Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gift bag

This post is a mixed bag that starts with a gripe which turns into a cheer, and after that it's all uphill into EMC fetish nirvana.

So, okay, if you don't have an adult blog on Blogger yourself, you might not be aware that earlier this week Google sent a mass email to all us pervs saying we were officially no longer welcome and had until mid-March to vacate the premises. Well, you can imagine how pissed off I was. I fully expected to make this weekend's blog entry a combination gripe session and plea for advice about where to move my blog. Fortunately, I instead get the chance to say, "Suck it, Google!" My fellow pervs (who obviously have more sense than I do) didn't wait till the weekend to complain - and they complained very loudly and to the right people. Because of them, Google was forced to retract its words and pretend it didn't mean them the way it really did mean them. And as for me, I avoid the hassle of moving all my shit. So again I say (because I can), "Suck it, Google!"

Now onward and upward. Earlier today I found a Facebook group dedicated to Hajime Sorayama, joined it, and immediately found myself presented with images like the one you see at right. Yes, some blessedly twisted souls decided to stage one of my favorite statufication pieces with actual live women. I am in heaven. There's lots more great art in that Facebook group (although sadly, nothing quite this elaborately staged), so if you have an FB account, jump on in; the water's fine.

Moving on again, I'm still working on my heavily revised, much hotter, and retitled "Sucker Punch" (now to be called "The Final Adventure of Doctor Theodore Steele and His Intrepid Assistant Franny"). In last week's post I said the story had turned out to be much shorter than I remembered, and that I thought I'd better combine it in an anthology with "If Wishes Were Horses" and "What to Expect from Your Alien Brainwashing." Well, since then I've been seeking advice from other indie erotica writers (some in the EMC crowd, some in a Facebook group) about how to combine and price the triad. I think you'll like their suggestions as much as I do. My plan now is to release "The Final Adventure" first, alone, and price it at $0.99. A month later I'll release "If Wishes Were Horses" alone for $0.99. Then, a month after that, I'll publish the two together along with "What to Expect" as an anthology (new working title "Dark Spaces") and sell that for $0.99. All this seems counter-intuitive to me, but I've never had a head for business; and the people who do have a head for business say this is the way to go.

Are you happy yet? Well, let me see if I can make you even happier.

1. Again, on the advice of one of these business mavens, I've repriced almost all the existing books in my Amazon catalog from $2.99 to $0.99 (and Sleepwalkers from $3.99 to $2.99).

2. It works out even better for you and for me if you have a Kindle Unlimited membership and  borrow the books instead of buying them (Just read the whole books, okay? The magic doesn't work unless you read at least most of the way through.). Yes, this is even more counter-intuitive than what I said above, but it's true - and in fact, it's true for every Kindle ebook that sells for $1.99 or less. I won't bore you with an explanation unless you ask for it; but I will tell you that the best way to support your favorite indie authors on Kindle is to borrow rather than buy - again, if the price is $1.99 or less, and if you at least flip through all the pages to the end. Otherwise, buy. And review. Reviews mean a lot to sales.

3. I'll need some beta readers for my upcoming stories, and I'll also need some people willing to actually review the books on Amazon; so when the time gets closer, I'm going to offer a few Advance Reader Copies. I haven't figured out the fine details yet, but this is the gist of it. I'll choose the ARC recipients in my usual way, by asking people to volunteer in the comments section. The winners will get to beta-read Word versions of one, two, or three stories on the condition that they post reviews once the stories go live on Amazon. Once their reviews go up, I'll give the winners free actual ebooks of the stories they beta read and reviewed.

Well, I'm certainly in a good mood now that I've shared all this...and I hope you're in a good mood now that you've read it.

Sweet dreams.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

It's complicated

I haven't done any writing in several months, not serious writing. I did rework "Couples Skate" for inclusion in an anthology called Cupid's Secrets (which you should consider buying or at least borrowing; not all the stories will be to your taste, but I can almost guarantee you'll love "Horngry" and "Two Gods Walk into a Bar"), but other than that, nada.

And why haven't I been writing? Well, it's complicated. My real-life life has been pretty unpleasant these last few months, and I've also been channeling a lot of energy into a different, vanilla project (which none of you will ever see - sorry!). I get obsessive about things, but I only have a limited amount of obsession available; and it's been going in a different direction than writing.

But suddenly that's changed. Even while I wasn't writing, I was thinking about which story I wanted to work on next. It was going to be "Avatar" - which, of course, will have to be retitled now - but I wasn't too enthused about the project. Then last night, just as I was drifting off to sleep, I started to think about "Sucker Punch"; and suddenly a host of fun, new ideas presented themselves to me. That's the story I need to work on next, not "Avatar." I'll be shuffling and, in a few cases, totally rewriting scenes, and changing the brainwashing method into something more appropriate for the Flash Gordon satire that this story is.

I need a better name, though - something along the lines of, "The Final Adventure of Doctor Theodore Steele and his Intrepid Assistant Franny." But as amusing as I find that title, I think it might be too long and weird to attract new readers. Tell me what you think. If you didn't know my stuff already, and if you were browsing Amazon for a good EMC story, would a title like that pique your interest or turn you off? Let me know in the comments.

EDIT: It's evening now, and I've done a lot of work on the story already. It looks like I'll be rewriting huge chunks of it, but that's a good thing because I have some fun ideas. What's not such a good thing is the length: I'd forgotten how short the story was. I'll have to combine it with a couple of other short ones ("If Wishes Were Horses" and "What to Expect from Your Alien Brainwashing") to make an anthology. This also means I'll need a title for the whole collection, so I think "The Final Adventure...." will work fine as the new title of "Sucker Punch." As for the anthology, I'm currently toying with the idea of "Kinks in the Space-Time Continuum," but I'm not set on that. What do you all think?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

After all, real-world drones are male

This post is a two-fer, with both halves involving drones. First I'll give you a tantalizing book passage, and then I'll share some personal stuff.

My fetishist friends and I write about female drones because we get off on the idea of women being depersonalized and controlled. But of course, in real life, the drones in a hive are male. The bees that leave the hive and actually work are female, while the drones are pretty much just sex toys for the queen.

With that in mind, let me share a passage from a book I read recently called The Honey Month. The author received a month's worth of exotic honey samples, tried one a day, and used its color/smell/taste as inspiration for some pretty freaky vignettes. Some are fantasy, some are SF, some are skewed just a little bit off normal, and then there's this one - which I'd say classifies as horror. Don't be fooled by the badassery at the beginning of the story. This man's fate is not what you expect.

Cranberry Creamed Honey

Colour: Dark amber, cognac. Funny to me how I have such boozy associations, but they are apt.
Smell: There’s a sharpness, a resinousness to this. It’s also very liquidy.
Taste: A definite cranberry tartness, but the honey taste dominates; the tartness limns it, darts around its edges, makes it one of the more refreshing honeys I’ve tried. I think of pine, strangely, redwood; tasting it is like walking a forest path.
     There is fire in his wrists, fire in his sharp-shod walk, fire beneath his fingernails. He is red, redder than rowan berries, for rowan doesn’t bleed as cranberries do, and it is cranberries that he gathers, that he stews and crushes, cranberries in which he steeps his skin. Lacking a Mithrasian bull, he takes them, bathes in them, rinses his hair red-black, seeking transcendence.
     It is not white, he says, that is pure. It is not black. It is red, because it moves, it changes, and it keeps itself always. It is not static as fossilized wood, not delicate as new-fallen snow. When red seeks to be its truest self, it is in motion. It fears no change.
     He has shrugged at Paracelsus, at Tarot cards, at accusations of devilry. Red is his religion. He squeezes berry juice onto his eyelids, swallows it nine times a day, thrice at each meal. He wants the redness to spill from him like a scent, that in walking the forest paths the sleeping deer and wolves and rabbits will come to dream in garnet tones, will tremble and flush at the thought of pursuit, the game of the chase.
     The bees dream red when he passes.
     When they wake, their queen begins to wail. She needs it, she says, that red of reds that walks the woods like a shadow. The bees are dutiful, and go.
     They find him, but do not know how to scrape the redness from him, cannot brush it against their bodies, cannot gather it like pollen. In vain they stamp his cranberry cheeks, in vain they buzz his cranberry ears. They cannot take a piece of him back to the hive.
     Meantime he is beset by a phalanx of black-ribbed gold, drowns in the drone of their discontent. He swats at them, rages at them, gathers stings against the back of his hand, the curve of his elbow. What are these that come to gild his redness, limn his red thoughts with their bright noise? What are these that dare change his red shadow’s shape, settling and rising like clouds at sea?
     They madden him. They do not mean to. They hardly know that they are pushing him, driving him, herding the redness of him homeward.
     Enough, says the queen, while he weeps in great red sobs. Enough, that is enough. She does not need to leave her childbed to imbibe him, only needs him to stay in the comb of her children’s bodies, stay and share his colour with her. He cannot but comply.
     She dreams, and her workers pour red into their gold, raise larvae with rust-red bodies, make honey heady as the setting sun. They weave it into their songs and dance its colour into the air they breathe. There is an orange to them, an amber, now – never quite red, for it is not the cranberry they love, but the shaping of their gold, the change, the sharpened edges to their queen’s dreams.
     He is in all they do, their most precious drone; they love him like a fine day. They look after him in their fashion. The bees go out, burrow into their sisters’ bodies, sing their gladdest thanks against his lips. They go bearing their darkest honey, the densest, the best, the closest to the red they can never quite achieve, the redness that is his, only his. One by one, they place a drop on his tongue like a sacrament.
    It is never red enough.

And now for something more personal. If you've been following my blog long enough, you know I'm a gigantic Muse fan. Well, the band has a new album coming out soon, and apparently it's going to be called Drones. They've been releasing teaser art with the guys sporting glistening black eyes and all the identifying information from the original pictures scribbled out.

I'm not just imagining, am I, that the theme of the new album is depersonalization? In fact, it might even be about outright brainwashing. That's a topic the band has explored before. Front man Matt Bellamy is a fan of conspiracy theories; claims to have learned from a book how to brainwash people in real life; and once wrote a song about MK Ultra, a real but thankfully dismantled project by the US military that attempted to rewrite people's minds (I've posted the "MK Ultra" video here a couple of times before, but naturally, I now have to post it again. You're welcome.).

But here's where it gets really personal. You might think I'm thrilled to have my favorite band making an album about my fetish. But seeing pictures of the guys with drone eyes makes me squirm in a way that's not entirely pleasant. It's like having one of those "naked in public" dreams. I feel exposed and kind of...guilty. See, I wouldn't care about seeing celebrities I hate turned into mindless drones, but these are my boys. They're supposed to be the heroes, not the victims. I almost feel like I'm the one doing this to them.

I have no idea whether that makes sense to anyone else or not. Probably it doesn't, but what do you think?

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Two kinds of gorgeous

First, let me remind you that photographer LXXT has a gallery on Deviant Art that mostly features Princess Fatale and occasionally includes some of her playmates. It's updated frequently, so be sure to follow it or at least bookmark it. Here are some of the best pictures from recent weeks.

And now for something completely different. A few days ago I ran across an article on io9 called The Most Jaw-Droppingly Beautiful Cliff Top Hotels Ever Built. Now, I always like to look at beautiful architecture, but I'm not in the habit of sharing it on my blog (Facebook is a different matter; you get a fuller view of my interests there than you do here), but this pertains to the topic at hand. As I was writing What Do You Give the Alien Who Has Everything?, I had pictures in my head of how the Imperators' compound should look, but I never found any real pictures to convey the scale and beauty of it. Then I ran across this article.

The first picture, in particular, is almost completely true to my vision (All it lacks are the colonnades). The last one really isn't very true to my vision at all, but it's just so gorgeous that I had to include it anyway. And everything in between will at least give you a better idea of what was in my head as I was writing.