish,” which came to mind after a hilarious misunderstanding involving coffee and corsets, but goes beyond the humor and delves into the sensuality of discovering an entirely new body experience. The second is a very short piece I am particularly proud of called “Campfires,”  which was inspired by my annual extended camping trip to the High Sierras this summer.

I hope you take the time to read them and enjoy them as much as I enjoyed writing them!

Hard Science

bondageThis past July, HuffPo posted an article discussing a recent clinical study on BDSM and mental health. Even though by internet standards it’s ancient news, it’s making the rounds of my social network feeds again. Now that I have this blog, I thought this would be a good forum to comment.

The study’s findings boil down to this:

People who are into kinky sex may be psychologically healthier than those who are not, says a new study. Researchers found that people who were involved in BDSM — bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism — scored better on certain indicators of mental health than those who did not bring kink into the bedroom

What I really like about this article circulating is that everyone who has posted it is a kinkster themselves, and every one of their reactions has been something along the lines of, “Uhh….yeah! Duh!”

The article discusses some theories as to why this is the case. One favorite seems to be the rather elaborate hypothesis of:

People involved in the BDSM community may have scored better on these surveys because…they have done some “hard psychological work” to accept and live with sexual needs that are beyond the scope of what is often considered socially acceptable to discuss in the mainstream.

In other words, rather than try and suppress subversive desires, causing stress and all it’s downstream effects, these people have embraced their inner demons and come to terms with their darker sides. A darkly romantic idea that seems to have spawned from the few pieces of kinky cannon that have leaked over to the mainstream. And while it’s not an impossible hypothesis, I think it is secondary to the most likely explanation.

Communication.

Communication. Communication. Communication.

One of the things that has really struck me about the BDSM community is how much of its culture is built upon connecting with your own needs and communicating them to your partner. Some of these communications might be more ritualized and formalized than others, but in order for BDSM to really work, they have to be there in some form. Any of these forms of communication are usually still way ahead of the communication expected in “mainstream” sexual interactions and relationships.

The good news is, the more you practice, the easier such communication becomes. The magical news is this connection with your needs and a willingness to express them bleed over to other aspects of your life. Once you’ve mastered things like negotiating the right amount of impact in your play, or what exactly you will allow to be put inside your body, then the more banal things like negotiating the dishes or identifying your preferences for your weekend plans become easier as well.

Or at least, that’s how it happened for me.

All Creative Advice Eventually Boils Down To This

I haven’t been writing much lately. Partly it’s sheer busyness with end-of-summer weddings and events going on IRL. Partially it’s cause a story I worked really hard on wasn’t very well received, which opened up plenty of cracks for the Demons of Doubt to start attacking my subconscious.

Serendipitously, this short comic art panel came across my Facebook feed today addressing the very issues plaguing me right now. It explicitly references art and drawing, but really it’s referring to any creative process. Writing, dance, crafts…. Any person beginning a creative endeavor is eventually visited by the exact same demons. Everything that I have ever seen discussing how to combat these doldrums eventually gives the same advice: Just keep going. You only fail if you don’t try at all.

Really, the same advice could be said to apply to living life at all.

Expect the Unexpected

signsMany of the resources “On Writing” I have partaken of during the last few years spend a lot of time discussing ways to spark creativity. Sometimes it’s couched as a way to fight writer’s block, sometimes it’s slanted more as a way to deepen a story, but really it’s all the same thing. One of the tricks these sources have advised is to take a point of your story–a moment of plot, a trait of a character, etc–and do something unexpected with it. Push yourself to look past the easy, logical steps and open yourself up to the unconventional ones because they are the foundations of great and memorable stories.

This makes perfect sense when you realize that real life isn’t easy and logical, and rarely does it follow a predictable pattern. We wish it was predictable and sometimes we turn to stories to fill that need. Some genres–or branches and subsets of genres at least–are built entirely on filling that need. Mysteries, romance, early pulp-scifi, etc, all have very predictable patterns and cliches that define them, and their customers expect this of them. It’s comforting to spend time in a world where you can enjoy being surprised by the details while still being confident that things will all turn out in  a certain way.

And frankly that’s fine. But there’s a time and a place for that sort of writing, and there’s a time and a place for more creative, innovative works. Frankly I would rather spend more time in the latter realm. But how do you know when you’ve crossed the border?

On the ERWA listserve, we recently got to discussing cliches and how to avoid them, and a couple good sources came up. Strange Horizons, the online speculative fiction magazine that publishes a lot of work from aspiring authors, has an entire list of cliches in the scifi and fantasy genres that they have collected over their long history of reviewing stories. Clarkesworld is another spec-fic magazine that has a less-exhaustive but similar list (I am especially fond of, “Satan’s gonna getcha!”). And finally, getting back to erotica specifically, Circlet Press is a major publisher that only publishes spec-fic-themed erotica and they have a short but very specific list of cliches they are tired of seeing. Now, all of these publishers stress that it’s not necessarily that these cliches are bad stories, just that they have become too common, and commonality creates predictability. If you really, really, really wanted to write such a story there’s nothing stopping you, but do so with a note of caution because, as Circlet points out, “Even the readership says they are sick of them.”

And yes, I will admit that I have a couple story ideas that make some of these lists. Rather than find it discouraging, though, I find these lists exciting. These are the road markers I need that say, “You think you’re out pushing new boundaries, but really you’re still in your home territory. Be brave and keep moving, because there are even more wonderful treasures yes undiscovered out there.”