But! But but but! This week, there is news!
First and foremost, we are only one week from the release of Human Aspect from Prizm Books (the YA imprint of Torquere). I'm so excited for this story, I can't even begin to tell you!
What's that, you say? Excerpt? Why, yes, you can have an excerpt! How about something just a little sexy?
[Dauch] woke from a doze with a start at the sound of bodies moving through the underbrush. He sniffed, but caught only the faintest of scents; he was upwind.That's about as explicit as the story gets, by the way -- this is not the purchase to make if it's erotica you're after. Because of the maturity of the content, this is being classified as a "New Adult" story, the very "oldest" of Prizm's offerings, but it is still a YA imprint, so there are lines that remain uncrossed in terms of what's shown on-screen, so to speak.
It was the same pair, though, he was certain of it. Even in the dark, he could make out the red of the female's hair, and the breadth of the male's shoulders could not be mistaken. Dauch's tail whipped through the air, but he remained still otherwise, watching them.
They had gained some confidence. The male did not plead, but took the female into his embrace quickly. They grappled in near-silence, punctuated only by an occasional grunt or groan. Dauch was amazed and confounded by the things they did with and to each other.
What was the purpose of that caress, or such a position? Was it sanity to allow a female to use her teeth thus? What lochmar would put his mouth there?
When the female cried out, the male petted her hair tenderly, like a mother soothing a child. But she did not whimper as if in pain or fear, and indeed reached for him again. Dauch realized, with startling clarity, that their purpose was not mating, but pleasure alone. He could scarcely believe such a thing -- but though he waited and watched, the male never mounted to plant his seed, letting it spill fruitlessly to the earth instead.
In silence, then, the humans dressed. They clung to each other a moment longer, and despite the wrongturned wind, Dauch could smell the musk of their strange and fruitless passion. His tail lashed in confusion, but when he resumed his natural shape, his body's reaction was painfully intense.
And in other news, I finally finished my novel, Foxfur, and submitted it. I don't even want to admit how long that's been in the works. Its initial incarnation, Willow Bough, is some eight years old, and I didn't seriously think about publishing it until at least three years ago -- at which point I ran into this brick wall of, quite honestly, kind of hating the plot.
It had all my least favorite story elements. The bad guy was bad for no apparent reason. (Or rather, he had perfectly good motives, but no excuse at all for carrying anything to the extent that he did.) There were threads introduced and never used; there were characters and capabilities showcased that later completely disappeared; the climax smacked of deus ex machina, and the denouement was actively depressing. And all of that could have been overlooked if the main character had been especially relatable and on a journey of self-discovery, but he wasn't especially likeable, and worse, he was passive, apparently unable to act on his own behalf. (To be fair, it had started out as an exploration of total power exchange submission, but I didn't realize at the time that's what it was, and so I'd utterly failed on several points, including the understanding that good submission -- by which I mean both enjoyable and readable -- is an active decision rather than a passive one.)
Despite all that, I liked the feel and tone of the story. So I spent a long time trying to fix it before eventually I gave up and shelved it.
A couple of years later, I had an idea of how to revamp the story to make it better. It required, however, starting over, completely from scratch. The only bit of Willow Bough that remains to this story is the main character's name and profession (sort of). Everything else is completely revamped: new bad guy, new plot, new romantic interest, and most of all, a new personality for the main character.
(When Lynn beta-read it for me, she said two things: first, that she'd opened the file when she received it that night just to make sure it hadn't been borked by the email -- and found herself looking up when she got to the end only to discover it was one in the morning. And second, "You really weren't kidding when you said you started over from scratch." Because usually when an author says they completely rewrote a story, what they mean is that they edited extensively. Not, you know, actually rewrote it.)
Anyway, if Torquere accepts it, it'll be my first real novel, which makes me feel pretty excited!