Archive for December, 2011

2011 in review

So it’s the end of the year and I’m late blogging again. I’m sure no one’s surprised, and I suppose I should make regular blogging a New Year’s resolution. I also know that one reason I’m bad at blogging is the open-endedness of it all, so if you have anything you’d like to know, fire away.

I have to admit that I didn’t get as much writing done this year as I’d hoped. I had plans for sequels to The Hunted Key, a revised and expanded version of Nothing Gets Through, getting Numbers Game up and a couple of other things.  However, life gets in the way, and so while none of that happened, I did get some original stories done and a couple of shorter stories up for sale.

The first story I posted this year was Who Cares What I Wear? , which was inspired by the song “New Year’s Eve” by Nina Gordon (sorry, can’t find the song online, but it’s a good song). I was pleased with this one, perhaps the most pleased I’ve been with a story to date. It was easy to write, and I got some wonderful feedback from readers. It was a little sadder than most of my stuff, but I believe ultimately it was a happy ending.

Next was The Relationship Business, which I wrote for Valentine’s Day. One thing I always try to do with holiday- or theme-centered stories is to find a different way to write about them. This story was a sequel of sorts to Unexpected Gifts, which I’d done for Christmas 2009, and used a couple of the characters mentioned in that. I think it could have been better, and so it’s on my list of stories to fix up when I have the time. But I still think it’s fun.

Lost in the Woods was written for Literotica’s Earth Day contest, and placed third, which I thought was pretty good. Earth Day is perhaps the oddest “holiday” to center a story on, but a writer shouldn’t shy away from a challenge. Also, this gave me a chance to use an incident that happened to me when I was younger; I’m not sure if it was cathartic or anything like that, but I liked putting it in there. In this story, Willow Oakton volunteers for an Earth Day clean up event at the state park, despite her fear of getting lost; she’s met by Clay Wilder, one of the park rangers. Willow first met Clay when she knocked him into a pool, so she’s not sure he’s all that pleased to see her again.

Melting the Ice was published by Republica Press in April, just as the hockey playoffs were getting into gear. This contains two stories by me — Ghosts of the Forum and Game Misconduct — and two by Tamara Clarke, aka MugsyB, The Tip of the Ice-Berg and Uncovering the Ice. I think it’s a lot of fun, and Tamara and I would like to make another compilation.

I went for a shorter story with Morning Sun in May. This was about 2500 words, a record for me, who usually can’t keep a story under 10k words. It was inspired by the Bad Company song of the same name, and the subject is simple. Cody Elliott returns home to his love after a whirlwind trip, and they celebrate. This has always been one of my favorite songs by Bad Co.

Then I had something of a dry spell. I did release Light and the Darkness, a novella about a vampire and a witch, through Yellow Silk Dreams. A long time ago, I’d had the kernel of an idea, about a woman who could paint with light. I could never figure out where to go with it until I hit upon the character of Jordan Castle, a vampire, and brought in some elements from “Beauty and the Beast,” but not the Disney version.

For Halloween, I wrote The Collection, which was inspired by (you guessed it) a song. This song, “A Collection,” is by Marillion, a British group that’s been a favorite of mine for too many years too count, although they’ve never made it big in the U.S. (Check out this song and video, “Kayleigh,” from 1985; it was their one big hit and you may remember it). Despite the soft, lilting music, there’s a sinister undertone in the lyrics.  The story didn’t fare as well as I’d hoped in Literotica’s Halloween contest, although my feedback was positive, and well — you writes the story and you takes your chances. I took it down soon after and again released this via Yellow Silk Dreams. This was my first entry into something a little more subtly supernatural: Mark Peterson is a photographer who simply can’t let the women he loves go.

In November, I finally began posting a new hockey romance, Rhythm and the Blue Line. Washington Capitals’ player Brody Lang meets musician Ryan Bancroft, who doesn’t like sports, and for good reason. Chapters 1-6 are currently up on Literotica, StoriesOnline, AfterDark-Online.com and EroticStories.com. The same material is up at LushStories.com, but in smaller pieces, so on that site it’s chapters 1-23. I aim to resume posting after the New Year; sorry for the delay, but things needed fixing. I don’t like putting out something I know isn’t quite right.

To wind things up, I wrote a Christmas story inspired by the idea that Christmas (and other holiday) displays seem to crop up earlier and earlier every year. In Christmas Creep, Joe Naylor finds all of the early decorations off-putting and stress-inducing, and so his girlfriend, Noelle Winters, tries to help him see the sexier side of the season.

So for next year, there’s a little bit old and a little bit new. All the things I’d hoped to work on this year are still on the agenda, and I’m sure I’ll have new ideas, and I do like Tamara’s idea of a new hockey compilation. My priority is probably deciding how to make the revised Numbers Game available for sale; when I figure it out, I’ll let you know, and thanks to all who have asked about it. It’s great to know you enjoyed the story and I hope it’s even better the next time around.

Hope everyone enjoyed their [holiday of choice], and have a wonderful New Year.

Music in the story

I like music. You probably do too. I actually knew a guy in high school who told me he didn’t like music — any music — and I was baffled. However, he went on to play the part of Mr. Brownlow in our high school production of Oliver! so I guess he came around (and he had a decent voice).

In all of my listening to pop music (and I do like pop/rock, I can’t help it), two songs made me literally stop what I was doing so that I would make sure to find out who the artist was. The first was in 1985, when I worked at a hotel. I was cleaning the room and listening to the radio and “Kayleigh,” by a group from the UK called Marillion, was played. I was almost done, which was handy, and I just stayed there by the radio. Another was some years later when I was in grad school. I was walking home and listening to my Walkman (I think) and heard “Satisfaction Guaranteed” by The Firm. I have since become a big fan of Paul Rodgers, and all these years later, despite a new lead singer, still collect my Marillion albums.

After I started writing, I found that some songs provided a good basis or inspiration for a song. I’m generally not concerned about following the lyrics exactly, just with the impressions and ideas that I get. The first one was “Silver, Blue & Gold,” inspired by the Bad Company song of the same name. Bad Co.’s “Love Me, Somebody” led to me writing “Facing the Past.” In 2010, I wrote “Horses in the City” and “Who Cares What I Wear?” which were based on songs by Nina Gordon. The last one I did was “The Collection,” inspired by a Marillion song.

My latest story, Rhythm and the Blue Line took a different route, and instead of using a song as basis, the heroine is a musician. I’m tossing in all kinds of song references, which is amusing to me because with as fragmented as the music scene has become, I’m not even sure who’s current or popular these days. I tend to go by articles I read, or the Grammy awards if I happen to catch them. Also, as my beta reader pointed out, I’m the author, so I can reference just about whoever I damn well please. I decided to track the music I’ve mentioned so far, if you’d like a little soundtrack.

Bad Company — One of my favorites, mostly for Paul Rodgers’ vocals. (This video is amusing if only for the 70s aspect)

Sara Bareilles — I actually haven’t heard much of her; from the little I have heard, I don’t think she’s quite my music.

John Coltrane — Ah, some jazz. Recommended by my beta reader and well worth listening to.

Modern English “Melt with You” — The song from which Ryan’s band takes their name. And the video is so, so 80s.

Jimmy Page — Zeppelin, of course.

Jimi Hendrix — If you haven’t heard him, you should, just ’cause.

The Crow — Not music, per se, but a great movie with a great soundtrack.

Muse — Another group I’ve more heard of than heard, although I do like what I’ve heard. Their performance at the Grammy’s last year amused me. Seriously, a song called “Uprising,” complete with a re-enactment of a riot, on that most corporate of music shows?

Arcade Fire — An acquired taste from Canada, but again, well worth a listen.

Radiohead — Heard of more than heard, but hey, they seem popular.

Happy listening!

New chapter up

The next chapter of Rhythm and the Blue Line is available at all the usual places. In this one, it isn’t just Ryan and Brody who are surprised to find they’re going out with each other. Plus, Brody cooks dinner. What a guy.

You can read at Literotica, StoriesOnline, EroticStories and LushStories (reminder: at Lush I have to post in smaller pieces, so it’s not the entire chapter; I’ll submit the remaining sections today and tomorrow and then it’ll be all caught up).

Excerpt:

“No, you can cook for whoever—what?” Mark walked over and poked him in the shoulder. “When did she become your girlfriend? On the bus to Philly you said you weren’t going out with her.”

“And at the time, I wasn’t.” Brody turned the heat down on the stove. “Things change, man. That was almost two weeks ago. You need to keep up.”

“Why?”

“Why what?”

“Why are you going out with her?”

“Are you seriously asking me that?” When Mark didn’t answer, Brody shrugged. “I bet Hilary loves it when you get all big brother. Anyway, I wanted to. I asked, she said yes, so we’re going out. Very simple.”

Mark looked about to say something, then turned his head and paced into the living room. Brody ignored him for a few minutes, then turned around. “What is the problem here?”

“I don’t know. I like Ryan. And I know you and how you are with women.”

 

New stories to read

I have two new stories up, and I hope you enjoy them.

First up is the third chapter of my latest hockey romance, Rhythm and the Blue Line. In this chapter, Brody goes to see Ryan’s band perform, and decides to convince her to go out with him. You’ll have to read and see if he succeeds.

Next is a Christmas story that’s up and entered in Literotica’s Winter Holiday Contest. It’s called Christmas Creep. Here’s an excerpt:

“You’re sexy when you cook.” Joe placed a kiss on the nape of her neck; she’d pulled her hair back in a ponytail.

“You’re distracting me.” She closed her eyes and clenched her hand around the measuring cup.

“I’m just admiring. You can’t expect me not to admire you in that outfit.”

“Busted.”

Joe slid his hands around her and cupped her breasts. “Indeed.”

Noelle considered ditching the cookies and just taking Joe down with her to floor, but the floor was tile and uncomfortable and she still had plans. Joe was adjusting nicely to Christmas things before Christmas, but she wasn’t done.

“No, no. Later.” She tapped his hands with the spatula.

He let her go and grinned. “Now that’s something I hadn’t thought of. How many spatulas do you have?”

“None of your business. Now, get the sugar, please.”

You can read Part 3 of Rhythm and the Blue Line at these sites:

You can read Christmas Creep at these sites:

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