Archive for » August, 2009 «

Publications…”Like a Thousand Miles of Fire” in Bite Me

My short story “Like a Thousand Miles of Fire” in Torquere Press’s Bite Me anthology is now available for sale here. Bite Me is a collection of stories about threesomes, two men and one woman in each story.

“Like a Thousand Miles of Fire” is about a half-demon, Crystal Andraya, and her two vampire lovers, William and Miguel. They defy the rules of their world to be together, and as war looms between vampires and demons, the only place they can find strength and peace is in each other’s arms.

Excerpt:

I was horny and bored, and the resort stank of mildew and rot.

Construction workers had been upstairs during the day tearing out the walls, replacing the old insulation, fixing broken pipes — work that needed to be done while we renovated, but which left the whole place a stinking mess. It was taking forever. We’d moved in two years ago, after the first floor had been renovated. The rest of the work was being done in fits and spurts because the vampires couldn’t handle their territory being invaded for long. I didn’t mind. The workers were human, and couldn’t hurt me. That was just one of the differences between vampires and demons.

William didn’t seem to mind the mess, but he was working on a new piece of art and that always distracted him from everything else in the world. He had been bent over his sketchpad for almost an hour.

Watching him sculpt was entertaining and frequently quite erotic. Watching him sketch did nothing for me. I ran my hands up my body, skimming from thighs to stomach to breasts, trying to get his attention. He didn’t look over at me. I was being ignored, and I didn’t like it one bit. I sighed and jumped over the back of the couch.

Miguel was reading near the big windows across the room from William. The drapes were open wide, revealing a long stretch of beach and the darkness of the ocean at night. I wished, for a moment, that I could see him in the sunlight. He looked up at my sudden movement and shut his book.

“I’m bored.” I flung myself down in front of him and rested my elbows on his thighs. “Want to entertain me?”

His smile spread across his face, slow and lovely. He had a strong nose, defined cheekbones, and dark skin, though it had an odd, light undertone to it, testament to the years he’d been a vampire hidden away from the daylight. I was several shades darker, but I got to spend time in the sun.

He set his book aside and reached for me. He rested one hand on my shoulder and cupped my jaw with the other, then slid his hand around to the back of my head. He dug his fingers into my braids until he could press them against my scalp.

I moaned when he hit a good spot and rolled my head back into his touch.

“Kiss me,” I ordered, and he complied. The first time we had kissed, he had been hesitant, tentative, but I’d been with the two of them full-time for the better part of three years, and all his actions were firmer now, and he more dominant.

I kissed him until I couldn’t breathe, something he didn’t have to worry about, and then tilted my head until I could bite the side of his throat.

“Want to spar?” I mumbled into his skin.

“Don’t break me.” His voice was light, amused.

He clenched his hand in my hair and jerked back my head. I expected the attack to come from the other side, and he caught me off guard. I threw myself into his movement and carried it farther, falling backward despite the pain in my scalp.

He held on, and I hauled him out of the chair and onto the floor. I scissored my legs around his waist, and then slammed my hips to the side, pinning him to the ground. He released my hair, but grabbed for my wrists. I was faster and got them out of the way in time.

I loosened my legs and slithered away from him until I had room to kick up into a handstand, evading his grasp. He came up to his knees and lunged at me; we slammed to the floor together. My cheek hit hard and started to bleed.

Miguel stretched along me, his chest against my back, his groin to my ass. He put his mouth against my ear and closed his teeth on the cartilage.

Category: Publications  Tags:  2 Comments
Writing…It’s All Been Done Before, or Choosing a Story to Rewrite

Two recent calls for submissions wanted stories based on fairy tales. One story I’ve completed and submitted, though I haven’t yet had a response from the editor, and one story I’m currently outlining. One of the things I find interesting when talking with other authors about calls for submissions like this is how they choose the story to, basically, rewrite.

For the first story, the one I already submitted, I didn’t have much of a process. I wanted to write a werewolf story and while I considered doing a Little Red Riding Hood story with a werewolf instead of a regular wolf, I decided against it for a couple reasons. First, I dislike the way Little Red Riding Hood warns girls and women not to go off the main path, the safe path, not to have adventures. Second, I already have two different stories in first draft form that rewrite the Little Red Riding Hood story. One of them mixes it with another fairy tale.

One of my other favorite fairy tales is Beauty and the Beast, though I also dislike stories where the prince stops being a beast and becomes human again. I dislike what this says about appearances (beautiful people are the only ones who get happy ever after?), but I also dislike the way the reader comes to love the Beast right along with Beauty and then the person we love is ripped away and becomes someone new. Being the Beast definitely influences personality and action. What happens when that’s taken away?

I started having thoughts. What if the Beast isn’t being punished? What if the Beast is just that – part human, part beast? Werewolf. What if the Beast is the woman? How do I avoid the all women = evil monsters or sexual women = dangerous monsters trends which show up so often when women are werewolves? What if the Beauty doesn’t want the Beast to break the curse, but wants to be cursed too?

Answers to these questions (or at least thoughts with more questions) brought the story together. I wanted to keep some things I love from both the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale and werewolf mythology. The Beast has a garden and it plays a part in the story. Wolfsbane has its place. The full moon cycle is the calendar of the Beast. Beauty is warned the Beast is a strange and dangerous monster.

I knew I wanted to make it a modern story, too, so the Beast lives in a castle of glass and iron, a building which rises high above the city, and Beauty is a business manager.

That was the easy way to pick a story to retell. It fell into my lap because at the heart of it, these are stories I love to read and love to tell.

Choosing a second fairy tale is harder. I can tell another werewolf story, can even finish and polish one of the Little Red Riding Hood stories. (Depending on how this new story goes, I might do just that.) However, I want to try new things as a writer.

I knew right away I didn’t want to rewrite a European fairy tale in part because many other writers will submit stories based on European fairy tales and in part because there are so many retellings already out there. I want to tell a different story.

This search for a non-European fairy tale is made more difficult because I’m traveling for work this summer and all my collections of fairy tales and myths and legends are back in my library at home. Still, the internet is full of places to at least start looking, and I’ve been reading story after story trying to find one that works.

I’ve rejected most of them. Many are racist and sexist and though there is something to be said for taking a story and retelling it in a nonracist and nonsexist way, so many of them are broken at the very core of the story. Some don’t work as lesbian erotic romances, which is the theme for the call for submissions. Some I just find boring.

I’ve narrowed it down to a handful which might work. Now I have to start plotting and see what I can do with them. I want to write characters of color in this one, too. (“Thousand Miles of Fire” has an African-British woman and a Native American man and both Beauty and the Beast are Native American.) I want to celebrate women and their sexuality and their strength. (I hope “Thousand Miles of Fire” and the Beauty and the Beast story do this, too.) I want to write something slightly haunting. I want to give the lesbians (or, since this is me, the lesbian and the bisexual, because I hate the invisibility of bisexuals) a happy ending, because there are so many stories where the lesbians die.

I want to tell a good story while doing all these things. Finding the right fairy tale to rewrite is just the first step.

How do you choose stories to retell?

Category: Writing Meta  Tags:  2 Comments
Publications…”Like a Thousand Miles of Fire” cover

Today I received the cover for the Bite Me anthology which includes my story “Like a Thousand Miles of Fire”(1). Sexy cover for a sexy story!

Here’s the blurb I wrote for the story: Since the dawn of time, demon and vampire societies have existed under a shaky truce. As the threat of war looms, half-demon Crystal Andraya finds strength and the heat of passion in the arms of her vampire lovers William and Miguel. The world they’ve built together may be falling apart around them, but they know what they want and nothing is more important than the love they share.

I’ll share the publisher’s blurb as soon as it’s available.

Here’s the anthology cover. I’m a fan, particularly of the arms. I love defined arms.

Cover for Bite Me anthology

Cover for Bite Me anthology

(1) Possibly actually titled “Like a Thousand Miles of Fire”. I should confirm which is correct.

I Recommend…”Knives” by Seanan McGuire

“Knives” by Seanan McGuire is a retelling of the Little Mermaid story, but this is not the singing dancing under the sea extravaganza Disney sells. It takes the story so many of us know – mermaid, prince, swapping a tail for two legs at some exorbitant price – and gives it a good twist. As the summary says, there’s always another side to the story and this side is heartbreaking and painful and wonderful, all at the same time.

The language is beautiful. There are so many parts I’d like to quote, but experiencing those lines while reading the whole provides such wonderful moments I wouldn’t want to deny you that. My favorite bit, however, is this: “Maybe I’m damned already. If you have no soul, where do you go when you die? Back to sea foam and waves, I suppose. Sounds peaceful, if you’re asking me.”

Back to sea foam and waves indeed.

This is a love story, but it has no happy ending. The mermaid chases love – the prince – without noticing love is already by her side, her best friend under the waves, another mermaid woman. It’s a haunting, heart breaking tale of love and loss and the sacrifices we make.

I Recommend…”Spaced” by Andrea Howe

Once again, Circlet Press’s Fiction Friday brought me a story I really enjoyed, this time “Spaced” by Andrea Howe. I love doomed, delicious moments in life and this has that in spades.

My favorite bit: “It was foolish, twisting together in the middle of the room; we’d shut off the grav hours ago. Skin on skin was a false heat; she was warm under my hands, but that didn’t make up for the heat seeping away into the dark space. Didn’t stop us from unsuiting, from seeking out the contours or bared flesh, now invisible, now orange.”