It always pays to take care of your tools

Monday Writing Prompt from Clarian Press.

The constant drip-drip of melting ice filtered through her consciousness; the first day of spring, and snow lay heavy beneath the fragrant pines. The circuit training had payed off as she dragged the wrapped bundle down into a hollow, huffing frosty steam from her panting mouth. It was a moot question now: Would she have fallen so hard if she’d known his secret from the beginning? The razor sharp edge of the shovel bit into the softening ground. By the time some hunter stumbled across the remains next fall, she’d be long gone. Rather sardonically, she addressed her statement to the murder of crows cawing out questions of her. “If I wanted vanilla, I’d have ordered ice cream, instead of a man who thought it was funny — after he fucked me — I actually believed he was a Dom.”

Do you need a prompt to write?

I most frequently write to prompts, at least for blog posts. There is a new prompt, offered by Clarian Press, called:

Based upon a snippet of conversation: “The first prompt is a piece of dialogue that I overheard once when I was in the public library. It was many years ago, but I can still envisage the little old lady who asked the question of one of the librarians!”, the prompt is as follows.

There are many obvious lines that spring to mind.

1. “Why yes, he gives me a pedicure every day.”
2. “He is quite handy. My feet enjoy the massage.”
3. “Shhhh. He has a fetish for toes. His tongue tickles.”

Moving on [or up] from feet, you can take an erotic turn with different genders.

4. “I need his mechanical expertise. The power drill has a dildo attachment.”
5. “That’s why I wear short skirts and go commando. He cleans up my cum.”
6. “I need relief from the stress, and he loves to suck my cock.”

You can also try more societal lines.

7. “Ever since the new computers were installed, IT has been camping out.”
8. “I can never remember which plug goes where. He is handy.”
9. “Nothing like a tool belt slung off a tight pair of jeans.”

Of course, being fixated on spanking, I prefer to utilize discipline with my prompts.

“Do you always keep a man under your desk? How handy!”
“Well, Lorraine, I got sick and tired of people making up excuses for tardy book returns.”
“Oh really? Does he pop out like a harlequin and scare them into complying?”
“No, hardly. He puts the patrons over his knee and gives them a good old-fashioned paddling. One whack per penny due!”
“Goodness gracious! Sounds like my dear departed Elmer. How I miss that man.”
“In that case, Lorraine, this Agatha Christie is overdue by an hour.”
“I see. Rules are rules.”
“Exactly. Glad you agree.”
“Oh my. He is a handsome devil, isn’t he. What else does he do under your desk?”

Writing for Readers

I’m both a reader and writer; more of the former than latter. I’ve always maintained that there is no such genre as fiction, primarily because actual fictional prose would be incomprehensible. Not so much in terms of language or syntax — even that makes sense when done correctly — but in the shared human existence. When we read, we filter the story through our own biases and empirical history. Even if we have no relevant parallel to the narrative, we can still imagine the scenario and empathize with the fictional characters.

As a writer, the question becomes: Do you write ‘what you know’, or create an entire landscape with no semblance to reality? The most successful books, screenplays and movies, are either lushly detailed fantasies set in exotic realms far away, or romantic struggles that echo the common frustration and exhilaration of finding that special life-partner. “Know your audience” is drummed into every hack that has ever put stylus to papyrus. There is no magic formula for writing; just hard work and placing word after word until the manuscript is completed.

Last year at this time, I was working on a short story for a Sexy Little Pages submission called “Corrupted”. The editor, Charlie Powell, broadcast the following information.

“Since the beginning of time, everything has been promised to liberate women has also been accused of corrupting them. Think suffrage, trousers, the pill, the internet, feminism, learning to drive, owning a house, having a bank account, working… Or, more recently, alcohol consumption and selfie culture. I’m looking for fresh and sexy takes on these issues, along with anything else that women have been criticised for doing.”

I started blocking out a plot, who, where, when and why. The lead character is in the title: Ghosting past Emily. As always, that came first. The ghosting refers not to specters haunting a dark mansion, but the practice of deliberately — and without warning — dropping all electronic contact with someone.

The place, San Francisco. Silicon Valley. Emily is in tech, not programming though. She’s Japanese-American, another strike, and lastly, a dominatrix on the side. All the ingredients needed to raise the hackles of white male dominated corporations. The irony is, this was written before that bastion of power and sex started to crumble under the relentless onslaught of pissed off women.

My short story of 3,900 words was accepted for inclusion in September, 2017 and Ghosting past Emily is now available for pre-order from Amazon Kindle for $3.99. The publication date for the Corrupted anthology is March 8th, 2018.

byron-cane

I didn’t choose the sentence in the graphic, by the way. I’m unsure as to how much if any of my story I can share, so for now, that will have to do.

The truth about editing

It sucks.

I mean; it really sucks.

You work really hard on a story, send it to someone, and they go; “Meh”.

I write a variety of things; poetry, essays, flash fiction, short stories and long-format novellas and novels. But no matter how meticulous I craft my narrative and characters, there is always room for improvement. The key is finding the right editor.

For me, it’s Ina Morata of Clarian Press. She has a keen intellect and an extensive depth to both grammar and vocabulary [albeit of the English-English language variety, which leads to interesting discussions when Americanisms crop up] along with a historical literary provenance, that creates a template for how a story should read.

The most important lesson I’ve learned from having my work edited by numerous people, is that the only goal an author should have, is to seek the best possible result. If an edit makes for a better book, then make the change and don’t mourn your original efforts.

Nearly as important though as a writer, is to find your ‘voice’; the style in which you are most proficient. That voice needs to be a solid base so that no matter how much editing is done, it is still recognizable as your own. A good editor trims the excess, prunes back the prose so that new growth and grafts make the finished product even more fruitful. Writing is not about word count, it is about making each word important and integral to the story.

I always start my long-format fiction in flash style. I think of it as splashing paint on a canvas. It’s not meant to be perfect, or even coherent. It’s an experiment to see if the characters and plot have potential. The more you write, the more you cast off. There’s nothing wrong with that. Always seeking the perfect first draft is guaranteed to make it impossible to ever finish anything. Imperfection is not only inevitable, but essential to editing.

What I call a first draft is a misnomer. Before I submit a piece of fiction, long or short, the manuscript has normally been ‘edited’ by myself at least a dozen times. I swap chapters, change tenses, substitute narrative for dialog and vice-versa. My style, my voice, has developed into exploring the emotional bonds we create and the consequences of our actions. I don’t fill in the background normally; the physical aspects of the characters, the detailed clothing or places they inhabit. I enjoy reading books that do so, but for me, as a writer, I don’t think in those terms when creating.

A good editor partners with the author by taking that first draft, reading it, then breaking it down into various components. Keep. Change. Discard. While ultimately the decision remains with the author, by explaining the whys, an editor guides the prose into becoming stronger and better. The mantra, “If it makes a better book, any change is good”, is very helpful in taking personality and emotion out of the process. Which leads back to the title of this post.

The truth about editing, is that it is extremely difficult and fraught with feeling: if you allow yourself to believe your first draft is perfect. It’s not. It’s only a starting point. Having other eyes read your work can be intimidating, but the payoff can be a spectacular result.

Happy writing,

Byron Cane

State of Writing

It’s been awhile since I last posted here. Too long, in fact. I could blame the holidays and working full-time, but I won’t. The truth is I got lazy and then decided — in retrospect — that is was a much needed sabbatical.

For me, writing has never been a burning passion. Must. Write. Now. That’s not me. It’s not to say I don’t have ideas and plots whirling around my head, I do, but I prefer to wait until the concepts become clearer; rather than jotting down every scrap that bubbles through the daily chaos. I need serenity in order to create. Calm yields prose.

I have dialed back posting on my other blog, Spank Me Hard… Please?, and am only posting four drabbles a week of The Bumhampton Chronicles and the Wicked Wednesday prompts.

As 2018 gathers steam however, there are several other projects that are in process. The first is a novel, Kismet of Submission, which I have recently finished editing from flash fiction episodes on my blog, into a beta draft as a long-form novel. You can still read the original first two posts by clicking this link, but the other episodes were removed from public viewing. My plan is have a completed draft of 90-100k words by the fall, in order to submit the manuscript for possible publication. If you would like join my group of beta readers, you may comment on this post, or send me an email by using the Contact Form on this blog. I am seeking feedback, comments and critiques on Kismet of Submission and all viewpoints are welcome.

In the meanwhile, the next fiction of mine to be published in ereader format, will be the novella, The Case of the Disciplined Valentine. This has been published before; it was part of the Lust in Lace anthology in January, 2017. In the anthology, the title is Sir MacRath Thrashes his Valentine, but I have changed the title in order to bring the novella into line with other future works. The Case of the Disciplined Valentine will be published in several weeks by Clarian Press. Stay tuned for the cover reveal, excerpts and ordering information. There is a page on Clarian Press, click here, with extra content. The novella itself, is only slightly different from the anthology, but you can purchase either or both for your collection.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, this is Byron Cane.

Take a FREE peek inside Stephanie

No, not that kinda peeking. Perverts. 😉

No, the peek inside my soon-to-be published novella, The Spanking Misadventures of Stephanie. You can click this link to download a FREE copy containing the first 5 Chapters of Stephanie. The entire novella will be available for download to your ereader from various vendors by Cyber Monday, November 27th, 2017. If you are a book reviewer or would like to receive an advance copy in order to publicize Stephanie on your social platforms, Amazon or Goodreads, please contact Ina Morata [Owner, Editor, Publisher of Clarian Press] at this contact link to send an email of query for an ARC. The excerpt below the picture is a teaser from Chapter 4.

FREE Chapter 1-5 of Stephanie

“Too many people were trying out various spoons and cutting boards. So we created the separate, adults-only Triple D Club — Discipline Department Dungeon — for all our valued spankos. You can fill out a membership card online.” He reached a locked door and pressed a code into the keypad. “Here we are. All the kitchen and bath utensils gathered in one place. We have large screen televisions, refreshments and plenty of chairs and tables. The only caveat is no completely bare bottomed spanking: we are a family store after all. Thongs or wedgies are fine, just no flashing of private parts please. Have fun and thank you for shopping at Everyday Goods.”

WIP it Wednesday: A date with Stephanie

You are cordially invited to Stephanie’s grand unveiling this coming November 27th, 2017. Her starring turn in, The Spanking Misadventures of Stephanie, will be available for download by Clarian Press as an ebook on Kindle, iBooks, Nook, Kobo and through other digital platforms.

In addition, a paperback edition will be available for purchase in January, 2018 just in time for Valentine’s Day. In the meantime, enjoy the following excerpt which begins Stephanie’s Misadventures. [Please note, WordPress doesn’t format from Word without adding whole bunches of HTML coding.]

Chapter One

Early one weekday morning, Stephanie hummed happily as she admired her curves in the mirror — I am not overweight. In her typical, perky manner — thick hair swishing against her lower back — she bounced out the front door, only to crash headlong into Mrs. Garcia, who was on her way to daycare with her three-year-old twins. “Sorry, Mrs. Garcia!” Stephanie exclaimed. “I didn’t see you standing there!”
“How many times do I have to tell you to be careful?” Mrs. Garcia scolded her young next-door neighbor. “I don’t have time to properly punish you right now.” She glanced down at her watch with an annoyed frown. “But I can spare a minute or two. You are always in need of a good spanking, young lady.”
Stephanie slumped and hung her head, her long, straight brunette tresses hiding her blushing face. She reached in her Givenchy bag and pulled out a large boar bristle olivewood hairbrush.
“It’s too bad you’re so impulsive, Stephanie. Your brush sees the bulk of the action applied to your bottom rather than the bristles through your lovely locks.”
“Yes, ma’am.” Stephanie’s polite agreement ran in tandem with handing over the implement to the impatient hand. She spared a quick smile for the twins, who sat contentedly in a double stroller, suckling pacifiers as their mother rolled up her sleeves and prepared to swat.
“Hello,” From behind her, Stephanie heard a door close, and a deep voice she recognized only too well, got closer. “I see Stephanie has been naughty again.”
Mr. Johnson was her other fifth-floor next-door neighbor. An older gentleman, he treated Stephanie as a surrogate daughter.
“Yes, Sam,” sighed Mrs. Garcia. “She’s so clumsy. Would you mind watching the twins while I take Stephanie back inside for her spanking?”
“Not a problem. You know I love babysitting.”
Stephanie watched with a smidge of envy as Mr. Johnson cooed and winked at the twins, who promptly launched into a detailed conversation, which only their friends in daycare could possibly comprehend, of the merits of ice cream versus peas.
“Back inside your apartment, Stephanie, and assume the position,” barked Mrs. Garcia.
Stephanie — well-versed in the myriad of spanking positions after the past year of regular discipline — put both hands high upon the entryway wall, strained on tiptoe and thrust her skirted bottom out nice and proper for chastisement.
Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack! Smack!
The hard weight bounced rigorously off her resilient cheeks.
“Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow! Ow!” cried Stephanie, as sixty hard spanks were rapidly delivered in less than a minute. “Thank you, Mrs. Garcia for correcting my errant behavior.” Her earnestness was evident as she rubbed the flame in her nether cheeks. “I appreciate your concern for my well-being.”