Friday, February 26, 2010

I've Been Honored!

I've received the exciting opportunity to offer a new, original title for a charity sale! The LGBT Bookshelf is the brainchild of the gifted writer Mel Keegan, his wiki page a creation to enhance opportunities for independent writers. The goal of this sale is to raise advertising funds - a chance to get our presence known as the place for writers and readers interested in gay publications.

There will be a number of terrific items offered at great discount prices - wonderful wallpaper images and a variety of interesting reads. Very soon you'll be able to visit the sale web page and see for yourself. In the meantime, I agonized yesterday over writing a promotional piece for my short erotic fiction titled "Miya". I received a great deal of technical and artistic advice from some very kindly and patient souls. Today I decided all this effort deserved a vote from anyone else kind enough to read my blurb and give an opinion.

Teaser for "Miya":

Kenji Miyamoto is a Japanese American pretending to live the American dream. Fresh out of police academy, the orphaned immigrant suspicions that he’ll never live up to the image of his “Super Cop” older brother. Denying his gentler personality and hiding his homosexuality from colleagues, the lie he’s living is further compounded by an attraction to his new partner. The heavy-handed yet soft spoken Nathaniel Drake has stepped right out of the younger man’s Hollywood-inspired fantasies. Working nightly alongside Drake, Kenji begins to wonder what it would be like to submit to one so strong. Would the thought of dominating a submissive gay lover make Drake’s heart race or send the dedicated and compassionate patrolman running for cover? If “Miya”, as Drake insists on calling him, can accept his effeminate nickname, Miyamoto-san might just find out that not everyone fears the truth.

I hope you'll tell me what you think, dear reader. And thank you, darling Dilo and friends at the Artist's Retreat, for all your help and support!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Thursday 13

I heard a rude but funny comment about relationships on my favorite adult cartoon, "Metalocalypse". Scientists claimed that most married couples end up with what they "like to call livable hatred." I said I preferred the term, "amicable apathy" and got a good laugh. Unfortunately, that's how I feel some days.

With that in mind, please read the thirteen things off the top of my head that I never want to hear from my partner again. Ever.

1. “Oh, I grabbed a burger while I was out. I had a craving.”
This is fine unless delivered shortly after, “Happy birthday.”

2. “Are you done?”
Unspoken: Why do you have to write all the time?

3. “I leave you alone. Don’t I?”
Meaning: Aren’t I a good little martyr?

4. “Can you let it go?”
Translation: Stop crying because I want to watch this. This happened once. I don’t expect a repeat.

5. “The movie rated high on IMDB.”
What it means: I’m about to put my pen down to waste precious hours of production time at an overpriced cinema.

6. “It’s over,” in answer to my question of how his day working from home has gone.
What I hear: I don’t want to talk about my day or hear about yours.

7. “What happened to global warming?”
I don’t care whether you believe in it or not, constantly hearing this has gotten very old.

8. A groan of complaint when I start my car to drive us somewhere.
Unspoken: It’s really great that you’re learning Japanese as long as I don’t have to hear your audio lessons.

9. “Go ahead and buy it. It’s not like you have any bills.”
Unspoken: I won’t complain openly about managing the finances, nor will I ask for assistance (see martyrdom, above).

10. “My friends will be lined up to marry you when I’m gone.”
Great. Remind me that I’m likely to become a widow some day (no, I really don’t want that yet). But why assume I’d want to remarry? I’d prefer a life coach, a financial manager, and a cabana boy at this point in my life.

11. “I’m sleeping with the ‘prince’ tonight.”
This references a line about prescription sleeping pills in the film “Beetlejuice” and I’ve heard this, well, I don’t know how many times. I’d have to check his medical history.

12. “Just give me fifteen minutes,” snapped at me over a shoulder.
Translation: However long this computer game takes, you’ll still be here but this pretend ore I’m mining won’t.

13. Any movie quote when I’m trying to have a serious conversation.
Interpretation: I’m listening to you but I don’t really want to hear what you have to say.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Flash Fiction Friday

The Gift


Unaccustomed, Michael Blanc found solar heat weighed his every step. A lean, sharply defined shadow pulled almost physically at the heels of his trendy platform soles. The shoes were also practical, distancing his tender feet from the earth’s scorching surface. Gratefully, he hadn’t descended from the skyway since that day Simon orchestrated capture of Anthony Greer’s killer.

Had it really been over a year? With a flutter in his chest, Michael realized he’d been wearing Simon’s corporate symbol nearly that long. Glancing fondly at the ring adorning his finger, Michael knew his late, beloved Anthony would be pleased for him.

Priceless, the tasteful iron jewelry didn’t reflect the dangerous rays of the sun; nor did the expensive cloth of Michael’s sable suit. A wide-brimmed fedora, every bit as dark, helped protect his face. He’d worn no color in public except iron and obsidian for years.

Today, that changed. Michael had been forced to commit a severe fashion offense among his social peers – he actually wore tan! The tacky silk scarf wrapped his hair and loosely muffled fair features beneath protective glasses. He fiddled with it continuously, disdainful of the concession.

Actually, Michael wouldn’t have conceded if Simon hadn’t laid out the article with a pointed request. Despite the temperature, chills marched up his arms at remembering the words scrawled in the angular script of that center of his world, his Mr. X.

Wear it for me. No argument, Michael. You will protect that perfect skin.
Love, X

Love-struck, Michael reluctantly heeded and now walked along with soft fabric tickling his lips. He wondered again why he’d received this request. The fact he walked instead of riding only made it all the more mysterious. The war required a lot of fuel, certainly, but his paramour was the most prominent attorney in New York!

He didn’t even know his destination. The directions cryptically excluded all but street names and the turns he was to take. Well, that and a notation to get in line when he reached the crowd.

“Crowd,” Michael muttered under his breath. “A line?! If anybody else had asked this I’d tell them to get sunburned. It better be good.”

Then again, perhaps he’d be meeting a secret off-world shuttle! That would definitely be good. But Michael knew the unlikelihood. Politico or not, Simon Montague hadn’t been able to book a single seat, let alone two. Not one flight had come available in a month of calling in favors. And the small space-worthy craft weren’t exactly crowd appropriate. All the same, he couldn’t resist dreaming.

Rounding the final turn listed on his instructions, he found his hopes withered in the unrelenting sun. Crowd definitely described the chaotically milling citizens. The end of a line, however, was nowhere to be found. Michael hoped he’d wake from this nightmare at any moment. Here before his disbelieving eyes were folks from every economic and social echelon.

He saw white-robed people by the dozens, sexless under their ugly peasant apparel. Among the obvious poorest, he couldn’t even determine gender by their weathered features. Those individuals marginally more fortunate wore safety gear over their caftans. The occasional hint of gender in undernourished physiques only made the figures more repulsive to the privileged Michael Blanc.

Against his will, Michael’s stride slowed. He didn’t want to go near the unfortunates, as if their wrinkles and inevitable skin cancers were contagious. Seeking a group of black-suited men and women, he wished to insulate himself anonymously in their midst.

Where was Simon? Of course, he might not have arrived yet. The busy man’s message promised only his inevitable appearance, not a time. Schedules were what others rearranged to accommodate powerful entities such as Simon.

A uniformed military officer appeared suddenly and barked at the gathered group. Michael resisted the urge to jump, though he was sure his gray/green eyes bulged a little.

“You ‘robes’ step to my left, ‘suits’ line up to my right. Let’s go, people! I want to get out of this sun-blasted city.”

A wealthy man addressed Michael with panicky concern, “What’s going on?”

“I don’t know.”

“Did you get one of these? It told me nothing but where and when to come. I don’t think they’re planning to hand out flight coupons. Do you?”

The man waved an ominous document, fancy parchment bearing the official seal of the Governor of New York. Michael shook his head and stepped back, distancing himself from the order. Wildly he searched for escape.

‘This can’t be good. Perhaps Simon made a mistake,’ he thought desperately.

Simon didn’t make mistakes. Michael, feeling dizzy, took another step and prepared to turn. Only athletic grace saved him when he knocked blindly into another man. Large hands clasped his upper arms. Turned in the strong grip, he nearly attacked his captor with practiced fight skills before Simon’s nearly black eyes swam into focus above a white-pinstriped, brown scarf.

“It’s okay, Michael. Don’t be afraid.”

“What’s going on? I want to go home,” Michael demanded, regretting the childish tone.

“We will. Soon. I promise. We just need to turn in your ring, first.”

“What?! You can’t be serious! When you gave this to me you said never to take it off, Simon.”

Unwillingly led by Simon’s steady gait and set mouth, Michael found himself facing the soldier. Horrified eyes recognized bolt cutters in the fellow’s hands.

“Don’t worry, Mr. Montague,” the officer assured Simon past his shoulder. “We won’t harm him. This is just in case some folks can’t remove their jewelry.”

“But…”

“Perhaps I will need the cutters,” the man said, oddly amused. “Mr. Montague?”

“Of course not! He wouldn’t cut your finger, just the iron, Michael. But give him the ring. It’s to support the war effort. I have to set a good example for the rest of New York. Would you rather donate blood like the less fortunate?”

“What? No! But…”

“Now. No argument. Here. Put this on in its place. It matches your eyes better, anyway.”

Smiling, Simon cupped Michael’s hanging jaw. His other palm opened upward to offer a ring of tiny, interlocking emeralds. Without another word Michael slipped off the band inscribed boldly with the letters “SM”. The new ring didn't need those initials to proclaim ownership and it fit his slender finger much like his heart in Simon's hands.

“See, Michael? I always take care of what is mine.”

~the end~

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

While trying to think of a Thursday Thirteen list, something called to mind my favorite car from childhood. I decided to share my musings on what made the 1969 Corvette Stingray 427 Convertible so special.

1. Probably my favorite part, that swooping curve of the front fender positively defined sexy to my innocent eyes, and still does today.

2. The low profile reminded me of some stalking predator ready to pounce.

3. Riding in, and later driving (!) my father’s pride and joy, that shiny hood seemed ten miles long.

4. Chrome all over that car sparkled and gleamed like nothing else I’ve seen.

5. Its powerful engine would go from a purr to a roar in a few patters of my heart.

6. The lipstick red paint job never failed to turn heads.

7. Especially riding with the top down, I liked to think some of the admiring looks were for me as I grew into a young lady.

8. Amusingly, those same laid-back cruises with me earned my father more than a few scandalized glares. Sharing more personality traits than distinctive physical resemblance, we always got a kick out of the misunderstanding. I particularly enjoyed the obvious chagrin on some stranger’s faces when we confessed our relationship.

9. The car’s interior hugged its driver and passenger like some kind of spaceship from science fiction.

10. Even the name of the Stingray body style expressed sheer coolness.

11. Its model year, ’69, gave me an illicit thrill once I learned sexual slang. What can I say?

12. The suspension clung to the asphalt tight enough to make me thrill at every incline, dip, and swerve.

13. Despite the various models my father restored, enjoyed, and eventually sold, a slinky ‘Vette from that year stirs up memories other cars just don’t evoke. Things like small-town parades, Friday night car rallies, and crisp morning drives through Amish country.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It's Friday! Time for a quick fix of fantasy.

Kitsune

Sudden brightness tickled Kama’s nose and the sun forced a sneeze from her slender snout. Feeling a tug upon one of her seven tails, she lashed it good-naturedly. Tsuki wrinkled his tiny muzzle around the mouthful of her fur with mock ferocity.

Bounding from the dark den, older sister Shumi imitated their mother with a perfect miniature of the vixen’s sneeze. Kama proudly admired the female kit. Her girl-child already sported two tails. Was that the start of a third? Shumi just might take after her very wise father. Tori had gained the full compliment of nine far ahead of adulthood. Why couldn’t his daughter?

Tsuni yelped, obviously noting his mother’s admiration of older Shumi. Without a doubt, his playful call begged for Kama’s notice. She felt a surge of guilt and looked toward her young son. Single-tailed and simple, her boy deserved no less love or approval.

Kama watched Tsuni dart between clusters of wildflowers. Her eyes were newly appraising. Diminutive paws were sure, Tsuni’s flight swift and agile.

The rueful mother fox took on a playful stance. As she prepared for the chase, a figure on the horizon stopped her. A sharp call to her kits sent them scurrying for home.

A mysterious man approached, the unfriendly wind carrying all useful scent away from Kama and her babies. Did he mean them harm? Or had he come out of respect? Before she could decide on a course of action, the unmistakable fan of Tori’s tails thrilled her to the core. The rejoicing vixen leapt to welcome her Reynard, the unexpected return bittersweet.

Tori was home. But for how long?

Their Lord Inari didn’t often dismiss his kitsune servants short of five decades. Nor did he normally grant temporary leave for these vital messengers. Yet here stood her beloved Tori in the flesh, resplendent in this particular human form, and far short of completing fifty years.

Standing upright, she reached delicate fingers toward his strong face. Kama spoke the only thought she could voice.

“How?”

“I have wonderful news, dearest Kama. Inari has sent me to begin training our little Tsuki. He is to be Inari’s right hand in a mere thousand years.”

With that most unanticipated blessing ringing in her ears, Kama watched the large fox run toward his children. Her husband’s golden fur shone, gilded to brilliance by the spring rays.

~the end~

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Well, I wanted to put up a picture list today. Many online friends will want to roll their eyes when I admit the desired subject was going to be the late, great Japanese drummer Kami. You can relax, dear friends, because I sadly didn’t have thirteen candid shots (hence, no copyright infringement).

I recall finding ten. So close and yet so far! Heh…

Anyway, I’ve since wracked my brain for what to choose. I ultimately decided to go with reasons my significant other and I like the Adult Swim cartoon, “Metalocalypse”. Frankly, we’re addicted.

1. Toki Wartooth – the Norwegian rhythm guitarist is the youngest band member and most mild-mannered creature on the planet, usually; the character’s long, chestnut hair probably doesn’t hurt.

2. Watching Toki lose his temper – he goes positively berserk in episode “Snakes & Barrels, Part 2” upon a rude concert-goer, something I’ve wanted to do more than once when just wanting to enjoy a show in peace.

3. The band manager, Charles Foster Offdensen, is awesome; he’s practically becoming a super-human watchman over our heroes.

4. Episode “Deathhealth” – again Toki deserves mention, this time for bearing his beloved cat over the rainbow bridge after his unnamed “best friend” dies inexplicably.

5. Dimmu Burger – this fictional fast food chain is a direct homage to Dimmu Borgir; the hot, young guitar hobbyist who works in my local deli department introduced me to this Norwegian black metal band.

6. “Deathgov” – this episode hooked my partner and remains a favorite.

7. The growing number of real-life musical outfitters listed as sponsors of the show is absolutely fabulous!

8. The love/hate relationship between incredibly talented lead guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf and Toki Wartooth (funny stuff!).

9. Pickles the drummer – images of him as frontman for “hair band” Snakes & Barrels in the eighties is burned into my brain; his family is an absurdly funny caricature of dysfunction.

10. Lead vocalist Nathan Explosion’s tendency to act as a father figure makes me laugh every time; I especially enjoy his farewell to Skwisgaar and Toki when they’re dropped off for driving school. He says something like, "Eat all your lunch and don't talk to any strangers. There's some weird people out there."

11. The outrageous spending of these multi-millionaire celebrities is hilarious; I especially like the politically incorrect endangered species’ room and Nathan’s “scream activated” lighting system.

12. Great attention is paid to continuity, which makes the episodes endlessly re-watchable.

13. Some of the extra features on the DVD are fabulous; the fact there are so many of them and the creators included a great presentation of all the animated music videos guarantees I’ll buy the upcoming season three releases.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Wiley Wednesday on the Writer's Retreat Blog

Stop on over for a read! I'd love to know if you suffer the same sort of technical impairment as yours truly. Drop me a line!

Writer's Retreat Blog

Friday, February 5, 2010

Flash Fiction Mini Ficlets

Today a talented acquaintance told me of an interesting contest. A clever gal is offering prizes for her favorite short story from contributors.

Did I say short? Try 40 words. The theme is "seize the day". I thought I'd share what this challenge inspired.

But first, here's the link if you'd care to give it a try: Head Above Water

My three stories follow. I hope you enjoy these untitled snippets.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts.

The stuttering boy’s vocal exercise ran through the nervous man’s mind like a mantra. He could do this. He knew his presentation. He needed the promotion.

_________________

Rain again. Walking along, drenched, he missed the weather of his mountain village, thunderstorms rumbling through snow-filled valleys. Why had he ever left? Then he looked at the sign announcing his art exhibit. Maybe rain wasn’t so bad after all.

_________________

“Let’s see,” she said aloud to herself. “Pickled eggs, fried chicken, potato chips, chocolate truffles, and wine. They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Let’s hope they’re right.”

Sarah lifted the picnic basket, shoulders squared.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Chronicling careless youthful exploits to a friend, I was reminded yet again what wonderful and patient parents I’m blessed with. I like to think I tell them adequately, if not often enough.

True to their natures, my mother and father don’t complain about my lack of calls or visits. Yes, hints are dropped at how cheap flights to Florida can be, but that’s the extent of their guilt trips. That pattern carried through my childhood. I’d like to make a list of anecdotes to remind myself how fortunate I am to have been raised by these two, not to mention that we still have them in our lives.

1. At the age of fifteen I started walking to the library as I had been doing for a few years, only now my boyfriend’s car waited out front. Our church, of which my mother was a choir member, stood directly next door and she inevitably caught me one practice night. Why I would be so dumb as to go that evening can be blamed on hormones, but try explaining how my enraged mother handled it so well. Rather than tell my strict father, she took me and my boyfriend to McDonald’s, bought us lunch, and gravely explained how we’d let her down. She insisted on being respected with honesty and proceeded to negotiate with Dad for my beau and I to have more time together!

2. Still basically a child at nineteen, I started seeing an older man my parents didn’t like. They didn’t complain, instead letting me see the mismatch for myself. When I wanted to break up with him they happily agreed to be my scapegoat. I calmly lied to the unsuspecting fellow, telling him they didn’t approve and I was forbidden to see him. To me it’s telling that I could even make that request, let alone that they would comply without a hint of “we told you so” in their voices!

3. Terrified of telling my father I was moving out to live with a man, I packed in secret for a solid week. As it turned out, my grandmother had prepared him for the news. She basically saw the inevitability before I did. To his credit, he hugged me and wished me well without a hint of disappaproval in his words or actions.

4. As noted above, I put all my belongings into storage boxes without my parents’ knowledge. What I didn’t say is how. To my knowledge, my parents never once came into my room without an invitation. All they asked was the same courtesy which, when I was a little girl, I didn’t always honor.

5. After I’d been out of their house for a few years I made the drive back to visit and my mother gave me her mother’s engagement ring because she could no longer fit the size. When I protested she argued that I would cherish and care for it, which was better than having the diamond sit in a jewelry box. I have since stopped wearing the ring everyday simply to preserve the stunningly delicate scrollwork which the jeweler fashioned out of white gold.

6. A little girl in our neighborhood was a complete and utter brat. One day she decided to bite me on the arm. Hard. I went home crying and when my mommy saw the teeth marks she told me to go back over and give as good as I got. She spent the rest of the afternoon defending me to the ridiculous mother of my “friend” and never once backed down from the woman’s diatribe.

7. As an adult I went home close to the holidays and my mom, a lovely alto singer, invited me to join her choir for an evening of practice. I hadn’t sung to more than the radio in years and certainly never as the soprano they desperately needed for the piece. What a boost Mom inadvertently provided when the director asked if I could come back for the performance! The evening would have been special without that, which was what she wisely intended all along.

8. Even before our long-awaited wedding, my parents purchased a queen-size bed so my guy and I had a comfortable place to sleep when we visited. Since he usually stayed with his mother in those days, it made the gesture even more meaningful.

9. On one visit to our home, my father reinforced our aging deck, painted the two story structure, then moved on to the ugly cement back wall. I didn’t even know they made paint that simulates stucco. His energy sapped mine but the end result remains impressive.

10. When the transmission went out on my car they lent me their credit card long distance. I had to pay the money back with interest, just enough to make me appreciate the value of money.

11. Right when we were moving for my father’s new job my baton corpse finally got real uniforms. Though I’d be long gone before the parade, my mother scrounged up the funds and purchased the pretty spangled jumpsuit. I still remember parading the spacious upstairs hall and twirling my baton for all I was worth.

12. While these days I buy vintage concert T-shirts on eBay, as a child I hated hand-me-down clothing. One time I actually told my mother’s cousin that I didn’t need anything. Mortified, my mother handled me very gently in that little etiquette lesson.

13. When his twenty-year-old girlfriend fell to pieces for the first time in his presence, my boyfriend called her parents. My pet snake had just died and I felt like I’d failed the poor creature, despite a trip to a reptile specialist who tried to treat Jake for something akin to a bad cold. Anyway, my dear father advised me to put him in the freezer until the weekend when I could drive up to visit. We had another Air Force Airman as a roommate, which made it awkward, but I didn’t care. When I made the trip it turned out my father had actually built a square wooden coffin! Now my colorful corn snake has a final resting place next to our family’s two elderly, deceased dogs. I try to imagine what archeologists of some future race will say when they discover the site.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Internet Addiction – Who? Me?

I'm sure many of us can relate to this quandary. Please click the link for my tiny epiphany.

Writer's Retreat Blog