Fitting In

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it takes to fit in lately. Job hunting has given me a whole new perspective on this subject. I used to be the kid who always tried to fit in, no matter how unsuccessful I was. I liked fitting in, blending in, not standing out. It’s a knee-jerk reaction based on the way my family was growing up, I suppose. You were far better off if you fit in and didn’t stand out in any way.

As an adult, I’ve mostly shed that burden, and I am much more true to myself now. I have blue hair, a nose ring, and tattoos. I wouldn’t call myself very edgy in any way – I’m really just a soccer mom who looks a little less like a soccer mom than most people. (I guess technically I’m a swimming mom, but that’s beside the point.) My tattoos aren’t extravagant, or even very visible when I’m fully clothed for summer. In winter, you can’t see them at all. My nose ring is definitely visible, but it’s practically a part of my face at this point. As for my hair, I prefer purples and dark blues, which all fade out to a pale blue, so that’s sort of my default color.

When I go in for my interview this week, I’ll be backing off of my hair and nose ring. I’ll dye my hair a normal brown today. I’ll swap out my nose ring for something more low profile. My tattoos will be covered. I’ll basically go conservative for the interview. Once my 90 day period is up, assuming I ever get a job, I’ll be more likely to revert back to my usual self – dyed hair and all. Of course, I’m not one to rock the boat, so I might not. I hate asking permission for things, and I also hate doing things without permission. I’m a mystery.

Erotica is something nobody will take from me though. Building chairs, as I put it last week, isn’t as exciting as I had hoped it would be, but it’s going well. I have two stories releasing soon, and two more in progress, and a third in the outlining stage. Lots of good writing going on. I know that writing erotica isn’t the most conservative of pastimes, but that won’t stop me. With a pen name, it shouldn’t impact my actual day to day job at all.

Speaking of pen names, Pet is writing again! I’m so proud of him. Over 5k in less than a week, where our arrangement is that he’s to write 1k a week minimum. And Pet is looking for a good pen name, so expect to see me spreading the love once Pet decides on who he’s going to be.

So, dear readers, where do you fit in? Do you fit a mold, or are you a black sheep? Do you care? Are there benefits to fitting in? Standing out? What would you do if you were me?

Thank you

Everyone can rant about something, right? How about instead we take a minute to be thankful? That’s what I’d like to do today, anyway. I’ve done this before with huge success. By success, I mean the people I thanked (Pet, Husband, and Eye) were touched and honored by my thanks, and it meant a lot to them.

I’ve mentioned recently that I’ve been working with a group of authors on a small publishing projected called Heatstroke Press. You can find us here on Facebook. The authors (Sydney-Mae Baker, Belinda Burke, Raven Dark, Destiny Dawn, Ryan Kells, Brianna Lawrence, Jamie Steele, and myself) came together from a small private Facebook group called NaNoRotica, an erotic writer’s collective. I’m grateful for the Heatstroke project, and I’m grateful for all of the authors in the group.

Heatstroke is our small publishing group that is meant to help authors cross-publicize and build a readership. We believe that erotica writers can make a living writing, and endeavor to help our writers do just that–bring in a significant income through their writing. These writers are putting out some of the hottest erotica I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying something. I believe they deserve to be read. Most of us are publishing short stories, because we are able to offer them at a lower price point and a higher heat level than a full length novel, which can be hard to infuse with sexiness at every turn, and which necessarily will be priced higher.

Without the Heatstroke Press authors, I would have stayed in my writing rut, which is to say, I wasn’t writing anything. Since we’ve started the project, I’ve written one 25 page short story (coming out on 9/15!) that’s super hot (more on this tomorrow) and I’m halfway through the sequel, which is also turning out to be super hot.

I’m grateful for you guys, too. My readers. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have anything. My royalty check says that someone out there is reading me, and for that, I couldn’t be more grateful. Writing is a labor of love, even writing erotica. I’m putting a piece of myself on display, leaving it out there and offering it up for other people to consume. It’s sometimes scary, sometimes embarrassing, and always nerve-wracking. I’m even grateful for the people who read my stuff and don’t love it. Those folks leave great feedback–that a story’s ending wasn’t conclusive enough, or that they wanted more heat, or whatever. I only grow from reviews, even if they sting a little.

So special thanks to everyone who’s lifted me up lately. You guys. Heatstroke authors. Pet and Husband as always.

I love you all.

The excitement never ends

Today I got to thinking about excitement. Little Man goes to school today for the first time – Kindergarten, that is. He was excited and nervous and all sorts of worked up. When was the last time I felt those butterflies? I can pinpoint several occasions in recent memory.

To start with, one that isn’t about writing is about the convention I mentioned in my earlier post from today. I had several opportunities to take photographs with my favorite actors, and I’d been planning these for months. In one, I asked the incredible. I asked the actor to grab my jacket and give me “sexy bedroom eyes.” I still can’t believe I did it. I was so nervous that I felt sick, and I was sure he’d say no. He didn’t. In fact, he happily obliged me and sent me on my way. (These photo shoots are incredibly short, as is true for most conventions; you only get a few seconds of time to explain what you want and have the photo taken.) My entire body felt flushed and full of nerves. Another photo, another request, a different actor (well, a pair of them). I asked to let me and Pet “fight” over the one we both prefer, while the other looked on with jealousy. They performed beautifully. We were both almost ill over the whole thing. Later, I asked for a simple hug photo from the same actor. That was probably the most peaceful one, because I’d met him before and I wasn’t as nervous.

Another story from the trip we took. While we stood outside the venue to meet my favorite musician, I paced, bit my nails, and chewed my lip nervously. When finally he came out to say hello, my stomach did flips. I’ve met him several times before (my guess is five or six, without taking the time to count), but I was still nervous. This time I wanted to show him a tattoo that consisted of his band logo and my favorite lyric. I was terrified that he’d be taken aback or find it weird somehow. He was gracious and kind, and told me he thought it was “rad,” for which I’ll be forever grateful. We hugged and took a photo, and I got his autograph. It was lovely, and serene, despite my nerves. This was less rushed than the convention would be, because it wasn’t any official meet and greet, just a singer saying hi to his grateful fans after a show.

On a personal note, Pet and I have some big changes coming up soon, and those make me very excited. All will be revealed in due time, though.

And writing related – the last time I felt writing excitement. I believe it was the last time I had a story accepted to MLR Books. MLR has taken on three of my stories so far, and they’ve loved every one of them. My upcoming short book from MLR is called Another Shot and it’s about a man and his ex-boyfriend finding love again. The ex just so happens to be a stripper.

What have you gotten excited about lately?

Crickets and a new cover to share

Man has it been a long time since I’ve updated! My apologies, friends and readers. I’ve been busy, but not so busy that I couldn’t stop in and drop you an update.

A few things have happened since I took my summer hiatus. Pet and I took a lovely couple of trips out of town, where Pet had the chance to explore some issues important to him, including the use of gender pronounce (from henceforth, I will be using male pronouns for Pet, as requested). We’d like to go out of town again, but the club we’re aiming for has had quite a few issues getting reopened, and will be back up and running in the late fall, supposedly, so that trip has been postponed yet again.

On one trip, I got to talk to a musician I adore, and Pet actually chatted him up quite a bit, no nerves because Pet doesn’t have any special attachment to this guy, whereas I get all nervous and fluttery and fangirl-y around him. I was able to show him a tattoo that means a lot to me, and he called it “rad,” so I’ll take it. We also visited the Mormon temple, as Pet is Mormon, which was a really cool experience. There are obviously restricted parts of the temple that only members of the church can visit, but I was able to see the visitor’s center, the lobby, and walk the grounds. It was beautiful, and if I were a believer, I would have found it quite spiritual.

On our second trip, we went to a convention full of other nerdy people. It was a great time listening to panels of our favorite actors speak, dressing up in costume daily, and taking photos with said actors. Pet got a tattoo of his signed by one actor and had the signature tattooed over a few days later.

Besides those trips, my summer remained quiet. I battled quite a bit of writer’s block, and struggled to come up with any new content, much less anything publishable. I’ve looked into a new project with a group of esteemed authors, and we’ve formed a publishing company of our own, called Heatstroke Press. We have quite a few books out at this time, that launched on September 1st, and there are more launching on the 15th, October 1st, and October 13th.

In fact, I have a short story I’d like to release on 9/15, titled Group Effort: Andrew and Cole. It’s a fun little gangbang story, only around 20 pages, and I hope you like it. I’m posting the cover art here because I’m very proud of it, and the work that the cover artist did. The cover is commissioned from Cover Your Dreams. Without further ado:

er6-1 copy

I hope you can forgive me for my long absence, and I shall endeavor to post regularly from here on out.