Something Wicked This Way Comes

Thursday, June 12, 2014

LITHA: WHERE ALL THE GOOD WITCHES SHOULD BE FOR SUMMER SOLSTICE

Recently, I've received quite a bit of email from my readers asking me questions about the Wiccan faith. I get really excited talking about Wicca. It's the fifth largest religion in the United States right now and growing larger every day. With more and more people thinking for themselves and turning away from religions of submission, Wicca and other "pagan" religions offer plausible alternatives for people who believe in higher powers and the sanctity of our planet.

Since I've been asked, I figured I'd take the upcoming holiday and use it as an example. Summer Solstice is one of the eight high holidays a Witch celebrates in the Wheel of the Year. The Wheel follows the path of Cernunnos, Lord of the Hunt, in his twin aspects of Oak King and Holly King as he woos the hand of Lady Ceridwen, the goddess. These are mythical figures used to represent deities, as well as the paths of the sun and the moon.

At midsummer when the sun is at its peak, the Oak King is at his most powerful, but he battles his rival, the Holly King and suffers a wound on the longest day (Litha). That starts the descent of the sun and by Mabon (the autumn equinox) the Holly King will be gaining power. At Yule (the winter solstice) they will fight again with the Holly King at his most powerful. Thus the two kings are at constant war for the year, and they divide it equally: half in light, half in darkness. 

At Litha, we celebrate the sun. Barbeques are really common. So are fire dances, fire circles, drumming circles, fireworks, and fire-twirling. The ultimate of celebrations, and where all the good witches should be is Circle Sanctuary's Pagan Spirit Gathering. 

America's oldest and largest nature spirituality festival, the PSG has happened for 34 years. Registration for this year's event is closed, but my all means, if you're close enough to show up, do so. They'll let you in at the gates. They're laid back folks. Good people. Read more about the festival and Circle Sanctuary.


A very happy Litha to all my kin, and blessed be to Wiccans and pagans across the globe. 

VACATION ALL I EVER WANTED, VACATION HAD TO GET AWAY...

Something that my readers and fans might not know about me... My "day job" is as the Night Manager of a hotel. This particular hotel is independently owned and operated as most are, but it's part of a franchise chain - one of the nation's largest and most well recognized. 

It's a great job for a writer to have, because I basically get paid to write. I've held the position long enough and trained my staff well enough that I can complete all of my duties for a typical night in about two hours, leaving the remainder of my eight-hour shift (about six hours) for me to research, edit, or write. And that's just sweet. Now of course there are nights when things happen and nights that aren't typical. New Year's Eve, for example. But for the most part, it's a pretty swank job and I've really benefitted by having it.



Now the other side to this is I've learned some things about the travel and hospitality industry that I never expected to learn. With the summer travel season picking up, I figured I'd share these things with all of you, my readers and friends. I hope they help you as you make your vacation and travel plans, and set off across the state or country for whatever fun or romantic destinations you may be visiting.

1. ALL HOTELS HAVE BEDBUGS. It doesn't matter if you stay at a one-star pay-by-the-hour, no-tell-motel or a five-star resort, these creepy crawlers make their way into every hotel eventually. Don't bother asking the front desk or management - they'll lie. The problem has reached epidemic proportions in the United States in the last ten years. Here's how to protect yourself and deal with the issue if you find it, unless you just want to stay at home.

First, always make reservations. Do not just "stop along the way" at a place that "looks good." That's asking for trouble. Do your research. Go to Bedbug Registry and check the hotel you want to stay at before you make reservations. When you get to your hotel, immediately upon check in, go to your bed and yank the sheets out all the way down to the mattress at the header or wherever there's furniture. Bedbugs like to burrow into things. If the mattress is covered that's a sign the hotel has treated for bugs before - it means they're taking care of the problem. A bare mattress means you need to look at the seams for bugs and dirt.

If you find bugs or evidence of bugs, collect whatever you find in a cup from the bathroom. Take them to management and request to check out. Go to another hotel, but make sure you update the registry. If the bed is clear, congrats! Stay for the night.

2. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. The difference between a $45 motel that you drive up to the door and a $400 full-service hotel is miles apart. I happen to work at a hotel that rates 3 1/2 stars on Trip Advisor. Our median price in the summertime is $100 a night after taxes, and I'm regularly amazed at what people expect for that price. Here's what they get: either a King or two Queen beds, use of an indoor pool, fitness center, business center, free WiFi throughout the hotel, complimentary USA Today, free parking, a hot breakfast that includes scrambled eggs and waffles every day, cable TV including HBO, in-room DVDs, a microwave, refrigerator, coffeemaker, hairdryer, and iron plus all regular amenities. Yet we take regular complaints from people who seem to think for $100 a night (which pays for up to 4 guests, by the way), that list I just gave should also include dry cleaning, room service, a full breakfast with meat, and pet grooming. 

My advice to you. If you just heard all that and thought, Geez, Tucker, I just want a flat bed and four walls. I eat at Waffle House if I want breakfast. Then you, my friend, can easily shop for a 2 star motel and have no fear. If the list of services and amenities I rattled off sounds great to you, and the price for up to four people sounds fair, then shop for a mid-grade hotel (3 stars). If you just read that and thought, OMG, Tucker, I can't go without a sausage biscuit and steel-cut oatmeal with fresh fruit in the morning, and I want it brought to my room while PheePhee is being clipped and polished! Then I highly suggest you shop for a 5 star hotel, and please, tip the poor souls who have to deal with your pretentious behind.

**You should always check online at Travel Coupons for the best deals on hotels. This site is not affiliated with any third party booking agencies and does not require you to register to get the coupons. 

3. TIPS. YES. YOU SHOULD LEAVE THEM. Front desk clerks at most hotels pull double and sometimes triple duty as cashiers and breakfast attendants. Oftentimes in hotels with less then 60 rooms, there's only one clerk on duty at a time, ever. That clerk is responsible for everything from checking guests in and out to resolving computer issues to handling small maintenance problems. If you make a request of that harassed and harried soul, yes. Tip them. The average wage of a front desk clerk is $9-11 an hour, without any kind of benefits. 

Remember, even though the hotel is part of a franchise, it's independently owned, so most owners do not provide insurance, and since they have less than 50 employees, they fall outside our illustrious "Obamacare" law. These employees rely on tips just like waiters and waitresses, as do the housekeepers, who make even less. A housekeeper makes minimum-$10 an hour and they're the folks cleaning your bathroom. If they do a good job, tip them. Many of them clean 15 or more rooms a day. They work hard for less than they'd earn at McDonald's. Tip, people. Tip!

4.THINK TWICE ABOUT THAT BREAKFAST. This is near and dear to my heart, because as the Night Manager I'm responsible for overseeing my facility's complimentary breakfast. And I've gone around and around with upper management about the cleanliness of our kitchen, as well as the care and handling of the breakfast food items. I thought the issues were unique to our hotel, but after speaking to several other managers at a recent business meeting, I discovered the problem was widespread. Hence why I'm including this here. 

First. Think about what you spend when you go out to a restaurant like IHOP for a family of four. Let's say everybody orders off the special menu, and everybody drinks water, and there's a coupon involved. So... maybe you could get away with eating for $25? Maybe? I'm being hella-conservative here, because when we go out - my trio and my two kids - our bill is closer to $55. But hey,like I said, conservative. Coupon. If you take the price of your hotel room, $80, and take off the cost of the the room, cleaning, laundry, use of the facilities, A/C and/or heat, overhead, there's no way that there's $25 left to pay for that breakfast I mentioned. So how does it get paid for?

Leftovers.

That's right. That's not fresh food that's put out every day. If it's not in it's own sealed package or container, then there's a good chance it was served the day, or days, before. This includes everything. Eggs, waffle batter, pastries, milk, you name it. The owner of the hotel I work for is a cheap bastard. His policy when I started was that we were never to throw food away. We were to serve it until it got eaten. Now... I won't do that. I make my staff date everything and I have set limits on how long each food item can be kept. For example, I won't serve or keep a muffin for more than five days. 

He argued about that with me, by the way. Thought I was being ridiculous.

But keep in mind that you may be better off saving your money and buying your breakfast at an actual restaurant, where food is served fresh every day.

5.IF SOMETHING ISN'T RIGHT, ASK. All too often we read comments on Trip Advisors where guests complain about things. When we contact the guest and ask them why they didn't come to the front desk and report the problem, they usually have no answer. If something goes wrong during your stay - noisy neighbors, a plugged toilet, a bed you can't sleep in, a refrigerator that's keeping you awake, a dog that barks, a smoking room when you're allergic to smoke, whatever - call or come to the front desk and give the hotel the opportunity to make things right. You may need to move to another room, you may end up with a discount. Or, you may be told that we're very sorry but we're unable to help you and you're welcome to check out... but at least give the hotel a chance to make things right. You never know - you could end up with a free night's stay or an upgraded room, and some upgrades are pretty "suite."

Alrighty. That's it. Now, if you aren't completely terrified. Go ahead and make your reservations. Maybe I'll see you on your way across the country. I'm the one behind the desk hammering away on the Gateway laptop with the external hard drive.

Cheers, kids. And... travel safely. Man. I can almost hear Vincent Price's laugh behind that. Shivers.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

THE HOUSE THAT LOVE BUILT, PART 2

We're in the process of signing the mountains of paperwork necessary to turn one of our houses over to the government and another over to a university. This seems so ridiculous to me. Not for the house we sold. That I get. Selling a house just requires that you buy a new pen and get ready to sign your name so many times that you're sick of your own signature by the end of it all. 

But why go through this mess for the house that Uncle Sam is taking? I mean... if we don't sign their papers, they're still going to demolish the neighborhood and build the interstate. So is it really necessary to waste all this paper? Couldn't we just do this?


Anyway...

We've found our dream house, made an offer, and had it accepted. It's a five bedroom, three bath beauty with a gorgeous sun room that I fully intend to transform into my new writing room. I will inevitably end up writing by moonlight instead of sunlight as I eschew the daytime hours, but that is neither here nor there. Since the sun room is far too small for the massive collection of gaming systems me, my husband, my boyfriend, and my son are all bringing into the house, there's no competition for the room. My wife and girlfriend have the front and back porch as well as the back yard for their plants. Sun room is mine.

Since we'll have children who will be coming for weekend visits, we have to add-on bedrooms in the basement yet, as well as another full bathroom. But we're looking forward to those changes. We're all so excited to start painting and putting up borders and laying carpet, all the touches that make a generic house a real home. Beige and off-white may sell a house, but we're colorful people. We like a blue kitchen and a brick red dining room, a ivy green living room and bathrooms named after animals (the Penguin, bath, the Parrot bath, and the Tiger bath are our current choices).

This, then, is the House That Love Built, the haven for polyamory that three families are constructing together. 

Doesn't look big enough, right? Looks can be deceiving. Check it out from another angle, and keep in mind that the basement stretches under the entire house and is finished.

Seems like a house that just might be able to fit five adults and three kids, huh? Well, it will be once we get those extra rooms finished. 

As we remodel, I'll keep posting pics.




As I mentioned in my last post, I've stopped editing and am now solely writing for myself. This is a HUGE change for me. I've never devoted 100% of my time and energy to writing my own work. I've got a ton of things cooking, and stories that I've planned, started, researched... and just never had the time to do anything which have languished on my flashdrives waiting for the day when I'd find time for them. 

Lots of changes coming. Dust & Ash is the first work that will be completed. I'm seriously considering self-publishing it at this point, only because I'm not willing to give up half my royalties and most of the control so that it can be butchered. I'm working with a graphic designer now to get a website up, at which point this blog will get merged into that. Big changes coming kids! See what happens when the government decides to build a interstate? All hell breaks loose.

That's the end of this update. See you later, Darklings. Enjoy the beginning of summer and as always... Be well. ~ Tux




Saturday, May 24, 2014

THE HOUSE THAT LOVE BUILT, & an Update for the End of May

My wonderful readers, fans, and friends -

It's the end of May 2014, and I can't believe the time has gone so quickly. I haven't been posting new material on GA as much as I'd like, which means you all don't see the work I'm doing. But believe me, there is work going on, and soon - very soon - you're going to see it. 

Better, you're going to be able to READ IT.

I'm currently finishing up two editing contracts. One is for the Young Adult series called Upstaged. If you have teens or if you simply like stories about bands and young gay guys, I highly recommend you check out this series written by SL Danielson & Nephylim.


Upstaged: Opening Act

Upstaged: Waiting in the Wings
The third book in the series is called Duet. I'm not yet sure of the release date, but when I have it and a cover, I'll post it up. A total of 12 books have been written in this series and will be slowly released over the next few years.

The other book I'm editing right now is the third and final installment in the Nighttime series by MA Church. The first two books were not edited by me, however they were fairly successful and well-liked. Since it's a series, I do recommend you purchase them and read them before reading the third book. That way you'll be able to fully appreciate the richness of the world MA has built. 


Nighttime Wishes

 
Nighttime Dreams
The third book is called Nighttime Promises and is scheduled to come out on July 8, 2014. This date is significant because the series is about aliens, and July 8th is the date aliens supposedly crashed a UFO in Roswell, NM back in 1947. Keep in mind this is MA's first alien trilogy, published before The Harvest. If you want to read her first foray into inter-species love, this is it, & I'm proud to be editing the final installment.

That leads me to my next announcement. I won't be doing any further editing after June 1, 2014 except on a very limited freelance basis. This means I'll be devoting all my time to writing, subbing my written work out to publishers, and promoting my published works. I've spent quite a bit of my time over the last five years helping other authors get published and achieve their dreams of reaching that coveted "bestseller" status. The trouble is, time spent helping others is time taken away from my own writing, often with little to no compensation. While I've enjoyed working on those projects, getting to know those authors, and extending my network of friends within this industry, it's not getting my work published and it's not putting my books in the hands of paying readers.

If you are interested in hiring me as an editor or researcher after June 1, you can email me the synopsis/proposal of your project plus your outline and your first chapter and I'll get back to you with a time frame and a final price quote. My prices are based on the Editorial Freelancers Association. Please feel free to use my prices as a guideline when hiring an editor for any self-publishing venture, by the way. Any good editor worth hiring should be willing to work either by the hour or by word count, and should be able to give you samples of their work, as well as provide references: current, satisfied, published clients. If they can't, don't hire them.


EDITING
Editing, basic copyediting5-10 ms pgs/hr$30-40/hr
2¢-4¢/wd
Editing, heavy copyediting2–5 ms pgs/hr$40–50/hr
4¢-10¢/wd
Editing, website copyediting$40-50/hr
4¢-10¢/wd
Editing, developmental1–5 pgs/hr$40–60/hr
4¢-20¢/wd
Editing, substantive or line1–6 ms pgs/hr$40–60/hr
4¢-20¢/wd
FACT CHECKING$30-40/hr



MANUSCRIPT EVALUATION$45-55/hr


PROOFREADING9-13 ms pgs/hr$30-40/hr
2¢-4¢/wd
RESEARCHING$40-75/hr
TRANSCRIBINGvariable$3-5/pg


WRITING1-3 ms pgs/hr
Writing, fiction$40-50/hr
20¢-50¢/wd
Writing, ghostwriting$50-60/hr
50¢-80¢/wd
Writing, erotica
$40-50/hr
20¢-50¢/wd
Writing, journalism$40-50/hr
20¢-50¢/wd
Writing, medical$60-70/hr
80¢-95¢/wd
Writing, nonspecified$40-100/hr
20¢-$2/wd
Writing, technical/trade$50-60/hr
50¢-80¢/wd

After June 1 I'll be devoting the majority of my time to writing, and man am I looking forward to that! The only other hurdle in my path is the two-house-in-two-state move I'm coordinating. As I mentioned in my last blog post, we're losing a home to an eminent domain campaign. 



Eminent domain is the power to take private property by a state or national government. It's not a new concept; its existed for over 2000 years. James Madison wrote the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution as an attempt to curtail abuses of this power. He explicitly mandated there must be compensation for the property, and that the government could only take property for "public use." 

Compensation has since been argued to mean "fair market value," a phrase that itself means the price that a willing but unpressured buyer would pay a willing but unpressured seller in a voluntary transaction, with both parties fully informed of the property's good & bad features. "Public use" means the property taken must be used to benefit the public rather than specific individuals.

Our home and the other homes in our neighborhood are being taken for a massive roadway expansion project. This is one of the most common eminent domain campaigns, and impossible to fight. Everybody uses roads. That doesn't make it any less inconvenient, though. 


Because of this event, we're using the opportunity to combine our household with that of another, the couple with whom I fell in love last year. We're turning a traumatic event into something exciting, an adventure for our families. As any of you who've followed and read my writing knows, I'm a huge advocate of polyamory and an outspoken polyamorist myself. So I'm blogging about "The House That Love Built," and I hope over the next month as the move gets closer and throughout the summer as we move in and combine our families, this will be a unique and interesting process that you all enjoy sharing with us.

That's all. Update complete. Happy Memorial Day. Eat watermelon, have BBQ, enjoy the memories of those no longer with us. READ BOOKS!

Be Well -
Tucker

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

REJECTED, BANNED AND ACCESS DENIED

Every time I return to this blog I vow to do better about writing on it. The truth is, I never wanted a blog. I was told I had to have one, and it was repeated over and over by so many people so many times that I finally created one. But you know what? I think they were full of shit. I've never been good at journaling and I barely have time to keep up with my social media - which I do enjoy and get involved with, and can therefore be myself on - so this whole, "Tucker, you have to have a blog to be successful" thing is just a load of crap. I think I'd be much better off having somebody create a website for me and pay them to maintain it, rather than this blog that I neglect outrageously.

Which leads me to the first part of my update. 


Sigh. Yet another round of rejections on the Feywild Faerie Tales. This makes three now (a total of six publishers) and I'm struggling to understand just what exactly I'm doing or not doing. When editors from different publishers give you advice that is directly in conflict, it's kind of impossible to know if any of the advice is actually sound, or if its all just their whims. And that makes me want to scream, because then I wonder well shit, if somebody else had read it, somebody who had a greater liking or understanding of fantasy or fantasy tropes, would I be looking at a contract now instead of this confusing email? And if I weren't so determined to see it available in print - if I were willing to settle for a digital only release - I have no doubt it would be out by now. But I am determined. So I continue to deal with:


That was the month of March.

April was even more fun.

I was trying to think of ways to be more engaged with my blog and several of my writer-type friends (or perhaps acquaintances is a better word) suggested I join the Wednesday Flashers. I know the group, of course. I've edited for several of them and even more are authors on GA where I'm an author. However there was a huge stumbling block to me joining the group. It's run by Julie Lynn Hayes. As the first Editor-In-Chief at Romance First Publishing, she was my boss when I originally went to work there back in early 2012. Then I took a contract editing a series she was writing called Forbidden and she became one of my authors.

Long story short, Julie and I have completely opposite working styles, and we were utterly unsuited to working together. This was abundantly clear to me after doing the first few installments of her series. The trouble was, it wasn't so clear to her since she was putting forth minimum effort & getting great editing that she didn't have to pay for (and guess what? the publisher never paid me either!) So after five months of this nonsense and five months of no payment, I quit. I went to the only other employee of the publishing house - the president - and asked to be let out of my contract. Below is the email Julie sent me. Keep in mind she was supposedly the Editor-In-Chief of a publishing house, and my boss, when she sent this.

Sent: 7/1/2012 8:56:46 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: disappointed
Tucker,

I am not only disappointed and frustrated but I am very hurt that you could not discuss this with me, as an adult - I'm not even counting the brief flurry of text messages we exchanged - but you chose to skulk behind my back and then stab me in that same back.

We should have been able to work this out, but you chose not to, for whatever reasons, whether it was because you didn't want to work on Forbidden any more (although I asked and you said you liked it), you didn't want to work with me any more, or.... what? I'm at a loss.

Is it because I do not conform to your ideas of what a writer should or shouldn't do, because I choose not to outline? I apologized for running so late this month, and I said I'd do better, but I also said, in all honesty, I couldn't swear to being able to conform to a schedule. And because I told you this, you chose to dump me like yesterday's trash?

You went behind my back to Stephanie, and that was a place you should never have gone because there are things you don't even know. Doing this has probably cost you, for reasons I won't even go into.

The point is that I liked how you edited Forbidden, I enjoyed working with  you, and I wanted to do better. But you couldn't be bothered to talk to me, so I guess that tells me what you really thought of me.

Tuck, we all have our problems, everyone does, and I understand that. You're a wonderful editor, no doubt about it. But from where I stand, you have no heart, no soul, and no conscience, and a definite lack of people skills. I thought I was bad, but I would never have done what you did.

I'm guessing you just don't care about editing for RFP. No, not because you shafted your EIC, but because I was your biggest and only supporter. I hope that in the future you'll think twice before you do this to anybody else.

Have a good life, Tuck.

Sincerely,

Julie L. Hayes

I took over as Editor-In-Chief when she left RFP, and she's held a grudge ever since. I explained this to several members of the Flashers, but they insisted they could "get me in" to the group. After numerous emails back and forth, I bit the bullet, humbled myself, and took the plunge. I emailed Julie requesting entry into the Flashers.

Here's the email I received back.

Sent: 4/27/2014 10:43:25 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: Re: Wednesday Flashers
Mx. McCallahan,

After careful consideration of your request, I must reluctantly deny it, as I do not think it would be in the best interests of the group. I wish you luck in finding another flash fiction group to join. I'm sorry this did not work out for you.

Take care.
Julie L. Hayes

Two years has certainly improved her manners. But I imagine she had a little happy going on as she hit send. And what that email amounted to was this:

I sent an email to those authors I'd edited for and rubbed elbows with on GA, to let them know what had happened. If it were me, I'd want to know that the leader of a group I belonged to was keeping people out based on her personal grudges rather than their writing skills or lack thereof. Unsurprisingly, even those Flashers who had been so sure they could get me into the group had nothing to say about the situation, and I'm sure not a one of them said a single word to Julie or challenged her decision.

This is why I don't belong to many groups. I get disenchanted with how despicable people are pretty easily.

And now we're on to May. 

My family gets to deal with the lovely concept known as "eminent domain." For anyone who doesn't know what that is... Google it. I'm not teaching a civics class here and I'm still too angry about what's going on to be able to write about it reasonably. I'm also too damn busy helping to pack up a huge house that a ton of people have called home for eight years...

The jist is this: the government has decided they'd like the land on which my family's house sits. So we have to leave because they're taking it. Period. We have until the end of June to relocate. 


Gonna be one helluva summer.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Dreams - an essay

Dreams

 

I dreamt about you last night.
 
I don't really remember much of the dream, but that's pretty common as far as dreams go.
I just know you were there and it was definitely sexual.
I saw your face with my mind's eye, exquisitely detailed, so real it was real, at least for a little while.
I must have known I was dreaming because a terrible urgency gripped me, a need to stay with you and hold onto you for as long as I could before you disappeared.
 
I knew you'd disappear.
 
But just for a little while I had you all to myself and it was so good, so right.
Your lips touched my face, the soft hairs of your beard brushed my cheek.
Your deep voice filled my ears even though I don't remember what it was you said to me.
I woke to your scent surrounding me, the phantom press of your body against me, wishing dark hairs clung to my pillow.
 
I don't want to admit I miss you, but I do, terribly.
So badly that I can't think about you at all.
I've put you and all our memories away, locked them up tight in a dark cavern at the back of my mind.
I can't bear having them intrude into my life now.
I have to consider you lost to me, dead, or the anguish in my heart is too much to bear.
 
I remember our last conversation, the one where you divorced yourself from me and my needs.
My horrible anger is fresh as new snow with each recollection. 
You said there was nothing you could do.
The truth was there was nothing you were willing to do.
You chose to withdraw, and I'll hate you for that, hate you for being weak when I needed you to be strong, hate you until it stops hurting...
Hate you, hate you...
Hate you, hate you...
 
If you feel everything intensely, ultimately you feel nothing at all.
That was your fear for us.
I'd love you so hard and fast that I'd use up all the available love like it was some kind of fossil fuel in limited supply.
Now instead of years, months, weeks, or even just days of the purest, truest love, we have nothing.
 
I wonder if you ever think about me; if you ever miss the way I touched you.
In the quiet darkness I ponder whether you miss my voice or the scent of my skin.
Somehow, I am very sure you do not.
I offered you my soul and you gave me an orgasm.
Not a very fair trade from someone who once relished being my Personal Jesus.
 
I don't want to lay eyes on you again.
It would be best for my sanity if I did not.
So why, at night, when I have no control, am I flooded with visions of your face, sensations created by your body?
How is it possible you fight me even from inside my own skull?
 
I dreamt about you last night.
 
And you abandoned me again.

Monday, February 10, 2014

DUST & ASH CH 65 - Why My Readers Should Love My Delays

It's Monday, so all my readers will be expecting their weekly dose of Dust & Ash at some point today. I hate to disappoint them, but it's not going to happen and here's why.

Chapter 65, titled Broken Wings, is the chapter where Dustin and Tyler confront each other after eight long years of separation. More than that, though, that separation has included some pretty horrific events, culminating in Matt getting shot and losing a lung.

Originally when I wrote chapter 65 the entire thing took place in the mental ward at Western Psych, with a small scene between Dust and Ash afterward. It was heavy and high-handed, and when I went back and re-read it, I couldn't reconcile what happened after Dustin went to see Tyler in that facility with everything that went before. It wasn't logical and it didn't make sense. Now don't get me wrong. I know that a lot of time in real life, especially during moments of real stress, people don't make sense. They say some pretty stupid shit, actually, or are funny, or so poignant and heart-breaking you could weep in the men's room.

All that said, when I went back in my revision process and asked myself, "What can I do to make this chapter work better? What can I do to make the confrontation between Dustin and Tyler believable in the eyes of the reader?" The answer was pretty clear.

I needed to tell the real story of what happened that night so long ago between the two of them. Because really, at this point all we've heard is Favian, Ash's private investigator, report the story based on the info in the court papers. We've gotten some very skewed commentary on what happened from Dustin, fed by his never-ending and all-consuming guilt over what he did to the first male he ever loved. But we're never had a non-partisan, omniscient opinion of the actual events that transpired...

Because I've never told it.

Some astoundingly important things happened that night. When you think about it, so many peoples' lives hinge on the events of 10/31/02 that it's really imperative that the reader know the full truth and not just wonder throughout the rest of the series. And I'm not just talking about Dustin, Tyler, and Ash. I'm talking about Micah, Gregos, Matt & Star, Arden & Jazz, and characters the reader has heard about but never met in person, like Dustin's entire biological family. Even his old boyfriend Miroslav was effected by that night.

Because I've chosen to add this major event to the chapter... There was no way I could have it ready for posting today. I've just now gotten around to revising the newly rewritten part of the chapter and still need to do a final edit on it. Then my Beta reader gets it so she can find all the mistakes I read over. 65 will post next week. While I'm sorry for the delay, take the time to gird yourselves against what's coming, my fair, fine, and intrepid readers. My Valentine's treat to everybody: a story to break your hearts.

Baby, don't understand why we can't just hold onto each other's hands.
This time might be the last, I fear, unless I make it all so clear:
I need you so...


Baby, I think tonight we can take what was wrong and make it right.
Baby, it's all I know, that you're half of the flesh and blood that makes me whole.
I need you so...


See you next Monday! Dust & Ash at GayAuthors.org