Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Writing Process Blog Hop

I was tagged by the lovely MollyHammerman to give a peek at my writing process, in so far as I have a process. This dovetails nicely with yesterday's manifesto post as well – ah, synchronicity.

What are you working on currently?

Right now I have two books in first draft stage. Onna Bugeisha is a twisted quadrangle of love and desire set in 16th century Japan. It follows the live of four main characters, each of whom loves one who loves another. It also has a parallel storyline of the major kami, Amaterasu, Tsukiyomi and Susanoo, and their influence on those loves. The other is In the Desert of the Porcupines, a story of OCD and D/s.

How does your work differ from others of its genre?

It isn't romance, it isn't porn. It's erotic and explicit, but not exactly erotica. There are no happy endings guaranteed. People are fallible and fickle, just as in the real world. It's a peek inside the minds of complex, often tormented, individuals as they try to make sens of this thing called life.

How does your writing process work?

This is where it gets tricky. My process, such that it is, requires far more hours of thinking than writing. I need to submerge myself in the mindset of the character, to walk the paths their thoughts walk. Only then can I write their story authentically. Once I'm truly inside their head, the words flow or stutter, depending on how well the character knows what he wants and accepts it. So, writing is in fits and starts. It isn't a quick process, it isn't pretty, but it works for me.

And now it's my turn to tag the lovely and talented Nya Rawlyns to tell us all about her writing process.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

throwing down the gauntlet

The last few weeks have seen a marked increase in e-mails, which should make me happy . . .but unfortunately they have been communications of the most hateful sort. My writing causes some people to speak and act in harmful, hurtful, ways I would hope they avoid in everyday situations. I write transgressive fiction, it's all about crossing boundaries, so that isn't necessarily surprising. It is, however, off-putting and, at times, more than a bit scary. So, I've decided it's time to re-run my manifesto and warn prospective readers just what they may find between the pages.

You might not like my writing if . . .

you love romance - I don't write romance. Love stories, absolutely. Every story I write has love at its center, but I don't believe in happily ever after. In fact, I think happily ever after is the root of a lot of discontent. Girls are raised from birth hearing a prince will come, save all their problems and they will live happily ever after. Of course, we all know real life isn't that easy. Relationships take time, and work. People argue. Demands of the world intrude. The most we can realistically expect is happy for now. When the fairy tale doesn't pan out most are quick to discard their partner and try another, always searching for the elusive prince, never appreciating all the parts they enjoy.

You might not like my writing if . . .

you don't like strong flawed gay men. I write exclusively homoerotic fiction. Women, when they do appear, are not a party to any of the primary relationships. Nothing against women, don't get me wrong, but the dynamic of two strong men together is irresistible. Unlike a heterosexual pairing, either or both parties can choose to be dominant or submissive, or to give or receive. The thought processes behind these decisions shine a bright light on the inner landscape of the characters, which is the key to all my stories. My men are flawed, true, but aren't we all? Those flaws give us character and provide obstacles to be surmounted. Our weaknesses make us human, lovable, relatable. Shouldn't fictional characters be the same?

you might not like my writing if . . .

the darker side of sexuality scares or disgusts you. I write transgressive fiction. Twisted power exchanges, dubious consent, rape and even torture all make an appearance at some point in my work. These are the pivotal moments, the contrast to the love we all search for. Pitting the dark against the light allows my characters to see themselves, grow and develop as people. My stories are, ultimately, about the inner landscape of the characters, their struggle to overcome what genetics and the world have given them to work with. Set in wider stories, true, but this inner path is the one that always drives the narrative.

you might not like my writing if . . .

sex, sex and more sex is what you crave. My sex is explicit, this is true, but it certainly isn't continuous or gratuitous. It may be fifty pages before the main characters get together, and another 250 before it happens again. Too much sex for some, not enough for others, but the right amount for the story and the characters. Every sex scene serves a purpose, whether for good or for ill, and moves the characters closer to understanding themselves and each other. How they feel, what they enjoy or despise, and why, fleshes out our understanding of the path they walk and lets us experience vicariously things we would never want to go through ourselves.

you might not like my writing if . . .

infidelity, disillusionment, abandonment or multiple partners leave you cold. All these real world occurrences are standard fodder for me. Love in the real world is rarely simple or straightforward, why should it be so in novels. Learning to live with such things is part of learning acceptance and forgiveness, both of which you need in abundance to find and hold on to love.

you might not like my writing if . . .

stories set in other cultures are too alien for you to relate to. Most of my work is set in Japan, and the culture, traditions and language feature prominently. The formality of address, sexual mores and religious beliefs are radically different from those in the west. It takes a willingness to submerge yourself in that culture to truly appreciate the nuances of the characters and their interactions.

you might not like my writing if . . .

you are a lover of genre fiction, as I don't fall into any single genre - not romance, not erotica, not fantasy, not thriller. It is, instead, small yet epic, personal, erotic but not erotica, filled with love but not romance. Difficult to read, at times and, hopefully, thought provoking. Above all it is a journey to understanding. Darkly different but universal. In short, demanding of the readers attention. Hopefully it rewards those who rise to those demands. It isn't everyone's cup of tea, and I'm okay with that. After all, I'm not, either.

Friday, June 20, 2014

and then there's Mai

If you've read any of my work you know I write men exclusively . . .until now. Onna Bugeisha is my first attempt at a pivotal female character. Mai is the emperor's sister. The court wants to use her marriage to cement alliances. As for Mai, she wants to be a warrior and is not at all interested in marriage.

 Step, slide, twist, swing. Stray beams of light flickered across the blade of the naginata, a counterpoint to the soft shush of bare feet on tatami. Mai shut her eyes and concentrated. The sound of the blade reminded her of wings in flight. She envied the freedom of birds, she couldn't even train openly. Nothing in her life was more hateful than the sneaking around and hiding she had to do. All across Japan, samurai women trained, and even fought, side by side with men. Surely she deserved the same privilege.
Muffled voices resolved as they grew closer. Mai doused the single candle and slipped behind an elaborately carved jade screen. Hiding like a dog, again. Resentment bubbled up inside her, and she forced herself to bottle the urge to strike out at the source, settling instead for eavesdropping. She held her breath, recognizing her brother's airy tones. His patience with her had been growing thin of late, and getting caught listening in on his private discussions would not help her position.
Mai shifted cautiously, trying to get a better angle on the room through the perforations of the screen, and watched her sibling pace back and forth. Concealment was well worth the discomfort of being wedged into such a confined space. Son of Heaven, indeed, she thought with a sniff. If he was a god he would know I was here.
It's high time you made a match for your sister, Mikado-sama. She will be valuable as a bargaining chip. Perhaps the Shogun is in need of another wife?”
She didn't bother trying to see the speaker. It didn't really matter which one of her brother's so-called councilors it was, they were uniform in their desire to get her safely married and miles away. Mai shivered when the emperor's eyes seemed to meet hers, wondering if his anger would be as much for her state of dress as for her eavesdropping. Of course, subterfuge was to be expected in the palace. A princess dressed like a man, on the other hand, was a serious breach of protocol.
Her options would soon run out. Her brother might love her, but he'd eventually cave in to the suggestions he marry her off. She shuddered at the thought of a life locked away in some man's house. She was descended from the sun goddess Amaterasu as surely as the rest of her clan, and the urge to fight and conquer ran through her veins. Too bad I wasn't born a man, then I'd be emperor and he'd be twisting in the wind waiting for my decisions.
Of course, she immediately regretted her harsh thoughts. She loved her brother and hated the thought of disappointing him. Perhaps I should start giving some thought to who I would be open to marrying, she mused. If I choose wisely it might not be so bad.
Mai immediately crossed the Shogun off her list. True, he wielded real power, but he was also an old man, one who preferred his women docilely locked up at home awaiting his return. That wasn't the future she wanted. After a lifetime cooped up in the palace under lock and key she longed for the freedom to come and go as she pleased. Of course, that same reasoning also excluded all of the daimyo from her consideration.
She scooted back from the screen, curling into the corner while the discussion droned on and concentrating on the issue at hand. One by one she considered, and rejected, the prime candidates. Surely there must be one man in the entire country she wouldn't despise as a husband. And then it came to her and Mai smiled.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

We Interrupt This Program . . .

It occurs to me that, at least occasionally, I should at least mention my finished works. So, today, a peek through my Sex Ray Specs - bite sized homoerotic fiction perfect for reading between all those busy summer engagements. Yes, they're dark, and a little bit twisted . . .but so is life.


Martin tipped his head back, shielding his eyes as he squinted up the steel beam to focus on the seat swaying gently above him. Ever since his lover suggested they check out the carnival he'd had a nagging feeling he should say no. What business did two grown men have at this celebration of all things childish, anyway?

Another frisson of unease worked its way up his spine when he caught sight of Stephen's face. He looked like he'd set eyes on the Holy Grail. “Please tell me you're not serious?”

"Just one ride.” Stephen knew his boyfriend's patience was limited at best. He was surprised he'd been able to coax him to the fairgrounds in the first place.

"You do know these things aren't safe.” Martin's grumbled protest was half-hearted. At least his lover hadn't tried to get him on the roller-coaster. He didn't need to add nausea to his list of complaints. “Fine, one ride, then we're leaving.”

"But, we haven't even eaten yet.” Stephen's face crumpled. “I wanted to go through the funhouse, and I need to win you a stuffed animal.”

"You need to do no such thing,” Martin protested. “I'm not a fourteen year old girl. Let's just get on the damn ride.” He couldn't help but smile at the way his partner grabbed his hand to tug him into the line, bouncing excitedly from foot to foot as they waited for their turn to board.

The safety bar snapped in place with an almost ominous click and then they were moving, jerking up and back with a lurch that had his stomach leaping.

"Isn't this great?”

"Depends on your definition of great.” The words were faint, and Stephen was surprised to see sweat beading his usually oh so in control boyfriend's brow.

"You're scared.”

"Stop it.”

"You're really scared.” Stephen's grin stretched from ear to ear. “I never though I'd see you worried about anything. Who'd have thought a silly carnival ride would get you so hot and bothered.”

"I'm not bothered,” Martin muttered. “I'm just alert.” His eyes remained firmly riveted on the ground dropping away under his feet at an alarming rate, wondering if, perhaps, the roller coaster might have been a better choice.

Strong fingers grasped his chin, tipping his gaze away from the tiny figures rushing to and fro to rest on Stephen's peaceful smile. “There are advantages to being up here, you know.” The husky whisper sent a puff of warmth against his lips moments before they were covered by his lover's soft, slightly chapped, pair.

Martin gratefully melted into the kiss, wrapping his arms around broad shoulders and surrendering himself to the sensation. When they finally slowed to a stop after three circuits he shoved a handful of bills at the startled attendant. “We want to keep riding.”

At some point he realized they'd stopped, but it wasn't enough to pull him out of the erotic haze he'd fallen into. After a few more minutes, or maybe hours, he pulled back to peer down at the controls. “He must have gone on break and left us up here.”

"I wouldn't worry about it,” Stephen whispered. “We did want privacy. It's hours before closing, he'll be back soon to let us down.”

"But what if . . .”

"No buts.”

Martin heard it first, an insistent hiss he couldn't quite place. The tangy whiff of ozone that followed had the small hairs rising on the back of his neck. Colored light danced along the steel as he pulled his lover back into their kiss.

"So passionate,” Stephen husked.

"I want to spend the rest of my life kissing you.”

"You're sweet when you exaggerate.”

"I wish.” The words nearly died in Martin's throat, and he quickly sealed their lips together. The electricity coiling lazily in the air coalesced into one jagged stitch of brilliant white that momentarily connected the couple to the heavens.

The seat continued to swing gently long after the steam had dissipated and the confused attendant brought it back down to find it empty.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Excerpt Challenge - Present and Past are Illusion

It's a Ripples kind of day. Yoshi and Makoto's idea of a wedding present for their friends, a foursome. But, even with the best of intentions, plans go awry and the past intrudes on the present.

Yoshi woke with a start several hours later, sticky and uncomfortable, and peeled himself off the sheets. He gazed fondly at the three slumbering figures, smiling slightly when Souta's face wrinkled in displeasure at the loss of warmth. The assassin instinctively scooted closer to the still slumbering pair, relaxing back into his dreams when he was plastered up against Makoto's broad back. Satisfied that all three were once again sound asleep he padded into the bathroom, intent on washing the evidence of their pleasure off.

The shadow wolf relaxed when the warm water flooded over him, quickly scrubbing himself clean before standing under the spray, head bowed, and just letting the hot water soothe his aching muscles. He jumped slightly in surprise when the shower door opened and Daisuke slipped in behind him.

"I hope you don't mind if I join you,” the Shuhan murmured as he stepped into the cleansing spray. “I hate being all sticky.”

Yoshi stiffened when the younger man pressed up against his back. “You're so very beautiful. You do know that, don't you?” the Shuhan murmured as he gently kissed the nape of his neck.

"Your point is?”

"I'd like to enjoy you the way Souta did,” Daisuke answered honestly as he rubbed his burgeoning erection against the shadow wolf's ass.

"If that is what you wish, Shuhan-sama,” Yoshi answered formally, bowing his head and bracing his hands against the cool tile as he waited for a response. He schooled his face into a mask of indifference as the younger man's thick cock slowly breached his entrance, wriggling uncomfortably as Daisuke pressed inexorably forward until his hips were flush with alabaster skin.

"Kami, you're hot.” The Shuhan pulled back slightly, starting a rocking motion which grew deeper and harder with each thrust until he was pounding wantonly into the too silent shadow wolf. Daisuke was so lost in the pleasurable sensations that he never noticed how the other man was reacting.

Yoshi stiffened at the first intrusion, reluctantly forcing himself to relax in order to avoid being torn. He tried to hide his anxiety, but memories of Kobayashi-sama's hard hands and brutal penetration rose up to swamp him and he could only stand there, mute, tension thrumming through his frame.

The shadow wolf fought to regulate his breathing, he was starting to hyperventilate and could feel the world growing hazy around him. When Daisuke finally came with a wail he collapsed against the tile, relief flowing though him when the Shuhan's cock slipped from his swollen entrance.

". . . shi, Yoshi?” He heard the words, but couldn't respond.

"Are you alright?” Daisuke asked, alarmed by the silence. “I didn't hurt you, did I?”

The shadow wolf shook his head wearily, trying to throw off his confusion and respond. “No Shuhan-sama,” he finally managed, before lapsing back into stillness.

"Well, something's bothering you. I'll go get Makoto.”

"No! Please . . . I'm fine.”

"Then talk to me,” Daisuke entreated. “I'm getting kind of scared.”

"I'm sorry, Shuhan-sama. You do not need to worry about me,” Yoshi stated stiffly. “I'm just a little tired.”

"Why so formal then? Usually you call me Dai,” the Shuhan pressed. “If I did something wrong I'd like to know what it is.”

"Everything's fine, Daisuke-san. We should try to get some rest. Makoto and I are leaving in the morning.”

The Shuhan eyed him suspiciously, but eventually relented and followed the shadow wolf back to bed. As soon as he slid under the covers Yoshi immediately shut his eyes and pretended to sleep, suppressing his ki in hopes of convincing Daisuke that he was just exhausted.

The Shuhan pursed his lips. He was sure something was bothering the shadow wolf, but failed to pierce his infamous reserve to uncover exactly what. I'll talk to Makoto about it in the morning, he decided with a yawn, rolling over and snuggling into the pile of warm bodies as darkness overtook him.

As soon as the Shuhan was asleep. Yoshi's eyes popped open and he scooted to the farthest corner of the bed, worrying his lower lip between his teeth as he tried to regain his composure. We talked about this in therapy, he told himself. Daisuke didn't hurt me, I can say no, Makoto doesn't mind. As he desperately went through his mental litany he snagged their bag and dragged it over, digging inside until he located the anti-anxiety medication, pouring several pills in his hand and swallowing them dry before curling back up in a tiny ball, hand unconsciously stroking the tattoo on his neck.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Back on track with the excerpt challenge

Between Father's Day (which I spent with my awesome hubs and son - and his girlfriend, of course) and traveling (to see MY Dad) I've fallen off the daily posting bandwagon for the last couple of days. I'm getting back on track and, keeping with the theme of fathers, a short snippet from Onna Bugeisha between Hiroshi and his father, the daimyo.

"You summoned me?” Hiroshi knelt before his father, head bowed subserviently.
"Your rebellion has gone on long enough,” the daimyo declared. “I have made arrangements for you to apprentice with one of my samurai.”
"I respectfully request you reconsider. I am far too old for such an arrangement, it would be unseemly.” Inside Hiroshi was panicking. An apprenticeship would put an end to his freedom. Instead of long lazy days in the arms of his lover the future would be filled with hours of tedious practice and meditation under the eyes of a dour warrior.
"What is unseemly is your behavior. Did you think me blind, that I wouldn't notice your dalliance with that actor? You will do as I say, today. I have already sent some men to gather your belongings and take them to your new home.” The daimyo was unmoved by his son's protests. In his heart he hoped Hiroshi would find happiness, but he couldn't allow that wish to compromise his actions.
"And if I refuse?”
"Refusal is not an option. You will do as I command. Go willingly or suffer the insult of being bound and delivered. The choice is yours.”
Hiroshi briefly considered resisting, if only for the pleasure of seeing his father discomfitted. The daimyo would certainly suffer more from the loss of face caused by him leaving under duress. But then he realized arriving at his new home bound and gagged would eliminate any chance at freedom. Perhaps, if he cooperated, he would be able to slip away and at least bid his lover farewell. Regret threatened to overwhelm him, if he had known what awaited he would never have passed up a last chance to lay with the man who had captured his heart. “I will go willingly. Anywhere is better than here.”
The daimyo nodded to the waiting guards. They flanked Hiroshi, leading him out of the hall to the carriage that would deliver him to his future.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

excerpt challenge day ten

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. After release day yesterday it's time to get back on track with my daily excerpt postings. Today is an Onna Bugeisha day - with a twist - instead of the main players, today's snippet features the kami (shinto gods & goddesses) who work behind the scenes.

Even the most skilled application of cosmetics left Jun shaking his head in disgust. There was no way he could go on stage looking like this. He'd end up cast as a crone or a demon. His hand shook with repressed rage as he penned a note to the theater claiming illness. Even more disturbing, there had been no word from Hiroshi. His lover had abandoned him to his fate.
Jun knelt before his small shrine, clapped his hands three times, then bowed his head in heartfelt prayer. “Amaterasu, most beautiful of goddesses, you have abandoned me to a life of rejection and ugliness. Tsukiyomi you have turned your back on me, separating me from my beloved. Susanoo, I pray you heed my request. Give me revenge on those who have hurt and abandoned me. Where once I wielded beauty, now let me summon your powers of chaos and destruction.” He lit a single stick of incense as an offering, then turned away to plot the downfall of the house of Murakami.
In his home under the ocean, Susanoo capered with glee. After centuries of searching the key to regaining his father's favor had finally appeared. In response to his mood the seas foamed, monstrous waves toppling fishing fleets and washing away villages. The people crowded into the shrines, praying to Amaterasu to calm her brother's ire and protect them.
The sun goddess stretched languidly. She was torn between her desire to save her people, and her aversion to spending time in Susanoo's presence. Duty won out and she reluctantly made her way to his underwater home to plead her case.
“Brother, calm yourself. You threaten to destroy all that our father created.”
“Like I care about those puny islands or the pitiful worms who inhabit them. My grand plan will soon take effect, then the people's hearts will turn to me and you will be forgotten.
“Unlikely. Beauty will always triumph over brutality.” Amaterasu turned her back on her sibling and ascended to her rightful place in the heavens.

Friday, June 13, 2014

And now for something completely different . . .

Yes, it's a line from Monty Python . . .but in this case it's true. I'm interrupting my excerpt a day challenge to tell you all about a fantastic new anthology that released today, one I'm super excited to be a part of.

Written on Skin invites readers into the sensory, emotional and psychological landscape of body modification. All body modification is about possession: an act of claiming oneself, or memorializing events or people on skin, or the giving over of power to another. The metaphorical penetration of the body, acknowledged or not, is yet another erotic and often ecstatic element. 

Here, for your delectation are fifteen journeys, charting the eroticism of marking the skin, from the intimate bond between a tattoo artist and his client, to the intense experience of radical piercing and branding. Some of the stories are told from the point of view of body as canvas, others are from the point of view of the artists who do the marking. Some of the tales are sweet and romantic, while others skate the edge of erotic horror. There are no limits here: all genders, all sexual orientations. This is the literary celebration of a transgressive act. 
Written on Skin presents work by established erotica writers as well as some exciting new voices, including Madeleine Moore, Lisabet Sarai, Val Gryphin, Cèsar Sanchez Zapata, Nan Andrews, Sessha Batto, Aisling Weaver, Roger Leatherwood, Angela Caperton, Tabitha Rayne, Lucie Védrine, Benji Bright, Raziel Moore, and Remittance Girl. 

Interested? Make sure to check in out - now available at Amazon, Burning Book Press and Drive Through Fiction.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Excerpt challenge - day nine

It's already day nine – how time flies! First, a huge thank you to everyone who's taking the time to read along. You keep my nose to the grindstone. If there is something else you'd like to see, let me know. Now, onto today's snippet. Keeping with the pattern, it's a Ripples day. Hideaki has a plan that will change Yoshi's world forever. The question, of course, is it a change for the better?

"Sempai, you came.” The Shuhan rose to greet his friend. “I was afraid you wouldn't be willing to leave your husband.”

"For you, anytime. I have to admit you piqued my curiosity. Why do you need me? Have you found a way to treat your condition?” the shadow wolf asked.

"Actually, do you remember the conversation we had at your reception?” Hideaki replied. “While we were dancing?”

"You want to have a child? What does that have to do with me?”

"It's a bit more complicated than that,” the Shuhan replied. “Did you mean what you said about training an Oonishi heir?”

"Of course, I would be honored. But I'm afraid I still don't understand,” Yoshi admitted.

"I've thought about this for a long time.” Hideaki twisted his hands together in an attempt to calm his nerves. “You've shown yourself more capable than I of mastering my family's illusions, and you're a genius in your own right. After thinking about it I came to a decision. I need your help to create an embryo.”

"An embryo?” The shadow wolf tipped his head in thought for a moment. “Nope, I still don't understand. You're going to have to tell me the whole story.”

"I was going to choose some anonymous woman and have her impregnated with my sperm. Then I started thinking about how much stronger the child would be if you and I were the parents.”

"But we're both men. I don't think they can do that.”

"I have access to some forbidden genetics technology. An egg is donated, then its DNA is replaced with mine. We combine it with your sperm and implant it in a surrogate mother,” Hideaki continued. “Nine months later, we're parents. You'll have more reason to train him if he's half yours.”

"So we don't actually have sex?” the shadow wolf pressed. “That's an awfully impersonal way to make a baby.”

"I thought that would be best. Katsutoshi wouldn't blink an eye either way, but I doubt Makoto would feel the same.” The Shuhan eyed the prominent tattoo on the shadow wolf's throat. “As it is I'm afraid I specifically requested this be a solo mission. I hoped to have better luck convincing you without your husband's presence.”

"When did you last have sex?” Yoshi asked. “I've never been exactly sure what your relationship is with Katsutoshi.”

"He is my partner,” the Oonishi replied with a shrug. “He is my friend. But we lack the deeper chemistry needed for lovers. I am too frail for his tastes . . . and I really have no desire for sexual contact.”

"That won't do at all,” Yoshi murmured as he pulled the Shuhan into his arms. “I need to talk to Makoto first in any event. He is my husband and I won't do this behind his back. But if I agree we're going to at least go through the motions of doing this the old fashioned way. You deserve to be loved.”

"I seriously doubt that, sempai,” Hideaki muttered sourly. “In any event, I believe my opportunity for such things has long passed.”

"It's never too late to open up your heart, kohai. Trust me on this please,” the shadow wolf entreated. “I'm going to go call Makoto and let him know we arrived, and I'm going to discuss this with him. When I come back we'll go over what needs to be done in more detail.”

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Excerpt challenge - day eight

Okay - I've passed the one week mark and I'm still keeping up! Today's entry in the bouncing WIP challenge is from Onna Bugeisha. When Hiroshi is forced into an apprenticeship Jun finds out in the worst possible way.

Jun was pulled from his misery by the sound of footsteps on the engawa. “You came back.” He ran out into the hall to greet his lover, only to find the entry filled with soldiers. “How dare you break into a lady's home,” he hissed. “Leave at once.”

“We are here to collect Murakami-san's belongings. Step aside or we will have to restrain you,” the leader of the group explained.

The soldiers filled the space, pawing through chests to create a messy pile of male clothing. “Stop that,” Jun shrieked, throwing himself against the nearest samurai in an attempt to snatch back the garments clenched in his fist.

“You would be smart not to fight us,” the leader of the squad insisted. “We would prefer not to restrain you.”

“Take your hands off Hiroshi's things. He'll punish you for this insolence.”

“Murakami-san will not be returning.” The commander's grip on Jun tightened. “His father will no longer tolerate this assignation. Hiroshi is being sent to live with Yakushi-sama. It is past time for him to be trained in the way of budo. Do yourself a favor and forget you ever met, for it is certain you will never meet again.”

“Hiroshi would never abandon me,” Jun sobbed. “We are eternal lovers. We swore never to be parted.”

“That is not a promise he was free to make to a woman like you. The daimyo's heir needs a match worthy of his family name. No street whore, no matter how lovely, could ever hope to win his hand.”

“I am no whore.” Jun rose to his full height, glaring imperiously at the men surrounding him. 

“You aren't a woman, either,” the guard realized. “Hey, this girl is a man.” The atmosphere in the room turned dark. The samurai amused themselves by shoving Jun back and forth between them, stripping off layers with each pass. Finally he was naked except for remnant face paint smeared across his cheek and a single kanzashi caught in the tangle of his hair.

“You'll pay for this.” Jun found himself pressed onto the tatami, rough hands leaving bruises on soft flesh. His protests faded under the onslaught, all his energy focused on weathering the storm.

One by one the soldiers took their turn, filling Jun's mouth or ass. He gagged as semen blocked his throat, thrashing and coughing. His lips were turning blue when he finally vomited up the contents of his stomach on the man currently using him. The punch to the head that followed rendered him unconscious, not that his abusers cared.

When the last of them had taken his pleasure they gathered Hiroshi's things and left. The battered man on the tatami would never again be thought beautiful. And deep in his ocean lair, Susanoo smiled.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Day seven excerpt challenge

Okay - it's day seven - a full week and I've managed to stay on schedule (I know, a minor miracle). I'm still alternating, so it's a Ripples day. Something a bit more upbeat today, though - it isn't all gloom and doom, I promise!

In the world of the ninja only one thing is certain, death. Whether it be swift or slow, peaceful or filled with pain, few could escape its clutches and make it to thirty. To reach the age of forty, as both Yoshi and Makoto had, was nearly impossible.
The corollary to this, of course, is how rarely shinobi, even retired ones, have a chance to relax and just enjoy a little normalcy. Yoshi was determined to enjoy the opportunity while he had it. After all, their official honeymoon ended tomorrow. He was sure the Shuhan was chomping at the bit to have Makoto back in his office taking a bit of the workload. Tonight was a rare chance to socialize without work getting in the way. The press of a warm body against his back distracted him from his train of thought. He leaned back into the interrogator and tilted his head for a kiss. “I missed you,” the shadow wolf admitted.
You know Souta's going to freak out when he sees that, don't you?” Makoto deftly changed the subject as he watched his husband touch his tattoo for the thousandth time.
Better here in our house than out in public somewhere,” Yoshi decided. “Everyone's going to see it eventually.”
I may have to quit my job and spend my days guarding you from your legion of stalkers.” The interrogator leaned in to release a warm breath against the kanji standing out in stark contrast to the pale skin it decorated.
I have no idea what you're talking about.” The shadow wolf pulled away to continue cooking. “Be useful and set the table.”
You must have noticed them. You are a ninja after all, and they're hardly subtle.” Makoto shook his head. “Don't play innocent with me.” He grabbed plates and chopsticks and carried them into the lounge and dropped them on the kotatsu.
You could at least spread them around. The Shuhan is coming for dinner, after all.”
Don't change the subject. Daisuke won't care and you know it," Makoto retorted. "We were talking about the small army of fans stalking you around town.”
You're imagining things. It's just the novelty of our marriage. You'll see, it will all die down in a week or two.”
I seriously doubt that anyone who sees you is going to forget you, sweetheart.” The interrogator wrapped strong arms around his husband, pulling him back into a broad chest so his tongue could trace the inky marks proudly displayed at the juncture of neck and shoulder. “Has anyone mentioned this?”
Mayu, of course,” Yoshi replied with a chuckle. “She waffles between it being sweet and disturbing.”
Disturbing how?”
A mark of ownership, like branding a cow. It's alright,” Yoshi hastened to add when the look on the interrogator's face became ever more stricken. “I reminded her it was my choice and told her to butt out.”
Sweetheart, if it's a problem you could cover it.” Sharp teeth nervously worried Makoto's lower lip. “The last thing I want is for people to think you're my property.”
You don't want people to know I belong to you?” Yoshi's brows knitted together as his smiling face grew solemn. “If that pleases you.” He traced some kanji in the air and touched two fingers to the mark so it faded into his skin, leaving no indication it was ever there.
That's not what I meant.” Makoto formed the kanji to dispel the concealment. “I just don't want you to feel uncomfortable. People can be so rude.”
Why would I care what they say?” The shadow wolf gave an eloquent shrug. “What could they possibly come up with that would be worse than the truth? I'm sure more than one person has made a snide comment about you being my bitch . . . hmm, Takahashi-san?”
Who in the hell do you think would actually say something like that to me? You do remember what I do, don't you?”
Don't be an idiot.” Yoshi swatted the torture master aside to get to the oven. “There are plenty of people who aren't fooled by your bad ass routine. In fact, there's two of them now,” he continued blithely when the bell rang. “Go let our guests in.”
We aren't done talking about this,” Makoto warned as he opened the door.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Day Six in my excerpt challenge

It's day six, and, as I am alternating between my two most active WIP, today is an Onna Bugeisha day. A bit more of the interplay between Hiroshi and Kenshin at the start of their training together.

By the time night fell Hiroshi was more exhausted than he thought possible. The afternoon passed in a blur, 'falling training' mostly consisted of Kenshin throwing him into things at high speed. His bruises were bruised. All he could think of was a long soak in the furo followed by sleeping for a week.
When he failed to appear for dinner Kenshin went looking. The last thing he needed was his apprentice escaping from his home on the first day. When he went to check the bathhouse he found his wayward pupil sound asleep in the furo, head barely above the water line. His fingers hovered above black clouds and half a flower intricately inked on an exposed shoulder. Of all the secrets his student held, this was one he never expected. “Oi, wake up, time for dinner.”
Hiroshi woke in a world of pain. The hot water did little to relieve the ache of muscles pushed far beyond their usual bounds. “Huh, what?”
“I would not have expected you to have a tattoo. Such a rebellious student I've managed to end up with. Sakura at dawn, and done by an irezumi master.”
“It's permanent, of course I went to a master.” Kenshin's gentle teasing picked at his student's last thread of patience. “Is nothing in my life private anymore?”
“Not from me.”
The smug smile on his master's face pushed the normally reserved Hiroshi over the edge. “You have got to be kidding me. As if being relegated to this mausoleum isn't enough, now you're spying and prying for my father as well?”
“My questions are my own,” Kenshin retorted. “And what I find is for me as well. You flatter yourself. A boy like you isn't worthy of such a grand plot. Now get out and dress, our dinner is getting cold.” He reached out to give Hiroshi a hand, only to have his arm slapped away.
“I'm perfectly capable of getting out of a tub on my own. Now turn around, I don't need you ogling me.”
“You think an awful lot of yourself. Why sakura? I would have pegged you for a dragon or perhaps yokai. Something more obviously manly, in any event.”
“It was Jun's suggestion,” Hiroshi admitted. “He thought it suited my personality.”
“Indeed.” Kenshin stepped behind his student, tracing the pattern with calloused fingers. “It is beautiful. New life from the darkness. I approve.”
“Thank you, I guess. Not that I need your approval.”
“Sit.” Kenshin pushed his student down onto the bathing stool, then knelt in front of him. “I want you to be able to walk tomorrow.” Strong fingers began kneading tired feet, pushing into tender arches until they relaxed. “Next time tell me when I'm pushing you too hard.”
“I did. You laughed at me.”
“My apologies, I forget not everyone works themselves as hard as I do.” Knotted calves gradually eased under the insistent pressure, and Hiroshi groaned, curling into the painful bliss. “After we eat I'll give you some lineament for your hands. It will toughen the skin so it doesn't tear. For now we will alternate days, swordsmanship one day, hand to hand the next. Just until you get used to the routine.”
“I'll try harder, I promise.”
“You did very well for your first day. I just set my expectations too high. We will find a balance, I'm sure.” Kenshin stood and hoisted him to his feet. “Better? Do you think you can walk to the table?”
“I'll manage. Give me a few minutes to dress and I'll join you.”

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Excerpt challenge, day five

Today's entry in my excerpt a day challenge to myself is from Ripples. I'm midway through a total rewrite with major plot changes . . .but I'm pretty sure this part stays.

Makoto looked over at his slumbering husband with a frown. Even from halfway across the yard he could see how thin the other man was. Pi'natsu had even come to him and asked him to intervene, explaining how worried the pack was about their master. He had soothed the wolves as best he could, but inside he shared their concern. The last six months had aged the shadow wolf ten years and the interrogator worried he didn't have much time left.
Sweetheart, wake up, it’s time for dinner,” he whispered as he gently shook a bony shoulder.
Hmmm, what time is it?” Yoshi rasped hoarsely as he slowly stretched, reluctantly pulling himself from the cocoon of sleep and into the real world.
Almost six,” the interrogator rumbled. “Dinner’s on the table, otherwise I would have let you sleep.”
I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” the shadow wolf assured him. “It smells delicious.”
“Don’t say things like that,” Makoto scolded, arms folded across his chest.
What? It does smell good, I’m hungry.” Yoshi retorted as he stood and headed towards the house.
Stop.” The interrogator caught a thin wrist in his large hand and pulled the shadow wolf into his arms. “You know what I mean, don’t joke about your death. It hurts to think you’d leave me so easily.”
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you. I didn’t mean anything by it.” Yoshi kissed the scar running across his husband’s cheek before heading into the house, leaving the interrogator to stare pensively after him.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Hiroshi's training begins

Today's excerpt is from Onna Bugeisha - Hiroshi's training begins

Dawn spread fingers of fire across the heavens, ribbons of rosy light painting abstract patterns on the shoji and rousing Hiroshi from a restless sleep.
“Time for morning kata.” Kenshin's too cheery greeting rattled the bones of his apprentice's skull.
“It's barely dawn. Why do we have to start so early?” Hiroshi groaned, pulling the covers over his face and snuggling deeper into the futon.
“The day is most productive when it starts with exercise.” Kenshin yanked the covers off his slumbering apprentice, prodding him off the futon with his foot. “We rise at this time every day, I'm sure in time you will get used to it.”
“I seriously doubt that.” Hiroshi scrubbed a hand across his eyes, squinting up at the mirthful face of his master. “You are getting far too much enjoyment out of this.”
“What do you usually do in the morning?”
“I sleep through the morning, like any civilized person.” The curt reply was a sharp contrast to the whirlwind hair and pillow creases marring otherwise perfect cheekbones. “Couldn't we skip morning practice and start after lunch?”
“And then you'll want to wait until evening. You've spent enough years dawdling in bed, time to actually do something.” A strong hand latched onto Hiroshi's rumpled yukata and heaved him to his feet. “Your father expects me to turn you into a warrior. Get dressed and meet me in the dojo. The sooner we start, the sooner you get breakfast.”
The strappy ties on his hakama were a puzzle he couldn't decode in his half asleep state. Forty minutes passed before Hiroshi entered the dojo, hair roughly scraped back into a bushy tail, hakama tied in an impatient knot barely restraining his crumpled yukata. The sight of his new master peacefully meditating, hair and garments perfectly arranged, was enough to drive him to despair.
“I see you finally made it.” Dark eyes opened to study his reluctant student. “Tomorrow I will expect you to join me for meditation. Clarity of mind is crucial for productive training.”
“Clarity of mind assumes I am actually awake,” Hiroshi quipped. “I'm not sure that is possible so early in the morning.”
Kenshin's laugh was open and unexpected. “Let's get started.” He selected a bokken from the weapons rack. “Show me what you know.” He handed the wooden sword to his student, ignoring the electric tingle that rushed through him when their fingers brushed.
Hiroshi wobbled through the first of the simple kata he remembered, conscious of the poor showing he was making. As much as he disliked the warrior arts he wanted to make a good impression on the man who was giving up so much to train him. His attention was focused on Kenshin's reaction, further distracting him from what he should have been doing.
“Just stop,” Kenshin snapped. “Obviously we need to start at the beginning.” He snatched the bokken from lax fingers. “Lesson number one, how to properly hold a sword. Like this, see, all the work is done by these fingers, the others are just a guide.”
He handed the weapon back and watched critically as his apprentice tried to duplicate what he had been shown. “Better, but more space between your hands. It's a lever, you get more power that way.” Calloused fingers wrapped around Hiroshi's pampered digits, sparking another frisson at the contact.
The next few hours passed in a blur. When Kenshin finally called a halt the bokken needed to be pried out of his student's hands. “I think I'll be doing that cut in my sleep,” Hiroshi grumbled.
“Just make sure you soak your hands after we eat. I wouldn't want you to be unable to practice tomorrow.”
“Are we done for today?” The hopeful look directed in Kenshin's direction had him feeling momentarily guilty.
“We're done for this morning. Let's get something to eat and then we'll work on hand to hand skills for awhile.”
“How many of hours do you practice each day?”
“That depends on my duties. Eight to ten hours when I'm home, less if we're in the field.”

“Just kill me now,” Hiroshi declared. “There's no way I'll survive the week.”