Category Archives: Behind the Scenes

Steampunk: How does Clockwork…Work?

While I was writing The Scribbling Windhund, I made the inventor/terrorist very aware and a little embarrassed when he started going into technical details, so he’d cut himself short and not over explain science that I couldn’t explain. However, I do know a thing or two about clockwork mechanisms and if you’re interested, I’m going to indulge.

One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was take apart my older sister’s wind-up music box collection and clean the insides. Partly it was fun because she couldn’t put them back together and it terrified her to see her beloved music boxes in pieces, but mostly I enjoyed it because it let me pretend to be an inventor.

I’d have my tweezers, a little copper bowl of Brasso, some q-tips, rubbing alcohol (which was absolutely not necessary and probably shouldn’t have been mixed with other chemicals), and a tiny screwdriver. Then I’d set to work dismantling the movement.

This is a “movement.” Clockwork speech for the shit inside.

The way these music boxes work is really painfully simple and extraordinarily beautiful. The round part in the upper left of the image is either called the main spring or the spiral spring. If you take it out of the case (and be very careful you don’t hurt yourself when you do), you’ll be holding a flat band of metal wound very tightly. That’s were the energy of winding the music box comes from and the longer and thinner the wire was the longer the box would play (the shorter and thicker the faster it would play). This is basically the battery of the mechanism. After you put in the energy turning the key to the music box, it tightens the spring. This is slowly unleashed and turn the wheels, gears, and eventually causes the revolving cylinder to turn. The raised bumps hit the tuned teeth of a steel comb (or lamellae) and “Music of the Night” or “Romeo and Juliet” begins to play.

I’d take great delight in carefully unscrewing the comb, and dismantling the gears, cleaning them of the little bits of dust and hair that somehow got into the device. I’d talk to myself pretending to either be inventing the thing for the first time, or defusing a bomb, or discovering a piece of old technology lost to the ages.

And of course, I’d reassemble it by the time my parents came to yell at me for messing with my sister’s toys.  They’d find nothing except a perfectly functional music box and the strong scent of rubbing alcohol and Brasso in her bedroom.

The only time I ever really got in trouble was when I took to un-making my Great Uncle Wes’ pendulum clock. The piece was much more complicated, with a lot more small moving parts (pinions, the escapement, the damned pendulum, a chiming train, and a movement train) and after I’d taken it apart I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to put it back together before someone caught me.

In the end, I stole the clock and all it’s parts and hid in the clean field (which was actually a very dirty hill) next to my Aunt and Uncle’s house. I can vividly remember skidding down the rocks and past the snake burrows to hide among the staghorn sumac. I spent the rest of the day figuring out those gears and wheels and pinions, watching the sunlight cutting through the leaves and the bars growing longer and longer as I ran out of time.

I was particularly frustrated when I realized I had put the hour hand where the minute hand needed to be and I had to take it all apart and reassemble it again.

I was there for about four hours, lying among the rocks and the grass on my belly trying to piece the thing back together. In the end, I couldn’t figure out the chiming mechanism (I suspect I lost some pieces on my flight to the field).

I don’t know if my Uncle Wes ever figured out exactly why the clock stopped chiming, but I know whenever my Aunt Annie would remark on how he ought to go and get it fixed he would just shrug and cast me a wry little smile.

It was like this clock, but not as ornate:

The Fantasist is a quarterly online magazine that publishes three original Fantasy novellas on the third Thursday of every third month.

And this month, while they celebrate Steampunk, one of them is mine!

Support these guys. They have good stories for free.

Cover Reveal!

Once again, I got so interested in Steampunk that I forgot to announce my new release!  It’s another anthology story called “Tortured Heart” and it will appear in Denying the Alpha.

Which looks something like this:



denying the alpha antho-MM-complete

I love these anthologies because they always get me to write something new and interesting. I keep returning to the same world of shifters so this is similar to “The Scarf” and Hiring the Tiger. “Tortured Heart” tells the story about a crow shifter who has fought hard to rise to steward of his witch’s household only to fall in love with a rival witch’s wolf.

The release date and teasers soon!


The Scribbling Windhund: available at The Fantasist

The Fantasist is a quarterly online magazine that publishes three original Fantasy novellas on the third Thursday of every third month.

And this month, one of them is mine!

The Scribbling Windhund

Way back in the spring-time, I finished this novella just in time to send it into a Steampunk themed issue of The Fantasist. I didn’t have particularly high hopes; since I wasn’t sure a futuristic version of colonial-era Prussia about the impact of climate change, with very dark moral undertones narrated by a mechanical dog counted as steam-punk. I’m not really sure what Steampunk is. I know it when I see it… sorta.

The guest editor, Megan O’Keefe, was open to a wide interpretation of steampunk and my little love story managed to sneak into The Fantasist. In order to celebrate, I thought I’d bring you an exploration of Steam-punk.

I’m going to be showcasing the Steam-punk that inspired my story. There’s going to be music, movies, artwork, and more than a few author interviews.

Also you can find my steampunk story, The Scribbling Windhund, here.

Support these guys. They have good stories for free.


The Promised Land: Make it a Reality.

No, I’m not having a come-to-Jesus moment. The Promised Land is a post-apocalyptic play about climate change, terrifying family dynamics, and dictator/farmers.

This play, written and directed by my husband, is Dunvegan Production’s first show and we’re trying to bring it to audiences in New York City. If we raise enough money on Kickstarter, we’ll be able to perform the play in an Off-Broadway theatre. We have a script (which is a gift if you donate), we have a cast (which you can’t have even if you donate), and big plans for The Promised Land.

Here’s the pitch!


If you can help us out with a dollar or with a share, we’d appreciate it.

For cast interviews, photos, and other suchness, Like Dunvegans’ facebook.

To learn more about the kickstarter and to donate, Click here.


Katherine Wyvern’s LGBT tales series features… me!

Fellow Evernight Author and erotic rambler, Kathertin Wyvern was kind enough to let me talk about my first two novels and how my sexual fantasies were forever changed by watching “Miller’s Crossing.”

I realized what I wanted most was not graphic descriptions of the great sex I was not having as a teenager (though I wanted that in spades), but the wholeness of the gay character. In the Cohen Brothers’ film, the love triangle between three men is integral to the plot, yet they stand out not as gays who happened to be gangsters, but as gangsters who happened to be gay. They are sexual characters defined by things outside their sexuality.
I started writing those stories.


Click the picture for the full interview!


Visit my Website for all the blurbs, excerpts and news!!


Cover Reveal


There it is! The future home of Sunshine and Snakes. I’m in such good company. As always I’m more excited to have this book in my hands so I can read the other stories!

No release date yet. But I’m thinking it will be out by Christmas.



Meet the hardcore heroes of LAWLESS! They’re fearless, dangerous, big on revenge, and defiantly walk on the wrong side of the law. Although their morals may be compromised, their loyalty to that one man is never in question. 


Our five hand-picked novellas are dark, dirty, and will make you see bad boys in a whole new light. From bikers to hitmen, these dangerous men won’t be satisfied until they have everything they came for—until they have him. 

Sunshine and Snakes: The End

This session of “wasting my writing time writing about writing” ought to be backdated.

I finished Draft 2.3 let’s call it, by the deadline and wrote up my synopsis. I was feeling rushed and unhappy about it, but I’d just re-written 15 thousand words in three days, so I wasn’t not going to submit. Though given the unpolished state of the synopsis and the general lack of cooling time for the project I would expect a rejection.

But, praise the Smiling God, the deadline was extended to the 15th.

This brought much joy to El Longo. I plan on combing through it after another couple of days and performing my revisions ritual, more on that on the day. But this extension gives me time to reflect a little more on Sunshine and Snakes and to talk about what changes happened between the first draft and this 2.3 business.

But first! Eye Candy!

Riccardo-Scamarcio This guy is Riccardo Scamarcio, an Italian model and actor. I honestly have no idea who he is; I found his name while I was looking up how to spell Riccardo and spent the next couple of hours just looking at Those Eyes.

He very quickly became my image, not for Rico, but for Burgess because…


Oh My God, Italians are so delicious.

However, this is the image that’s been living on my desktop and getting me dirty looks from people in Starbucks.


I have no idea who this is. I googled ‘Sexy Latino with an Attitude Problem’ and I got this dream.

I wanted Rico to have a quiet intensity; he’s the kind of guy who literally sits in bus stops and thinks about different ways to murder the people around him and get away with it. It’s kinda of his job.

But I also loved how defiant this guy is. He’s probably not big enough to win a fight, especially if he’s pulling punches because he doesn’t want to get caught killing anyone, but he’s going to try. Really though he just wants you to back off. Yeah, you with the camera, fuck off.

Possibly because I set this picture as my desktop and not the reclining beauty above, Draft 2.3 took a turn I didn’t expect. As I was writing through 2, with Sexy Glare in the corner of the screen, I realized I didn’t have room in the word count for two POVs and I knew I could write faster in first person. So right in the middle of the draft, in the middle of a Burgess POV scene in fact, I restarted the project with this:

     The things I know for sure about Bruiser Accorsi couldn’t fill a Chihuahua’s nutsack.
I know his real name is Burgess. He says it’s his mother’s maiden name. He goes conversationally by Bur, sometimes Burg if you go way back.
I know the Accorsi’s are the biggest family in the ‘adult entertainment industry.’ He says they don’t do human trafficking, though he’s quick to say that’s a financial decision not a moral one. Most of the Accorsi prostitutes are for high-end clients.
I know he’s an amateur body-builder. I know his thick black hair is soft not greasy. I know his eyes are the color of sun-shot grapevines.
But I also I know he’s worth 60 thousand dollars dead.
And I can get close enough to kill him.

The next 15k words came fairly easily. There’s old scenes re-filtered through Rico’s POV. So for example this:

     Later on, after light’s out, Bur climbed into his cell-mate’s bed. Rick pressed himself tight against the wall, but that was the most resistance he ever gave. His muscles tightened when Bur reached under his shirt to stroke his chest and he practically vibrated when Bur nibbled his ear. Bur ran his hands through Rick’s neatly trimmed hair, pulling his head back and exposing his neck to little kisses. He smelled like wintergreen gum and he shivered. Bur hoped with arousal.
Rick tolerated the caresses, the kisses, and the slow grind of Bur’s cock, but he grabbed Bur’s arm when he reached into the front of his pants. “You’re not supposed to do that.”
“I do what I want,” Bur said softly and Rick’s hold weakened.
Bur stroked the slick curls at the base of his cell-mate’s cock. He wasn’t doing what he wanted. He wanted dinner dates in nice places and lounging on the couch watching stupid shows. He wanted easy conversation, thoughtless kisses, a lover who didn’t tense up under his touch.
He circled his fingers around Rick’s cock, found him hard. He’d settle for that.

Became this:

     The fantasy came back, unasked for that night when Bur climbed into my bed. Like always, I pressed tight against the wall partly to give him room, but also to make it like I didn’t want him to touch me.
He always touched me.
Every muscle in my body tightened when he reached under my shirt and stroked my chest. I practically vibrated with lust for him when he kissed my exposed neck and ran his hands through my buzzed hair. He smelled like my wintergreen gum tonight and my desire for him quickly moved past the point of toleration.
And still he caressed, kissed, slowly ground his cock against my ass through our clothes. My dick pressed against the cell wall and when he pumped slowly forward it rubbed against the flat surface and offered me a little relief.
Bur reached down into my the front of my pants, sliding his fingers below my abdomen towards the base of my erect cock.
I grabbed his arm and pushed back. “You’re not supposed to do that.”
“I do what I want,” Bur growled and since he was stronger than me, his hand crept forward. He stroked the curls at the base of my cock, maybe afraid of touching it at first. It’s not like he’d tried to jerk another guy off before. Then he circled his fingers around my cock.”
“Jesus Christ, you always get this turned on?”
I did. But I’d go to Hell before I admitted that.

That’s how I always take the advice to ‘kill your darlings.’ I really like Bruiser’s sensitivity in that first one. How concerned he is about Rick’s reactions (he learns at the end of the scene it’s Rico, not Rick) and how he dreams of having a normal boyfriend situation with Rico.

There’s no way to have Rico know about Bruiser’s internal monologue, so I have to rely more on physical gestures to convey Bur’s insecurities and desire for consent and I had to let go of that lovely moment where a convict assaulting his cellmate is dreaming about dating him instead.

Anyways, I got a couple more days with this thanks to that extension and I’m going to go make the most of them!

Sunshine and Snakes: Order! Order!

My session of “wasting my writing time writing about writing” is going to be short so I can go write.

When I sat down to get to the business of writing this thing, I had a mess of notes.  The 11th was the day I turned those into an outline and I discovered something else interesting about the work – the setting. I have a couple predominant locations, the prison cell, the hotel room, and Bur’s house. And the outside world. I noticed I had two deaths occur in the streets (not indoors) and I had several nearly violent encounters that became romantic because of isolation. So I’m going to play with this idea than in the open people get hurt and there’s a comfort of being closed indoors.

I don’t know that this is going to be an overt thing, but I think me thinking about it is going to affect how I write the scenes in Bur’s house where Rico is about to go through with the hit. One thing that’s already changed with this idea is that some off-page violence is now happening outside in the prison (Rico is attacked previously in the showers, now in the yard. Bur starts a fight and it’s not located in the same yard). This also changes the setting of the final confrontation from Bur’s house to a desolate highway in New Jersey that I’ve always wanted to write about.

One addition is in the excerpt below, where Rico encounters Bur again for the first time out of prison (again be gentle. I just wrote it and nothing is polished yet). Anyways. I’m about 4 k in and I’ve got to get to 15 k by the 22nd. Wish me luck!


     Rico had been out of prison for about half an hour, and he’d spent most of it thinking about how to kill the other people at the bus stop. That woman would walk into oncoming traffic if he threatened her screaming baby. That man would smile politely as Rico snapped his neck because he was so friendly and afraid of being racist. The bodybuilder was probably the biggest challenge. She looked tough as needles. She might have been coming from the prison herself. Off duty police. But for the first time in two years and six months, he had shoe laces. He could probably strangle her if he wanted.

He didn’t want to strangle a stranger. His morbid fantasies distracted him from trying to figure out what he wanted to do next. He needed a bike, a laptop, and new clothes. He ought to call his mother in Guerrero, but he’d need to write her first to make sure her number hadn’t changed. First, get to… Wherever the bus was taking him. He was overwhelmed by the flatness of New Jersey and the brightness of the sun. He just wanted to sit on a bus in the back row with his knees on the seat in front of him, and the iPod Bur had left behind blaring in his ears. So Rico put his hands over his eyes and leaned over his knees.

There was no warning when someone touched his shoulder, and Rico reacted before he remembered where he was. He was on his feet, and his hand stung from punching a block of muscle.

But the muscle caved, and a big man folded over. At first, Rico was sure he’d just gut-punched a member of the secret service. The suit was tailored and prim, his shoes shone on the cracked gravel of the sidewalk, and his hair was a coiffed sheen of black.

Then a Brooklyn accent that was as familiar as it was dirty said, “Jesus Fuckin’ Christ, Rico! You trying to kill some body?”

Shame and an unsettled pleasure reddened Rico’s face. “Bur?”






Sunshine and Snakes: First Sex Scene

Here’s me wasting time by writing about writing in real time.

Last week on “Wasting my writing time writing about writing”, I thought maybe I would do the sex scene next and that’s exactly what I did. I find it’s a great exercise for building character. You get to see the people at their most vulnerable and you can learn a lot about a person by considering their sexual backstory.

For example, while I haven’t gotten into Bur’s POV yet, I know he’s an accidentally emotional guy. The scene is in prison, Bur is called Bruiser and he’s going to make Ricky his bitch. I always knew the scene would end up consensual — rape for titillation is not a thing I will ever intentionally write, though I will admit to writing close enough to stumble and backpedal — but I expected the consent to come from the POV character later than it did. Ricky was resigned to the act and because of this Bur sort of… got good. My bad-boy mobster revealed very quickly that he was going to operate more tenderly than I expected and not go through with the entire scene (which disappointed me). It started happening when I started writing ‘he was supposed to’, because literally that’s what I thought the guy would be doing, but he wanted something different, I guess.

What follows is raw L.J. Wrote this in about an hour this afternoon so it will have stupid sentences, [notes], misspellings and monstrous grammar.  The line I like best which I will almost certainly cut is “Ricky considered dropping a comment about how his dick looked like a cucumber tied-up with shoe-laces, carved into the shape of a rocket, and painted red.”  Don’t judge me too harshly, friends. I’m recording a work in progress.


     A hand gripped Ricky’s neck. The man’s weight was on his body, crushing him. Bruiser’s other hand sunk around his face and Ricky shouted into a closed fist.

Bruiser’s grip tightened. “Make another noise. I dare you.”

Ricky kept still. This was inevitable, fighting was pointless. Better to be on the man’s safe side.

Bruiser gripped his ass. “This doesn’t belong to you anymore, does it?”

Ricky’s muscles clenched automatically as if to deny the statement, but Ricky said, “No.”

Bruiser slapped his head, and the impact made Ricky’s brain swim for a dazed moment. “Did you need to make a noise to agree with me, Tic-Tac?”

Ricky shook his head no.

Bruiser stroked his head like a dog. “Good boy.”

Ricky broke out in a cold sweat. The first time would be the worst, and even that wouldn’t be anything like the boys in the shower. They had sent him to the infirmary. The nurse had talked about AIDS and justice, but he’d kept his mouth shut because that was how it was supposed to be. Naw, Bruiser would hurt, but he would be…bearable.

“You understand this deal, Tic-Tac, right?” Bruiser spoke into his neck, his lips close to touching skin, his breath slightly minty. He’d been eating Ricky’s candy. “I fuck you, and no one else touches you without my say-so. Yeah?”

Ricky nodded.

“So, do your job right, and I’ll go easy on you.” His voice was almost gentle, reminded Ricky of sun-drenched beaches and made him shiver a little.

Then the hand crushed harder. “You understand, bitch?”

Ricky nodded again, felt a hot hate in his gut. He liked the weight on top of him, the heat and solidness of a well-muscled body, the way hips ground into his ass, but he hated everything else about the man.

“Start by sucking my cock.”

Bruiser backed off, rising off the bunk. Ricky’s instinct was to stay still and small, but he knew better. He sat up sharply and tilted his head up, looking at the wall behind Bruiser as the Italian peeled down the hem of his loose orange and white striped pants. Just far enough to let his dick spring out.

And it did spring. The man was rock hard, thick, and veiny. Great looking tool; Ricky wished he’d gotten the chance to play with it anywhere except here. Maybe in the backroom at some New York gay club. Or a truck stop in the Midwest. This was business now. It was going to be violent, but at least it would be over quickly.

Ricky looked at Bruiser’s erection then his face. The [unimpressed expression] was the only resistance he was going to give. Just enough to let this fucker know he wasn’t scared. Ricky considered dropping a comment about how his dick looked like a cucumber tied-up with shoe-laces, carved into the shape of a rocket, and painted red. But the man’s face was as stone hard as his cock, his fists were clenched, and that’s not how this transaction worked.

Better to do the job right.

Without ceremony or hesitation, Ricky obediently sucked his cock. He tried not to finesse, not to show that he knew his way around another man’s dick. Just in and out, lips tight, teeth out of the way.

But he knew immediately something was different about Bruiser. He didn’t pump his cock forward or hold Ricky’s head. He didn’t tease or threaten. He draped his big hand in Ricky’s hair, an undemanding pressure.

Ricky tilted his gaze up the man’s solid body and accidentally met his eyes. It was the first time since he’d been in the prison that he’d actually looked someone directly in their face and the intimacy startled him. Bruiser wasn’t supposed to be watching a guy suck him. He was supposed to close his eyes, tip his head back, and fuck Ricky’s mouth.

Then again, Ricky wasn’t supposed to try to see if the man was enjoying it either. It was supposed to be about power, about being demeaned and taking it well.

But Ricky didn’t look away, and neither did Bruiser. The Italian’s eyes were gorgeous, so intense, so surprised. As if he’d been caught doing something scandalous. Ricky felt his cock throb against his tongue.

Understanding he was making a mistake, taking needless risks, being stupid, Ricky swirled his tongue around the shaft, savoring the cock not just servicing it. Licked the cock slipping out of his mouth, lapped at the head, slowly took it all again and fearlessly watched Bruiser’s face.

“Jesus H. Christ,” Bruiser muttered and finally tipped his head back and sank his hips forward. His cock twitched, and Ricky chased it giving into the pleasure of sucking another man’s cock.

His own had hardened. The realization made the rest of his stiffen with fear. What punishment was there for enjoying sex in prison? How badly was Bruiser going to beat him if he noticed?

Well, he wasn’t going to notice. Ricky kept his hands on his own knees and resisted the urge to touch himself or God-forbid the Italian God fucking his face. Even that was unfair- Bruiser didn’t have enough force. There wasn’t the right violence to this.

Bruiser was gentler than anyone in the back of the gay clubs or truck stops had ever been.

The only violence from the man came when he suddenly pushed Ricky back. Forcefully enough that Ricky ended up on his back looking at Bruiser from between his own half-raised legs.

The man stared down at him a moment, trying to compose himself, looking furious and ashamed and desperate. Stopping his orgasm, Ricky realized.

“Take off your pants, Tic-tac.” He said the nickname without confidence or conviction. He wanted to say Ricky’s real name, but he didn’t know it. Or more likely, he didn’t dare say it.

Ricky had hoped ‘going easy’ meant ‘no anal,’ but he wasn’t in a position to complain. If he didn’t obey, if Bruiser had to force his pants off, he’d certainly notice he wasn’t the only stiff cock in the cell.

Against every survival instinct in his body, Ricky stood and turned his back on Bruiser. He pushed down his pants and bent over before his cellmate told him too.

He was shocked by the hand that grazed over his cheeks. First by the pain. His hole was still raw from the boys in the showers. Second, by the softness of it. Not that Bruiser’s hands were soft. His skin was dry and calloused, but the pressure was gentle.

“They fucked you pretty bad, didn’t they?” Bruiser’s tone was anything but tough. That was a voice that belonged anywhere except this dim hellhole, a man who could be kind, maybe even trusted.

Ricky did not answer. Bruiser didn’t want him to talk earlier.

“Guess I want somethin’ different after all.” Then, after a little squeeze, Bruiser’s hand was gone.

The other man collapsed on his own bunk and Ricky glanced over his shoulder. Bruiser sprawled on the narrow mattress, leaning on the wall, dick in his hand. That was an image that was going to haunt him [bring this image up later in the present day].

Ricky dared to pull his pants back up and straighten. He stared forward at the wall, listening to the sounds of the man stroking his own cock. His mouth was dry with want, his cock throbbed, and his asshole twitched anticipating the hard fuck that wasn’t coming.

When Bruiser didn’t respond to him, Ricky glanced over his shoulder again. The man was still staring at him, beating his cock. Ricky pressed his mouth tightly closed to control his expression, though he wasn’t sure how he felt. Not really. By all rights that thing should have been ripping into his ass, reopening his injuries, making him a mewling bitch. And maybe he wanted that. But maybe it was just that he expected it.

That was the deal, wasn’t it? That’s the way it was supposed to go.

Except that nothing about this was going the way it was supposed to.

Bruiser’s eyes were closed, so he didn’t notice when Ricky knelt by the bed. He jolted and pushed away when Ricky tried to take the tip of his cock back into his mouth.

“The fuck are you doing?” Bruiser looked scared and angry.

Ricky answered with ice in his voice. “My job.”

Something in that answer calmed Bruiser, and his scowl relaxed. “Right.”

Bruiser offered his cock. Ricky took it.