Culture Shock

There is something about my stories that I hadn't thought of a whole lot until recently. Everyone knows by now that I like to explore the balance of power in relationships. The Fox and Amazon stories make this obvious, but it shows up in most of my stories.

What may not be obvious until I mention it is that I also like to explore culture shock.

In the Fox stories, Michaela is exposed to the wolf culture, and it is a learning experience for her. Much of the conflict between her and Lara comes from the different cultural perspectives. Michaela is a fox, with the related cultural attitudes; Lara is a wolf with her own culture. Unfortunately for Michaela, fox culture is far subtler than wolf culture, and thus she is far more absorbed by the wolves than they are by her. But because she is fox, she is also pervasive.

Amazon Companion is entirely about culture shock.

I mentioned this to The Lady a few minutes ago. A light bulb went on over her head, and she said, "All your stories have that."

Fitting in, for instance, requires Nikki to learn to accept the different culture represented by Alex's family.

Tresjolie, of course, is about Wanda learning to fit into Tresjolie society.

The concept is subtler in some of my stories. I wouldn't say culture shock is at play in In Custody, and I wouldn't call it culture shock in Free to Love, although you could say there are similarities.

But, really, the shock of being merged into a culture other than one's preferred culture is at the heart of many of my stories. And oddly, for most of them, I didn't think about it that way.

I just thought it was interesting to think about.

Two New Books

In the last few days, I've published two new books. You can peek over at Amazon or go to the Books tab for longer details.

The first is Amazon Chief:



This is the third in the Amazon series and is written from Beria's perspective. It's quite long.

The second is In Custody:


This is one of the stories I worked on during my trip to Glacier National Park last summer. I came up with the concept during the lengthy drive, writing part of it on the trip and the rest when I got home. I've been sitting on it since while making sure I was happy with it. I had thought it was a novel-length idea, but it turned into a moderate novella instead, and I finally decided the story was complete. I put Amazon Chief out then finished polishing In Custody and published it.

I hope you like them.


Amazon Chief

I just finished the first draft of Amazon Chief. I've had about three hours of sleep, trying to get the story out of my head.

It's told from Beria's point of view and begins the same day that Amazon Companion began, covering the next two decades. We see some of the same events from Amazon Companion and Amazon Challenge, but through Beria's eyes. But we also see portions of that time from Beria and Maya's life that Maya didn't tell us. The overlap covers the first fifth of the new novel.

If some of the details are different, well, Maya and Beria wrote their stories years after they happened. Perhaps the absolute truth is somewhere between the two tellings.

I've spent much of the last day or so crying, sometimes while writing, sometimes while thinking about where the story was going to go. I put a lot into my stories. It's not all from sad parts, although there are some of those.

It's long. It's really long. 226,000 words. By comparison, my longest novels previously were about 150,000 and some are as short as half that. (And novellas even shorter.) I may trim some of that. It rambles a little.

But you know what? I think that's okay. I wanted to spend a good, long time with my friends, and I think perhaps you will, too. It's a big story.

There are happy moments. There are sad moments. Beria has moments of indecision, moments of angst, moments of loneliness. Life is filled with these, after all.

We'll see most of our old friends from the first two novels. Maya, Malora and Nori, of course, and Omie and Vorine and Bea. But do you remember the sisters from White Pine, Tamma and Lia? We'll spend more time with them, too.

There are fight scenes and even a tournament. I'm always unsure when I write fight scenes. Do you, the reader, find them interesting? Or would you rather I gloss over them? In the end, I can't decide what you want, so I just write the story. The fight happened, and so I must write it.

There is love. And, sadly, there is loss. But that, too, is the nature of life, and it is the nature of stories.

There's a demon or two. You didn't think they went away, did you?

And there are new companions, new friends.

Given that this novel is three times as long as some of my others, it's taken some time to write. And it's going to take time to edit, so don't expect it next week.

Oh, and by the way. I have a fox novel written, too, but I'm not sure about it. I may sit on it and slip one more out that happens between Fox Dish and this one. Michaela meets a few vampires. And she does a little vampire ass kicking. I haven't finished the last chapter -- Beria sort of took over.

I haven't checked my email in a couple of weeks. I'm not intentionally ignoring anyone. I'll catch up soon, I think.

But I'm still here, doing what I should be doing.

Writing.

As always, thank you for your support. It is deeply appreciated. I couldn't possibly justify the time I spend on these novels if you didn't buy them from me.

Amazon Challenge is Ready


Click the link to pop out to Amazon.

Maya has been an Amazon for three years and has settled in as a critical member of the village. The companion shortage has improved, but all the Amazon villages are still under a lot of stress, and both nerves and relationships are beginning to fracture. 

It was the worst possible time for a major demon incursion. 

This is a novel of 100,000 words and is the second of the Amazon series.

Free To Love

Update

I'm still here... It's been a difficult couple of weeks. I'm using sleep aids to sleep and still not getting enough.

The good news is: I start a new Fox novel!

I'm 50,000 words (or so) in, and I'm writing like crazy. I'm not sure it's as good as some of the earlier novels, but if you love the other Fox novels, I suspect you'll enjoy this one.

We get to see Michaela in a pink dress and Angel in lipstick. Just imagine.

There will be the usual assortment of games, some stress, some new enemies, and some new friends.

I have to keep telling myself, "Write what you want. Don't worry about what anyone else wants." That's difficult for me. I second guess myself. "Is this scene too long? I enjoy it, but will anyone else? Is everyone tired of the Fox games?" But I just gave myself another, "Write what moves you" speech, and I'm about to go to lunch with my laptop and do just that.

In other news....

Facebook cancelled my account. If you let me notes there, I haven't gotten them. I created the account incorrectly. I needed to make an author page, not an account. Oops.

I haven't been reading my email. If you have sent me words of support, I'll get it eventually. But until I can make it through the night without a little help, I don't want the negativity waiting for me there.

Free to Love will be getting published in the next few days. I've been waiting for The Lady to read it and help me find a better title, but she hasn't gotten to it. So it'll go out with the title it has. It's a cute story. I think you'll like it.

For those wondering about recent rumors -- wonder all you want. I will not be bullied. I will tell you this: I am a writer. I write stories. If you like my stories, maybe you'll buy them.


About Writing

I just want to write. And write. And write. I would like to sell enough that I can afford to drop the day job -- so I can, you know, write more.

But ultimately, I want to write. I want to write good stories that I then go back and read again later. Over the last week or so, I re-read the Fox series. I also enjoy re-reading Fitting In, The Emergency Claus and Cooking for Love.

There's an allure associated with being An Author. Fame, awards, adoring fans. Those are all nice, and I admit I've had my own fantasies about all of them. I've had fantasies about book readings and awards and Oprah's Book Club. Yeah, don't start. Sometimes it's silly, I know.

But that's not what I'm writing for. I'm writing because I can't help it, and the more I write, the more I must write.

So... I'm going to write. I'm going to write the stories I want to write. Hopefully they'll continue to sell as well as they have over the last year. Sure, it would be great to have 50 Shades type of success, but I'd be happy to continue to sell exactly like I have been. Ecstatic, actually.

I'm not going to worry about fame. I'm not going to worry about awards. I'm not going to think about book signings or conferences or any of that. And along the way, I'm going to do my best to ignore my detractors, too. It's not always easy.

But I write good stories, stories people like to read. And that's what is important. I write good stories, and I'm getting better.

I'm going to write. And no one is going to stop me.

Blood Slave



Coming soon!

I Won a Rainbow Award



It's the day after Christmas, and I am catching up with my website. And I realized: I haven't announced (here, anyway) something important.

I won a Rainbow Award!

Fox Run won the 2013 Best Lesbian Paranormal Romance category.

I found out the evening of December 7th, and I'm still all stoked up from it. To everyone who has supported me:

Thank you.

A Busy November

September and October were not big writing months for me. I started and dropped several stories, frustrated with stories about Lara, another about Elisabeth, and several others I'd been excited about.

Then NaNoWriMo hit on November first, and the floodgates opened. Over the course of November, I the first draft of 3 entire novels and one novella for a total word count of about 240,000 words. Go me!

The Interrogation started out as an erotic short story that, well, grew. The entire story is told over the course of only a few days. From the reaction so far, people have enjoyed it.

Tresjolie is a light science fiction novel. I think you'll like it.

One of my beta readers referred to Lost in the Words as my best novel to date. I hit publish on it this afternoon, so it should be available no later than the morning of December 5th.

My novella, The Emergency Claus, is with a beta reader now and should be available soon. It's a cute little story about Tabitha Claus, the daughter of Santa.

I have more stories in the works, including an entire new fantasy series reminiscent of the Mercedes Lackey Valdemar books and her Tamra and Kethryn stories. I have more stories about The Fox and her friends, and a few pure lesbian romance novels rolling around in my head.

I'll keep you posted.