valarltd: (halloween)

2009 Angelia Sparrow

The icy winter road that took the lives of Clarindy Wishom's family melted into spring-wet blacktop shaded by yellow-green leaves before the three small coffins and one large one were lowered into the ground at Beulah Hill Cemetery. But as Easter passed and summer came on, the church ladies worried about Miss Clarindy's frame of mind.

“All alone in that big house, just rattling like a pea in a can,” one would say.

“Hasn't got rid of their things, either. It must be just awful, seeing those little toys every day.”

Everyone agreed something had to be done. But nobody was pleased with who did it.
Read more... )
valarltd: (writing porn)
My first short story, "Prey," was published in Torquere's Monsters anthology in 2004. Since I am taking the year off, I thought an inventory might be a good idea. See what I have, and what is still with publishers.

In the last 12 years, I have written

18 Novels (50,000+ words each, so about 1,000,000 words)
Nikolai, rewritten as Nikolai Revenant^
Curse of the Pharaoh's Manicurists^
Terror of the Frozen North^
Barbarossa's Bitch*^
Heart's Bounty*^
Power in the Blood*
Hard Reboot^
Spellbound Desire^
Wild Hunt
The Sweet Science*#
Shell Shocked^
Alive on the Inside^
Glad Hands^
Privateer's Treasure (originally Kestrel on the Horizon)^
Heart of a Forest^

89 Novellas and short stories (3000-30,000, about 700,000 words total)
Read more... )

(* indicates the rights have not yet reverted, ^ indicates co author, # is unpublished)

It's not a bad body of work. I have some unfinished series. As well as three children's books and three more shorts under a pseudonym.
valarltd: (writing porn)
So, yesterday I had an idea for some dark erotica:
A really brutal S&M scene, culminating in a gangbang (painful, involving no one under 9 inches and possibly fisting by the end). Followed by the top putting his bottom on display, removing the collar and announcing that the bottom is soiled, filthy and unworthy of him, an irredeemable old whore that should be chained in a set of stocks for the rest of his life as another piece of club furniture, and that he can no longer bear the sight of his man and he's done. He walks out of the club without another word.

In the silence that follows,the sub gets up and walks back to a changing area. He showers and dresses. One of the guys from the gangbang comes back, saying "Man that was harsh. I'm sorry, if I'd known-" The bottom says, "No regrets. It was exactly how this needed to end. Thank you for helping." "Hey, if you need aftercare, or want someone for tonight?" "No, thank you. I'm looking forward to living like a grad student for a while." The bottom goes out and gets in the car he and his top parked here earlier. He goes to a small apartment, sparsely furnished, has another shower, puts on his pajamas and goes to bed in his single bed.

I figured out who the guys are.
They're Victor and Shane from "Raising the Dead." And that is the UPBEAT ending.

For those who don't remember, I wrote this in 2007 for Ellora's Cave.
The story opens thus
language and violence )

The conflict of the story is that Victor needs more brutality than Shane can give him. He's in charge of everything on the job and wants to be taken care of and not required to think when he gets home.

The short goes to a fairly dark place, as Shane starts channeling more and more of Fresno to give Victor what he craves. They pull back before the line is crossed. The short is 10K.

I'm thinking of expanding it and taking the story darker. I always called this my tribute to The Dark
. Let them cross the line, sinking deeper and deeper into dangerous territory, and Shane, horrified at how close he came to actually re-enacting one of his book scenes, draws back. The relationship dies a slow death, until the public break-up.

I can give them the ending above.

Or I can end it like this:
"Victor rose at the knock on the door. He'd half-expected this. The pounding grew louder and he opened it.

Shane, no, Fresno Blue, stood in his doorway, killing leer on his face, and straight razor in his hand.
"Hiya, doc. Thought we could take the party a little more private."

Victor smiled and let his death in by the front door.

I'm kind of ready for this right now.

A playlist

Jan. 14th, 2013 04:39 pm
valarltd: (steampunk)
Since I am apparently serious about writing the steampunk boxing story.

A bit of the opening:
She stopped. Flossie would worry. Lillian scribbled a note to her maid and left it propped on her hair brush. “Dear Flossie. I've gone out and about in disguise. It's a bit of a lark, and I shall be home before morning, so do not fret yourself. Lil.”

She secured a moneybelt around her waist and headed out to the fights. Her hand trembled on the latch of her bedroom door, from excitement and fear both. She knew this could ruin her forever in her hometown.

No women were allowed at the illegal boxing matches. It was unseemly and dangerous. She'd paid her driver well to listen to the men's gossip and let her know when one was. He was adamant in his initial refusal, but she claimed she only wanted to make a couple of wagers, through him, so he relented. He would be horrified if he knew she was going to one, even in disguise.

Lillian let herself out the back door, taking care not to let it shut loudly, slipped down the back stairs and across the yard. The big prairie night stretched above her, with a million stars and a fat orange moon low on the horizon. Every shadow lay in stark relief and she imagined anything from coyotes to the local sheriff waiting to fall upon her. She made her way out of the little town and to the place where a gypsy wagon was parked.

It was a long walk and the boots she had bought had thin places in the soles that didn't match her feet. She kept walking, carrying herself as tall as she could. A man wouldn't slink and cower. He would walk. And tonight, she was a man.

A large black tent had been put up, and two big men stood at the door. Lil held onto her bribe and marched up, like the young man she was pretending to be. She named herself Standing Elk and was prepared to say it if asked.
Standing Elk wouldn't be afraid, even though the men were bigger than he was. He walked right in, slipped the bribe into the hand of the guard and took a place not far from the double fighting ring of stakes and ropes.
valarltd: (collect lives)
From Will Prater

A social experiment: Could I spend a month without Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus? (I can't give up Youtube, that's where I keep my typing music)

Would my creativity and productivity improve if I spent all the time I'm currently using on Facebook and other "social media" promoting myself and other such things actually writing instead?

I guess I'll find out in January. I am removing all social media from my phone, and only allowing myself one hour a week on Facebook (probably mostly spent doing Flair of the day) and other social media to see if I can discipline myself into writing more and "everything else" less.

The only way to reach me will be through my livejournal, and my website.
That's it . . . for January, at least. And we'll see where I need to go from there.

So, during January, if you need me, bear in mind I'm only checking my e-mail twice a day through the aggregator on my phone: early morning and late afternoon. But, don't fret, I will also be updating my blog at least three times a week. So, check out how long I can last at this challenge here at Livejournal or at Blogger (LJ mirror). These posts are mirrored to Facebook and Google+ automatically.

My goal is 62,000 words in January, 2000 a day.
valarltd: (collect lives)
Doing the 1000 words has really helped. The muses are less tempermental, progress is being made.

That doesn't mean all is sunshine and roses here in Angel's Head.

Scene 1

Nick (whining): I'm tired of being straight. This cyberpunk sucks. Write on Nick and Corban. Better yet, watch The Experiment again. Or A Matador's Mistress. You've been holding that over my head for weeks.

Me: You get Adrien Brody in the Tightest Pants In The World when you finish the cyberpunk. Here, have a Nicole Kidman movie instead. *puts in Billy Bathgate*

Nick: *grumbles, then looks up* Whoa, whoa, back it up.

Me: *obliges, running nude scene in the three way mirror for him again*

Nick: I....I get That? Guuuh! Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssssh! *faceplants*

Me: Sigh. You're not only an inveterate cock-gobbler, you're apparently a pussy hound. Now, since we know, there will be no more complaints and you will finish the cyberpunk?

Nick: *nods* Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusssssssssssh! *faceplant*

Scene 2:

David: *replays earring-cutting-out scene for me*
Me: Oh stop. We're almost there. Be good and I'll let Corban fingerpaint in the blood.
David: Really?
Me: Be good
David: I'm very, very good, dear girl, but type faster.

Scene 3:
Me: I'm really not ready to write that WWII novel
Frank, Arthur, and a random Nick: We are! *gives me opening scene with Hank coming to visit Frank and give him a heads-up about construct conscription*

Scene 4:
T: Ever getting back to Manhunt? How about the Studio one? I like that one.
Me: You would. Just because you get to fuck everything that breathes in your direction.
Nick: *looks all scared in his overalls and glasses as T holds the pitchfork to his throat*
Me: Boys! How many fingers do you think I have to type with?

Scene 5:
Anthony, all crucified: Not enough. Come on. Your stuff is out of contract with Phaze by now.
Josh, holding the camera: Yeah, get him off there. Let's get Passion Hearts done.

The chorus comes up: Edward and Charlie, the flower fairies, everyone. They all want me and they all want me now. Loved, but spread too thin.
valarltd: (collect lives)
Quote of the Day:
"We've all heard that we have to learn from our mistakes, but I think it's more important to learn from successes. If you learn only from your mistakes, you are inclined to learn only errors."
---Norman Vincent Peale

The best news I got all day:
My mother's blood work for December shows her white blood cells at near normal levels. She hasn't had that in YEARS. She said she though her normally staid dr was going to bounce up and down.

The Writer's Aid Department:

25 things Writers should stop doing. RIGHT NOW! We all do some of them. Some of us do all of them. I'm particularly guilty of 22: overpromising and overshooting. (I don't chase trends, I tend to run a year early)

The "Shape it Up" department:

9 Best fitness moves. Give it a try.

From the Political Desk:

We all know that Romney beat Santorum by 8 votes in Iowa and Ron "The Demented Little Terry Brooks Character With a Gold Card" Paul made a strong third place. And I will maintain my dignity and not get myself into a froth of puns about Santorum surging from behind in Iowa to come out number two. I'm a better person than that. Apparently not.

Alabama considering personhood legislation. These forced birthers will not be happy until 70% of women are in jail for miscarriage, and 40% are on death row for abortions.

Obama appoints Richard Cordray to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Plutocrat Republicans howl. If we're protected from their predation, their profits will be lower!

Republican Pro-Life plank mates with States Rights and takes next logical step: Let states ban birth control!

The "Hard At Work" department:

8 Jobs with Bright Outlooks. Nanoengineering technlogist? It's fun living in the future!

The "Bracing for the Zombie Apocalypse" department:

Top 10 Survival Manuals to Download. Everything from dentistry and field surgery to canning and knitting.

Gardening in January. Come the apoc, we'll have to grow our own, and the Pagan Soccer Mom has some awesome links for everything from planning to containers to seed starting.

10 Survival Skills for a post Collapse world.

The "I totally stole that for my book" department:

8 Gratuitously Violent Horror Movie Scenes (From the Bible). It's, so appropriate warnings. And I used Numero Uno in Power in the Blood.

The Sacred Circle department:
January Correspondences. Two of my goddesses are listed. Also, it's National Hobby Month.

National Hobby Month:

I am making this shawl in an ocean blue. I've finished the middle back triangle.

Today's piece was number one the week I was born

valarltd: (writing porn)
I have contracted for a minimum of 65,000 words of vampires, to be delivered by Sept 1. Yes, there is an advance involved.
I am terribly excited.

So, in the interests of making my world believable, and my vampires not complete idiots--except those whose brains have rotted, of course--I have been noodling.

Vampirism is a virus. It incubates in its host from the time of the initial blood ingestion, for anywhere from three days to a month. Vampires do bite, and if they drain the victim during or after the exchange, it's a three day incubation. In case of accidental ingestion, the virus will incubate up to a month, during which time it replicates in the RNA, gradually causing the host to "die," then return.

It does not end decay, merely slows it over centuries instead of years. A fresh vampire will be ravenously hungry for the first month as the body adjusts to the new life. The first century of a vampire's life is its most powerful, but the more established vampiric organizations are designed to squelch competition during this period. A two hundred year old vampire is at his peak. A three hundred one is slipping. A four hundred year old vamp is rotting out. By 500, they tend to be mindless things, devouring and ravening. Anything beyond that is pretty much a snapping skeleton held together by leathery sinew, eating out of habit to feed organs long decayed away. The organizations usually put them down at the first signs of blatant decay.

Sun exposure hastens the decay. Vamps are destroyed by fire, a stake to the heart and destruction of the brain. They have slightly greater strength than humans. Running water, garlic, holy symbols, roses, seeds, lemons with spikes, none of those work.

Should a vampire sire a child during the incubation period, the virus lies dormant in the child's cells. (the incubation is not long enough to conceive and carry) Most of these live out their lives and die of old age. Should such a child meet a violent end at any point in their life, they return almost immediately, not as a vampire, but as an Undying, a revenant with powers of regeneration. These are very rare, less than 100,000 in the whole world. Being immortal eventually drives them insane. Every Undying has at least two diagnosable mental illnesses, of a type more severe than personality disorders.

The Council of Eternity tries to find and train the Undying to hunt vampires. They also try to create a support network to deal with culture shock and constant change. They have about a 50% success rate in recruitment and training. The support network is less successful. The Undying do not work and play well with each other, since too many diagnoses in the same room always gets ugly. The Council, in recent years, has begun GPS chipping the Undying, just behind the ear. There are some who have taken the training and gone off on their own.

So, where have I gone totally off the rails?

oh dear

Mar. 22nd, 2010 07:19 pm
valarltd: (chained for your protection)
I seem to have committed poetry.
valarltd: (ravenclaw princess bride)
I've noticed it more lately: men coming into women's spaces and telling them "you're doing it wrong. Do it MY way."

I'm sure it happens all the time, every day to every woman, but two recent incidents stick out.
On Dear Author, they refer to it as the Lee and Ann Show. The ongoing argument between Ann Sommerville and Lee Goldberg about the legitimacy of women's writing, particularly fannish writing.

Lee Goldberg has a noted antipathy to fanfiction. This is likely because he makes his living writing pro-fic and when people give away the same profuct, his sales fall. He cloaks it in terms of theft and copyright and such. But at base, he is anti-fanfiction. He has never said a word about fan films or any predominantly MALE way of interacting with the text, only fanfiction, which tends to be dominated by women. He especially loathes slash, mocking it mercilessly in ways that reveal a deep-seated vein of homophobia, which is a majority-female pursuit.

Lately, he's taken to pointing and mocking at erotic romance e-book sales on his blog. This is another field written by women for women. Why isn't he going to Tor and telling people like John Scalzi that Old Man's War is never going to do anything in e-book? Oh, yeah, because it's so much easier to sneer at some unknown woman who just sold Hot Manly Lovin'.

He has flat out said that fannish writing should be consigned to trunks, and that women should really try writing something useful.

2) On a certain writer's LJ, a certain male reader made the comment she was "wasting her talent" writing erotica, because it doesn't sell. The conversation moved to a different LJ. His whole attitude came off "silly, stupid women, let me show you how to make real money." He ran down the romance and erotuic romance genres at every turn and did eveything but scream "you stupid bitches, do it MY way!" He was polite enough, but it was Nice Guy(tm) polite, superior and condescending with a side of "I can't let them provoke me."

In neither case was there respect for the stories women are telling, or even the concept that they have stories to tell. In no wise would any of this have happened on a true-crime forum or any other male-dominated genre. Because clearly they have the pen-is, which makes them superior writers.

It reminded me of the Elmore Leonard rules (here, learn to write like ME), but blunter.
valarltd: (help me f'lst-wan)

Chuck Hummingbird rolls his rig across the no-longer-united States, from Montana to Arkansas. He'd expected a fast run with no complications. What he didn't expect was Seven, a pretty blue-eyed drifter. His gayness tattooed into his very skin, Seven needs Chuck's help to escape the repressive life Heartland forces upon him. And when the even more repressive Confederated States take an interest, Chuck and Seven are in for the ride of their lives.

Suggestions? Comments?

Always busy

Oct. 8th, 2008 07:04 am
valarltd: (writing porn)
My writing life got more complicated.

We got a Revise and Resubmit rejection from Samhain on Lord Withycombe and the Curse of the Pharaoh's Manicurists.

All right.
This month:
Edits to Niko-chan
R&R Lord Withycombe
Finish Shell Shocked
Keep plugging on Alive on the Inside.

Nick and Corban OR Chain-male

Now if we'd just hear on Robin!
(mustn't be greedy, we just finished second edits on Glad Hands.)
valarltd: (writing porn)
I'm planning on moving more of my writing process stuff over to the Garden Gazebo.

If you're following me for that, you might want to add it as an rss feed.
[ profile] asparrow_blog

word counts

Oct. 5th, 2008 10:42 am
valarltd: (writing porn)
detailed list )

Total 212,888/230,000 (to make 300,000 this year)

Current work:
editing Glad Hands
editing Niko-Chan
valarltd: (Default)
I sent the following list to Emily Veinglory.
These are taken straight from my royalty statements.
It got longish )
valarltd: (writing porn)
1) Pre-edits, Meanwhile back at the ranch
2) Edits, round 2, Nikolai
3) Writing, Shell-shocked
4) Writing, Chain-male
5) Writing, Novel length of Showdown at Yellowstone River?

?holiday single shot
?Two of swords
Strongly considering dropping these. Will decide in a week or so if still cannot make them work

declutter FR
declutter study
declutter bedroom
valarltd: (Default)
Dear Author reviewed Anah Crow's novel. They gave it a good review, mostly.

But a couple of sentences have ignited a firestorm:
"Anah claims on her blog that she wrote Uneven in a few weeks. While you couldn’t tell that from the story, you can tell it from the copy-editing. There are a lot of dropped or extra words that can get distracting, which is a shame in such an engrossing book."

There are about 37 comments, most of which are talking about Torquere's editing.

Worse, this is not the first time such comments have turned up on reviews of Torquere books.

If I were a publisher and saw something like this, I would be ashamed. I'd be calling meetings and demanding to know how such stuff was escaping our house.

Instead, all the author list is saying "Well, My Editing Experience was wonderful and they're just big poopyheads." Lovely. Circle the wagons and break out the pompoms and yell, "No, no problem here!" (That's the catchphrase of the Cereal Professor from _Cujo_) The owners are saying, "We're working on it."

To be fair, I have seen signs of progress on that front, but the entrenched image is going to be hard to overcome.


At base, it's NOT "Your Editing Experience" that matters. It's the readers' perceptions that count. If they think TQ puts out badly-edited stuff, they're going to go elsewhere. Enough houses are putting out GLBT work that they can pick and choose now.


My suggestions:

1) The new pre-edit idea is a good one. However, there should be 2-3 editing passes: one for mechanics and one for content and one for clean up. Phaze, Dark Roast and Ellora's Cave all do it this way. Don't be afraid to ask for content changes or phrasing changes. I've seen evidence that this is occuring more, and I think it's a good thing.

2) The website has been a nightmare since 2004. You have to know what you're looking for to find it. The search engine is unreliable. At least change the prepackaged template to read "authors" not "Manufacturers."

When I needed a new website design, I looked around at other authors' sites. Torquere would do well to do the same, to check out sites where you can find books by title, author or genre.

Now, I'm off to work. Gonna be a long, late day. I'll deal with the fall out later.
valarltd: (hardwork)
I could not brain today. I had the dumb.

Mudd is compiling, so Open Office is not reading .rtf files. fuckses.

Writing money thoughts

Dark Roast pays quarterly.
Phaze pays 45 days after the end of each monthly reporting period, for checks of $25 or more.

So, royalty schedule:
Jan, April, July, Oct:
15th, Torquere, Phaze (with affiliates!)
EC, check cuts around the 25
30th Dark Roast

Feb, Mar, May, June, Aug, Sept, Nov, Dec:
15th, Phaze (if over $25)
EC, check cuts around 25th.
valarltd: (writing porn)
I took the night off from writing and went to bed before 9 last night. I'm trying to come down with something and wanted to head it off.

Today is a long work day. As usual, I maintain LJ silence tomorrow.

Plan for today: work.
Come home start on Zara and the twins. I've been noodling on the main conflict in "Out of Balance." Zara requires a top and a bottom, or she goes too far one direction or the other in her personality. David bottoms beautifully, but Ariel is withdrawing to allow them to be together, not realizing both of them need him to run things

I'm trying to come up with a title for the interfaith holiday one. Zara is Church of Christ, Programmer. Her husbands are Jewish. Ariel, while devout, puts less stock in outward shows of faith. David, while not actually believing, insists everything around him be Jewish, Jewish, Jewish! Zara having a Christmas tree--even one in her private net node--offends his sensibilities.


Sep. 9th, 2008 07:09 am
valarltd: (dancee)
"Meanwhile, back at the ranch" is DONE!
well, rough draft is at 10088.
Need some more nerves before we go out on the big zombie raid.

August 2017



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