Friday, August 28th, 2009
Writing Bittersweet….

Bittersweet

Now that Bittersweet is out, I’ve had some questions about it and wanted to share what happened during the writing of Brand and David’s story. It taught me a few things, trust me.

When I signed up to write two stories for the Hot Comforts anthology from Manlove Romance Press, I pitched the ideas for Giving Thanks and Bittersweet. Several other authors also joined the anthology and it was scheduled for around Thanksgiving 2008.

Because these stories are part of an anthology, it means they really can’t be too long. 20,000 words is a LONG story to have in an anthology. So there’s a maximum reasonable size the editor and publisher expect.

Giving Thanks went pretty well and relatively quickly. I’m happy with it and it really told the whole story I wanted it to.

Bittersweet is a whole other case. I knew a bit about the conflict and the fact it’s very much based on not judging someone by their appearance or what you think they might be like. When I started writing the story, though, I really got into these characters. I sent the first chapter to my test readers and one of them immediately replied that this was NOT a short story.

But it had to be. It needed to be. I literally spent months fighting with this story and trying to force it into an appropriate size and structure. But it fought back. Every time I tried to force Brand and David to get in bed, it came out horribly. Every time I tried to gloss over their personalities and foibles, they seemed like plastic characters. I rewrote it so many times I delayed the whole damned anthology. My deadline was blown and I was so frustrated and in despair it was awful. There’s just no way these characters would behave that way.

Finally I had to step back for a bit from my attempts to force my will on the story and I wrote another chapter, letting myself write what was demanding to be written. There’s a lot of background. There’s a lot of detail and some scenes that don’t have to do with sex but let the readers learn more about who these two people are.

I liked it. It flowed again.

So I finally accepted I could not shoehorn a Happily Ever After into this story. I took it to the point of a Happily For Now but there’s a lot more of this story to come. I’m going to write the rest of their story and see if I can sell it because I want to tell it. There’s pain, misunderstanding, assumptions, sex and love to go.

I know I’ve seen one opinion so far that there wasn’t enough sex and I spent time on things that didn’t matter. I hope that’s not the majority opinion because I love these two characters and the have a compelling and beautiful story to finish. But I did want to share what happened to me while I wrote this story :)

Bittersweet can be purchased from Aspen Mountain Press!

Monday, March 16th, 2009
Bittersweet

Great news, today I was able to FINALLY write “the end” on Bittersweet. It’s now off to the test readers who I PRAY will like it. This one really busted my butt and I’ve got no distance with which to judge how good (or not) it is.

I’ll be chewing on my nails while I wait to hear back. I am happy to be able to at least say DONE.

Saturday, November 15th, 2008
Friday Flash – Black Dragon (m/m)

Friday Flash

This is based on a lovely picture sent to me by Jet, courtesy of the ladies of the Phade. So, ladies, what do you think of the Dragon you inspired?

(Archives are on the website, if you want to read the offerings of past weeks)

——————————-
Black Dragon
(c) 2008 by Maura Anderson

Maolmuire, you are summoned.

Mal attempted to ignore the mental summons and drift back to his peaceful sleep. Surely another could answer the summons instead.

Maolmuire, you are needed and are sworn to answer the call. Arise and report to the Council chambers.

With a gusty sigh of resignation, Mal cracked his eyes open. His eyes gradually focused on the stone wall of his lair, dotted with quartz and pyrite. The glittering minerals sparkled in the low light, easily visible to his sensitive eyes.

With a groan, he forced himself off the low platform. So stiff. How long had he slept this time? Even in his dragonskin, the extended immobility had taken a toll. A heavy shove moved the huge stone sealing his lair’s entrance to one side. Bright sunlight assaulted his eyes and he could feel his pupils contract down to a slit in response.

He sniffed the fresh air that rushed in, cool and wet with the scent of the salty ocean nearby but also overlaid with a faint taint of chemicals. Pollution had even reached here. Damned humans.

With no smells that would indicate a threat nearby, he squeezed out the doorway and past the boulder. The rough abrasion of the rocks felt so good he couldn’t resist pausing for a moment to rub his shiny black scales on it. Too bad he couldn’t just take a quick dip in the ocean and then sun himself for a while. He would be a lot happier for it.

Report now, Maolmuire. This is no time to indulge yourself.

Mal snarled and gave a last good scratch to his right wing in defiance of the Council’s lackey. Let him dare try to stop him. Wrapped in the illusion of a cloudy sky, he launched himself into a long glide off the high ledge.

*****

Caleb bailed from his bed, jolted awake by the motion of the bed. Was he being shelled? Who was firing on him? Where were they? He rolled to take cover at the base of the wall near the door, the pistol he’d grabbed even before fully awake cocked and ready.

He froze and gradually realized the only sounds he heard were his own thundering heartbeat and the distant sounds of the morning traffic. He wasn’t in Afghanistan anymore.

Caleb sat up, slowly, unable to stop himself from examining every corner of the small bedroom, assessing every shadow.

Once reassured that there was no threat in the bedroom, he stood and made his way to the bathroom. The adrenaline was wearing off and he needed a shower to clean off the soured sweat coating his body.

How the hell had it come to this? Was he even capable of becoming normal again? Well, according to some people he’d never be normal because being gay was already abnormal. He just couldn’t go on like this.

Setting the .45 on the back of the toilet, in easy reach, he stared at himself in the mirror. Scruffy and unshaven, his blonde hair way too long and the still-fresh scars on his face and chest shiny and bright red – he was a mess. Maybe he should just be done with it all. Not like he had shit to live for anyway – the Marines wouldn’t send him back to his team unless he was able to convince the psych he was okay.

Hell, he knew he wasn’t okay.

But he wasn’t a coward. He’d never been a coward. Caleb fought the temptation back. If he really had wanted to die, he could have left that job to the Taliban. According to the guard he’d later killed, they were all set to film his decapitation but he’d refused to beg or grovel. Refused them anything beyond his name, rank, service number and date of birth. It infuriated them and they redoubled their efforts to crack him.

Heart pounding again, a sudden wave of dizziness washed over him. Caleb grabbed the bathroom counter to steady himself but it didn’t help. Earthquake. Another in the weird spat of earthquakes that were shaking through Southern California since he got back.