His Aura Publication

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Yesterday marked the publication of His Aura: A Collection of Transmasculine Erotica, which features, among many awesome pieces, two of my short stories, “Maddeningly Wonderful” and “A Honeycomb of Nerves”.

You can read more about the stories and their background in this blog post.

While there is an excerpt on the book’s page of my story “Maddeningly Wonderful”, I thought I’d offer another excerpt from that same story. This excerpt is right from the beginning. I hope you enjoy it. Also, please consider buying a copy of the anthology if well written erotica and trans men is your jam.

. . . you are neck deep in a longer work of fiction, and a short story from months ago decides to show up and demand attention.

(Of course this story couldn’t have shown up when I was actively working on it. Why would it do that.)

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Location, Location, Location

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(Image courtesy of kpgolfpro on Pixabay.)

Yesterday, I spoke excitedly with a work friend about a short story I’m working on. It’s a story which I’ve had to rewrite completely, because the first draft was entirely abysmal — even beyond the point of rescue.

The current draft of the story takes place in Florence. I was explaining this to my work friend, who astutely asked me: “Why Florence?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “I just like it.”

Later, I was reflecting on the first draft, comparing it to the current draft, and I realized one of the major reasons the first draft didn’t succeed was the setting. The first draft was set in a small mountain ski town during off season, where the events of the story would not have been logically possible. Oh, technically they were possible, but it’s a stretch to imagine it. But in Florence, the magic and beauty of the city adds a grandeur and sense of heightened reality. Anything is possible in this magnificent city. The action of the story thus makes much more sense. Anything can — and does — happen.

This just served as a reminder to me about the importance of setting. I often work with interior and intimate domestic settings, so sometimes I forget the importance of that, and what the setting does within the story. It can make such a dramatic difference that the setting can literally determine if a story works, or doesn’t.

I’ve since finished that current draft of the story, and I’ll be revising it over the next week or so. But it’s already taught me a lot, and I look forward to seeing what the revisions teach me.

 

Hot Damn that is My Jam: the use of the Second Person

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Deal with it.

I love second person.

There I typed it. I will hopefully hit “Publish” later and then this will be released, in black and white kilobytes, for any and all who surf that world wide web to shake their heads over and “tsk” at.

I know that second person is not the most popular out there. It is, next to third person, omniscient, and first person, the kind of nerdy, awkward kid on the playground who is somehow fascinating in her strangeness, and nonetheless, not cool enough to hang out with all that much.

And I get it. Second person is inherently dangerous on some levels, stripping away the comfort of distinguishing reader from text, fiction from reality, and asking a reader to enter into the story and participate on a level that is more difficult to achieve in other POVs. It is a little uncomfortable to have the text metaphorically start telling you, dear reader, how you think and how you feel about a subject, or tell you how you might react. Most readers express their discomfort in this “narrative closeness” by being downright indignant about it and putting the story in question aside.

And that makes sense.

I came to my love of second person through an active distaste of the use of you.

Fiction and (Not) Reality

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Tonight at the monthly Colorado Springs Writers Reading Series, I had the privilege of reading “The Racehorse” in the company of some very fine and very generous writers who shared their work as well.

Before reading I asked the audience if anyone liked horses or horse-racing. About half a dozen hands went up and a few faces genuinely glowed. This was something which I noticed, but didn’t really think on until later.

The reading went well and people seemed to like it, but I was unprepared for the response after. During the intermission, one woman excitedly spoke to me about her granddaughter. Her granddaughter, now seventeen, has had a passion for horses since she was little, the woman said, and barrel-raced.

Another man, who had read a very touching story about being a school bus driver, told me he liked my story and that he had done dressage for many years. He nearly had tears in his eyes when he spoke about his experience with horses and his years of riding, training, and caring for them. We talked a little bit about horses and he said something in passing akin to:  “of course you know that about horses”.

I didn’t say anything, because of course I didn’t. I have ridden maybe twice in my life and never worked with, cared for, or trained horses. I know them to be lovely animals; graceful, powerful, creatures who play key roles in myths and legends. I know that humans and horses, through our long, joined history together, are intertwined in ways that are difficult to characterize or even explain, except that we are compelled to one another.

But no, I do not ride horses, nor have I even lived very near them, much less cared for a horse. My knowledge of them is secondhand at best, and distant from the passions of barrel racing seventeen year olds and middle aged bus drivers.

I could not tell the bus driver that I didn’t, in fact, know very much about real horses, because I was afraid of disappointing him and shattering that quiet, teary look of his. He needed that story, somehow; if he needed to believe that I rode horses as well I will accept that, even if it makes me a bit of a liar.