Thursday, August 30, 2007

About to Sin: Updated

For everyone who has been waiting for an "aww moment" you're getting one. Of course, I wrote this so it also comes with a bitch-slapping moment. Either way, I hope you enjoy what I think is one of the most heartwarming segments of this story.

If these two don't figure out a way of making this work, I'm going kick the author's ass. Oh...wait a minute...

Wish me luck!

This morning I subbed "Personal Demon" to ED for a special edition in January 2008.

One day in the life of one priest's struggle to find harmony in a life of faith and carnal desires.

I went all out with the 9,000 words for this call of submission. And by “all out” I mean, I may have gone too far. I don’t think it’s too far for ED, because I don’t think I’m capable of writing something too far for them. They’re one of the most daring pubs out there and I think it’s their format that lets them take these kinds of risks. However, this story is way too far for most publishers.

In this title, I hope I’ve really captured the struggle of temptation and what’s not to like about priest in a cassock being tempted by a deacon in liturgical clothing inside the kitchen of the church while waiting for the bishop to show up? I mean…come ON it doesn’t get any better than that! (Or worse than that, depending on how you look at it.)

Ok, that’s not really enough judge the story is it?

In 9,000 words, I covered these fetishes: Religious themes, candle play, water play (not golden), autoerotic S&M, D/s, food play, temperature play, spanking and something with a rubber band that I'm not sure what to call other than non-binding CBT.

Yep, I’m going to hell. And, yes, I ate a celebratory cookie.

Oh, but to make my ticket to hell an express one. I have the deacon tempting the priest with a strawberry while the priest wonders if the tree had been planted in the garden for a reason. Come on…do I have to spell it out any clearer than THAT? Ok, fine, does it help hammer the point home if I tell you the priest refers to the deacon as his personal apple? I feel creatively evil when I think of this wicked little story. (Secretly hopes God curves the test scores when it comes to fiction.)

With a beginning like this…

He was not a kind lover to himself. He knew this. The acknowledgement didn’t make him stop, but…well…there’s something to be said for knowing one’s sins.

…if you’re not expecting kink, then you don’t know erotica. Basically, this story let me ask and answer what would happen if Anand gave Daniel everything Daniel thought he wanted. No, these characters aren’t Anand and Daniel, but I wanted to toy with someone who didn’t have the limitations that Anand has.

Here’s the berry temptation bit (author-only editing):

The smell of cologne returned and a strawberry appeared before Father Blake’s nose. The deep red skin promised sweetness. At least they’d decided to not include apple slices on the fruit tray.

“Try one. They’re quite good.” Gianni inched the strawberry closer to Blake’s lips.

With just the coolness from the berry registering to his skin, Father Blake turned his head to face the pursuer he didn’t want to evade. “This isn’t wise, Gianni.”

“It’s just a berry, Blake.” Gianni turned his hand and bit off the tip of the strawberry. A mist of juice settled upon his lips as he chewed it exactly twice before swallowing. The tip of his tongue traced the bite mark and dipped into the center of the fruit.

Blake’s knees nearly betrayed him.

“Just a…” Gianni returned the berry to Blake’s lips. “…a berry. A sweet one.”

The edge of the bite mark traced Blake’s lips. The sweet aroma of the fruit filled his nostrils. The tree had been planted in the garden for a reason, right? For the life of him, Father Blake couldn’t remember why. Liquid sweetness from the berry slicked across his lips. When he darted his tongue out to taste the residue, his tongue tagged the side of the berry.

Gianni, apparently, wouldn’t let that slip by.

The dimpled skin of the strawberry slid between Blake’s lips. Equal amounts of tart and sweet put a tang upon his tongue. With his eyes locked with Gianni’s, he pushed his tongue into the hollow of the berry, mashing the fruit’s flesh as he tasted it. Juice from the berry flooded his mouth and dribbled over his lips to his chin. The actual taste of the strawberry barely registered to his mind, but he knew this had to be the best tasting strawberry of his life.

Gianni’s fingers, still holding the top of the fruit, pressed against Blake’s lips. Drawing his tongue back, Blake took the berry deeply into his mouth. The fruit split upon his tongue as he crushed it against the roof of his mouth. Father Blake closed his eyes.

Twice in half as many days, the serpent bit him.

Tiny seeds crunched between Blake’s molars as he snatched Gianni’s wrist. Pulp slid on the back of his tongue when he kissed Gianni’s palm. The tip of his nose tucked between two fingers and he swallowed what remained in his mouth. Before he realized what he was doing, he licked the center crease of the Gianni’s palm. His tongue roamed and pushed as if it were trying to find more fruit. Opening his eyes, he found his vision flanked by Gianni’s fingers and filled with the light gleaming off the deacon’s cross lapel pin on the open black blazer.

Wincing, he pushed the hand away and cut his eyes up. Why now? Caught in a choke-hold by his burden, he sputtered, “Kiss me.”

I hope ED accepts this story. It’s gonna be tough to find another publisher who lets me push the envelope like I have with this one.

The biggest problem with this story was merging the first 1200 words with the rest. This story started out as a very short one shot that was very smoke and mirrors and heavy with the symbolism. It’s not a voice I normally use and although I maintained the symbolism, I think I kind of dropped the ball on the voice a little bit. Then again, I may have not dropped the ball. The first 1200 words is just one character and it’s easy to let them get lost in their own thoughts and issues when that’s going on. So…well…we’ll see. I’m still giddy that I finished it on time and with what I think is damn good work.

In other news…

I just had my post-op follow up and I’m healing just fine. No infections and no worries. I intend on getting back into the writing process series tonight. Hopefully, I'll have a post ready shortly for that.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


I'm home and doing better than expected. The surgery went very well even if it did take a bit longer than expected. I'm groggy and in pain, but this is nothing compared to the bikini cut I went through last time. Yippie for me! And only one night in the hospital this time! Yippie again!

Big hugs,


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Surgery Tomorrow

I'll be going in for surgery tomorrow. My hospital stay is expect to be 1-3 days. I'll continue the writing process series when I'm functional again. I don't want to write pain-meds-infected bunk just to make a post. I will post when I'm home so that everyone will know I'm all right.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Writing Process: Q& A Break.

I’m going to take a moment and address some of the questions I’ve been asked.

How do I organize the information gained during research?

This depends on the information. If it’s a website that I don’t anticipate fading into oblivion, I’ll bookmark it (medical information used for Byron in Full Circle, parts of Canonical Law for About to Sin, etc). If I’m afraid the information will go away, I’ll copy and paste the information into a Word document and include the url at the top of the document. If it’s a factoid from a book I own (the blood type in Full Circle, Bob’s and Phineas’s back stories in Full Circle, raven folklore, etc) I’ll put a piece of paper to mark the spot in the book and keep the book by my desk. If it’s some kind of formal document, such as the Vatican’s instructions for the pastoral care of homosexual persons, the Pope’s statements about homosexuals in the priesthood and so on, I’ll save a copy of the document in the same folder as all the files associated with the story. If it’s information gained during an interview with a person (i.e. a “former” priest I spoke to who left the priesthood after having an affair with an adult male (heartbreaking story), technical information that can only be held by the people who’ve been through it, etc) I’ll save all the e-mails. If it’s information from a phone conversation, I’ll write notes in a notebook and often have to call or e-mail them for clarification.

Why do all of this reasearch for an erotic story?

I believe that there needs to be a certain amount of fact to make the fiction believable. I also don’t believe that writing erotica is “slumming it”. Readers who happen to enjoy reading graphically depicted sex deserve a good story.

How would I deal if I can’t figure out how to start a story?

If the “flashes of scenes” I get about a story are not the start of it, I do nothing until I work backwards in my mind to the first word of the story. This is why I have nothing typed up on my catboy story. I want to do a catboy story and I know how the middle is going to play out, but I don’t know the first scene. So, it sits in plotbunny form until it decides to play nice with the others.

If I know the first scene, but not the first word, then writing discipline comes into play. I’ll do a few things to help me think. What’s the tone of the scene? I’ll play a song or group of songs that match the tone of the scene. I’ll use logic to figure out what’s going on in the scene and try to deduce the starting sentence. I’ll paint my nails to give me a mental break from staring at the blinking cursor. If worst comes to worst, I’ll work on something else and play a trick on myself. I’ll deny myself the joy of working on the new story until I really, really, REALLY want it and my mind is cooperating. This kind of hitch rarely happens to me when it comes to the first scene. I’ll usually leave a story in plotbunny form until I’m ready to start typing. This is the kind of thing that will happen to me in the middle or end of a story.

How do I go about character design?

There’s some of that in the previous installments and I’ll be showing more in future blog posts. I think what this person is really seeking is some kind of list or step by step process that I go through.

I’m sorry. I don’t do it like that. My character design is haphazard and backwards. Sometimes I’ll have things written before I know the details.

I’ve been asked to use About to Sin as an example for this. I can’t talk about specifics with Father Daniel right now, because there’s something coming up in the next installment that’s pretty important and I don’t want to spoil it.

But, here’s how I did it. About to Sin started as a short one-shot. I wanted a priest and a doctor together. Father Daniel is a Roman Catholic priest and that alone gives me a lot of back story. I wrote the first installment not expecting to write any more, so I just went with the guilt and shame aspects of feeling the need to do something like he did. When I turned it into a series, I had to start asking myself all sorts of questions. (Note: Questions only at this stage)

Why would someone want to become a priest? Why would Father Daniel want to become a priest? What has to happen to become a priest? Why would a good solid priest seek out what he sought that Friday night? What is he running from? What is he running toward? How old was he when he entered the seminary? Did he realize he was gay at the time? What kind of family would he come from? Are they supportive of his desire to be a priest? When he became ordained did he realize he was gay? What kind of crap had to be fed to him for him to view his sexuality as he does? Is he really a good priest? Obviously, he’s closeted from his family, but would they accept him being gay? Why is he trying so damn hard to be what he thinks is a good priest instead of being himself and letting his inner goodness manifest via his priestly functions?

For Anand, I asked myself these questions:

What makes someone so confident and happy with their sexuality? Does his family accept his homosexuality? Why did he leave Hinduism? Why did he become a doctor? What made him so jaded and reluctant to love? Why is he circumcised? (That question will make sense when you read further into the story.) Where are his parents now? How many sisters does he have? Is he the only boy in the family? If so, how do his parents deal with their only son being gay? Why…for goodness’ sakes…does he pay so much lip service to being selfish when it’s obvious that he’s not? Is the real reason he attended mass for six month just to ogle the sexy priest or is he seeking something more? Is he with Father Daniel only because Father Daniel is a priest or does that just add a sprinkle of kink on the relationship for him? I think it’s pretty obvious from the first installment that he gets off on the priest thing. Is this healthy for the relationship? Why is he a man-slut? Is he REALLY a man-slut?

Basically, I start with what I have written or what’s in the flashes of scenes and then I use a mixture of logic and psychology to figure out what happened to make them the way we are. It’s nature AND nurture. Furthermore, I may never answer all of those questions in the manuscript. I’ll eventually know all of the answers, but if I can’t naturally get them into a scene, then they stay in my mind. Also, answers will often lead to new questions. It sounds like a cop out, but I really do have the characters answer these things. I look at their behavior, dialog and narrative for clues. Narrative isn’t exactly the word I want for this sentence, but my mind is drawing a blank. >.<

Some writers will work their character designs before they type the first word. I work my character designs as I write and usually end up having to go back to the beginning of a story and flesh it out and change it to fit what I’ve learned about the character. This works for me, I think. It allows me to reveal the characters in bite-sized pieces and helps me resist an infodump of back story. I know that the reader needs to know X before the importance of Z scene will register. I don’t like infodumps, so I’ll try to sneak in bits of back story as they become relevant to the scene.

What are some of my turn-offs for plot elements?

I don’t like having a character wake up and it’s all been a dream. That seems like plot abortion to me. (Yes, the phrase “plot abortion” is a real writing phrase.) It also feels like tricking the reader. Don’t get me wrong, for some stories dreams are necessary, but I try to let the reader know it’s a dream or at least make the dream an important part of the story not just *POOF* “Well, that’s done, now where are my car keys?” It’s like hitting a big reset button for a story and I don’t like that. If you’ve written yourself into a corner either write your way out of it or edit your story.

I don’t like arbitrary ticking clocks in a story.


Thaddeus, a vampire, is on a quest to reclaim his mortality. He needs the kiss of a true love to do it and it must be done by the light of next full moon or he’s forever doomed to be a vampire.

Oh gag me. What’s so special about the next full moon that’s so critical to changing him back into human? Oh…that’s right…that’s when the annual meeting of the High Vampire Council happens and the power generated by them all being in the same room eating off the buffet and discussing the Vampiric politics marks that moon as being special.

I have a hard time believing that, but fine. What about the next moon during their next meeting?

Well, that won’t be for another 150 years!

Oh gag me. If the council only meets every 150 years, what’s the point of the council? How much power can they really wield if they meet so infrequently? WTF do they DO? And if they really want to help Thaddeus become a mortal again, couldn’t they hold a special meeting? And Thaddeus is immortal. If he misses this window, his ass can wait.

Besides, what’s so flipping powerful about the kiss of a true love? Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate the romantic element here, even if I do feel it’s heavy-handed. If you want me to put that much weight into a kiss of a “true love”, “young man”, or “fair maiden” you’d better being doing a different/modern/gay/etc version of Sleeping Beauty or explain why it’s so powerful.

I’ve seen this plot or a version of it in a lot of books and movies. I usually spend the time watching the movie or reading the book wondering if this is the only way the author could think of to put a sense of urgency in the story. The sad part, in my eyes, is that this plot element shows up in some popular stories.

If you’re going to have a “once in a life time chance” make sure it really is once in a lifetime. Planets and other heavenly bodies run in cycles. The three moons of Zarnon will line up in the southern sky more than once.

This example also plucks on one of my pet peeves when it comes to vampires. Why do they angst so much about being vampires? Perpetually young and beautiful. Perpetually healthy if they behave themselves. Extra long lives that will help them generate wealth and glorious surroundings. Fangirls and fanboys who want to be feeders for the thrill of it all. And some how, letting humanity be a state of mind instead of a state of being isn’t enough for them. Whatever. Show me a character with real problems, please. I know there are some very popular vamp writers who do this vampire angst thing, but I still don’t understand it.

Another turn off I have is what I’ve nicknamed “The Kung-Fu cop out.” The bad guys have spent the whole story being bad guys. They destroy villages, cheat, lie, steal, rape, kick kittens, and dog-ear corners in books. And yet! One good ass kicking from the hero and—PRESTO—everything is a perfect world again. The sun comes out, any still breathing bad guys change their ways, the hero kisses the cute little number who was the leader of the bad guys’ girl, kittens purr and all the villages forget they were destroyed. Ah…happy ending all around.


By all means give me the showdown with the bad guy and let the hero kick some ass, but realize a broken nose or chopped off head won’t solve the problems caused by the bad guy JUST prevent THAT bag guy from doing more damage.

This Q& A took longer than I expected. I’ll get back to the writing process with the next installment. By all means, feel free to ask questions.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Full Circle rankings! Awesome news!

I’m so utterly blown away by this!

Under the erotica category on Fictionwise, Full Circle is ranked 52 out 3,675 titles! I know some people might scoff at 52, but I’m amazed by this. This is my FIRST book and it’s only been released for 2 1/2 weeks!

Now for what has me BLOWN away. In the rankings for all of the titles my publisher (Chip/LAP) has listed with Fictionwise, Full Circle is ranked NUMBER ONE!

Yes, you did read that right. NUMBER ONE!

I’m floored. So totally and completely floored.

I thank my readers for this. If it weren’t for your love and support, I would have never had the courage to try to be published. Thank you all for cheering for me!

Live Chat-tomorrow.

There's going to be a live chat with Lady Aibell authors in the Pink Posse Chatroom tomorrow starting at 8pm (that's central time). Here's the link.

I'm not sure which other authors will be there, but I will be.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Writing Process: Part Two Vague Plot

Disclaimer: Every writer is different. Every story is different. My process for this story may not work for you, but I hope you find it helpful.

When we left off last time, I said we were going to get into massaging a plot. At this point, I take my cast of characters, drop them in to metaphorical bucket and watch to see what happens.

I'm not kidding.

Ok, I'll put it in more concrete terms—I mull it about in my mind. One of two things will happen here. One is nothing. If nothing happens, this story stays in plotbunny form until the characters decide to talk to me or I get a few paragraphs written and it sits there collecting dust. To date my shortest WIP is 353 words (earlier I told Marbles 500 and I was mistaken.) Those 353 words consist of a bungling mage, a wannabe knight, a faerie screaming in terror, a sister who is now a toad and a sentient candle with an attitude. "Just long enough to not be bleeding" has been the last line of that story for MONTHS.

The other thing that might happen is that I'll get flashes of scenes. Note: I have not yet tried to control or guide anything. I'm waiting for the characters to talk to me. Sometimes I'll type out these flashes and sometimes I'll let them sit in my head.

What I WON'T do is actually write out the scenes. If I satisfy my itch to get to a certain scene, I'll kill my motivation to write everything that leads up to it. This is a quirk I know about myself. Additionally, I write linearly or sequentially. This means I start at the beginning and I write the scenes in order all the way to the end. I do not bounce around. Some writers can bounce around and write whatever scene is itching their minds, but that confuses the heck out of me. I've even met writers who use the old note card system and, whoa boy, that's way too much organization for me. Have you seen my sock drawer? I'm not an organized person in my day to day life thus my creative process isn't organized.

If something is going on in my life and it will be a while before I'll get to the Pet WIP of the Month, I'll write out the flashes. These are VERY rough and look like this…

(Speaking through a communication implant.)

“Maintenance is about done, Kaz, you almost ready? We’ve got a job.”

“What’s this job? Who are we after?”

“We have some crates we’re taking to…”

“Crates? We’re bounty hunters not cargo runners!”

“It pays well.”

“Fine. What’s in the crates?”

“We’re being paid enough to not ask that question.”

“Better not be biohazard or I’m kicking your ass when you grow another head.”


“Enron! Enron!”

“If you knew the history of that, you wouldn’t call your accountant by that name.”

“Start the engines!”

“Oh god, you picked up another stray, didn’t you?”

“I’ll remember your ‘no stray’ rule the next time I see someone running from a casino. Start the damn engines!”


“And one more space station to add to our banned list.”

“Damn it. I liked that one. They had clean bathrooms.”


“You stole a Karne woman! Idiot! The whole fucking species will be after us!”

“If you can’t handle it, Grease, I’ll have to get another co-pilot.”

“Those sand monsters won’t best me.” Grease shrugged tossing her braids over her shoulders. Going after her pride was always the best choice. “They won’t best me and they won’t out run my wrench.” She took her seat and handled the control stick like she needed a moment alone. “Besides, we can always use someone to do some cooking and cleaning around here.”

“I didn’t pull her out of slavery just to put her back into it.” Kaz wondered if he could train her to handle the weapons. She probably wouldn’t name one of them and run off in hopes of marrying it. Probably—but who would have seen that coming the first time?


Apparently Kawosky's original name was Kaz. Ya know, I like Kaz better. It sounds more "spacey" to me.

But this gives me a vague idea of the plot. 1) Kaz has to steal Ryir. 2) They get banned from a spaces station. 3) The Karne will be coming after them. 4) They have a job to do. 5) Kaz and Ryir need to have hot sex and fall in love (all together now…Awww…) 6) Everyone thinks Ryir IS A WOMAN.
Now, I start asking myself questions.

1) What's the job?
2) Where's the job taking them?
3) How can I make the job worse?
4) What has to happen that makes it logical for Kaz to kidnap someone without making Kaz look like the badguy?
5) What's the situation that would allow someone as repressed and sheltered as Ryir be in a position to have contact with Kaz?

Now, I mull these over in my head and play a small active role in guiding the plot. That small active role is logic. What logically has to happen for X to happen? What can make this believable even if it's not probable? (Honestly, how much in fiction is truly probable?) A why is my brain freaking trying to pound its way out of my skull?

Two Aleve, several hours and minus one headache later…

Now the job. What do I already know about it? 1) It's a cargo job. 2) The customer wants this to be kept a secret. People are usually protective about contraband. What kinds of things are contraband? Weapons, drugs, pornography, body parts, some medicines, and things involving the slave trade.

(Side note: As I'm reflecting upon this, I think I missed something really funny here. I looked at what would be contraband for my time and my world. This story is set in the future and I should have had them go through a really dangerous situation for something stupid like Jell-O, stuffed bunnies or dirty jock straps.)

We want some danger with this to add some excitement to the story. So, I've decided that first round of mystery cargo will be guns. The second round will be medicines. What would need both of those? A war zone. So, now our "questionable" crew that has no weapons officer will be traveling through a war zone while being chased by the Karne. If I can't find a good story in there, I might as well hang up my keyboard.

Why two rounds of cargo? I figure with the Karne after them, they won't go near Karne space unless they have to. The only way to make them is to have them deliver some goods just to find out the final payment comes at the end. The destination which is through…oh my Kaz…Grease is going to beat you senseless.

So we now have three plot lines. 1) The job. 2) The Karne are out after them. 3) the love story. What can I do to weave these together? Make the job travel through Karne space and use the close quarters of the ship as well as Kaz's sucker for a hard luck story character trait and Ryir's view of seeing himself as property to start the "love" aspect of the story. Eww…that sounds unhealthy. No one wants to see an unhealthy relationship between the sexy protagonists, right? So, I need something that will allow me to show Kaz screwing up (romantically) in a charming way and trying to coax Ryir into independence while showing Ryir forgiving Kaz's screw ups while appreciating the attentions of someone who cares.

At this point, I start getting more flashes of scenes, but they're too detailed and too dependent upon what comes before them to write them out. I need to hold them in my head and work my way toward them. This is where I'll differ from many other writers. Some would go a head and write those scenes. For those writers my way of working doesn't work.

If you notice, my plot lines are really vague, but I'm not worried about that. I'll flesh it out as I write it, rewrite it and rewrite it and rewrite it and… My character designs aren't all that specific either. I ain't worried. Alvaro started as…"the blond one who knows a lot."

To recap, we now have some rough character designs and three plotlines.

Next stop on the writing process, we'll hit the writing phase.

By the way, FEEL FREE to ask me questions. This is my process and I'm not accustomed to explaining it. I've probably skipped a few things. I want this to feel like a dialog between us and not a lecture.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Writing Process: Part One the Preliminaries

It seems that people like the idea of me sharing my writing process and I think it will be fun for me too. So, over the next few blog posts, you’ll be able to see how it is that I write a story.

Every writer is different. Every story is different. My process may not be your process, but you’ll get the chance to see my errors (even ones I don’t see) and, hopefully, we’ll both learn something.

The story I’m going to be using is a WIP (Work In Progress) and I’m handling that story the way I’m handling these blog posts: I don’t know where it’s going, but we’ll see. I’ve not courted any publishers with this WIP and I don’t even have a title for it yet.


The Writing Process: Part One…

This story started with an itch of an idea. I wanted to do something with a eunuch and I also wanted to work with a little bit of politics, gender persecution and sexual oppression. (And some people just realized erotica writing isn’t all about the sex.) One day, the idea of blending those two itches came to me and that generated another host of thinking.

Now I start adding layers to what I want to do with this piece and always keep in mind my audience.

1) I want to do a story with a eunuch.

2) I want to figure out why it’s “a eunuch” and not “an eunuch” according to Word—better check on that.

3) I want to work with the heavy political issues that are actually a commentary on the Taliban’s treatment of women. That’s the REAL point of this piece. I want to express some of my views about the Taliban, but fiction is not a preacher’s pulpit. This isn’t church and leave the preaching in there. So, I have to handle this in a way so that it feels like a story and not political or religious propaganda.

4) I write m/m and my readers expect m/m. That’s going to make having a female romantic lead a little difficult.

5) And to further deter me from preaching to my readers, I’m going to aim for humor. I think this will work for me. I’ll be presenting heavy topics, but in a way that’s easy for the reader to handle. I won’t be bludgeoning the reader with a big o’le “This is wrong!” stick, but I’ll be showing the readers a section of the characters’ lives and let the readers come up with their own ethical decisions.

Using a eunuch—a third gender—is how hope to blend everything I want with what my readers expect in this piece.

But, how can I talk about the Taliban without talking about the Taliban? I’m rather familiar with the Taliban from a feminist perspective, but, to be totally honest, I ain’t that motivated to do all the research I need to do to give the story an air of authenticity. Sure, I’ve read reports and case studies. Yes, my anthropological studies help me here, but I really don’t want to add a lot to my work load. So, I decided to make it about the Taliban without making it about the Taliban. I’ve created a new race and that’s the Karne.

Now, how can I make the main point of this even less obvious (thus deter myself from getting on a soapbox) and explain that I have a race that doesn’t exist? If I set it in contemporary Earth (which is by far the easiest setting for me work with) then I have this whole “who are the Karne” thing rattling around in the reader’s head. No. That’s unacceptable. I don’t want to risk anyone’s willing suspension of disbelief and I don’t want to distract the reader with unnecessary questions. I have two choices. I can do the Robert Aspirin and Piers Anthony thing and create a whole fantasy universe or I can do the Gene Rodenberry thing and make it sci-fic. I’m a trekkie from back in the day, so, I fast forward into the future and drop the plot inside “speculative fiction.” Speculative fiction is basically sci-fi.

Ok, so we have our setting now: outer space at some point in the future. We have our genre labels: m/m erotic humor sci-fi or yaoi humor sci-fi. And I’d like to shoot for a short novel with this one so we’re targeting somewhere around 50K words. That’s Full Circle’s length.

Now, I need to gather some information about eunuchs. I’m a m/m erotica author. Specifically, I’m a yaoi writer. My readers don’t want to read about a Ken doll. What exactly is castration? What functions remain in castrated males and what doesn’t? What body parts remain and which don’t? What are the visuals I’ll be working with when it comes to the erotic scenes?

I don’t personally know any eunuchs. My friendship circle includes a vast selection of fetishes, but that’s not one of them. So, I hit historical documents. After reading what helped me only a little bit, I hit the modern day eunuchs. I haunt the boards, read their stories (fiction and nonfiction). I e-mail them and talk to them. And here’s where I learn there are a multitude of forms of castration. Also, the type and the timing of the surgery as well as any hormone treatments after the surgery affects what functions and which body parts remain. This is also where I learn what physiological effects happen in castrated males.

(Sidenote: Before I started writing, I never confused affect and effect. Now, I no longer trust myself and question it every time I write it. Affect is the verb. Effect is the noun. X affects Y and that end result is effect. When you affect something you have an effect on it. *sweatdrop*)

[Another sidenote: With a few notable exceptions, if you tell people you’re a fiction writer working on a story, they’ll be glad to tell you just about anything. Most people in fringe groups (fetishists included) are sick to death of writers getting things about their lives wrong and will jump at the chance to help. I’m always upfront and honest when I’m doing research for a story. ]

Now, I start picking what I want for this character. I do not want a penectomy. I want this character to have a penis—that’s kind of important for my m/m readers. However, as I was doing the research on eunuchs, I read a beautiful description of the male anatomy without testicles. That visual stuck with me. That’s the visual of this character’s genitalia that I want. So, I want a eunuch who can still function in bed. This character will be the uke so I don’t need to worry about reliable erections that can be used for penetration, but I do want both characters to enjoy any sexual activities.

He needs to keep enough testosterone in his system to achieve an erection, climax (if treated well) and enjoy the experience of sex. After talking to some eunuchs, I learned all of these are fairly common, but not with the regularity of an intact male. One eunuch I spoke to said that he achieves about two orgasms a year, but sill enjoys sexual play and contact even if he doesn’t climax. Another said about two a quarter and another said it all depended upon how his top treated him. A few, due to hormone treatments, have noticed very little change in their libido and sexual response. Some of those who have very few orgasms a year report having extremely powerful (to the point of almost entering seizures and blackouts) orgasms. IF I give my character the right procedure, I’m covered when it comes to sexual play.

I also need to keep in mind my readers. Us yaoi fans love our fluids—that’s evident in our artwork and stories. Eunuchs tend to have thinner and more watery ejaculates, but that should satisfy the yaoi fan’s need for fluids. However, I ran into a hitch. Eunuchs who do not get hormone replacements will experience a shrinking of the prostate as well as penile tissue. Sometimes this will happen even with hormone replacement therapy.

And, there’s something I can’t figure out. Prostate massages will produce a good deal of fluid on a healthy and normal prostate, but how will that change if the prostate has shrunk due to a lack of testosterone? However, I’m not going to let that keep me from the story.

Luckily, I’ve set this story in the future and this character isn’t human. So that gives me some cheating…I mean…wiggle room. All I need to do is come up with a procedure that will mimic castration, but not leave the character impotent and asexual.

Also as part of this research I watched a lot of live action porn (mainly amateur) and made note of how many men lose their erections while bottoming and yet still seem to have a satisfying experience. (A lot more than yaoi fans ever consider.)

So after some research, I’ve figured out what needs to be altered on this character and what doesn’t. I’ve figured out what organs need to stay intact, what kind of procedure has been done and when it was done, how to explain the surgery to the reader and how to explain why this is done within Karne culture.

Medical research? Done (at least for now.)

Honestly, think about it, I’m going to be talking about a procedure that doesn’t exist, on an alien race that doesn’t exist in a time frame that hasn’t happened yet—do I really need to worry about if someone is going nitpick on whether or not my eunuch can have a cum shot? No. I wasted months of writing time by over-thinking this. And yet, I’m still concerned that readers won’t accept this character in a sexual situation.

After a few months of working on this story, I now have a setting, one partial character design, one partial race design and not a single word written. I consider this good progress for a story like this. Oh yeah…and no plot. That doesn’t bother me yet. A lot of writers start with a plot and sometimes I will start with a plot, but not with this story. Actually, I rarely start with a plot. I usually start with a flash of a scene and have to work out the plot from there.

Now to flesh out the character design a little bit more. For this eunuch character I’m dealing with a character who has been surgically altered and lived in a repressive environment. Logically, we should be talking about a shy and withdrawn character. We’re probably dealing with some Battered Wife Syndrome and maybe some Stockholm Syndrome. This is a person who will be very submissive, flinch when unexpected gestures are made and cower at raised voices. This will be the TOT of the story. At this point, this character has not been named which I think I will do so now. I also need to keep in mind that once this character has a taste of freedom and security they MIGHT go a little bit wild.

I’m going to spare you the details of this, but here’s how I go about naming characters. My first destinations are the baby naming sites. The majority of my character names are picked due to origin, meaning and decades of popularity. I never expect the readers to look up my character names, but it’s something I do for myself. This did not help me in this case. My next stop is a random name generator. If I’m still not happy, I’ll try to blend a name from the “meaning list” with the “random list.” Then, I’ll go to friends and ask for suggestions.

Marbles suggested Souja for this character and I really appreciate her suggestion. I was going to go with that until I saw Souja typed next to the seme’s name. That’s information Marbles didn’t have and I think that combination was a little hard on the eyes. Also the longer I looked at the name Souja the more feminine it felt. Yes, this character is effeminate and he is a eunuch, but I don’t want a really feminine name. A little feminine, sure, but if I’m making the reader struggle to keep a male face in their heads when they see the name, then I’m not writing properly.

I also need to eliminate any names that start with the same letter as any other prominent character. You don’t want your reader getting confused and asking, “Which one was Kan and which one was Kai?” So, I can’t have anything that begins with K,V,G, or E.

So now I start all over again. I need something that smells of Arab connections, but not too much. The random name generator gave me this one Ryririr. That’s too busy and I’ll never remember how to spell it, but I like the spirit of that name. Ryir. “Rye-ear” Ryir. It has that sneaky hint of a Middle Eastern connection and it’s masculine, but not alpha male masculine. Hell, it’s not even beta male masculine. It could easily be a woman’s name.

The character’s full name is Ryir of the house Tijoh. (This took way too many hours.)

Now, I need a seme who can make everything all better for Ryir as well as draw him out of the abusive cycle. I need a seme who can bring Ryir out from behind his shell of hurt and abuse. I have already partially designed this seme. He’s a dreamer type who is too quick to give away his heart (after working so much with Anand’s reluctance to love, I wanted to work on different type. Also Ryir is not the type to pursue a lover and I need someone who is WHOOSH infatuated and can chase Ryir.) He’s a sucker for lost causes and has a sarcastic and dry sense of humor. He’s got a strong ethical code and tends to do what he feels is the right thing even if it hurts himself. Note: What he thinks is the right thing may or may not be what the reader or I think is the right thing. He’s kind and caring, but clueless. By clueless, I don’t mean Too Stupid To Live because no one likes TSTL heroes (especially publishers).I mean the man has been in what he thinks is love more times than he can count, but hasn’t a clue as to about how courtship goes. In short, he’s in love with the idea of being in love. He also thinks he’s a bad boy, but he’s totally not. That character’s name is…well…what he tells everyone his name is: Kawosky.

The main pairing of this story will be Kawosky and Ryir.

Kawosky can’t handle a ship by himself. So, I need some side characters.

We need a money guy, because Kawosky is too much of a dreamer to handle that. We need a doctor, because that’s specialized information and this character will also be the “brain” of the group. (Kind of like how Alvaro is the brain of Full Circle and Hakkai is the brain of Saiyuki. If the reader needs a question answered the author can use the brain to answer it. Since the brain is the brain, the reader rarely wonders why the character knows that particular piece of information.) We also need a mechanic and “a heavy”. The heavy is the ass-kicker or co-ass-kicker of the group.

The accountant is nicknamed Enron. He hooked up with Kawosky while he was on the run from some casinos. He’s not human, but I’ve not completely figured out what kind of alien he is. I see him as a short rotund man with a bald head and John Lennon glasses. That’s not very yaoi and I may change that. I also need to check into the legalities of using the word “Enron.” Since the company is no longer in business, it shouldn’t be a problem. Since he’s the accountant, this can also fall under “parody” and thus be under “fair use”. He’s the record keeper of the group.

The doctor is Vesrod. He’s half-human and half Syhpris (a race that has serpent evolution). He’s hot. Tall and slender with reptilian eyes and I’m seriously thinking about a split tongue. I WANT the reader (and here’s where yaoi fans kick ass) to think there might have been something going on between Vesrod and Kawosky when the lightyears got a little too long. Vesrod is caring, compassionate and logical. The logical element will help me cover any potential jealousy issues when the new love interest comes into play.
He’s the bookworm type. I need to come up with something “misfit” as part of his story to make him fit in with this crew. Some kind of something that had his medical license revoked.

Grease is the mechanic, co-pilot and “the heavy”. She’s full blooded Trylock. I wanted a female in this role because I’m sick to death of wimpy women in fiction. She’s hot tempered and sassy. This is not a woman you want to piss off. She’s the tallest and broadest member of the crew. I see her race as a warrior race with dark skin and bits of boney “armor” over parts of the body. Her bones will be damn dense and her muscle tone bulky. She wears her hair in long braids. I don’t see her as a lesbian, but I also don’t see her letting something as minor as gender keeping her from getting what she wants.

With the preliminaries: I now have a target genre, a setting, and five partial character designs. However, I have nothing written and no solid plot.

Aside from naming Ryir, I had this stuff worked out months ago. The next time I post on this, I’ll get into how I work plot ideas.

Friday, August 03, 2007

August is Anal Sex Month!

Thanks to Adam and Eve and a friend who forwarded me the e-mail, I've learned that August is anal sex month. A holiday started in 1927.

After a little searching I've found some goodies to share. These had me ROLLING!
You may have to click them to see them larger.

That last one kills me! And "explorer" kit with a 9" dildo. Yep! Because 9 inches is recomended for first time anal! LOL!

Play safe and sane and enjoy Anal Sex Month!