Aug 302009
 

Okay, you need the set-up for this one. I was Twittering with Carrie Lofty and one thing led to another and I promised her I’d have one of my characters speak the penultimate line here. Now, the dude who speaks it isn’t a regular character; he’s just passing through — no matter HOW much you like him. So… I still owe her that. It’ll come around Halloween. Yep, I’m planning early this year. In the meantime, blame ALL this on Carrie. And then go out and buy her book.

Look. I own what’s essentially a porn store. I mean, I sell plenty of other things, like my signature massage oils and candles, and there are days when my wigs and outerwear sell more than the sex toys in the back room. Not many, but they happen. It’s the bath salts and the silk stockings. Once you start using them, you’re hooked forever.

So what I’m trying to say is that I get plenty of shady characters in my store. Over the years, I’ve come to know most of them, if not by name then by sight. Most usually by preference in brand of rubbers. Not all of them are as shady as they look. In fact, the metal heads are usually the ones who’ll turn the shoplifters in.

Having a band like ShapeShifter come from this city’s been good for us in a lot of ways.

Mom and I were alone in the front lounge when he walked in. We didn’t know what to call him other than Robin Hood. I mean, he was wearing green, even down to the tights. He sorta looked like that cartoon version of Robin Hood where Robin was played by a fox. A cartoon fox.

It wasn’t Halloween. It wasn’t a night when the drag queens would be flooding the Rocket Theater. And even if they had been, no one dressed up like Robin Hood. Maid Marion, definitely. I’ve had to order those fancy dresses for some of my regulars.

I slid around the counter and followed Robin Hood into the toy room. Allegra was taking inventory of the movies; talk about shady characters. This one guy had been in last week, wearing a trench coat, of course, and pumping Mom for everything she’d give him about making flicks. It wouldn’t surprise any of us if he’d lifted a few DVDs; we’d found a bunch out of place after he’d left. Nothing had turned up missing that day, but one thing you learn in a business like mine is that these guys like to case the joint and come back later.

I studied Robin himself more than the way he moved through the store — how a person takes my store, with its rooms that get increasingly sexually explicit tells me a lot about the kind of customer I’m dealing with. I was hoping I’d pick up a clue about who he was, but I couldn’t help it. I kept staring at his legs, right above where they disappeared into the green suede ankle boots.

No help there; I rarely if ever see a guy’s legs below the middle of his thighs. If I even seen that much; I’m not really a leg girl.

His ass, his back, his arms, his jawline… nothing. As far as I could tell, this guy had just walked into town.

Allegra looked up at Robin Hood and licked her lips before giving him one of Mom’s special welcome smiles.

Robin looked from Allegra to me and back again. Right then, I knew I was right: he wasn’t from here. Everyone in Riverview knows Allegra and I are twins. We’re as legendary as Mom. Mom made sure of that, and now with the store, the legend continues. Not that I mind so much; if it gets people to come into the store and spend money, I’m all for it.

I didn’t say anything. Neither did Allegra. At this point in our lives, we’re over the whole twin thing.

“Need some help?” Allegra asked.

I leaned against a wall and watched the guy shake his head. He had shaggy red hair, reminding me again of the cartoon Robin Hood. I don’t know why; I haven’t seen the movie in years.

He got busy with our harnesses, pointing to them and waiting for Allegra to take them out of the case. He even tried a few on over his hose, measured the opening with his fingers.

Allegra shot me one of those looks. The WTF look.

I shrugged. By this point, I didn’t think the guy was shady. Just one of the harmless weirdos we get from time to time.

He proved me right when he picked his harness and carried it carefully up to the counter. I followed him again, slipping behind the counter and ringing him up. He paid cash, of course; I do a huge cash business when it comes to the stuff in the toy room.

And then, he finally spoke. He had this amazing English accent and he said, “Thank you. I doth rock out with my cock out.”

Mom and I managed to not laugh until the door had shut behind him and we couldn’t see his cute little green hat anymore.

If you don’t remember Lyric, click on her category over to the right. You’ll be seeing a LOT more of her at some point in the future. What that point is, exactly, I’m not sure. But the pieces are lining up on my hard drive, waiting for the perfect time.

 Posted by at 8:11 pm
Aug 292009
 

I found this great post and since The Demo Tapes: Year 2 is coming out on September 12, I thought I’d call your attention to it.

I’d change one thing, though and that’s Point #3. Yeah, it’s great if you take the ISBN number from either book of mine and carry it to your nearest bookstore and order it. That’s a great way to make a bookseller aware of me and the Trevolution. You might make new fans along the way, and that’s always a good thing.

BUT. Here’s the thing. My royalty rate slides. If you buy the books directly from me, I get the most moolah. That’s helpful because I have to front the cash to buy the books — which eats into my profits. Plus, you can get an autograph.

If you buy the books from Lulu.com, I get the next-highest royalty. The payment on the download is higher than on the print copy. I think Smashwords, once I get the store open, will fall into this next area, as well.

And finally, there’s what I get from bookstores. Ready? For Demo Tapes 1, I get sixty-six cents. For Demo Tapes 2, I get fifty cents. PER BOOK.

So… something to keep in mind.

Now, books published by the big publishing houses don’t follow these royalty rates. These numbers are unique to people like me, people off the mainstream radar.

But it’s something to keep in mind when you buy books. As is the rest of that post. If you love an author, there are easy things you can do to help him/her/me out. We’d love it if you’d try.

 Posted by at 9:19 am
Aug 262009
 

No, no John Lennon songs from me today, no matter how brilliant they are.

Rather, imagine a dark concert hall.

Imagine the press of bodies all around you. Holding you tight in your spot. But that’s okay. You want to be there.

Imagine the white spotlight. Four of them, one on each band member. And darkness in between. But not real darkness.

Now, close your eyes. FEEL the music wash over you. A wave. A wall that breaks over your head and collapses down your body.

It takes you somewhere new. Old. Safe. Dangerous.

Imagine the longing. To climb inside the music. To be noticed by the men making that music. To be Someone Important.

Imagine the power. The way you feel more alive than any human being ought to feel. The way it’s not just the air that’s crackling, it’s you, too. From your arm hairs down to that center core, the one where you hide the shit you don’t have the guts to let anyone see.

Feel your lips move as you sing along. Hell, you’re not even fully aware that you’re doing it, or that you’re pumping your fist in the air. That’s because you’re not inside that body that’s crackling with vitality. You’re… over it. Inside it. Under it. On the stage. In the pit. In the nosebleed seats.

See the sweat glisten on the bare, tattooed arms of the men in those white spotlights. Watch drops of it fly off long hair, wetted into tiny spears that barely block the light and yet manage to eat the light for dinner. Don’t be blinded by the glare off their teeth, even the ones yellowed by cigarettes.

Imagine the way you scarcely dare breathe as they run from end to end of the stage. You’re afraid to blink, afraid of missing something. You couldn’t even begin to explain what that something is. You’ll know it if you see it.

The hands in the front row, reaching for a hand slap, a pick, a drumstick. From where you stand, you can see the fingers trying to wrap around a wrist, to hold on. To prolong the contact. To find a deeper meaning in it — for him on stage and for you, down below.

And then it’s done. You’re as spent as they are; you let the crowd carry you out in their swell, outside, where the air is somehow sweeter and thinner and it fills your lungs and washes it all away. All of it. Except the memories.

Imagine.

 Posted by at 10:15 pm
Aug 232009
 

The problem with being a writer is that there is NOT enough time to sit and read. I’ve talked until I’m blue in the face about how many books are here, waiting to be read — a number that never seems to shrink, either.

So what am I doing? Adding to my wishlist yet again. Now, mind you, I’ve got over 1800 books on my wishlist. I know I’ll never get my hands on them all, let alone read them all, even if live to the ripe old age of eight hundred. When I add things to my wishlist, it’s a crapshoot, a roll of the dice. Will I get this book I want to read, or not?

I’ve come across another one — thanks to the very neat Joanne Rendell — that I absolutely must read at some point in my lifetime (the sooner the better!): This Little Mommy Stayed Home, written by Samantha Wilde.

Here’s the blurb:

Joy McGuire has gone from being skinny and able to speak in complete sentences to someone who hasn’t changed her sweatpants in weeks. But now with a new baby to care for, she feels like a woman on the brink and as she scrambles to recapture the person she used to be she takes another look at the woman she is: a stay-at-home mom in love with her son, if a bit addled about everything else.

C’mon, all you moms out there! You TOTALLY get this. This was you. Admit it. And while I was able to shower AND change my sweats, this blurb really describes me back then.

One of these days, I’ll get my hands on a copy and see just how closely it parallels my life. I’ll even review it if I can get a copy sooner rather than later.

Just right now… excuse me while I go hug my kids. Now school-aged, I’m darn glad they’re not babies anymore. I don’t miss those addled days of parenting an infant.

And if you’re looking for the usual fiction, stay tuned. I’m all tied up in another piece that might make some rounds as a short story. Or not. We’ll see. In the meantime, don’t forget … Demo Tapes: Year 2 on September 12! Preorder through me ONLY.

 Posted by at 5:50 pm
Aug 202009
 

This week’s Booking Through Thursday question asks what our recent best read was. They were a bit more eloquent in the wording, however.

I was thinking last night, before I saw this question, that it’s been awhile since I mentioned some really good reads. Let me fix that now:

I think Bound by Honor, Colette Gale’s latest, is her best yet. The emotions run deeper here; more’s at stake. And from my limited knowledge and innocence, I’d say this sort of scenario isn’t that out of the question.

The Pleasure of My Company proved that Steve Martin isn’t a fluke as a writer. He has a knack for picking up really odd characters — the exact kind I can’t stand — but infusing them with a warmth and emotion that can’t be denied. I wound up loving Daniel. There’s nothing pathetic about this guy, as it seems at first glance.

I’ve raved about Hank Philippi Ryan’s Prime Time before. I’m gonna do it again. As others have said, it’s totally refreshing to see a character in her mid forties be so … normal and contemporary. It gives me hope I won’t have to turn into a fuddy-duddy as I age.

That’s it for now. I haven’t been reading as much of late — there are books of my own to promote, and books of my own to write. And the past few weeks, I’ve been giving up on more than I have thus far this year. Maybe because I’m trying to read more. Maybe I’m just on a streak.

Either way, it’s making Mt. TBR shrink, and that’s a good thing. It’s a bit daunting, my TBR mountains.

 Posted by at 11:13 am