Hot Summer Days Reading Recs

Needless to say, these are all decidedly Not Safe For Work.

– Piper Vaughn’s Wanting is a friends-to-lovers story, sweet and hot and funny in places. There’s a bonus scene in the comments, too. Sometimes the tagalong little brother grows up to know exactly what he wants…

– Stuart Wakefield’s The Elements Of Love is an interesting futuristic/post-apocalpytic sort of world, populated with mechs and wracked by war. Fortunately for humanity, when the four elements are united, peace will return. Earth, Water, and Air just aren’t sure if Fire is alive, never mind where Fire might be.

– LC Chase’s Open Tackle is another friends-to-lovers story, this one featuring college football players. Carrying a torch has one little drawback: torches can’t be hidden forever.

– Deanna Wadsworth’s Unscheduled Maintenance is definitely not sweet. In fact, I was considering not even finishing it, but I kept reading — and I was glad I did. It’s rough, it’s a little darker, and it features a D/s-ish relationship with elements of humiliation, just as a heads-up. Like I said, though, I ended up liking it even though I’m not keen on the whole humiliation thing.

Punctuation! Not For The Faint Of Heart.

Or something like that, anyway.

Reading–or trying to read–a story where someone has gone through and stripped out all of the ellipses and replaced them with a single period is almost enough to make me tear out my hair. They didn’t bother replacing them with em-dashes, or evaluating each ellipse on a case-by-case basis to see if they actually needed it to stay, they just removed them wholesale. (Or maybe they were never there in the first place, I don’t know.)

“I.” isn’t a sentence. It should not have a full stop at the end. “I…” or “I–” conveys a sense of being uncertain and interrupted, respectively, if that’s what you’re intending. If you want your reader to take a little break, you can start with “I,” add some narrative, then go back to dialogue.

Seriously, there’s a really good reason that style manuals are intended for everything except dialogue: people never ever speak exactly like a style manual was the only book in the house during their formative years. Not even the most rigidly proper speaker of a language does. Not even people who are paid professional editors.

I try not to get too personal or political around here…

because, frankly, if we want personal and political, there are about 50 billion other places to go.

However, something odd/interesting happened to a family member of mine, recently. While she’s an ally and a half, it was still something of a shock–and a wake-up call–to her. See, she’s married to a man who works at a gay bar, and part of his job requires him to be in drag. They’re very serious about it, making him look his best, finding him awesome shoes and outfits, etc.

She was talking to another woman and when she mentioned her husband the drag queen, the woman turned and walked away without another word. My relative says she felt snubbed, and more than that, judged for who she loves. That she knows there are too many people living with that kind of hurt every day.

Instead of getting vindictive about it (or taking up one of many offers for revenge of the subtle and not-so-subtle sorts; that woman would probably keel over from apoplexy if I cheerfully detailed my odd but ultimately harmless interests), she chose to use it to steel her resolve to keep working to provide a welcoming attitude toward ALL people.

And in my own weird way, my writing is an attempt to do that, too. Most of my characters are surrounded by people who just accept them as they are; there may be some that require an adjustment period or some that get a little uptight about it it (Hi, Desmond Swanson), but for the most part, no one cares.

While I can’t remember where I saw it, I’d like to leave everyone with a little slogan I swiped from someone’s marriage equality banner as well as my relative’s new battle-cry: It’s okay, it’s just love. All means ALL.

Now, walk in love and be good to yourselves and one another.

Pre-Release Jitters

So I just got the first message–and read two of the three stories–about the Hot Summer Days project. Jen and Company are planning on releasing about 20,000 words a day from now until August 20th, and no, I don’t know when Gone To Pieces will be out.

Part of me is okay with that, and part of me is thinking that it makes it even worse because I have no idea when to start squinting through my fingers at the comment section. (I got this way after posting Anonymous Lovefest fics, too, just FYI. And hey, people loved those, so maybe it won’t be so bad.)

So far, Open Tackle and Unscheduled Maintenance are pretty good; Open Tackle is sweet, while Unscheduled Maintenance is darker/rougher but still good. (And I say that as someone who does not, as a rule, enjoy D/s stuff where the Dom is all about his own pleasure.)

I started Wanting Jack, but decided that I wasn’t interested in reading about people yelling at one another/The Big Misunderstanding at the moment. *Shrug* Currently, that’s not my cuppa, but I may go back and finish it later. Don’t let me dissuade you from checking it out, though.

And now I think I need to go poke at some fiction and go to sleep. Maybe if I let myself do something silly for a little while, I’ll be able to work on something for submission.