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?”

Vote in Smut Marathon Round 2

Smut Marathon Writing Round 2 has now closed, and voting for your favorite story is now open when you click this link here.

The assignment for round 2 is:
Write a micro-fiction story using any one of the entries from the first round.

Specific requirements:

– the entry you use should NOT be your own
– the entry you use should NOT be altered
– the number of words does not include that of the entry you choose to use
– your flash fiction story is a maximum of 100 words plus that of the entry you choose
– give your story a two-word title
– when you send in your story, please also mention the number of the entry you have used from the first round

Smut Marathon 2018
Smut Marathon 2018

As in the first round, you can vote for the three entries you liked best. There are 62 short stories and after this round of voting closes on March 10th, 2018, only the top 40 authors by combined point totals of the first two rounds, will move on to round 3.

Please vote and tell all your friends as well. The more people vote, the better all the writers will feel. 🙂

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 Envelope please…

The first round of Smut Marathon 2018 is now complete, and the results of the voting are in. You can read the complete post here, but I wanted to share my entry — legal now per the rules — and where my erotic metaphor placed in the totals out of the 75 entries.

I was surprised how few readers actually voted, only 162 were tabulated. That’s an order of magnitude that should be at least 100 times higher. I was hoping for votes in the tens of thousands. My entry is towards the bottom of the pack, but I’m still happy with what I wrote.

6) Quenched

Lust is a fiery blast furnace; vaginal walls a silken vise squeezing erect steel rods, tempering the spermatozoal geysers jetting potential life in the primordial cauldron that is passion’s fury.

The second round secret assignment is also open today and will close on March, 3rd 2018. The voting for the second round will begin on Sunday, March 4th, 2018 and close on Saturday, March 10th, 2018. After the results of the second round are tabulated, the writers receiving the fewest votes combined for the first two rounds will be eliminated. According to the rules, the total number of eligible writers will be reduced from 75 to 40 for rounds 3 and 4.

Now the polls are open: Smut aweigh!

The first round of writing has now closed and voting is available at this link here. Between Sunday, Feb 11th and Saturday, Feb 17th, you can read all 75 entries for Round 1 of Smut Marathon 2018. All the entries are anonymous — mine included — and your task as a voter, is to choose the top three that best meets the assignment. Please consider leaving feedback for the authors, your comments will be posted after the polls close.

Writer’s Assignment Round 1: Write an Erotic Metaphor
Specific requirements:
– only one sentence
– give your text a one-word title
– your text with the metaphor is a maximum of 30 words (excluding title)

Writers are not allowed to tell anyone which entry they have written!
You can only vote once.
The voting round closes on 17 February 2018 at 23.00 CET
Results of the voting round will be published on this site on 18 February 2018 and then will announce the author of each metaphor.

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

What rhymes with sixty-nine?

Eighty-nine, of course.

*crickets*

Okay, so my puns are terrible. What’s not terrible is eighty-nine; as in, eighty nine writers signed up for Smut Marathon 2018.

89!!!!!!

Marie Rebelle — who is running the Marathon, in charge, not actually lacing up sneakers — posted the submitted bios of all the writers in this very cool post you can find by clicking here.

I briefly touched on the rules in this post here, but an easy way to follow along is to subscribe to the Smut Marathon blog. I will be posting helpful links as well. Below is another brief recap of the rules.

Jan. 28-2018 Start assignment 1
Feb. 10-2018 End assignment 1

Feb. 11-2018 Start voting round 1
Feb. 17-2018 End voting round 1

Round 1 + 2: All participants [89 total]
Round 3 + 4: 55 participants
Round 5 + 6: 45 participants
Round 7: 25 participants
Round 8: 18 participants
Round 9: 12 participants
Round 10: 8 participants

Feb. 18-2018 Start assignment 2
March 3-2018 End assignment 2

March 4-2018 Start voting round 2
March 10-2018 End voting round 2

The absolute most important rule is: you never ever tell anyone which story you have written. If you want to post a story you have written for the Smut Marathon on your blog, you do so only AFTER the results of the voting round have been announced.

The assignment/task is a secret and will be revealed when all stories are posted on the Smut Marathon website at the start of a voting round.

The voting round opens between 12pm and 3pm on the day after the writing round has closed and it lasts a week. Voting is done on the Smut Marathon website and in each round voters have to choose three stories. You are allowed to promote the Smut Marathon and ask people to vote, but you are not allowed to tell anyone which story you have written.

When you read the entries during the voting round, please take the time to leave some feedback. We want the writers to learn something from this experience and therefore feedback is very important. Feedback like ‘nice story’ or ‘I liked them all’ is nice to get, but writers don’t learn anything from that. If you could leave feedback like ‘maybe you could vary the length of your sentences’ or ‘it would be easier to read when you use more punctuation marks’ or other constructive and instructive feedback will be highly appreciated.

All comments on the site are moderated, which means that feedback will only become visible after a voting round has closed. This is to make sure other voters are not influenced in their choices of stories because of the feedback on the site.

Smut Marathon 2018
Smut Marathon 2018

In training for the Smut Marathon

Like elite athletes the world over, I too am focusing my attention on an upcoming gathering of the best. I am pumping iron, downing kale and egg-white shakes and abstaining from sex. All in the hope of going for gold at the Smut Marathon.

I don’t recall that sport being listed in the Olympic program. It’s not, and I’m not in training for anything more strenuous than feeding the cats. Smut Marathon however, is a real event and is taking place at this link.

A brief summation of the rules: [Bold emphasis mine]

There are two kinds of ’rounds’ during the Smut Marathon – a writing round and a voting round.
The writing marathon consists of 10 writing rounds and 10 voting rounds. Each writing round is followed by a voting round.
Before the start of the first writing round, all participants will receive an email containing the rules and schedule of the Smut Marathon. There will be no deviation from the schedule.
At the start of a writing round, participants will be sent an assignment by email. The email will mention the closing date and time for the assignment, as well as the number of words allowed and any other specific requirements.
Participants are not to speak about an assignment until the voting round starts.
Participants are not to tell anyone which story is theirs, until after the voting round has closed.
During a writing round, one or more reminder emails will be sent to participants who have not yet submitted their stories.
If your story is not sent in on time, you will automatically be disqualified from the Smut Marathon.
The day after the closing date of the writing round, the voting round opens.
Voting is done by means of a survey and in all rounds readers have to choose the best three stories.
The voting round lasts one week and the results will be announced the day after the voting round has closed.
When announcing the outcome of a voting round, we also reveal the authors of the stories.
Depending on the number of participants allowed in a round, the participants with the least amount of points will have to leave the Smut Marathon.
The remaining participants will receive the assignment for the next written round.

The most important rule, is to not tell anyone about which story is theirs until after the voting is closed in order to make it fair for everyone. The complete rules are at this link here.

The total maximum number of words increases with each round.

Rounds 1+2: maximum 30-100 words
Rounds 3+4: maximum 150-300 words
Rounds 5+6: maximum 300-650 words
Round 7: maximum 650 – 800 words
Round 8: maximum 800 – 1000 words
Round 9: maximum 1200 – 1750 words
Round 10: maximum 2000-2500 words

Sun, 28 Jan 2018 until Sat, 10 Feb 2018
Writing Round 1

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 until Sat, 17 Feb 2018
Voting Round 1

Subscribe to the Smut Marathon blog here, and when the voting starts, please read the stories and choose the top three you feel completed the assignment the best. Also, please consider providing feedback as all writers like to have their work noticed.

One final note, I will be entering my stories as Bryon Cane, not Lurv Spanking, although, as the rules clearly state, all entries are anonymous until after the voting is completed.

Let me wipe the sweat off my brow, this writing stuff is hard. I need a nap.

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.