Running with Wolves…
So the NaNoWritMo event is coming up. I have to admit this is the first time I’ve heard of it. I guess I had my head down on my own shit I was writing to think about any sort of writing event outside of my carefully crafted worlds.
Let’s see the line up, shall we?
- Angels of Mercy (Volumes 1-3) – This one isn’t a surprise that it’s first because Volume 1 is in the can and on its way for final smoothing edits from a highly qualified editor that I am over the moon happy to be working with. So yeah, the boys (and girls) of Mercy, California are first on the list but theirs isn’t a supernatural story (despite the mention of Angels in the title – that is a reference to the high school mascot – an Avenging Angel).
- Far Wars – Fear the Feigr – This is my fantasy story that has quite the sci-fi slant all over it. I am talking Fae. But not just any Fae of the Celtic sort, no we’re going further back than that – I am talking NORSE fae – their forebears, the Feigr. Only my Feigr are fierce. They are in your face, kick assed dangerous bad asses – and we humans had better just learn to give them a wide birth. This one is a dark tale with a big gay twist (in that for the Feigr, it’s not gay at all… what could I possibly mean by that?).
- The Cove Chronicles – My Lord of the Rings epic tale gone completely NATIVE (as in Americans). This one is bold. It begins in the small town of Hallet’s Cove, Long Island (which later became Astoria) in the early 1800’s but wends its way to the Gold Rush time in San Francisco. But the Chronicles don’t end there. They stretch all the way to our more modern times in present day Hallet’s Cove – relocated to an inlet bay in Northern California. The Natives are restless and there’s good reason for that. They’re only defending the world against total annihilation as we know it. Yeah, it’s another epic. I tend to think Cecil B. DeMille epic.
- HO’M,O – Yeah, you read that one right… I have a book called HO’M,O. They really are initials that just happen to spell that the book is one big euphoric gay werewolf romp fest. Okay it doesn’t imply wolves at all, but I am telling you that’s what it’s about.
This last entry is the one I want to discuss today. You see, I am starting this bad boy off with the NaNoWritMo event that challenges authors to write a novel in 30 days with a minimum of 50K words. Now for a guy like me who can hammer out close to 10K a sitting (I am NOT bullshitting in the slightest – just look at my blog entries – words and the speed in which they flow are NEVER a problem for me), 50K is gonna be a breeze. I am more worried that I’ll get into it by November 15 and go well shit, I am only half way through the story and I’ve just broken 150K words! What the fuck am I gonna do now, Blanche?
That’s the real worry I have with the NaNoWritMo event. I think I’ll get too far ahead of myself.
HO’M,O is a tale about a young man in his senior year in high school. He lives a quaint and generally quiet life in the fictitious town of Sparrow’s Hollow (Holler) in the southern part of West Virginia (I chose it because my hubby is from WVA and can give me the 411 on it since he grew up in that area around the time I am setting the book (the latter part of the 1950’s). So no cell phones, no social media, hell, there’s barely ANY media of any kind in this po’ dunk of a town! And there be wolves in dem thar hills!
I wanted to play with the whole supernatural werewolf/shifter element in the m/m genre.
Now, to be clear, I still don’t fully ally myself with the m/m romance genre that so many of my author contemporaries write to. My books, from my perspective as they are created that way, are Gay Lit Fic across other sub-genres – in this case, supernatural. It has the gay element (which is why the whole Gay Lit thing is first). With my work, that is implied. It will generally always have a gay element to it. Why? Because there is a boat load of that other straight shit out there that they don’t need me reminding them of why they fall in love. Their romances do not intrigue me in the slightest. They are fully represented by the masses of authors who have to keep reminding that crowd of why they do what they do. Our side is still woefully under-represented. So yeah, totally on-board with the whole gay lit thing. It’s a given.
Anyway, I also wanted to do classic horror setup from the 1950’s. I am utterly fascinated with the 50’s in that it was an era of absolute dullness (nothing really went on). The social upheaval of the 60’s was still around the corner and down the road a piece. The frantic forties (what with the War occupying a great majority of it) are also of interest but in this case I wanted the horror classic feel of the 50’s in this book.
So yeah, wolves. In West Virginia, no less. It just sort of popped up in my head. I’ve never been to WVA. I have no knowledge of the area first hand BUT I do have it second hand (as I said my hubby was born in Wheeling, WVA). So yeah, I got that part covered AND from the same era as the book (hubby is a tad older than me).
I am working like hell to get the character sketches down. To flesh them all out. To make my bad boys be more, I dunno, wolf like. Wolf primed? Wolf enabled? I gotta come up with something better than that when the contest begins (I have to keep reminding myself that I m not competing with anyone other than myself to get the job done). The contest is to complete a novel in 30 days with at least 50K words in the body of the book. I think I can do this.
So why the blog post?
Because I am on pins and needles about it all. About the whole crafting it by the seat of my pants. Yeah, I am pretty much a pantser (what writers call themselves when they write by the seat of their pants) when I write. I have a general frame work, I have fully formed characters (and I do mean formed when I say it). I also have a majority of the plot line fully formed in my head before I ever put a word down on digital bytes and bits. It’s all a matter of hammering it all out.
Alfred Hitchcock (an idol/hero of mine) often said that for him the fun of making his movies or telling his stories was in the planning of it. The rest was just busy work to get it all down. I sooooo, get that. Epically get it. Epically – to the nth degree – do I get it.
Hank O’Malley (my Omega – and if you don’t know what those are in Lycanthrope lore, you better do your homework like I have) is my protag. He’s an amazing character. I love him already. I can’t wait to throw him to the wolves of Sparrow’s Holler (so to speak).
NaNoWritMo – it’s just around the corner as the final days of October come to a close. November 1 is the date. I start writing my new opus then. It’ll be far shorter than my other works, but I can already see a path to writing a series on these boys. It’s an ensemble cast from many aspects, so yeah, it could definitely grow into a real series. Hell, it’ll probably be even gayer than that whole Teen Wolf thing on MTV.
Sort of a Happy Days cross with Teen Wolf – eh, no, wait. That isn’t what I was shooting for at all. Well, it’ll come together I am sure.
In 30 days.
Tic-toc, tic-toc, tic-toc…
[NSFW] Men of Courage – Men of Colors
Dealing with the internal emotive pain we men bear.
So my Human Sexuality class at school kicked me squarely in the rubber parts. I sorta love it when that happens. Not cause it causes emotive pain on my part – I am just not into S/M (not that there’s anything wrong with it – I get the whole endorphin release shit that comes out of the pleasure/pain dichotomy).
So a couple of blog posts ago I entered a small section regarding the (young) men in that class that went a little bit like this…
… the young men tried to project that they were über cool with it. They had it down. They were bonafied stud material.
Some of those young men walked in with no small degree of swagger – all tatted up and seemingly confident in their skins. Their body language professing their assumed comfortability with the topic and their prowess in the bedroom (or whatever room is at hand).
Yeah, normally I am trying really hard in a new situation to be a bit more open minded and accommodating as everyone in a new class room scenario gets acquainted. It’s how I was brought up. Be warm and welcoming as you can be or as comfortable as they’ll let you. No need to be pushy about it. right? I mean, we’re all going to be spending quite a bit of time talking about (whisper mode):
And for me, of course, that meant I was focusing on the man on man S-E-X.
Not so for most of the guys in that class. But here’s the rub: I got a little surprise from a guy in class – all tatted up with full sleeves and across the torso, up the neck to his jawline – complete leg ink work too. I didn’t think there was much of him that wasn’t covered in color. From his walk and demeanor he looked like he’d seen and experienced a helluva lot for his young years. He was decidedly young – except for the eyes. His eyes were weary already with a hard life. My heart sort of went out to him without realizing it.
He was the one I had commented before leading the straight male brigade in the classroom. A guy he buddied up with sat one aisle over from him in the next seat and they already started to form a bond. I always like watching two guys do that. Men can do this rather easily. We have to. That brotherhood thing is really something fierce. If we can find common ground and it clicks – it’s pretty fucking intense. I’ve written about this before, and there’s plenty scientific evidence to support this trait amongst males in general.
A part of me felt excluded but I came to realize I was the one doing the excluding. That became apparent when the professor broke us up into smaller groups and the two guys turned to me and asked if I wanted to be in their group. We gathered two other men and a single woman into our little discussion group.
While I won’t go into the details of what was revealed (because we had an agreement in class that we wouldn’t) what I will say is that these young people truly astounded me with their candor. I’d like to think I engendered some of that as I made it clear about my family life and how my parents raised me that whatever topic was at hand at the dinner table – we talked about it. No subject too sacred. I think these guys got that. They liked the camaraderie.
But here’s the rub, here’s where my tatted new found friend (at least I’d like him to be for the duration of the class) kicked me square in the teeth (mentally, that is). In the course of our conversation he relayed how he discovered what sex was about, the abrupt way it was foisted on him at a very young age. The neglect and abandonment he clearly felt to be thrown into that heady adult world well before his teen aged years and mind could wrap his head around it. As if that weren’t enough to lay bare what he’d gone through in those very early years, he expressed how something traumatic had happened to him that relates to the course work (something we’ll study later on) and how his mother, rather than being supportive at a time when her son probably desperately needed it – she laughed at him.
Fuck. Me. Running…
I couldn’t imagine that sort of response to a child (even if by this time he was 13). For fuck sake he’s still struggling at that age to sort shit out – laughing is not going to give him what he needs to feel like he’s safe to sort it out. The pain from that moment was evident in his eyes.
Gone was the impression I had of cockiness and swagger. I mean he could definitely put that essence out there. He had it in spades, but for that one moment, he laid it bare. The pain clearly there. Fuck me, that was courage, that was. I knew he’d done some time, even before he said it. I can usually tell those things. Incarceration does something to men that hardens them in a way that only serves to point out how fucked up our “rehabilitation” system is and how epically we’ve failed as a society to see to our own.
Yes, there are some truly bad seeds out there – chemically imbalanced from some sort of birth defect. But those are very, very rare. I think that a great deal of the men (and women) who have had to deal with that harsh aspect of life were put there by forces that were much bigger than themselves, and they were just trying to get along as best they knew how, and with what little support they had to do so.
But here, this young man, reset my every impression about him in those few brief moments. And in that he rose. He said everything very quietly, very intently, with focus. Laser like focus. He said he had a little boy on his way. He and his girlfriend (or wife – we never did clarify) were expecting. Those bright eyes focused and darkened a bit, and he said very pointedly that he was going to make sure he did right by his boy and that he’d never feel that way or that he would ensure that the boy would grow up know how to treat women right. Not make the mistakes that he himself had made (and clearly regretted).
Powerful. Potent. A part of me was humbled by his journey.
And let’s be clear – While I don’t have a single tattoo on my body, I admire those who do. These men of words and images. They fascinate me in ways that I can’t begin to describe. And it’s not the whole bad boy thing that used to accompany it. No, it’s more that they have the courage and fortitude to emblazon their thoughts and desires that are so deeply felt onto the fabric of their skin. They are emotively expressing what it means to be male in their lives with the single canvas they’ve been naturally gifted with – themselves. That’s bang on brilliant in my book. It’s not about the pain they endured to get inked up as much as my classmate did. It was that there was care or thought behind what they expressed and had etched into themselves. It’s a very beautiful thing.
I’ve had it far easier than he. Sure I had trials and tribulations to deal with on my own path to bring me to that moment in that class, but nothing quite like the path that this young man had endured.
I am gonna write about a character like that at some point. It might be skewed to fit into the worlds I write, but he impressed me greatly. His courage and fortitude to rise above what life had handed him, this man of colors, emblazoned on his skin, was awesome. And it was decidedly male. As a writer, nothing is headier than that to me.
In addition to this whole thing, my teacher has asked for assistance from a technical sort of level, and given that is my area of expertise, I offered to assist. Hey, I got out of an exam for my troubles – so what the hell, right?
One problem, the survey is a series of open ended questions on sexual experiences. Now, given that most scientific oriented surveys are stipulated and built upon common answer questions (Gender: M/F – that sort of thing), this one seems to present a problem that could skew (at best) the results or (at worst) be nearly impossible to draw any real tangible evidence with which to adequately report. So yeah, while I think the idea of gathering other’s experiences is rather a treasure trove of ideas to mine from, obviously I will keep my eye to the task and our original agreement of non-disclosure of specifics.
But all of this got me to thinking about sex – and in particular – sex of the M/M variety.
In my stories, the men have already moved past the am I gay or not. That quest, while each journey can be rather interesting doesn’t always inspire me to write. I’d much rather come from the standpoint of – They’re together (already) – so then what happens?
Of course there’s gonna have to be forces that conspire to draw them apart. We humans love our drama (even when it devolves into melodrama) – no one comes to a happy Opera, right? What would be the point? We respond to strife. We respond to rising above adversity.
And part of me is just tired of all the straight pairings going on. I want a much more queer world. Jeezus, I’d like it to be come so common place that the social construct would just become inured to it like most straight couplings. See people for being people rather than the sex they’re having, ya know, sex with.
But sadly, my new friend in class is not the only one to bear pain. Despite how much we’ve progressed – we still have instances like this:
[NOTE: This video exhibits extreme violence against a gay person by HIS PARENTS – it is as horrid as it is reprehensible. BE WARNED!]
A gofundme.com fund has been set up to support this unfortunate young man (Daniel) and he has responded to those generous and caring people. If it truly takes a village to raise a child, then this village rose up and met that challenge. Daniel’s response to what has happened to him from the greater global community follows the horrific exchange between him and his parents:
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Please give what you can to this young man as he is truly alone at this point from what I can tell. Let him know that there are others in this world who will embrace him and give him the respect and love he deserves.
We must truly stamp out this abhorrent and reprehensible form of parenting and child rearing. If the village must rise to meet the challenge, then rise we must. I truly hope that Daniel (and so many others like him) find a helping hand in this world.
It is what has been burning within me – what has been pressing at my insides to help people like Daniel who are forced out of the only home they’ve known.
I truly want to find a way to contribute to that cause on a very personal level. I just feel this desire to let them know – I see you, I feel for you and I want to help.
While Daniel might be coming out of the worst part of his life over this, it won’t be the last time we hear of such a story.
It’s those poor souls I am terrified for. Those poor kids who don’t deserve what’s coming. It’s to them that I think about often.
I know it may sound cliche, that it might even sound trite, but if I won the lottery, I know I’d put a good chunk of it aside to do something about this. I’d want my legacy to be that I rose up and provided a path for others as unfortunate as Daniel.
For their sake, I’d like to think I’m up for the challenge.
Until next time…