Elementary, My Dear Sir

September 4, 2010


Again, just a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder that this blog post is for those who are 18 years and older. If you’re 17 years or younger, leave this post immediately and go do your homework! 🙂

Spank! is an anthology of spanking stories edited by D. L. King and published by Logical-Lust. Ms. King also edited The Sweetest Kiss, an anthology of vampire erotica published by Cleis Press. My short story “The Temptation of Mlle. Marielle Doucette”, (written under my short story pen name, Anna Black) an erotic vampire story set during the French Revolution, is also in that anthology.

My story for Spank!, “Elementary, My Dear Sir”, (also written under the name Anna Black) is also set in the past. The Victorian Era to be exact. See a pattern?

I do love writing about times and places other than my own. I like writing historicals, fantasy, SF and paranormals. Most of the stories I write in these genres are erotic and I have also written stories which could be labeled simply erotica.

What’s the difference? Probably not much some would say. But that is a topic I shall have to address another time.

Suffice to say, I like writing erotica and/or erotic (fill in the genre). I like creating characters, I like fashioning the universe in which they play out their stories, and I like writing about those characters having sex. I suspect that some of you are assuming that it’s the more prurient aspects of writing erotica and/or erotic stories that I find appealing.

I won’t deny it. There is that aspect of it. Oh, yes, there’s most definitely that.

But there’s more to writing erotica and erotic stories.

No, seriously. There is. 🙂

When people have sex, a lot more is going on that just Tab A sliding into Slot B. Sex encompasses the entire being. Body, mind and soul. Sex makes you vulnerable, whether you want to be vulnerable or not. When you write about your characters having sex, you as an author expose their innermost and secret selves. The essence of who and what they truly are.

And there’s a power dynamic that goes on when characters are having sex, whether we as a society or as individuals want to accept that. In stories about spanking or BDSM, the exchange and manifestation of said power is even more pronounced. And, therefore, more intriguing and also more controversial.

But why don’t I provide you with Cassandra Parks’ Introduction to the Spank! anthology. She does a far better job of talking about it than I.

It’s a spanking – it’s supposed to hurt!

For those of us who like to spank and be spanked, this phrase will inevitably be uttered, sometimes seriously, sometimes in jest. But it does happen to be my philosophy about a good spanking: It may turn me on; it may be romantic; it may make me crazy with desire before, during or after the event — but a good spanking is supposed to hurt.

And a good spanking story, one that holds my prurient interest (why else would I pick up a book of erotic stories?) is supposed to make me believe that the spanking hurts, or, even better, to make me ride the pain or the power right along with the characters.

The protagonists should be believable. The tops should have good reasons for dishing out the spankings (even if they’re “just” sexual reasons); the bottoms should deserve the spankings, and at the end of it all they should care about each other. Oh, and an extremely hot, strong, authoritative top helps.

The stories in Spank!, edited by D.L. King, have managed to cover all those bases well, each in its own unique way, with the characters, settings and plots ranging from the sexual to the serious to the surreal.

I simply loved “Elementary, My Dear Sir,” in which a widow, recently acquitted of murdering her husband, is attracted to the inspector who had brought the charges against her. He doesn’t believe she’s innocent and attempts to get her to confess. What elevates this story is the narrative, the details of its Victorian surroundings, and the awakening of the dormant romantic feelings between the inspector and the strong-willed female protagonist. But what really slammed it home for me was the powerful way he spanked her, followed by his taking charge.

“The inspector’s hand descended upon her ass with the coppery strike of a hammer against an anvil. Pain exploded through Rowena’s body. She closed her eyes, tears stinging the lids. The fire along her rear burned then dissipated until it was a dull throb. She waited for the next blow. ‘Inspector?’ His hand descended again. … ‘Do not speak until I give you permission.’”

Because I tend to get off on mild humiliation scenes, I also liked the modern yet anachronistic “Slippering.” In this “politically incorrect” tale, a wife is punished by her husband in front of his male friend. “You’re not going to hurt her, are you?” the friend asks, to which the husband replies: “‘I’m giving her a short, sharp lesson in the error of her ways … Of course I’m going to hurt her.’”

And of course the friend must rush home and see if his wife is willing to try something similar.

I want to feel the heady rush of power that comes from taking charge; such as in “The Trumpet of Destiny”: “I began to really enjoy myself. I had never spanked anyone before: let alone someone of my own sex. … ‘You, my girl, are going to get the spanking of your life.’ … I let her have it. She squealed, writhed, wriggled, danced on her heels and begged for mercy.”

Or I want to feel the suffering that leads to sexual release, such as in “Just a Spanking”: “Pain rips me apart. The simmering tightness in my pussy comes to a sudden boil, welling up and spilling over into the emptiness.”

When a scene in a story gets me breathing heavily, I’ll return to it over and over (my copies of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and Carrie’s Story still fall open at certain key pages), but picking up a new book, especially an anthology of short stories, is like walking into a spanking party where you haven’t met everyone yet. You may already have your favorite players and you won’t abandon them, but then you will see a stranger across the room and you simply must find out what he or she is all about.

When I bottom I know the spanking’s going to hurt. It’s supposed to hurt. I simply have to take it anyway. I simply have to dive in because at its core it’s what turns me on. You may not like every story in Spank! — such are the variegated desires of those who share this fetish — but I’m pretty sure you’ll be turned on.

Pick a story at random or start at the beginning. Dive in.

Cassandra Park
New York, 2010

Okay, I won’t lie. I’m grinning from ear to ear regarding Ms. Park’s comments about my story. Thank you! 🙂 Because that’s what I hoped to accomplish when I wrote it. I wanted to play around with the power dynamics between Inspector William Maxwell and Lady Rowena Fairchild.

Maxwell obviously possess a great deal of power. He’s an inspector, after all, for the London Metropolitan Police Force, and he tried to get Lady Fairchild hanged for the murder of her husband! He’s also a man during the Victorian era, where women still lacked the power to hold office or even vote.

But Lady Fairchild also has power, and I don’t think I’m stretching it a bit to posit the theory that if you read the story you’ll see that it’s she, not Inspector Maxwell, who’s truly in charge.

And that, I suspect, is part of the appeal of erotic stories and, most especially, stories about spanking and/or BDSM. The fact that it’s often the person who appears not to have power who actually has it.

Politically correct? No, not really, Political correctness is about being safe, about not offending people, about making sure that everyone feels comfortable, protected and secure.

I’m all for that. No one, and I mean no one, whatever their race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs, or whether they own a Mac or a PC , should feel unsafe.

But fiction is, well, it’s fiction. It’s fantasy. It can reflect real life, enhance it, critique it and even turn it inside out or on its head. But it’s not real life. If anything, fiction has to make more sense than real life which is, after all, often baffling, irrational and downright unjust.

Fiction oftentimes gives the reader an opportunity to go down deep into the unconscious, subconscious, or whatever you want to call it where the Shadow lurks and the Id prowls.

The writer of fiction can be seen as the psychopomp, which is another name for Hermes when he acted as the conductor of souls or spirits into the Underworld.

The author leads the reader into the darkest reaches of the collective and individual unconscious and then, after tarrying there a bit, brings them safely out again into the light of day, none the worse for wear (at least, we hope) but, perhaps, changed somewhat.

As for my having set my spanking story during the Victorian era, I’ll admit there was some major, messed-up stuff going on back then regarding sex. Heck, there’s a lot of major, messed-up stuff going on in the twenty-first century regarding sex. Actually, when has there not been messed-up stuff going on about sex?

However. I won’t go into any of that in this post. Down below I list some websites you can check out if you want to read more about Victorian sexuality. But I will say that the inspiration for the character of Inspector Maxwell is a television series set during the Victorian Era.

It’s called The Murdoch Mysteries. Produced in Canada, the show was broadcast on my local PBS station. I believe the first two seasons are available on DVD. I’ve only seen the first season. They’ve got three seasons in the can, and I read somewhere that the show’s been green lighted for a fourth season. Yay!

Inspector William Murdoch (Yes, I gave my inspector the same first name. Couldn’t help it! I’m a rabid fan of the show! :)) is brilliant, meticulous, logical, dubious, reserved and also a devout Roman Catholic in mostly Protestant Canada.

Combine those qualities with the fact that Murdoch is played by the utterly delish Yannick Bisson, and I just had to use him as the inspiration for the character of Inspector Maxwell, except my inspector is seething with a very great need to spank the delectable bottom of Lady Fairchild.

Actually, why don’t I provide you with an excerpt from “Elementary, My Dear Sir” so that you can see what I’m yapping about. 🙂

Rowena stepped away from him and walked over to her claret-colored ottoman. Once there she kept her back to Inspector Maxwell. She took off her dressing gown and let it fall to the floor.

Underneath it, she wore only her corset as it was the only piece of undergarment Mary had managed to help her on with before Inspector Maxwell had come calling.

Her bottom was bare as were her legs. She hadn’t even had time to put on her garter or stockings. Her hair spilled down her back, the ends of it just brushing the upper curve of her buttocks.

When her husband was alive, just presenting herself to him in this manner had kindled his desire.

Delilah. Salome. Lilith.

He’d whisper those names in her ear when he finally put his hands on her.

Inspector Maxwell, however, was nothing like her husband, who had embraced the pleasures of the flesh as eagerly and enthusiastically as he had embraced life. However, there was no doubt in Rowena’s mind that the inspector wanted her as much as she wanted him.

She’d known that the first day she met him. Even when his sole purpose had been to see her swing from the end of a noose, she had felt his lust for her. Lust he had been unable to acknowledge, thus leading him to channel it into his ruthless persecution of her.

But she had not been found guilty, had not swung from a rope, and his hellish appetite for her had not been sated.

And now, here she was, offering to him the very thing he reviled yet desired beyond all reason.

Rowena smiled. How utterly delicious.

The skin on her bare buttocks tingled as she waited for Inspector Maxwell’s response. But he had not moved from where she had left him when she walked over to the ottoman.

She felt his eyes on her. Like lashes from a whip across her naked skin. She stood there, trying not to shiver, trying not to let him know she was starting to feel anxious.

She heard movement. Shoes moving across the carpet. However, she could not tell if he was coming toward her or leaving.

Fearing she may have miscalculated, she waited breathlessly for the door to open and close behind him.

Instead, she felt the stirring of air that meant someone had moved up behind her. Her heart pounded.

He put his hand on her bottom.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit the blogs of all the other contributors to the Spank! anthology.

Links on Victorian Sexuality.

Victorian Morality

The Victorian Web

Making Victorian Sexuality

Victorian Spanking

September 1 – D.L.King

September 2 – Cervo

September 3 – Sommer Marsden

September 4 – Anna Black

September 5 – Jean Roberta

September 6 – Tara S. Nichols

September 7 – Maggie Norton

September 8 – Kathleen Bradean

September 9 – Lee Ash

September 10 – Lisabet Sarai

September 11 – Evan Mora

September 12 – Allison Wonderland

September 13 – Sean Meriwether

September 14 – Roxy Katt

September 15 – Donna George Storey

September 16 – Bethy Wylde

September 17 – Sacchi Green

September 18 – A.D.R. Forte

September 19 – J. Z. Sharpe

September 20 – Jessica Lennox

September 21 – Cassandra Park

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Upcoming Blog Tour

August 29, 2010

My short story “Elementary, My Dear Sir,” a bit of Victorian naughtiness, will be appearing in the Logical Lust anthology Spank! under my pen name Anna Black. It’s releasing September 15th. There’s also a give-away going on at the link above until September 20th.

To promote and celebrate the release, the authors, editor, D.L. King and Cassandra Park, who wrote the wonderful introduction to the anthology, will be hosting a blog tour.

The tour starts Wednesday, September 1st. Yours truly will be blogging for the tour on Saturday, September 4th. I will blog about how I came up with the idea for “Elementary, My Dear Sir,” and why I’m drawn to write Victorian erotica.

Here are the dates of the tour.

September 1 – D.L.King

September 2 – Cervo

September 3 – Sommer Marsden

September 4 – Anna Black

September 5 – Jean Roberta

September 6 – Tara S. Nichols

September 7 – Maggie Norton

September 8 – Kathleen Bradean

September 9 – Lee Ash

September 10 – Lisabet Sarai

September 11 – Evan Mora

September 12 – Allison Wonderland

September 13 – Sean Meriwether

September 14 – Roxy Katt

September 15 – Donna George Storey

September 16 – Bethy Wylde

September 17 – Sacchi Green

September 18 – A.D.R. Forte

September 19 – J. Z. Sharpe

September 20 – Jessica Lennox

September 21 – Cassandra Park

And just a reminder, 18 and older only, please, for the tour! 🙂

Ciao!


I’m Back!

August 1, 2010

Greetings and Happy 1st Day of August !

Yep, I’m still here. I have been very, very lax about blogging due to Real Life (RL) being very, very stressful. And oh, what a tale of strife and woe I have to share!

But I’ll share that another day. I’d rather blog about something fun and try to forget what’s been going on the last couple of months. 🙂

I have a new book coming out from Ellora’s Cave. It’s called Madison Avenue Vampire and it’s releasing Wednesday, August 4th.

Here’s the blurb: It’s the swinging 1960s and Richard owns one of Manhattan’s major advertising agencies. He’s also a vampire. He hungers to make love to Lana Sorenson’s lush, voluptuous body, but he also thirsts to sink his fangs into her lovely neck. Richard’s desire for blood is nearly out of control, and surrendering to both his lusts may deprive Lana of her life.

Lana is the proverbial farmer’s daughter. A small town girl from Wisconsin, Lana regularly sees things she never would have imagined in her wildest dreams. But when she finds out the handsome, sexy man she’s dating is a vampire, Lana is faced with the terrifying possibility that the first time she and Richard make love could also be the last. Literally.

You can read an excerpt here.

I have no qualms about saying that Madison Avenue Vampire was most definitely inspired by the AMC television series, Mad Men. I was sitting and watching it one evening and thought to myself, what if Don Draper were a vampire? 😀

I actually wrote the story back in 2009 as a much shorter story. But when I submitted it my editor at EC she asked me to make it a bit longer.


This is from Wikipedia and pretty much sums up what the show is about.

Mad Men is set in the 1960s, initially at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and later at the newly created firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The show centers on Don Draper (Jon Hamm), creative director at Sterling Cooper and a founding partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, as well as those in his life in and out of the office. It also depicts the changing social mores of 1960s America.

The first season is set historically speaking in 1960. Then Season 2 jumps ahead to 1962. Season 3 in 1963 and Season 4, which started last Sunday, late in 1964.

My novel is set in late October and early November of 1962.

I was initially so not into Mad Men that I didn’t even watch the first season. Then, for some reason, I started watching it and now I’m officially hooked.

I had a lot of fun researching the period (one of the things Mad Men receives acclaim for is its accurate recreation of the early 1960s). However, the folks over at Ellora’s Cave caught a rather major faux pas on my part.

In the very first sentence of the very first scene of the very first chapter, my heroine, Lana Sorenson, is at a swanky Halloween party. I had her drinking champagne out of a fluted glass. Like the one pictured.

Nope. Wrong. Back in the early 60s people drank their champagne out of coupe glasses. Here’s a pic of the guys at Sterling, Cooper doing exactly that.


Fortunately, my editor caught the mistake and I corrected it.

I love research, however. Even when I drop the ball sometimes. 🙂 And I love history. Even recent history. It’s fascinating. Speaking of, here are some interesting and, in some cases, tragic events that happened on this date in history.

August 1

30 BC – Octavian (later known as Augustus) enters Alexandria, Egypt, bringing it under the control of the Roman Republic.

1619 – First African slaves arrive in Jamestown, Virginia.

1834 – Slavery is abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force.

1876 – Colorado is admitted as the 38th U.S. state.

1914 – Germany declares war on Russia at the opening of World War I. The Swiss Army mobilities because of World War I

1944 – Anne Frank makes the last entry in her diary.

1960 – Dahomey (later renamed Benin) declares independence from France.

1966 – Charles Whitman kills 15 people at The University of Texas at Austin before being killed by the police.

1981 – MTV begins broadcasting in the United States and airs its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles.

Well, I have edits I must work on all day as it’s back to work on Monday. Since it’s a brand new spanking month, my goal is to at least blog on the weekends. Now that I’m back to working full-time and also have a number of writing goals I need to accomplish before year’s end, my time is pretty much filled to the brim, but I do like to blog and have missed doing so these past two months.

And I apologize for not visiting blogs in turn. Yes, time has been at a premium but the stress of what I’ve been dealing with the last two months was also a major factor. But I got some news this past Friday which should lessen some of the stress.

Ciao for now!


Ooku

April 9, 2010

Last August, I put up a post about Ooku, which is a manga written by Fumi Yoshinaga. Briefly, Ooku is an alternate history set in 18th Century Japan. A plague called the Redface Pox has killed off 80% of the male population. As a result, women are now in positions of power. One is even Shogun. Men, who are now precious “seed providers”, are carefully protected. And the most beautiful men are chosen to sexually serve in the Ooku, the Shogun’s Inner Chambers.

This year at
Wiscon, which is a feminist science convention held every year in Madison, Wisconsin, the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award will be presented to Ooku: The Inner Chambers Volumes 1 and 2, and to Greer Gilman’s, Cloud and Ashes: Three Winter Tales

For those who are not familiar with the TipTree award, it’s an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores the understanding of gender. The award is named for Alice B. Sheldon, who wrote under the pseudonym James Tiptree, Jr., at a time when it was not de rigueur for women to write science fiction.

I’ve not yet read Volume 1 of Ooku, but I have read Volume 2 and it’s an amazing story. In Volume 2, which takes place at the start of the plague, a young Buddhist monk named Arikoto is calling upon Lord Iemitsu. Arikoto has no idea that Lord Iemitsu is, in fact, a young woman named Chie, who is being forced to wear men’s clothes and pretend to be the catamite of Lord Iemitsu, her father, who died from the Redface Pox. She is, however, the true ruler. Arikoto, due to his stunning beauty, is forced (in a most horrific way, I must say) to give up being a monk and, essentially, become a concubine of Chie’s.

I’m looking forward to reading the other volumes in the series as I like the fact that it’s not one of those simplistic, hits-you-over-the-head with its feminist rhetoric that some novels, who attempt this kind of experimentation, sometimes employ as a way to get their message across regarding gender. There is a complexity and a subtlety to what’s happening to the relations between men and women in 18th century Japan as a result of this plague.

Here’s a quote from Wiscon’s newsletter regarding Ooku and it’s having been awarded the James Tiptree Jr. Award.

“Fumi Yoshinaga’s Ooku: The Inner Chambers (Volumes 1 & 2) explores an alternate version of feudal Japan, in which a plague has killed three out of every four boys. In this world, young men are protected and sheltered; women have secretly taken positions of authority and power. The Japanese ruler or shogun and the feudal lords are women and much of the story takes place among the men in the shogun’s harem.

The title of the work refers to the living quarters for the shogun’s harem, contained within Edo Castle. The selection of Ooku: The Inner Chambers marks the first time that manga has been chosen for the Tiptree Award. Though no one on the jury is an expert on manga or on Japanese history, the jurors fell in love with the detailed exploration of the world of these books, a world in which men are assumed to be weak and sickly, yet women still use symbolic masculinity to maintain power.

Throughout the two books, Yoshinaga explores how the deep gendering of this society is both maintained and challenged by the alteration in ratios. “The result,” juror Jude Feldman writes, “is a fascinating, subtle, and nuanced speculation with gender at its center. Ooku was awarded the Sense of Gender awards by the Japanese Association of Feminist Science Fiction and Fantasy (2005), the Excellence Award at Japan’s Media Arts Festival (2006), and the Grand Prize in Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize (2009).”


Checking In Again

March 28, 2010

Hadn’t realized a week has gone by since my last post. Been very busy with both writing and day-to-day living stuff.

I started drafting my cowboy ménage à trois. I should be finished with it by the end of April if not sooner. It’s proving quite interesting to write as it’s the emotional dynamics of the two men and the woman that I’m finding fascinating.

I’m still prepping for Script Frenzy, which is only four days away! Which means, also, it will be April 1st in just four days. Which means time is flying again! The first quarter of 2010 is nearly over!

I’m going to Wiscon. I’ve signed up for some panels and I’ll be doing my Tarot for Writers workshop. I’m looking forward to that.

I watched Vicky Christina Barcelona the other day.

It was a gorgeous movie with a gorgeous backdrop—Barcelona—and gorgeous actors, such as Penélope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson. It was enjoyable, although I have to admit, I was enjoying the breathtaking scenery, the beautiful Spanish architecture and the haunting strains of the Spanish guitar more than the actual plot. It was strangely narrated, too, as if someone was doing a reading of the story at a bookstore or something.

I thought it was going to be a lot sexier than it was. It has a ménage à trois which involves Cruz, Bardem and Johansson, but their threesome is pretty tame, IMHO. It’s a Woody Allen movie so there are plenty of neuroses to go around among all its characters.

I really thought that with such a sensual, sexy cast and being set in Spain—in summer no less—there would have been a lot more heat. You know? 🙂

Anywho, I have to get back to my edits, my drafting, my prepping, my worldbuilding and, of course, my sundry non-writing activities that make up day-to-day life in 21st century America.

Ciao for now!


Creating Alien and Fantasy Cultures

January 11, 2010

When creating alien and fantasy cultures for your short stories and novels, there’s actually quite a lot of books out there that can be very helpful. I went through my library and found some that I’ve found useful.

Creating Alien and Fantasy Cultures

These books are useful for creating aliens, species for a fantasy novel and their cultures.

o The Science of Aliens – Clifford Pickover

o Aliens and Alien Societies – A Writer’s Guide to Creating Extraterrestrial Life-forms – Stanley Schmidt

o Writer’s Guide to Creating a Science Fiction Universe – George Ochoa and Jeffrey Osier

o Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy – 20 Dynamic Essays by Today’s Top Professionals – The Editors of Analog and Issac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine

o How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy – Orson Scott Card

o Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy – Crawford Kilian

o Worlds of Wonder – How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy – David Gerrold

o Concerning the Heavens – Creating the Science Fiction Novel – Melissa Scott

o The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction – Volume One – Edited by Dave A. Law and Darin Park

o The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy – Volume One – Edited by Darin Park and Tom Dullemond

o The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference – The Editors of Writer’s Digest Books

Books of Special Mention
o The Tough Guide to Fantasyland – Diana Wynne Jones – This book is more of a satirical look at the tropes and clichés in fantasy literature than an actual guide to creating a fantasyland, but it’s not only hilarious it can be quite useful in finding overused tropes and clichés in your fantasy stories. Or even suggesting some to use but maybe twisting them a bit to give them that extra bite.

o The Lord of the Rings – Weapons and Wars – Chris Smith – This is a book that details all the weapons, whether wielded by Men, Elves, Dwarves or Orcs in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy movies. It’s beautifully illustrated and I find it useful for ideas concerning weaponry for my fantasy characters.

These books are helpful for looking at aliens created by writers and/or artists.

o Aliens in Space – Steven Caldwell

o Barlowe’s Guide to Extraterrestrials – Wayne Douglas Barlowe, Ian Summers and Beth Meacham

Mating and Courtship Practices
These books are helpful in coming up with ideas for mating and courtship rituals for your alien and fantasy cultures.

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Love, Courtship and Sexuality Through History – Edited by William E. Burns (Six Volumes)

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Daily Life (Six Volumes)

The Mythology of Sex – An Illustrated Exploration of Sexual Customs and Practices from Ancient Times to the Present – Sarah Denning

Sextrology – The Astrology of Sex and the Sexes – Starsky & Cox

Sexual Secrets – The Alchemy of Ecstasy – Nik Douglas and Penny Slinger

I hope to, in later posts, talk about the actual methods and techniques I use when creating cultures for my stories. Until then, I hope these may prove helpful.

Ciao!


Deep Freeze and Alien Sex

January 7, 2010

It appears that 2/3 of the population of the USA are experiencing some sort of deep freeze. Whether from bitterly cold temps or tons of snow.

Here we’re going to get snow, then bitter cold again and then—YES!— a warm up back to the low 30s! Wow, that’s going to feel practically balmy. 🙂

However, before that happens we’re getting snow today. Possibly about nine or so inches before it’s all over. 😦

I’m in revision mode on my short story and drafting mode on novella. I need to submit my short story next week and novella the end of this month.

For anyone who saw Avatar, apparently the full love scene between Jake and Neteryi (and I hope that’s not a spoiler for anyone) will be on the DVD. Cameron cut the scene to keep the rating at PG-13, which I kinda figured he did. But if you noted in the movie that the Na’vi use their queues to synch with the animals and plant life on Pandora, you can imagine (if you care to, that is) how they use their queues during mating.

Personally, I find watching people make love on huge screens with blasting surround-sound a bit unnerving and over the years I’ve noticed that, except for some hard-core action flicks (and even not so much in those anymore), movies don’t have anywhere near the amount of explicit sex they used to have. Cable TV sure does, but movies not so much. For one thing, PG-13 ratings nowadays usually spell bigger box offices as opposed to R rated movies.

As for alien sex, a couple of years back I went to a panel discussion at Wiscon on alien sex. That is, creating sexual practices for your alien characters. It was a fun discussion as the panelists and the audience discussed myriad ways to imagine and write about mating practices for the aliens in one’s stories.

Most of the suggestions for doing so advised writers to look at the sexual behavior of creatures here on earth and extrapolate from that. When I have more time, I think I’ll do a blog post on that very thing. I’m doing a lot of thinking and reading about world-building. Creating races and species and their cultures for fantasy or SF is very important when creating a brand new world that you want to immerse your reader in.