October 27, 2010

The Bad Girl's Sweet Kiss Coming Soon!

I'm thrilled to announce my forthcoming appearance in The Bad Girl's Sweet Kiss: A Blow-by-Blow Anthology of First-Time Fellatio and Other Oral Delights, from Xcite Books. This e-anthology, edited by Chrissie Bentley and Miranda Forbes, was designed to showcase a multitude of first experiences with oral sex, from the perfect to the embarrassing. My own piece, "Reclamation," discusses how growing up in a sex-negative environment and a disrespectful ex boyfriend inhibited my ability to enjoy oral sex, and it was only through reclaiming fellatio on my own terms that I was able to find pleasure. It's my first published nonfiction piece about sex, and I'm honored to have it included.

The Bad Girl's Sweet Kiss will be available from Xcite on November 3rd.

Smut Marathon Round 7

After a slight delay, Smut Marathon 7 is up and running! This round presents seven sexy stories of sex toys, so head on over, indulge in some sultry reading, and vote for your favorite! You have until 11:59 p.m. on November 1st, so get reading!

Wordless Wednesday

October 26, 2010

More Flash Fuck-tion!

Start your Tuesday off with some good smut and check out "Little Bo Peep" by Gary. It's excellent!

Confession Tuesday

I confess that we lost Bart, one of our pet degus, on Sunday, and I feel like it's my fault. She'd gotten injured on Saturday and I thought we should take her to the vet. My spouse wasn't sure, so we called, and the vet told us to wait and see. I wish I hadn't listened. Bart died on Sunday morning. I knew she needed medical attention. I should have just put her in the car and had her admitted anyway. She might still be alive. And even if she would have died anyway, at least her last hours would have been more comfortable. I feel like I failed Bart. She depended on me, and I screwed up big time. It's been a rough few days at this house.

I confess that it's really hard to get up and feed the degus in the morning; it reminds me so acutely that Bart isn't there anymore. It's also a little scary. I keep worrying that I'll go up to the cage and find another degu dead.

I confess that my laptop died on Thursday night and I have been really lazy about getting data I need for NaNoWriMo recovered off the hard drive. I don't know why I'm procrastinating, as NaNo starts in less than a week.

I confess that I'm actually a little scared for NaNoWriMo this year. Not because I'm not sure I can win - I know I can -  but because this year I want to write a really good novel. I've invested so much time into research, into writing prompts, and I worry that if I can't produce a good novel that is revisable and publishable, it will have all gone to waste. I know that's not true. I know that even if the novel itself is a failure, I still will have learned a lot. I still will have gotten novel-writing practice that will serve me when I try to write my next novel. I might even get the nugget of a good short story or novella in there. This effort will not be wasted.

I confess that I haven't been sleeping well, that I'm drained and groggy and grouchy and sad. I think I should go make some tea.

October 24, 2010

This is just wrong

Amazon.com has a new iPhone app available. Phone users can go to a bookstore, use the app to scan the book's bar code, and then order the book directly from Amazon on the spot.

Over the past couple of years, Amazon.com has been making business decisions that I consider questionable a best. But I can't get behind this one, because in my mind, Amazon.com is expressing the attitude that regular bookstores should serve as free showrooms for Amazon.com.

Of course, a potential customer can browse a bookstore, then go home and order the book from Amazon.com later anyway. Nobody can prevent that. But I think it's pretty skeevy of Amazon.com to facilitate that. This is just one of those things that sets me off as being definitively not-okay, and makes me really want to consider the extent to which I want to consider patronizing Amazon.com (not that I do so that frequently, and never for books, but perhaps I shouldn't be giving them my money at all).

Sunday Pleasures

Things have been interesting lately. My computer died on Thursday night, I spent much of Friday dealing with the problem (currently on a loaner laptop from a friend), spent Saturday being lazy, and it looks like Sunday is working out that way as well. But anyway. On to the things I've been enjoying lately. This week it's more of a link roundup, as I haven't been getting out of the house quite as much lately (lots of projects means less time for play).

Apparently, there are two kinds of writers: the caffeinated and the sleepy. I'm an insomniac with an anxiety disorder. I think that means I'm a little of both.

I'm currently a teensy-bit obsessed with Hyperbole and a Half. A friend sent me one of the posts last week, and since then I've been steadily reading through the archives. Allie never fails to crack me up.

I should have linked to this forever ago, but Kelli Russell Agodon (who blogs at Book of Kells) had  one of her poems up at Poetry Daily.

October 21, 2010

Interview with a Video Game Writer

There's an interview up with video game writer Emilie Poissenaut up at Hayden's Ferry Review Blog. I was excited to see this because, although I write primarily erotica these days, I'm also involved in a text-based video game writing project. I haven't elaborated on it very much here, because it's always difficult to talk about projects so rough and early in their development, but I think I'd like to discuss it obliquely for a bit.

A few months ago, a friend of mine was laid off. Suddenly confronted with extra time on his hands, he decided that this was the time when he was finally going to learn a programming language and write a text-based game. Not being a writer himself, he put up a Facebook status looking for writers. Even though I have hardly enough time to tackle all the projects on my to-write list, I took him up on it. He was a little surprised, as I'd never expressed interest in writing a game before (honestly, I hadn't thought about it before he posted it). But I wanted to try something completely different. So we joined forces.

Things have been going a little slower than expected. He's learning how to program. I'm flat-out learning how to write a video game story - something I'm attempting for the first time in my life. And a week and a half into the project, my friend found another job with a prominent gaming company, and it eats up a lot of his time. We were both grateful that he found paid employment again so quickly, but it has made us struggle to progress with the game. (Not to mention that we've both gone through major breakups within a few months of each other, and both of us struggle with creativity when we grieve). But even so, we continue on.

Writing a game is unlike anything I've written before. I can barely describe it. When I write a story, I typically begin at the beginning and write until I reach the end, and just let my creativity take me where it wants to go (though sometimes using my writing dice if I get stuck). But when writing a video game, I have to consider all possible outcomes/decisions for a character to make, and write out narrative for each of them. I have to figure out which actions are right and which are wrong. I can't just sit down and write out a story. I have to sit down, write a story, but also take into account all the ways a player might deviate from that story.

There are other differences. Writing game dialog and exposition is different. Writing descriptions of places and characters is different. I have to actually plot out directions for my main character to drive around town, because getting from one place to another is part of the challenge and adventure.

I'm glad that I started this challenge, and I look forward to playing the game when we're finally done. I'm glad I took the chance to expand my horizons, and see how video game writers work. This won't be my full career. But it's something that was fun to try, and that I would like to try again eventually.

Thankful Thursday

Posting with insomnia again . . .  hopefully the gratitude list will calm me down and let me get some rest.

I'm thankful that if I'm going to struggle with insomnia, at least I have the energy to get up and use the awake time in a productive manner.

I'm thankful for all of the writing opportunities I have been given this week. Real life likes to interfere, of course, but overall I've been productive.

I'm thankful for my new writing group. It's a group of talented professional writers who are committed to our craft. We're going to meet regularly, we're motivated, and we get along. Our first meeting already inspired me to revisit some goals that had become stagnant.

I'm thankful for rediscovering Raymond Carver. One of my writing group members suggested I read some of his work as I revise the story I brought to workshop last week. I first read his stories back in college, but I'm getting even more out of them now. Sometimes, I feel frustrated that I actually have to work and write and can't just sit at home reading his stories all day.

I'm thankful for dance. It keeps me happy and sane.

I'm thankful for yoga, especially my class focused on helping students with chronic injuries. My back has been feeling really good this week!

I'm thankful for awesome weekend plans.

October 19, 2010

Workspace Brainstorming, Part 1

For years I dreamed of having the sort of massive oak slab that would dominate a room . . . In 1981, I got the one I wanted and placed it in the middle of a spacious, skylighted study . . . For six years I sat behind that desk either drunk or wrecked out of my mind, like a ship's captain in charge of a voyage to nowhere.
A year or two after I sobered up, I got rid of that monstrosity and put it in a living-room suite where it had been . . . I got another desk - it's handmade, beautiful, and half the size of the T.rex desk. I put it at the far west end of the office, in a corner under the eave . . .
 [P]ut your desk in a corner, and every time you sit down to write, remind yourself why it isn't in the middle of the room. Life isn't a support-system for art. It's the other way around. - Stephen King, On Writing

I have chronic shoulder and back issues left over from an injury I sustained in college. Currently, I'm taking a yoga class designed for people with such issues, and it's helping a lot. Last week, I was talking with my teacher about my work space, and it came to my attention that it's contributing to these issues. My writing room functions as a second bedroom (so my husband and I can bring other partners home to stay the night and the other person will still have a space to sleep). I don't like desks. I write from that bed, or sometimes on the floor, or if I need a change of pace, on the couch in the living room. I only use desks/tables and chairs if I work at the library or a coffee shop, and I feel uncomfortable the entire time. The space is also disorganized and cluttered. But my yoga teacher outlined all the ways in which my bed/floor/couch habits, not to mention my tiny netbook that lacks a decent-sized screen or ergonomic keyboard, are just aggravating long-term issues. So the time has come for me to seriously think about a desk, an ergonomic chair, and (when I can afford it), a computer less likely to cause problems.

Ever since my teacher made me promise to work towards the goal of a healthier work space, I've had King's quotation in my mind. It doesn't have anything to do with carpal tunnel or middle-back problems, but it's also something I feel I need to keep in mind as I alter my space. There needs to be a sense of humility about it. I need a desk and a chair that will be good for my body, but don't need to spend hundreds of dollars on sexy, shiny, high-end models. I need something simple, functional, loveable. I need to make space for it, but not make the space revolve around it.

Just random meanderings as I begin my journey into a better work life.

Confession Tuesday

I confess that I always wait at least 15 minutes to open any reply from an editor regarding my submission. The nerves never go away. I know that no matter the outcome, I'll be fine, but there's always that little bit of anxiety.

I confess that I don't have a lot to blog about at the moment. I've been a sort of hermit, focusing on my researching and character development rather than producing new pieces. It's a nice change of pace, though I look forward to creating new stories again soon.

I confess that I'm stretching my creative limits, and it's intimidating, but also awesome. The new writer's group I joined is going to be very helpful in helping me stretch myself artistically.

I confess that I've gotten some disheartening rejections this month, but the acceptances I've received have made it worth it. More details to come as those near their publication dates.

I confess that after putting it aside for nearly a year, I want to try revising the manuscript from NaNoWriMo 2009. It's bloated, a novella (or even a novelette) with extra padding for the purposes of writing 50k in 30 days. But I really do think there's a good shorter piece in there. And I need to sit down and work on it. You know, when I'm not busy working on everything else . . .

October 12, 2010

Alex Chornyj on SensNeo

Check out poet Alex Chornyj on the SensNeo program on BlogTalk Radio. I've been a fan of Alex since my days as Gloom Cupboard editor, where he's been a frequent contributor. He's a great poet, and he has some fun things to say here.

Tattoo Series Volume 1 is Now Available!

The Tattoo Series: Volume 1 is now available from XOXO Press! Featuring a wide range of stories and art, this anthology is a must-have for any tattoo aficionado.

Volume 1 includes "Clyde's Tattoo," my story which first appeared in Sliptongue. It's great to see it in a collection now!

Thanks to XOXO Press for including my story. I'm thrilled to be a part of it.

Confession Tuesday

I confess that the frustration I vaguely vented about on Sunday has been fortunately resolved. I'm pretty happy.

I confess that I wish I could get breakfast tacos delivered. Or better yet, snap my fingers and just have them appear in front of me. I confess that oatmeal is less-interesting breakfast.

I confess that I need to go grocery shopping and bake bread, and many of my breakfast woes are due to the fact that I have been procrastinating on food purchasing and production chores.

I confess that my Wednesday is going to be busier than my Wednesdays typically are, and while I'm not entirely thrilled by the prospect, one item on the agenda is going to make my life easier, and another is going to further my route to closure after one of the difficult things that happened to me this year. So it will be worth it.

I confess that I wish the avocado plants I started would show more progress. I can't tell if they're dead or not and I'm impatient. 

I confess that my evenings revolve almost entirely around dance these days, as I'm preparing for a big competition at the end of the month, and I couldn't be happier. 

October 10, 2010

Sunday Pleasures

Glad I have this meme to cheer me up. I just got some really frustrating career-related news that I can't really talk about here. Let's just say that I am frustrated. And that it's partially my own fault. And I hope I can figure out a way to fix it. And it's time to go over some pleasureful things to take my mind off of it for a bit.

I got to see The Mountain Goats on Friday! They played at the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and the set was fantastic. John Darnielle was as charismatic as ever, and they played "Going to Georgia" (a song they rarely do live anymore), "No Children," and a ton of my favorites, most of them from We Shall All Be Healed. And they closed on "Houseguest," which is the song they closed on when I first saw them live in 2008. I was at their tent 2.5 hours early, to ensure I was right up front, and it was worth the wait. The rest of ACl I kind of hated. It was crowded, the people at the Black Keys set were just rude, and we left soon after. But all that matters is that I got to see my all-time favorite band, rock out, and sing along.

Yesterday was a day for cheesemaking! After going to brunch, my sister accompanied me to Austin Homebrew Supply, which, in addition to having supplies for making your own beer and wine, they have the requisite stuff for amateur cheesemaking. I'm making a Parmesan for the first time, using instructions from Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Delicious Cheeses. Currently, the cheese is sitting in a brine bath until tomorrow, at which point I will wrap it and let it age for 10 months before I have a chance to taste it. Hard cheeses are truly an exercise in patience.

And last night, my husband and I saw Buried. It's intense, emotional, claustrophobic, and exhausting, and I loved it. I'm glad I ordered that second glass of wine, and left the theater needing a hug, but it really is a fantastic film.

Flash-Fuck-Tion Roundup #3

Just one story posted since the last time I wrote, but I love this one so much that I don't want to wait for more to appear: Strands by Monocle.

October 7, 2010

Smut Marathon Round 6 Results

My story, entitled "In Bed," took 4th place in the most current round of Smut Marathon! It was a fairly tight race this time around, and I send a hearty congratulation to May Deva for winning with "Turning the Wheel." Her story was truly excellent.

The theme for round 7 is sex toys. This should be very interesting, indeed. I already have a few ideas sketched out; sometime this weekend I will pick one and start writing.

Thankful Thursday

It's a bit odd to be sitting here trying to think of all the things I'm thankful for when suffering from insomnia at four in the morning. Especially because I decided a hot shower would help, but then found a gigantic roach in the shower. Ick. But hey, I'm up, I might as well knock some things off my to-do list. And who knows? Maybe this exercise will calm me.

I'm thankful for my wonderful, hardworking dance partner. We're going to be awesome at competition in a few weeks.

I'm thankful that I get to see the Mountain Goats play at Austin City Limits on Friday.

I'm thankful for understanding clients who realize that technological bugs happen sometimes, and don't hold it against me.

I'm thankful that the NaNoWriMo forums are up and running (almost entirely) smoothly. It's so fun to be chatting with the other writers! I can't wait to start my novel! Even though in a few hours I'll be freaking out that November is only a few weeks away and there's no way I'll be able to finish my research in time.

October 5, 2010

Confession Tuesday

I confess that I'm eating apple pie for breakfast because the bread was covered in mold.

I confess that I can't believe the bread went so moldy so quickly. It's not even a week old, I've kept it wrapped, and the temperatures and humidity are decreasing.

I confess that the potatoes are starting to sprout, so today I will probably make a large batch of potato salad.

I confess that my decision to make pie yesterday was motivated by the fact that the apples were starting to get soft.

I confess that many of my cooking decisions are motivated by what is about to go bad.

I confess that I don't know why I try to buy in bulk. With the exception of flour, dried grains/pasta, and dried beans, everything else just goes to waste. But it's really hard to ignore the great deals. Still, it's not much of a deal if things are going bad because I bought more than I could hope to eat before things spoiled.

I confess that I could probably just freeze things, but I do have a tendency to put stuff in the freezer and then forget about it.

I confess that this all makes me feel like I am not doing my part for the environment.

Flash-Fuck-Tion Roundup Part II

Alison Tyler has published three more Flash-Fuck-Tion stories on her blog since I last updated, and they're great! Go check them out!

"Mind Your Manners" by Miz Angell

"Gloves" by Aurora Hunter

"Why?" by Antalianna