Sunday, December 21, 2014

Squashing My Inner Humbug

Right about now almost everyone I know has a touch of the holiday blues or the end of year blahs, myself included. So I have decided to try and brighten everyone's mood just a bit. Everyone who either comments on this post with their e-mail and choice, or e-mails me their preference ( by Wednesday the 24th of December will get one of the following three e-books. Just tell me which one you are interested in, and whether you prefer .mobi or .epub and, voila, you will have a free read for the holidays! No strings, no fancy hoops to jump through, just my hope that your New Year will be your most wonderful yet. Want to know more about one of the choices, just click on it. Thank you all for a fantastic year!!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Holly Jolly Phooey

It's that time of year again, when the doldrums hit and everything feels more than a little bit pointless. Most of my writer friends are swept up in the furor that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) but this year I can't even get inspired by that. I am about 18,000 words into a new novel, and it is by far the best thing I've ever written. I, however, am not inspired to keep going. You see, my work doesn't fit into the neat little boxes everyone loves to tick - it isn't romance, I don't believe in happily ever after. It isn't really erotica, although it titillates, that isn't the bulk of the work by any means. Literary writers shun me, because there is an intense sexual component. I wish I could turn back time to the days before publication, when the writing was all there was. Once you push that button, though, expectations change - both yours and those of the people around you.

My expectations are still simple, I want people to read what I write and, hopefully, have it move them. Although I would adore it if everyone loved my work, having them hate it is almost as satisfying, because at least I moved them in some way. But in order to do that people have to read, and gaining enough visibility to even register on anyone's radar is nearly impossible in the flood of books coming to market every single day.

Even reading, which has been my life long escape from the harsh light of reality, isn't giving me any joy. Either I love what I'm reading (and therefore despair that I will ever write anything worthwhile) or I find it to be merely meh (and in some cases awful) and then beat myself up because that dreck can sell and I can't move a single unit.

This has been a year fraught with challenges. My dear friend and alpha reader passed away at far too young an age. My beloved furry companion Kate also crossed over the rainbow bridge at the ripe old age of 23, and even though three new little bundles of fur and purrs have joined our household, I still miss her quiet presence. My son is all grown up and in college, and his lovely girlfriend has taken my place in his life - as is right and expected, but still tough to cut those ties. I've had to split my time between my home and family and my elderly father on the other side of the country - and felt all along that no one was getting what they needed from me. I've been scattered and splattered and altogether useless in any way that really matters.

And now come the holidays. Christmas isn't my celebration, I'm a Buddhist, after all. But the non-stop forced cheer and in your face and down your throat consumerism leave even the most detached aching to run away and bury our heads in the sand. Buy buy buy give give give. For those of us on the edge, both financially and emotionally, it is the death knell to any possible joy you can muster in these cold dark months.

So, my friends, I ask you a favor. It's an easy one, don't worry. Be kind this holiday season - to yourself and to those you come in contact with. If you don't like what someone has to say, just ignore it. Smile at strangers. Cut yourself and others some slack. If we all work together, perhaps we can light the darkness of these winter months just a little tiny bit.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dinner with the Devil

Just in time for Halloween - a cautionary tale from my anthology Sex Ray Specs.

“Why are we doing this again?”
The wry, slightly aggrieved tone of the teacher's voice left Shou struggling not to laugh. “Because you lost our bet, sensei,” he purred. “My prize is your company on this little adventure.”
Aoshi cracked his eyes open just enough to study the man next to him. “I already told you, I don't believe in ghosts. If you're just trying to get a rise out of me you'll be sorely disappointed.”
“Oh my, sensei. If that was what I wanted I would have been much more direct.” Shou's deep rumbling chuckle sent goosebumps skittering over the teacher's skin. “It's supposed to be the most haunted place in all of Japan. I just want to see why it has such a dark reputation.”
“Weak fools who wanted to be scared,” Aoshi declared. “People see what they want to see.”
“So the thought of dinner with the devil doesn't even give you pause?”
“Devil, schmevil, can't be any worse than some of the human octopuses I've dated.”
“Let's hope you're right.” Shou pulled off the road onto a twisting drive. Conversation ebbed as he turned his concentration to the narrow rutted track. Mushrooms of all shapes and sizes had taken root in the pitted surface, churning to a slippery ooze under the tires. The vehicle slipped and slid, scraping against the encroaching underbrush until it finally burst into a small clearing.
The house itself was ordinary enough, wood faded to a soft grey, the surprisingly intact shoji tightly shut. If he didn't know better, Shou would have assumed it to be carefully maintained by a loving owner.
“Are you sure this is the right place?” Aoshi's question jolted him out of his daze. “It doesn't look haunted.”
Shou didn't reply, instead he busied himself gathering their supplies. He grasped the teacher's arm at the elbow and steered him up onto the engawa. “Last chance to back out.”
“As if I'd give you the satisfaction. Aoshi slid open the door and stepped inside, yanking his friend in behind him. “Looks harmless enough.”
Light filtered in through the yellowed paper on the shoji, giving the space a warm amber glow that was almost welcoming. The aged tatami creaked and rustled under their feet, each step kicking up a cloud of dust. The teacher shook out the blanket he was carrying, spreading it in the middle of the floor and pulling his companion down to sit. “This is as good a place as any. I'm starving.”
As unimpressive as the room looked, the tiny hairs on the back of Shou's neck prickled with danger. He rummaged in the picnic basket, pulling out three lacquered bento boxes, chopsticks, sake, and three tiny saucers.
“Three?” Aoshi asked. “Is someone joining us?”
“Can't have dinner with the devil and not feed him.” Shou poured sake into three saucers and lifted his in a toast. “To a most enlightening evening.”
“Kanpai.” The teacher took a sip, sighing as the warmth slid down his throat and started a glow in his belly. “That is nice. I just hope you didn't make these yourself. I've seen the glop you call food.”
“And risk insulting the prince of darkness? It's from that sushi place near your apartment, the one you always rave about.”
“Then let's eat.” Aoshi clapped his hands together. “Itadakimasu,” he murmured as he grabbed a pair of chopsticks.
“It's rather impolite to start without your host, don't you think?”
The surprisingly mellow voice grew closer. “It's been a long time since I've had guests, especially on this night.”
“What night?”Aoshi croaked. He kept his eyes stubbornly fixed on the tatami as bare feet and the hem of a man's kimono passed next to him.
“Why, All Hallow's Eve, of course. The night when restless spirits walk the earth. I tend to forget you don't celebrate it here.” The newcomer settled himself cross-legged, hands reaching for the waiting saucer of sake.
Shou idly noted the man now seated opposite him kicked up no dust as he moved. He clamped down hard on the nausea bubbling in his throat, lifting his eyes to the middle of the figure's chest. From the neck down he looked ordinary enough, a slight man in a simple dark kimono. A tiny part of his mind gleefully urged him to look up and disprove the myth once and for all, but his natural paranoia overrode it.
“Your companion is quite lovely. I can certainly see the attraction.” The deceptively simple statement triggered protective instincts Shou never imagined he possessed.
“He's mine.”
“Really? He doesn't smell like you.” The stranger inhaled deeply. “But he does smell sweet. Why don't you and I make a little trade. I'll let you go, and you leave him to keep me amused.”
“Never.” Shou leapt to his feet, pulling the teacher behind him. “Don't look. Just back out through the door.”
“You're being very rude.” Aoshi clamped his hand over his traitorous lips in an attempt to stop the words that flowed from his mouth, in his voice, but were certainly not his. “We intruded on his solitude,” he continued to mumble around the obstruction. “The least we can do is finish our meal.”
“That's an excellent idea.” The stranger reached to take the teacher's hand, but Shou pivoted, fingers digging into Aoshi's biceps before flinging him through the open door.
Cold seared through him, the outstretched hand now resting companionably on his shoulder. “It's amazing how often that works.”
“Wh-wh-what?” Shou stammered. The door shook as Aoshi pounded on it from outside, but the sound was curiously distant.
“I mean, think about it,” the stranger continued. “What would someone like me want with someone as nice as your friend. You on the other hand ...” Shou squeezed his eyes shut and prayed to all the deities he had never believed in, “ have possibilities.”
* * *
The police dismissed it as a lover's quarrel. A perfunctory visit to the caved-in ruin of a house guaranteed they would not believe him. Shou slipped out of conversation, then memory.
Yet every year on October 31, Aoshi returned with dinner for three. “I've brought our dinner,” he'd announce. “Are you tired of him yet? He really can be an asshole, sometimes. But, if you're done with him, I'd love to have him back. We never finished our date.” With a respectful bow he'd lay out two bento and pour two saucers of sake, then retreat to the engawa to eat his portion under open sky.  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Plugging away

A snippet of today's work on Onna Bugeisha . . .

Afternoons in the pleasure district are lazy, leisurely affairs. In this closed world of women the highlight of the day is gossiping the long hours away in the baths. From the outside the willow world appears to slumber behind its walls, recovering from the revelries of the night before. In reality, this is the most cherished part of the day, when hopes and dreams are laid bare and all eventualities are possible. The arrival of a curtained palanquin during these hours was unexpected enough to set all tongues wagging. When that palanquin stopped outside a teahouse known for unconventional sexual practices, curiosity overcame all rivalries. Women who normally passed without so much as a nod of acknowledgment put their heads together and whispered ever more outlandish theories. The only thing the pillow girls could agree on was no one recognized the heavily veiled woman who slipped from its curtained privacy into the teahouse. Her wealth was obvious, hair impeccably coifed and clad in a kimono worth more than all of them combined. Why such a person would visit that particular house was debated in ever rising voices. The most obvious answer, a husband with habits no decent woman could stomach, was almost immediately discarded. Such a refined creature would no more discuss such things than she would run naked through the streets. Most wives negotiated their husband's liasons through scrolls and servants, even the most mundane. The lack of subterfuge had all the women on edge. Something darker was obviously at work.
Inside the shadowed confines of the teahouse Jun proceeded to plead his case. Using all the skill he had acquired in his time onstage, he struck just the right balance between misery and vengeance, hoping to sway the proprietor to his side.
“He swore we were eternal lovers. And then he abandoned me.” A delicate handkerchief disappeared behind the veils to dab at watery eyes. “Now I am spoiled for any other.”
“Why come to me? There are many houses that would love to have a lady of your refinement. My customers have perverse tastes. Your delicate sensibilities will enflame them to greater outrages just to see your reaction.”

“I have no choice,” Jun explained in a breathy whisper. “I cannot allow another inside my jade gate. I am willing to be used as men use each other, however. Would you have customers interested in such things?”

Friday, October 10, 2014

Out of the Shadows

If you follow this blog I'm sure you know how much I hate publicity of any type. I stay pretty low key, I keep my head down, and, most importantly, I don't do photos. For years I've been more than content with a cartoon representation of myself. Last month, though, I broke down and did a public signing at the Baltimore Book Festival and *gasp* there is an actual photo of me at the event. So, just for fun, I thought I'd share it with you and prove, once and for all, that I am a real person . . .

Thursday, October 9, 2014


When the world is quiet and still he comes to me. Tendrils of power drift around him in a graceful, kinetic dance, arcing from his hands to my flesh, burning their way through my synapses, at odds with the frigid bite of his skin. The soft smokey murmur in my ear pins me as certainly as too dark eyes and all thoughts of protest dissipate. He smells of ginger and cloves, sharp, seductive, hypnotic. Glass, stone, metal and bone woven into shaggy locks sing their own melody and I'm drowning under the onslaught, sinking into a place only he can drive me. When the whispers turn dark he dances, twisting and twirling, horns scribing the text into my flesh as the heady tang of copper mingles with spice. Then he smiles, a slight quirk of his lip, the tip of a pink tongue flicking out to taste my fears, my dreams, my essence encoded in my DNA. I would run, I would hide, I would surrender my soul for words of pleasure and pain. The rustle of finished pages, the itch of newly healed flesh, the secret of my success, he follows his own path. As for myself, I live to sleep and dream of my other half, this cruel symbiote without whom I am lost.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Back on the Horse

My life has been tilting a bit toward the crazy track, of late. My writing output has been down, my motivation low. But I am trying. Since it seemed to keep me on track, I'm going to go back to posting excerpts. Not every day, I don't think I'm up for that, yet. But at least a couple times a week (assuming I actually write a couple times a week). So, Monday morning, new resolve. To get started, here's a snippet from my writing over this past weekend. An unexpected scene from Onna Bugeisha. It wasn't in my outline, but Jun had ideas of his own.

Afternoons in the pleasure district are lazy, leisurely affairs. In this closed world of women the highlight of the day is gossiping the day away in the baths. From the outside the willow world appears to slumber behind its walls, recovering from the revelries of the night before. In reality, this is the most cherished part of the day, when hopes and dreams are laid bare and all eventualities are possible. The arrival of a curtained palanquin during these hours was unexpected enough to set all tongues wagging. When that palanquin stopped outside a teahouse known for unconventional sexual practices, curiosity overcame all rivalries. Women who normally passed without so much as a nod of acknowledgment put their heads together and whispered ever more outlandish theories. The only thing the pillow girls could agree on was no one recognized the heavily veiled woman who slipped from its curtained privacy into the teahouse. Her wealth was obvious, hair impeccably coifed and clad in a kimono worth more than all of them combined. Why such a person would visit that particular house was debated in ever rising voices. The most obvious answer, a husband with habits no decent woman could stomach, was almost immediately discarded. Such a refined creature would no more discuss such things than she would run naked through the streets. Most wives negotiated their husband's liasons through scrolls and servants, even the most mundane. The lack of subterfuge had all the women on edge. Something darker was obviously at work.
Inside the shadowed confines of the teahouse Jun proceeded to plead his case. Using all the skill he had acquired in his time onstage, he struck just the right balance between misery and vengeance, hoping to sway the proprietor to his side.

“He swore we were eternal lovers. And then he abandoned me.” A delicate handkerchief disappeared behind the veils to dab at watery eyes. “Now I am spoiled for any other.”

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Standing at the Crossroads

I'm caught in a crossroads. Today is the funeral of a dear friend, and I can't be there. Not that my presence would matter to her other friends and family. They don't know me, she and I never met in real life. But I have lost something precious. You see, she was my first reader. Not a beta reader, although she did that as well. She was the one who read the drivel that poured out as it happened. The one who would call me on the phone and say 'finish the damn thing, I want to know how it ends' or 'unkill him immediately, what are you, crazy?'

We had the same birthday - not just the month and the date, but even the year. And perhaps that's part of it. I'm too young to die, so she should have been as well. I was sure I had time. I fiddled and diddled and slowed down to a crawl on my writing. I was conflicted . . .and now she'll never know how it ends, and I'm not sure if I will bother to finish. 

So, for now at least, my focus is shifting. The last book of the Shinobi Saga has been put aside for a while and I'm focusing all my efforts on Onna Bugeisha. I'm not sure if it will be good or lousy, I'm not really sure if I can even finish without a voice in my ear. All I can do is try. Wish me luck, please, I'm sailing without a compass and my sense of direction may not be the best!

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.”