*cough*cough* Five years of dust! But I’m back, and this time I’m bringing Connie Bailey with me! We’re co-writing!

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Have you ever noticed that once you stop doing something, it’s really easy to keep not doing it?  It’s like inertia, only backward.  (Which is probably still just inertia…?  *does a quick Google search*  Yup, still just inertia – “the resistance of any physical object to a change in its state of motion.”)

So anyway – I stopped writing.  And I sort of stopped thinking about sex a whole lot. And I even stopped reading very much.  (I know, I know, terrible…)  Mostly I’ve been focused on cooking and gardening and doing things with yarn – sock-things, usually.  And starting a new exercise program and doing a god-awful detox diet.

UltimateGuidetoProstatePleasureCover-profileBut!  I did something sex-related recently; I went to a workshop my friend Charlie Glickman was giving on prostate pleasure.  Which is coincidentally the topic of the book he just co-wrote with the amazing Aislinn Emirzian, “The Ultimate Guide to Prostate Pleasure.”  It was FABULOUS!

Despite the fact that I’ve been writing about male sexuality (and anal pleasure) for over a decade, and reading about it (and talking to men, and playing with them in bed) for well-over twice that long, I learned quite a bit.  For example:

  • Much like the female G-spot orgasm, men can have a prostate orgasm without ejaculating, which allows for increased options for multiple orgasms (rather than just super-short refractory periods).
  • Set your strokes/massaging fingers to a 120 bmp music soundtrack for best results.
  • Jostle, don’t poke the prostate.
  • Mark the base of your dildos at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions with a blob of nail polish, to keep the orientation the way you want it.
  • And a bunch of how-to tips for pegging.  *eyebrow wiggle*

And now I have this 300-something page book to read, which sounds a little daunting.  But it’s all about sex, and that’s the Right Kind of Homework, as far as I’m concerned.  Plus, I bet I know how to get some extra credit with my study partner.  *g*

Next up – polishing off that joggers story (whooo, that’s dusty) and then maybe the super old kinky steampunk story that I started, if the dust bunnies haven’t eaten it.  (Hmmm… What happens when plot bunnies and dust bunnies have a war over a certain story idea?  Who wins?)rainbowduster

Anyway, just thought I’d some spring cleaning around here, get out the feather duster and scrub brush, call in the houseboy and the maid.  Those sexy sweeties like it when I give them something to do!

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bath time thoughts

Things I like today, in no particular order:

  • Having 30 min left in the parking meter when I arrived, and leaving before it expired. Free parking!
  • When you are cold all the way deep, nothing warms you up like a bath.
  • Unless it’s the dog drinking the bathwater.  Nothing says “love” like someone who will drink your bathwater.
  • “I don’t want to eat the leftovers” = pork buns and pot-stickers and salad for dinner!
  • Being over the flu!  Yay!  Not that the hallucinations weren’t fun and all, but I’d rather have those from recreational drugs, thank you.
  • Secret early draft of a favorite author’s next book.  Whoo!

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You know what I like most about writing?  Answering all the questions.  How did these two guys meet?  What did they think of each other on first glance?  What do they fantasize about?  What are their secret kinks?

And the more general questions are fun too, because they’re about me/everyone.   If you get a hurt a lot in your job, how do you reconcile that with kinky play?  Is pain still a turn on or is it rendered utterly unsexy?

How do you get a control freak into subspace?  Is subspace learned or does it happen the first time?  Has it not happened to me because I’m not really a sub or because it takes practice?

Pondering these things, mulling it over, texting my friends as I’m out doing errands, leaving myself illegible notes as I drive…  That’s the part of writing that I ADORE.

The part I suck at?  Sitting in front of the computer and writing it all down.  Sigh.  I’m working on it though.  Even the tortoise gets there eventually, right?

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NaughTea Time with Andrea Speed

ZOMG, Andrea and I had so much fun and we talked about *everything* during our chat before xmas!  Seriously, *everything* – Canadians, superheros, mad scientists, “The Tick”, and pretty much everything geeky/nerdy in the scifi/comic book world.  Also, music, TV shows, and manatees.  Read on, if you dare….

***

Alix Bekins: Heya!  Welcome to tea!

Andrea Speed: Hola, mi amiga!

Alix Bekins: What kind of coffee/tea/cocoa do you like?

Andrea Speed: A nice white tea with peppermint would be great. Or a dark chocolate cocoa with mint. Basically, something with mint in it. (Not a coffee drinker, though.)

Alix Bekins: I’m not a coffee fan either. I love how it smells, hate how it tastes. Have you had the Ghirardelli peppermint cocoa?

Andrea Speed: The smell is nice. So is coffee ice cream. But it stops there. I think so! That’s nice. There’s a British drinking chocolate with peppermint which is just awesome.

Alix Bekins: Ooooohhhhh!  Anyhting British is immediately better. 😉  IMO.

Andrea Speed: Ha! They do know their way around a dark chocolate – I have to give them that.

Alix Bekins: And candy.  They understand everything is better with milk and real sugar, not corn syrup and wax.

Andrea Speed: We’re just going to wax rhapsodic about foreign sweets, aren’t we? I’m good with that…  Corn syrup really doesn’t need to be everywhere.

Alix Bekins: I’ll stay away from my rants about GMOs and corn subsidies and other hippie liberal stuff. End result – British cocoa is better. 😉 So what’s the best cocoa you’ve ever had? Most fancy, exotic setting, special in some way?

Andrea Speed: Hmm… Probably that British drinking chocolate I mentioned. Just because it is super fancy, and wasn’t something I could pick up at the store. Every now and again, I splurge on something I shouldn’t. But it’ s the little things that can make you so happy sometimes.

Alix Bekins: That’s what splurging is all about. 🙂  You are the first Naugh-tea person in the same time zone as me – you’re in Washington?

Andrea Speed: Well, with our legal pot and gay marriage, it seems like we’re in a slightly different universe too.  😀

Alix Bekins: Not from my town. Northern CA wants to be there with you on both issues.

Andrea Speed: Aww. Maybe soon.

Alix Bekins: I hope so. But again, I won’t go off on a rant about Prop 8. Not enough energy/preaching to the choir.

Andrea Speed: Yeah. But look at it this way – if things keep going the way they are, twenty years from now, this won’t be an issue at all.

Alix Bekins: So have you been to the UK and had cocoa there?

Andrea Speed: I have not! I really want to go, too. But sadly money and circumstances have left me stranded here for the moment. I’m a vicarious, armchair traveler. I want to go everywhere. Although, I don’t want to be felt up by TSA agents, so there you go.

Alix Bekins: Well, you’re close to Vancouver/British Columbia – that’s sort of like the UK! A little bit? Maybe if you squint?

Andrea Speed: If you squint, tilt your head, and… not really. 😀 It’s Canada! Canadians are a proud, hockey playing people who will mock you senseless if you call them Brits. I have many Canadian friends who would want me to stick up for them, especially as an honorary Canuck.

Alix Bekins: Yeah, but they pronounce their vowels similarly and they drink tea and…. I’m going to get my ass kicked by Canadians, aren’t I? 🙂  I love both places, though – Canada and the UK.

Andrea Speed: Oh, they’re great! But I think Canadians get tired of being the world’s nice uncle. Nobody really hates Canadians, because they seem polite and reasonable, for the most part. Despite their prime minister, national sport, and beer. Oh, and superheroes. It’s understandable.

Alix Bekins: There are Canadian superheroes?

InfectedPreyFSAndrea Speed: Hell yes! First of all, Wolverine is Canadian, and he was a part of Alpha Flight, the Canadian superhero team, before he joined the X-Men… Unless that’s been ret-conned. Which is possible. I lose track. Then there’s a whole bunch of others, including the first gay X-Man, Northstar – gee, with a name like that, who would guess he was Canadian? By the way – comic book geek. If you couldn’t tell. 😀

Alix Bekins: Hehehe! Awesome

Andrea Speed: We could circle back to my Infected series here, as I feel it is a stealth superhero series.

Alix Bekins: My husband drags me (willingly) to the comic-book movies, but I usually know almost nothing before the theater goes dark. Oooh, is it? Tell me how Infected is about superheroes.

Andrea Speed: The best superhero movies, you don’t have to know the characters at all, but afterwards, maybe you want to.  Because Roan is a superhero, really. An inadvertent one, and he surely doesn’t want to be one, but there’s a reason the cops call him – sometimes derisively, sometimes not – Batman. But really, the Hulk is a better comparison point. The virus that is killing him has also given him some gifts. But along with the gifts comes the lion, or at least an animalistic second persona.

Alix Bekins: Oh, interesting. I was really fascinated by the Banner/Hulk character in The Avengers this spring – tell me how your Roan is like him. Is he in control of himself mentally, or does he check out the way Banner seems to?

Andrea Speed: As the stories goes on, the readers – and Roan – learn how much it costs him. He can do amazing things. But he’s losing himself in the process. When he uses his abilities, he partially – in his parlance – lions out. He’s fighting the lion for control of himself. It’s painful, and sometimes he loses. At the end of Infected: Shift, he loses spectacularly, and he goes full lion. Which … well, let’s just say there probably weren’t any survivors to nail him with it.

Alix Bekins: Wow, that sounds terrifying.

Andrea Speed: Holden was a witness, but considering what Holden himself does… Yeah, he ain’t squealing. Holden, by the way, is an amusing-to-me Punisher analog.

Alix Bekins: How do you relate to that, as a writer? Is it all outside of you, or is there something inside that you’re pulling that emotional content from?

Andrea Speed: He’s a hooker, and he’s a vigilante. That’s just an awesome description to write.

Alix Bekins: I like the idea of a sex worker vigilante…. Seems like they’d go together pretty well.

Andrea Speed: I think if you want to get metaphorical, we all have something inside ourselves we don’t necessarily like. A dark side, if you will. The funny thing is, in some circumstances, it can be really helpful. In Roan’s specific case, he’s the personification of an illness. He hates it, he doesn’t want to be it… but we don’t pick how we end up.

Alix Bekins: Absolutely. No, we don’t. And that’s good point, that a lot of us learn to draw strength from our darkness, in whatever way.

Andrea Speed: And… I don’t think this is a spoiler for the later books, but we can mark it as such…

=SPOILERS=He finds out that the more he uses the lion, the more the lion is getting used to him. Or, specifically, his body. This is absolutely not good at all. So eventually, he’s going to have to make a choice. That’s all I’ll say for now. =END SPOILERS=

Yes. Darkness has good points. Weird good points, but ones all the same. In fact, in the prequel I’m writing, Roan’s ex, Dee, tells him how basically he likes to fight, and how he was just born that way. If people didn’t resist him, Roan would have withered and died. And that’s probably true. Roan is a born resister.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, that’s quite a broad hint, there. 😉

Andrea Speed: Perhaps.;) Of course, there’s the built in problem that it won’t be easy for Roan to choose – he’s sharing his body with a lion. He can’t exactly evict it. Oh, but if he could… 😀

Alix Bekins: I once had a really interesting discussion with a person I’d met on the bus, about would we – if we could – change our physical problems. Like for her, she had a bone disease that resulted in a lot of surgeries when she was a teen, and a permanent uneven walk/limp. She said she couldn’t imagine her being herself without that whole experience, and as an adult, feels pretty confident that she wouldn’t go back and change it.

Andrea Speed: Which is a good attitude.

Alix Bekins: I don’t have anything big like that, but I have had terrible eyesight since it was about 8 years old. I can’t imagine just being able to see without glasses or contacts or anything. It defines how I think. But it was a really interesting mental exercise, to consider how it’s shaped you, as an adult, and if you changed it, how it would shape you differently.

InfectedBloodlinesFSAndrea Speed: If you asked Roan, though, I’m pretty sure he’d say “make me normal”. He’d probably regret it, though, as normal really isn’t his forte. I’m with you! Ask me how myopic I am. Then again, no, don’t. Adversity builds character or breaks you.

Alix Bekins: Yes.  And maybe I’m weird, but I like the battle wounds. Then again, most of mine are mental. Which sort of fits with the superhero thing too – although their pasts are more tragic than mine, thank goodness. You said you were working on a prequel – do you write exclusively paranormal stories? This will be part… 5 of the Infected series?

Andrea Speed: There will be another part – a sequel and a prequel. Only I’m not sure I count Infected as a paranormal series. I actually think of it as a weird sci-fi series, because I try and make this weird thing as realistic (in context) as possible.

Alix Bekins: Maybe I’m not clear on the difference between paranormal and sci-fi.

Andrea Speed: If there was a virus that could turn you into a cat for three or four days a month, how would it work? Well, first off, it’d be horrible, which may distinguish my book from most shifter stories right there. Paranormal generally means something supernatural. (Is this virus supernatural? Perhaps. I guess readers can take it however they want.)

Alix Bekins: I guess shape-shifting can kind of go either way, depending on the cause and how it’s dealt with.

Andrea Speed: I proposed it as a blood bourn pathogen of unknown origin. Although I know, I just haven’t shared it with readers. Or at least I should say I think I know, and it’s of a very terrestrial, non-supernatural origin. The shifting in my books is awful. Skin tears, bones break, it’s a process that takes a while and kills a good amount of the infected.

Alix Bekins: Ouch!

Andrea Speed: In fact, when Roan partially “lions out”, the first sign, beyond growling, is blood starts pouring from his mouth. Due to teeth poking through his gums. And after the adrenalin spike wears off, he’s often in so much pain he can’t function without a lot of painkillers.  (I’m so cheerful.)

Alix Bekins: That’s pretty different from the usual scenarios I’ve read. How did you come up with that? Where do you get your ideas from?

Andrea Speed: Believe it or not, I got the original idea by reading an article on gene therapy in the Science News. *puts on nerd hat* It was talking about the use of neutered or dead viruses in gene replacement therapy…  (Lately, a denatured AIDS virus was used to supposedly cure a girl’s leukemia. Fingers crossed on that.) So I began thinking about what a person with malicious nature might be able to do if they could perfect this process. So it’s the Science News meets the Island of Doctor Moreau. 😀

Alix Bekins: Wow, that’s brilliant! 🙂

Andrea Speed: I’m sure I’m not the first person this has occurred to. But I may be the first person who got a Rainbow Book award for it. #humblebrag

Alix Bekins: I don’t know, probably not a lot of people sit around pondering creative uses for gene replacement therapy.

Andrea Speed: 😀

Alix Bekins: At least, I sort of hope not, unless they’re writers! 😉  WhooO! Congrats on that, by the way.

Andrea Speed: Yes. No mad scientists need apply. Thank you. And I noticed Infected got a nod in sci-fi/fantasy too.

Alix Bekins: Wow, that’s excellent. You must be very proud of your stories, getting recognized like that.

Andrea Speed: I have to ask Elisa if I was the first person to have two books in the same series come up in different genres. It’s lovely! I still think it was a huge mistake.

Alix Bekins: Nonsense! 🙂 But – where do you go from here?

Andrea Speed: I was planning a sophomore slump. I figure, if I start sucking now, maybe I can rally in the final third of my career.

Alix Bekins: Hahahahaha! Well all right then! I mean, I was GOING to ask about your writing and inspiration and projects, but if you’re heading into a slump…

Andrea Speed: Oh, well, if you must…

Alix Bekins: Hehehe! Okay then – how do you plan to stay OUT of a slump? What excites you about writing?

Pretty_Monsters_0Andrea Speed: I shouldn’t neglect my Josh of the Damned horror/comedy series, which is so much fun to write. If only horror-comedy was a big selling genre. (Spoiler alert: it isn’t.)

Alix Bekins: Yeah, I don’t think I’ve read anything like that….

Andrea Speed: Well, I misjudged the audience for people who wanted to read about giant, man eating mustaches. But I do! And it isn’t so much “write what you know” as “write what you want to read.” (Although, in this case, I am probably alone in wanting to read it.) It’s fun to be goofy. And scary. What keeps me writing is the ability to be both goofy and scary. (This applies to Infected too, which can be scary, but is, a good amount of the time, very, very silly.)

Alix Bekins: Goofy is good. And I’m delighted to meet someone else who writers what they want to read, and writes funny stuff.

Andrea Speed: You can’t be dark all the time. You need a sense of humor to survive.

moustacheAlix Bekins: (I’m having flashbacks to an old episode of “The Tick”, the animated one, which I think was called “The Moustache.”)

Andrea Speed: YES! That was the direct inspiration for “Night of the Mustache.”

Alix Bekins: OMG!!!! I’ve never met anyone else who’s seen The Tick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved that show! I recorded them all on VHS.

Andrea Speed: Now, if only I could have worked in a Dr. Mung-Mung and Tongue-Tongue reference.

Alix Bekins: YES!

Andrea Speed: Or Pigleg!

Alix Bekins: Seriously, I’m making squeaking noises over here! A Tiny Two-headed Bluebird That Only Speaks High School French!

Andrea Speed: I love the Tick! I wish they’d release the 3rd season on DVD. But they’ve only released the first two. (I have them.) Yes! Gravity is a harsh mistress.

Alix Bekins: OMG! This is brillliant! 🙂

Andrea Speed: I’ve wanted Roan to say that, but I’m not sure Ben Edlund would be good with that.

Alix Bekins: We say so many of those things around my house, just in passing.

Andrea Speed: I say gravity is a harsh mistress nearly every week. Any time something falls down, that’s the first thing out of my mouth.

Alix Bekins: seriously! And she *is* too. I’m so fucking clumsy.

Andrea Speed: What’s the nerd slogan? “Gravity’s not just a good idea, it’s the law.” And she is a harsh mistress indeed.

Alix Bekins: *snort*

Andrea Speed: And what about the wonderful El Seed? I regret never having a killer flower.

Alix Bekins: There’s always next time.

Peek-a-Boo 590x900Andrea Speed: But, for some reason, the line that still makes me laugh the hardest is the Tick’s panicked “Dog ….hit … by … street!” Yes, there is. ANd Thrakkazorg! (A/K/A Susan.)

Alix Bekins: *snort* Okay, I’m going to have to get those on DVD and watch them all again. Huh, maybe that’s what I’ll get my sweetie for xmas.

Andrea Speed: Maybe! The Tick is a gift that keeps on giving.

Alix Bekins: It’s decided! (Mostly because it’s also a gift for myself – cheating! Don’t tell Santa!)

Andrea Speed: If you ever checked out the original graphic novels, they’re pretty good too.

Alix Bekins: I will do that.

Andrea Speed: They actually make it pretty clear the Tick was an in an insane asylum. They don’t say he’s crazy – maybe he’s just an alien who ended up there, or something – but they were a wee bit darker.

Alix Bekins: Huh, that would add a different flavor to the story, for sure. So what do you want the guy in red to bring for you?

Andrea Speed: Besides a billion dollars and my own island to be dictator for life upon? Hmm… I think I’d like more writing time. Life has conspired to keep me from doing it as much as I’d like to. But don’t all writers want that? (Save for King and Oates, who should probably be encouraged to pace themselves a bit more.)

Alix Bekins: I think so – everyone I’ve asked during the Naugh-Tea chats says they just want time. I’d like a month or two. But that’s hard to stick under the tree. What else? 🙂

Andrea Speed: Hmm… I’d say the latest Mystery Science Theater 3000 box set, but I already bought that for myself. 😀  (Come on – Revenge of the Creature is on it! How am I turning that down?) Apparently, I only like cult things. It’s a sad thing to realize you’re an adult who doesn’t know how to be mainstream.

Alix Bekins: Us too, mostly. Feh. Ever been to ComiCon? We keep trying to go, for the last decade, and Every Damn Year, something happens.

JotD_DustBunnies_500x750Andrea Speed: The Emerald City ComiCon, yes! Several times. I used to do a “stupid questions at the ECCC” feature. I’d go up to creators and ask them extremely stupid questions. This is how I know most straight men have a huge crush on John Cusack. I casually know several comic writers and artists, and we’re all creators. There’s some good people out there.

Alix Bekins: Huh, I never would have thought of that, but yeah, he was a huge deal in the 80s. That’s fantastic.

Andrea Speed: I asked everybody one year who they’d want to play them in the movie of their life, and this led to this deep vein of straight guy John Cusak worship. It surprised me too.

Alix Bekins: I feel like I’ve found a geeky twin!

Andrea Speed: 😀

Alix Bekins: So, did you see the Hobbit this weekend? Are you a LOTR geek?

Andrea Speed: Sadly, no. Funnily enough, my grandmother was, but I never got into it. Then again, I’m not really a sword and sandals fantasy kind of gal. Unless it’s horrendously bad (MST3K’ s take on Deathstalker, and the Warriors From Hell, for example.) You?

Alix Bekins: My husband is an old-school D&D geek, so he actually got me to read the books for the first time when we got together. I’m not a huge fantasy fan, but I did see the other three movies and got pretty into them.

Andrea Speed: I’ve heard some people complaining about the length of said Hobbit, but I’ve heard no one complain about the quality.

Alix Bekins: I had some issues, but I enjoyed myself, so I count it as a win. 🙂

Andrea Speed: Good!

Alix Bekins: Any book turning into a movie will have some issues, IMO.

Andrea Speed: Oh hell yes.

Alix Bekins: Of course, what writer wouldn’t love to have one of her books turn into a movie? (Without or without the hot sex scenes?)

Andrea Speed: Screenwriting is a totally different beast. You know what? I’d rather go to cable TV series. 😀

Alix Bekins: Heheh – more episodes?

Andrea Speed: There’s too much going on in Infected to make a film. Two hours wouldn’t be enough. At least, with a TV series, you could adequately parcel it out without boring everyone to tears. And hopefully have room for character growth.

Alix Bekins: Exactly.  Like the Game of Thrones stuff (which I actually haven’t seen – too bloody for me).

Infect-LifeDeathFSAndrea Speed: Yes, exactly. Or Breaking Bad. Ha! As if I’d ever do anything that good. Still… Oh, you have a bloody quotient? I enjoy horror movies, so I don’t. 😀 The funny thing is, I don’t think GoT is all that bloody, overall. It has gruesome moments, but not relentlessly.

Alix Bekins: It’s the people-being-horrible that’s the real turn off for me. I don’t know, I’m a sensitive flower. Blood and guts doesn’t bother me in themselves, it’s the anger and creepy factor that gets me. Like I totally can’t watch Spartacus or Dexter. But I have no issue with most action movies because the violence is impersonal and removed.

Andrea Speed: Oh. Hmm. Is “how do you get through life?” way too cynical a thing for me to say? 😀  (It probably is.)

Alix Bekins: Hehehe!

Andrea Speed: I guess it depends on what you consider people being horrible to one another. I mean, torture, sure. But is omission just as bad? Ignorance? Just plain assholism?

Alix Bekins: It’s a balance between ignoring things like the atrocities in Africa and rape camps and gibbering in the dark because it’s too much to handle. Mostly, I ignore it because I can’t do anything about it.

Andrea Speed: Fair enough. I totally understand that.

Alix Bekins: It’s the torture thing mostly, although to a lesser degree, it’s why I hate reality TV. People being jerks isn’t entertaining to me to watch.

Andrea Speed: But this is fiction, so there’s that. Oh, I don’t watch reality TV either. Mostly because I don’t see the point.

Alix Bekins: I would love to watch Spartacus… My friend sends me links to the sexy manlove bits. Well, and I’m outraged that people would rather pay a bunch of editors than a WRITER to write a STORY.

Andrea Speed: I tried to watch Spartacus… I found it so dull, I didn’t stick with it. Oh, but reality shows DO have writers! There are outlines. They have people re-enact scenes with added drama. It’s phony from shot one.

Alix Bekins: I honestly did not know that. Wow.

Andrea Speed: They just hide their names in the credits.

Alix Bekins: I’m not sure if I should be dismayed or glad the writers guild is at least getting SOME work!

Andrea Speed: A little of both, I suppose.

Alix Bekins: Heh, yes, always some with the other. So, have you done screenwriting?

Andrea Speed: Oh, although there’s no full frontal, I’d be remiss if I didn’t say that Teen Wolf has surpassed Spartacus as the most homoerotic show out there. I have not done screenwriting! It’s a different beast, much like comic book writing, and I haven’t mastered it.

Alix Bekins: I had a friend who was going to try to break into that once, but I don’t know what happened with it. All the rules for outlining and action were very hard for me to understand. I’m pretty visual, but I guess not movie-action-visual.

Andrea Speed: It has its own rules. If you were going to do it, I’d suggest investing in some screenwriting software, which makes it that much easier to tackle.

Alix Bekins: Ah, technology.  What’s on your calendar for the next couple weeks and then for 2013?

JotD3_Cover2 colorAndrea Speed: Oh crap. Let’s see if I can remember… *set your timer * Well, I’m in edits on what may be the last Josh of the Damned trilogy… I have Infected: Undertow due out in 2013… Hopefully I can finally get my fantasy novel Strange Angels done for Riptide… Then I have more of the Infected universe on the back burner, as well as possible return to another detective series, and damn it, I want to write that science fiction story one of these days. Maybe a horror story too. I do like writing in that genre.

Alix Bekins: All m/m or not?

Andrea Speed: Most likely.

Alix Bekins: Very exciting plans 🙂

Andrea Speed: Of course, keep in mind I only seem to like writing in genres that don’t sell. 😀

Alix Bekins: Well, you know. *shrug* That’s only a concern if you’re needing to make a living at it. I’d rather see a story a writer wants to tell, not what they’re hoping will sell to readers.

Andrea Speed: Agreed. I just think it’s kind of hilarious I only gravitate to stuff that has a small audience. I was never meant to be mainstream in any capacity.

Alix Bekins: Well, at least that means a tribe of devoted followers 🙂 And awards in your genre.

Andrea Speed: Ha! True. Although sometimes I don’t know what genre I belong in. I let other people pick.

Alix Bekins: One of the things I was asking while everyone was working on NaNoWriMo was about creativity. I imagine since you write in so many genres, you must be a pretty creative person. Do you have other outlets besides writing? Art, dance, music, alligator wrestling?

Andrea Speed: Oh, if only there were some alligators around here…. I would love to be an artist, but I can’t draw worth snot. I think I mainly save it for writing. Oh, and making music mixes. 😀

Alix Bekins: I hear that. Sometimes I try painting, but mostly at about a 2nd grader’s level. It’s fun though. And I’ve recently let Amy Lane teach me to knit. What sort of music do you like?

Andrea Speed: What have you got? I think my main genre is noise rock, but I’m all over the map. Like, I’m putting together my best of 2012 list, and while noise rock is there, so is electronic, rap, metal, punk, and neo-psychedelic.

Alix Bekins: I don’t even know what noise rock is! Give me a few examples?

Andrea Speed: Oh boy, can I!

Alix Bekins: Hehe!  Maybe I should just wait for your recs list?

Andrea Speed: Well, my two top noise rock albums of the year are by Metz and Police Teeth… But Roan’s love of These Arms Are snakes comes straight from me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Gc3ZjkrTZk and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krGDNbT4CSE  I will admit, Police Teeth’s latest is only quasi-noise rock. They’ve adopted a bit of mellowness in their older age.

Alix Bekins: Nice, reminds me of the industrial stuff I used to listen to in college. Happy memories 🙂

Andrea Speed: Noise is an offshoot of industrial. Also of punk.

Alix Bekins: Yay! Now I have new stuff to go explore. Will you post your list to your blog?

Infect-Freefall_pr2Andrea Speed: Have you checked out my online playlists? http://8tracks.com/notmanos I will be posting the list at my site, with an 8tracks online playlist to go with it. I’m not sure anyone cares, but I love putting these together, so I do it.  😀

Alix Bekins: No, I love it — playlist shares online are the only way I find out about new music these days. “These days” meaning since about 2003, actually.

Andrea Speed: Well, radio stations are kind of… blah.

Alix Bekins: Although I confess I’ve become pretty mainstream. I like anything I can dance to. Or has clever lyrics.

Andrea Speed: Understood. Therefore, you might like the electronic albums I have on my list. 😀

Alix Bekins: Like, I love Pink and Train. But I kind of want to punch Katy Perry in the face.

Andrea Speed: Although I do listen to KEXP online now and again. I occasionally find new bands there. Who doesn’t want to punch Katy Perry in the face?

Alix Bekins: Hahaha! Do you listen to music when you write? I see you have soundtracks for you books! I made one for my first novel, but I couldn’t actually write while it was playing.

Andrea Speed: I make soundtracks for all the books! Sometimes more than one. Sometimes for specific characters. I do listen to music while I write, which is probably how this whole thing got started.

Alix Bekins: The writing or the playlists?

Andrea Speed: The playlists.

Alix Bekins: How did you get into that?

Andrea Speed: Which – music or writing?:D

Alix Bekins: Both!

Andrea Speed: I’ve liked music forever, so I can’t really answer that… As for writing, my grandmother was a (mostly aspiring) writer, so you could say I grew up with it.

Alix Bekins: Do you remember what was the first album you bought?

Andrea Speed: Holy crud! No, not at all. But then, as I’ve said before, I never remember anything. 😀 Much like Homer Simpson, every time I learn something new, something gets shoved out.

Alix Bekins: So very true – now that I think about it, I’m not sure if mine was Prince’s Purple Rain or Wham!

Andrea Speed: Both ’80’s appropriate choices, though!

Alix Bekins: Embarrassingly so, but what can you do?

Infect-Shift3Andrea Speed: Exactly.

Alix Bekins: We still have a bunch of vinyl up in the attic somewhere. Probably unplayable from the heat.

Andrea Speed: Mine may have been Blondie? Maybe…

Alix Bekins: Oooh, loved her.

Andrea Speed: Oh, I bet. Vinyl can be fragile. She was pretty awesome. I think I was into new wave as a kid. And then I just kept getting stranger.

Alix Bekins: Well, strange has worked out pretty well for you.

Andrea Speed: Very true. But part of me wishes I could be mainstream SOMEWHERE, just to prove I’m an actual human being.

Alix Bekins: Hmmmm…  Mainstream food? What will you likely have for Christmas morning breakfast, if you celebrate it?

Andrea Speed: Er… Not big on holidays. See? See what I mean?! I disgust myself sometimes.

Alix Bekins: I’m lobbying to find a date in 2013 that can be for celebrating porn. Maybe during May, for Masturbation Month.

Andrea Speed: There isn’t one already?

Alix Bekins: Not that I know of.

Andrea Speed: There’s a month for everything. It’s a shocking lapse if it’s not covered.

Alix Bekins: still, there could be another. Who doesn’t like porn? 🙂

Andrea Speed: Well… frankly, the acting could be better.  😀

Alix Bekins: Well, yes. sometimes that’s true.

Andrea Speed: But it’s too easy to complain about wooden porn acting, isn’t it?

Alix Bekins: So what sort of porn do you like?

Andrea Speed: You know, I’m not a big porn person, which is probably reflected in my lack of sex scenes. Well, that, and the fact that I can’t write them well. I never want to get that bad sex writing award. 😀

Alix Bekins: I didn’t even know there was a bad-sex-scene award – yikes!

Andrea Speed: Oh yes. But normally it’s given to “mainstream” books. I’m trying to remember who won this year…

Alix Bekins: Porn’s not for everyone – it just seems to come up in most of these chats, so I had to get there eventually. 🙂 Thank god. I’m afraid to go look!

Andrea Speed: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/dec/04/bad-sex-award-nancy-huston Nancy Huston, a Canadian novelist.

Alix Bekins: I am sincerely sorry for her and relived for me.

Andrea Speed: Don’t be. It’s… pretty bad. And they don’t include erotic books. They just go after bad mainstream sex. Tom Wolfe and Norman Mailer have won it before.

Alix Bekins: Ha! Well then. So, if you’re not into holidays too much, I can’t ask you what you are hoping Santa to bring you….  Oh! I know – end of the world is Friday. Anything you want to make sure you do, if the world happens to NOT end? 🙂

Andrea Speed: Not end? Oh, spoil my fun…

Alix Bekins: Hey, maybe it will. Who knows?

Andrea Speed: Well, hopefully complete one of my goddamn manuscripts! I’m working on three alone, and I’d like to finish one before the year ends. (Which is a pipe dream, I know.)

Alix Bekins: Hey, you’ve got until Friday! Get to writing!

Andrea Speed: Ha! The sad thing is, I know the world won’t end. But damn it, it should! Humans have had a good run, but I think the ants have earned their chance to give it a try. Or apes. Hell, manatees.

manatee_621_600x450Alix Bekins: The Age of Seacows. I could get behind that, they seem nice enough.

Andrea Speed: That would be an awesome age. Mostly based around kelp, though.

Alix Bekins: I like kelp.

Andrea Speed: Probably wouldn’t smell great.

Alix Bekins: It would be cold in the ocean, though. Although – huge plus here – it would definitely be time to start packing on that blubber to stay warm. And no more plucking chin hairs.

Andrea Speed: But would they evolve to walk on land? Or maybe just make water suits, so they can flop on dry land. Maybe they’d have water-to-air tanks.

Alix Bekins: We’d have to evolve to live in the ocean. and plus, with global warming, it could work out for everyone, as the oceans heat up.

Andrea Speed: True. And the land begins to sink.

Alix Bekins: I think the Age of the Manatee sounds pretty damn good. For them, anyway.

Andrea Speed: Maybe we could have human/manatee hybrids. Aquaman won’t seem so stupid!

Alix Bekins: We just need to figure out how to evolve fast enough. Hahaha! Way to bring it back around to comics!

Infected_LesserEvils2Andrea Speed: The Revenge of Aquaman. Too bad I don’t have an in at DC, because I smell a series. I know! Purely by accident. He and his army of vengeful manatees.

Alix Bekins: Seriously! You should do that. All right, anything you want to add before we end things?

Andrea Speed:  Umm… Sorry? Sorry for everything. 😀

Alix Bekins: Hahahaha! A blanket apology from Andrea Speed, to end the chat on. I can think of worse things

Andrea Speed: It seems best.  I always feel like I should leave handing out official apologies.

Alix Bekins: “So sorry for scarring you emotionally.” It’s been lovely chatting with you.

Andrea Speed: And you too. Sorry I go off on weird tangents. I’m taking meds, I swear.

Alix Bekins: No, it’s awesome.

Andrea Speed: My brain is a little hamster on a wheel. 😀

Alix Bekins: I love chats where we’re leapfrogging and keeping up with each other. That’s always a great kind of connection to make.

Andrea Speed: Always running very fast to nowhere.

Alix Bekins: I always call mine a hamster on crack! See? We’re connected!

Andrea Speed: Hey!

Alix Bekins: We’ll have to get together and nerd out again. *hug* Great talking to you!

Andrea Speed: Thanks! Bye!

***

Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)

In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!

>> Infected: Freefall just won a Rainbow Award!  Yay Andrea! <<

Andrea Speed can be found at aspeed2@gmail.com
blog – http://www.andreaspeed.com
facebook – http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001496290042
twitter – http://twitter.com/#!/aspeed

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State of the Alix

For the first time since I can remember, I decided to sleep through NYE.  I wasn’t sick or anything, just cozy and warm and cuddly in bed and decided not to get up.

2012 was kind of a bad year for me.  Not every moment, and no actual tragedies like 2011, but an overall downward slide into depression and anxiety.  I wasn’t very social, wasn’t very active, haven’t interacted with my friends online or in person a lot.  Finished fewer stories than I have since 2002, when I started keeping an annual count.  But let’s focus on the positive:

Good things, in no particular order…

  • Belly dancing veil classes
  • Fantastic visit with friends in Florida
  • My very good RL friend had another adorable baby and honored me by using the name I had planned to use if I’d ever had a baby girl, Melina
  • Hershey adopted us
  • I finally went to Iceland and saw it and Elin and it was fantastic
  • Met some writer-friends I admire and love, in NYC and New Mexico
  • Avengers movie and resulting fandom
  • WITS was released and did fairly well, much better than I’d expected
  • Did some promo stuff that wasn’t awful or painful
  • Amazingly fabulous trip to P-Town with sister-like good friends

Mostly I feel like what I need for 2013 is more quiet time, alone-time, not-plugged-in time.  I don’t know what my dreams or hopes or goals are.  I’m pretty happy with my life overall, but I want to be always moving forward, and I’ve felt stagnant for the last year or more.  With reason, but still.  I don’t know where I want to be going.  So that’s my only resolution for the next year – spend more time dreaming up a wonderful future.  Oh, and reconnect with friends.  And maybe write some more.  Okay, that’s three things – shoot me.   🙂

15027249-happy-2013-written-in-sand-at-the-beach

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The Next Big Thing – “Running in Circles”

Edmond Manning invited me to participate in “The Next Big Thing” blog hop, where we all talk a little about our upcoming projects and tag more writers after us to do the same thing.  He said I could do my current WIP, which is a novella, not a novel (I think – it’s not finished yet, so who knows).  If you think that’s cheating, you can go and poke him – he’s at remembertheking@comcast.net.  🙂

Here are my replies to the questions…

What is the working title of your book?

Running in Circles

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Actually, I asked a few friends for random scenarios/ideas about a year ago, and this one stuck.  Thank you, Connie!

What genre does your book fall under?

Well, m/m for sure.  After that, I’d say it’s contemporary, maybe humor.  Although the main character might be a bit too depressed for “humor.”  Not sure yet.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie?

Oooh!  I’m very visual, so I have images from the internet that I thought looked sort of like my boys.  Here’s Max:

batman

And he is with Nate:

towel9

And here’s Senor Ferdinand (he’s the most important character in the story):

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

How about “Max is stuck in a dead-end job and a boring life, until one morning when the sexy guy he sees jogging every morning trips over a crack in the sidewalk outside Max’s house.”

Will your book be self published, published by a small press, or represented by an agency?

I pretty much publish exclusively with Dreamspinner Press.  If they won’t take it, then I’ll see about other venues.  Or I might offer it as a freebie – I’m definitely not interested in self-publishing!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

*cough*  I’m not finished yet!  But I’m embarrassed to admit that I started this in June.  I’ve had some major life ups-and-downs…  I have missed writing, though, and am excited to get this finished and off my plate.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre.

I have no idea.  There are a lot of books I like and writers I admire.  I’m not going to say my own style is utterly unique, but I can’t think of anything to compare it to.  I suppose it’s not unlike my stories “When Work is a Pleasure” or “Relationships 201” in tone/style.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Connie.  She’s awesome.  She gave me the best writing advice ever when I was down and feeling unloved.  “Write for me,” she said, “because I want to read your stories. And fuck everyone else and the horses they rode in on. And their mothers.”

So I’m writing for Connie.  Everyone else – and any resulting sales – are just icing on the cake of her laughter.  🙂

What else about your book might interest the reader?

Joggers.  Tattoos.  Dia de Los Muertos.  Painting.  Sequins.  Roller derby girl BFFs.  American bulldogs.  LGBT Centers.  Glitter.  Embarrassing moments.  Emergency rooms.  Pejazzling.  Pride parades.  Food.  Movies.  Kinky sex.  Laughter.

🙂

In a week or two, go check out the fellow authors I’ve tagged to see what their Next Big Things are: Lou SylvreZahra Owens, Jana Denardo, Anne Barwell, and Grace Duncan.

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Boxer Falls and Evergreen Advent

OMG, I thought I posted this last week when it was actually, you know, RELEVANT, but I guess I flaked.  Life has been a tiny bit busy lately.  Weddings and parties and house cleaning – oh my!  Anyway, I have two bits of writing-related news:

1)  I got to write a chapter for Boxer Falls!  It’s a “Gaytime Soap Opera”, and it’s hosted by the M/M Romance Group on GoodReads (and there’s more info at BoxerFalls.com).

BF-banner-400px

It was an amazingly interesting experience – and surprisingly difficult for me to try to write someone else’s characters, in a style very different from my own.  I got to do my very first on-page death (murder!) scene, which was so much fun I’m tempted to kill someone in every book I write from now on. (Just kidding.  Or am I?)

Keeping the characters consistent was super hard, since I kept wanting to, well, like them more.   Let’s be honest – soap operas are all about action, and not about characters you can relate to.  It’s about hot sex and over the top egos and power and drama.  Hardly any of those things ever make it into the stories I write (except the hot sex).  And while I was writing and reading the previous chapters, I had this weird realization – “Oh right, I don’t watch soap operas for a reason.”  Oops!

It was like that one time when I took the Emergency Teaching Credential test, got my passing scores back, filled out all the paperwork, started to hand it over to the lady at the desk, and had this blinding flash of divine insight: “Oh wait – I don’t like children!  I would hate being a teacher!”

(Slight disclaimer – I’m not a curmudgeon who hates children, I just think being shut into a small room with 20-30 of them for 6 hours a day sounds like a form of obscure, complicated torture.)

Anyway = Boxer Falls.  It was a learning experience, I had a fun with it, go read and check it out and tell me what you thought.  I’m honored to have been allowed to participate! 🙂

2)  I wrote a short story for the holidays, and Dreamspinner Press is publishing it in their Evergreen Advent calendar.  Here’s the blurb:

LordofMisrule-LG

The Yule festival of Twelfth Night is a time when servants are the masters and vice versa, and tension and humor fill the air. Dan and his partner, Taj, have busy lives even without their duties as members of the Society for Creative Anachronism. When Taj is selected to coordinate the holiday activities and assigned the title Lord of Misrule, it encroaches on their time as a couple—until they negotiate their way to a happy holiday.

You can buy it here

This is hands-down the most sappy story I’ve written.  It ends on a note I swore I would never write, but it fit, it’s what the guys wanted to do!  It was so much fun.  I miss Taj and Dan.  I might have to see if they want to do a sequel some time.…

Hope you’re all having good holidays!  Next update will be after I get caught up on the shopping and wrapping and decorating and cookies, cookies, cookies!  Whee!

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NaughTea Time with Andrew Grey

Andrew Grey came over for tea!  Join us as we talk about writing, travel, food, theater, singing, and men’s underwear !  🙂

***

Andrew Grey: Hello! Does this actually work?

Alix Bekins: Yes! Hi there! 🙂

Andrew Grey: Yay!

Alix Bekins: How are you?

Andrew Grey: I’m good. I’ve been writing since I got home from work. How are you?

Alix Bekins: I just stopped working. 🙂 Do you do that every day, get home and write for a couple of hours?

Andrew Grey: Yes. I get home, do email, and write. Dominic makes dinner and we eat together, then I write some more. I try to be done by 8:30, 9:00 at the latest, but it doesn’t always work out.

Alix Bekins: I’m always impressed by the discipline of people who write every day. I guess that explains how you manage to be so productive! 🙂

Andrew Grey: That’s part of it. The other part is that I set daily goals and don’t finish until I reach them. My current goal is 3000 words a day, six days a week.

Alix Bekins: Wow! So do you do NaNoWriMo, or do you simply surpass that every month anyway?

Andrew Grey: Right now I write at least a novel a month. I haven’t done NaNo in a few years because I’m usually in the middle of something already, and the rules say you need to start a fresh story. I love the NaNo program and have won both times I did it.

Alix Bekins: Very cool. 🙂 And are those stories ones that are currently published?

UnexpVinSMAndrew Grey: Yes. My first NaNo story was An Unexpected Vintage and the second one was Seven Days.

Alix Bekins: How do you keep from getting burned out?

Andrew Grey: I wish I knew. The stories and ideas keep coming, so I write them down. I do take a vacation once a year. Dominic and I go on a cruise, and I have written while on the ship, but it isn’t much because we’re too busy having fun.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, that sounds nice. What cruises have you been on? Caribbean?

Andrew Grey: Yes. We’ve gone in January the last few years. This year we leave from San Juan and head south to Aruba and Curacao. Next year we’ll go in November. I love cruise vacations because I don’t have to deal with anything. It’s all included and both of us can relax.

Alix Bekins: Sounds lovely, I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise. Maybe next year. 😉

Andrew Grey: I hope so. You should join us in November next year. We leave from Florida on Allure of the Seas.

Alix Bekins: I’ll run it pas my husband. 😉 So what story are you working on right now? And do you write one thing at a time or several at once?

Andrew Grey: I only write one story at a time. The current manuscript is called Stranded. It’s about a Broadway actor who gets cast in a movie. In the script, he’s locked in a car and left to die. And life imitates art. Things have cooled between Kendall and his partner over the years. While Kendall is locked inside a car in the Nevada desert, he doubts everything in his life, including Johnny. But the ordeal also shows him what’s important and what he really wants.

Alix Bekins: Wow, drama! When you write suspenseful plots, does it stress you out at all? As in, do you take on some of the character’s general anxiety?

LoveMeansNoShame-FR  MDAndrew Grey: Yes. I do take on some of the anxiety. I haven’t slept well since I started, and I won’t until I’m done. (I haven’t even started writing the locked in the car scenes yet.) After this one, I may need to write a Love Means… story. I go to those when I need peace.

Alix Bekins: Yikes! See, this is why I don’t write drama. Every time I try, I get too caught up in the emotions and can’t keep it from making my head all messed up. Do you do anything to mitigate the effect?

Andrew Grey: I do something out of the house and away from the computer with Dominic. We’re going to a show this weekend, and next weekend we have a huge party. Some stories are easy to write, and others take a massive amount out of me.

Alix Bekins: What kind of show? Theater? Music?

Andrew Grey: This weekend its live theater in Lancaster.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, what are you going to see? I love theater. 🙂

Andrew Grey: The Broadway version of Singing in the Rain. Usually Dominic and I see a show in NY once a year. The last one was Billy Elliott. Cried my eyes out.

Alix Bekins: Heheh! Very cool. My sweetie and I are going to a play either this weekend or next, the local university does a summer Shakespeare thing, and in the winter they do a fund-raising production of a children’s panto. This year’s is called “Honk!”, about the ugly duckling.

Andrew Grey: I also got to see Wicked, which was wonderful, and last year we saw Spamalot in Lancaster. Laughed my ass off.

Alix Bekins: I love Spamalot 🙂 I tend to gravitate toward humor.

Andrew Grey: LOL!

Alix Bekins: What, you’re not surprised?

Andrew Grey: Not at all. The first show we saw was The Producers I love the little old lady kick line with walkers.

Alix Bekins: Oh, I love that one. Although I admit to liking the movie with Mel Brooks the best.

Andrew Grey: Me too. Gene Wilder was amazing.

Alix Bekins: Have you ever done any acting?

Andrew Grey: No. It’s one of the few things I haven’t tried. Have you?

Alix Bekins: Not as such, no. I’ve danced and I’ve done workshops and taught classes, but never actually “acted.”

Andrew Grey: I think it would be fun. But I don’t have the time now.

Alix Bekins: I think the physicality of it scares me, since I don’t have a problem with the public-speaking aspect. Do you do any other creative non-writing things? Art or music or….?

LoveMeanBoundsAndrew Grey: I think I’m with you there. I sang in the choir, but haven’t in years. Art is something I tried but gave up on. I’d like to be able to dance. I can’t, I come off looking like a dying chicken.

Alix Bekins: I love artsy things, but I have no talent. And/or, I’m super picky and want to make stuff that looks good right away, without working for it. 😉 Dancing is all about commitment, IMO. And some rhythm. But if you throw yourself into it, I’m sure you look fine.

Andrew Grey: Me too. I don’t have patience with things like that.

Alix Bekins: I think I saw pictures of you dancing at GRL. 😉

Andrew Grey: Against my will. The girls pulled me onto the floor. Usually I stay away. Maybe Dominic and I can take ballroom dancing. I’d love to learn to waltz.

Alix Bekins: That sounds like fun.

Andrew Grey: It does, doesn’t it? If I can only convince Dominic…

Alix Bekins: I’m sure you’ve got some tools in your arsenal. 😉 Something you can do for him in exchange. That sounded naughty. I meant like washing his car. But naughty is fine too.

Andrew Grey: Yeah. I could take him out for Chinese. I don’t care for Asian food, but he loves it.

Alix Bekins: Ah, I love it too. It’s a staple in my house.

Andrew Grey: That is, if we can both find the time. Right now, he’s looking over one of my manuscripts getting it ready for submission.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, that’s helpful of him. Most writers’ partners don’t get too involved. Maybe because they’re heterosexual men, and/or they don’t read romances.

Andrew Grey: He does it for all of them. I write them and perform an initial review. Then he reads them over and cleans them up for me. I look then over one last time and send them to Elizabeth.

Alix Bekins: What story or series is his favorite?

Andrew Grey: The Of Love stories. The restaurant stories were all written for him because of his love of food.

Alix Bekins: That’s so sweet.

Andrew Grey: He was a pastry chef for years, so he was also like a technical consultant.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, nice. No wonder you have such good recipes to share! You shared a cinnamon rolls one, recently, I think? I should go find it again and make it for Christmas.

ASliceOfLove MDAndrew Grey: I also shared Carrot Cake. It’s my favorite.

Alix Bekins: I tend to skip carrot in favor of chocolate anything, but when it’s good, it’s really delicious.

Andrew Grey: I love chocolate too. Dominic made me chocolate mousse for my birthday.

Alix Bekins: Yummmm…. Wow, I’m starving now!

Andrew Grey: It was, and if I’m good, there will be some for tonight too. He loves me 🙂

Alix Bekins: I might have to add ice cream to the grocery list. Or just have more port. And chocolate. Port and chocolate go together, right? As if I was classy?

Andrew Grey: LOL! I believe so, yes. But chocolate goes with everything.

Alix Bekins: Damn right it does. It most especially goes with husbands not getting murdered.

Andrew Grey: Amen.

Alix Bekins: Or, any partner of a woman, I guess. 🙂 Sometimes I get texts in the evening that say “I looked at the calendar and I’m coming home with chocolate and Advil. Anything else?” Wow, I got super off track, sorry, I blame the port.

Andrew Grey: No blame.

Alix Bekins: Okay, back to the questions – What gets your creative juices going?

Andrew Grey: I wish I knew. I get inspired by all kinds of things. My family doesn’t tell me their stories any longer because they know I’ll use them. I’ve gotten story ideas from news articles, NPR stories, art, conversations around the table…

Alix Bekins: Hehe! And porn? (I have to ask, you know how these chats go.)

Andrew Grey: Rarely by porn. It has other uses. 🙂

Alix Bekins: Hehehe! Any recommendations?

Andrew Grey: Falcon Studios.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, nice. I had a friend who was their sys admin for a while, and he sent me a bunch of their dvds. My first gay pornos – ah, the fond memories….

Andrew Grey: Yes. They do have great looking men.

Alix Bekins: Do you have any preferences about your porn? Body types, type of men, genre? Or things you really dislike? Women who watch gay porn frequently complain that the blow job scenes go on for too long.

Andrew Grey: Gay porn is made for guys, and a blowjob can never, ever, ever be too long.

Alix Bekins: Hahahaha! Well, there you have it. I can’t stop laughing, seriously, I’m going to hurt something.

Andrew Grey: For the record, I like fantasy guys with hairy chests and big muscles. In real life, I love my Dominic.

Alix Bekins: Aw, that’s sweet, and I love that you have a distinction, or the recognition of the difference between fantasy preferences and real life. And that it’s okay that real life isn’t exactly the same.

Andrew Grey: You did ask!

Alix Bekins: There’s no such thing as TMI in an Alix naugh-tea chat!

Andrew Grey: Thank goodness!

Alix Bekins: Although now I’m seriously wondering if the blowjob scenes I write should be longer…. 😉

Andrew Grey: I don’t think so. They seemed right to me. After all, the head bobbing can go on just so long.

Alix Bekins: My jaw gets tired sympathetically, for the guys in porn. I suppose maybe it’s because they look bored. Where in real life, I’d hope the participants wouldn’t be bored at all.

Andrew Grey: Yes. But they have lots… of practice. And strong jaw muscles.

Alix Bekins: Heheh – true enough! I suppose if it was my job, I’d get more used to it as well.

Andrew Grey: Yeah.

Alix Bekins: Did you see the most recent Andrew Christian underwear ad that’s been circulating on the internet lately?

Andrew Grey: Yes. It was lovely. I think I got the link from you.

Alix Bekins: What did you think? Silly or sexy or both?

Andrew Grey: I thought it a bit of both. But very fun. If that’s your thing, check out Undergear.com.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, sparkly undies!

Andrew Grey: A whole catalog of gorgeous men in their underwear.

Alix Bekins: I’m not very into undies in themselves, but I like the little films… they hit me just right on the sexy-humor thing. Although they do make me want to try to get my husband into some! 🙂

Andrew Grey: LOL!

Alix Bekins: The guys seem like they’re having fun, more so than a lot of the men in porn seem to be. I think laughter is sexy.

Andrew Grey: I do too. They were definitely having fun.

Alix Bekins: And I frankly think jock straps look ridiculous, although a gay friend finally explained that they’re like lingerie on women, for those who like those, respectively.

Andrew Grey: Amen to that. Never understood the appeal.

LoveMeansRenewalMDAlix Bekins: Lingerie or jocks?

Andrew Grey: Jocks… Maybe lingerie for that matter. I never looked good in it.

Alix Bekins: I like some, don’t like others. Wearing or looking at. 🙂 I guess it’s that final last bit of tease before you get to the sex…

Andrew Grey: Yeah, but what does the other half like? That’s what matters.

Alix Bekins: True enough. I’m not so good at the seductive thing. I like flirting, but then at some point I’m like “So, are we going to fuck or what?” Which I have to admit, worked pretty well for me in college. Heck, and now, too! 🙂

Andrew Grey: I bet it does. As long as you’re not in church!

Alix Bekins: What can I say, I know what I want.

Andrew Grey: There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want. Or being vocal about it. Talking during sex is important. No one is a mind reader. Yelling during sex is good too. Shaking the windows is even better!

Alix Bekins: Hehehe! No one has ever accused me of being too quiet in the bedroom 😉 Okay, we’ve drifted way off topic, and I’m more than a little tipsy. The problem with the port going in the soup and the chef, is that the chef has an empty stomach. So what’s coming out next for you? Anything holiday themed?

Andrew Grey: Snowbound in Nowhere is part of the DSP Advent Calendar.

Alix Bekins: Oh awesome! I didn’t know you were doing that too. I should really get off my ass and check out what other authors have stuff on the calendar. 🙂 What’s yours about?

Andrew Grey: I do it every year. I love writing a holiday story.

Alix Bekins: This is the first year I’ve tried to. It was interesting, trying not to get too sappy. It’s still the sappiest thing I’ve ever written, though.

Andrew Grey: It’s Christmas. Sappy works. I spend most of the holiday season watching the schmaltz channel (Hallmark). One sappy movie after another.

Alix Bekins: Heheh!

Andrew Grey: I go through a ton of tissues.

Alix Bekins: I think this year we’re watching the LOTR trilogy for Christmas. that’s our idea of holiday movies.

Andrew Grey: The bad part is that I’m watching one of the schmaltzy movies right now. They’re totally addicting.

Alix Bekins: Which one?

Andrew Grey: Christmas in Canaan.

Alix Bekins: I haven’t seen that one. I haven’t seen most holiday movies, actually, not even the 1960s or 70s claymation kids’ ones.

Andrew Grey: It’s set in the fifties? In the south. Two boys, one black, one white, both poor become friends over a dog. When the black boy’s grandmother dies, he moves in with the other family. It’s really heartwarming. Billy Ray Cyrus is in it.

Alix Bekins: Awwwww.

Andrew Grey: It is really a good story. The black boy grows up to be a writer and he writes stories about growing up.

SnowboundinNowhereLGAlix Bekins: I will have to check that out! Okay, to finish things up – what are you hoping Santa will bring you this year, as a writer?

Andrew Grey: I wish I could ask for time. My list this year is pretty small. I have love, a good life, support, lots of stories running through my head. I think I’m pretty lucky and happy.

Alix Bekins: 🙂 Maybe a few days of vacation to just write. I’ll be sure to pass along your message to the big guy.

Andrew Grey: Thank you. It was a great chat. I had a great time!

Alix Bekins: 🙂 Me too! We will have to do it again. *hug*

Andrew Grey: Hugs to you too. Talk to you soon!

Alix Bekins: Good night! 🙂

Andrew Grey: Night!

***

Andrew grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew’s hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

email:  andrewgrey@comcast.net
website: 
www.andrewgreybooks.com
facebook: 
www.facebook.com/andrewgreybooks
twitter: @andrewgreybooks

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NaughTea Time with Jaime Samms

I got to have tea with Jaime!  It took us at least three tries to get together (all entirely my fault), and once we did, it descended into chaos pretty darn quickly but we had a good time.  🙂

***

Alix Bekins: Okay, hi, I’m here.  Let’s have some tea.

Jaime Samms: Hi 😀  Coffee. It’s brewing.

Alix Bekins: Oh that’s right, I think you mentioned being a Canadian Tim Horton’s addict.

Jaime Samms: Definitely coffee. Preferably Tim Horton’s but I’ll take what I can get.

Alix Bekins: Any special blend or latte or just straight-up cup of joe?

Jaime Samms: Straight up. I’m pretty simple that way.  Coffee, cream and sugar is good enough for me.

Alix Bekins: Nice.  What’s the most unusual or exciting coffee-drink you’ve had? Or setting or circumstances?

Jaime Samms: Well, there is the time I flew to Scotland for my little brother’s wedding and I smuggled a tin of Tim Horton’s in my luggage. He’d been travelling in Northern England for a month by then, and I figured it would be a nice wedding present. Plus, I wouldn’t have to do without that way.

Alix Bekins: Hehehe! That’s brilliant. 🙂

Jaime Samms: It was a fun trip. He didn’t even know we planned on going, since, you know, it was in Scotland and all.

Alix Bekins: I keep writing characters who drink coffee and are total caffeine addicts. Does coffee fuel your brain?

Jaime Samms: It’s such an ingrained habit at this point.

Alix Bekins: Do you travel out of the country very often? Europe? General globe-trotting?

Jaime Samms: Ha! General globetrotting. You’re funny. I’m a writer, remember? It’s more romantic than it is profitable.

Alix Bekins: Well, Ariel writes and travels all the damn time. But she does have another job, too.

Jaime Samms: Yes, and a working spouse. Mine stays home with our kids. He’s wonderful at it, but sadly, no one pays him for it. Scotland was the first time I’d ever been outside Canada, or been on a plane.

Alix Bekins: How long were you there? What did you think? I’ve been to England, but not Scotland yet.

Jaime Samms: We were there for two weeks and have been plotting our return for the ensuing fifteen years.

Alix Bekins: Well, sounds like you’re due to go back then! 🙂

Jaime Samms: I’ve been to the states a couple of times since then, but always on my own, and every time, I see things and wish my family was there because I know they’d love it.

Alix Bekins: Awww, that’s so sweet that you wish they were with you. If you could travel to anywhere, what would your dream get-away be?

Still Life_comp4Jaime Samms: I’d go back to Scotland in a heartbeat. Hubs wants to go someplace warm and sunny and full of sand. Not that I didn’t have fun while I was in the states, meeting new people and connecting with friends I’d only known on-line. I had a wonderful time, both times, but still. You know, they’re my kids. I see things and I want to share with them.

Alix Bekins: Yes, I have the same thing about travel without my husband. It’s a cliché, but he’s my best friend, and when I do something fun, I wish he could be doing it too. But then, I do love the freedom to do things he wouldn’t enjoy or would just tolerate for me. Like theater and shopping. (Actually, that’s not entirely true – he has a Masters’ degree in theater and is just super picky about shows.)

Jaime Samms: Yes, I totally understand. It’s the same with me and my husband. We love spending time together, but there are a lot of things I love doing that he does just to humour me. And being among friends who “get it” is a release, you know?

Alix Bekins: Which is nice, but it’s good to do stuff with friends who love it like you do. So, what does he think of your writing? Does he read your stories?

Jaime Samms: No, he doesn’t read them. Or if he does, he does it in secret. LOL! He read one, a long time ago, the very first one I ever sold. He said it was “Very well written.” But you know, he’s so supportive. He was telling people long before I was brave enough to that I was a writer.

Alix Bekins: Aww, that’s sweet.

Jaime Samms: And he quit his job to home school so that I could spend all my free time writing when I’m not at the day job.

Alix Bekins: Now, that’s beyond sweet – that’s dedication!

Jaime Samms: You have no idea. I don’t know if a lot of writers have spouses with the same kind of dedication as I have. I know I’m blessed with him. He was the first to really believe in me and be vocal about it.

Alix Bekins: 🙂 It’s always a delight to hear of a good, happy relationship. So if you’re working from home, where do you get your inspiration?

Coverdraft1_StainedGlass_SammsJaime Samms: All over the place. In fact, that very first story I mentioned was a coming out story about a young man who met the man of his dreams when they were three years old. They grew up best friends, right up until they parted ways near the end of high school. The narrator goes through a difficult few years of college before his friend returns and they find love.

Alix Bekins: Sounds sweet.

Jaime Samms: But the story was actually inspired by the library reading group I was taking my kids to at the time, and the way my son would continually pull another young boy out of his shell and get him to talk when no one else could. I mean, the story grew from that, but that’s where the germ of the idea sprouted.

Alix Bekins: We do often seem to want those friendships to turn into something more. LOL – does your son know about this?

Jaime Samms: No. He’s nine now. I doubt he would appreciate the full nuance, LOL! Maybe someday when he’s grown and has found his love, I’ll tell him.

Alix Bekins: Hehehe!

Jaime Samms: Ideas, though, they come from all over. Stained Glass came from the picture that is now the cover for the book.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, nice.

Jaime Samms: And my first royalty- earning story (The Runaway) came from an editor who challenged me by saying it wasn’t possible to write a sweet m/m romance.

Alix Bekins: What? What kind of crappy stories had she been reading? Pshaw!

Jaime Samms: I don’t know what she’d been reading, but she was putting out a call for sweet romance stories for an anthology, and I asked if it was okay if the couple was gay. She said I could try, but she doubted it was possible to write a sweet m/m romance. Of course, I had to prove her wrong. She accepted the story, though it was independently published, as the whole rest of the book turned out to be all het stories, so it didn’t really fit into the anthology.

Alix Bekins: Ah well, it was a good experience, though, I assume, since you’re still writing sweet m/m!

runawayweb

Jaime Samms: That was The Runaway, from Freya’s Bower. My first royalty earner, and I still sell a copy or two now and then.

Alix Bekins: Whoo! *high five*

Jaime Samms: Yes, although I admit, since then, I’ve spiced things up in my writing quite a bit. Not everything could be considered “sweet” by those standards any more. 😀

Alix Bekins: Heheh! I do like spicy! So what are you working on right now? You’ve been doing NaNoWriMo, right?

Jaime Samms: Well, there’s a lot more spice in what I write these days. 🙂 This is the first year since 2008 that I *didn’t* actually sign up for NaNo, since I haven’t even made it close to finishing since that first year. I thought “Why bother”.  Of course, figures that this year, I’ve written…. over 43K this month.

Alix Bekins: WhooO! So you’re on track to success in the next 5 days?

Jaime Samms: It’s a nice number. Deadlines…I was sort of under the deadline gun, ya know? I would say at this point, it would be hard not reach the 50K mark. At least I’ll know in my heart I did it, even if I don’t get a pretty new cyber badge to add to my collection.

Alix Bekins: Hehehe! Well, congratulations in advance, unless you think that might jinx you. What’s the story about?

Jaime Samms: Nah. I have dived into an older project and it’s really going well, so I don’t anticipate there being an issue. It’s one from my Rainbow Alley series with Total E-Bound. This one is about a side character from the last book, named Skate. He’s run from the Alley because he thinks he caused the death of one of the Alley’s residents.

talesfromrainbowalley

Alix Bekins: Oooh….

Jaime Samms: He used to be in a gang, and has no family to speak of, so he’s pretty much homeless and struggling to keep out of the clutches of his former gang, who want him dead just for trying to leave, and he thinks he’s running from his friends from the Alley, as well. He’s so good at hiding that no one seems able to get their hands on him.

Alix Bekins: Poor kid. And the love interest?

Jaime Samms: Yeah. He has another former gang member with him, Denny. Denny’s in love with him, but Skate is trying to maintain that he’s straight. It’s a big mess. Skate grew up in an environment where being gay was really not okay, so he’s having a hard time reconciling his fear from that with his feelings for Denny.

Alix Bekins: Awwww…. Sounds angsty, with a lot of suspense.

Jaime Samms: Angst is my specialty.

Alix Bekins: Heheh!

Jaime Samms: I’ve come to terms with this fact about my writing.

Alix Bekins: Do you take it home with you after, do the emotions and voices linger in your head? Or is it a cathartic release of anything angsty going on in your real life?

Jaime Samms: It’s actually the first Rainbow Alley book with no D/s in it, though. Well, after you heard me talk about my husband, you can see there’s not a lot of angst in my real life. Aside from the usual bill paying and getting the kids to practices on time, but that’s pretty run-of-the-mill. The voices are always there, though, I admit to that. I do spend a lot of my day when I’m not writing, thinking about writing. Mostly, that’s not a big deal. Except, you know, when I miss my bus stop, or someone’s talking to me, or I’m supposed to be working at my day job and such…  LOL!

Alix Bekins: Hehehe – oops! I once ended up across town, no clue why, because I’d been writing/talking into a recorder and hashing out a chapter in my current story…

Jaime Samms: I do think it prompts me to spend a lot of time on my own, though, because I’m so busy interacting with the people in my head I have little use for the ones on the outside, except my family and friends.

Alix Bekins: I had to call a few people to figure out what the hell I was doing there, and what I was apparently now going to be late for.

Jaime Samms: I’ve missed stops and had to walk twice or three times as far to get back home.

Alix Bekins: Heheh!

Jaime Samms: LOL! That’s funny.

Alix Bekins: We are a distracted/distractible group, aren’t we?

Jaime Samms: I don’t think I’m alone, it’s true.

Alix Bekins: It’s sort of like having multiple personality disorder, except more lucrative. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever tried to write, and how did that go?

Jaime Samms: I think a lot of writers have this issue. Which makes it all the more special to me that I’ve found someone who not only tolerates it, but argues that it’s one of the things about me that makes him love me. Hmmm…scariest thing…. I was going to say Stained Glass. Then I was going to say no, the Goth rocker story that I just finished (and was the reason for the epic word count this month) and then I was going to say actually, it’s the one I’m working on now, and I think that’s why I set it aside for six months.

Alix Bekins: Hahahah!  So, lots of scary writing.

Jaime Samms: All of which leads me to think I seem to be always a little bit on the edge of scared that I’m writing beyond my capacity.

Alix Bekins: That’s good though, pushing the limits, getting out of your comfort zone. I think people who don’t push their limits get bored, and that shows in their writing.

Jaime Samms: That is what they say, yes…  I agree. I always worry I’m writing something, and people are going to read it and think I’m off my head or something. Or that someone who knows more about a subject than I do will pick it to shreds.

Alix Bekins: I have a couple things I’ve started writing that are so different from anything else that I’ve been scared into immobility. One was steampunk, and one was… fantasy/mental illness, sort of.

Jaime Samms: I haven’t yet decided if it’s an entirely healthy thing to spend so much time on the edge of panic over a bunch of made-up people, but then I get an email from a random stranger over a short free read on my blog from a man who says what I wrote touched him, resonated with his own experiences in his life and I’m floored.

Alix Bekins: I think that’s totally worth it, so long as you’re also enjoying the process on some level.

Jaime Samms: And I think it must be worth it. If it wasn’t, books like The Hobbit and Jane Eyre wouldn’t exist. I’m not the first one and I won’t be the last. I agree, which is why I know you should get back to those projects of yours some day. You’ll be glad you did, I bet. You know, it’s one thing to write something that will entertain someone like me. Someone reading for the pleasure of being transported somewhere else for an hour or two. It’s something else entirely to be told something I made up reflects the true experiences of someone who can truly identify with a character I honestly can never understand because I’m not actually a gay man.

Alix Bekins: Maybe. I started writing them both when really bad things were going on, and I was super depressed. Part of my fear stems from going back into the same mental state I was in when I conceived of them.

TheAgeless_400Jaime Samms: Yes, I can totally see that. The Ageless books were like that for me. The first one was about a break up of a relationship that was really, really hard, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever finished the rest of the story. Finishing it gave me a kind of acceptance of the whole thing that made it less scary to think about opening up to that kind of friendship again, so… you never know.

Alix Bekins: It’s true. I figure I’ll finish this current novella and then try the steampunk thing again. The other one might be too depressing. I’m *not* an angst-queen! I don’t even like to read it. 😉

Jaime Samms: Steampunk is fun. 🙂

Alix Bekins: I haven’t read much of that genre, but I love the Victoriana and style.

Jaime Samms: And fair warning, if you ever decide to try my stories… stick to the shorter stuff. Most of it is less angsty. Apron Strings is good. A lovers’s misunderstanding, bit of spanking, and make up sex.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, spanking 😉 So what motivates you to finish stories?

Jaime Samms: Deadlines. Deadlines motivate me. Did I mention that I put this story I’m working on now away for six months?

Alix Bekins: Yes, what made you draw it back out?

Jaime Samms: I would have to say guilt. I know there are people, if any of them even still remember, who have waited a long time for Skate’s story. I sort of left him hanging at the end of Fix This, Sir.

Alix Bekins: Hehehe!

Jaime Samms: I got to the end of my current list of deadlines and had to choose something. Honestly, I had not realized it had been so long since I last worked on it.

Alix Bekins: I love that writers are so responsive to the desires of their audience to see more, to get answers to “But what happened to Bob?”

Jaime Samms: And you know, it’s really interesting that when I’m writing a secondary character and I think “oooh! readers will want more of him!” and then I get people asking about someone else entirely. It’s neat to see what draws people’s attention.

Alix Bekins: The interaction between writer and audience is pretty cool. It also seems to really help with that fear of working in a total void, I think.

strings4cJaime Samms: I think I’m lucky to not have known any other way, as far as that’s concerned. I expect writers who have been around a while might be less comfortable with the instant feedback loop.

Alix Bekins: Yes, possibly. It’s one of the things I love most about the m/m community, though. That, and getting to know people, their Real Life stuff.

Jaime Samms: I do think you’re right about “writing in a void” I also see the other side, though. I see on loops new, and sometimes, surprisingly, even not-so-new writers asking questions like “Should I write my story like this? Do you think readers will like/buy/hate/lynch me for it?” And I want to tell them who gives a fuck what anyone else likes, just write the damn story!!!!!!! But you know, professionalism and all that. I have to be more…polite about it.  LOL!

Alix Bekins: Hahahah. Yeah, I sort of have that reaction too.

Jaime Samms: I’m sure I must sound like a broken record. Any time such a question is asked, I give the same, same answer.

Alix Bekins: I did submissions reviews for a while, and the stories that come from the heart and soul have a very different flavor than the ones that are written for market demand. You can totally tell, no matter how skillful the writing is. It just doesn’t have that… vibrancy.

Jaime Samms: And I don’t think all writers really believe that’s true. I think some of them really think they can write to demand and still write at the same level. I do know when I catch myself writing to the market, or whatever, and not from my heart, and even I get hella bored with the project. If I’m bored, what are readers going to think?

Alix Bekins: Exactly. Do you do other creative projects without words – fabric, paint, baking, woodwork, running, Olympic child wrestling?

Jaime Samms: I have other pursuits. Though I admit to being a bit… obsessive. Lately I’ve been working and writing, and not much else besides reading and vegging in front of the TV. But I do have a degree in Fine Arts.

Alix Bekins: Really? Like, painting and drawing?

CalebJaime Samms: I went to college to learn how to draw. How cool is that?

Alix Bekins: Wow! Most writer people are not very good at visual art. Which isn’t to say they don’t enjoy or should only do what they’re good at – I’m a big believer in artistic playing.

Jaime Samms: Yup. I majored in textile art and design, and minored in ceramics, actually. But you will probably not ever, ever ever find me in a ceramics studio again. Ever. I really sucked at it. There are a few character sketches on my website, actually.

Alix Bekins: Textile art?

Jaime Samms: When I’m stuck on a project, I often find myself picking up a pencil instead and getting at the characters that way. In fact, if I can’t write the story or draw the characters, that’s when I know I’m not really feeling the story at all.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, interesting. I took a few figure sculpture classes in college and loved playing with clay. That’s so cool.

Jaime Samms: Textile art, yes. Weaving for the most part, though I like to quilt and bead and crochet as well.

Alix Bekins: 🙂 I’m sorry I don’t have brilliant questions to ask, I’m just so darn tickled my mind went blank! “Wow – neato!”

Jaime Samms: Because I like to draw? LOL! You’re too cute.

Alix Bekins: Ummm, okay. So what kind of art projects are you currently working on? 🙂

Jaime Samms: I think my sketch book is my way of easing the guilt when I can’t write. I tell myself I’m getting to know the characters on a different level, when really, I’m just colouring.

Alix Bekins: But you’re freeing up your mind to explore new avenues.

Jaime Samms: Well, I have a dragon shifter story in the back of my brain that I sorta want to write and illustrate, like those yaoi novels you sometimes see with pictures throughout the book. I have drawn a few scenes from that.

Alix Bekins: I noticed that I think about plot and characters and have dialogue just come to me when I’m driving, when I’m away from the computer. That’s why/when I got the audio recorder to leave in the car.

DamianJaime Samms: Well, yes, it’s true. Drawing at least lets me let go of the words and feel for what I want in the story. Just, you know, stop thinking about it kind of thing.

Alix Bekins: Oh, that sounds fun – with the scattered illustrations. I cannot draw to save my life. Seriously, I once had a story where there was a reference to stick-figure art on a chalkboard, and I thought it would be fun to make those drawings, and it was SO HARD!

Jaime Samms: Yes, like that. The trick will be finding a publisher who will do that. LOL!

Alix Bekins: I think Dreamspinner did at least one like that, Eric Arvin’s?

Jaime Samms: I didn’t know that.

Alix Bekins: I’m full of info. 😉

Jaime Samms: I was thinking about approaching Zathyn Priest at Scarlett Tie, as well. But I’m still… he’s a wonderful guy, but I hear he’s very perfectionist, which is good, but also intimidating. And other than that book, I have a ton of things I’d love to paint. If there were only more hours in the day… And I should maybe finish Hannah’s baby quilt. She’s only 12. There’s still time.

Alix Bekins: I bought a bunch of awesome fabric about *cough* four years ago*cough* and keep meaning to make the quilts I’d planned. I really loathe sewing, though, it turns out.

Jaime Samms: Well four years isn’t that bad! I like hand sewing. I’m not as fond of the bloody machine. And I love the intricacy of beading. Sewing seed beads and sequins on things, making little purses and stuff.

Alix Bekins: I am really awful at both. I just don’t have the patience. I do like to crochet though, and Amy Lane just taught me to knit yesterday. I’m a total beginner at both.

Jaime Samms: So cool. I’ve had a couple people try to teach me to knit. I don’t understand why it never took. But crochet is fun. You live close to Amy? I’m so jealous. I met her in New York, and turns out she’s twice as awesome in person as she is on line.

Alix Bekins: It turned out making socks with fun colors was sort of my thing, so I really had to learn to knit. Crocheted socks end up a little too thick to wear except with slippers. She is pretty amazing.  🙂

Jaime Samms: Oh yes, she is. I think that New York trip might be the single best thing I’ve done for my writing and for me.

Alix Bekins: What gets your creative juices going?

Jaime Samms: Being awake. I pretty much live on the creative plane. Which explains why I have a job working for the government and doing math all day. <<< that was sarcasm, BTW, in case you missed the nuance.  😀

Alix Bekins: Hahah! Speaking of juices – let’s talk about porn. Ready, go.

Jaime Samms: Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t complicated math, and I don’t do it because I like it. LOL! I don’t watch porn. Who told you that? 🙂 Like I told Hubs when he was clearing my browser history, it’s just for research.

Alix Bekins: What kind of porn do you use for “research”?

Jaime Samms: Well, obviously, the gay kind. JP Barnaby mentioned a site once, and damned if I can remember the name of it because it’s a Greek name, I think, but that’s one I go to often.

Alix Bekins: Heh, okay. I mean, what sort of interactions/men/set ups do you like?

Jaime Samms: Well, that’s what I mean. I guess I like this site, because the set ups are a little less…. porny? www.anterosmedia.com When it comes down to it I’m still a girl. I still like there to be some semblance of an actually emotional connection between the participants. And I admit, I do watch a fair amount of BDSM and threesomes.

Alix Bekins: Do you have preference for age ranges, body type, solo/two/three/orgy? Lots of romance and kissing or back-alley gritty urgency? Ooooh, another girl who likes kink!

Jaime Samms: Um…yes? LOL! I guess I’m a porn slut.

Alix Bekins: I have a hard time finding good BDSM porn. We should talk about that more. I like the threesomes too – they usually seem like they’re having more fun. 😉 I might be projecting.

Jaime Samms: Let me think… I like men who look like grown men. I’m not a fan of twinks so much, because that can get dicey, you know? I write about a lot of willowy, hairless feminine guys, but I like to watch something different.

Alix Bekins: Yeah, sometimes they look so young I start to feel self conscious. Or… conscious of how young they are and how young I’m not, I guess.

Jaime Samms: Yes, I get that. Definitely! I have a really hard time finding BDSM porn that isn’t all dungeons and hard core. Not that that’s all bad, but some variety would be nice.

Alix Bekins: Somehow, most of the kink I’ve found recently was either just obviously totally faked or had a lot of golden showers, which are not my thing. YKINMKBYKIOK and all, but yeah. Not my thing.

Jaime Samms: Yeah, I’m also not a fan of body waste. Okay, that is a really long acronym…what the heck?

Alix Bekins: It seemed to be an extension of puppy play, which I get, but… I mean I have a dog, he does other things than just pee all the time! Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is Okay – sorry, it’s a thing I keep seeing, maybe it’s not as widespread as I thought. Those kids with their hipster acronyms. 😉

[And Then We Had A Seriously TMI Diversion – DELETED]

Jaime Samms: So where were we?

Alix Bekins: What I love best about these chats is that EVERY SINGLE ONE has ended up with a discussion about the porn we like. It’s hilarious. Um, I have no idea.  Porn – does it help with your writing? If so, how? Or is it just fun?

Jaime Samms: It’s just fun. I mean, any information I needed that I might get from porn, I’ve actually asked a few gay men, because porn isn’t life.

Alix Bekins: Yeah.

Jaime Samms: And honestly, I don’t need it to get into the mood to write a sex scene. If my characters are into what they’re doing together, it isn’t at all hard for me to write it.

Alix Bekins: Hehehe! That’s awesome. I find it helps me get into the right headspace sometimes. 😉

Jaime Samms: And if it’s not a “good” sex scene (because I do write about hustlers and rent boys and broken subs, let’s face it. Sometimes, they have sex they wish they hadn’t had) porn is not going to help those scenes, either.

Alix Bekins: No definitely not. That’s a good point – I’ve written sex that ended up being disappointing, but never anything non-con or sex-work or even where the character wished he was doing something else.

Jaime Samms: I think I’m an anomaly among female m/m writers. I have never had issue with writing sex. I like doing it. Those are the scenes that practically write themselves.

Alix Bekins: It really depends, for me. Sometimes it’s almost impossible, other times it just comes. Rather like an orgasm. 😉

Jaime Samms: LOL! I don’t know. For me, dialogue, sex and fight scenes are easy. It’s everything else I have to work for.

Alix Bekins: Me too. Dialogue is easy-peasey. Plot though, that’s hard. 😉

MacJaime Samms: Maybe being visual helps?

Alix Bekins: Maybe. I bet it does, actually. It’s like hearing a conversation or seeing a movie, for me. I’m sure that helps the sex scenes.

Jaime Samms: I don’t plot. I start at the beginning and write til the end and hope for the best… LOL. And then send it to my beta reader so she can tell me where I fucked up.

Alix Bekins: Hahah – thank god for our beta readers.

Jaime Samms: OMG, if not for them… the last story I did, just finished, in fact, it would have been a disaster without my lovely beta.

Alix Bekins: So, is there anything you wanted to cover before we leave? Promo or upcoming releases or anything readers should be watching out for? Feel free to include a shout-out to her/him.

Jaime Samms: Yes, that would be Carol Zampa. She seems to have an eye for my plot holes, for all she says plotting is her weakness. And she’s really good at character development. Yeah. She just rocks!

Alix Bekins: A toast to Carol Z! 🙂

*clinks mugs*

Jaime Samms: So… I have a couple of books coming out… next week? Um. I should get on that. They are both about cross dressers, and one is a Christmas story.

Alix Bekins: Ooh nice. Cross dressing is a kink I didn’t know I had until recently. I was collecting pictures for a friend and realized, hey, some of these are kind of hot… There’s a website that sells feminine-style lingerie but designed in a way to accommodate male parts – xdress.com. I love them.

lace_2_800Jaime Samms: Lace is about Caleb and Levi. Caleb has been hiding his dresses deep in his closet, and Levi knows there’s more to his boyfriend than he shows on the outside. He’s starting to wonder if he’s ever going to get a glimpse of it when Mitchell comes along with his gender-blurring fashion show, and Caleb has to take a stand about who he really is or fade into his closet forever. That comes out at Total E-Bound on the third.

Jaime Samms: I like that site! I found some inspiration for Caleb’s outfits there. Then, Still Life comes out at Dreamspinner on the fifth.

Alix Bekins: Hehehe! And what’s that one about?

Jaime Samms: That’s about Mac and Allen. They were college roommates who became lovers when Mac finally had the guts to put on a dress to get Allen’s attention. They broke up when Mac, who’d always seemed straight to Allen, kissed Allen’s sister under the mistletoe. Years later, they cross paths again, accidentally on purpose when Mac decides he wants to try and make amends and get Allen back. Only now, Mac has other issues he brings with him, and Allen has to decide if he’s willing to take another chance on a relationship that promises not to be easy.

Alix Bekins: Oooh, sounds intriguing. I’ll have to add them both to my list. So final, question – what do you want from Santa this year?

Jaime Samms: Either a Mac Air or a set of illustrators markers. Or a huge block of time to just spend reading and not lose any writing time. You know, like a parallel lifetime or something.

Alix Bekins: I’ll be sure to pass that along if I see the big guy. 🙂

Jaime Samms: Cool! Do that! And I’ll draw you a nice picture with them! 😀

Alix Bekins: Yay! Well, thank you for making the time to “come to tea” with me!

Jaime Samms: That was fun! 🙂

Alix Bekins: Awesome! *hug*

Jaime Samms: *hugs back*

***

Jaime has been writing for various publishers since the fall of 2008, although she’s been writing for herself far longer. Often asked why men; what’s so fascinating about writing stories about men falling in love, she’s never come up with a clear answer. Just that these are the stories that she loves to read, so it seemed to make sense if she was going to write, they should also be the stories she wrote.

These days, you can find plenty of free reading on her website. She also writes for Freya’s Bower, Loveyoudivine Alterotica, Pink Petal Books, Dreamspinner Press and Total E-Bound.

Spare time, when it can be found rolled into a ball at the back of the dryer or cavorting with the dust bunnies in the corners, she’s probably spending reading, drawing, gardening (weather permitting, of course, since she is Canadian!) or watching movies. Well. She has a day job or two, as well, and two kids, but thankfully, also a wonderful husband who shoulders more than his fair share of household and child care responsibilities.

She graduated some time ago from college with a Fine Arts diploma, with a major in textile arts, which basically qualifies her to draw pictures and create things with string and fabric. One always needs an official slip of paper to fall back on after all….

Website: http://jaime-samms.net/
facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000982219151&ref=tn_tnmn
Livejournal: http://dontkickmycane.livejournal.com/
Deviantart: http://dontkickmycane.deviantart.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JaimeSamms
Amazon Author page: amazon.com/author/jaimesamms

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NaughTea Time with Ariel Tachna

I had tea with Ariel last week!  Although I have to admit, I have “virtual tea” with Ariel almost every single day.  We’ve known each other for over eight years, and we’ve been chatting almost daily for at least the last three or four….  Maybe more.  That means we know each others’ shorthand ways of saying things, and follow jumps in topic by instinct.

Here, we tried to be a little more clear than we usually are, stay more focused.  You’ll have to let us know if we succeeded!  🙂

***

Alix Bekins: All righty, I’m here and ready.

Ariel Tachna: Me too.

Alix Bekins: Yay! Do you have tea?

Ariel Tachna: Yes.

Alix Bekins: Irish breakfast with… sugar but no milk?

Ariel Tachna: Irish Breakfast as usual, black with two sugars.

Alix Bekins: Hehehe – almost got it right.

Ariel Tachna: 🙂  Think we’ve traveled together enough?

Alix Bekins: Clearly, we need to travel more so I remember *two* sugars.

Ariel Tachna: 🙂 I’m up for that. Tell me when and where.

Alix Bekins: We’ll figure something out for the next year.

Ariel Tachna: Yes, definitely.

Alix Bekins: You do travel a lot – how do you make that work for you, with a job and family?

Ariel Tachna: I love to travel, which helps.

Alix Bekins: (Maybe it just seems like a lot of travel to me, since I’m such a homebody.)

Ariel Tachna: But the biggest thing I try to do is to be present in the moment, whichever moment that is. So when I’m traveling, I’m focused on that trip. When I’m at home during the day, it’s all about the job and writing. And when the kids come home, I try to make it about them, at least as much as they’re interested in having Mama around. And then once they go to bed, it might be husband time or more writing time, depending on his schedule.

Alix Bekins: That sounds like a good goal, living in the moment. Is this a new philosophy or an old one?

Ariel Tachna: A little of both. Something I learned a long time ago and am remembering again now. I’ve always been one to wear multiple hats, so the only real difference now is what I’m juggling, not *that* I’m juggling.

Alix Bekins: Speaking of juggling, last time we talked, you had a lot of projects in the works. Care to give me/us an update? (I’m bracing myself to be overwhelmed.)

Ariel Tachna: Well, let’s see… I’m 95% done with the expansion of Château d’Eternité. The goal was tomorrow, although I’m thinking it’ll be Wednesday or Friday. I’ve started the third Lang Downs book, currently untitled.

Alix Bekins: That’s the one (Château d’Eternité) you started for the time-travel anthology last summer, right? And turned into a novel-length on you?

Ariel Tachna: And I just committed to my pub schedule for next year. Yes, that’s Château.

Alix Bekins: And Lang Downs = the Australian sheepherders.

Ariel Tachna: Yes, that’s right. With another new couple, although Caine and Macklin are still floating around in the background.

Alix Bekins: I always want to say cowboys, but they’re herding sheep, but “shepherds” doesn’t sit well in my brain for those guys.

Ariel Tachna: Yeah, sheepherders is the term they use. I’m in the middle of edits on Lycan Partnership, which is scheduled to come out in January. I just got the cover art on that today!

Alix Bekins: For “shepherds”, I picture some kid in a tunic or robe, with a crook, like out of the Old Testament.

Ariel Tachna: LOL – yeah, that’s *so* not my sheepherders.

Alix Bekins: Oooh – I’ve heard about that, the lycan/vampire merging. How did that end up? What’s it about? How on earth did you even think to write it?

Ariel Tachna: Well, the how on earth is the easy part. I blame it all on Nicki. Two years ago, we were at Revelcon, a small fan con in Houston, and we were talking about my vampire series. I said something about wrapping it up, and she said I couldn’t, I hadn’t brought in the werewolves I kept referring to. For anyone who doesn’t know, my muses are complete slaves to Nicki’s whims. She’s the reason we have the Lang Downs series too.

Alix Bekins: Yay Nicki!

Ariel Tachna: I told her I couldn’t imagine writing werewolves except in the way Rhianne (Aile) had done so brilliantly in Cursed and Betrayed. So she told me to ask Rhianne if I could borrow them. Originally I was only going to borrow her conception of them, but I ended up actually borrowing Tristan and Benjamin too. The lycan portion of the plot is really quite simple: the French packs are dying out and no new babies are being born to replace them, and they don’t know why. So they approach Raymond Payet at l’Institut hoping he can help. Of course helping is far more complicated than everyone had originally hoped. Or, to the vampires and wizards not involved, as the case may be. I wrote the closest thing to a horror scene I will ever write.

Alix Bekins: Sounds fascinating. Horror, from you? Wow, I wouldn’t have expected that. Was it gory or scary or…. And how was it, writing something like that?

Ariel Tachna: The vampires have talked from the beginning about the demon/creature/monster/beast they have inside them. The choice of word varies, but the sense of having to always be in control so they can act civilized is universal. For a variety of ill-advised reasons, Thierry convinces Sebastien to let go of that control.

Alix Bekins: Oh my.

Ariel Tachna: And we get to see firsthand just what a monster lies inside, without the veneer of his human side. The editor said it was terrifying. Which is what I was going for, so that’s good. It’s not something I will ever write a lot of, but it was necessary for the overall plot of the series.

Alix Bekins: *nods* Although, I’m remembering a pretty violent/icky scene in one of the first four Partnership books.

Ariel Tachna: There were a couple, yes.

Alix Bekins: With the crazy vampire and Jean’s ex-lover.

Ariel Tachna: Yes. And an early one with Blanchet, the crazy wizard.

Alix Bekins: Right, yes.

Ariel Tachna: It’s never the focus of a book, but I’ve always tried to tell the story my characters have to tell, even when it’s hard or harsh. Checkmate and the Matelot have some scenes like that as well.

Alix Bekins: Yes, and you can’t really tell a vampire story (at least, not one also including evil wizards) without showing some of the evil.

Ariel Tachna: Exactly.

Alix Bekins: So do you think there’ll be another story in the series, now that you’ve appeased Nicki?

Ariel Tachna: One more. I’ve already written the prologue, although it will have to wait for me to finish a couple of other things first. I have a new series I’m starting after I finish the third Lang Downs book, one that features a variety of waiters I’ve “collected” on Dreamspinner-related trips over the years.

Alix Bekins: Oh right, we got a bit off track there. So Lycan Partnership is coming out soon. And you’re working on sheep herders and time travel right now. And next up after those is waiters? Are those all novels, or are any of these planned to be novella-length?

Ariel Tachna: The plan is novel-length, but I never know what I’m going to get until I actually write the book. I thought Stolen Moments was going to be a novella, and I was sure Something About Harry would end up being novel-length. I was wrong on both counts.

Alix Bekins: Usually your stories end up longer than planned, not shorter, yes?

Ariel Tachna: Yes, that’s definitely the trend, especially if there’s any kind of world-building involved.

Alix Bekins: How do you make that happen? I always have the other problem!

Ariel Tachna: I think it’s the world-building. In a contemporary, you can skim over details because everyone knows them. In anything else, you have to fill them all in. You can’t assume anything, and so you get descriptions of reclining at table and what the cushions were like and the platters in a time travel that sends you back to the Roman Empire, instead of simply saying they ate dinner.

Alix Bekins: But you do write a fair amount of contemporary as well….

Ariel Tachna: And then my books tend to be “plotty”. There’s always something going outside the relationship.

Alix Bekins: Yes, you do have a lot of plot!

Ariel Tachna: Something that also has to be resolved, and that adds words.

Alix Bekins: Do you outline or just go forward and see where you end up?

Ariel Tachna: I’ve followed an outline one time. Ever. That was for Seducing C.C. All the others, even if I had an outline, the characters laughed at me. I almost always have a final scene in mind, though, and that very rarely changes. So I’m playing connect-the-dots, rather than following an outline.

Alix Bekins: Wow – just one time! 🙂 I love that image.

Ariel Tachna: I’ve come closer when I’m writing with Nicki, but even then, things change as we write.

Alix Bekins: Good point, I bet when you’re co-writing, it’s a little more critical that you both be on the same page.

Ariel Tachna: Definitely. We do plan when we start, and then we keep tweaking that plan as we work. And we also write together in real-time so we can even tweak moment by moment. Now if she could just get rid of her evil day job so we’d have more time to write!

Alix Bekins: I was going to say, you used to write together quite a bit – what changed?

Ariel Tachna: Her schedule imploded.

Alix Bekins: That sucks when your day job eats into writing time. How do you keep that from happening?

Ariel Tachna: I have a flexible enough job with Dreamspinner that I can set aside hours each day to write, or to go to a program at my daughter’s school, or run away and have lunch with my husband.

Alix Bekins: Heheh! I bet he appreciates that.

Ariel Tachna: As long as the tasks are complete at the end of the week or month, it’s less important exactly when they’re done.

Alix Bekins: What does he think of your writing? Does he ever read anything you write?

Ariel Tachna: He’s very supportive of the fact that I write, somewhere between amused and bemused by what I write, and completely uninterested in reading it. But then he doesn’t read any other kind of romance either. Relaxing reading for him is medieval history books.

Alix Bekins: I was going to say, the genre factors seems to be a big part of it, no matter how supportive the writers’ partners are.

Ariel Tachna: Yes, that’s very true. He tells people I’m an author. I’m not sure he could be any more proud of my success in being published. He celebrates every release with me.

Alix Bekins: Awwww. That’s very sweet.

Ariel Tachna: It is. I’m very blessed to have him.

Alix Bekins: It’s good that you have a flexible schedule, for your family. Does the timeline for the NaNoWriMo stuff change all of that up for November?

Ariel Tachna: Not really, because 1667 words a day isn’t all that different from what I do any other day. Two hours of writing for me is between 2k and 4k words, unless I end up researching something instead of writing. So NaNoWriMo is more about being part of the community than it is of changing my monthly word count.

Alix Bekins: Holy frijole, woman! Okay, I’m going to just skip over that because… wow.

Ariel Tachna: I have too many voices in my head not to write that fast.  They’d drive me insane if I didn’t.

Alix Bekins: Do you mean part of the NaNo official community or the general writing community? Do you participate in their forums and stuff?

Ariel Tachna: I’m part of a couple of online support groups where we congratulate each other on our successes (or mourn our lack of success). But then, I’m all about cheering other authors on, even when it’s not NaNo.

Alix Bekins: Heh. I keep trying to figure out how to make one of those word-count tracker things display, but then I figure my time is probably better spent actually writing. 😉

Ariel Tachna: Yes, definitely. That’s one of my perennial struggles, using the time I have wisely. There are days when I’m laser sharp and then other days where I feel totally scattered. Which is why I like the accountability of writing at the same time as other people.

Alix Bekins: Today is definitely a scattered day for me. How about you?

Ariel Tachna: Today is actually pretty focused for me. I finished a scene this morning, spent a couple of hours doing work, and now I’m chatting with you.

Alix Bekins: Nice. As always, I do rely on you poking me. “Oh right, wasn’t I supposedly writing a story?”

Ariel Tachna: *poke, poke* My creative writing teacher in high school told us that writing was 10% creativity and 90% discipline. It was great to have all these ideas, but we had to follow through and finish them.

Alix Bekins: Yes, I agree.  Finishing is *hard*! What motivates you to FTF?

Ariel Tachna: Deadlines.

Alix Bekins: From your publisher?

Ariel Tachna: Yes. I plan my writing year ahead of time and get dates by which manuscripts would need to be finished in order to have releases more or less regularly.

Alix Bekins: You seem to write/publish at breakneck speed – something coming out every other month or thereabouts? How do you keep from getting burned out?

Ariel Tachna: Each story is new. If all I wrote was sheepherders or vampires or even contemporaries, I’d worry about it.

Alix Bekins: True enough.

Ariel Tachna: But writing Partnership in Blood is nothing like writing Chase the Stars.

Alix Bekins: Variety – spice of life!

Ariel Tachna: Most definitely.

Alix Bekins: Speaking of – do you have other creative outlets? Or mostly just writing?

Ariel Tachna: I knit. I sing. Sometimes I play piano or guitar.

Alix Bekins: Singing, really? What kind of singing?

Ariel Tachna: Mostly choral singing. These days, it’s almost all for my church.

Alix Bekins: Okay, I could probably Google this but I’m lazy – what’s the difference between chorus, choral, and choir?

Ariel Tachna: Choral is the adjective, chorus is the repeated part of a song, and choir is the group that sings. At least that’s always the way I’ve heard it used.

Alix Bekins: Well cool – vocabulary lesson, free with tea!

Ariel Tachna: 🙂

Alix Bekins: Is your group doing a concert for Christmas?

Ariel Tachna: No, not a concert, just Christmas services. The group I was part of in Cincinnati would actually do a concert every year, but the group here in Houston is too small for that.

Alix Bekins: Nice! I’m actually trying to figure out which one I’m going to go to – the local universities have several concerts, and then there’s the Gay Men’s Choir, and a few other groups.

Ariel Tachna: Yes, Houston has a ton of offerings as well.

Alix Bekins: So, tell me what gets your creative juices going? You mentioned voices in your head – where do you think those come from?

Ariel Tachna: Everywhere. Everything is inspiration. Some is immediate. I overhear a snippet of conversation and there’s a story idea. Other times, it’s more background, so that when I get ready to write a scene, I think back to similar experiences in my own life. Not that it’s autobiographical in any way, just that it’s the feeling or the mood of an experience.

Alix Bekins: Yeah, I think here’s a definite crossover between our experiences – at least the emotional content – and our writing. One that’s very different from autobiographical stories, or even this-happened-to-me-really scenes. We have to draw from what we’ve experienced, in some way, or it doesn’t ring true on the page.

Ariel Tachna: Yes, exactly.

Alix Bekins: It’s that part of being able to take your own experiences and twist them so you can relate to how your character feels. Which is totally why I don’t write emo scenes, or hurt/comfort. Every time I try, I spiral into depression.

Ariel Tachna: Yes, or else let the characters become sufficiently real that their emotions become real. My favorite books are the ones I can’t stop writing. The ones where the characters simply grab hold of my brain and don’t let go. It’s exhausting, but the result is always SO worth it.

Alix Bekins: Yeah. I just don’t like it when the other person living in my skull is an emotional mess. 🙂

Ariel Tachna: Yeah, that can be hard.

Alix Bekins: Okay, so we went into the serious emo place. We were talking about creative juices and inspiration.

Ariel Tachna: There we go, no more emo, pretty pictures instead!  Zahra is sending me some.

Alix Bekins: And now pictures from Zahra! Speaking of juices – let’s talk about porn. Ready, go.

Ariel Tachna: Whee! Honestly, though, it gets hard to keep the sex scenes fresh. I’ve found myself debating whether to write them or fade to black quite a bit recently. Of course the one time I tried to do that with, Jean and Raymond, they laughed at me and turned it into the longest sex scene I’d ever written.

Alix Bekins: Hahahaha! Slave to your muses.

Ariel Tachna: To those two especially!

Alix Bekins: Do you find watching porn inspires your sex scenes?

Ariel Tachna: Occasionally, but it very much depends on the situation both in the porn flick and in the book. Because even in my most detailed scenes, the emotional connection (or lack thereof sometimes) is the key. Not the physical positions they’re in, unless those positions are directly representative of their emotional states.

Alix Bekins: Yes, definitely. I mean, otherwise there’s no point in a sex scene in a book, IMO.

Ariel Tachna: I agree completely. But in porn, there’s rarely that emotional connection.

Alix Bekins: I mean, I want the hot sex, don’t get me wrong. But it needs to be on the page, in the story, for a reason other than to titillate the reader.

Ariel Tachna: And so while it can show me the mechanics of a certain position or act, it can’t make me feel it.

Alix Bekins: Yeah, that’s a problem with porn. Although with these tea-chats, I’m certainly getting a good list of recommended sites to check out! 🙂

Ariel Tachna: Yeah, but I get all my porn from you. 🙂

Alix Bekins: Well, I’ll have to make a point to share anything new that I get.

Ariel Tachna: Please do, because it is occasionally inspirational. I got the idea for a book from imagining how two characters might end up in a situation like the one in the film.

Alix Bekins: Like the costume-drama one? Did that actually help with whatever story you were working on?

Ariel Tachna: Yes, it did! And the massage one you sent too. That’s turning into an entire book.

Alix Bekins: Ooh right, so that’s in your queue as well? I can’t keep track!

Ariel Tachna: Yes. So at this point, the queue goes something like this: Chateau, Lang Downs 3, Waiters 1, Partnership in Blood 8, Lang Downs 4, massage. And then after the massage story, it will probably be the second Waiters book and then the gay rodeo novel.

Alix Bekins: Wait, *another* vampires? I missed that!

Ariel Tachna: There’s one final one to go. That wraps everything up

Alix Bekins: Oh right, the gay rodeo! I’ve been waiting for that one!

Ariel Tachna: The prologue is already written.

Alix Bekins: I have inspiring cowboy pictures to send you, for that one! 🙂

Ariel Tachna: Yes, you do!

Alix Bekins: BRB, I’m trying the perfect peanut butter sandwich recipe thing from Ellis: http://www.gilttaste.com/stories/5016-how-to-make-a-better-peanut-butter-and-jelly-sandwich.  It was a very inspiring article/instructions, but it’s actually pretty much how I make my pbj’s anyway, except this one is not toasted. I already use good bread and hippie peanut butter and homemade berry jam. I suppose it’s a lot better than that nasty goobers-and-grape stuff on Wonder bread.

Ariel Tachna: Yes, definitely.

Alix Bekins: But my mouth is already used to good food. 😉

Ariel Tachna: Yes, and that makes a difference.

Alix Bekins: How about you, are you a fan of pb&j?

Ariel Tachna: Oh, yes! But then I have two children under the age of 10 – it’s a staple at my house.

Alix Bekins: True enough. How do they like them? And do you eat them too?

Ariel Tachna: Bonne Maman strawberry jam or else Bonne Maman black currant jelly, organic peanut butter, whole wheat toast. Yes, I eat them too 🙂

Alix Bekins: It’s all about the quality.

Ariel Tachna: Definitely.

Alix Bekins: Simple food, served in a way that lets the quality shine… Okay, so should we wrap this up? We seem to have lost focus. My fault for wandering off and getting food. 🙂

Ariel Tachna: Yes, we have a little.

Alix Bekins: Um, we covered writing, your endless list of projects, porn…. Did we talk enough about the porn?

Ariel Tachna: I just don’t have a lot to add to the porn discussion. It’s not part of my typical writing day unless you send me something particular to watch.

Alix Bekins: Well, just let me know if you have requests – I’m happy to share.  🙂  Well, thanks for making time for this chat! It’s been great having you!  *hug*

Ariel Tachna: It’s always a joy to chat with you, and I appreciate you having me on your blog

***

Ariel Tachna can be found at:
Blog: http://arieltachna.livejournal.com
Web site: http://www.arieltachna.com
Facebook: http://tiny.cc/29npd
Twitter: @arieltachna

Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their cat.  Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with France, where she met her husband, and India, where she hopes to retire some day.  She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.

To purchase my books, you can always go to Dreamspinner’s web site, http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com or you can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks, Fictionwise, or Rainbow eBooks, http://www.rainbowebooks.com/store/.  I’m sure there are probably other eBook outlets as well, but I don’t go searching for them.  Also, if you want to buy the book in print, any bookstore that allows special orders can order the book for you with the title and my name.

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