Saturday, January 29, 2011

Inspiration!

Ideas are everywhere, but my favorite place to get hot images and  thoughts is Filament Magazine.

You want images of skinny men with tattoos, piercings, and letting their freak flag fly?


They have them.

You like more a more traditional, masculine look?



They have that, too.

What they don't have? Diets, celebrity gossip, and fashion. This magazine assumes that women are intelligent, sexual, varied, and curious.

Go over to their Facebook page and check out their hot, hot men. And subscribe!

(all photos from Filament. No copyright infringement intended, nor am I getting any presents for talking about this magazine. I'm posting these because I want every writer and photographer out there to look at this groundbreaking work!)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Research

Some days, you just gotta do some research on blue-eyed men who deliver the cool - Paul Newman and Daniel Craig for today.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oh, YUM.

Today, The Flaming Chef and I wandered downtown Portland before settling in to write. Quite by impulse, we stopped by Verdun Fine Chocolate & Gifts.

The sweets here were AMAZING. Since I cannot share smell nor taste here on the Web, I can only share my pictures.

This is their drinking chocolate. Unlike other drinking chocolates I have experienced, this is super rich and thick, nearly syrupy, with lovely butter and vanilla undertones. Incredibly fragrant, and highly satisfying. I licked my lips for half an hour after drinking it.
Their classy and stylish displays do not do justice to their smooth, exotic confections.

The Flaming Chef enjoying his drinking chocolate. We bought some of their sweets to take home to our husbands. The Charming Man was thrilled with his treat!
The Houdroge Family owns Verdun Chocolates. Can we talk about classy and talented folks? They were incredibly nice.


I can't recommend this place enough!

Why I fear description.

I do fear description. If I'm going to write a story that actually has plot and action, I tend to scrimp on setting. And I'll show you why. Here's a quick, off the top of my head snippet to show what happens when I describe.

In Champaign, Illinois, the main road through the University of Illinois campus is Green Street. On the north side of the street reside the engineers. To the south are liberal arts, ag, LIS, and the rest. And the cities of Urbana and Champaign had been built over a swamp that had been drained. So when it rains, the water table rises quickly and fiercely. The Boneyard Creek flows fast and hard and the streets flood (along with basements and sewers). On Green Street, when it rains, the water gathers and runs in the gutters, overspilling into the street turning this road into a fountain.

During the brutally hot summers we get here, the summer rains are a blessing and a curse. Sometimes they bring cool relief, sometimes they just bring more steam. But they bring flooding to the cities, too, dangerous, slippery. And they fill the streets with water, warm, inviting, cleansing. I have splashed in puddles as deep as my ankles and waded in ponds up to my hips on Green Street.

One very rainy day, my lover and I had walked to get food at AJ Wingers. This was a very special man. Of course, all of my lovers were wonderful but this one....Ah, words fail me. Skilled, compassionate, loving, passionate, uninhibited, no words can fully explain this one. Someone once tried to pin me down on his most wonderful trait. Stammering, I had replied that he was a good listener.

As we walked, the rain kept coming. We watched the rain fall as we ate and we kissed the sauce off of each other's faces. We began the walk back - giggling over our folly at not driving or taking the bus. The rain kept falling. Our shoes immediately drenched through, no matter how much we tried to avoid the puddles. Our jeans clung to our skin. We took off our shoes and splashed through parking lots, curbs, and streets. Cars would pass and splash water as high as our heads.

We got to his apartment, and shrieking with laughter at ourselves, we peeled our clothes off and draped them over chairs and doors. We wrung out our socks in the bathroom sink, and put our shoes over radiator vents. We eventually showered, embracing the heat and steam of this water as gleefully as we had embraced the rain. We kissed and kissed and kissed under the hissing showerhead. His hands, so large and competent, lathered my back and legs, rubbing circulation back into my feet and neck. I stroked soap into his chest and armpits, playing with his body hair. We kissed some more. For the rest of my life, I will see him like this, his head tilted under the streaming water, his hair slicked back, his eyes closed and his mouth slightly open at the pleasure of taking a shower.

We dried off using his one towel (for all of his wonderful traits, sometimes he was almost a stereotypical single man), still kissing, still giggling. His kisses remain on my mind - so intense that the sensation of his lips blotted out the world and destroyed rational thought. How to describe it? He kissed like my mouth, my pleasure and his, were the only things that existed or ever will exist. He kissed as if kissing alone were the most divine pleasure ever given, not as a prelude or introduction, something perfunctorily done to satisfy protocol. He kissed me like my mouth was his Holy Grail and his True Cross combined. He kissed as though he meant it.

We shimmied under his covers and our bodies entwined, wrapping around each other. Sometimes I felt like our bodies were two pieces of rope, coming together in a knot. We kissed and touched and sucked. We made love.

Even now, my hips curl and my stomach clenches at the memory of that afternoon - at a lovemaking so profound, so powerful, so intense. It was the sum of my universe - it was slow and powerful, it was fast and fierce.

We were falling in love.

In a way we never had before, and never will again.

And our bodies betrayed it.

It's emotional and lovely and nothing happens. There is no plot, there is no conflict, there is no character development.

I was going for a little slice of life with this piece- I wanted to record a beautiful memory. I succeeded at that. Unfortunately, I can't use it anywhere else since it doesn't move any action forward.

Dammit!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hmmmm.

I think today is a good day to make cheesecake.

Of course, is there a bad day to make cheesecake?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What exactly do I tell people when they ask what I do?

Photo by Michael Baxter
As a pre-published author, I'm not someone who can say, "And X is the title of my new book!" This leaves me a bit at a disadvantage in social settings. When people ask what I do, I bravely say, "I write very very sexy paranormal romances."

Thus far, I have had positive responses to this statement. I wondered why, when I'm straight up admitting to being a freak who writes in a denigrated genre.

I found an answer:
A bad reputation can set you free. After all, if you've already declared yourself to be a pot-smoking, acid-addled slut, your opponents are forced to oppose your ideas on their merits, rather than strategically revealing your hidden depravities. Shame is no weapon against the shameless.
-- John Perry Barlow

(For the record, I am neither pot smoking nor acid-addled.)

As for the slut? Well, in most people's definition of the word, I am one simply by writing sexually adventurous characters. 

Hi. I'm Linda Mercury. I write very very very sexy paranormal romances. I refuse to be shamed by that. I hope my refusal invites you to enjoy life's pleasures.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whew.

I'm taking the rest of the day off! I've been Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard for the last several days working on the synopsis for a brand new book. The working title is Sister of God. I'm calling it the DaVinci Code meets The Mists of Avalon story.

I hope my agent likes it. :)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Give-away!

Another hand-painted fan!
I call this one Medusa's Haircut. I was inspired by Marvel Inhumans Graphic Novel by Jenkins and Lee.
Be the first to tell me who founded Marvel Comics, and this lovely is yours.



Inhumans (Marvel Graphic Novel)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Examples

Here's a quick example of how the nine sentence synopsis works.


  1. The trouble starts when.....  Linda wants ice cream.
  2. The protagonist makes a plan to cope by... going to the freezer.
  3. The trouble gets worse when...there is no ice cream there!
  4. The protagonist regroups and presses on harder by...checking her purse for money
  5. The protagonist reaches the point of no return when...she gets in her car to go to the store.
  6. The protagonist is pushed to the brink when...all the lights are red on the way to the store.
  7. She appears to have lost when...there is no Coconut Bliss!
  8. She fights on by...looking behind all the other ice cream containers.
  9. Everything is on the line and only one will win when...she stands up on tiptoe, drags the last container out by the tips of her fingers, and barely avoids pulling over the display!
Even this little silly story about ice cream has rising and falling action. It also describes my GMC and how it changes. For example:

Goal: Get ice cream (what I want)
Motivation: Hungry (because)
Conflict: None in the freezer (but)

My goal and motivation remain the same, but the conflict changes as the story goes on. In a more complicated story, the protagonist examines if her goal is worth what she thought it was. In a tragedy, the story would go like this:
  1. The trouble starts when.....Linda wants ice cream
  2. The protagonist makes a plan to cope by...going to the freezer
  3. The trouble gets worse when...there is no ice cream !
  4. The protagonist regroups and presses on harder by...looking her purse for change
  5. The protagonist reaches the point of no return when...she is out of money!
  6. The protagonist is pushed to the brink when...she ransacks the sofa cushions for change
  7. She appears to have lost when...there is nothing there either.
  8. She fights on by...checking her bank account
  9. Everything is on the line and only one will win when...she can't afford the ice cream.
This little tool tells you how you want to run your story, and what needs to happen between each section. The writer can add the setting by talking about how blisteringly hot it is out, by what her house looks like, what kind of ice cream is haunting her.



    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Story Basics, Part III: A quick and dirty introduction to story structure

    Some writers love outlines - sailing from island to island in an archipelago to reach the mainland. Some like to sail into the fog, boldly striking out on their own to find their story.

    Both ways are correct. Both will make fabulous stories.

    For those of us who run aground at the slightest notice, story structure helps keep the boat on track. I love to use this little tool called the nine sentence synopsis. This will help you figure out the turning points of your story, where your characters are going, and what needs to happen next in order for everything to make sense to your reader.

    The Nine Sentence Synopsis 
    1. The trouble starts when.....
    2. The protagonist makes a plan to cope by...
    3. The trouble gets worse when...
    4. The protagonist regroups and presses on harder by...
    5. The protagonist reaches the point of no return when...
    6. The protagonist is pushed to the brink when...
    7. She appears to have lost when...
    8. She fights on by...
    9. Everything is on the line and only one will win when...

    I know I got this from a genius writer, but I can't find the original handout to give credit. Damn! I'll keep trying to find that.


    This quick and dirty tool helps you shape the rising and falling tension of your story. I'll go more into explanations next time!

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Why I like writing more than anything.

    In what other career can one research the rise of Safavid Persia, the intricacies of the Sophia archetype, and the appeal of extreme SM - all in one day?

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Sexy, sexy, sexy.

    Today seemed a good day to post a sexy story. Of course, most days are good days to post sexy stories.

    This one is another with than naughty Mike and his unnamed lover.  Who, despite the first person, is not me. ;)
    ***

    “If you were wearing a skirt, I’d be eating you out right now,” Mike breathes in my ear.

    I jump, startled. I’d been leaning over the ferry’s railing, enjoying the cold lashing rain, the wind and the waves. Early spring on Puget Sound invigorates me; it just makes Mike cold. He had retreated to the heated cabin.

    I turn to him; our noses nearly touch. The rain left his sandy eyelashes dark and spiky. I swallow back a sigh, but he hears it.

    “You like when I eat you, don’t you?” he whispers to me.

    I nod, helpless under the spell of his voice. I drop my gaze to his lips. My nipples tighten even more than the chill can account for and my clit starts to throb.

    “From now on, you wear skirts when you are with me. Nothing but skirts,” he orders.

    As usual, I start to bristle at his orders, but the heat in my cunt melts everything else away. So often my pussy makes my decisions for me. I nod, agreeing to the game. I know he can feel my hips squirm against the unyielding metal of the rail.

    He looks around. Everyone else is either inside the ferry’s cabin, or reading in their cars. He takes my hand, places it on his crotch.

    Mike’s half hard, just from standing in the cold rain with me and thinking of my responses when I’m under his tongue. I grasp his cock, work him up and down a little with my palm. He stiffens even more and I can’t resist squeezing him hard, making his eyes go out of focus.

    I lean in for a kiss, but he pulls back. He propositions me in public, has me grab his cock, but kissing makes him skittish.

    I will never understand men.

    I look at the approaching shore. West Seattle will greet us in a little while, but it’s enough. “Let’s go back to the truck,” I say. I have a few ideas of my own about what’s appropriate for a public place.

    He unlocks the door and I wiggle into the roomy cab. He gets in and puts the key in the ignition. I’m used to his hot and cold game now, so I ignore his shuttered face and take off my coat and scarf. I have my eye on his still hard cock.

    My movement startles him. He turns to me, eyebrows raised. I grin and tuck my coat as if I’m going to rest against the window, conveniently blocking the view of anyone nearby.

    I kick my shoes off, swing my leg on the bench seat. I lean forward and pinch the top button of his jeans.
    “I never knew you to be such pansy.”

    He bites back a smirk and leans back against his own window. “Really? You don’t think I’m a chickenshit?”

    “I know better than that.”

    I rub. His penis hardens up even more.

    He reaches around my fingers, unbuttons his jeans and slides the zipper down. His cock springs free. A tuft of black hair surrounds the base of his cock and his balls.

    I glance towards the front of the ferry. No one’s watching.

    Leaning forward, I suck him down fast. He’s long enough I can’t quite get my mouth all the way to the base without choking, so I wrap my hand around his shaft. The silky feel of that delicate skin under my tongue and my fingers makes me shudder.

    His head falls against the driver’s side window with a loud thunk. I smile around him, smug. Let’s show the man what he gets for starting something in a public place.

    “God, your mouth,” he manages to moan. Cold fingers burrow down my blouse, slide down the cups of my bra. He finds my nipples and pinches them just tight enough. I tighten up and get aggressive. I want him on the edge, just like I am. My lower lips are swollen hard, and my clit is screaming his name.

    He’s breathing ragged and his cock leaks a little into my mouth.

    The ferry’s horn blows, warning somebody of something. We both jump.

    I slow down, soften my lips. I kiss his cock’s crown, make eye contact, run my tongue up his shaft. I’m putting on a show for him. He grins at my theatrics.

    I know he likes my lips, too. Once, in a rare compliment, he told me my ‘cocksucker lips’ were what made him notice me in high school, back when he was a jock and I was a brain. A cock had never crossed my lips before him, and quite frankly, might not have if it hadn’t been for Mike.

    “God, just like that,” he sighs. I feel him shudder under me. I wiggle around, unzip my jeans and curl under the truck’s steering wheel. Thank God and yoga I’m still pretty flexible.

    I take one of his hands out of my bra, and lead it to my pussy. I pull off his penis and pucker my lips. “Come on. Do me, too,” I whisper.

    He doesn’t even open his eyes. His fingers know the way, plunging the middle two into my wetness, and tucking his thumb against my clit. Mike sets up a punishing rhythm. I return to his erection.

    We’re serious about getting each other off now. I’m sucking as hard and as fast as I can. He’s shoving into me furiously, making me squeal around his cock.

    I’m getting close. I grab his nipples, twist. He shoves into my mouth a few times and floods my tongue with his come. A clever flicker of his thumb and I’m over the edge, crying out a high pitched squeal muffled by his still pulsing dick.

    I sit up, adjust my pants. Lick my swollen, cocksucking lips. “Should I drive?” I inquire, as sweetly as I can with my fellatio raw throat.

    He snorts as he tucks his wet penis away. “I think you just did.”

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Out and about some more!

    Cool things can happen even when you don't seek them out. For example, the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile made an appearance today!



    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Story Basics, Part II

    In the endless quest to understand your characters, I'm revisiting a post I did a couple of years ago. One of the most useful tools in a writer's toolbox is an exercise called GMC.
    Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction 

    For each of your main characters, you determine their Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. You come up with with a basic description of their personality (which for me is incredibly difficult), a Tagline (which could be lessons she needs to learn, or perhaps his personal motto), and then, you start in on determining what they want, what makes them want it, and what is keeping them from achieving their goals.

    The amazing Debra Dixon came up with this shorthand in her amazing book called (oddly enough), Goal, Motivation & Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction.

    One hint before you dive in - when you are working on this exercise, make sure your character's external goal is a concrete one. "World Peace" is a nice goal, but it's completely undo-able. Make it something that he can attain. Instead of World Peace, write "Obliterate X Terrorist Cell" or "Get President to sign X Peace Treaty on time and alive". For something less Earth shaking, try, "Buy childhood dream home" or "Open coffee shop in six weeks". What kind of story you have often depends on the antagonist's Goal.

    For example, let me show you one of the GMC charts that Ms. Dixon uses in the book - Rick Blaine from Casablanca.
    Casablanca
    Rick Blaine
    Description: Cynical Loner
    Tagline: (lessons he needs to learn)
    One person can make a difference in this world
    Women in war must make desperate choices (think of the newlywed)



    Goals: (what he wants)
    External
    1. Keep bar open
    2. Punish Ilsa
    3. Get Ilsa and Victor on that plane
    Internal
    1. Regain the love he had in Paris
    2. To do what's right in the world

    Motivation: (because)
    External
    1. Needs money and people depend on him
    2. Because she left him in Paris
    3. Insure her safety
    Internal
    1. The pain of losing Ilsa has never gone away
    2. Daily, he sees what war is doing to people around him
    Conflict (but)
    External
    1. The French Prefect has all the power
    2. Punishing her puts her in more danger
    3. Victor has been put in jail
    Internal
    1. Ilsa is married
    2. He must put aside his own happiness


    Looks easy, doesn't it?

    It's actually a difficult chart to fill out because you are constantly learning more about your characters and your story. The big part of a good character arc is discovering how their GMCs change from the beginning of the story to the end.