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Eroticon 2015: I’m Still Processing

I’m still processing!

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It’s been a week since I came home from Eroticon 2015 exhausted, encouraged, and excited — my head buzzing with
ideas. The thing about Eroticon is that it’s the event that keeps on giving. As much as I needed to talk shop and laugh and joke over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, as much as I needed the company of like-minded folks and kindred spirits all sharing fresh ideas, I needed something to take home with me as well. I needed that most of all, and I don’t think I was the only person who felt that way. This year, I brought way more home with me than just the gorgeous Love Sex Love Toys personalized mug and the swag bag full of naughty, delicious goodies. Here’s what I mean.

I’ve always liked taking piccies I can share with you lovely lot, and the hour I spent Sunday morning in Molly Moore’s photography workshop encouraged me to be bolder, 2015-08-02 11.37.53more adventurous with my photos and to remember that the best photos are the ones I love. As I put the photos into this post, I think of that informative and fun hour, and I smile at the pics of the people I feel honored to call friends and colleagues.

I spent a deliciously naughty hour in Ashley Lister’s Writing Erotic Romance workshop. At the end of the day, it’s always a poetic experience being around Mr. Lister. Reading his filthy pennings over his shoulder at lunch encouraged me – one who is most definitely poetically challenged — to try my hand at a little doggerel. Yesterday I plucked up my courage and sent two poems off for consideration in Ashley’s Coming Together in Verse anthology, and I may very well have opened a whole new world for myself. I was surprised and pleased to find just how much writing a bit of verse, no matter how bad, stimulates the creative juices for the WIP.

2015-08-02 11.36.40If there was a main message I took away from last weekend, it was the need for erotica as a genre to redefine itself and the need for a close community within, of which we had a lovely example at Eroticon 2015. For me, as a novelist, the times are exciting, as well as terrifying, and the journey ahead is definitely through an undiscovered country. I spent some quality time with the lovely M. K. Elliot, who is the go-to-girl for successful self-publishing and, I have to admit, I’m very excited about the possibilities, including some creative play with stories and WIPs on Wattpad. (I’d love it if you’d visit me there and see what I’m up to. I’m new, but hoping to find my way around quickly.) M. K. made me aware of lots of exciting possibilities. Though the world of publishing is a scary, changing landscape, it has the potential to be very exciting and foster new outlets 2015-08-02 09.53.10for creativity.

Most of you know that in addition to my online serial, In The Flesh, my WIP, Buried Pleasures, is completely different from my usual KDG or GM novels, I’m exploring dark paranormal romance/urban fantasy and loving every minute of it. That being the case, I took great pleasure in attending Janine Ashbless’ workshop on Fantasy writing. I’ve managed 10K on the WIP, plus another chapter on In The Flesh since I got home. I was encouraged to find that I was doing a lot of things right and excited to learn new things to make my writing even stronger. Oh, and there is an epic fantasy in the works.

At a time when quality is more important than ever and yet, as we’ve all seen, not required to get works out there, good editing is more important than ever. It was very interesting to hear editorial consultant, Cressida Downing, AKA The Book Analyst’s views and advice on editing, beta readers, reading other writer’s work and hiring an editor.

Yesterday I met with one of my long-time writing friends for a walk, catching up over lunch, and some shared writing time after. During the walk, the discussion turned to the dark elements in our writing, and I found myself telling her about Remittance Girl’s 2015-08-02 11.43.18riveting talk on Jouissance. All week I’ve been thinking about that place of perfection that we long for, but can’t actually get to, that place of excitement closest to the forbidden, and that dark place where I write the most powerful stuff, but the stuff that disturbs me the most. I’ll be thinking about jouissance and its place in my writing for a long time to come, but it was interesting to share it with a writer who often writes from just that place. No doubt she’ll be listening to RG’s podcast when she gets home.

Of course the whole Eroticon experience was made better because I shared it with my partner in crime, fellow Brit Babe, Lily Harlem, with whom I also taught a workshop on Crafting Creativity. Lily’s insights, her enthusiasm and her laughter are always encouraging to me and were a big part of what I took away from Eroticon 2015. Sharing the event and seeing it through other people’s eyes is at least as enlightening and exciting as my own experience of it. The lunches, the coffee times, the drinks at the The panel on publishing
pub, the Cuban food, the planning and scheming in hotel bars, these parts of Eroticon are the real points of connecting,
at least for me. From talking about the brutality of getting fit with Remittance Girl, to planning and scheming another m/m anthology for Brit Boys on Boys; from finding myself outside my introverted comfort zone at Revelation Vodka Bar to getting totally lost in conversation with F. Leonora Solomon and Janine Ashbless; from devouring delicious crepes under a brilliant blue moon with Lily Harlem, to long conversations about where does erotica go from here in the post 50SoG/ self-pub world in which we
now live – my response to it all is I’M STILL PROCESSING! The creative forces – blogger, writer, crafter, photographer, poet, editor, friend and
colleague, partner in crime – are all at work, and as I get back to my introverted 2015-08-01 21.49.57writerly world, it’s very nice to know that I’m not alone in my introversion, and that
the adventure, no matter how harsh and unforgiving it can feel at times, is a shared one and a very exciting one.

 

A very special Thank you to Ruby Kiddell at Write Sex Right, for organizing Eroticon 2015, the event that keeps on giving.

 

Myth Busting in the Big Apple

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I’m just back from another stonking trip to New York City, and I have to say without a doubt I am right up there with all of the masses who heart New York. I heart it more and more each time I visit, as I get to know it better. Raymond and I were joined again this year by his sister, my lovely sister-in-law, Cynthia, who accompanied me in terrorizing the town while Raymond was training in martial arts. The three of us enjoyed several discussions about how different the city was from our original expectations of the Big Apple. So here are a few of the myths busted by our first visit, but totally shattered by our second.

 

 

 

Myth: NYC stinks.

Truth: Only if you’re repulsed by the smell of every sort of freshly cooked food, including pizza by the slice and2015-07-19 13.25.45 bakeries that are a feast for the eyes as well as the nose and mouth! Seriously! Nose-gasms at every corner! Oh I was
told by a gentleman from New York State who’s been visiting the city on a regular basis for a number of years that it used to stink, but those days of olfactory nastiness are long gone, replaced with scents guaranteed to make your mouth water rather than your eyes.

One of the adventures we had on this visit was to take an open-bus tour of the city — well part of the city anyway — to get an overview for further exploration. We got caught 2015-07-16 14.14.40in a total downpour, and had the kinky (if you like that sort of thing) experience of doing half the tour wrapped in plastic, and I have to admit the drowned rat look was massively improved by our complimentary garbage-bag style Greyline Tours rain panchos. All that to say, even as the water rose around our feet on the floorboards of the upper deck, we sniffed and inhaled the mouthwatering scent of NYC. Which I also heart, BTW! And NYC-style pizza – I really heart that a lot!

 

Myth: NYC is dirty.

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Truth: Not from what I could see! As most of you know, I do a lot of my exploring on foot wherever I go, and the Big Apple was no exception. I believe you can never really know the soul of a place until you’ve walked it with the soles of your own feet. And though NYC is way to big for me to have completely taken in hoofing it, I did give it a gallant try and, up close and personal, I have to say New York is one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever visited. Mind you, I do feel I’ve not made a fair judgment until I can get more data. I’ll hopefully have an updated report on the city’s cleanliness next year.

 

 

 

 

 

Myth: People in NYC are rude.P1030715

Truth: In my own experience, nothing could be farther from the truth. In two visits to

NYC, I can’t count the number of times people have been kind, helpful and mostly just friendly. I’ve never asked
anyone for directions or advice or information of any kind who didn’t give it cheerfully. I’ve never engaged anyone in conversation who wasn’t friendly. I’ve had people make room for me in a crowded subway, I’ve had people simply engage me in light conversation. I’ve had people laugh with me and joke with me and, best of all, people always seem happy to share their feelings and experiences of their city. I learned a lot about the place in just that way.

 

2015-07-16 16.43.20Myth: NYC is easy to get lost in.

Truth: Two words: Grid layout. I’m an old fashion girl who still enjoys the feel of a map in my hot little hands, and armed with just a map and a landmark, I’ve managed to ‘stay found’ and end up where I intended to be with very little problem. NYC is laid out in a grid, so cross streets going north and south, east and west always give a clear picture of where you are. For me, the job of navigating the Big Apple was even easier because I always came in from Penn Station, and the first thing I looked for was the Empire
2015-07-17 14.38.47State Building. From there, the grid was my oyster – so to speak.

OK, I admit, that as a tourist, I’ve always found the open bus tours a helpful way of getting an overview of any city. I
quite often do that first, then get an idea of where to explore on foot. It works for me. However NYC is so big that there are five tour routes and several boat tours associated with the busses. That, of course, is not even
counting the Staten Island Ferry, which is free and gives some of the most amazing views of Manhattan imaginable. All that, plus the easy access to most parts of the city by the subway, and exploring is a piece of cake … from a very nice bakery … Having said all that, I have a lovely cousin who is convinced that getting lost isn’t a bad thing at all because you never know what you’d discover on the way to getting found again.

 

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Myth: NYC is a dangerous place.

Truth: Every place is a dangerous place, and that can easily be said of any city in the world. I remember being a little bit timid the first time I went into the city, and I discovered, to my surprise, that I felt right at home. I’ve been in big cities all over the world, and I often explore them alone on foot armed
with nothing but a map and a camera. That comes from tagging along with
my husband, who often works while I play, but even before I met him, I was exploring cities on my own. I personally find there’s nothing more empowering, no better way to make a city my friend that to follow my nose, 2015-07-20 10.56.18and my map. And NYC is easy on both. Common sense is the key in the Big Apple just like it is anywhere else I’ve ever been.

On both trips I’ve relished the days I’ve had to explore alone in a city that never fails to inspire. The very best parts of NYC are the opportunities to follow my nose, to get lost in the thoughts and ideas and inspiration that flow from being anonymous among the throngs. I get to be the invisible observer, a voyeur with a purpose.

 

Snippets of convo …
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Two young women talking in a coffee bar:

“Did he say anything about me?”

            “He did.”

            “So what did he say?”

            “You don’t want to know.”

 

Young man behind me on the train talking on his mobile:

  “Dad, I underestimated how much money I needed. No! No, I’m find, I’m all right, don’t worry. I just 2015-07-17 20.58.55underestimated how much New York would cost.”

Visual inspiration:

A frantic- looking young woman decked out in evening wear at 10:30 in the morning, running to catch the subway.

Cynthia and I had great fun making up a story about her situation while we wandered around Midtown Manhattan.

 

 

P1030705There you go! Myths busted! In my opinion, there are two big dangers in NYC. The first is being too timid and missing the good stuff. I was shocked at the number of tourists I saw seeking out McDonalds or Sbarros (and yes tourists are as easy to pick out in NYC as they are the world over. I’m sure I am too, though I did remember to remove my bin-bag rain poncho when I left the tour bus.)2015-07-20 14.00.30

 
The second, and the biggie for me, is falling totally in love with the city, even as I’m melting in the 100 degree heat or
doing the back stroke in a glorified garbage bag in a rainstorm in an open topped bus. I’m a tourist. I know that’s completely different from living in a place and dealing with all the little niggles and irritations local folks deal with all the time, but then that’s part of the fun. I can have a love-affair with the Big Apple, let it tease me and entice me and seduce me for one week a year, and I can come home smug in the fact that I spent a delicious, inspiring, tantalizing few days in the arms of one of the coolest cities on the planet.

 

Object Lessons: Silver Crucifixes and Yew Trees

2015-06-30 10.12.08I think a lot about the value we place on things, and I don’t mean in a materialistic way. I mean in a writerly way. I’ve always found myself drawn to detritus and things left behind. Everything left behind has a story, and because of that, everything left behind carries its own little bit of magic, no matter what it’s actual monetary value.

I mentioned when I was in Oregon that near my sister’s house there was a trailer park where a pick-up truck had been left derelict, the back end full, as though someone had vacated a flat in a hurry and then left the truck containing all their possessions as well. It was loaded down with all kinds of household items from a wok to a rocking chair, from a mangled computer table to a battered rodeo practice dummy. My imagination went wild. For me it was a treasure trove of ideas to be filed away for future stories.

I’ve found countless gloves and hats and hair scrunchies on walks that I’ve taken. I’ve found money, wallets – which I returned, underwear – which I did NOT return, shoes. At home in my jewelry box I have a bird skull I found on a walk once, bones like ivory, and every delicate one of them in perfect condition – obviously that I kept. On a walk once in Oregon, I found an unbelievably beautiful geode, broken 2015-05-13 16.49.34open to expose the beautiful crystals within. Trouble was, it was huge, way to heavy for me to carry back on a ten-mile, very steep trail. But I found it, I saw it, I filed it away for future use. If you follow my blog, you know about all the lovely pyritic ammonites I found on the beaches around Lyme Regis. I’ve found bones, bird eggs, feathers, books and large sparkly rhinestones, belts, buckles, ribbons and bracelets among lots and lots of other things, some valuable, most not so much.

But on this particular occasion, I found a silver crucifix about three inches long, half buried in the powdery dust of the path. There was just enough of it exposed for it to catch the sun as I looked down. I just happened to be walking through a stretch of woodland dotted with lots of very old yew trees. Yew trees are often associated with churchyards and holy places, and at the time I was 2015-06-30 10.37.54plotting out the next chapter of my online serial, In The Flesh. That being the case, the crucifix and the yew tree seemed appropriate symbols for inspiration for a story that involves a demon lover in a deconsecrated church.

So far the crucifix itself hasn’t figured into the story, but it definitely inspired what happened next. As for the yew trees,
well, when a good bit of the story takes place in an neglected overgrown church yard, it seemed appropriate for me to spend some time, clenching the crucifix in my hand and wandering among the yew trees. I took dozens of pictures and worked out at least that many scenarios in my head for the week’s edition of In The Flesh.

Afterwards, I stuffed the cross in a small pocket in my backpack and forgot all about it until just yesterday when I was digging around for something else, and I was reminded again how often detritus is a touchstone for story. So often, even when that detritus is not something shiny and silver and something worth hanging on to, it can be the seed of story, or at the very least the 2015-06-30 10.12.28seed of an idea that will become a part of a story. Things for a writer, as often nothing more than prompts, and sometimes those things would be totally insignificant to anyone else. On the other hand, the same piece of seeming rubbish that inspired one writer to a romance might inspire another to a horror story – especially something as evocative as a silver crucifix or an abandon pickup truck full of an anonymous person’s possessions. What makes something valuable is more often than not based on what its emotional attachments are. The value of a wedding ring, for instance, is much more valuable for what it represents than it is for itself. When a good
friend of mine got a divorce, I remember going with her to a jewelry store to sell her diamond engagement ring simply because it no longer represented what it had when she wore it for love. In fact, it now evoked almost the opposite feelings in her.

My good friend, Kay Jaybee often tells people that she can write about anything, that any object can be an inspiration. It’s true. But some things capture our imagination more than others and when that happens, it’s time to hang on to our writer’s caps and enjoy the ride.

 

Passions, Journeys, and Home

airport 2I had another ‘Old Crush Returns’ dream last night. Granted I was on cold meds and dreams get weird when I’m drugged up, but nonetheless this dream fit right in with my standard three types of recurring dreams. It only came to me recently that I could divide those recurring dreams into three categories and that they all fit very nicely. For as long as I can remember I’ve had three types of dreams over and over again. They were never identical, but the themes were exactly the same, and I always wake up knowing when I’ve had one.

I have the ‘Old Crush/ lover Returns’ dreams, I have the ‘stuck at the airport trying to board a plane I can’t find’ dreams. Those two types are frustrating, sometimes stressful and embarrassing, but the third kind can be really terrifying. The third kind are, ‘The House’ dreams. I’ll get back to that later.

Now that I’m able to walk again after the surgery, I have more time to think about things, and this discovery of my three recurring dreams has really given me pause to reflect. It hit me the other day when I was walking to the local shops for a pint of milk that these three types of dreams are my efforts to resolve issues in the three major areas of my life; my passion, my life journey, and my own internal home, the space inside my head where KD, Grace, and Kathy all live. I realized as I bought my milk along with four bananas and a raspberry Danish, that these three categories of dreams seem pretty archetypal.

 

Passions

My passion is my writing. It’s the heart of me. Everyone who knows me knows this. But I would never say that I have an easy relationship with that passion. I’ve had dreams most of my life about an ex-lover or, more often, an ex-crush, someone who I really obsessed over and battled emotionally with at some point in my life. In my dreams that person returns to either ignore me, harass me or seduce me away from my commitments and my life. The emotions are high. I battle with trying to understand why I’m being rejected, or why I’m being treated poorly. I battle even more with the crushes and exes who show up to ‘take me away’ from all this, and I realize I no longer want to go with them. For some reason they just never seem to intrigue me as much as they used to. Passion is never what I expect. It’s often illusive, and always volatile. And yes, there are times when I discover that what I thought I wanted just doesn’t get me there anymore. Yup! That sums up my relationship with my writing in a nutshell.

 

Journeys

My journey dreams almost always take place in an airport, which makes perfect sense because I’ve been in more than my share. I’m quite familiar with delayed and cancelled flights, with having the gate changed at the last minute, with sitting on the runway in a time warp, with lost luggage and achingly long flights. I know the drill. The airport is never a destination. It’s the place in between. It’s the cross roads, no-man’s-land, the place you endure to get to where you want to be. The destination, the journey, the expectations, those are always foremost in my mind when I travel, but the airport can really fu*k that journey up.

It’s about the journey. It’s about the struggle to make that journey. Everyone’s on a journey from birth to death, and no one gets a smooth ride. Some parts of the ride are rougher than others, and I’ll be the first to admit I don’t do change well. The waiting is hard, the making connections is stressful, and the journey often takes a far different route than I ever anticipated. Until recently I’ve not been aware of these three divisions in my recurring dreams, but I wonder now if I have the journey dreams more often when it’s time to move on, when it’s time to find another place to be, but I’m afraid to make the move. I wish I’d kept track. In my dreams, I’ve waited in more airports than I have in real life, and that’s a bunch.

 


P1010762The Home

The third category of recurring dream, as I said, is by far the scariest, and that’s the House dream. Those dreams take two forms. The first is not so much scary as it is frustrating. In them I’m looking for my dream home, and every time I think I’ve found it, there’s some serious flaw that I can’t quite overcome – a swamp in the back garden – or even worse a swamp in the gigantic bathtub, the discovery that the house is the sight of a murder or some other tragedy, the discovery of a treasure trove of items that belonged to the people who lived there before, a house that’s been left like the owners have simply walked away.

The second type of dream I like to call the forbidden room dream. Those terrify me every time, and I often wake up crying out, drenched in sweat and struggling to breathe. Those dreams always involve me having lived in a big, usually very old house, for a long time, but within that house, there is one room I never go into. No one goes into it because it’s locked and off limits, and yet every second I’m in the house, I’m aware that the room and what’s inside it. The thing is, I’m never really sure why I fear that room so much. Is there a ghost? An evil spirit? A long dead body? Is there a demon, a crazy person? I never know. And when I do go into the room, which of course I always must, I am so frightened I can’t breathe, and yet I never actually see what’s frightening me.

OK, before you run away thinking I’m a total nutcase, just let me say that I’ve done enough dream analysis to know that the house is me, whether I’m looking for my dream house or whether I am terrified of some room that’s a part of me. The house is always me and all my dreams unrealised, all my issues, resolved and unresolved. Everyone has ‘rooms’ they’d rather not revisit. And though those rooms are places of terror in the dream world, they’re often places of true treasure when I’m willing to confront them in the waking world.

 

In Story

Now, where is all this leading? Well as I thought about the connections of these recurring dreams, it hit me that these are all life themes. These are major archetypes in everyone’s life, which means, for a writer, they become major themes for every story.

The passion, the journey, the home – all archetypes, all major building blocks in the Lego of K D’s ‘Create-Your-Own-
Story’ pack. The passion can be a lover, an adventure, a personal challenge answered, revenge for a wrong done, the search for the Undiscovered Country. The journey is what it takes to realize that passion, whether it’s through the Amazon Rain Forest or down to the corner market, whether it’s a novel written or a aria sung. And the home is Dreams image 2IMG_0351everything that our characters are, all they fear, all they hope to become. It’s their neuroses, their flaws, and their joys and their hopes. Put those three together and the story possibilities are endless.

The dreams are never comfortable, never easy, and that’s one more reason why they’re so valuable for story. The places of powerful fiction are the places that frighten us, the places that make us uncomfortable, the obstacles in our path, the delays in the journey or the unexpected detours. Story is made up of the rough patches, and the rooms inside us that we’d choose not to visit if we could keep from it. There’s no ignoring those uncomfortable parts of us, no making them go away. But bring the ‘dreams’ into the waking world and transform them into story, and let the fun begin!

 

 

Remember! Week Two of the INTERVIEWING WADE Blog Tour and Giveaway begins tomorrow!

Mar 30   Books and Banter   http://locglin.blogspot.com/

Mar 31   Case Sharidan   http://casesheridan.wordpress.com/

Apr 1   Lisabet Sarai http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com

Ap 2   Gale Stanley http://galestanley.blogspot.com/

Ap 3   Illustrious Illusions http://www.illustriousillusions.com/

 

If you’ve missed Week One of the Blog Tour, you can still check it out!

Mar 23   L. C. Wilkinson   http://lcwilkinson.com/

Mar 24   Jan Graham http://jangraham.blogspot.com/

Mar 25 Lynelle Clark http://lynelleclarkaspiredwriter.blogspot.com/

Mar 26   Nice Ladies, Naughty Books http://niceladiesnaughtybooks.com/

Mar 27   Love Bites & Silk Ties http://www.lovebitessilkties.co.uk/

 

INTERVIEWING WADE  is An Executive Decision novel (Click Here for Book One | Book Two | Book Three)

The Executive Decisions Trilogy may be over, but the story continues. Intrepid reporter, Carla Flannery, wants to interview Wade Crittenden, the secretive creative genius behind Pneuma Inc. But when, against all odds, Wade actually agrees to the interview, Carla suspects ulterior motives.

Carla has made a lot of enemies in her work and when Wade discovers she’s being stalked, he agrees to the interview to keep her close and safe. As the situation turns deadly, lives and hearts are on the line, and the interview reveals far more about both than either ever expected.

 

Interviewing Wad is available from:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Amazon AU

Amazon CA

 

 

Sleepwalking the Dog: More Morphine Dreams

S6302679Drugs, hospital stays, going under the knife. I’ve only ever had that experience three times in my life, and once was when I had my tonsils taken out as a very young child. Frankly it was a lot scarier as an adult. Things go wrong. People go under anesthesia for a simple surgery and there are complications. I’m a horrible patient under the best of times, but when control, everything, ALL OF IT, is taken out of my hands by anesthetists and surgeons, even when it’s for my own good, I wonder how I’ll come out on the other side. I wonder IF I’ll come out on the other side. I distinctly remember waking up in the recovery room after both my surgeries as an adult and my first feeling being an incredible sense of joy. Maybe that was just the drugs, but my first real thought, both times was, ‘I made it!’

There are no dreams under anesthesia or at least I’ve never dreamed. It’s like I’m conscious one second and then for however long the surgeon works on my, I no longer exist. I’m just not there. And frankly recovery afterwards demands too much attention to really consider the thought of where I went while I was somewhere else. Perhaps the anesthetist took ME out of my body and put me in a Mason jar by the side of the operating table until the surgeon was done, and then she stuffed ME back into my flesh.

But if I really was somewhere else, and it wasn’t a Mason jar by the operating table, then where was I? Surely I had to be somewhere. And that begs the next question. Wherever I was, was I there alone? And if not, is it possible that just maybe I didn’t come back alone? Sorry! I’m having a goose bumps moment here. Both times following surgery, I’ve come back to myself wondering if I’m still the same me. There are parts missing, parts repaired, parts bruised and stitched and stapled, BUT that’s just flesh. The first surgery, there was blood – someone else’s blood, transfused into
my body, but surely that’s just flesh too. I was just as gone then as I was this last time, and for a whole lot longer. And it only now occurs to me that it was after that first surgery that the stories began to flow fast and furious, and I couldn’t write them down fast enough. Oh I’d always written, always been good at it, but everything I wrote up until that point felt more like stuff I’d just made up. After … well after that first surgery it was different. Afterwards, wherever the stories came from, more often than not it felt like it wasn’t from me. It felt like someone opened up a place in my unconscious and dumped them into me, and I became the conduit, the scribe, nothing more. Sometimes I was a good scribe. Sometimes I could have been better because the material dumped into the conduit made me uncomfortable, made me squirm, and I didn’t want to write it. But if I didn’t write it, if I didn’t get it right, well the characters haunted my dreams, and they weren’t always very nice about it either.

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-black-white-writing-pen-image20156020Strange that it took a simple knee surgery to bring all this stuff back to me, to make me think about where I go, where I’ve been, and what that has to do with how the ideas get in my head. But maybe it’s not so strange at all, since the first surgery was major and all of me was much more taken up with recovery. But so many of the pieces fit together now. Where do I go when I’m not there in my body? Well at least this time, I went to Vegas, where I communed with a big-ass dog, a dark man who was brooding and beautiful in a scary as hell way; and a woman with the most incredible hair I’ve ever seen. Surgery, jet-lag, pain meds, and I find myself sleepwalking that big-ass dog through the streets of Vegas.

Well, actually it’s more like the dog is sleepwalking me. I wake up in the Elara, where I always wake up, and it’s late. It must be long toward morning because some of the brighter lights on the strip have been dimmed, and Vegas is as quiet as it ever gets. It’s the dog licking my face that wakes me. And the next thing I know I’m wrapped in a sheet toga-style and I’m following the dog down the Strip heading toward Caesar’s Palace. I don’t know why I keep following the dog. He’s not my dog, and he clearly doesn’t need me to look out for him. He clearly outweighs me, and his teeth are a lot bigger than mine. But I keep following him. It seems essential that I follow him. The Strip is strangely quiet, and dark, and then I realize it’s because I’m not actually on the Strip any more, but I’m down below it, in some strange tunnel.

I dream of tunnels a lot, so that doesn’t surprise me, and neither does it surprise me that though it’s pitch dark, I can see enough to follow the dog. I notice the smell of ozone, like you smell just before a coming lightening storm, and the fine hairs on my arms bristle. The dog stops, and I’m standing next to him peering out into what looks like a large ballroom. People are dancing to strange music, slow dancing, close and sensual, and my skin prickles all over. Then I realize I’m standing right behind the dark man and the woman with the hair, who are watching the goings on of the dance floor. I’m standing there, and I’m listening.

‘You promised me anonymity when I came here,’ the man says to the woman. There seems to be some sort of breeze coming from somewhere, teasing and caressing her hair and making it dance and sway against her back.

She laughs softly. ‘Surely you don’t think it’s your story I want to her to tell. Your story has been told ad nauseum.’

I can see the man bristle with her words, and I know his pride has just been stung. His response is soft, and I feel it more than hear it. ‘They’ll be telling my story long after you’re gone.’

She laughs again, and I find myself fascinated by the sway and shift of her hair with the movement of her body. I find myself wanting to reach out and touch it. ‘No doubt,’ she says, ‘but nonetheless, it’s not your story I want her to tell.’

At first I think it’s the dog growling, then with a shiver, I realize it’s the man. ‘You bring her here to my realm, where you know damn good and well she doesn’t belong and then you tell me it’s not about me?’

‘She’s a scribe,’ the woman says unperturbed. ‘That means there’s no place that she doesn’t belong, no boundary she can’t cross, and right now she works for me. If I want her to tell your story or the story of your mangy dog, or the story of some reclusive blood sucker across the pond, it’s not your business. You’d do well to remember that.’

I work for her? It is at that moment I realize the woman is talking about me! Suddenly I have the overwhelming urge to turn and run, though I’m not sure my legs will support me any longer. Besides I realize I can’t begin to find my way back. I followed the dog. I feel like my whole body has turned to ice, and I can’t move. I literally can’t move!

For a moment there’s silence. The music stops, but the people on the dance floor don’t seem to notice. They keep swaying and undulating as though they still hear the melody in their heads, and the rising wind I think I hear in the tunnel is only my own efforts to breathe.

‘Who then?’ The man asks at last. ‘Whose story do you want her to write?’

She leans forward and whispers in his ear, and I see his shoulders stiffen and his whole body convulses.

‘Who?’ I ask. ‘How can I know whose story you want me to write if you don’t tell me?’ But the woman doesn’t hear me. Neither of them do. And I’m shocked at the sound of my own voice. I haven’t agreed to write any story for her. Why would I? Why would I do anything for either of them? And yet I have to know! I have to.

‘Goddamn it, if you want me to write a story then tell me who it’s about,’ I shout.

And then I jerk awake as though I’ve just fallen from a great height. My knees hurt like crazy, and I’m trembling and Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_bsweating in the hospital bed. My husband is gripping my hand. The look on his face tells me that he’s concerned, that my dreams have bled into the waking world. He’s called the nurse. She takes my temperature and blood pressure, gives
me more pain meds and tells me to get some rest.

After she’s gone, my husband says, ‘you weren’t dreaming about a waterslide that time.’

I shake my head.

‘Was it bad?’ he asks.

‘Just strange. I was sleepwalking the dog,’ I manage just before I plunge back into drugged oblivion.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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