Okay, so, once again I’m late with WIP Wednesday. HOWEVER: the consolation prize is a new book release! So that’s lovely. The book in question is Like a Cunning Plan: Erotic Trickster Tales, edited by generally fantastic human being Michael M. Jones and published by the good people at Circlet Press. It’s available in a variety of delicious formats for your consumption pleasure.
From Coyote to Loki, Anansi to the kitsune, tricksters are a staple of mythology, folklore, and pop culture. Some might call them selfish, but we all know the truth: they’re just focused on the next big score or clever trick. Armed with a sly smile and quick wit, they act as agents of change, leaving chaos and confused victims in their wake. Of course, tricksters also make great lovers–unpredictable, creative, adventurous, and experienced in all the right ways.
In Like A Cunning Plan: Erotic Trickster Stories, gods and mortals alike interact in sexy, playful, sensual ways, and it’s anyone’s guess as to who comes out on top. A bounty hunter gets more than she bargained for when her mark shows up on her doorstep, a masked ball provides ample opportunity for an intimate encounter, a god on the prowl discovers a new side to his desires, and much more.
Featuring stories by Nica Berry, N. Violett, Nadine Wilmot, Elizabeth Schecter, Gayle C. Straun, Kaysee Renee Robichaud, and Sunny Moraine, Like A Cunning Plan is sure to surprise and satisfy.
My story “The Kitsune’s Laughter” is one of two featured takes on the kitsune legend; mine makes use of the old couple-unable-to-conceive trope — with a twist. NSFWish excerpt under the cut.
Once again I’m getting this up later than I wanted to — not for any legitimate reason aside from the fact that I didn’t get to it until now — so in terms of Scary Things In Writing, what I’m most immediately facing is the terror of flunking at self-imposed deadlines. But something else scary that I’ve been thinking about more generally lately — as I’ve been flailing around filled with an excess of emotion and a severe shortage of proper and appropriate words — is the terror that comes when a really fantastic idea arrives.
Well, what’s the problem? Ideas are great. Fantastic ideas — even better. Why the hell would that be scary?
I’ve been working on this one for a while now — a few months — and it’s in that awfulGod will I never be able to stop working on this stage of it, but I’m plugging away, I’m about two-thirds done, and I do at least have a pretty good idea of where it’s going.
As I said a few weeks back, it’s set a hundred years or so into a future where the US is in shambles and the gap between the rich and the poor has become unbelievably huge, where the currently questionable line between corporations and governments and the military has eroded into meaninglessness, and where augmentation of the body is commonplace and, for certain elements of society, basically necessary. My protagonist is a Good Samaritan for Michael, a guy who ends up having weird and worrying powers and who may — or may not be — an angel. And the two of them get wrapped up in trying to find a stolen and highly dangerous weapon. And there’s a sister with dubious allegiances. And yeah.
Excerpt after the cut. Quick setup: Samir, Michael, and Ashmita have arranged to meet with a dissident group who they think is involved in the theft of the weapon. But they aren’t the only ones looking for it, and — predictably — things don’t go smoothly.
Just this last week I and my coauthor sent the working draft of Line & Orbit off to the editor with which we’ll be working at Samhain. We signed contracts about a month ago, but there were a few reasons why it took us an additional month to get a starter draft to the editor, the primary one of which is illustrative, I think, of a lot of how this part of the writing process works, especially when you’re dealing with something long: Editing is never. Fracking. Done.
I mean, at some point it has to be; otherwise nothing ever gets published. But it feels like it’s never done.
Kinkade 1998 vs. 2004
Rachel Held Evans’s Sunday Superlatives are usually a good roundup of Jesusy People bloggery, and nestled among the links I found what is one of the best articulations of why Thomas Kinkade’s work has always bugged me so damn much–not just on an aesthetic level but on a much deeper emotional level. I’ve always felt that his stuff wasn’t just drippily schmaltzy but was also wrong somehow, and I really think this is why:
The problem with light is that we assume it always reveals, but light without its requisite shadow, which is a light of our own making, conceals…The soft, fuzzy glow of sentimentality that distracts from the shadows we’ve edited out, exaggerating what never truly was, is a deceiving angel.
Thomas McDonald wrote the most interesting blog post I found regarding Kinkade’s death (it’s hard-edged but not unfairly so—read it here), and he quoted Simcha Fisher who described Kinkade’s art as “anti-Incarnational,” saying, “Kinkade-style light doesn’t show an affection for natural beauty—it shows his disdain for it. His light doesn’t reveal, it distorts. His paintings aren’t merely trivial, they’re a statement of contempt for the world.” Even if her words are accurate (and I think she’s onto something), I remain sympathetic. We all desire escape from that which most wounds us. Maybe if he had learned to better hold the tensions, to embrace both the unflinching nature of light and the unsettling shadows it sometimes casts, perhaps there could have been a different outcome for Kinkade and his art.
If Kinkade had really been a “Painter of Light”, his work would have been not only beautiful but deeply unsettling. Should have been. Light isn’t inherently a warm, fuzzy thing, and I think we all have times when we’d rather avoid it–when light doesn’t mean safety but exposure of inner darkness.