Craft Herpes & Baking Jones

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Maybe it’s my post Halloween funk, but starting on Dia de Los Muertos, I’ve been in the mood to do little else but craft, bake, & write.  I’ve made seafood alfredo from scratch, tiramisu from scratch, brownies, about 20 Christmas ornaments. 

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Is there a 12 step for this? I might need it.

Excerpt from Give Me Shelter

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The insistent buzzing in his ear caught his attention, and Eli awoke from his dream sweaty, turned on, and still hard. The buzzing? His phone migrating across his nightstand as it rang. What the hell time was it anyway? He looked at his watch, ten to seven. “This is Eli,” he said as he grabbed the phone, answering it instead of giving in to the urge to fling it across the room.

“It’s Bex. I need a favor.” She sounded anxious, stressed, and far too awake for this unholy hour.

Eli growled and rolled onto his back with his arm over his eyes. It was a rare thing that he denied her anything, but at the moment he was sorely tempted. Against his better judgment, he decided to hear her out. “Depends. What is it?”

“I need you to pick up Violet today and take her for her tour of the campus without me.”

He sat up in bed, the sheet falling away from his chest as he ran the fingers of his free hand through his hair. There were a few things he could think of at that moment that he wanted to do less. “Um . . . no? Why? Where are you gonna be?”

“The Fergusons’ son got picked up at closing time this morning, drunk, underage, and beat up pretty badly. I’m at UNMC waiting to get a condition on him and to see if this was just a kid being stupid or something more.”

He dropped his head back to stare at the ceiling, pulling a hand down his face. Of course, she was doing something legitimate and important. Wheels turning in his brain, he found a sliver of hope. “Why didn’t you call AR? Aren’t you supposed to be training him on this one?”

“Fuck!” and he knew right then he was doomed. She’d completely forgotten about AR. “Can you go pick him up? Take him with you? You know Vi. She trusts you. She won’t be any trouble; you know this.” Eli knew nothing of the kind, but now was not the time to pick a fight. The sound muffled as she put her hand over the phone and spoke to someone in the background. “Eli, I gotta go. Can you take care of this for me, please?”

He had to work to unclench his jaw, the fine tension radiating down his neck and into his shoulders, and he’d only been awake for five minutes. “Okay, fine, but you owe me.”

“Thanks, I’ll call ya later.”

The phone went dead in his hands and he knew damn well he would never collect. Sighing deeply, he flopped back down on his welcoming pillows for a moment. Sleep was not an option and even a sudden jarring change to the order of his morning was not enough to banish the vestiges of the dreams he’d left behind.

Some days the smell of cinnamon was enough to get a reaction, like an ingrained impulse that only his cock understood.

He stepped into the shower and turned on the hot water, letting the jets soothe and relax his shoulders and back. This was no way to start the morning, wound up like he’d been on the road for six hours in the truck with Bex.

God, it never failed. In the confined space of the car, on their own, they bonded. She was relaxed, funny, and she smelled . . . well, it was a good thing he usually drove since the steering wheel seemed to camouflage a multitude of sins, real and imagined. And oh, the things he imagined . . .

Eli groaned at his highly aroused train of thought. He leaned an arm against the wall, resting his head on it with his eyes closed. Between the dreams of Zoe and the thoughts of his partner, it was going to take more than just positive thinking to quell the erection he’d been sporting since he opened his eyes this morning. He reached for the body wash and squeezed some into the palm of his hand. “Ah, fuck it.”

I write the prawns (with apologies to Barry Manilow)

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Actually, I’m not gonna apologize to Barry, because I’m still bitter about the whole Copa Cabana earworm fiasco of Summer 2010. Damn all that. Anyway…
This is about writing the smut, the sexxoring, the prawns, whatever you want to call it. The mindset that goes into it, at least from my end, and the ways I prep for it and get it onto the page.
In romance writing (in both regular fiction and fanfic), a lot of what goes on in the story leads up to the BIG moments: the first look, the first touch, the first kiss, the first horizontal mambo. The thing is, though, that as you become invested in the characters you’re reading, if the author botches one of those (especially the last two), you can hang it up as a reader (at least for me, as an avid consumer of both regular romance fiction and fanfiction). As an author, with my own predilections in mind in this regard, I want to make sure that when I get to those milestones, that I leave an indelible mark on the reader’s mind, and hopefully their libido.
When preparing to throw down on the page, there are a couple of things that must happen in my real life in order for my characters to be fulfilled. The first is the music. There is kind of a divide among writers with regards to music, some who write with it, and some who do not, but I am firmly entrenched in the ‘with music’ camp. The music follows the mood of the scene I’m trying to create, which in turn informs my mindset, which finally yields the choreography of the kiss/touch/tryst. Is the disposition of the characters slow and sensual, rough and urgent, eccentric and playful leading to either of the previous states? All of that goes into the musical selections. Nothing brings me out of my writing mind faster than the wrong tempo/tone/key/words of a song. If I’m going for slow and sensual, I’m usually doing Sade, not Theory of a Deadman, which is on my playlist for when the characters want to get a bit more ‘hands on’ with their affections.
The second is the actual frame of mind itself. I don’t outline the sex scenes, because the idea of hitting certain set points or stage marks when the characters are at their most vulnerable just kinda creeps me out. I do, however, like to have a certain level of organic flow and choreography in the scenes. I describe it as having a dirty movie house in my head, only the floors are remarkably cleaner. Where the hands are, the mouths, the various parts and appendages, all flows together to create an overall image that hopefully moves the reader as much as it does the plot.
My big concern when writing the scenes is that I get so wrapped up in the dance, that I overlook the emotion that goes into it as well. It is very possible, in real life as well as fiction, to have extraordinarily hot sexual encounters without having any sort of real emotional attachment to them at all. That said, that is definitely not the point of romantic fiction and should be avoided at all costs. If, when reading over your stuff, you feel a certain level of emotional disconnect in your work, you might want to put it down and come back to it fresh a bit later, if for no other reason than you don’t want to give your reader less than your best.

The Deadly Ship

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Why in the hell do I watch shows and immediately yenta the characters, wanting them to get together, regardless of how the story goes? Raylan and Winona, she’s knocked up and it’s a bad idea, but she’s a good fill in until I get a better option. Kensey and Deeks, all over it. Eliot and any available X chromosome who swings that way, all day long and pass the popcorn. Mary and Marshall, of course. Damn the plot, damn the series, I just want them together. Personally, I blame my abiding love for romance novels and the happily ever after. And Mulder and Scully.