Wednesday, April 30, 2008

General housekeeping

My writing goal this year is 300,000 words.
I'm at 113,000.

May is Finishing Month here at the Den of Debauchery.
Lord Withycombe and the Curse of the Pharaoh's Manicurists will be done by next Wed at the latest.
Then it's on to Shell Shocked.

There are a few short stories we want to write, and the freak-show novel needs edits and rewrites.

On the editing front, we're at the awkward waiting stage
Glad Hands has been through one round
"Burning for Eight Days" is starting its sequence
and "Showdown at the Yellowstone River" just got submitted.
Niko-Chan is submitted.
"Seconds" is in for the Toybox:Sounds

It's all up to Bree and Sabrina and Shawn.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday Dribs and Drabs

So, I totted it all up this weekend. I've made over $750 writing this year.
In other words, I've made about an extra week's pay.

"Showdown at the Yellowstone River" is finished and edited to death.
We finished the synopsis this morning and the blurb is killing us.

"Frosted Hearts" has a July release.

And I've been thinking of writing without stereotypes.

Stereotypes are shorthand. We use them because they simplify the information we have to deal with on a day to day basis. Some are true, some are less so.

For instance, people who see me on my day job see a very tall, very heavy white woman with short hair, battered work boots, and well-worn grubby jeans. No makeup, no jewelry, and I'm climbing out of a semi.

There will always be several automatic assumptions
1) I'm a lesbian (appearance)
2) I'm probably conservative (truck)
3) I'm not too bright (truck and size)

Only the first of these is even half-way true. But because of prior experience and media images, people never get as far as the cognitive dissonance between the first and second.

The problem comes when trying to write without stereotyping.
How do you handle characters of color, without making them cartoons, or too white?
How do you avoid making women into insane shrieking harpies, if they're villains, or good and pure angels, if they're good, or devouring sluts if it's erotica?

I think the answer is in motivation and characterization.
Every character needs to have enough personality that they have real wants and desires.
They pursue these desires.
This drives the plot and their interactions with other characters, who have desires of their own.

Right now, I'm working on a piece with a female villain.
Sarah Brown presents herself as Lady Sarah, although she has no right to the title. She's Lord Edward's jilted fiance and wants him back. She has money. She wants him for his title and his sexy body. She knows he doesn't love her, she doesn't care. She wants to marry him anyway.

To this end, she knows she has to tease him back to her, so she tries besting him at everything, in order to intrigue him. She knows Lord Edward has no use vanity or silliness, so she tries for ruthless competence instead.

The problem is conveying this in the little we see of her, all of it through the biased eyes of Charlie (Lord Edward's secretary). She has him kidnapped, to ensure Edward's pursuit and good behavior. She seduces him for her own amusement. She bests Lord Edward at the scene of the prize, and slanders him in the London papers as payback for a wild-goose chase. (is it a slander if it's true?)

Charlie, obviously, thinks of her as a spider. But I want the readers to think of her as a real, strong-willed woman, with desires of her own, even seeing her through Charlie's warped lens.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Spotters' Field Guide to the Common Zara Muse

The Common Zara Muse
(Muses angelias Zaras)

The Zara Muse was first spotted in spring 1987, during the writing of a trunk novel. She came with a bad case of twincest, an abusive husband and a look borrowed straight from the Belegriad. Over the years she has been dormant more often than she's been active, but 2005 saw a surge of activity as she appeared in the Cyber'verse.

Zaras are always highly intelligent and usually religious in a way that is more than general identification.

Appearance: A Zara is always tall and slender. She has straight black hair, impressive cheekbones, and an aquiline nose, like her twin's. She is pale, with eyes that are either black or green. She has small breasts and not much in the way of curves. She's all spare and elegant and icy.

Habitats: Zara likes her luxuries. Always wealthy, she can afford what she wants, whether a fine sorceress's tower or a penthouse apartment with hot and cold running slave boys.

Sexual Habits:
The Zara varies widely in her sexual expression. While some are nearly asexual, others are skilled dominatrices. She always has a relationship, whether past or ongoing, sometimes nonconsensual, with her twin brother, Zaran. She is one of the few completely straight muses. She is almost always barren.

Birthdate: Sept 20

Appearances and Aliases:

Zara beht Ellanya. The original Zara muse in a fantasy milieu. A born sorceress sworn to the service of Vendan the Destroyer, her brother kills her husband in order to keep her with him as his magician.

Zara Broine, Cyber'verse, "Pushing the Boundaries of Reality." The Technomancer is one of the top net runners. She becomes entangled with the runner called Gemini, never realizing there are two benEzra twins. She has a prison-issue neural implant (capable only of pain), which her brother controls as part of her ongoing and unwilling servitude. She also has a neural interface for a strap-on. Is a member of the Church of Christ, Programmer.

Sarah Brown. Roaring 20s. Lord Withycombe and the Curse of the Pharaoh's Manicurists. Lady Sarah, as she presents herself, is the erstwhile fiancee of Lord Edward Withycombe. An intelligent and ruthless adventurer, she will do almost anything to have Lord Edwad back and married to her, although they are incompatible. She wears trousers, shoots and rides astride, much to the scandal of all around her.

Kala. (Fairie WIP) A sadistic sorceress who is enslaving the fairy folk, using their magic to feed her own war with her brother.

Natasha "Queen Nat" Norman. (Casting Couch Blues) Miracle Picture's star performer and our hero's former stepmother. The only lesbian incarnation of the Zara muse. Has a longtime lover, Mariposa, and owns a third of of the studio.

Usual companions:

The benJedi twins, as the benEzras. Is married to the David twin, but seeing both.
Zaran. Her twin brother and a brutal top.
The David Muse. Either as a rival (the Wheelman) or as her secretary (Nigel)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Busy month

It's been a very busy month.
So busy, in fact, that I forgot to put up April's contest. *headdesk* So I got May's up early.

Finished our submission for Ellora's Topaz birthstone. We're 33K into a Roaring 20s novel.
And the deadlines keep coming.

So, actual content comes next post.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Site changes

There have been a few changes to the website.

The Muse-um is now open.
There are Current Releases on the front page.

And the April contest is up.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Spotter's Field Guide to the Common David Muse

The Common David Muse
(Muses angelias davidus)

The David Muse was first spotted in November of 2005, during the writing of Nikolai. His voice was clear and distinct, but he was originally mistaken for a Basic Luke Muse (muses angelias skywalkerus), as the writer in question was coming out of a Star Wars fan era. Later, upon a viewing of Love! Valour! Compassion!, the muse was clarified as having a great many John Glover-style behaviors and mannerisms.

Davids are always thinkers, planners and achievers. This muse is capable of referring to himself, unironically, as "the best mind of the twenty-first century."

Many of them have a slightly psycho- or sociopathic edge. The Inman variant is called The Butcher of Cairo and has been responsible for the deaths of over 50,000 people.

David muses are almost always atheists, unless they are supernatural beings.

: The David muse can range in age from eighteen to his sixties. He favors appearing in his late forties to early fifties. He's often short, always slim. He's always fair, often blond, and tends to wear his hair rather long.

Habitats: Variable. The Morganstern subspecies favors rural isolation, while the Inman variety requires an urban lifestyle.

Sexual Habits
: The David is one of the few completely gay muses. He is minimally functional with females but finds performance difficult. He is always well endowed, somewhere between "Oh wow, nice" and "holy cow, keep it away!" The late-period Inman variant is a eunuch. A capable switch, he is an amazingly sadistic top when required, or a delightfully playful bottom. Often has a taste for verbal abuse.

Birthdate: February 14.

Appearances and Aliases:

David Charles Inman: The Butcher of Cairo first appears in Nikolai as Nick's teacher and James's lover/body slave. David is legally owned under Old Testament law, and wears the earring in his upper ear to prove it. Speaks ten languages, holds two masters degrees and a doctorate. Has written twenty books. He has a deep affection for Tanis, whom he treats as his daughter, and a sweet bit on the side with Valerio, the driver and bodyguard. He is bitterly jealous and resentful of Nick.

Professor L. Morganstern: "Tuition Fees: The Devil" The professor runs a private college for 13 of the most talented young men in the world. The name is transparent. Appears human most of the time.

Erik "The Wheelman" Ezekiel: Cyberverse. CEO of Ezekiel InfoTech, one of the largest multinationals. Is wheelchair-bound after being brain-burned by The Technomancer. Has a number of runners working under him, called Immortals. They are mutilated and confined to life-support chairs.

William Meier: "Paying forfeits." Older wealthy southern man, with a handsome young lover. Voyeur. has a taste for kink.

Victor Williams: "Raising the Dead." History professor with a writer lover. His life is spinning out of control, so he submits to his lover, but things go much too far. Strong verbal abuse kink.

Nigel: Lord Edward series. Secretary to Lady Sarah, former lover of Lord Edward. Nasty, scheming and completely devoted to his Lady.

David: "Talk like a Pirate Day." A Kansas City hotel events coordinator with a younger, rather ill lover.

Usual companions
The benJedi twins, usually the David twin (aka James).
Hates the Nick muse in almost every universe.
The Dan muse, who is often his son or lover (or his lover pretending to be his son, as in Paying Forfeits)
The Zara muse, either as rival (Technomancer) or employer (Lady Sarah)
The Paul muse, most often in the Corban Ligatos incarnation
The Chris muse

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spotter's Field Guide to the Common Nick Muse

The Common Nick Muse

(Musus angelias nikolai)

The Nick muse was first spotted in November 2005, during production of the eponymous Nikolai. Originally mistaken for a Han muse (musus angelias solo), he quickly developed his own appearance and quirks.

Appearance: always short. Nicks don't go much taller than 5'7", much like the inspiration, Aaron Stanford. Always young, early 20s. Full mouth

Habitats: Urban, but variable. At home from ultra-elite penthouse to slum apartment.

Sexual habits
: Bisexual. Bully. Always bottoms to alpha males, domineering top to those he sees as weaker. Breath-control fetish. Oral fixation.

: November, always a Scorpio

The True Nick Muse is distinguished from the Lesser Nick Muse by sheer psychopathy. The True Nick Muse is always a sociopath, usually a killer, and as hard on his lovers as his enemies.

Appearances and Aliases

Nick Admire (True Nick Muse): "Tuition Fees" sociopathic representative with an eye on the main chance. Breaks artist- lover's finger in story, carved initials into lover's penis in missing scene.

Nick Boyd: (True Nick Muse): Nikolai series. Original muse. Memphis streetrat trained to be a world leader. Psychopath. Cannibal.

Nick Harper (Lesser Nick Muse): Alive on the Inside. Addictive personality, has gone from beer to Jesus to gay sex. Guilt-driven, religion haunted.

Sean O'Neill (Lesser Nick Muse) Cyberverse: streetrat who gets lucky with irishgirl. Straight for most of the series (a rarity in Nicks)

Sean Dempsey (Lesser Nick Muse) Shell Shocked. PTSD Iraq vet with artificial knees and a bad valium habit. A little submissive.

Josh Tucker (Lesser Nick Muse): "Collared Hearts" Napoleon complex, bossy art dealer.Not sexually adventurous. Artist-lover collared him and taught him better

Charlie Doyle (Lesser Nick Muse): Lord Edward series. Brash, eager, blushes easily

Richard G. Jax (Lesser Nick): "Deadman's curve" An undead stripper with a demonic boss and an exclusive client.

Jared Byrne called Treesinger (Lesser Nick). Emerald Birthstone. An Earth mage with a half-elf lover.
Jarret Burns (True Nick). Emerald Birthstone. Computer programmer who breaks the If Barrier. Keeps a rescued whore as a housepet, makes him go out to lunch in drag. Has kinky sex with his best friend Taylor.

Usual Companions.

The benJedi twins, Misha and David, in any alias. (alpha male)
Christopher, the artist, in any alias
The T muse, in every alias (alpha male)