Oct 082018
 

RAINN (Rape, Assualt, Incest National Network) does a lot of good work and it is a good place to start if you need someone to talk to or resources to look up.

1in6 is a group dedicated to the issue of male victims of sexual assault.

Selhelpline is dedicated to victims in the military.

Remember that you are believed. You are loved. Remember that we will get through this.

 

Sep 282018
 

I’ve been working on formatting my book, Pusse’ and Cox, for Kindle and it is taking longer than I expected. Documents from 2011 that were meant to be published in physical book has margins and indents that are completely unnecessary. Do not get me started on the fact that I was double spacing after every period. Ugh.

While I was there, I decided to give it another read and correct any typos. I haven’t really found any misspellings but Sweet Vincent Price, I have found plenty of bad sentences. They usually run along the lines of “She was running across the street.” Oh, you mean she ran across the street? What the fuck, Old Shon? Every paragraph has at least one of these offending sentences. I am sure there is a technical term for this but fuck if I know it. Maybe if I knew it, I wouldn’t be making these bad sentences.

The other problem I am running into is the fat jokes. Holy shit, I hate fat jokes and I can’t believe that I have so many. Too many non-important characters are overweight and meant to be a punchline. The term ‘fat’ is tossed around way too much as an insult. I know that when I was writing the story, I was trying to emulate the coarseness of a grindhouse movie but that doesn’t excuse being an asshole about weight jokes. Cripes.

I would like to personally apologize to any reader that bought this book and read these offensive “jokes”. All I can say is that I know better now and am working my ass off to delete them and replace them with something that is actually funny or pertinent to the story.

Sep 262018
 

All Systems Red by Martha Wells is the first book in the Murderbot diaries. Murderbot is a security unit who tells you in the first sentence that she hacked the governor system that controls her and prevents her from killing everyone. Mostly she did this so she could watch entertainment media but she also did it because the company that owns her makes a lot of incompetent decisions and she doesn’t trust them.

What is Murderbot exactly? It is a combination of cloned human flesh and mechanical parts. Technically, it is a very enhanced human with no sex drive, built-in weapons and free will as long as its governor remains inactive. It has no wish to be human as it finds most humans to be annoying. It doesn’t have much curiosity about humans because entertainment media is far more interesting.

Murderbot’s lack of interest in humanity is pretty refreshing in science-fiction. This isn’t Data or Pinocchio. Murderbot does have emotions, but they are mostly fear of socializing, a desire to be left alone and a severe craving for the stories of its favorite media, Sanctuary Moon. It enjoys security work, and prefers to keep its humans alive, but that doesn’t mean it is attached to them.  Quite honestly, Murderbot often tunes humans out so it can get back to watching shows.

In the first book, Murderbot is rented by a bunch of scientists who are surveying a planet. Mysterious things happen that threaten the lives of the humans and Murderbot does its best to protect them. The mystery is interesting and there is plenty of action. You will really feel for this deadly killing machine. I laughed out loud a bunch of times while being on the edge of my seat when Murderbot was in danger.

Let me put it this way. I downloaded a bunch of books for my flight to Orlando last week and this book was one of them. I had seven more books to read after this one, but when I finished it, I logged onto the airplane wifi just to purchase the next book. I finished the second book before the flight was over.

So yeah, I like the series a lot.

Sep 122018
 

I’m not sure why I didn’t see the Purge when it came out on 2013. Maybe the trailers made it look like another Killers-With-Bad-Masks movie, which is a sticking point for me that I should discuss some other time. My wife watched it and she liked it and I remember seeing the second Purge movie with her and being entertained. Now that there is a Purge series on USA that I am enjoying, I decided to go give the first movie a try.

The Purge, for those who don’t know, is set in the near-future where a new political party has decided to solve the slow economy, high crime and anything else they can blame by having a special night where all crimes are legal. Police and first response services are suspended so people can murder the hell out of each other. They aren’t allowed to kill government officials, which should be a big tell, but you can go ahead and kill just about anything else.

You know, four years ago, this sounded really silly but now in the era of MAGA and conservatives gleefully justifying locking kids in cages, this feels damn accurate.

The movie centers on a welthy upper-middle class family. There is the dad who sells security systems to the other neighbors and has become quite rich. There is his loving wife, their surly teenage daughter who is mad that they won’t let her date her 18-year old boyfriend and the depressed tween boy who thinks the Purge is creepy and isolates himself by playing with a remote-control robot.

Purge night comes and we see how the media joyfully reports on it, much like they joyfully report almost any great tragedy. We get talking heads who explain the Purge is a healthy thing for letting people blow off steam and we get grim warnings that the country was in such a bad state before the Purge and we can’t ever go back to it.

A black man comes running up the house begging for safety and the parents ignore him. The boy lets him in and a few minutes later, a bunch of killers show up. The killers brag that they are the upper class and killing that homeless guy is their right and damn it, they want their prey back. They are more than willing to kill the family to get to their prey.

Again, this feels really topical. The Purge is just open class warfare. The wealthy can afford protection and weapons and the poor can’t. The killers are the 1% and they wanted to kill some poor people but they will kill some less-rich-than-them as well. Terrible violence is constantly justified and called “American” just like 2nd Amendment nuts always do. We even got good old-fashioned racism with the homeless guy being black.

It is a tight movie and I don’t want to give it away. There are some plot twists but the one I was expecting, that maybe the homeless guy was some sort of bait for a trap, never happens. That is a wise move as if the homeless guy was evil, it would carry the terrible message that the Purge might be right.

Like I said, it is a tight movie with some good action and a family that comes to grip with their own morality. I liked it a lot and I feel like this might be the most American horror movie you could make. We don’t need vampires or zombies, our own society and the people in it as the greatest threat.

Aug 312018
 

Over the years I often feel like a failure for not keeping up with my blog, or maybe taking longer than usual to write a book or kicking out a new Vaquel story the week it is due to be posted instead of having a buffer. This alien sex gladiator book is so big that it has created this illusion in my mind that I am not getting anything done. I have been working on it since last December and by my math, I am 89% done with the first draft. Once that is done, then I have to figure out how to properly proofread a 500K word project. With a book this big and so much more to do, spending time on any other writing project feels like procrastinating.

To combat that, I have set a schedule for myself, complete with target goals of writing time and an Excel sheet that breaks down my progress. Now I have blocked out my time into Primary Time, which is for writing my current book, and Secondary Time, which is for blogging and doing whatever nonsense is needed to get other books ready for Kindle. right now the ratio of Primary Time to Secondary Time is 3:1.

During my lunch time, I have been watching Ken Burns’ documentary on the Vietnam War. It is a heart-wrenching story but one of the bits that cracked me up was the Secretary of Defense’s need for metrics during the early sixties. He wanted every point of data, from weapons, to number of fights, to enemy killed, turned into a universal metric so he could look at a place and say “This village is 35.4% pacified.” His demand for data was so great that one point, base command was generating something like 9,000 pages of data per week. This 9,00 pages were never actually used for anything because no one had time to read 9,000 pages of data.

That got me wondering if my Excel sheet with my Primary Writing times and my Secondary Writing times might turn into something equally silly. I don’t know. For now it has helped me take weekends off from writing when I hit my goals. It also lets me look back on the week when I am particularly discouraged and see that no, I actually did do something this week. Heck, i had time to write this blog post because I hit my goal for the day with my Primary Writing.

 

 

Aug 292018
 

Le Manoir is a 2017 French horror/comedy movie about a group of kids who decide to have one last party together before they all move away. To do this, they rent a mansion in the middle of nowhere with no cell coverage, no wifi, and a woods crawling with wild animals. Of course, people start dying.

Despite the generic setup for a horror movie, what makes this movie stand out is the plot never does anything you would expect it to. The virginal quiet girl who would be the heroine in any other horror movie is a nor character at best.  The first kill takes quite a while to happen. There is no mythology or explanation for the killer until the very end. There is no designated hero which creates an interesting dynamic of not knowing who will live or die. I have seen a few critics cite this as a negative but to my jaded horror-watching self, I count unconventional plotting and pacing as a plus.

Plus, I just found it really funny. It is a New Year’s party with a year 2000 theme so we have horror movie characters dressed as Ron Weasley and Baby Spice freaking out. A dying character’s last wish to see two women strip plays out in the unsexiest way possible. One character spends most of his time trying to remember the name of the athlete with spatulas for feet who killed his wife. It is a lovable group of morons who probably wouldn’t survive the night at a normal sleepover, much less one with a killer after them.

If you like watching young people die at a secluded location and you want a break from the Hollywood style of making them, give Le Manoir a try.

 

Aug 102018
 

Back in the day, the first porn stories I posted were parodies of erotic fiction and late night soft-core movies. Part of the reason was that by calling my stories parodies, I could pretend that the stories were not well written because I wasn’t taking it seriously. The other reason I wrote parodies was because I had issues with the cliches and plot holes of the erotica I was enjoying. It is a paradox that I had serious structural problems with porn but I only felt comfortable discussing those problems by pretending I was trying to be funny.

Which brings us to one of my favorite video series, the Porn Critic. Written and performed by real life porn director, Dick Bush, the Porn Critic is a tongue-in-cheek idea about a serious porn critic dealing with the many plot inconsistencies of porn, especially in the porn parody genre. The series is played for laughs but underneath the comedy is some real annoyance with the stupidity of porn plots.

The average episode goes scene by scene of a porn movie and skips the porn. These used to be hosted on YouTube and even though it obeyed all the rules, it still got taken down because YouTube prefers white supremacists and conspiracy theories over anything remotely sexual in subject. This plays well to the premise as the lack of sex or nudity keeps the focus on the story of the movie being critiqued, which is where all the comedy is to be found anyway. I find the show hilarious and as a writer, there is something so satisfying about seeing a fellow porn nerd rant about the lack of plot.

Dick has begun uploading the videos of the series to Porn Hub which you can watch here. Or you can go to his personal website and watch the videos without having the see ads for porn stolen from content providers.

If you like your porn with decent plots, I also recommend checking out Dick Bush’s movies.

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Jul 272018
 

My Sex Arena interactive book takes place on the planet of Euphoria. It is a advanced civilization with space ships, lasers and genetic alterations, but they are also a civilization obsessed with sex.  They are ruled by the cruel and beautiful Queen Erishella. Sexual domination and submission is a way of life. You are either getting fucked or are fucking someone else over. Imagine Flash Gordon mixed with a ruthless BDSM novel.

I have been writing adventures set on Euphoria for a while. My monthly space explorer series deals with someone from that planet. It could be argued that I have written more fiction about this culture than any other of my creations. But weirdly, writing this book is the first time I have ever considered that they probably don’t have the same slang for sex organs that we do. Does pussy and cock still work when it is spoken by aliens?

It is tempting to create science fiction equivalents. For one year, I had a culture that Vaquel encountered use the terms ‘port’ for penis and ‘slot’ for vagina, because they sounded like technical words for the organs involved. It also had the benefit of creating a visual image that helped the reader guess what was really being said. I am tempted to recycle them for Euphoria, except I hate repeating myself.

There is also the disadvantage that comes with using new vocabulary in erotica. Making up new words should be the right of every writer, but I feel that erotica writers have an extra hurdle. Erotica is the fiction that is most designed to evoke a mood in the reader. Using dirty words the reader knows is is a direct path to the dirty parts of the reader’s brain. We all have a visceral reaction to dirty words and I worry that a new vocabulary won’t create that same reaction.

I tried researching the origins of our slang words like cocks and pussy, but funny enough, dirty words were rarely documented by scholars and therefore it can be hard to pin down how they came about.

An easy solution would be to just make shit up. Make a word like Xog for cock and pat yourself on the back. I am not a big fan of fictional cuss words. I understand that television shows created words like Frak and Frell so that they can use the ‘F’ word on television because there is standards and practices. That doesn’t excuse every day viewers using those same words because they live in a world where they can say fuck all they want. Nonsense words also have the problem of not being clear when they are first used because they are literally a new word. It would turn the first sex scene into a bewildering experience for the reader, which is not ideal in any situation.

A compromise to that would be to take real words and merge them. I remember when I was younger, I read a Judge Dredd novel where someone was called a “slitch”. That word seemed so vulgar to me and I knew it was dirty without knowing exactly what it meant.  Now it is pretty easy to see they merged slut and bitch, but wow, it just felt filthy at the time. Maybe I can do something like merge pecker and cock to make a word like ‘pock’ or ‘cecker’. I am not sure.

Another way to go about it is to think about what the sex-obsessed Euphorians would consider to be dirty words. Terms like slut, for example, wouldn’t be an insult at all. A word like prude might be the meanest thing you can call someone. It doesn’t help in naming body parts but it is an approach I can use for insults and compliments.

I don’t have an anwser to what I plan to do. I might end up doing nothing. There is still at least two more months of writing to go before the first draft is finished, so I have time to think about it.

 

 

Jul 132018
 

I used to play tabletop role-playing games like crazy. I was often playing two or three times a week and at one point in my 20’s, I was literally playing seven days a week.  I cut my teeth on dungeons and Dragons, Marvel Superheroes, James Bond, Star Frontiers and the much maligned but fun to me, Indiana Jones game from TSR. In my 20’s it was all Champions, Call of Cthulhu, Rifts and still more Dungeons and Dragons. I picked the Amber role-playing game and that became the game system that I run for nearly a decade.

But it was one little known game that changed me the most and it was Over the Edge by Johnathon Tweet in 1992. The game deliberately dropped all of the number crunching and rules that dominated role-playing games and instead focused on something that was mind-blowing to me: telling a good story. Players played anything they could imagined and were encouraged to keep being creative as play progressed. The Amber role-playing game with its diceless mechanics had come close to this kind of play but the structure was closely tied to the source material of Roger Zelazny’s Amber series. Over the Edge dared you as a player and a gamemaster to just make up your own shit. It was a pretty radical idea for the time.

And what a setting Over the Edge had. Everything takes place on the fictional island of Al Amarja. The island is ruled by a President-for-Life, Her Exaltedness Monique D’Aubainne. For reasons undefined, the island is a weirdness magnet attracting all the strangeness of the world. If you are a pyrotechnic on the run from a government agency, you probably come to Al Amarja. If you are an alien rock star stranded on Earth, you end up in Al Amarja. Robot from the future? Last living Minotaur? Porn writer with weird fetishes? They all live here.

The setting is one of my favorite fictional places ever created. It is set in the Mediterranean which means it is awash with nationalities and races that you never saw in role-playing games of the late 80’s. The government is both corrupt and very liberal. Firearms are highly illegal but hey, the Ethiopian cyborg doesn’t need a gun to suck your brain out of your skull. All religions are tolerated but the fast growing one is centered around a pop star who may or may not be divine. I am eager to tell you more but I want to hold back so you can discover it for yourself. The game is crammed with so much wonderful weirdness that reading a gamebook is akin to taking acid.

When I discovered the game, I became an instant convert and tried to get my player group to come along with me. Quite frankly, they were a bit overwhelmed by it all. We played one or two scenarios and they tapped out. It was too much work for them. They wanted to roll dice and consult charts and spend building points. They didn’t want to deal with psychic creations that mirrored their desires in between paying protection money to a lady and her baboon gang. Amber was the edge of their limits but that was at least based on a series of books they could emulate. Over the Edge was way outside their comfort zones.

This put me in a strange position. I realized my friends enjoyed beating monsters and gaining rewards like treasure or experience. I on the other hand, was playing games for the story or the opportunity to be creative. Over the Edge was pure creative with minimum mechanics. Once I had a taste of that, I wanted more. It became painful for me to spend my free time not being creative. I was very unhappy going back to our old games.

A year later, I started writing stories. I spent less time role-playing and more time doing with that I really wanted to do: create.The wild, anything-goes attitude of Over the Edge is a big part of my writing. I see it in my Vaquel stories, my stories about magic and even my straight forward stories like the librarians. I can safely say that Al Amarja is my adopted home.

What is really weird for me is to see so many indie games adopt a lot of what Over the Edge was trying to do.  I am excited to see gaming mature and encourage more creativity but I sometimes wonder that if I had these games when I was younger, and a group to play them with, would I have ever switched to writing? I like to think so. Either way, tabletop role-playing is a much better place now for creative people and I credit Tweet and Over the Edge for it.

And now 26 years later, Johnathan Tweet is remaking Over the Edge for modern audiences through Kickstarter. It is already funded but I wanted you to get a chance to be a part of it. One of the rewards is pdf copies of every book in the previous editions which is fucking treasure as far as I am concerned. The amount of creative fuel on offer here can not be beaten.

So please consider supporting the Over the Edge Kickstarter. It might not change your life as much as it did mine, but then again, it might change it more.

 

 

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Jul 022018
 

Cherry Delight is the name of a hot redhead who works for a New York based government agency that fights the mob. Being a porn pulp, she fights the mob by sleeping with people, shooting bad guys and using karate and judo. She is unstoppable in the sack and on the battlefield. Not just a pretty and deadly face, she is also smart and cunning. She is remarkably talented for a woman character written in 1973.

Sadly, the books she appears in are nowhere near as interesting as they could be. In Silverfinger, she goes to Italy to help three rich near-useless adults who inherited a shipbuilding empire from their father. They are being threatened with a takeover by the mafia, more specifically, a mysterious mob enforcer named Silverfinger. The three rich adults are so useless I thought there would be a moral about how they don’t deserve their riches, but no, that is too deep a concept for this book. Silverfinger, despite being named after a Bond villain, is just a thug with a silver luxury car. The plot meanders a bit and then abruptly gets wrapped up in twenty pages as the author realizes he has hit his page count. You might think that last line is a joke but it is really not.

The most interesting part about this book is that partway through, one of the rich adults gets kidnapped by Satanists. The Satanists are the local peasants and Cherry explains to the reader how just about every poor rural person is a secret Satanist and has practiced Black Mass for centuries. It was such a preposterous concept that it both hurt my brain and delighted me. You can tell the Satanic Panic was in full swing when this was written. If the dumb Silverfinger idea was dropped and the entire book was about Mafia Satanists, this would be a book worth reading.

If you are an obsessive collector of period spy porn like I am, then you are going to get this book whether it is good or not. As for the rest of you, there is much better spy porn out there. In my opinion, the Baroness series by Paul Kenyon is the best.

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