Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Good Writing

Poorly written books make plowing through my reading pile much easier, and more difficult.

I'm no literary masochist. If a book doesn't grab me by the second chapter,
I fling it. Sometimes I don't even give them that much of a chance.

I made it through four books this week. Far more went flying into the oubliette
that is the underside of my bed. But because I also write, I went back the four I finished and tried to figure out what made them readable. Two were from genres I don't usually read. Three of these books weren't of great writing. Decent, yes, but not great. The forth was an example of nearly flawless craft, but that wasn't what kept me reading.

A great opening line helps. Love In The Time of Cholera has the best
opening line of any novel I've read (Sorry, Mr. Dickens). A little bit
of mystery is good too. (Although I hate it when I finish a literary
novel and I'm still trying to figure out exactly what happened, if
anything.) But what set these books apart from the rest of the pile was
the characters. Within a page, these writers created people with depth
and dimension, people I could see, people I could hear. But the most
amazing part was how few words they had to use before my imagination
took over and filled in the spaces - sort of the way Zen inspired art
uses blank space more than brush strokes, and yet conveys so much

It's a kind of alchemy. They take words any writer could use and transmute them into a unique vision. The best examples of this skill aren't found in literary fiction though. Popular fiction is popular for a reason - because those writers have figured out how to grab readers and put them under the spell of a story. They are Adept class magicians with words. I think I'm going to study their techniques for a bit. It isn't all work though. I'll get to read some thoroughly entertaining stuff, and isn't that the definition of a good book?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Speaking of Writing...

A writer friend was in town this weekend and borrowed my couch
overnight. We opened a nice Chianti and talked about writing,
contracts, and writer's conferences.

A couple months back, I mentioned the need for an erotica writer's conference. I think I also mentioned my hesitation to run one - not because I don't want to, but because I have no experience in anything like that. Mucking up terribly in public isn't my idea of a good time. Besides, if I screw it up, everyone would say, "Well, someone tried to get erotica writers together once, and it was a Hindenburg sized fiasco! So no one should ever try again."

Nan wasn't about to let me plead total incompetence. I noticed she waited until after my third glass of wine to bring it up though. She's a great person to bounce ideas off. Intelligent, insightful, ready to volunteer should I ever get this thing moving....

So be warned, fellow writers. If I know that you have experience putting together a conference, or know someone who does, I will hunt you down and mercilessly interrogate you over every minute detail. Or you can very patiently explain to me why this won't work and I'm the wrong person for the job. Trust me, I'm willing to listen.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

When it rains, It Pours

Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 6 was just released.

This is an interesting collection because the editor finds many of the stories he wants to include as well as putting out a call for submissions. I would have never submitted Orbiting In Retrograde, but he asked for it.

Three anthologies in a week! Wow! Except that now I realize I only have three
more left in the production pipeline. I guess I should start working on
short stories again, but for now, the novel desperately needs rewriting...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Best Women's Erotica 2007

Looks as if I have another anthology out. Cream and Best Women's Erotica 2007 both in the same month! Challenger Deep in Cream is a favorite for personal reasons, but I think that Chill in BWE 07 is one of my best. It certainly seems to get the strongest reaction from readers. One said, "I felt like I tried to kiss a bus, WHAM!" and another commented (with affection) "You sick fuck."Hehehe.

I looked at the table of contents for BWE 07 on Amazon and saw a lot of names I recognize. I look forward to reading Kayla Kuff's contribution, as well as many others. Can't wait for my contributor's copy to arrive.

Monday, November 20, 2006


This is the sound of my brain exploding.

I wish a had a sound effect for grinding my teeth.

There are few things that drive me as insane as wild accusations tossed like a stun grenade into a group and then, later, the tosser (an apt British term that works both ways) finally asks for the facts. Arrrrrgh! If something appears inequitable, why not ask why rather than making an accusation? But no. Tossers do not ask. Facts are of no concern to them. Besides, facts are quiet things that can rarely be heard over the tosser's chest beating.

I'll admit that I do not suffer fools. My patience for foolishness (and foolishness it was, Amanda. You had the right word.) can be measured in nanoseconds.

Now this tosser has definitively stated that men's cum has no scent. *mumph* That 's the sound of me biting my tongue. Or is it sitting on my hands? Either way, I am fighting the urge unleash the sharper edge of my temper. I came here to vent instead. I guess all these people asking for the real name of "cumflower trees" just like the way they look. (I liked the description of the chamiza tree - "smells like a porn arcade floor.") Nevermind that all of these people seem to believe that the blossoms smell like cum, so therefore cum must have a scent. The tosser says it ain't so.

I wait anxiously for the next pronouncement. Maybe "tis the moon that shines so bright."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Love, Bourbon Street

Cooooooffffffeeeeeee. *groan*

Any amount of early morning "Why Does My Damn Alarm Go Off So Early?" is worth it. The time I spent in the car yesterday was worth it too. (Total of 5 hours if anyone besides me is counting, but that does include commute time to and from work, as well as the drive to and fromWeHo. - And yes, as an Angeleno, macho boasting about the amount of time I spend in my car is mandatory.) I went to Greg Herren's reading for Love, Bourbon Street last night at A Different Light in WeHo.

Greg read from his essay I Haven't Stopped Dancing Yet. Some of the passages almost
made me teary (some days I am such a girl), especially when he talked
about how New Orleans felt like home to him like no other place. Having
moved around a lot myself, I know what it's like when a nomad finds
home at last.

Greg with writer Dan Boyle.

I haven't seen Dan in a long time, so I was thrilled to run into him at this reading.

Greg with writer Trebor Healey.

I run into Trebor all the time, but I'm always glad to see him.

After the reading, Greg, Trebor, Dan, and I went for drinks and talked for a long time. (Did you know that gin fluoresces in black light? Now you do, and so do I. - Okay, geek moment over.) Poor Dan listened to me go on about my novel in progress - a YA novel - and I didn't ask him a thing about his new book. I promise that
when it comes out, I will go to his reading and talk endlessly about it
though. I don't even know the title. I am such a mean drunk.

I could have talked all night with the guys, but alas, the bell tolls for
me too damn early in the morning. So we said goodnight, exchanged hugs,
and promised to meet up at Saints and Sinners.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nothing Else Feels Like...

...holding a book in your hands. More so when you have a story in the book.

I got my copy of Cream yesterday. The book is divided into sections that reflect the monthly themes on the Erotica Readers and Writer's Association website. I was a little amazed to see my transgendered story wasn't with the other transgendered stories. It was in Just Hot Sex, I think.

I also got the contract for another anthology, Iridescence.

And I spent some time working on the rewrite of my novel in progess instead of procrastinating as usual and upping my high score on computer games. In all, a good writer's day.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I am Geek, Hear Me Roar

The SO and I took one of those on-line polls to determine which Star Trek Captain we were. He's Kirk. I'm Picard. Only in our hovel would such a stupid matter evolve into a day-long sniping war.

SO: Kirk. Cool. I nailed everything in Federation Space.

ME: You know I did Riker, Troi, and Worf in a four-way. They didn't name it the Picard Maneuver for nothing. Hell, I got Data on call. He's the ultimate sex toy.

SO: Ensigns worship me, on their knees. And you couldn't get Riker, even in his fat phase.

ME: He's my Number One. That's like a primary in a poly relationship. Jealousy has blinded you to the sub-text.

SO: Baldy.

ME: Watch it, or I'll give you a space wedgie of indeterminate size.

SO: In your dreams.

ME: Two words - saucer section. You got a battle bridge? I don't think so, fly boy.

SO: Hey - I can't help it if your ship isn't ready to commit 100% to battle.

ME: Mine made the Kessel run in five point two parsecs.

SO: *wagging finger* No fair jumping universes! You evoke Star Wars, I go Sith on your ass!

It just got ugly from there on. At some point, I realized that we'd entered into a whole new dimension - total geekdom. I would have given up and limped away with my dignity somewhat intact, but hey, I was winning!

SO: Face it, I set the standard for space cool.

ME: Your cheap special effects looked cheesy even in 1974.

SO: Hey!

ME: And I can act.

SO: *sputtering*

ME: *sotto voce* I can't wait until he finds out I'm really Q! Muhahahahahahaha.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Does Ugly Betty Need Some Savage Love?

I don't watch much TV. I haven't had the time the past, oh, five years
or so, and once I got out of the habit, I developed TV ADD. I can sit
through a Premiership or World Cup soccer game, but that's still asking
a lot. (Mythbusters is the exception. I will sit down for a solid hour to watch something get blown up real good.)

So that I'm not entirely dysfunctional in this world, people supply me
with synopsis of popular shows. They sit through the hour, I get the
Hollywood style two-line pitch. That works for me. Lately, guys on one
of my forums have been chatting about Ugly Betty, and their comments
were good enough to arouse my curiosity. I've watched almost three
whole episodes now. That's almost commitment from me. While I sort of like it - the women are gorgeous (I'd like to see a LOT more of that female lawyer, and the sister is hOt), and I can't decide if I love or hate Marc, or (as a forum member said) hate myself for loving him, and the nephew makes my heart sting - several things about the show bug me.

The dialog is horrible. Horrible! No real human being talks like that, and I doubt people from Betty's neighborhood articulate their feelings with passages from therapy texts. Come on writers - it's possible to have a character get the meaning across like that without having them actually say those words. Let the character speak like the character, not like a writer
with an MFA and an unfinished masters thesis in psychology. M'kay?

The physical humor doesn't work. We GET it. Betty doesn't fit in at Mode.
She never will. She's not a sleek antelope bounding across the savanna.
Making her a klutz only makes us cringe. Better writers could make us
ache for her simply from her lack of sophistication. Mode is high
school all over again, and we all identify.

What are ya? A soap opera? I Love Lucy? A drama? A comedy? It sort of works, but mostly doesn't. Moving from slapstick to suspense is sort of like looking at the monkey-fish "mermaid" on display at Ripley's Believe It or Not. I choose not to believe in either half.

Parts of this show reek of the 1970's. The whole storyline with the son being an incurable ladies man with no clue about real women is dated. And the new editor touting women's empowerment? Uh - okay. Somehow the ability to eat spicy food, play pool well, and ride a motorcycle doesn't impress me. The whole era of women having to be more macho than men in order to succeed and to be sexy has thankfully passed - at least in the real world. It may take a while for this show to catch up.

Papi may be the font of all knowledge, but dredging up the life lessons he
taught is so heavy handed that it makes me flinch. It exposes the roots
of this show. And while it isn't bad, it needs a lighter touch. Much
lighter. Writers - listen up - SHOW, don't TELL. Show the respect the
girls have for their father. Don't make us listen to the "I respect
you,Papi" speech.

And the last thing that bugs me - Betty's boyfriend. He has got to go. Oh yeah, he's supposed to help keep her grounded when she's trying to be what she isn't. Except that he's a pathetic,whiny loser who can't take one for the team, or more accurately, one for his woman. If he was ever shown really supporting her when she was down, I'd be all for him. Instead, he uses emotional
blackmail to shame her attempts at success. Which is why I think Betty
needs to start reading Dan Savage's Savage Love
column. If she were to write Savage Love for advice about her boyfriend, I think he'd tell her to DTMF - dump the mother fucker. And by the way Betty - the forum agrees. The accountant you almost dated was a total hottie. Your boyfriend? Not so much.

Another One Bites the Dust

As I was checking the readings schedule this coming week, I went to the
Equal Writes web site and saw that they're closing their doors. I'm heartbroken. I just found this place. It's a fantastic space for readings. I love and support independent bookstores. I buy something every time I walk in, no matter how high my reading stack.

I was working with the owner to offer an erotic writing class. He never
mentioned to me as we looked at the calender that they wouldn't be open
still.Argh ! My lost opportunity isn't the important issue here though.
I've seen books at Equal Writes that I've never seen at other
bookstores. They've offered classes I've never seen offered at A
Different Light, and Skylight is such a far drive for me that I don't
often make the trip.

It looks as if today is one of their last days. I'll probably head down there and make a few purchases. I'll tell the owner how sorry I am, and wish him the best. And in the future, I'll have one less comfortable, safe, well-stocked place to browse for
books. *sigh*

Friday, November 10, 2006

Wrestling temptation

I primarily write erotica. The novel I’m working on isn’t meant to be erotic, but it does have several scenes that have my beta readers worked up. They're asking me why I didn't flesh out those scenes. (and some are begging me to make it more explicit) It would be so easy. I know how to scorch a page. But… that isn’t what I’m trying to do with that story. So why am I tempted?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Novel Angst

High school. You never really leave it. If you're lucky, you move away and find a new circle of friends who didn't know you then. Assuming you have your act together now, you can dupe them into believing you were always a competent person - unless you write a novel that exposes every flinch-worthy moment of your teenage stupidity. Then everyone will know.

Do you think people will buy that disclaimer that the book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to people living or dead is a coincidence? Maybe I should add another line. "I'm much better now. Really."


Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote. Vote.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Apologizing for all the wrong things

Rev Ted HAggard offered his version of an apology:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) -- Less than 24 hours after he was fired from the pulpit of the evangelical megachurch he founded, the Rev Ted Haggard confessed to his followers Sunday that he was guilty of sexual immorality.

In a letter that was read to the congregation of the New Life Church by another clergyman, Haggard apologized for his acts and requested forgiveness.

"I am so sorry for the circumstances that have caused shame and embarrassment for all of you," he said, adding that he had confused the situation by giving inconsistent remarks to reporters denying the scandal.

"The fact is I am guilty of sexual immorality. And I take responsibility for the entire problem. I am a deceiver and a liar. There's a part of my life that is so repulsive and dark that I have been warring against it for all of my adult life," he said.

I assume what he's apologizing for here is for being gay. No one should EVER have to apologize for being gay.

What Ted should apologize for, but never will -

Ted's lies probably contributed to the emotional suffering of closeted gays in his church. His comments of hatred probably have contributed to suicides, drug use (!), depression, and self-loathing. He HAS contributed to the denial of basic human rights to people outside his congregation. He HAS influenced people to believe that there is something inherantly evil about being gay. He has probably encouraged gay men and women to marry and live a heterosexual lie, which means that the ripples of his self-loathing reached out in widening circles to engulf innocent men and women in emtionally unsatisfying and damaging relationships. He DESTROYED human souls.

Ted, this is why God put Lies on his top ten list of evil things people do. Ted, your lies have hurt other people. Look past your wife. Look past your children. Look past your cushy job and all that lovely money and oooh, the seduction of power and fall on your knees and beg forgiveness not from your church, your family, or from God, but from the people who dispair and suffer because of you. Then go crawl back in your hole.

Saturday, November 04, 2006


As you can see, I updated the look of my blog. I was never wild about the dark spotty thing, but it was the best of available templates.

I like the new look, but I lost all my links, damn it. They swear they save the old version for you, but conveniently refuse to tell you how to access it once you upgrade. "Was this information helpful?" NO! How about a search function that actually searches on your search string?


I salvaged what I could.

Sneak Peak: She's On Top

Just got a look at the cover for the She's On Top anthology. No release date yet.

This anthology has a special place in my heart. It's the 30th story I've had published, which is an arbitrary number to celebrate, but it feels like a milestone.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Missed My Chance

I was told that a certain nameless Famous Author would be at the fund raiser I went to last night. I would have gone anyway to support the charity, but I’ll admit I was a little disappointed that he didn’t show. I heard that he might be at Saints and Sinners Literary Festival this coming May, and I wanted to encourage him to participate. Saints and Sinners is a fantastic writer's conference - one of the best I've been to. Alas, no Famous Author. Just a good cause, decent food, and an open bar. Ah well - I’ve had worse evenings.