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Posts Tagged ‘my writing process’

Faking My Way to a Story

I want to talk about faking it. NO! Not that kind of faking it! I want to talk about the writing kind of faking it. I’m prettyScribe-computer-keyboardMG_07771-225x300 sure every writer does it. I’ll admit I do a good bit of it. I’m faking it now, can you tell? Okay, I’ve never kept it a secret that I’m a neurotic’s neurotic, so since I’ve been struggling for the past two days to get the last episode of The Psychology of Dreams written and failing miserably, (oh the post is almost all written, but it’s the final episode and I feel it needs more work, more time) I decided to fake it. By the time the decision was made, it was obvious to me that I wasn’t going to get it finished for tomorrow, my brain was tired, my back hurt, I was suffering from eyestrain, and I was hungry. I quick-like-a-bunny made more coffee for courage, then I scrolled through all my old posts for inspiration. That usually helps. Not this time, though. I scrolled back through for something I could rewrite. Nothing worked! And then, as if the Writing Goddess herself had smiled down on me, I came across notes from a post I did for the Brit Babes Blog some time ago and it fit the occasion down to the ground. Yes! This situation definitely called for faking it.

 

Faking it, at least for me, always calls for an obscene amount of brainstorming and effort before I do something right off the wall and run with it in desperation. In this case, I thought about another garden porn post. I thought about another walking post. I gave some serious though to another BDSM at the gym post, especially after a hard kettle bell workout today. Nope! Nothing! Nada! Quick and dirty, that’s what it’s all about, I told myself. Pull it off, I told myself, buck it up! I told myself, you can do it! You’ve done it before. You have a history of doing it, so just do it again! Instead I shambled into the kitchen and made still more coffee, ignoring the ironing that I could do. Ironing sometimes inspires me, but it’s not a happy sort of inspiration … By this time I was twitching from too much caffeine, even as I gulped just one more cup of the good stuff while scrolling through more old posts and fragments. I checked Facebook and Twitter and my email. I checked them again and waited for something profound to flash before my eyes. Oh there were the usual videos of cute cats and piccies of what FB friends who are less culinarily challenged than I am have whipped up for lunch — no help there. I already shared the only two recipes I know on my blog a long time ago.

 

I switched from coffee to iced tea … more iced tea. Less caffeine, I told myself. I did a few stretches. I put another load of laundry in to wash. I scrolled some more. I went outside and fed the birds, then scrolled some more.

 

It hit me after I’d retitled my post four times and deleted multiple first paragraphs, that, more often that not, this is the real path to writing something amazing. A gazillion non-inspiring little things happen, distractions ebb and flow, multiple false starts happen and happen again. Everything feels jerky and restless, like it’s all disconnected and belongs to someone else.

 

Aaaaaand! Then it happens! It begins in such a ridiculous way that it’s almost laughable. In fact when it happens I’m Writing pen and birds 2_xl_24884256seldom actually expecting it to happen, and I’m certainly not expecting anything worthwhile to come of it. Maybe faking it isn’t quite the correct term for what happens when it happens. Maybe it’s just that I let go of my expectations and slip into ‘play’ mode. Words is words, after all, and what are they for if not to play with? And somewhere in the playing, cool things start happening, like building a Leggo fortress or a sandcastle. And there it is! I’m playing! And the words I’m playing with are leading me somewhere I never really expected to go, somewhere that’s a long way from faking it and miles from where I started.

 

That’s when those words satisfy! They leave me breathless, and flush-faced and panting as I hunch over the keyboard for more. I get stories that way. They often come to me when I’m faking it, and when I’m laughing at the absurdity of the process. And before I know it, I’m not faking it at all. The earth just moved and there might have even been fireworks. God, I love it when that happens!

 

But in the meantime, I have to remind myself, it’s okay to fake it. It’s okay to play with words and see what happens. It’s okay to have fun. At least for this moment I’m having a short break from taking myself too seriously. I’m sure I’ll get back to it tomorrow, and with a little more time and a little more faking it, the final chapter of The Psychology of Dreams will be something I never expected, something I’ll like even better for the little bit of faking it I did today.

 

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Don’t forget, tomorrow is day one of the Landscapes Blog Tour and Giveaway. Check the link for details on blogs and topics as well as the giveaway.

 

Travel and the Inflight Entertainment

airport 2By the time you lovely lot get this post, I’ll be somewhere in the sky above Greenland heading for Oregon. That’s right, I’m off for my annual visit with my sister. Girl time! Oh, the planning! Oh the scheming! Of course, this annual pilgrimage is special on lots of levels, but traveling alone gets my head into a very different space, one that opens me to all kinds of possibilities.

 

Something really amazing happens when we travel, when we’re in that place that’s really neither here nor there and we’re either anticipating or reflecting on, or possibly dreading or longing for what comes next. Those liminal spaces, the cross roads – even crossroads in the air, are places where anything can happen. I think with the advent of transcontinental air travel, that’s never been more true. In addition to being neither here nor there, when you finally arrive at your destination, you have that muzzy-headed restless, spaced-out, anything goes time of jetlag. Who doesn’t wonder just what planet she’s on for those first twenty-four hours or so? I’m eight time zones ahead of my sister living here in the UK and it does something to my head when I get there, halfway around the world, only an hour or so after I’ve left. Yes, my darlings, time travel is real!

 

The fantasies, the observations, the crazy ideas that happen in my head during those liminal times and the post flight time of jetlag are the stuff stories are made of. In fact, some of the scenes and stories that have been the most fun to write involved some sort of travel, involved that liminal space of being neither here nor there, that space in which anything might happen.

 

In story, the crossroads are often the place of strong magic, the place where not only the roads diverge, but often whole worlds diverge and we end up … Different.

 

The thing is when we’re in that liminal space, the space where no one knows who we are, we can be anyone we want to be, we can recreate ourselves and no one will be the wiser. We can tuck our every day identity away in our suitcase with our toothbrush and our clean underwear and, for a little while, we become the mysterious, the unknown element in an unfamiliar place, and in the very act of so exposing ourselves to the unknown, we become a part of the unknown, and we run the exciting risk of returning to our own time, our own space changed.

airport images

So as I enter that liminal space, as I prepare to face jet lag, strange airports, new places, interesting people, and new ideas, I’ve decided to make the next two weeks Travel Time on A Hopeful Romantic. In addition to the weekly dose of The Psychology of Dreams 101, I’ll be posting travel observations, travel themed snippets, even a few quick and dirty stories — some old, some new, all just to capture the fun of the journey. I hope you enjoy. And since You’re reading this while I’m at 30,000 feet in mid flight, here’s a naughty flight snippet from To Rome with Lust, book 3 of The Mount Series. Time for the inflight entertainment. Enjoy!

 

Be sure to check out my Erotic Readers and Writers Association post on APRIL 30th for more sexy travel encounters. 

 

To Rome with Lust Blurb:

 The adventure that Rita Holly began in The Mount in London and Nick Chase took up in Vegas continues when a sizzling encounter on a flight to Rome has journalist, Liza Calendar, and perfumer, Paulo ‘The Nose’ Delacour, in sexy olfactory heaven. The heir apparent of Martelli Fragrance, Paulo wants Liza’s magnificently sensitive nose to help develop Martelli’s controversial new line. Paulo has a secret weapon; Martelli Fragrance is the front for the original Mount, an ancient sex cult of which he is a part, and Paulo plans to use the scent of sex to enhance Martelli’s Innuendo line. As Liza and Paulo sniff out the scent of seduction, they become their own best lab rats. But when someone steals the perfume formulas and lays the blame at Liza’s feet, she and Paulo must sniff out the culprit and prove Liza’s innocence before more is exposed than just secret formulas.

 

To Rome with LustWARNING: Adult Content: Sniff at your own risk 🙂

Excerpt To Rome with Lust:

It wasn’t that Paulo didn’t have work to do. He never slept on planes. For him long flights always meant much-needed extra office hours, but he couldn’t get the woman with the nose off his mind. He knew that scent sometimes lingered long after what had left it was gone, and he wasn’t sure if he could still smell the faintest traces of the woman or if he only wished he could. Why the fuck had he let her leave without getting her name? Everyone else around him slept. The plane was dark and quiet. When Paulo had convinced the attendant to offer the fat man crammed in next to his mystery woman a better seat – one farther away from her –he wasn’t completely sure what his plan was, but as the flight wore on and it became more and more evident that he wasn’t going to get any work done while thinking about her, he got up and eased his way down the isle, past the curtain and into the coach cabin.

Almost everyone was asleep or engrossed in a film with their headphones on. No one noticed as he padded down the isle. She was toward the back several rows in front of the restrooms and the galley. It was with a sudden spike of his pulse that he saw her. She dozed against the window with an airline blanket draped across her lap, her thick dark hair hanging loose around her shoulders. Yes, he could smell her. He was almost certain of it now. There was still a hint of the sea about her with a base note of honey and butter. He stood watching her, letting her scent wash over him, wondering how he could ever miss something so obvious. It was like seeing a different facet of the woman who was already beautiful with her thick dark hair and china blue eyes. Her scent made her even more beautiful.

As he watched, she opened those china-blues, sniffed, blinked and sniffed again. Then she turned in her seat and looked up at him. ‘I thought I smelled you,’ she said. Her smile was sleepy and warm as she patted the seat next to her. ‘I didn’t know you were going to Rome.’

As Paulo slipped in, her lids fluttered and she moaned as she inhaled his scent. She had already lifted all the armrests to form a love seat of sorts, and he moved right on over next to her. He wasn’t sure exactly what he planned to do, but now that she’d invited him in, it definitely involved letting their scents collide. His cock hardened at the thought. All around the coach cabin shades were pulled down. People slept curled and corkscrewed in whatever position the minimal space allowed them to rest. It was an ideal situation. He sniffed, then he inhaled deeply locking onto her essence. He wasn’t as good at picking up scent as she was. But her scent he was sure of. Strange, but before he met her, he thought himself gifted in the olfactory department. As he settled next to her, he resisted the urge to bury his face in her lap and sniff. He wondered if she had tried to clean herself as he had, or if she had left that mouthwatering scent between her legs, slickening her panties, rubbing against her personal geography. Perhaps she’d even taken advantage of the long, boring flight to pleasure herself. That thought took his breath away and made his cock jerk in his trousers.

‘Thought you might like some company,’ he managed. ‘I know I would’

He barely finished his sentence when she pulled him under the blanket, giving him no time to speak before she kissed him. Her tongue lapped at his bottom lip before inviting itself right on into his mouth like it belonged there. ‘Oh God,’ she groaned, ‘you smell so good.’

‘Tell me what you smell?’ he whispered, ‘Tell me.’

‘Lose the jacket,’ she demanded. ‘I need to smell more.’

With an awkward move that nearly knocked her off the seat, he shrugged his shoulders. She shoved and tugged until the jacket dropped onto the floor. She surprised him by sliding her face into his ticklish armpit and breathing him in as though the hollow if it were an oxygen mask and she were in need. Before he could squirm too much her fingers went to work on the front of his shirt, unbuttoning until she could slide her hand in to cup a pec and pinch a nipple, which caused his cock to surge and his arse to clench just as she buried her face in the opening she’d made, breathing as though she would hyperventilate. ‘What do you smell,’ he asked again.

‘Sex. I smell sex like I never smelled it before, fire, hot, earth steaming after a tropical rain. Lightening, always I smell lightening on you. I smell desire like pepper and cloves and star anise. I smell desire all over you.’

‘Yes, you do. All over me.’ He slid his hand up under her sweater and, to his delight, she had removed her bra. Her breasts were full and warm, goose fleshing in the cup and stroke of his fingers. The valley between was moist with the dew of her sweat, and the scent of interrupted sleep. Her nipples and areolae pressed into his touch impossibly stiff and demanding, a demand he couldn’t resist. He shoved her back against the window and pushed up the sweater. She struggled only briefly until his tongue circled the stippling tenderness and his lips sealed and tugged. He felt the expansion of her ribs as she sucked breath. With one hand she fisted his hair, holding him to her while the other pulled the blanket over them so that he could nurse in privacy.

The blanket trapped the tide pool and honey scent of her pussy, and for a moment, he thought he would come just from the smell. A split second later, he realized as her abdominal muscles clenched solid then convulsed, and she jerked against the seat banging an elbow on the window with a soft curse, that coming was exactly what she was doing. And God it took all the control he could muster to keep from following suit. Instead he slid his hand up under her skirt shoving and wriggling and easing her thighs open until he found the moist gusset of her panties. He scrunched it aside and thrust two fingers into the slippery hot swell of her, still gripping, still quivering, still quaking in the aftershocks. There he lingered, fascinated by the feel of her orgasm, coupled with the intoxicating scent of arousal and release and need that blossomed again almost immediately. A thumb stroke against her distended clitoris caused her to jerk so hard against the seat that she nearly bucked him off. But he held her in place, his fingers stroking and darting in a fresh flood of fragrant heat while his greedy mouth suckled and licked as much of her breast as he could manage.

‘Sit up!’ Sit up now,’ she hissed, wriggling out of his grasp and quickly propping her head against his shoulder, his hand still pressed to the swell of her, his mouth still wet with saliva and tingling with the taste of her hot skin. They pretended to be asleep as an attendant passed by, though no one could possibly believe anyone breathing as hard as they were and smelling as sexed as they did was actually sleeping.

Rome_teaserWhen the attendant disappeared in the back of the plane, Paulo turned enough that he could see her eyes shining in the darkness, then he pulled his slippery fingers from her pussy and brought them under her nose. She sniffed and whimpered. ‘That’s what you do to me,’ she managed. ‘All I have to do is smell you and I’m wet.’ The second whimper was guttural as he licked the exquisite taste of her from his fingers. Before he could catch his breath, her hand went to work on his fly. She wasn’t gentle, and he didn’t care. With trembling fingers, he unwrapped the blanket that had been left on the extra seat and covered his lap. Then he straightened hers over her bottom and fingered his way back between her legs, wishing like hell he could get his head down there, bury his face and his mouth in that delicious nectar. He caught his breath and nearly bit a hole in his lip as her mouth sheathed his cock in tight white heat. Her tongue snaked and curled up the sensitive underside, lapping the abundance of pre cum that now made yet another damp patch on his boxers. While one hand curled around his hip, the other cupped and stroked his full sac. He could hear her sniffing, and as he deepened his stroking and spreading and scissoring between the swollen gape of her labia, her moan vibrated down the length of his erection, and he nearly lost it again. This time the attendant simply pretended not to see as he passed, and Paulo didn’t even try to dissuade the woman from her very delicious task. But her mouth wasn’t where he wanted to be. The tight grip and release, grip and release of her around his fingers made it impossible not to think about burying his cock in her slick, hot depths.

As though she’d read his mind, she pulled away, wiped her mouth on the back of her hand and nodded to the restroom just two rows back. He knew he’d never get his cock stowed, so he didn’t try. He just tugged his shirt out over the top of his trousers, took her hand and led her toward the restroom, his dick bouncing as they went. The minute they’d shoved their way in and locked the door, he sat on the lid of the commode and dug in his trouser pocket for the condom he was hoping he’d need. She watched with her skirt up and her undies dragged to one side, her fingers darting in and out of her wet slit as she thumbed her cherry ripe clit. As soon as he was suited up, she turned around, sliding her panties down over her ankles. Then she eased herself into position, squatting, fingering her swollen lips open for him. With one hand on her hip and the other guiding his erection, he pulled her onto his lap and impaled her. They both stifled a cry, inhaled, and inhaled again. The scent was high tide, summer lightening and pepper and spice all mixed together. She bit her knuckles to hold back the sob of pleasure. He buried his face in the nape of her neck, one hand seeking out the weight of her breasts, the other sliding down to tweak her hard clit. She was slick and tight with a grip like warm velvet, and she smelled like heaven, like nothing Martelli Fragrance at their very best could ever replicate. As he strained and pumped into her, he wondered what their combined scent smelled like to her. But before he could dwell on it, she orgasmed hard, covering her mouth with both hands to hold back what, no doubt, was an animal growl. Her whole body shivered and convulsed, and her grip on his penis became unbearable. He came in jerks and spasms until there was no breath left in him, until he saw stars behind the tight clench of his eyelids. Then they both collapsed against each other.

He was still gasping for breath when she eased herself up. She turned on him, tugged off the condom and, before he could do more than offer an astonished gasp, she shoved up her sweater and began rubbing his semen over her tight nipples and down her belly. ‘I hate that we have to use a condom,’ she said. ‘I want your smell against my skin.’ Then she reached her hand between her legs and wiped her open palm over the splay of her folds until it glistened with her juices. Holding Paulo’s gaze, she did the same to him, wiping her scent over his nipples and down his belly.

For a long moment she stood over him in the tight little room, gulping back their scent. He followed suit. God he didn’t want to leave. He wanted that smell. He wanted to take it home, sleep with it, dream with it, take it to the Martelli labs and study it. But in his little fantasy, he’d have to take the woman who helped produce that delicious scent to the lab with him, and he’d have to fuck her repeatedly. After all, results of an experiment had to be duplicable to be proven. Right? Nearly head-butting her, he bent and picked up her panties, pulled them to his nose and sniffed. ‘I want these,’ he whispered as she offered him a questioning gaze. ‘A memento.’ While she watched, he carefully wiped her pussy on them and stuffed them into his pocket. ‘I want to take something of you back to my flat with me, something that won’t wash away when I shower. And when I take them out of my pocket and masturbate to your scent, I’ll come thinking of you arriving in Rome wearing no panties.

She offered him a wicked pout. ‘Don’t I get a memento?’

With his eyes locked on hers, he pulled a pristine white handkerchief from his pocket and made a show of wiping his cock and down around his balls. Then he refolded it and handed it to her. She sniffed it deeply and stuffed it in her waistband before wriggling her skirt down over her bare bottom.

If he’d had doubts that the experiments he’d been wanting to carry out in the Martelli labs were worth pursuing, this woman with her incredible nose and their shared olfactory experience completely eliminated them. He didn’t know how he was going to do it, but he had every intention of convincing her to stay in Rome and work with Martelli. But first, he’d probably need to know her name. Before she turned to leave the restroom, he pulled her back to him and gave her a long lazy tongue-kiss, whispering into her mouth as he nipped her bottom lip, ‘I’m Paulo, by the way.’

‘Nice to meet you, Paulo,’ she said, nipping back. ‘I’m Liza.’

Back at her seat, Paulo didn’t sit down. ‘I have a mountain of work I need to finish before we land, and you, my lovely MountboxsetLiza, have delayed my progress terribly.’

‘Poor dear,’ she said, handing him his jacket from where it had fallen on the floor.

‘I’d rather stay here and sniff you.’

‘And I’d rather you did, but since you’ve got things to do –’ she slipped a business card in the breast pocket of his shirt ‘– just give me a call when you’re ready for another sniff.’

He groaned as she fondled his nipple pressing against the pocket. ‘Give me your phone,’ he said. She pulled her BlackBerry from her seat pocket and handed it to him. He entered his number into her address book and gave it back. ‘I’ll sniff you in Rome once we’ve both had a good night’s rest.’ He nipped her earlobe, then turned and sauntered back up the isle to the first class cabin.

 

Writing Compost

 

7July growth
Spring is in the air at long last! The birds are getting amorous. It won’t be long till the bees will be out pollinating their little socks off. It’s that time of year. Yup, that very fecund, fertile time of year when a woman’s thoughts turn to … compost!

 

Yup! You heard me right. It’s time, once again, to give some serious thought to compost. Most of you know by now that I’m an avid veg gardener. I’ve flooded social media with images of ripe, succulent strawberries, flirtatiously phallic courgettes and full-bodied, mouthwatering sweet corn. I’ve told tales of the allotment – some of them dirtier than others, and I’ve even written a fair few sexy encounters that take
cucumber 17 aug 1mail.google.complace in veg gardens. Gardening is one of the topics I’m almost as enthusiastic about as I am writing. That’s not terribly surprising since the two are so philosophically compatible. So today, in honor of the beginning of Spring, I’m talking compost.

 

My husband and I inherited our first composter from the people who owned our house before us. We were suspicious of it at first and more than a little intimidated by it. It looked like a Rubbermaid Dalek casting a long menacing shadow across our back lawn. We’d heard that if we put egg shells and fruit and veg peels, cardboard and tea and coffee grounds in the top that in a few months, we could open the little door at the bottom and the myriad resident worms would have magically transformed all that garbage into rich luscious soil. Then all we’d have to do was
shovel all that organic loveliness out into our garden.

Harvest 25 AugIMG00569-20130825-1722

I’ll admit, we were skeptical at first – I mean seriously – egg shells and veg peels in and rich, luscious compost out? I mean that’s just crazy talk, surely! Still, we did as instructed, every day adding coffee grounds and tea bags and other goodies worms and invertebrates love to chow down on. Then one day we took the plunge, slid open the door and there it was, all dark and rich and soft and warm, and smelling vaguely of citrus. We filled a couple of planters. We were planning to put in geraniums, but never got around to it. Several weeks later I noticed there were tomato plants coming up in the compost we had excavated. My mother used to call plants that came up where they weren’t planted volunteer and, sure enough, we had eight volunteer tomato plants, the result of seed not broken down in our strange compost-making Dalek.

 
We never did get our geraniums, but it didn’t really matter. Our eight tomato plants
yielded up their yummy fruit at the end of the summer, an unexpected, unintended First ripe toms 10 Aug 2013IMG00572-20130910-0951gift from our predecessors. The next year we actually dug a bed and planted corn and beans and squash. After that there was no looking back. Our one lone composter has been joined by three others, and twice a year we open the doors at the bottom and marvel at what an army of invertebrates can make from our kitchen waste.

 

The next year, as my sister and I shoveled bucket after bucketful of rich, loamy soil from our original battered, smudged composter and spread it in anticipation of the veg I’d be planting in May, I thought about how much writing is like composting. There are times when my efforts truly seem inspired. Those are the fabulously heady
times all writers live for and hope for, when every word shines the moment we write it down.

 

I would love it if everything I wrote would come forth fully formed and beautiful like Venus on the Half Shell, but more often than not my words are more like used teabags on an egg shell. More often than not, what I write is kitchen rubbish, the remnants of experiences already spent, the detritus of half-formed ideas that aren’t quite what I fantasized when they appeared so perfectly shaped in my imagination. Somehow they’ve turned to apple cores and coffee grounds by the time I manage to get them into words.

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My husband takes his lunch to the office, and he brings home his fruit peels and apple cores because he knows what they will become. He convinced the lady who
works at the office canteen to save the coffee grounds for him because he knows what the worms will magic them into in a few months’ time. It’s true, what we dig out of our composters is technically just worm poop. Oh, but it’s so rich, so fertile, so completely loaded with potential. My husband knows, as I know, what wonderfully succulent corn and tomatoes and green beans we’ll grow in that rich compost in a few months’ time.

 

Writing is no different. On the written page, the coffee grounds and apple cores of my everyday existence, the remnants of half formed thoughts, the grandiose ideas that didn’t quite have the magic on paper that they did in my minds’ eye will become compost, no matter how much they may seem like rubbish. Nothing can happen until I write those words down — no fermentation, no agitation, no digestion, no chemistry.

 

Writing imageBut once the ideas are words on the written page, the real process begins. I turn them and twist them and break them down and reform them until they become the rich luscious medium of story, until they are just the right consistency to grow organically
what my imagination couldn’t quite birth into the world in one shining Eureka
moment. It takes longer than Venus on the Half Shell, and it involves some hard work and some getting my hands dirty, and a whole lot of patience. But the end result is succulent and full bodied, organic and living. And my finger prints, my dirty mucky finger prints are all over it. It’s intimately and deeply my own, seeded in the compost of what I put down in a hurry, raised up in the richness of what I then cultivate with sustained, deliberate, sometimes desperate, effort. The result is achingly slow magic that lives and breathes in ways I could have never brought about, ways I could have never experienced in a less messy, less composty sort of way.

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 Happy Spring, everyone! May your compost be rich and your yields be fabulous.

 

Serial Fun: All Good Things have to Come to an End … Or Do They?

Friday will be the final episode of In The Flesh. It’s been a great experience for me to have shared the Scribe computer keyboardMG_0777writing and unfolding of a whole novel on my blog — often finishing up the week’s episode only a few minutes before I was due to post it. I had no real idea where the story would lead when I began it almost a year ago. I thought perhaps a novella, but I never dreamed that in the end it would be an entire novel of 93,000 words! Nor did I imagine it would become a part of my Big Project, The Medusa Chronicles. That wasn’t planned. Not only has what started out as a short story ended up to be a full-length novel, that belongs to Magda Gardener’s world, but it inspired a sequel as well. You’ll hear more about that at the end of Friday’s episode.

 

In the Flesh began life as a 5000 word story called “God’s Wife.” It went through several reincarnations as a short story – all of which I felt a lot of energy for, none of which felt complete. My goal in sharing the extended version on my blog was to see if I could write the completed story, and to find out for myself exactly what the ending really was. I was delighted when Michael burst onto the scene. I’d never written an angel before, and there’s a lot more about him still to be told. I was even more delighted to discover that he worked for Magda Gardener, that he was a part of her Consortium. And I was absolutely over the moon when Magda involved Alonso Darlington and his people – all of whom have stories of 431px-Medusa_Mascaron_(New_York,_NY)their own. (Can’t wait to write Talia’s story!) The biggest surprise and delight of all for me, though, was Susan’s choice and her wonderful scheming plan to save Michael’s life and imprison The Guardian so he could do no more harm. In drawing Alonso into her plan, as she did, she blew the doors off of what I saw as the completion of the story, and made it clear that there was so much more of her tale yet to be told.

 

When I’m writing a novel for a publisher, I seldom experience the level of immediacy, of fluidity I did while writing ITF as a serial. There’s usually a much more concrete plan – though within it there’s a lot of wiggle room. But when I’m approaching each week as an experience that’s happening for me only a few days, at most, before my readers experience it, anything – absolutely anything – can happen.

 

Magda Gardener’s world is huge, and her Consortium includes people, monsters and beings I never would have expected. Her own story — she’s a lot more protective of, (Though I have every intention of wheedling it out of her) but she shares the stories of her people with her Scribes, among which I have the dubious pleasure of being counted – though fortunately I didn’t have to go through quite what poor Susan did to get the job.

 

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_nBlind-sided, the other half of Susan’s story, is definitely slated for the telling. But first, Magda has to meet a man with a very large dog in Vegas, to hunt down an elusive Siren. More about that next week.
As for more stories on the blog … well I’ve gotten quite addicted to sharing my writing experience with you every week. When In The Flesh is done, you can expect to see some shorter pieces, probably more typical of KDG. And I will be taking requests, if anyone would like a specific erotic or romantic theme.

 

In the meantime, after Friday, In the Flesh will be up on my blog, in its entirety, for you reading pleasure. It will also be up on Wattpad for a couple more weeks as well. Enjoy! As always, your feedback is very much appreciated.

 

Reading Like a Writer

(From the Archives)

When I read as a writer, what I read — no matter what it is — but especially if it’s fiction, becomes a whole different Book stacksanimal. I realized this after reading a particularly fabulous short story that completely enthralled me for the course of several thousand words. And when I came back to the real world, I found myself not only analyzing what made the story so amazing, but analyzing how I as a writer read it differently than I would if I weren’t a writer.

I don’t think any writer can approach a story without viewing it, at least to some degree, on the level of the writing. As I analyzed my story reading style, I realized two things. First of all, I always think back over the story after the fact and try to figure out what made it work for me or not. That process within itself can’t keep from changing the story. In a way it becomes a story of multiple plots and constructs the writer never intended, but my mind can’t keep from creating. If in my analysis there are lots of changes I would make, things I would have done differently as the author, at some point it becomes my story, the one I’m writing in my head, and no longer the story the author intended.

Writing pen and birds 1_xl_20156020For me, the big clue to how I esteem the story is the point at which I begin to analyze. If I’m analyzing the story as I read it, then it’s clearly not going to get five stars on the K D story critique scale. The sooner I begin my analysis while I’m reading, the fewer stars the story or novel rates from me, until at some point it becomes an exercise in editing and recreating it as my own story rather than reading for pleasure. When that happens, the whole process becomes a different experience than the one the writer intended.

If, however, I get totally lost in the story, then my whole internal landscape changes. The writer in me is temporarily replaced by the fascinated little girl who simply loves a good story. When I am pulled in, rough and tumble, to the world the writer has created for me, the story becomes multi-dimensional and experienced twice, sometimes thrice over, sometimes even more. When I’m in the queue at the supermarket, or in bed waiting to fall asleep, when I’m waiting for the bus, I can have the secret pleasure of reliving that story over and over.

Being pulled in is the first part of experiencing a great story. The second part, the analysis part, happens after the fact.books_xl_4571699 When the story moves me, excites me, changes me, then my analysis of it is a different process. Because I don’t feel I can improve on it, analysis then becomes taking the story into myself from a write’s point of view. In other words, what is it that makes this story so fantastic, and how can I incorporate some of that fantastic -ness into my own writing?

A perfect story, a story that pulls me in and devours me whole is a lingering experience. I’m a firm believer that a good story should somehow change the reader. But a good story should also change the writer. A good story should be like discovering a view from a mountaintop that we didn’t know was there before, a view that changes everything, the waterfall we didn’t see, the storm we never expected, the castle that dominates the landscape. A really great story has the potential to make me a better writer, a better weaver of story, a better seer of nuance, a better wielder of my craft.

But a good story should change more than just my views of my writing world. It should touch and stimulate in ways I would not have expected. It should open up the landscapes in my unconscious and my imagination. In some ways, a good story acts as a Muse, and that is the pinnacle of what a writer can glean from a story. I won’t say that doesn’t happen with badly written stories as well, after all the Muse chooses her own time and place. But with a good story, somehow the appearance of the Muse seems more numinous, more dressed for the occasion.Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_b

For me, the most powerful element of any story is the key relationship and how it expresses itself. That expression is
often sexual, and a well-written sex scene carries with it the weight of human emotion. It carries with it the drive to reach that magical point where two become one, where we are as close to being in the skin of ‘the other’ as it is possible to be. The power of sex and relationship in story can hardly be overstated. Even in mediocre stories, the power of love and relationship can still pull me outside of the editor-me and into the roil of the archetypal story of human need. To me, that means we erotica writers wield one of the most powerful tools in the writing craft; sex in story. Use it poorly and it just sounds stupid and crass. But use it well and it will be the moment in the story that the reader remembers while in the queue at the grocery store, while drifting off to sleep, while waiting for the bus. And it will be remembered with that ache of commonality of all humanity, the driving force within us all. Keeping that in mind, I don’t think it’s any wonder that so many writers fear writing sex.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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