Category Archives: Writing Advice

Into the Mystic : K. Parr

Into the Mystic, Volume Three is a short story anthology featuring nine paranormal short stories that center on a lesbian/bisexual romance. I’m super excited about it, since I feel there is a lack of LGBT fantasy romance especially ones that focus on the ladies. Since I know a few of these authors, they let me interview them!


K. Parr

Home – A stray, an alpha, and a question: Where does she belong?

K.Parr  is a writer of multiple genres, including young adult, romance, fantasy, paranormal, and humor, all of which contain LGBTQA elements. In her spare time, K reads and writes fan fiction, keeps up with way too many TV shows, and dances wildly in her apartment. She currently works as a youth services librarian in Rhode Island.

k parr 2.jpg

Favorite Authors:

  1. Tamora Pierce
  2. Tanith Lee
  3. Rainbow Rowell
  4. Laini Taylor
  5. Kristin Cashore

 

As L.J. Longo runs away from  L.J. Hamlin who has very scary teeth, she turns the corner and crashes into K. Parr, who’s paying more attention to her phone.

K. Parr: Oh hey, L.J. What’s up?

L.J.: Oh you know, running from a vampire chasing me. Nothing new. You?

As a taxi stops before the curb.

K. Parr: That was fast. Uh… I guess rescuing you.

L.J. scrambles into the taxi. K. Parr shrugs and gets in after, slamming the door just before the vampire leaps in.

L.J.: Great. Hey tell me about your Into the Mystic story while we go… where are we going?

K. Just heading to meet some friends for a monthly get together. I mean, I might not want to go. Maybe I’ll just lock myself up in the basement again.

L.J.: Say what?

K.: My story in Into the Mystic is called “Home.” It’s actually a combination of two short fan fics I wrote. I stole the plot and basic character elements to create this story! I was dying to write about werewolves, and I just LOVE when one character overworks themselves because they’re too proud to accept help. In romance, that allows for the other character to sweep them off their feet and convince them that they deserve help, and it’s okay to ask for it when needed.

L.J.: Aww, that sound so sweet.

K.: I really enjoy the sweet tenderness that happens between two girls in love. It can be very sensual, so alluring. I also believe there needs to be more published F/F romances out there, so I was happy to contribute my little story!

L.J.: So reclaimed fan fic, huh? Tell me about inspiration.

K. shows on phone.

K.: I have a pinterest! I based Joss the alpha on Gal Gadot, whom I adored in Wonder Woman. Oh man, her bedroom eyes.

K. fans herself.

K: Farah was inspired by the character Farah Black from the show Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.

L.J.: Any challenges in adapting these two very not paranormal fantasy characters into your story?

K. seems to have gotten lost in the pinterest. Scratches her ear.

L.J.: K.? Challenges writing fantasy romance?

K.: Oh! I’ve written fantasy and romance several times before, so I didn’t encounter many challenges in terms of genre. What I did have to work at was tighter language and a plot/character arc that ended within the frame of a short story. I have more experience with longer novels, so short stories can be tough for me. I really have to limit my typical scope and make sure all the loose ends tie up neatly.

L.J.: I feel you. Short stories are such a weird thing to write if you’re used to novels, especially for an antho call.

K.: This was the first time I actually wrote to the prompt rather than trying to sell pre-written work. It’s risky, because if the anthology doesn’t accept the story you’ve written specifically for it, you may have trouble selling it elsewhere. It could also pay off, though, and make you stand apart from other writers. My advice is to browse open calls and see if any pique your interest, then go from there.

The taxi has taken us out into what looks like a tree-lined highway at twilight. The moon hangs over the trees sharing the sky with the setting sun. K. seems a bit nervous about the view.

L.J.: I think that piquing the interest is the big takeaway. You can’t force it.

K.: Oh yeah! You have to write what you love! This is especially important when you’re starting out, because it’s easy to be swayed by other people’s opinions about what you should and shouldn’t be writing. You need to follow your passion so that the spark will carry you through the whole process from start to finish.

K. Parr fidgets in the seat and looks out at the thicker forest.

K.: Hey would it be weird if I asked you to put me in handcuffs, L.J.?

L.J.: You know that’s not where I thought my night was going, but I’m down to–uh, are you feeling okay?

K.: Dang it! I never time this right!k parr

K. Parr opens the door to the taxi as coarse reddish hair starts to sprout under her suitably librarian attire. She rolls out of the moving car, leaving L.J. flabbergasted.

Soon a very red-headed wolf is loping off into the woods to meet her pack.

L.J.: Man I have the weirdest friends.

 

 


 

k par

 

Find more K. Parr on her:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Into the Mystic : L.J. Hamlin

Into the Mystic, Volume Three is a short story anthology featuring nine paranormal short stories that center on a lesbian/bisexual romance. I’m super excited about it, since I feel there is a lack of LGBT fantasy romance especially ones that focus on the ladies. Since I know a few of these authors, they let me interview them!


L.J.Hamlin

My Cup of O Positive – going to the ER isn’t always as bad as you expect.

L.J.Hamlin (who I swear is not me) is a queer disabled writer with a love of fantasy but will try any genre she gets an idea for. She is constantly weighed down by WIPs but always open to more ideas.

l.j. hamm teeth
Show Me Your Teeth!

 

Favorite Authors:

  1. Rachel Caine
  2. Brianna Kietinz
  3. Maggie Derrick
  4. Alex Harrow
  5. Nicole Field

 

 

hamm vamp

 

 

A misty night outside of a hospital. The light from the streetlamp is dingy as the two L.J.s come towards each other in the fog. L.J. Hamlin is elegant and mysterious. L.J. Longo trips over nothing.

Longo: So, Other L.J., I have a series of questions about…

Sounds of vampiric…shuffling in the wind. Longo gets a little nervous while Hamlin only smiles wider.

Hamlin: About my story.

Longo: Yeah… So uh, why F/F romance?

Is that a siren or a wolf howl? Hamlin leans casually on the brick of the hospital.

Hamlin: I’m drawn to f/f as a bisexual woman. It took me a while to come out but as soon as my sexuality was no longer a secret I wanted to share stories of women like me. In fact…

Hamlin seems not to notice the ominous sounds drawing nearer, though Longo begins to look around wild eyed at the darkness.

Hamlin: “My Cup of O Positive” was inspired by a condition I have known as ehlers danlos syndrome (EDS ) I had the thought of how vampirism would change the condition without erasing it. So the love interest is a British vampire living in America who has EDS and is into disability activism and loves her cat.

Longo: Wait we’re in America?

Hamlin: Yeah, the main character is an American human doctor, she’s very focused, loves working and helping people.

A McDonald’s appears across the street from the hospital, severely cutting down on the scary ambiance and setting Longo at ease.

Longo: What a great way to both raise awareness and incorporate something new and interesting into the vampire mythos in your world. What else do you do to make a good fantasy story?

Hamlin: For me, the challenge with writing fantasy romance  is getting the balance right between the romance and the world building.

Hamlin snaps her fingers and the fog swallows the comforting light of the McDonalds. Hamlin stalks closer.

Hamlin: No one wants big info dumps at key romantic moments so you have to explain the world at the right time.

Longo: Great advice…Do you have any other advice for new writers before I jet. It’s kinda chilly out here in front of the scary hospital with all the vampire…stuff in the air.

Hamlin smiles showing a definite sharpness of tooth.

Hamlin: Sure. My advice to new writers is to not read your reviews, even the best big names get horrible reviews so don’t let that bring you down. Say what’s your blood type.

Longo: Uh… O positive. Ironically enough.

Hamlin: Delicious.

Longo: Oh no…

hamm vamp 2


LJ

Find more L.J. Hamlin on her website: www.ljhamlin.com.

Three Weeks into Nano and I want to die.

I gotta say, The Writing Workshop Notebook by Alan Ziegler is the best craft book I’ve come across. I love the format which is literally notes and the pithy quotes. I read it all in one day and then started it again the next day. I wish they had it on audio.

In particular I loved this quote:

It bites
Terrible Advice for NanoWrimo

I’m gonna hang this poster at my desk, not just because I love the image of a helpless little girl about to be eaten by a monster, or because I have an unhealthy fixation on wolves and witches, but because Little Red Ridinghood ends with her defeating the beast that consumed her. Yes, she had to be saved the first time, but once she learned how to fight wolves, she was able to go on her way safely and merrily.

And that’s how it is with novels.

Most of the writers I’ve worked with have at one time or another been overwhelmed by the bigness of the task. Writing an entire novel, keeping it all organized and coherent seems overwhelming, and many people give up. In my experience, it happens when they are about three-fourths of the way done.

When they’ve been swallowed. By the doubt, or by poor planning, or by existential ennui, or by life. By the fact that the ending seems so far away and unapproachable. Or the beginning looks like such a mess and its impossible to wade through it and find something that will hook an audience and tie to the end and introduce the entire world and all the characters at once.

Every problem gets bigger and bigger and seems harder and harder to solve.

And that’s the time to take that step back, to permit yourself to leave that particular monster alone for a bit. Maybe beat the crap out of a short story. Or a novella. Or a poem, which I’m told are wicked little brutes on their own.

The most important thing is to come back to that fight when it’s fair again. When you’re prepared to tackle the material and wrestle it into submission. When you can look at it with fresh eyes. When being left alone has made the monster a little smaller and more willing to be tamed.

When I first read this, Ziegler’s quote just slapped me silly. I’ve been periodically fighting with and backing off from my thesis novel since I started writing it in 2015. And since I’m the type who feels guilty writing another project, like I’m cheating on my novel, I’ve been frantic every time I’ve taken a break to work on something else. I’ve worried it will make Finding Lost Sound disjointed or that I’ll lose the characters because I’ve left them alone. But when I look back, I think about how renewed I was coming back to Finding Lost Sound. Everything falls a little more into place after each absence. I’m beginning to think I was drowning under the sheer mass of my epic fantasy sci-fi romance and the novellas I’ve been releasing through Evernight were the little sips of air that have let me swim with the thing as long as I have.

 

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…

Riccardo-Scamarcio2

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.

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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.

Excerpt:

     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.

 

 

 

Sunshine and Snakes: Opening

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

 

I got the opening to ‘Sunshine and Snakes’ today (also the name for Ice which was Ricky. Came out of nowhere since I thought I was going to name him Ignacio and call him Cio. I might go back to this. Don’t know yet. It’s a work in progress. Stop pressuring me!)

Anyways, like in ‘Breathless’, I wanted to start this Action-Adventure Erotica with a good hook. Unlike, ‘Breathless’, the meaningless violence makes sense because this is the story of a hit-man in love (which would make a great band-name).

The scene is Seattle in late fall. Mr. Hank James, a drunk business man on a business trip from the south is on his way back to his hotel. Ricky our POV character, who seems to know more about Mr. James than he should, offers to help him hire an uber and get to his hotel safely. When Mr. James responds with racism and brandishes a hunting knife, Ricky without hesitation murders the man with his own weapon, just like Mrs. James hired him to. The premeditation and professionalism is apparent in how Ricky makes his escape and I hope gives readers a sense of Ricky’s humor and the … I don’t know… ice water in his veins.

I’m a little over 1000 words with that first chapter and I’m not doing an excerpt because it was so short. But I am thinking about the first sex scene so I’ll probably be writing that (and about that) soon. Maybe I’ll write out my outline and post that. Maybe I’ll write Burgess’ opening. You don’t know! I don’t know. My process is wildly unpredictable, so far.

 

 

Sunshine and Snakes

So I’ve been writing about how stupidly busy I am and how I want to waste time by writing about writing in real time. I’m going to try that with this:

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While I should be working my day job, supporting my massive comic book addiction, or you know, writing the words I need to earn my degree, I will instead be writing about bad boys!

This call seems tailor-made for me. I write a lot about criminals, though I’ve never been one (that you know of). The first novel I wrote, Evasive Love, features a Bounty Hunter falls in love with a drug manufacturer he’s bringing to justice. Second thing is Uninvited Love, about Sal, a prostitute who is not glamorizing his job when he ends up kidnapped. Then came The Dishonest Lover about George, a professional thug who falls for a counterfeiter. This year alone there’s been The Scarf, a criminal shape-shifting fox and Hiring the Tiger, about an ex-bandit tiger.

I have a theme. It’s criminals.

But the one thing about all those guys above is that they are redeemable. Elliot in Evasive Love has stopped making drugs because they’re hurting people, Dimi in The Scarf is hiding refuge animals, so he’s breaking an unjust law. Sal, George, and Roy are all trying to stop being criminals. Nav is a tiger and he’ll do what he wants, bitch.

So yeah, very redeemable guys.

The thing that tickles me about this anthology is that it’s not about good guys. They want anti-heroes. I think it would be really fun to write a love story between two dudes who are unrepentantly bad. One is a hit-man and the other is in the Mafia and I love this idea that they could be criminal together. Not want to escape from crime, or bring anything to justice, just be amoral and in love with each other.

And because I’m experiencing that same spark of excitement I had the beginning of Breathless, I’m going to try this writing about the writing business.

So every day I work on this new story I’ll record thoughts on it and see how it comes together.

The frightening thing about doing with Snakes and Sunshine is that unlike Breathless where the story was contracted before I started writing it, so I knew it was going to be available to readers.  I couldn’t not write Breathless because they had already agreed to publish it.

I don’t know about Sunshine and Snakes. I can submit it and  be rejected. I can implode and stop working on it entirely because I have other writing obligations and nothing forcing me to stick with it.

The bulk of my notes on this story are in this nugget:

“How’s your flight?”

“Good. Sat across the aisle from a little kid. Played cop and robber with him.” Ice [which is not going to be his name, I promise myself] mimicked shooting an imaginary gun around his coat. He looked fucking ridiculous and Burgess had no doubt even the kid’s mom thought the man mockingly shooting her child was totally harmless. “When I got bored, I pretended I was actually dead. Kid spent the rest of the flight crying.”

Burgess laughed. Ice nodded and leaned back, sinking into the couch. That was about as much as anyone ever got from Ice. Even in prison, when he’d ended up in the infirmary with bloody knees and bruised eyes no one in the block could have told what time it had happened. He never made a sound when he got beat down. He never made a sound when he got fucked either.

Bur tapped the beer can. It wouldn’t do anyone any good if he sat around thinking about blow jobs behind bars or the nebulous consent of his cellmate. “So.  How’s Arizona?”

“Full of sunshine and snakes, asshole.” Ice leaned forward. “Listen. Are we gonna kill your Dad or not?”

Hopefully, you won’t hear about this until August when I’ll have a mostly written first draft of my thesis novel and maybe a minute or two to write Sunshine and Snakes.

 

Longo Out!

 

 

Breathless: Part 2 the Not-So-Magical

That brilliant idea of writing about the writing. I really wish I’d done that for Breathless because…


Today it’s the Fourth of July and I hate everything about writing.

Shit went sideways in a big way with Breathless. A lot more difficult to write than I initially thought it was going to be. Which is a problem because that story is already contracted and I am not backing down.

Here’s the premise– the promise I am making to readers– A soldier working night-shift in a cafe, where his primary job is to kill aliens under the planet’s surface that no civilian knows about, falls in love with his boss, who comes in morning to do the prep-work night shift is not doing. Eventually, the boss discovers the aliens and soldier saves him and they kiss and are happy forever.

The story should be pretty fun and quirky. The kind of thing that probably fits in an anthology about Love across the Universe. None of my usual Dark Romance, BSDM, trigger warning inducing hate sex bordering on violence. Breathless should be funny and uplifting.

It is not.

Right now, for some reason, my light hearted Rom-com in space begins like a Military SF/Horror. The first chapter has these soldiers underground, really tense, really dark atmosphere, then BAM! one of the solders gets his head bit off.  Fantastic hook.

But Chapter Two is about the manager and is all butterflies and fluffy romance. It makes no Goshly-dumbed sense (full disclosure, I’m recording this at Starbuck’s and a small child has just sat down, intensely watching me while she licked the face of her pirate pop).

The promise I made at the beginning of the story does not fit with a romance novel. No matter how *snicker* killer that hook is, it’s not suitable for the story the rest of the work wants to tell. In a novel, there’s more time for the soldier to grieve, for the romance to develop above this bleak hidden world, but with only 10 Thousand fruit-caked words, I cannot do it. *laspe in to Scottish accent* I simply canne do it. Word counts suck money ball.

(And Daddy has taken his precious little face-licker away.)

Anyway, so the whole process of reigning this monster in, tightening it up, cutting all sorts of really fun and exciting bits that did belong in the story, but were not serving it to the max was a royal pain in the ass. I did not anticipate this in the beginning since I had such fire. I knew exactly where I was going, how I wanted to tell the story. I had the fun opening scene with the morning guy being snarky and funny and putting these giant cyborgs in their place, then the soldiers shamefacedly going in the back and there’s a giant alien getting hacked up and dissolved.  Much better hook for a romance novel. That also ended up getting cut because I needed to get to the relationship even faster.

In a novella, you have such a short amount of time to bring it all together.

I wish I’d been writing about the writing so I could have caught all these little nuances  and why it’s so weird and difficult to do what we writers do.

During the revision, I spent a lot of time thinking about the beginnings and endings and the promises we make that the ending has to pay off. And working that backwards so in the end everything that’s paid off had worked hard enough to earn the pay out.

And I wish I’d be recording that in real time, because I think this happens to me every time I write a novella (one of the reasons I want to write about the writing is because I have such a terrible memory for the process). I’d like to understand my own better. You know, anticipate how much writing a novella is going to fuck me up emotionally.

Because it does.  I think my natural writing is novel length, and probably epic in scope due to the nature of the worlds I build. But I’m writing most novellas.

Writing things that are shorter is painful. When I’ve written short stories successfully, I’ve cut them off just before the point where they become novels. A character remains trapped where in a novel they would escape, or gives up completely in a place that would otherwise just be the inciting incident for their journey of self discovery.

Breathless: Part 1 The Magic

Sometime in May, I had the brilliant idea to write about the writing in real time. However, I suck at blogging. Still, I had a voice recorder full of excitement and so I thought I’d share the thrill of catching the idea with you.

All of this was written on Memorial Day 2017.


So I try to write everyday, but after the craziness of March through May where I edited and published three novellas I was mentally exhausted and without a project.

This made the second half of May very strange for me. I haven’t felt like myself because I haven’t been sticking to my habit. I’m not as happy when I’m not writing (there been times in the past when my partner, literally told me to go away and write because I was being mean).

I still have been working on Witch, Ghost, Dog, Clone (which is a huge fantasy project that is also my graduate school thesis project), notes for the rest of the Heart of the Mountain series, and tinkering with old stuff. But I haven’t had a real project, because I’ve been writing like God-damned demon I needed a break.

So I took a break. Watched some Jessica Jones and Supernatural. Read some Deadpool.

But yesterday, for whatever reason, the writing came.

Rather than struggling to put words on page (or you know, text on screen) I found myself fluidly being drawn into a story. I knew the characters instinctively, I saw where the plot was going, I even had an opening line.

It’s an idea I thought up working at Starbucks. There’s long hallway that leads to a parking garage where they kept the garbage. One of my jobs was to walk to trash for this hallway and as a writing exercise I’d describe the hallway in my head in different voice and tones. How does it look from a horror novel from the monster’s POV? What about in a  romance novel?  What about in a comedic mash-up of the two where dude is so much in love that he’s listening to his music and dancing along, and never notices the giant bug demon hanging on the ceiling.

Somehow I got hung up on the idea of monsters and I put my Starbucks experience in the Buffy verse. My little place on Grove St. was actually nestled on top of a Hell-Mouth and and the reason nothing was ever done in the morning was because evening shift was killing demons keeping those bastards underground.

I had this fun image of David Wong, Kevin Smith, and Nora Roberts mashup where the romantic lead is this oblivious dude on night shift who falls for his boss who works the morning shift. Boss thinks Dude is an asshole because the work is never finished, so Dude starts working his ass off in the last half hour of the day to get everything done and impress Boss.

I teased this idea while writing Heart of the Mountain, and Witch, Ghost, Dog, Clone, and turning in the final edits for Seaweed and Silk and The Scarf. As I took out the trash, I’d daydream about someone getting locked out of the cafe and then devoured in the hallway. Or a soldier dropping down to the Hell-Mouth and hunting demons Dean and Sam Winchester style.

Then at some point, I had to submit a story idea to an romance anthology from the same people that brought you Crazy Little Spring Called Love. I knew it was science-fiction and I knew it had to happen on a beach. My brainstorming and searching through old stories brought me nothing. Neither did asking my sister (a hopeless romantic) for advice.

But I didn’t have time to write, because it was a Starbucks day, so I went to work. Of course, night shift had made a royal mess of things. Disorganized pastry case. Oddly curated sandwich selection. No cold brew made. And of course, they put in the wrong garbage bags. Instead of triple bagging the one for the coffee grounds (wet coffee grounds is the smell of trash. Nothing else smells as much like trash as wet coffee grounds), they’d put in a bag so tight it had stretched to fit over the edges.

Being witty as fuck at 5:30 a.m., I mentally demanded, “why? Did the bin see it’s youth floating away and decide to chaseit ‘s former glory with tight-ass garbage bags?  Did the trash make questionable sexual decisions and the bin squeezed into a female condom for protection?”

What I actually said was, “hum. Must have been busy. I’ll change this now.”

And my boss remarked on how pleasant I was and cussed out night-shift for me.

Instantly, I had the character for Dude’s love interest. Someone who could be mentally shredding everyone else to pieces while remaining pleasant to work with. It suddenly occurred to me, my story wasn’t happening in a Hell-Mouth, but on an planet so big that it was mostly beach. The brainless monsters Dude was hunting weren’t demons, but aliens, the insentient beginning of life. And when Boss found out, he would handle his rage by making Dude breakfast and smiling.

I even had a title for it.

Breathless.

 

And about 3000 words into it now. I’ve got a word count limit of 10k. I’m aiming to finish this puppy by Wednesday when I go back to Starbucks again.

Happy Memorial Day, folks. Wish me luck.