Archive | December 2011

Every Road Has An End

And what goes on in the dark will most certainly come to the light. No one wants to be the last to know, but what’s worse, the knowing or the knowing days, months, years after everyone else has known, aided and embedded, participated, etc.?

This is a test. This is only a test.

Being cool and calm and calculating my next move carefully.

What You Say Can and Will…

One of my dearest friends and biggest supporters only recently learned that I’m not just being funny when I write down something she says or does, or tells me some anecdote about her family.

I named a character after her uncle once, a quiet man who is extremely tall and skinny (tree trunk-like) and his nickname is Stretch. I have a thing for unique names and why people get the nicknames that they do, so I just had to use it in a story. I forewarned her of this, but I’m not sure she believed me, even though I didn’t write it with the expressed intent of it going anywhere. But I submitted it to a call and early next year, the story will appear in Curvy Girls edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.

Sometimes it’s a name. Sometimes it’s a question. Sometimes it’s a conversation. Yesterday, it was something quite funny she was telling her someone on the phone about a ham. I wrote down two sentences, something her uncle said to her and something she said back and I now have a new story in my head.

I find my inspiration everywhere…in people, in environment. I build stories, my own little worlds, around them.

I asked another close friend a while ago if she would mind my naming a character after her (her nickname, of course) and she agreed. Then I sent her a screen shot of what I was writing and I think it really drove the point home. That story will also go public soon…where, I’m not telling just yet.

That’s what I’m doing, when I’m sitting off in a corner sipping my wine. That’s what I’m doing when I’m smiling but not talking much at all. I’m listening and thinking and pulling out my pen or my phone to take a note.

I write stories with your help.

And I always thank you later.

Pay Offs and Reaffirmations

In my experience, much of the writing and selling of short stories has been a “hurry up and wait” situation. You meet the deadlines (in my case sometimes), you wait for the response, and if the response is good, you subsequently wait for the publication date and the pay.

This can leave “dead” time of anywhere from months to a year or more, depending on the editor, the publisher and the market as a whole. Though this year has been my biggest in submissions (15), and sales (8), I’ve only received one, maybe two payments and one set of contributor’s copies.

And no one is to blame. It’s how it all works. It just leaves it looking, and me feeling like this year I’ve really done nothing, however, I already know that with all the releases due in 2012, it will look like I’ve been banging them out.

I guess my contribution to balancing it all would be to be constantly (or at least consistently) writing, reasearching markets, and making submissions. But like I said, considering my circumstances, 15 submissions in a year is damn good. No, we won’t go in to the full-time job, special needs twins, a moody husband and fiesty dog situation. But, you know what I mean.

I suppose what I’m saying is this…while it feels so good to write, finish something, send it, have it accepted and have someone actually willing to pay me for it is great, but holding those books in hand and seeing those payments drop and my Google hits multiply do so much to encourage me.

One day, there won’t be all these roadblocks (okay, some will never go away), but one day doing what I love will be a daily for me, and not just a luxury I steal and run and hide with and that is the pot of gold toward which I run…always.

The Funny Thing About Life

I was teaching a class last week on Cultural Diversity, and we got on the subject of regional jargon. As you know, I’m a proud southerner, born and raised, but, as I admitted to my class of peers, I didn’t realize I had such a thick regional accent until I heard myself on radio.

The comment wasn’t meant to raise eyebrows, but I began to hear the whispers…radio? interview? And then someone with enough gumption: What were you being interviewed about? I skated by the inquiry and finished the class. But, at the end of the week, thus the end of my week of classes, I decided to treat my students to a snippet of said interview.

We were several minutes in when someone finally asked, “What were ya’ll talking about?” (Yes, “ya’ll.” Southerner, I told you, lol). I admitted, “Erotica.” The reply, “Oh.”

That paticular student didn’t sit through the entire thing but asked on the way out, “Were you serious? You write erotica?” And I said, “Yes. I use my real name and everything. I’ve been in over thirty different anthologies. I’ve written for Zane. I’ve written for Alison Tyler, etc., etc.”

He blushed and walked away.

The purpose of this post, however isn’t to again talk about judging a book by it’s cover. My intent was and is, to talk about how this erotic writing career of mine has somehow come full circle.

Instead of having contributed to thirty-something anthologies, it is now more like forty-something with me having signed four contracts over the last week.

My most notable recent achievement, is that my story, Choices was selected by Zane (yes, that Zane) to be in the third book of her Chocolate Flava anthology series. And for those of you who may not know, I was published in the first book in the series. Zane actually published my very first submitted piece of erotica, Midnight Letter to Fran, and that thing had certainly made its rounds.

That was roughly ten years ago, and the fact that I had that particular publication under my belt, (well, that and Best Women’s Erotica edited then by Marcy Sheiner, which happened around the same time), really opened doors for me and jump-started my career.

I’ve also signed a new contract for the Sapphic Planet anthology, an indie, grass roots book put together of a lesbian erotica writer’s group I joined way back when. That production has made its rounds as well, but it will see the light of day come February 25th, 2012.

I’ve signed three contracts for Rachel Kramer Bussel edited anthologies, Going Down, Curvy Girls, and Suite Encounters: Hotel Erotica.

I’ve also signed another contract for a previously rejected story, Missing Mingo, sold to the online publication, Oysters and Chocolate. They have also in recent months, published another prior rejected piece, Lessons for Leona.

The funny thing, though, is that I had a specific plan back then. I was to be at a certain place by a certain time, writing for this and that place, editing, maybe having published a novel or two. However, I’m still writing in the dark, if you will, and working a 9 to 5, and rushing home to cook dinner, walk the dog, and take care of a husband and special needs twins.

Not that I’m not grateful for my accomplishments, however and whenever they come, but it just makes more real the saying that, The more things change, the more they stay the same.

As for now, I sit and wait for 2012, when many anthologies will be printed and distributed with my name attached to my story, when I can walk in to a Walmart or Target and point and say, “My name is in there!” and not focus so much on, “So, why am I still here?