Nothing much, Twitter. What’s happening with YOU?

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The literary world lost an incalculable wealth of talent on March 12, 2015, when Sir Terry Pratchett left this plane of existence, although certainly he is not gone from the hearts of his fans. It may or may not surprise you to learn that erotica is not my only interest in life. Ha-ha.

According to Sir Terry, this is what I ought to have been doing. “…he had heard that writers spent all day in their dressing gowns drinking champagne. (This is, of course, absolutely true.)” That might have been a halfway decent excuse for my long absence from this blog.

Facebook asks me “What’s going on?” and Twitter wants to know “What’s happening?” Y’all would be well within your rights to go “WTF? Where HAVE you been?” I started this blog to communicate with readers, fans, and followers, and I have not held up my end. This particular blog post, while no excuse, is an attempt at explanation. I often share with you my pithy observations about the writing process, so it seemed apropos.

Some changes have occurred in my circumstances, foremost a change of day job. This has led to more free time, rather than less, although if you do the math, that’s a little worrying in regards to the future. I picked up some freelance work, which turned out to be tedious and time consuming. I think I have never wanted to write my own things as badly as when I was stuck writing according to someone else’s ideas.

But even more so, I have noticed in myself a lassitude when I sit down to write. I’m not one hundred percent certain where it comes from. I may have slipped into a little depression. Perhaps it’s the new schedule, to which I am still adjusting. I think a good portion comes from the fact that I was writing ALL THE TIME. The last thing I wanted to do when I was done was write some more.

I’ve never stopped plotting, however. In the shower, walking the dog, washing the dishes, all the places that many people fill with music to entertain themselves, I turn to Switch It OFF in my head, and sort of let the characters go. I tell the story to myself, just as I have done in some version in the quiet moments since I was a very small girl.

There is a pressure and a fear that go along with the plot, however. Pressure that I get this done and out to you? Fear that I won’t do my characters justice, that I won’t hear or understand them properly? Fear of failure, causing pressure to succeed?

Writers are all crazy, we are told. I’ve even read a theory, crackpot at best, stating that the DESIRE to create itself is slightly insane. If true, that’s fine. I have the equipment, illness and plenty of angsty bullshit.

Just lately, I’ve been itching to work. The story wants to be told. I want to tell it. I hope when it’s done, you’ll enjoy reading it. Now there’s just the small matter of writing it.

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Can you believe there’s something harder than actually WRITING the book?

I would never have believed it. I loved writing Switch It UP, but it was the hardest thing I had ever done. Some moments were so wonderful, I felt like a smutty Shakespeare. Other times, the Muse wouldn’t speak to me, or told me something I did not want to hear. Falling in love with my characters and then watching them fight, making them fight, in fact, was downright devastating. Sometimes the “romance” part of my romance made me want to run and hide. How could anything be more difficult than that yearlong rollercoaster ride?

Until I had to try and figure out what in the hell to do next. I’m not talking about writing Switch It OFF. That’s simmering away on a backburner in the furnace of my brain. What do I do with the book that’s finished?

Advice is everywhere. Many, many people aspire to become authors these days, and those who have gone before are often glad to share their experience. How do I write a blurb? Eighty-five people can tell me. How do I promote? There’s blogs galore on the subject. And as I sift through it all, a process that remains ongoing, I realize that much of it contradicts itself, or applies to a time in self-publishing that has passed. Like everything in the computer age, self-publishing evolves at the speed of light, and what “worked” yesterday may be old news today.

I was paralyzed by a feeling of helplessness, and not in that fun, spank-y kind of way. And I have remained in that state. If ever Switch It UP is to see the light of day, however, I have to release myself from its grip. So, I’m moving forward. Almost any plan would be better than none.

So, despite my trepidations, I plan to have Switch It UP available from Amazon on December 19th. It’s a damn good story, and I think y’all will enjoy it.

Switch it up teaser

Do newbies even HAVE a “Writing Process?”

I’ve been writing fiction since nearly the moment I could hold a pencil, but I never considered myself an author until fairly recently. Even after I had joined authors’ groups on Facebook, and created a page there, I didn’t know. Even after I’d added “author” to my e-mail address, and created this blog, I wasn’t sure. It wasn’t until I’d run around my day job with a pencil, looking for a quick scrap of paper to make a note, because I’d just had an epiphany that illuminated a dark spot in my current work like a divine floodlight straight from Heaven itself. I ended up writing this eureka moment down on a piece of brown industrial paper towel, because I couldn’t let it get away. That’s when I knew.

The agonies of creation are sometimes aptly named, especially when the words are right there, and the time to put them down is not. When the time is there, but life somehow prevents it. Worse is when the words won’t come, time or not. Agony can become ecstasy when all of a sudden a phrase sounds so brilliant in the mind’s ear it should be sung rather than spoken. This amusement park ride is not restricted to the folks who write highbrow, capital L “literature”. If you just have to get it down, get it out, get it on the page or the screen, you’re an author, no matter what the snobs might say.

Whether you’re a good author remains to be seen. Some days, I’m convinced I’m amazing, others, I’m certain it should all be deleted before anyone sees it. I assume someday you’re sure, but then, I always thought a day would come when I’d feel like an adult, and though I’m squarely into “middle age”, that day has not arrived. So maybe even the big boys and girls have doubts, though of course they’ll never tell.

I never once considered my “process”. I wrote as it came, having little luck at forcing it, although I followed the advice of keeping to a schedule. With the day job, that meant cutting back on sleep. I never realized how hollowed out I’d feel when I was done, when that hour could be spent playing Candy Crush, or reading articles on how to sell myself like a cheap whore on the internet. Hey, whore is a term of endearment in my vocabulary! I learned that she (or he) who writes this way is known as a “pants-er” as in flying by the seat of one’s pants.

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while will recall that I flew way off course doing that, and my book stalled out and threatened to crash. Luckily my dear friend and writing guru prevented that, and helped me get going again in a better direction. I learned a lot, and continued researching my subject and genre while I did so. I visited the Muse twice, certainly inspirational, and discovered the story as I went.

I thought it might be better to be a plotter, those logical lads and lassies who outline, and create character descriptions that rival many biographies. How can you fly off course, after all, if you’ve got a map? Mine just said “Here be sex scenes” instead of dragons or sea monsters. I’m not sure that I can change my “process” any more than I can my height, or my sexuality.

I’ve had an inspiration for the opening scene of Switch It OFF, you see. And I think what will become the second one. After that, my map gets all misty. Even my destination is only vaguely visible at this point. I’ve attempted to outline, and all I get is a headache. I may be destined to chisel out my story like a sculptor brings life gradually to a block of stone, and feeling much like the stone is in my brain when my chisel gets dull.

As the sprint towards publication of Switch It UP—and it had better be a sprint, let me tell you—begins, I may have a small space in which I don’t have this concern. But the Muse is whispering in my ear, and he’s a dirty boy, as usual. I may have to take off without a map, or even a compass.

Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

Move along, folks, nothing to see here.

What in the hell is “YKINMK”?

cartoon fetish

YOUR KINK IS NOT MY KINK. Your fetish is not necessary mine. My best friend likes to say “Whatever blows your dress up!” which instantly calls to mind the iconic image of Marilyn Monroe, riding the steam. Which blows my dress up. Your dress may remain unmoved. And that’s OK!

As I’ve shared in the past, FetLife is one of my favorite research sites. On it, they have a feature called Kinky & Popular. A writing there struck close to my heart. The author was lamenting a lack of diversity among the images displayed, and even a lack of kink. I’d noticed that myself, and generally just stick to the writing as she did. There are many paths through the woods, boys and girls, and wolves on every one, waiting to eat you up, or beat your ass with a flogger, if that’s what you’d prefer.

All of my reviews touch on the authentic quality of my fetish scenes, and that’s directly due to the fact that I was involved with the local scene extensively for years. That same best friend performed in, and in some cases created, shows for an extremely popular weekly fetish night. She remains my technical advisor and sounding board for all things fetish.

The troupe performed highly inventive and entertaining fetish shows that perfectly balanced the artsy-fartsy with the spanky-spanky. They were appealing for precisely this reason, so much so that the patronage of the night was drawn more often from the vanilla world than from the fetish scene. Doing a show a week, they’d have to keep it fresh and diversify. OR they could do the same old, same old, wherein scantily clad pretty boys and girls would get their asses lackadaisically beaten. This is what the management chose to do, selling skin over substance. The night died.

In Switch It ON, Mistress Madeline tries to broaden the horizons of the patrons of her shows. She puts in a little something for everyone. I believe that is important in life as well as the “scene”. My thing may not be your thing, but we can respect and enjoy each other’s things. Whoops, that sounded dirty. I think that helps prove my point.

Learning Experiences Come In All Shapes and Sizes.

I have learned many fun and interesting things on FetLife this week, including the fact that Dom/mes who care about their subs’ wants and needs actually exist. This was not my experience, so it was a refreshing outlook to explore. Outside of FetLife I learned that  I, like my main character, Madeline, am not quite human till after the coffee is in my hands, or at least somewhere on my person.

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However, the most important thing I learned this week was not on FetLife. I had my first real beta read. I don’t mean where my friend reads my work and gives me strokes about how awesome I am. I mean the kind where the reader, in this case my dear friend and writing guru, S. A, tells me what’s good and what sucks about my story.

LOL. I knew I wasn’t perfect, so don’t think that my bubble was burst by hearing that every word wasn’t golden. I was aware it wasn’t quite up to the quality of Switch It ON, which was on fire, if I do say so myself. Humility doesn’t become me. I was pretty sure it was awesome before I let anyone see it. On the new one, though, I knew I had gone off the rails somewhere, I just wasn’t quite sure where.

Switch It UP has been the very devil to write. Admittedly, it is a more ambitious story, because I wanted to tell you, my readers, about my beloved Jase, star of my dreams and my personal “most beautiful thing”. (Thank you, Ian Astbury!) Since these stories are written in the first person and not from his point of view, how was I going to do that? Madeline, my main character, tells you in breathless detail what she thinks of him, but how to let him tell you about himself? I think I have come up with a way to do just that, and I think if you liked Switch It ON, you’ll really enjoy it. Easy, though, it has not been.

Neither was hearing the truth about my creation. I hated to hear that part of one scene had devolved into middle school behavior, although this was perfectly obvious when pointed out. More difficult, though,was to hear was that I had not portrayed my main character in the light I envisioned, and that she was coming off as a good bit crazier than initially intended. Madeline is the character with whom I identify most strongly, thanks in part to writing in her voice. Perhaps I needed my medication adjusted, and not her.

Well, perhaps, but my point in telling you all of this is to show how I pulled up my big girl panties and took the information. I took it calmly and well, I think. Because it was true. Pretty much every word. Are my solutions going to be exactly what she suggested? Nope. Is this going to be a better damn book because of it? You betcha.

The above photo was not credited or watermarked where I found it. If is yours, please let me credit you!