Baton Blog Hop: Shining a Light in the Dark
Baton Blog Hop: Shining a Light in the Dark
The writing process of M/M Romance author.
Thanks to my good friend Huck Pilgrim for inviting me to be a part of the Baton Blog Hop. Huck is one of my favorite erotica writers. The stories of the small town of Carnal remind me of a trip to the erotic version of the Outer Limits. My own stories tend to be on the darker side. We do have cookies you know, although after sex I prefer a sandwich.
Thanks again, Huck. Please get to know Huck by visiting his website listed below, preceded of course by a short, but sweet biography.
Huck Pilgrim is the pseudonym of a minor author, who craves readers, and doesn’t mind working hard on his books. He is a father and a husband, enjoys his family, writing, and watching movies. His work appears in BEST GAY EROTICA 2014 and is forthcoming in HOMEBOYS: URBAN GAY EROTICA from Cleis Press.
Visit Pilgrim Press online: http://huckpilgrim.wordpress.com
These four questions have been posed to me and like the writer I am…I’ve probably gone off far too long.
1) What am I working on?
Currently I’m preparing for the release of my short story, Cold Darkness available for preorder here: http://www.museithotpublishing.com/index.php/coming-soon/cold-darkness-detail with a release date of June 13, 2014. Okay, shameless plug out of the way. Right now, I’m dealing with the edits for another short story, Ephemeral Darkness. It’s coming out this winter. Both stories are a part of the Wild Darkness Call from MuseItHot Publishing. Also, I’m editing a novel, Saving Kane for Loose Id, due out hopefully this fall. My next novel is Fourth and Long. It’s in the first draft stage. Probably four more chapters to go and I’ll have finished the first draft. Trainwreck is another novel I’m preparing for submission and its sequel Surviving Adam is nearly complete. I’m utilizing my personal blog as a showcase for some short flasher style works. Often my stories stem from these flashers. It’s a great way to work through scenes, story arcs, and characterization as well as minimalism. Something I obviously have difficulty getting a handle on, judging from how long I suspect this particular post will wind up being…sorry in advance.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My stories are character driven. Readers want to connect with the characters. I like to populate my world with folks who sound real. Even my secondary characters have been given a rounded background in my notes, so they appear on the page as if we all know them. They’re backstory isn’t a part of the story, but because I know their history, I know them. It makes it easier to recognize their behavior as being true. Also in using them for plot and conflict I can decide which secondary character will work best in their limited roles.
Els in Fourth and Long is one of those characters. He’s the older man in the defensive lines secondary who acts as mentor, barometer, and even devils’ advocate for the main character of Irus Beaumont. Haines is another wide receiver who is the younger player Jackson McCoy sort of mentors and Haines brings Jackson out of his protective shell. Haines seems to have a problem with Jackson when he comes out, but it gets worked out when Jackson realizes it’s not really about homophobia, but the kid’s lack of confidence.
Miss Beulah Beaumont is a supporting character in Saving Kane and makes a return in Fourth and Long as Irus Beaumont’s auntie. Everyone loves Miss Beulah, who used to be linebacker, Bert Beaumont. As Miss Beulah puts it: she went through the change. Small things give her depth, how other characters react to her and in Fourth and Long, we learn a lot about her when Irus is upset she was passed up for the hall of fame, again. She took it with dignity and was just happy to be considered. “Oh honey-child, if I made what other people think of me a priority, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today.”
The main characters have to be loveable somehow and I have the ability to make my dark heroes burrow into the hearts of my readers. Often I put them in difficult situations or bring them back to their personal darkness before handing them the flashlight they need to scurry from the dark. Some of my characters are barely dragging themselves up from the grit. They fight and crawl from the gutter. There are no billionaires. No actors or actresses. No rock stars, yet. There is an idea kicking around my head. My characters are regular people put in dark places. Most of my writing deals with adults who are surviving the long-term physical and psychological effects of child abuse.
Vincent Sweetwater sleeps around trying to feed something lost inside him, urges he can’t explain, but he would give it all up for his wife to love him again. Ripped apart by the death of their daughter, Vince and his wife, fellow cop Mica Sweetwater live together as roommates instead of lovers. Each secretly dreaming they could reconcile. It’s a technique I learned from one of my favorite love stories, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy (Emma).
To have the lover’s together, but so far apart creates angst. A little angst never hurt a story. To add to Vince’s struggle against his over-sexualized nature, he’s having to deal with his attraction/love for another man. Women readers find Vince hard to resist, and sometimes, so do the women in Trainwreck. Yet he loses control, cheats on his wife, and breaks the rules at work. The product of child abuse and the foster care system. Vince is in constant battle with his nature. While his wife dreams of taking control. She has dreams of dominating him. Little does she know, that’s precisely what he wants, but he’s in the middle of a homicide that is tearing him apart.
Cold Darkness has two love interests inhabiting the same body for a time. The timeframe is eighteen years after their initial love affair. Eighteen years of dealing with his crazy, vampire/demon girlfriend in his head, after his betrayal of her in order to save the world. I like to think their situation is unique.
In Ephemeral Darkness, a young chef falls in love with a ghost. He just needs to survive the abusive relationship he finds himself in first. It’s the story of love crossing centuries. As a lover of the movie High Spirits, this short story is one of my favorites, although there is no character who could be portrayed my Peter O’Toole. Dead, or Alive.
Saving Kane is about a young gay bartender who dreams of being a dancer, brutally assaulted by a man intent on killing him. Kane’s life is saved by a former firefighter turned paramedic, Garrett. Kane tries to rebuild his life, but realizes he’s being stalked by his attacker.
Fourth and Long is a story about two football players, Jackson McCoy a wide receiver and Irus Beaumont a cornerback, dealing with the game and their positions as closeted players. They start out as enemies, used to being rivals on the field. Now they’re on the same team, dealing with sexual tension and rivalry. The wide receiver has things from his past that could crush him and when he’s outed things become complicated.
Trainwreck has an unconventional narcotics detective thrust into a murder investigation against his will. During the course of the investigation, his marriage in limbo, and his professional relations tenuous, Vincent Sweetwater uncovers things about his childhood he spent a lifetime forgetting. It brings him back to a man he used to see in the kink community. With so much at stake in his marriage, Vince fights his questionable sexuality while trying to find a killer he believes is a part of the community he used to secretly be a member.
Surviving Adam is the story of John Sweetwater, Vince’s father. It’s the story of a man coming out of twenty-six years in prison to redeem himself as a father and a gay man. His love interest is David Schwartz, the old dog on Vince’s narcotics squad who is driven crazy by Vince’s antics. He’s going through a divorce and dealing with a vengeful ex-wife. The sub-plot is a cross-over from Trainwreck. A case of sexual assaults in gay bars and circuit clubs. Now, I know fifty is the new forty, but Vince likes to flip Dave a lot of shit, and old dog/old man often comes from his mouth.
3) Why do I write what I do?
Much of what is in my stories (even the paranormal ones) are themes I’ve dealt with in my own life. There is much of myself in the main character of Trainwreck. Kane’s a dancer, something I wanted to be when I was young. Garrett is a paramedic, something I consider doing when I tire of the four walls of the operating room as a surgical tech. Truth be told, I feel more like a man than a woman, which has been frustrating me my whole life. To be able to change my life and play football at the level of Jackson and Irus would be a dream come true. For me, the romance, sexuality, and obstacles in a male/male romance are more interesting than traditional romances. I’m often attracted to men, but not as a woman, if you get my meaning.
My stories are populated by unique characters struggling through the character arcs I’ve designed for them, moving toward the possibilities of a happy ending, or as happy as an ending they could muster. I’m definitely an HEA or HFN. I only saddle my characters with so much darkness and pain. Vincent Sweetwater is my most tortured character, in that he is the only one still suicidal.
4) How does my writing process work?
Well, for Trainwreck, I wrote it in six months, but spent a lot more time editing. Saving Kane I wrote in ten weeks, a chapter a week, consistently every Friday I knocked out a chapter. Fourth and Long is the same way, but I sort of jumped ahead by doing a few chapters in one week. I don’t write every day, but I try to spend one day a week writing. I’m most productive early in the morning before dawn breaks. A dedicated space free from distracts helps me the best. A radio, TV, people talking or wanting my time kills my writing and a day that would have been productive is no longer a possibility even if I can get away. Sometimes, finding the time to write while working full-time, coming home fixing dinner, feeding my three crazy cats and ferret, and trying to give my husband attention can be a challenge. It’s not insurmountable. Organize. Make commitments to yourself to write and keep them.
So, without a dedicated time to write, what do I do? I have a small notebook and I fill it with everything I think about during the day. If I think of something that goes with what I wrote a few pages back, then I use a sticky note to add to the idea and slap it onto the page. It’s kept handy so when I have time between surgeries to write, I’ll do it in the notebook. No sense in trying to write something in the two minutes it takes for the OR to get cleaned up and I have to go back in to set up for the next surgery.
That little notebook is beside me when I sit down to write. I peruse it and work through what I want to do, what I need to do, and I always ask myself several questions: what do I need this scene to do? What should this chapter accomplish? Is it keeping the story moving toward climax? A climax I’ve already visualized. It may change, but I at least the end in sight. So, I have somewhere for my characters to travel always.
Speaking of travel, this Baton Blog has to be passed to some of my favorite folks. Please take the time to check out their details below and visit them next week when they tell us all about themselves and their writing. All three are excellent writers and I find them all engaging for different reasons. First is Spencer Dryden, my wing-man, we won’t discuss his hetero/homo affair with Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, or the incredible fall out he had with that whore Johnny Walker in all his incarnations. Second is Meg Amor, my wing-woman who has the perfect name for romance and is an outstanding NZer. Third is Lucee Lovett a vivacious soul you’ll love to love with all the British flair.
Enough, I’ll let them tell you all about themselves.
Some men are born great, others strive for greatness; still others have greatness thrust upon them. Spencer Dryden is none of these men. In fact, he is so unimpressive, he leaves no footprints on newly fallen snow. He was trained in fiction writing on the job with the many sales reports he produced for his managers, winning the coveted “keep your job contest” three years running. His expense reports are still considered masterpieces of forgery by the bankruptcy trustee of his former employer. He lives an unremarkable life in a suburb of a northern city. His friends and family would drop dead in horror if they knew of his secret life as a writer of erotica. He hates the family cat but still loves to pet his wife.
Visit Spencer’s Fantasy Island
Quick Trips to Adult Fantasy: Leave Your Baggage Behind http://www.fictionbyspencer.com/
Meg Amor ~ is the author of the steamy sultry romance erotica story ~ Dark War, published by Muse it Up Publishing. Meg spent a lifetime as a therapist being fascinated, and collecting unusual love stories. She loves to write romantic erotica, with committed poly relationships, and other unusual romance mixes. Meg hand-wrote and ‘published’ her first book when she was eleven years old, about her parents divorce. Constantly told as a child, she had a vivid and active imagination—the dawn of the computer era meant she could now take dictation at speed from the interesting characters galloping around her head.
She grew up in New Zealand, and lives in California with her American fur child, Leo Ray Jr. the cat. They’re headed home soon to the sultry soul city of New Orleans, where all her books are set!
The Troika Love Series trilogy, coming this year:
~ Henry and Isolde
~ The Chi Circle
~ The Flame Still Burns
Hi there! I’m Lucee Lovett, wife and mother by day, romance erotica author and publisher by night. I live in London, with terrific kids, husband and a great dog named Blue.
I’m started publishing my own e-book series in January 2013. I’m as pleased as punch with my achievements. I write across quite a few genres, but my favorite and main works are in erotica and the erotic subgenres.
I love it because it allows me to remove the mask on my own desires and fantasies and share them contextually with others, in the guise as fiction.
Author and publisher of:
The Retreat and What’s in the Box ~ (13 Doors Series)
Immortal Heart ~ a paranormal erotica romance novel
Beyond Imagination ~ (13 Doors Series)
Sweet Apparition ~ Urban Fantasy Collection.
A Question of Size ~ a novella.
Just another to reminder to visit our friends next week at their own websites.