Category Archives: Excerpt

WIP Wednesday: Yet more Harbinger

Yeah, more. It’s pretty much my primary project at the moment and will likely remain so until it’s finished, especially given that I’m in the final push of it. But given that, I want to take a second before I shove more of it at you to talk about what’s actually going on in it.

So what’s Harbinger?

It’s a story about the future. It’s not a nice future. It’s standard dystopian stuff when it comes to the geography of American urban centers and the gap between the uber-rich and the very poor. It isn’t especially groundbreaking in that respect, but I’m not really trying to be; I think there should be space to play within tropes without always having to be doing something new with them. One particular idea I’m exploring is what us politicalish sociologists refer to as the “stickiness” of institutions – the way these things tend to lock themselves in and hold out – and what happens when they continue to function long after they’re no longer really functional in any meaningful way.

It’s about bodies. It’s about what bodies mean, how they change, how they retain memory and how they aid in forgetting. In that sense it’s also about memory; I sort of feel like a story that’s about bodies is also necessarily going to be about memories and vice-versa.

It’s about doing the right thing, or not doing the right thing, and how we get ideas of what the right thing even means, and what we do to let ourselves of the hook of actually doing it. And then how the choices we make end up sweeping us along anyway, into places we didn’t want and don’t even totally understand.

It’s about family, about what you can leave behind and what you really can’t.

And it’s about angels. Or is it?

So here’s some more of it.

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WIP Wednesday: Harbinger

A few months ago I started something that, given my hatred of thinking up titles, I then took to referring to as The Dystopian Cyborg Angel Novel – or any number of different arrangements of those words.

A few months later I’m close – I think and hope and pray – to being done with the first draft of it, which will probably clock in between 80k and 90k words. I’m very back and forth on whether it’s any good, but at least it’s going to be done, which is about all a writer can hope for some days. It also has a title – Harbinger – and I definitely don’t hate that, at least. I don’t know yet what’s going to happen to it or where it’s going to be sent, but for the moment I’m not worrying too much about that.

I’ve been posting little snippets of it as it’s been written and I mentioned last week that I was going to post another one, so here it is.

A little background: My two protagonists, Samir Ghani and Michael, have attempted to make contact with a terrorist organization known as Phoenix, which Samir hopes might help his sister Ashmita (who has gotten herself uncomfortably mixed up in a theft). The meet has gone sour and the private security agency that has essentially replaced the government has attempted to arrest them. But Michael is possessed of terrifying powers that neither he nor Samir entirely understands, and he has unleashed them in an attempt to allow both Samir and Phoenix’s representatives to escape into some disused subway tunnels.

Excerpt under the cut.

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Like a Cunning Plan: Out now!

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.

Blurbage:

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.

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WIP Wednesday: More untitled dystopian cyborg angel novel

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.

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WIP Wednesday: “Iron Ladies, Iron Tigers”

So having abandoned the audio posts for now, I’m looking to jump back into the swing of things with actually writing, and to that end I’ve decided to pick up the Muse Monday/WIP Wednesday posts again. Because I think the template works well, on the whole, when I can bludgeon myself into keeping up with it.

The WIP for this week is actually not technically a W IP —  at least not at the moment — because I just made the last of the current round of editing passes through it yesterday. I still intend to get some further outside crit on it, but I’m largely comfortable with the meat of it as it stands.

It had its inception when I stumbled on the concept of iron stars — a theoretical kind of endpoint for a star that would only be possible mind-bending lengths of time in the future (and only, apparently, if the proton doesn’t decay). The idea of a cold sphere of pure iron spinning through the post-stellar darkness blew my mind in the most evocative of ways, and anything that blows my mind in just that way is going to have me trying to hammer it into something story-shaped. I’ve also been wanting to write something about loss and time travel for a while, and the ideas all just kind of gelled. Vita and her AI companion CERA and her lost love Kendra emerged from that and finally I had my elusive story-shaped thing.

Excerpt under the cut. Enjoy.

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Podcasty Thing (wow, it’s been a while) plus stuff

Yes, I’ve finally done another one of these. Yay. In here I talk about Scheherazade’s Facade, its path to publication, and the very awesome message that I think has been sent by the fact that it is fully funded and in fact was funded way, way before the deadline. Which? By the way? Thank you. Very, very happy.

Additionally, if we hit $10k in the remaining time, the editor is putting those funds toward a science fiction edition of the anthology, which would be awesome. So this is not over yet.

I also read a bit of my story, “The Cloak of Isis”, as well as wax slightly neurotic about it. Which is always fun. My neurosis is at least somewhat related to a post I made in my Dreamwidth recently on representation in fiction and the issues inherent in trying to write about a marginalized person’s experience when it’s not an experience that you technically share (basically I feel like it’s something that people should try, provided that they’re willing to learn from fuck-ups).

I want to keep doing these – not sure if anyone is really listening or not but I enjoy it – but I think I may need to investigate other hosting options, since my Soundcloud minutes are running out. Hm.

In the meantime, I have other really really awesome news to report but I can’t until things are more official, so in the meantime I’m just going to be obnoxiously cryptic about it. Oooh.

Not-Podcast: Subtle world-building fails and current WIPs

Fresh new post-comps edition of the ongoing podcast-esque project. I talk about something I’m running into in one of the books I’m currently reading that is proving to be a barrier to me really immersing myself in its world, and that I feel is often a stumbling block when it comes to constructing really vital, believable fantastic worlds of any kind – especially hard to deal with because of its subtlety.

I also read a bit from one of my current two WIPs (short SF time travel-gone-wrong piece). The text of it is after the cut. Enjoy.

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“Catch and Release” up for a best-of vote(!)

So this is good news in an otherwise difficult week: Circlet Press is going to release a print anthology of the best of their digital library in honor of their 20th anniversary (yay Circlet!), and my 1001 Nights retelling in space, “Catch and Release”, has made the shortlist. The final ToC of the anthology will be decided both by Circlet’s editors and by a reader poll. So if you read “Catch and Release” and you’d like to see it in print, you can go here and vote for it, as well as up to four other stories. And you should –  there are some fantastic stories and equally fantastic authors on that list.

Circlet’s made a business of putting out not only top-notch erotica but also top-notch writing, period – I’ve been continually impressed by the quality of work that I’ve seen them put out, and it’s been an honor to be a part of the anthologies in which they’ve included me. They were actually my very first publication ever and I’ll always be grateful to them. Congrats, Circlet. Here’s to many more years of SFnal porny goodness.

I’m including a lengthy and NSFW excerpt of “Catch and Release” below the cut.

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New edition of The Not-Podcast Thing

Wherein I talk about how I personally go about finding fiction markets, I read a bit of the current novel-shaped object, and my cat yells at me.

I like doing these, and I like Soundcloud, but I think I may need to move to a different host. At some point I’m going to run out of space.

As always, please give me things to talk about if you want me to talk about about anything specific.

The text of the excerpt I read is under the cut.

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Audio-blog-not-podcast-maybe: Yay I’m feeling better and I wrote a thing

New thing-what-I-don’t-feel-comfortable-calling-a-podcast. Turns out I’m feeling a lot better this week. Also I wrote a story that I actually like. I read a bit of it. Text of the excerpt is under the cut.

As always, please get in touch with me with any questions, anything you want me to read or talk about –  really anything.

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