Tag Archives: Bite Me Tender

Tuesday Tickle: Bite Me (Later)

Just a few lines tonight. Writing’s been a hit-or-miss kind of project lately, with more misses than hits. Writer’s block–or, rather, depression masquerading as writer’s block (so I can feel even worse about myself, right? Depression’s a shady bitch.). I’ve learned to recognize it for what it is, which is half the battle. I haven’t figured out the other half yet, unfortunately, so the month’s wordcounts are rather ragged. But here’s a little bit, totally unedited and very first draft.

Levi wasn’t nearly drunk enough to deafen himself to the call of the moon. He lay on his bed in the rooming house and groaned as the liquor tried to drag him down to unconsciousness and his bones tried shift and take on their full moon shape. When he’d first arrived in the city, he’d kept things stable by hunting stray dogs. Since he’d discovered the witch, he’d managed to placate the wolf with sex and food—lots of both. But now Glyn wasn’t answering his calls.

He rolled off the bed and shook his head. A walk would clear the fog from his mind. And help him burn off some of this raging energy.

The wolf agreed.

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The Hero’s Journey (or, You Mean I Have to Get Off the Couch?)

One of the things you don’t always realize when you start writing, is that every story, whether thriller, scifi, fantasy or romance, follows the Hero’s Journey. We give it lots of names–character arc, plot arc, character growth–but it comes down to the same set of steps pretty much every time.

I still remember the first time I came across Joseph Campbell’s Hero with a Thousand Faces. I was enrolled in a science degree and was looking for something I could write up quickly for my English course, because we were going drinking in the Beer Tree that night. Yes, indeed, we had a beer tree, a lovely ancient oak with spreading limbs that were perfect to perch on, and innumerable nooks and crannies that could have been expressly designed for the short term storage of beer. (One could argue that all beer storage is short term, but my mother taught me never to argue. Revenge is usually much more satisfying.)

/digression

So, here’s the upshot of the Hero’s Journey, as Joseph Campbell sees it:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

The following is my, slightly warped take on it. Apologies in advance.

It breaks down into stages: Departure, Initiation and Return.

In the Hero’s Journey, the Departure is characterized by:

The Call to Action–In which our hero receives a phone call and learns of some derring-do in need of being done or some other lovely in need of being done, and must put down the Xbox controller and pry himself off the couch.
The Refusal of the Call–“Just one more level!” he cries.
Supernatural Intervention–Briiiiing! “Get a move on!” How does your mother always know when you’re being lazy?
The Crossing of the First Threshold–“All right, I’ll go, if it’ll just shut you up!”
The Belly of the Whale–Things have gotten very strange. “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…”

In the Initiation stage, you’re really learning stuff.

The Road of Trials— “Kill the ogre, rescue the magic fainting goat and fill out all these forms in triplicate. In PEN. You can’t use White Out.” “I must do ALL THE THINGS!!! OMG, this is so hard.”
The Meeting with the Goddess–“I am your fairy godmother. I love you and will make all your problems disappear. Here is a magic sword with which to kill the ogre.”
Woman as Temptress–“Hey, baby, that’s some sword you’ve got there. Wanna skip the quest and go make out in my Corvette?” “Sure!”
Atonement with the Father–in which our hero must make his peace with the Representation of Authority. “Who’s that? No! Wait! OW! You never told me your father was The Hulk!” BAM!
Apotheosis–The School of Hard Knocks. “I have learned not to canoodle with strange women. This will help me achieve my goals–once I get out of the hospital.”
The Ultimate Boon–The hero shares his prize. “So, yeah, I walked out the door of the hospital and this goat was there. And then it keeled over. I think it’s broken. But I took it anyway. And it’s way cool. Watch this!”

The Return, in which our hero must be convinced to bring his blessings back to his home.

Refusal of the Return–“I think I’ll stay here, thanks anyway. The goat and I are enjoying our margaritas!” *music*

The Magical Flight–Escape from vacationland is hard. “The lure of the margarita is so strong, but I must return with my goat! And it is so far and there are so many bars in the way.”

Rescue from Without–“Hey, drunk guy, need a lift?” “Sure, but I must take my goat with me.” “Throw it in the back there.” “Hooray!”

The Crossing of the Return Threshold–“Hey, there’s my place. Thanks for the drive. Oops, can’t forget my goat!”

Master of Two Worlds–“Come meet the Magical Fainting Goat of Wisdom! And I am now able to make the best margaritas in the world. ” “Meh!” *Goat*

The Freedom to Live–“I have taught others to make margaritas. I will sit on my mountain and wait for students to come to me, while I ponder the existential reality of lime and tequila.”

Okay, pretty warped. I’m getting giddy with the advent of Bite Me Tender. Don’t forget to check out my post tomorrow at Joyfully Jay, where I talk about the Beginning Writer’s version of this journey, because a beginning writer has their own Hero’s Journey to make. (It’s a much better post, I promise.)

Really my bad, ’cause I can’t seem to get ‘off’ vacation

hdwallpapers4desktop_com_wallpaper_under_the_sea_mermaid_swim_merman_fantasy_aqua-hd-wallpaper-280821So, yeah, I took a staycation from the blog on Friday. Although, it was probably a good thing for the mental health of everyone around me, since I was in such a foul mood.

See, I went on a bird watching boat tour on Wednesday, which was pretty cool, and I left with the awesome door prize of a merman plot bunny, which will be written–as soon as the two dozen other bunnies standing not-so-patiently in line are done. But I assure you it’s mega-cool, in an urban fantasy, 2nd world sort of way.

But, that was pretty much the best part about it. Seeing the bald eagles was awesome (about 3 dozen of them–crazy!), the razorbills, the puffins, the cormorants and all the different seagulls. And the seals, which were as bold as brass. Unfortunately, the guy running the tour was such an annoying little dipshit that, if there was some way to get off the tour in the middle, I would have done it. If I wanted to pretend I was kindergartener, I’d be at a fetish club, thank you. I don’t need someone singsonging information to me. Hell, I don’t talk to my two year old nephew like that–is it really appropriate for a group of 20 adults?

Then, the next day I drove home, which involved about 6 hours in the car. Which isn’t normally a bother, except this summer has been the summer of misogyny on the internet and I think it’s made me oversensitive. After all, if I, as a vertically-challenged woman, choose not to pick up the make hitchhiker (who I do not know, and is taller than me by about a foot and probably outweighs me by at least 60 lbs), of course I should expect to get the finger and a shouted ‘Cunt!’. Because, after all, I should be able to read his mind and know that he’s all about fluffy adorable kittens and helping old ladies across the street.

Even though I’m on a road in the middle of nowhere, with my 12 year old in the car, and I’ve never seen him before. I mean, after all, he knows he’s harmless, so doesn’t it make sense that I should know it too? Isn’t it obvious? Or am I just stupid, or ignorant?

I think the mood hasn’t quite worn off.

On a brighter note, line edits for Bite Me Tender have gone back. I added more words (again!) and I’m eagerly awaiting the advent of my cover. The Christmas short has gone off to Dreamspinner, I’m working on another Christmas novella for Loose Id, slightly stuck on Je Veux… (but getting there), and biting my fingernails to the quick over Knight. Enough to keep ya busy. I put 1000 words on a short for another Dreamspinner anthology, and I’m toying with the idea of breaking out Furface again, but probably not right away.

Anyway, that’s the news for this week. I’ll be back on Tuesday with another Tickle, though darned if I know which one I’ll put up. Oh, and I should hear back soon on when my free MM Romance group story from Goodreads will be available.

Tuesday Tickle, an Apology and an Update

rockstar sunburstSorry for the blackout this weekend. I woke up Saturday morning, turned on the computer and…nothing. The fan started, lights came on, but the screen was dead. Of course, the technicians don’t work on weekends, so it was yesterday before I got confirmation that the motherboard was fried, and today before I could get my data transferred over. To say I panicked is an understatement. I was able to do some work this weekend, but no writing, because the desktop computer is so dilapidated it can barely handle having a browser with two tabs open. But I’ve got a nice new little Toshiba now and things should start rolling along. Windows 8 is weird, though.

The update is that the promo forms and the cover art forms for Bite Me Tender have gone back to LI, so that ball is rolling now. I have a tentative release date (much sooner than I expected!) but I don’t know yet if I’m allowed to reveal it. Trust me, all the world will hear when I get the nod to go live with that. Oh, and still no word when Sign of Spring if coming out. I’m suffering from pre-release author paranoia and worrying that they lost it and don’t realize.

And, for the Tickle, I thought I’d throw out a the very beginning of the rockstar romance, since I’m picking away at that one, too. There’s a call in the autumn that this story might suit very well, so I hauled it out, brushed the boys off (Phane enjoyed that much more than John, but that’s not my problem, 🙂 ) and tidied up the first couple of chapters.

So, here we are, our first sight of John, my lovingly uptight little med student and all around good boy who’d like to be just a little bad.

Izzy pulled another pair of jeans off the rack as John was talking to the clerk working the fitting rooms.

“Try these, too,” she told him, piling them on top of the pairs draped over his arm.

John fished the tag out of the pocket and whistled at the price. “I don’t think so, Izzy. Starving student, remember?”

She tched at him, pulled one long brown curl out to its full length, then let it snap back into its usual corkscrew. “Two more years, you’ll either be a really successful pediatric resident, or you’ll be opening your own practice. I think you can afford a pair of jeans.”

John tried to give the pants to her to put back, but she pushed them into his arms again.

“Izzy, they cost an entire evening’s tips! No way I’m spending that much on a pair of jeans.”

She raised her eyebrows at him. “I didn’t realize rockstars and movie tycoons were such bad tippers. And the jeans aren’t that expensive—maybe an hour’s worth of tips.”

He laughed. “Izzy, the jeans are too darn expensive.”

“How are you going to snag your Hottie-without-a-Name if you don’t put yourself out there? For a gay guy, you really are obtuse.”

“He has a name, I’m just not telling you what it is.”

Izzy pushed him toward the fitting rooms. “Go try them on. Trust me. Auntie Izzy will make sure you get laid.”

John laughed, half amusement and half embarrassed shock. “I’m not looking to get laid, Izzy. I just think he’s—nice.”

“Yeah, and vascular disease gives everyone a boner during study group. John, it’s time you did something about this or you’re going to end up drifting off during an exam and passing in some eyebrow raising answers.”

Don’t worry, Izzy comes back through the story. She’s kinda fun, isn’t she?

Fun with Werewolves

I’m developing a pattern with these two projects. Work on the Boyler Room one day, work on Furface the next.

Today was a very wolfish day. I’m learning lots about Connor, who was more a plot device in the last book than a full-fledged character. He seems to be coming into his own in this one and, I think, will be more than a match for Glyn. For all his easy-going manner, he wants what he wants and he’ll smile and bat his eyelashes, make suggestive remarks, and dig his heels in until he gets it.

Gonna be fun to watch the seduction. 😀

Just over 1000 words today on that one story and probably more, but I’ve updated the progress bars with the numbers I have right now, since I don’t know if I’ll have time later. It would be nice to finish this by the end of the month and start running it through the crit group for the summer.

Tomorrow, I have to decide if I’m going to write the introduction of Gideon’s brother Asa into the story or something else. If I’m feeling particularly creative, I might try to write the dance routine where Gideon and Lee first see each other. I started their first love scene last night–it’s very sweet, which surprised me. I wasn’t expecting that, but now I’m intrigued. Here’s hoping you will all be, whenever it’s done. 😛

Apologies I should make to my editor

I’m sorry.

Just how badly did you want to whack me upside the head with a thesaurus?

You’re right. That really did sound weird. I’m not sure my insurance will cover your therapy though, but good luck.

I’m calling shenanigans on you needing both hands and feet to count how many times I used that word…oh, wait.  Okay. *Writes sticky note: use Word Usage tool before hitting send.*

Yes, I do know more colours than brown. But apparently I don’t know how to use them in my writing.

As least she didn’t comment on the chocolate sauce.

Sigh.

She really is a saint.

The Next Big Thing blog post is coming up tomorrow, so come back to find out more about Bite Me Tender!

Writer’s Block, or My Brain Likes Screwing with Me

I woke up this morning to the alarm, like usual. The first thought in my head (and I must have been dreaming–it’s the only explanation I have) was that it was Sunday. Then I thought, “Wait, no, it can’t be Sunday. Ah, it’s Saturday! Awesome! I have two whole days off!” So, I shut the alarm off and went back to sleep.

Twenty minutes later, I woke up and realized it was actually Friday and I had less than half an hour to get ready for work.

Silly brain.

What does this have to do with writer’s block? I’ve been really struggling, these past two weeks. Barely making my daily word goal. There were a couple of days where I absolutely didn’t. And the days where I did? I’m appalled at how long it took me. But something hit me this week and it comes down to my brain playing tricks on me.

I’m not a linear writer. Nor am I a planner. I can brainstorm, and sometimes that helps, but my best bet for a high wordcount per day is just to write whatever it is that I want to write, no matter where it occurs in the story. I can always go back later and make things match up, because for sure things will change as I figure out details.

But, somehow, I got myself locked into this linear mindset. You know, where you write chapter 1, then chapter 2, then chapter 3, all the way to the end. And I got stuck. I’m assuming it’s because the first 4 chapters of Knight wrote themselves like that, so I thought it should just continue. I really don’t know. And so, I’ve been stuck on a scene that I’m not ready to write yet. It hasn’t spent enough time in the big stew pot in the back of my mind. And I’ve been the crankiest broad on the face of the earth for more than a week, because I couldn’t make this work.

Silly brain.

Then, yesterday, I had a sort of epiphany–I think I was tired of being stalled. I started to write parts of a scene later in the book, with no regard for the fact that all the stuff leading up to it hadn’t been sorted out yet. And remembered, all of a sudden, how this all worked with Bite Me Tender. I wrote bits and pieces, then wrote bits and pieces on either side of the first bits and pieces, until they all met in the middle. That’s how I work. It’s almost a loop-de-loop system, where I write a bit, then go back to an earlier chapter and add something in that makes what I just wrote make sense. Second and third drafts are for smoothing out the edges, making connections work, and dropping in breadcrumbs so the reader doesn’t say to themselves, “Oh, yeah, right! Seriously, lady?” Fourth drafts tweak word choice. Fifth drafts, depending on the story, could be another smoothing session. Or, they could just be paranoia. Even erotica writers are artists–we’re allowed our little personality quirks.

Since then, I’ve put 2000 words on Knight and am feeling much more confident about finishing on time. Whether it will fit with Riptide remains to be seen. But now my brain and I are much happier and more productive.

Remember, never let anyone tell you your writing method is wrong. If you’re finishing stories, then it’s not wrong, it’s just different from theirs. Too bad if they don’t get it. Do what works–the rest is just distraction.

And, since the scene I’ve just almost finished is required before the boys hop into bed together for the first time, I’m feeling kind of pumped. Well, seriously, how can you be an erotica writer and not get a kick out writing the sex scenes? Boring to just fade to black, though I suppose it moves the plot along faster. And I know these two guys are hot together, because I’ve already written one sex scene with them in it. Hee hee, tomorrow’s going to be fun.

Happy brain.

Don’t forget that Tuesday is the Tuesday Tickle, where I’ll be posting a few lines from a work in progress, probably Bite Me Tender. If you like it, please leave a comment.

Kitty, thinking about her nice, warm catbed.