Category Archives: word factory

weeding the psychological garden

Well. Since we last spoke, I’ve done a few exciting things — I got a new job (which pays better and appears more stable than the one I lost in November), I signed a contract with Riptide for my first novel (!!!!!!), I released a free fantasy short through the M/M Romance group’s Love Has No Boundaries event, and I weathered the rest of radish season only to stumble headlong into zucchini season even more direly unprepared. (My gardening life has involved a lot of googling: “sunflower foliage image” and “when to harvest potatoes” and most recently “zucchini recipes,” “more zucchini recipes,” and “recipes to use up a LOT of zucchini.”)

There’s something really comforting and pleasant about working in the garden, though; my mother has been a gardener since before I was born, and I think I’ve inherited this temperament from her. Sitting out in the dirt and pulling weeds is a good time for contemplation, for meditating on scary things. Like writing.

Before Rachel read my book I kept thinking, “what if she doesn’t like it?” Now that she has read it and liked it, all I can think is, “What if I can’t ever do that again?” What if I can’t sustain a story that size? What if I can’t come up with a plot? What if, what if, all these nasty weedy little ideas that take root without permission and grow wildly as soon as my back is turned. Possibly the ugliest one, hiding under other foliage and setting down nasty deep roots: What if I could only write that book because of my partner’s help and encouragement, and without her I’m missing something crucial?

Putting that one into words means I have to actually look at it, and maybe start trying to dig it out so I can burn it. Yes, she helped a lot with the first draft. Yes, she was the person I talked to when I got stuck. Yes, her enthusiasm fueled the writing efforts. But getting that help doesn’t mean I’m incapable of writing on my own. And needing it doesn’t mean I’ve failed as a writer; Acknowledgements sections wouldn’t thank first readers and writers’ groups so often if that weren’t a really useful thing for a writer to have. Creating in a vacuum is not actually standard practice.

Drake and Gabriel’s story is, among other things, about finding faith in unlikely places. I think it’s time I tried to find some of my own. I’ll just have to keep digging.


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WOULD it smell as sweet?

A quick note before I get to whining — the Gay Romance Northwest Meet-Up that I’ll be attending in September is now open for registration! There are quite a few fabulous authors on the list and it looks like it’s going to be a fun, low-key event, so if you’re in Seattle or close enough to make the trip check it out!

And now the fussing part: why does it never get easier to name characters? You’d think it would get easier with practice, like any reasonable sort of skill. But no. Here I am staring at an outline and trying to figure out the second main character’s name. It needs to fit the culture he belongs to, it needs to sound plausible in conjunction with the other guy’s name, because it’s for a romance audience it needs to sound like it belongs to a hot dude, and yet ideally it won’t be one of those names that gets used constantly in the genre….

I wonder how long I can get away with just using a placeholder.

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a treasure trove of… more work!

Whew. My Love Has No Boundaries story made it in on the deadline, complete with an illustration by the lovely and charming Rachel Roach for the cover. I’m looking forward to sharing!

And in the meantime, I’m pondering the merits of a self-published collection. People who’ve known me since before I had the courage to start subbing to publishers will remember the Bijou, a big sprawling collection of erotic short stories about slave boys working in an extremely fancy whorehouse. (Expensive boy whores are a perennial weakness of mine.) I’ve been sorting through them lately and — well, wincing at how rough they feel now, and how little made it into the stories beyond all the sexy bits. But also remembering how much I love those boys and their romances and their determination to find their way to happy endings. (Also, blindsided by how badly I want the madam and her charming libertine patron to get together.) So it’s extremely tempting to pull those character arcs together and try to make a few somethings out of this, but dang is that going to take time and energy. The most complete arc right now is just shy of 40k words, nearly a third of the total; it’s pretty obvious they were the pairing of my heart, in all their dysfunctional D/s adoration. Then there are… four other arcs that are shorter but follow distinct characters/groups, plus a fifth one that would probably just get booted off most retailers’ sites because it’s so heavy on the twincest, plus another 30k or so of stories that don’t fit neatly into any of the bits above.

Probably I need to write some things down on actual physical bits of paper so I can spread them out and rearrange them and figure out what crucial bits of a satisfying narrative arc each group is missing. Possibly I need to do this while somebody stands over me with a taser to keep me on task. I should start looking for volunteers.

…In between continuing to job hunt and trying to teach myself programming, obviously. Isn’t there a witty saying somewhere about being under pressure and creating great things? I hope so.


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September meetup; free short story

Two quickies!

First: there’s going to be a Gay Romance Northwest Meetup on September 14 right here in Seattle! I’m so excited. My finances haven’t allowed me to travel for any of the cons happening elsewhere in the country this year, but at least I’ll be able to get my feet wet at a smaller event in my home town. I’m already nervous about meeting some of the fabulous authors who are planning to attend. It’ll be a good thing, right?


neverseelight I wrote this f/f vampire short last winter as part of the Hurricane Sandy charity auction organized by MJ O’Shea and Piper Vaughn. Now I have finally gotten off my butt and added it to Smashwords, where it is free in multiple formats. This was also a good reason to create a “Free Reads” page on my site, which will come in handy once my Love Has No Boundaries story is ready to go public, too.

That’s all the news for now, though, because the weather is goddamn beautiful this weekend and I need to go outside.

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spring! when a young writer’s fancy turns to thoughts of… new projects?

The days are getting longer! We’re getting occasional sunlight in Seattle and the first trees are starting to blossom. My energy and enthusiasm generally hits a slump during the dark season, but now that we’re moving into brighter times, I’m feeling my gears start to turn again.

Just in time for Camp NaNoWriMo! Which I’m looking forward to—I love the structure of having a group of people to write with, but November is always a terrible month for me to do it. April, though? Yes please.

I have two projects on deck for the occasion, I think: first, I have a story to write for the Goodreads M/M Romance group, which is having their annual summer story event right now (prompting and claiming is still open!). I picked up a delicious fantasy prompt inspired by a painting by Omu Upied (who is wonderfully talented, gosh, go browse that gallery). There will be magic, D/s, and rescue missions, and I get to write a main character discovering that submission can be an uplifting, joyful experience. Yum.

The second project has no deadline, so I’m going to try to get through the prompt story first, but I’m excited about the second one—I’ve been thinking about trying to put together a story for Loose Id for a while, and pondering what kind of storyline I’d want to write for them. This week I got ambushed by an idea for an amnesia story that I think I’d have a lot of fun with! So that’s also on deck.

Of course, ideally this will mean that I’ll go into April with my current WIP—the space lesbians—fully drafted and ready to rest for a bit before I revise it. So I’d better get back to writing! They still have some highly illegal cargo to deliver before they can get down to the fun stuff.

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