Girl Sex

ddbb44854f796d8c3e1962444c6eb84bSome reviewers gave Hard as Roxx negative reviews because it features two smart, sexy women who sometimes have sex with each other. They have sex with others too, but that doesn’t seem to be an issue. Instead, the readers objected to my updating social mores to reflect the 22nd century.

In effect, it’s okay that Roxx decapitates enough people to start a head farm as long as she doesn’t perform oral sex on a girl, because that would be gross. Ew, girl sex. So, here’s me, saying, “Bite me.” Sure, book sales slowed when people inaccurately labeled my work “lesbian fiction.” But I don’t think I’d have changed a word, mainly because it’s not lesbian fiction.

Excerpt below. Click to read more.

Hell, Roxx isn’t even gay. Whatever. Anyone who doesn’t know that LGBTQ themes are prevalent in Sci-Fi shouldn’t read my books anyway. Seriously.

Remember her? She liked sex with girls too. Dumb shits.

Remember her? She liked sex with girls too. Dumb shits.


 

15 December 2142 07:02 a.m. – Central European Time.

Trint awoke to kisses. As the eastern light bathed their room, she turned, burying her head under the oversized pillow she had become accustomed to hugging in her sleep. She began to drift, once more, to sleep, but felt familiar lips and an impudent tongue teasing the soft curve of her belly, tickling her protruding navel, tracing a path along the curves of her hips. She could feel Roxx’s warm breath coming in increasing bursts and stole a glance at her partner, who was nude, eyes closed, her mouth pressed to flesh. She could have been sleep kissing for all Trint knew. Without warning, her partner slid her lower body to the floor and began working in earnest. Trint felt the wind pulled from her, felt her eyes clamp shut. Fluttering kisses … a touch here … another there, in the spot that always worked … and she knew it was coming and would begin soon.

Her back arched and she could hear soft moans, sweet sounds whose owner she could not identify. And it was here now and there was fire, she was aflame; her partner would not stop … she defeated her, winded her. In a flash of impassioned light, with muffled screams and hands wrenching at sheets, it was over. She gasped for breath, whispered calming words to her pounding heart and … one last kiss … felt her partner’s soft skin against her own.

“Thank you,” Roxx whispered, filling Trint’s cheeks with kisses.

“Why are you thanking me? All I did was wake up.” Trint was smiling, though her eyes were apparently glued shut.

“Just … for always giving me what I need, even when I argue with you that I don’t need it.”

Though lovemaking was Trint’s favorite way to start the day – or end the day, or steal a few moments from the pace of the day – it was all too rare an occurrence, lately. There was abundant space. Some days, she felt as if they were two continents, doomed to drift apart, with no bridge wide enough to span the gap. Then, magically, Roxx would reach across the chasm if it was not there. She would leave and take a bit more of Trint with her when she was gone. Lately, there was very little of Trint left.

She was born to wander, she had concluded. The world was waiting, and yet she spent most of her time on the land adjacent to her father’s estate. Roxx would not join her on the hunt, today. That, she knew without asking. Roxx hated the cold, detested the snow, despised winter and everything it stood for. When she did risk the cold, which was not often, she was a walking anachronism, a Viking among robots. Trint smiled, thinking of Roxx dressed in black jeans, fur boots, jacket, and a fourteenth-century sword with integrated twenty-second century technology. Roxanne fought the cold with as much vigor as she had embraced the desert. Long, lean limbs did not serve as good insulators against biting nine-month winters. So, she would not join Trint today, and there would be just that much more space between them. Instead, Roxx would be working at her father-in-law’s institute, “for the good of the girls.” Trint, meanwhile, would continue studying the neo-anthropology of the Neanderthal.

“The lonely life of an academic,” she said aloud, as she listened to the sounds of the house awaking around her. “Ten more hours with my peeps, and none with my Roxxy.”

#Mywriting Process Blog Tour

I got tagged by Christina Hawthorne at Ontyre Passages in the #amwiriting blog tour, for which I thank her sincerely. However, I must confess that I have failed. All of the writers I contacted to join the tour told me they had already participated. So, in lieu of tagging anyone, I would encourage you to stop by Christina’s new website and check out her blog, poetry, and ongoing Fantasy serial, Last Word Before Dying.

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 12.40.45 PMWith that in mind, here are my response to the #amwriting questions:

1)     What am I working on?

I am currently working on a mystery/suspense novel, Jeanne Dark. Dark and her partner, Foster Cain, are investigators hired by the U.S. Government to investigate a mysterious death abroad. Is it a simple case of jealously gone awry, or the leading edge of a broad, international terrorist ring? Whichever the answer, the mystery is certain to get darker before Jeanne and Foss can begin to share any light.

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?
The primary difference is my use of first-person Point of View (POV) for both leads. It’s a challenge, as writing in viewpoints of two very different characters requires a formulating two distinct voices, while simultaneously blending the two into a harmonized whole, with lyricism and rhythm as the common element. If I’m successful, at the end, it will read like a jazz piece, an easy-to-read lyrical prose poem punctuated with humor and the occasion burst of synaesthetic poetry.

3)     Why do I write what I do?

I am a character-centered novelist and story teller. For the most part, my choice of projects is based on “channeling” a particular character that inspires me. I sit, think about who the lead is, what their personality type is, their history, and before long, their story shows up. At the end, it needs to be someone I care about and whom I think the reader will care about.

I’m not tied to a genre, having written novels in Visionary Fiction, Science Fiction, and Mystery. My short stories span an even broader set of genres, but the unifying thread in my writing, according to my best friend and love, is romance. I guess all those years of watching black and white romance movies had a lasting impact.

4)     How does my writing process work?

It has evolved dramatically over past three years, to the point where I am just beginning to recognize a pattern. As I’ve written before, I am a plotter, both in writing and in life. Particularly with mystery stories, I first determine a crime, or set of crimes. Then, once I know who’s done what, I sit down and develop a case file, much in the way I would expect my lead to do. I lay out, step-by-step, path the investigator(s) take, complete with dead ends, in order to solve the case. Once the outline is done, I’m ready to write.

And that is precisely where everything comes undone. The writing, see, isn’t really done in advance, and my characters generally don’t like to keep to the script. My leads explore emotional paths I’d not anticipated, and minor and even previously silent characters sometimes nail their auditions and end up with larger roles. As a result, my plot expands, contracts, deviates.

Writing is the hard part, and the joy. While most is at my computer, I am just as prone to write while walking. For my last book, I wrote at least half the book that way, with the scenes being acted out in my head. I feel more like the scribe, frantically trying to transcribe my characters’ lives to the book. The one thread that never deviates is the music. I have to have music with the write emotional content before I can write. Each book has its own soundtrack, with Dark’s being a combination of jazz, 70s R&B, and female vocalists. It doesn’t matter whether I write late at night, which is my norm, or in the morning; what matters is that I do it consistently. Finally, unlike everything I’ve ever read, I edit while writing. I’ve found the easiest way to keep a consistent, easy flow, is to reread and edit the previous night’s work before starting the next bit. It means the 1st Draft takes longer, but I end up with half as many drafts at the end. The last step is always the same: make it flow, make it flow, make it flow.

Step Three: Share who’s up next:

Anyone who wants to be up next. Link to this post and I’ll be sure to check yours out.

Gone Rogue

I have time for 3 things in my life: work, Maria, and work. After that, I work. Here’s some rough 1st draft work. The final piece will be substantially more lyrical. Substance first, style second, always.

Coming Soon Jeanne Dark Promo 2

I woke up in the hotel room with the sun already low on the horizon. A groggy check of the time told me it was three-thirty, nearing sunset. The maid hadn’t been in the room, judging by the clutter, but Dark’s bed was made. I was certain she’d not slept it in. We were both exhausted when we’d hit the room, and I was torpid even before she even managed to help me get off my suit. The other pillows had faint traces of her perfume, but that was understandable since I remembered her lying next to me, watching me drift to sleep. Nonetheless, given our situation and the recent tension between us, it was inconceivable that she would have slept next to me.

I got up, emptied my bladder, and decided I’d been wrong about the severity of my concussion. Forgoing room service, I grabbed some snacks we’d brought to the room and downed a half-liter of water before climbing back into bed. As lay there on the Dark-scented pillows, I wondered if she had, in fact, slipped under the covers next to me the night before. I didn’t have to wonder long. I slipped my hand under the pillow, ready to grab a bit more sleep, and got it tangled in one of Jeanne’s bras. Not only had she joined me in my bed, apparently she’d stripped off in the process. It probably meant nothing, I reasoned. I’d been out like a light and she was probably too tired herself to move. She knew I wouldn’t awaken and I was in no shape to do damage even if I had. Besides, the woman trusted me more than I trusted me. Sleep took me then, as I lay in bed watching the room slowly dim, all the while imagining my nude little Jeanne breathing next to me in bed. The dreams I had were wondrous things that night. Ah, to be a man with a vivid imagination and a woman worth envisioning.

It was nine o’clock the next morning when I finally awoke, more clear-headed than I’d been since Danni clocked me in her flat. Sleep turned out to be the only medicine I needed. The first thing I did was turn to check the other bed. It looked the same, with the covers tucked underneath in the way the maids always prepared the room. Every time we returned to our hotel room, Dark would yank out the covers along the side and roll down the bedspread, muttering about the filth on hotel linens. It was the only part of sharing a hotel room we’d agreed upon. I was sure she’d never make it up that way herself. This time, sans the fog I’d been floating through, I jumped out of bed and began to take inventory. All my things were there, and none of Dark’s were. It’d been thirty-two hours since I’d seen her last, smiling at me and caressing my forehead as I drifted off to sleep. She had been gone when I awoke the evening before, and I’d had no idea.

I was less concerned with her safety at that point than I was about my job security. My mission wasn’t only to help Dark solve a mystery. Hardesty wanted the two of us joined at the hip. He was worried about something, despite his assurances to the contrary. I needed to know what. Protocol said I was to call him if we ever got separated for an extended period. This certainly qualified.

I found my phone still tucked in my pants pocket. The battery was deader than I felt. Cursing, I plugged it in and jumped into the shower to make myself presentable. By the time I’d showered, shaved, and gotten dressed, the phone was charged and was buzzing up a swarm of messages. Most were from Hardesty. A couple were from Samuels. None was from my partner. The most recent message, with a timestamp of seven o’clock that morning, was from Hardesty. It read, I’m in London. Contact me via Monica. We think Dark’s gone rogue.

Emprise Photo Album

I rarely promote my books. I think they are quite entertaining, and for the most part, well written. The reason I don’t promote them is that it’s mostly a waste of time. Books spread in one of two ways: 1) publishers buy fake reviews or pay tens of thousands of dollars for people to “buy” the books and get on the bestsellers’ lists; or 2) word of mouth.

I can’t afford to and would never do the first one. The second is out of my control. So, I pretty much ignore that stuff and focus on improving my writing. That said, I was thinking about Emprise and thought I’d share a slideshow I put together as I was writing it. It shows some of the (human) characters in the book. I hope it piques your interest a bit.

Shhh, don’t tell anyone but I think she’s gay

“Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free … unless they’re, like, gay or something.” — Not the Statue of Liberty

“My being blind doesn’t make me stupid.” — Justice

Egalidad

Some of my characters end up being lesbian, bisexual, gay, or transexual. Some, like Trint in my novel Hard as Roxx or Peyton in my novelette* “Days of the Never Was” were born that way. Others, like headliners Roxx, from Hard as Roxx or Luce, in the novelette “Manhattan Transference” discover their sexuality as an integral part of the plot.

In some instances, I created a character’s sexuality somewhat randomly, like Trint, and allowed it to impact the story in accordance with how the characters’ personalities mesh. In fact, in Trint’s instance, I eliminated a planned major character because Trint and Roxx’s energy supplanted what I’d intended to be a main storyline. In “Days of the Never Was,” which follows three pairs of friends as they have their identities shifted due to a mysterious fog, I created a character in order to write a relationship that touched on how gender and sexual identities affect relationships, and then allowed it to flip.

Initially, I hesitated to do so, since I’m not gay, but then I realized I don’t have a vagina either, so … I’m guessing what creating characters requires is understanding more so than personal experience. I’m not particularly a fan of story lines like the old TV show “Will and Grace,” whose primary characters seemed to be saying, “Look at me! I’m gay! Isn’t that funny?” Well, not so much, no.

Still, one of the reasons I didn’t release Roxx, although the book is finished, is that I wondered about people’s acceptance of a gay relationship. After getting feedback from various readers, I still wonder. Not a single person so much as mentioned the relationship, even though it is the central relationship to the story. Is that indicative of how far society has progressed, or is it that people aren’t comfortable saying they weren’t comfortable? The initial publisher I’d lined up to market the novel read it, had plenty of praise and few critiques, but didn’t seem interested in selling the book. Maybe he’d decided it wasn’t his cup of tea, or maybe the industry discouraged his marketing anyone’s book, or maybe he secretly thought it was a boring story. Who knows?

I suppose I’ll never know, which is fine, because I don’t believe it’s my job to care about whether things I write cause readers discomfort. My job is to write the story. The reader’s job is to decide how it affects them. Still, it would be pretty cool if it turned out no one has mentioned any of my LGBT characters because they didn’t think it was something worth mentioning.

*Definitions:

Novel: a work of 40,000 words or more
Novella: a work of at least 17,500 words but under 40,000 words
Novelette: a work of at least 7,500 words but under 17,500 words
Short story: a work of under 7,500 words

Why be an Author?

Why would anyone in their right mind be an author? I’m not referring to being a writer; that’s different. There is only a single reason to be a writer — you were born that way. Sure, it may take you a while to notice it, as it did in my case. But the writer is always there.

I remember being absent from school for a couple of days in the 3rd grade. When I got back, the teacher informed me the class had spent the previous 2 days learning to write poetry. I had exactly an hour to catch up. Now, in my many days in front of our in-home library, I’d spent hours reading and re-reading children’s poetry. I figured, “How hard could it be?” In my ignorance, I knocked off a poem about birds in fifteen minutes. I turned it in, and to my teacher’s surprise, it wasn’t bad. My mom carried that silly poem in her wallet for decades.

Still, I didn’t notice I was a writer. I had no imagination, you see. The first time I really began to see the writer within was when I turned 20. Despite being an accounting major, most of my friends were either musicians, artists, or poets. The latter group used to pen poems and recite them to African drums. Sometimes, I’d accompany them, just for kicks. But I wasn’t a drummer, or an artist, because I had no imagination. In private, however, I thought I’d try to write some poems, because, “How hard could it be?”

Most sucked, a lot. But 5 of them got selected and published in a small, New York City poetry journal. So, I decided, maybe I was a poet. By then, I understood that I was a writer, because I could no longer stop writing. I’d never thought myself an artist, unless you counted the fact that I had a camera in my hand from age 12 on.

See, I’d never put the pieces together. I’d always been an artist, just not practicing. You are born an artist or a writer. It’s an innate part of your personality, whether you give it voice or not. You can certainly ignore it, but I promise, that will be to your detriment.

Being an author, however, is completely different. Being a writer (artist) is a personality trait. Being an author (painter) is a vocation or avocation. Anything that can be done as a career is a choice. You can do it, or do something else. But if you chose to be one, do so with eyes open. As an author, let me warn you: you probably won’t get rich. Some do; most don’t.

William Faulkner is considered to be one of the most talented authors in history. In fact, in my survey of the 100 Greatest Writers in History, Faulkner came out 2nd, behind the unreadable James Joyce.

Faulkner

Faulkner, all 5 feet, 5.5 inches of him. (This photo actual size)

Even so, he couldn’t make a living as an author. In order to make ends meet, the creator of such classics as The Sound and the Fury and Absalom, Absalom! worked in Hollywood for years, penning 6 credited screenplays, including “To Have and Have Not” and “The Big Sleep,” two of Bogart’s best movies. This, from the eventual winner of a Nobel Prize in literature and 2 Pulitzer Prizes. See, it’s damned hard to get noticed. Without Faulkner’s friendship with Howard Hawks, for whom he penned 5 of the 6 screenplays, he may have never gotten enough visibility to achieve the fame he did.

That’s not to say you won’t either. However, it is to say that fame and fortune isn’t the reason to pursue any career, whether its author, painter, athlete, or lawyer. The reasons to do so are simpler than that: because you find the work enjoyable and because you are willing to work hard enough to be the best at it that you can be.

“Don’t bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” – William Faulkner

It took me a while to answer my inner question of why I write. I used to have different answers, but they were never the reasons I gave my friends. The real reason is simple. I want to create characters that people never forget. In the not distant future, I will die, and cease to be. My daughter will have children, grow old, and die. Within the span of fifty years past the end of my life, few, if any, will remember me. Almost none will know the details of my life, because few know them now.

But maybe I can perfect my quirky, silly, brilliant, sexy and open Bacall-Deschanel-Hepburn iconic female lead. Perhaps I’ll get her right one day, and you, and your children, and their children will never forget her. Maybe I’ll stumble across a new male heroic lead, one who doesn’t shrink from a fight, but who neither is threatened by knowing the girl is smarter and maybe a bit braver.

Perhaps you’ll read my female lead, pursued in romance by her best friend, a woman as different from her as the stars are from the sea, and maybe you’ll root for them to vanquish their foes and fall deliriously in love. Maybe it’s Roxx or Trint. Or maybe you’ll meet a stranger to this planet, in physical form for the first time, discovering what it means to be a woman. Maybe Luce will be the one you don’t forget.

To be honest, I know I haven’t written that character yet. My writing is still improving enough weekly for me not to think it’s good enough. But that’s why I’m an author … because I’m determined to reach good. At the end of my life, I may have never written a character I’d love to have seen Bogie play, and maybe “Baby” was always too cool for any of my female leads, but dammit, I’m going to die trying.

Humphrey Bogart - in Casablanca, playing chess with Peter Lorre

Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, playing chess with Peter Lorre

Because I’m a writer; I may as well use it for something.

I Know What You Look Like

When I first started writing fiction, it was hard for me to visualize my characters without looking at them. I would spend hours on the internet, searching through photos that looked like whom I thought my “people” to be. Sometimes, they would end up being professional models or actors. Other times, I’d stumble across a photo of someone’s daughter who just felt right. On the rare, fortunate occasion, as with my leads — Charlie Patterson and Roxanne Grail — I would find a model who looked exactly like the character in my mind.

Now, after a half-million or so words, I can create characters without even caring what they look like. Often I’ll choose their appearance randomly, or mention the bits that would stand out if you saw them in a crowd. Sometimes I never mention their looks at all. Still, I do like having photos for my main characters. It keeps them real in my head, sometimes even drifting into my thoughts as I slip into dreams. Some characters, like Jannet from The Stream, I cannot never get quite right. I could draw her were I skilled enough, but I’ve not found her photo yet. Maybe she’s shy.

I keep the home screen of my 27-inch Mac clean. The only thing there are these photos of my gallery of “stars.” Below is a sampling of some of them.

The leads you have seen in my cover art. However these are my glue characters – the ones who keep my leads together and who move the story along. From Hard as Roxx there are her daughters, Jazzmine and Jessi James, who on the surface couldn’t look more different. There is Jazz, whose father was African, and Jessi, whose father was not. They are held together by their secret bond, and of course, Roxx.

From The Stream, we have Charlie’s important people. There’s Robin, his dream girl, his mother, Charlotte, as well as the other women in his life. Again, some famous actresses, models, and girls next door. The kids are the stars of one of my short stories, just to give The Juice some love. I wonder if others are as meticulous as I am. Then again, I’m a photographer, so I guess taking snapshots of my people is a natural act. They watch me as I sit at the computer, silently entreating me to “write some more, Bill.”

Amazingly, adding to my gallery is one of the main reasons I do. :)