Monday, February 13, 2017

Book Announcement - "Knife's Edge" is coming soon!

I have a new book coming out soon. It's in edits and the cover is being created so I expect that I will be able to get it out in the world by late March. The title is Knife's Edge: Kinky Lesbian Erotica and it will include 12 stories about spanking and surrender and restraints and all kinds of other fun things.  What else in it? Pirates and aliens and cowgirls and the hottest meter maid you'll ever run across. Plus, the occasional vampire and some lively reminiscences about the girl's hockey team.

And there will be a followup volume of my vanilla stories coming up after that. These will both be released by my new publishing venture, Queen of Swords Press (website still being finalized). You can read more about Queen of Swords here, as well as about Other Me's new short story collection Out of This World: Queer Speculative Fiction Stories.

So what's in Knife's Edge? Some of my previously published work, as well as some new work and some work that's never been collected before.
Here's the Table of Contents and a short excerpt:
Reunion at St. Mary’s
On the Spanish Main
Arachne
The Hands of a Princess   
El Tigre
Polar Vortex
An Incident in Whitechapel
Planet 10   
Cowgirls and Science
D is for Denial   
Wage Slave
Lovely Rita, Meter Maid


Except from "Reunion at St. Mary's" -

             Bridget Marie Riordan O’Halloran was depressed. It wasn’t so much that work was insanely stressful, though that was part of it. Or that Vic and all her friends seemed to have forgotten her birthday, though that didn’t help. It was the clipping from the parish newspaper, sent courtesy of her mother, that put her over the edge. Sister Agnes Mercy Byrnes had been taken up to Heaven, or so it said.
From what Bridget remembered of her, she was more likely to be torturing the Devil below than hovering on a cloud above but where she was didn’t matter so much as the fact that she was gone. It was the passing of an era. Sister Agnes had been the terror, among other things, of Bridget’s high school years. It was hard to forget the hours she spent over the years masturbating over her memories of the spanking the nun had once given her in the principal’s office. Imagining those firm hands on her young flesh gave her a thrill even now. She pictured Sister Agnes going even further and pulling down her white virginal panties and…Vic walked in a moment later to find her with her hand between her legs.
         “Hi sweetie. Ooh, that looks like fun. What triggered this?” Vic grabbed the little clipping as Bridget jerked her hand out of her pants. Vic gave her a look of pure disbelief. “You’re jilling off to Sister Agnes’ obituary?”
         Bridget turned bright red and tried to come up with a good explanation. Then she gave up and went on the attack instead. “You forgot my birthday! Some girlfriend you are.” She crossed her arms over her chest to hide the nipples poking through her shirt. Sister Agnes’ hands had been pretty amazing in that last fantasy.
          “I knew you were going to say that,” Vic grinned triumphantly as she dropped onto the couch. She ran one hand down Bridget’s thigh with a possessive pressure that never failed to make her pay attention. “I’ve got a little surprise for you, babe. Kind of appropriate too, given your new ghoulish hobby. We’re going to your tenth high school reunion. My treat.”
         Bridget’s jaw dropped. No way. Sister Julia and Father Williams would run them out of Sacred Heart parish at the head of a torch-wielding mob. Vic just didn’t understand how things worked at parochial school. But before she could say a word, Vic had her in a liplock that soon turned to other things. Once Vic was holding Bridget down and pounding her fist into her wet and desperate pussy, going home for the reunion sounded just fine. Besides, it was two months away; she had plenty of time to change Vic’s mind.
          But somehow, they never got around to talking about it. Every time she tried, Vic was too busy or was all over her so she gave up, resigning herself to the trip from hell. It would be even worse if they ended up staying with her parents. She just hoped her mother wouldn’t say the rosary over them when she thought they were sleeping again.
         Despite all her worries, she did start to wonder if some of her old friends would be there. Monica came out after graduation. That was inevitable. If James Dean was ever reincarnated as a Catholic high school girl, Monica was it. Then there was Mary Eileen. She’d never forget that one sleepover party where they all decided to practice kissing. From what she could remember, Mary Eileen wanted to practice a few other things too, but they’d all been too scared to try them. As for the rest of the girls who ran around with them, well if Bridget knew her budding Dykes on Bikes chapter, they were it by now.
         By the time they got ready to leave town, Bridget was pretty much resigned to the trip. It made it easier that Vic was so very obviously up to something. That was usually a good thing. Bridget even resisted taking a peek in the toy bag when she loaded it in the car. No point in spoiling the surprise, whatever it was. At least they were staying at a hotel and not her parent’s, so no matter what, there was a bright side.
         Vic wasn’t letting anything slip, though. She was too tired for sex in the hotel they stopped at halfway there, which was weird, and she wasn’t talking much during the drive, which was weirder. Bridget was getting antsy and it brought out the pushy bottom in her. She wheedled, she whined, she sulked; anything to get Vic to do something with or to her. Anything at all. She squirmed against the fabric of the car seat imagining a few of those things.  But for the first time in years, Vic wasn’t going for it. She smiled when Bridget pouted and stonewalled when she whined until her girlfriend thought she’d go nuts before they got there. 

End of Excerpt 

Monday, January 16, 2017

And we're back!

I've gotten two new stories submitted and my new lesbian erotica collections for Queen of Swords Press, my new publishing venture, are in progress and due to be released later on this year.
With all that in mind, I'm opening back up to guest blog submissions for posts focussed on F/F, queer women and/or lesbian erotica and erotic romance post. Got a new book coming out or a event title to plug? Contact me for details.

Queen of Swords is still gearing up, but you can connect with us on Twitter at @qospress and Facebook. Mailing List will be up and ready soon.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's Give Out Day!

Today's the day to give to one or more of your favorite LGBTQ+ nonprofits! Check out the website for some great options and help queer nonprofits grow and better serve their communities. https://www.giveoutday.org/c/GO/

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Erotica and Plot


 
Your plot is the engine that drives your story. It’s why your characters are there and it’s what’s motivating what they’re doing. At its most basic, a plot is about a) a character who has a goal and b) faces obstacles achieving his/her goal and either succeeds or fails to achieve it at the end. Every character and obstacle that you add to that formula complicates the plot. At the same time every story has to have at least this much of a storyline to make it a real story instead of a collection of words on the page.

When it comes to writing erotica, many people, even other writers, will tell you that erotica doesn’t require much of a plot. And it doesn’t, if you’re not writing to get published and build a larger audience for your work.  But if you are, you’ve read countless guidelines that say that the editors want to see storylines that involve more than sex. Something else needs to happen too; the characters need to grow or the situation needs to change around them. For many writers, this is one of the lines that separates erotica from pornography: erotica has a fully developed story line, including a plot. For most writers, this is also the difference between a good story and a bad story.

That said, having a plot that is geared toward erotic situations is quite helpful if you’re writing erotica. An erotic plot can be as minimal as character A meets character B, they develop a brief relationship, then part never to meet again. Or as complicated as full-length novel in which the characters become increasingly intimate over the course of time and events.

Defining your plot before you start writing can be helpful for determining what your characters are like and how the story will play out and end. Some plots are inherently erotic, such as attending a sex party, for example. Others require some effort to make the situation erotic, like having your characters meet in a laundromat.

First consider the length of the story that you want to write. Is it a short story in the 3000 to 5000 word range? A novella in the 20,000 word range? Or a full-length novel? The longer the work, the more plot it requires to keep the story afloat. Otherwise, you end up with pages and pages of filler or worse, something repetitive and dull. On the other hand, if you’re writing a shorter piece, you don’t want to end up with an overwhelmingly complicated plot. Cramming a huge plot into a short story leads to loose ends and reader confusion. Either way, it simply doesn’t do justice to your writing.

Once you’ve decided on length, look at what kind of story you are writing. Science fiction and romance erotic plots are often relatively complex, pure contemporary erotica is often less so. The readers of the former will expect to find out something about the society the characters are living in as well as what it is that brings them together. Readers of contemporary erotica are participating in some version of the same society in their daily lives and won’t require the same context to understand what is going on.

After you’ve defined your story length and genre, try outlining some of the goals that your character(s) are striving toward and the obstacles in their way. This outline can be as simple as a list of questions or as complex as multiple paragraphs of description. The important thing is to establish what the story is about for you as an author. Ask yourself the following questions: what do your character's goals tell you about the characters themselves? What kind of situations would best enable your characters to achieve their goals? What kind would make it most difficult?

You don’t have to begin your story with the plot, of course. For some writers, myself included, it can feel as if the characters themselves are running the plot. I start out with the character and the character’s voice. Once that’s fleshed out in my head, I come up with a plot that the character can become enmeshed in. The positive side of this approach is that the plot flows more naturally and I don’t have to do as much tweaking of the character(s) to make it work since it’s a more or less organic whole. The downside is that if I get carried away with plot complications (at the instigation of my characters, of course!), the story balloons out of control and becomes something very different than the one I set out to write.

What I do to control this is to make lists of all the possible endings to my story and what it would take to get the characters to those ends. For example, my main character is a warrior assigned to guard a princess on a perilous trip to meet her betrothed in another land. The obstacles to reaching the objective are a warlord who wants the princess for himself; the princess, who isn’t sure that this wedding is such a great idea; and the warrior’s own internal conflicts. Possible endings include: the princess runs off with the warrior (option one); the warlord is defeated and the princess marries her intended (option two); the princess falls for both the warrior and the warlord and they all go off together (option three); or everybody dies (option four).

Generally speaking, the last option is the least viable one for erotic fiction, unless of course everyone gets laid a lot before they all die. It can be done, but generally I’d go for one of the other plots. Options one and three are good erotic setup situations, potentially fraught with sexual tension. At the same time, something needs to happen to happen to convince the princess that she wants to leave a life of luxury for option one to occur. For option three to work, she needs to have feelings for both the warrior and the warlord and something needs to motivate her to pursue those feelings. In order for the option two story arc to be interesting, something needs to happen along the way. Does she fall in love with one of the other two characters but decide to marry her intended to keep the peace? Is her betrothed just a better catch after she’s played around with one or both of the other two on the way there?

Once I’ve selected a plot that appeals to me, I start working with the characters and figuring out how they’re going to achieve their goals despite the obstacles. I usually begin with the How. All these characters have to be brought together to make any of the plots described above work. How becomes the warrior deciding to serve as the princess’ guard. How is also the warlord deciding on a plan of attack, but this can occur offstage unless he’s my point of view character.

Along with the How, is the Why. Is the warrior signing up for guard duty because he, she or they (because a warrior or a king doesn't necessarily need to be a dude) is  broke? Because she has the hots for the princess? Because the King is blackmailing them into guard duty? For that matter, why does the princess have reservations about marrying her fiancé? Is there something about him that makes the warlord or the warrior or both look good in comparison? Remember that something needs to motivate your characters to do the things that they do.

Something else to bear in mind here is that some plots have been done so often that they have become cliché. Think about the plots you’ve read in the past; if it sounds familiar and you don’t have a new spin on it, figure it’s been done before. In the story example above, for instance, having the princess fall for the warrior after being rescued from the warlord is the easy way out. It’s predictable and the reader will see it coming a mile away. As a result, it’ll need something else: strong dialogue, unusual characters and higher stake obstacles to make it stand out.

Your plot should also be coherent. One action should flow from another in a logical way. Deviations from that flow need to be explained. The key to plotting erotica is not to lose sight of your goal, namely the story that you set out to write. Your characters need to end up in a situation that makes sense in the context of the rest of your story. You have to build up to it and develop your characters along the way. Remember that your plot helps your story stand out and highlights your writing and all the effort you put into it so don’t neglect it.

Check out the writing columns and other resources at ERWA for more suggestions and thoughts:

Friday, July 1, 2016

#Prideorgs - Celebrating and Supporting LGBTQ+ Organizations Part 2

See yesterday's post for the first part of the list. As noted there, I picked three LGBTQ organizations a day to plug; it's not an exhaustive list by any means, but I tried for a broad range of topics and for organizations that are less high profile and/or which are doing good work for folks who are otherwise not in the spotlight. Hope that this proves useful!


Aging
  • #prideorgs #24 SAGE @sageusa - national organization providing support and advocacy for LGBTQ elders - http://www.sageusa.org
  •  #prideorgs #25 National Center on LGBT Aging @lgbtagingcntr - technical assistance and training for caregivers, etc. http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org 
  •  #prideorgs #26 Zami Nobla @ZAMINOBLA support and programs for black lesbians and queer women on aging - zaminobla.org
Living with Disabilities
  • #prideorgs #27 Rainbow Alliance for the Deaf - Advocacy, support, biennial conference - http://www.deafrad.org
  •  #prideorgs #28 Blind LGBT Pride @blindprideintl - Advocacy, networking, support, conference - http://blindlgbtpride.org 
  • #prideorgs #29 Disability Visibility Project @DisVisibility - oral histories, social media campaigns, #CripTheVote - https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com 
Suicide Counseling and Prevention
  • #prideorgs #30 The Trevor Project @TrevorProject - crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth http://www.thetrevorproject.org
  •  #prideorgs #31 Trans Lifeline @Translifeline - support hotline for trans folks -http://www.translifeline.org 
  •  #prideorgs #32 GLBT National Helpline @glbtNatlHelpCtr: coming out, family counseling, local resource referral, etc. http://www.glbthotline.org 
Writing While Queer
Native American Two Spirit and LGBTQ+
  • #Prideorgs #36 NativeOut @nativeout - resources for and about Native American Two Spirit people - http://nativeout.com
  •  #prideorgs #37 Dancing to the Eagle Spirit Society - Canada, healing/empowerment of Two Spirit aboriginal people - http://www.dancingtoeaglespiritsociety.org 
  •  #prideorgs #38 Transformative Media Project @tmorganizers - media organizing projects, incl. Two Spirit and LGBTQ - https://www.alliedmedia.org/tmo
Refugees
Religion and Humanism
  • #prideorgs #42 Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity @TheMASGD - support and networking - http://www.muslimalliance.org
  •   #prideorgs #43 Institute for Welcoming Resources @ShowerofStoles - welcoming Christian and Jewish congregations - http://www.welcomingresources.org 
  •    #prideorgs #44 LGBTQ Humanist Alliance @LGBTQHumanists - resources/community for LGBTQ+ humanists and allies - http://lgbthumanists.org 
Some Regional Organizations that Could Really Use a Hand
  •     #prideorgs #45 Equality Mississippi @EqualityMiss - advocacy and support - equalitymississippi.org/about/
  •    #prideorgs #46 Equality North Carolina @equalitync - lobbying, advocacy and support - equalitync.org/who/mission/
  •   #prideorgs #47 Tennessee Equality Project @tnequality - education and legal and political - advocacy tnep.nationbuilder.com
Finishing out the list with theaters, because I love live theater and everybody should get to see themselves on stage:

#Prideorgs - Celebrating and Supporting LGBTQ+ Organizations - Part 1


I'd been thinking about this project for Pride Month anyway, but Orlando made it feel a lot more necessary. As a rule, most nonprofit and/or advocacy organizations that focus on LGBTQ+ people are generally underfunded and understaffed. They don't have the resources to deal with huge demands, like the aftermath of a massacre or fighting the continuing onslaught of bathroom bills or equivalent disasters. They operate on a shoestring to support everything from suicide counseling to coming out to refugee assistance to legal aid to training the next generation of LGBTQ folks to be elected to public office. My hope is that people will donate where they can, volunteer and otherwise support these groups and others like them. I started this on June 14th and will be wrapping up on June 30th, but I thought I'd start compiling the list out here. I've been boosting 3 organizations a day which provide some sort of support to LGBTQ+ folks. Each three are more or less thematically linked, at last in my head. If you follow me on Twitter (@clundoff), you can follow along daily on the #prideorgs, but you can also see the list on a browser without logging in. It is U.S.-focused but there are some Canadian and international organizations included as well. Most site have additional resources and links to other groups.

Onsite assistance to Orlando shooting victims, their loved ones and their communities.

LGBTQ Legal Assistance (National)
Grants and Community Funding

LGBTQ Archives and Libraries

Political Advocacy
Bisexual and Trans Organizing and Advocacy
Queer Youth Homelessness Queer People of Color

Monday, June 20, 2016

GCLS Annual Conference

The Golden Crown Literary Society is having its annual lesbian fiction conference in a couple of weeks in Washington, D.C. There'll be panels, talks, readings, the Goldie Awards and other fun stuff. It's definitely worthwhile if you write romance, paranormals, lit fiction, etc. with lesbian characters. And as a two-time Goldie Award winner, my congrats to the nominees and finalists for this year!