Thursday, June 02, 2011

Story Submitted, Brady Bunch Time Coming...

I finished the short story I was working on in time to submit it before heading to Balticon over Memorial Day weekend... yay me! We'll see what the editor/publisher's opinion of it is and I will announce it here when I hear yay or nay. If they do not decide to include it, I will find an alternate venue, I promise.

Speaking of Balticon, this was the third year I have attended and I come home every year having enjoyed it just a little bit more. It is not my "normal" con because I am all but an unknown there. Very few of the people I see there have ever read much of my writing. Those that have are more friends and colleagues than audience, so to speak. So it is a very low pressure environment. I really should try my hand at fantasy or science fiction eventually. Yeah, I've written several paranormal things, but I mean classical science fiction...or at least space opera. I've always read SF and Fantasy for pleasure. Perhaps I fear writing it will remove that pleasure. Hmmmm...

This weekend, the under twenty-one population of the household expands from three to five. My absolute favorite six weeks of the year, when the children of my body come to stay and I have my step-spawn and blood-spawn all under the same roof. I feel more complete during this time. Yes, it makes free time almost non-existent. But I suffer that gladly. I miss my kids, and as much as I enjoy the company of my three younger housemates, there is always that emotional distance that comes with the fact that I am not their father.

But for the next six weeks, my kids are more than voices on a phone. *GRIN* I LOVE THIS TIME OF YEAR!

Yeah, I must be some kind of crazy. I am actually looking forward to six weeks with five teenagers in the house. Wow.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Keeping the Habit Going...

Since blogging Saturday about my recent frustrations on the writing side, I started yet another story... only this one is specifically for a call I noticed that ends June 1st.

The idea is that by putting a deadline there, I can try and force myself to write. Sure, I'm writing for an open call. There is no guarantee in that and the piece may not be chosen. But that doesn't mean it will necessarily be a fruitless exercise.

The call is for work between 2500 and 8000 words, so I am not committing to a novel or anything. But finishing even a short work will be a step in the right direction. It's a call for college years themed erotica, and my college experiences were a fertile field for my early ventures into erotica. This time, I chose an event from my actual past and I am tweaking it to turn out differently. The central idea is the chance to relive a decision that I don't necessarily regret but where I have wondered about alternative outcomes.

I'm not changing the initial point of decision, the place that could have really gone either way, because I like the choice I made. It was one of those moments where I feel like I lived up to my ideals... doing something the right way, despite there being a personal cost.

However, I am changing the aftermath of that decision. That is where the "What if..." portion comes in to play.

So far, I written just over 2000 words and have almost reached the point where speculation will diverge from reality. Not that the story is exactly what happened and certainly the dialogue is not accurate. I mean, it was twenty years ago and I have trouble remembering things with that detail after twenty minutes.

So it isn't really a "true story." It is more like based on what maybe could have been a real story if the persons in the story might have concentrated a little less on what things appeared to be and a little more on what they really wanted.

But I'm having fun with it. And it has been a while since I wrote for fun.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

It Isn't Really Writer's Block

My writing has been at a standstill lately. I keep making myself promises to get moving again, and then other things get in the way or I sit at the keyboard and just stare until I finally click over to Facebook or open the news or a blog. I've constantly wondered what I am lacking.

There are several things one needs to write. Some fall under motivation, some ability or talent, some logistical.

The opportunity to write, the time in other words, is there. Oh, I'm busy. Very busy. I get up Monday through Friday and head to work, of course. Then I come home and four days a week the turnaround time until heading to the dojang for taekwondo is short, but not THAT short. Three of those days I have at least an hour of down time. And there are all the other things that need doing. Sleep, sustenance, laundry. But I have not picked up my PS3 controller or booted up Fallout or Neverwinter Nights in weeks. And I usually have the whole weekend with only minor commitments. So although my time is tight, there are places where I could sit down and bang away at wordsmithing.

All the incentive is there, at least rationally. And I sure as hell could use the money, more now than ever. I have two WIP's that are already sold; contracts aren't signed, but the publishers have been waiting on the finished work for quite some time and have not made any indication that they have changed their mind. One was even up on a Coming Soon page --- and was "coming soon" for way tooooo long. Eventually, when the site got updated, it came off.

I also have plenty of work started, in various stages of completion. Most of them stalled at around 30K. I have even more tales with the outlines of a plot on paper (virtual and otherwise) and no shortage of ideas. So, the creativity is there. The ideas have never stopped flowing.

I think it might boil down to two things, and they are related. Audience and enjoyment. When I first turned my mind back to writing, I had both of those. I started with sportswriting, of course. And audience was never a problem with those blogs, especially after I started working for a national website and had their linkages. I didn't always get heavy feedback on each post, but I could see the numbers as far as pageloads. And I did get comments, sometimes dozens of them.

When I started writing erotica and erotic romance, it was at Literotica and I again had feedback... some of it very strong. The negative stuff rarely bothered me. In some ways it was more energizing then the good stuff. And the community and the standards of the AH and the audience made me a better writer.

But the money at Lit is non-existent. Yeah, a couple of contest wins -- but that doesn't pay bills, it just feeds the ego and lets you splurge on a minor indulgence. The sports money was better and more predictable, but was strictly a secondary income source. You could make more money collecting aluminum cans than I did as a "professional sportswriter."

The enjoyment of creation is fine. I still get that. Liking my own turn of phrase or plot point. But the second step in enjoying writing, for me at least, is having someone react. The greatest compliment you can receive as a writer is when people believe your fiction is real. I've had people argue with me. "That's wrong, because she would never do that!" What a compliment, when a reader gets mad at me because the creation of my imagination is so completely real to them that they honestly believe that character has a life and a personality outside my skull.

I need to find that part again. I am no Emily Dickinson in talent... but also, I am not one in temperament. I can not sit alone and create my art for it's own sake. My art is only complete when it has created, or failed to create, an emotion in my audience.

Of course, the dilemma is that in order to find an audience... I HAVE TO FINISH SOMETHING!

Grrrrrrrrr...

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Redefing Rape: New GOP-sponsored Anti-abortion Bill

We all know that certain groups in this country have a focus on abortion that overrides any other issue. They will go to any lengths to overturn Roe vs Wade -- and the most extreme of them will even call murder justified if it is the murder of a person who is pro-choice or, worse yet, works at a clinic or a Planned Parenthood.

(That these same groups are almost without exception in favor of the death penalty still boggles my mind. Seems to me there should not be a size or age limit on life being "sacred.")

But this blindness to reason or "compromise" has always excluded a few select circumstances. When the life of the mother is in danger, rape and incest. And very few Americans disagree with those exceptions. Or did...

One of the new bills the GOP has hit the ground running with is H.R. 3, the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act. On the surface, it is a bit strange...taxpayer funding of abortion in all but the circumstances cited above is already illegal.

H.R. 3 looks to redefine and increase these restrictions. First and foremost, it now forbids using federal funds OR funds that are tax-deductible for an insurance plan that includes coverage of abortion. This would include any funds that are pre-tax out of your paycheck. The language is quite deceptively clear...

‘(1) no credit shall be allowed under the internal revenue laws with respect to amounts paid or incurred for an abortion or with respect to amounts paid or incurred for a health benefits plan (including premium assistance) that includes coverage of abortion, (from the bill as published at opencongress.org)

This means that any health plan that covers abortion is taxable... not just any portion used for abortion, not any deductibles, not any actual procedure. The language clearly says "includes coverage."

Bad enough. This is nothing less than an attempt to force health insurers not to cover abortion... but this type of legislation has always been subject to the "rule of three." The three exceptions.

Later, those are addressed... but they are addressed in a very specific way. Read for yourself.

‘The limitations established in sections 301, 302, 303, and 304 shall not apply to an abortion--
‘(1) if the pregnancy occurred because the pregnant female was the subject of an act of forcible rape or, if a minor, an act of incest; or..."
(goes on to cover the life of the mother being endangered.)

Now remember, the letter of the law is exactly that... the letter of the law. Not "Rape." "Forcible Rape." So, you were drugged? Not covered. Thirty year old man has consensual sex with a twelve year old? Not covered. No force was used? NOT covered. Threats, remember, are not force. This is why there is a difference between assault and battery. Assault is threats, battery is an unwanted touching or contact.

So, be quiet and do as you are told or I will hurt the kids sleeping in the next room? NOT COVERED. As I hinted at before, the date rape drug dropped in your gin and tonic... NOT COVERED. What's more, some states don't define a difference in rape and it can thus be argued that no rape in those states would be covered since there is no definition for "forcible" in those locations.

Does this sound extreme? Think I am pushing the point too far? I'm not. Once the law is approved, what is written is what is... intention is not a part of it. This is why it is so important for legislation to be well written.

H.R. 3 is dangerous. It isn't only an attack on the issue of choice. It is a precedent setting attack on the definition of rape itself.

Tell your congressional representative to vote no on H.R. 3.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tangled Roots

The latest release in Coming Together's Neat line is now available through All Romance eBooks and Smashwords.

Giselle Renarde's Tangled Roots is a multilayered tale about Simone, who has come to a crossroads in her life. In order to move forward, she is going to have to chose more than just a path right or left... she is going to have to confront the heritage and the past that has caught up to her at last.

Moses, the main male protagonist, is both what she wants and what she most fears. He will challenge both her assumptions and her misconceptions... and force her out of a comfort zone that has been holding her back in ways she has both cultivated and in areas of which she is completely unaware.

The short length of this piece does not keep it from being a complex, well thought-out journey through Simone's past and her state of mind. It also addresses the subject of race and pride from an internal perspective, exploring how the outward assumptions of those around Simone shape her world and affect not only how she treats others, but her own sense of worth.

A good read for a good cause; all Coming Together:Neat proceeds are used to fund micro-loans through Kiva. This work is also available through eXcessica, and if you think it sounds familiar, you might own it already... Neat does not require exclusivity and the folks at eXcessica were more than willing to share based on the charitable focus of Coming Together.

If only Amazon were able to understand that concept, it would already be available there as well... and hopefully will be soon. Until then, you can get it at Smashwords or ARe.