Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mozart, Mesmer, and Me

About a week ago, I found an article that claimed Mozart had written his opera Cosi fan tutte entirely in a state of mesmeric trance. Franz Mesmer, in case you don't know (although you probably do know if you're into EMC) created an early form of hypnosis and was very popular in his day. If' you want to know more about him, here's his Wikipedia page.

Now, Mesmer was a patron of Mozart, and as I said, this article implied that Mozart wrote a whole opera in a state of trance. I thought about linking to the article here until I actually read it. Then I discovered it was really just a discussion of Mozart's weirdness in general, and it didn't have much to say about mesmerism. The most interesting detail, apart from the above, was that Mozart once wrote a little ditty called "Lick Me in the Ass."

Anyway, the article is still worth mentioning because it makes me wonder whether Mozart could have written coherently while in trance. I sure can't. Writing under post-hypnotic suggestion is definitely possible, but while you're deeply hypnotized, you're clumsy - and you enjoy the clumsiness because it's a sign of how deep you are. Of course, it's possible that the right hypnotist could get you to write neatly and clearly while in deep trance. I just haven't experienced that.

But by now you're probably asking what this has to do with "Transfixed," the story I've been talking about for a few weeks, and which will go to press on or around December 8 (That's an in-progress cover above. I'd love some feedback on it). Well, I came up with most of the plot for "Transfixed" while I was in trance. I didn't write it that way, but that's where the ideas began: in my subconscious mind. I just kept them in my head until I had time to write.

Here's how it came about. If you've been reading my blog long enough, you know that I have trouble with insomnia and developed a Virtual Hypnotist program designed to help me relax and get to sleep. I still use it every night, and it still works very well; but I'm so familiar with it now that my mind wanders a good bit while I'm using it (To those of you who've never been hypnotized: yes, your mind can wander while you're in trance). Since I've been so focused on this story, even writing right up until bedtime, my mind often wandered over to "Transfixed" while I doing my nighttime trance thing.

I've also written before about how some of my best ideas come to me in dreams, or while I'm lazing in bed on a Saturday morning, half awake but too lazy to get up. I guess all three states are similar, in that they allow me to tap into my subconscious - and my subconscious is usually more creative than my conscious mind. I've been wondering whether anybody will notice anything different about "Transfixed," or whether it will read pretty much like the rest of my stuff. Again, I'd love some feedback once the book comes out.

In the meantime, I can tell you some places in "Transfixed" where I've noticed contributions from my subconscious mind. The subconscious communicates in symbols, sometimes but not always sexual in nature; and since I'm writing erotica, my thoughts are headed in a sexy direction right from the start. Now, "Transfixed" begins with one ship getting run through by another ship. The second ship has been taken over by mind-controlling aliens (but of course!), and now they're invading the first ship as well. I explained in a previous post how that part of the story grew out of a failed collaboration between myself and several other EMCSA authors, so you can't blame trance-plotting for that. But now let me throw out a new non-spoilery details regarding the finished story. See if you can work out all the Freudian references:
  • The ship which gets pierced has a female captain (Michiko), and the ship doing the piercing is captained by Michiko's husband Alec.
  • Alec, under the influence of MC, constantly tempts Michiko to give in to the aliens' control and he tells her how hot it feels.
  • Part of the alien MC process involves piercing the skull of the victim - in a way that causes orgasm rather than pain.
  • When Alec's ship first appears, it emerges from a wormhole; and it carries Michiko's ship into another wormhole - which is where the piercing occurs.
  • The guns fire darts instead of lasers or bullets. This actually makes sense from a "preventing hull breach" standpoint, but darts are still more phallic than lasers or bullets.
  • At one point a character on the run hides inside a large egg-shaped object.
  • In two other scenes, crucial information is shared by two people talking inside small, enclosed spaces.
  • And as a bonus for you Jungian fans, a white man* receives help from a black woman who is his opposite in almost every way.

*Actually, you don't have to assume he's white; I often leave characters' races unspecified so that readers can imagine people who look like them, and I encourage you to do that with this guy. But in my mind, he has pale hair and skin.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Your feedback, please?

May I have your input, please? Below are comps of some images I'm considering using for the "Transfixed" book cover (The book itself will be out in roughly three weeks). Please note that some of these are in iffy shape because I didn't take much time correcting them, and I'll probably add a background to whichever one I pick. These are just rough ideas of things I might use. I'd really love some feedback on what people think about the different images. Which one(s) do you love? Which one(s) do you hate? Thanks!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Here's an ethnic group that recognizes five genders

I know a lot of my readers are genderqueer. I hope you'll find this story encouraging - and I hope my cisgender readers will find their minds pleasantly blown by the idea of an ancient culture that has accepted a wide variety of genders for centuries.

I don't suppose anyone who watches this video will find themselves into total agreement with the Bugis' system, but it makes me happy to know they're out there - and that today their ethnic group is a powerful political force in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Friday, November 6, 2015

This, that and the other

Here's what I've been up to lately.

As I said last week, I am now taking story commissions. I should have added that I'm also taking commissions for creating ebook covers, proofreading/copy editing other people's stories, and photo restoration/colorization. So far I've had takers on the first three of those four options, and while I can't share the clients' names, I can tell you they've all been very happy with my work. I'm especially surprised that the story commission came off well, since what the client asked for was waaaaay outside my wheelhouse. It's nice to know that I can take someone else's ideas, which are very unlike my own, and turn them into a full-fledged story that the pleases the person who asked for the story. And writing it went very quickly, too. I'm normally a slow writer, but I turned out this commission in less than a week.

I'm more than halfway through the first draft of "Transfixed," and it's coming along very well. I'm in the zone and writing fast. I've also decided to follow it up with a "Choose Your Own Adventure" that will be set after the events of "Transfixed"and will allow you to [spoilers ahead, so highlight the text if you really want to know]save some or all of the characters who've been brainwashed and even stop the alien invasion[/spoilers]. Of course, writing a CYOA takes a lot more time than writing a straightforward story, but I'm going to try to zip through this one pretty quickly. I learned a lot from writing What Do You Give the Alien Who Has Everything?, and I think I'll be able to turn this one out a lost faster. I might also take suggestions from fans of the "Transfixed" short story as to what I should include in the CYOA. If I go that route, I'll be sure to give credit to anyone whose ideas I use. There will also be opportunities for several beta readers, who'll get cameos in the story as a reward.

I also have an idea for updating and sexing-up a lesbian vampire story called "Christabel." The original version is by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, whom some of you might remember as the opium addict who got interrupted in the middle of writing his best poem ever ("Kubla Khan"), lost his high, and was unable to recover the dream. Well, "Christabel" is a lot longer and sexier than "Kubla Khan," and I've already figured out how to turn it into the kind of fetish-filled EMC story you've grown to know and love (I hope) from me. I plan on writing "Christabel" and the CYOA at the same time so I can get the former on the market quickly while still working on the latter.

Finally, speaking of markets, here's something I threw together that you might or might not be interested in. I've been keeping track of all my sales over time, and I wanted to see which books were most profitable and why. The chart below includes everything I've written except Slave-Bride of the Sidhe, which hasn't been out long enough to take a proper measurement, and the two anthologies I took part in. For those of you who publish your own ebooks, or who are thinking of getting into publication, here are my biggest takeaways: 1) CYOA's sell like hot cakes, and 2) sexy covers make all the difference in the world (Colonized has only been out since August, and it's already in third place, beating out books that have been on the market since 2013; and Willing Subject is still raking in the money after three years on the market - thanks, as always, to Callidus, who is also taking commissions BTW). I can't help wishing Sleepwalkers was higher up the list since it's my baby, my epic, and the story that got me into self-publishing. But what can I do besides encourage you to buy it if you haven't already? If you like my stuff, Sleepwalkers is quintessential thrall.

I don't know if this info or the pie chart will interest anyone besides me, but I'm throwing it in here just for the hell of it.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Slave-Bride of the Sidhe is now available for purchase!

I've just uploaded the book to Smashwords, and as a thanks to those of you who read my blog, here's your coupon code to get 25% off: ZL39Z. The code is only good for one week, so hurry if you want to use it. Here's the Amazon link if you'd like to buy from there.

Here's the synopsis:

There’s something different about Ethna. She’s fond of her husband but she doesn’t crave his touch, and what she does crave is so strange and powerful that she can’t explain it even to herself. She seems to find an answer when she’s kidnaped by a fairy king and plunged into a world of supernatural submission, but then her husband rescues her, and she realizes King Finvarra was nothing like her heart’s desire. But she still desires something, and her experience with Finvarra has somehow brought her closer to the truth. She’ll just have to patient, and to explore her innermost depths, before she can find her true calling. Then she’ll know exactly what – and whom – she really wants.

This story is a sexed-up retelling of an ancient Celtic folk tale with an all-new second act that’s twice as titillating as the first.