Jul 302018
 

I don’t know about you, but I have the hardest time finding good erotica set in a post-apocalyptic world. There are tons of books set in fantasy worlds and science fiction, but rarely do I find a good old-fashioned apocalypse and when I do, nine times out of ten, magic has come back to the world and for me, that is not the apocalypse I am looking for. I want stuff like the Fallout game, or even the Walking Dead series.  I want Mad Max with more leather. I want naked raiders and scavenged dildos.

Roc Bronco and Slut Puppy After the Apocalypse is that kind of book. Written by the talented Y. Falstaff, it features a world where an undefined apocalypse turned everything to shit and the world before belongs to a previous generation. All the tropes are here from bartering for supplies, to biker gangs to mutants to the dog-eat-dog mentality of survivors. Life is harsh and no one can be trusted. It is pretty bleak, which makes it pretty awesome.

The main character, Roc, is a drifter and badass. He has his own moral code but he will gut you in a second if he thinks you are a threat. You know this character because he is a sterling example of the kind of hero that populates these stories. We get a lot of insight into how he thinks that I found interesting but other than that, Roc is a little on the dull side. That kind of makes him a perfect anti-hero.

Slut Puppy is the interesting one. She is a nymphomaniac who believes she has powers from a demoness. Slut Puppy is always down to fuck and although a little unhinged from reality, she is by no means stupid. It takes her awhile to appear in the story but once she does, she steals the show. I am not ashamed to admit that I fell hard for her as a character.

Being a Falstaff book, the story takes many unexpected turns and constantly throws curve balls. That kind of unpredictability is a huge plus.  The story also takes its time to get to the sex. Other writers, myself included, have a rhythm of introduce a character, have sex, move the plot, have sex, introduce a new character, have sex, etc. Falstaff spaces the sex scenes out so that by the time you finally get to see a character get fucked, it feels special.

My only real criticism is that the plot takes a really dark turn around the 80-90% mark. The dark turn might be too much for some people, and it certainly was a buzz killer for me, but the ending stuck the landing and I was left in a happy place.  I have never seen a turn that dark in Falstaff’s other books, so I can only assume this one was because of the grim setting.

All in all, if you like apocalypse erotica, this is a pretty good one. I suggest you give it a try.

Jul 292018
 

For this week’s coven, I thought I would share one of my books of magic that I own.

Becoming Dangerous is a collection of essays about the rituals that help women feel powerful. Some of the writers are witches and some are just normal women trying to get by in this fucked up shitty world that is 2018.  The rituals themselves range from skincare to visiting haunted castles to affirmations of slut power. Most of all, it is a book about resisting depression, grief, abuse, racism, and all manners of oppression.

I’ve been reading it the past year and like most good books of magic, I have been reading it very slowly so I can digest each essay in turn. There is a lot of heart in these pages and each one feels like an intimate peek into the writer’s lives. The stories are inspiring and give me hope that no matter how bad the world is right now, there are people out there fighting it with everything they have.

It is the rare magic book that I think would have equal appeal to people who are into magic and those who are not. I have found plenty in this book to improve my own magic, but stories of identity, depression and resistance are universal. It is the kind of book I would give to anyone because I know there is something there for them. if you have suffered, then this book was written for you.

There is a part in the introduction that really spoke to me about magic in the modern world. One of the editors, Katie West, sent a draft of the introduction to her friend, Cara Ellison, and said, “I want this to anwser the question of why I make a book about rituals?” and Cara replied, “Because everything else hasn’t worked.” That is pretty much my anwser to why I have turned to magic. Nothing else has worked, so I might as well try something I enjoy doing.

Becoming Dangerous can be bought here.

 

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 252018
 

My Sex Arena story is at 427 THOUSAND words right now and I estimate that I am about 70% done with the first draft. I have an idea I want to add in the second draft that might add another 10% to the story but hey, that is the kind of masochist I am.

One of the things that helps me with my sanity as I write this monster is playing video games. I tend to gravitate to one game and stick with it until I am done, which means when I come across an open owlrd exploration game, I can stick with it for a very long time.

My current game is Starbound. You play the last survivor of a Earth based space force that dedicates themselves to helping other races and building homes for them. Seriously. Imagine a very kick-ass Habitat for Humanity. The main story line is about defeating the monsters that conquered Earth but I haven’t spent that much time working on that problem because I wanted to build an island community on an Ocean world, and then after that I built a shelter on an Ice world, and then I built a farm on a Jungle planet and then, well you get the idea.

Remember Minecraft? That 3D game where you explored a world, dug mines and then built houses? Starbound is like the 2D version of that game, except unlike Minecraft, that is actually stuff to do in Stabound.

For example, you have a spaceship that you can build extensions for. You use that space ship to travel a really huge universe, land on planets and fight monsters in space. On the planets you can meet people for quests, come across ancient temples, and learn about alien cultures. Or you can just build houses for aliens and they pay you rent. or you can go fishing. Or you can explore the huge crafting options and work on making cool weapons. Or you can just fight a bunch of monsters and turn them into food and gold. Or work on building your mech suit and upgrading it.

I guess what I am saying is that there is a ton of stuff to do in Starbound but only if you are interested. I have spent weeks just fighting monsters in space. I spent nearly a month building that Island community because I liked the challenge of building a something underwater. It is a game that almost has too much to do but very little of it is required in order to finish the game.

It is this flexibility that makes it such a nice game to play while working on a huge project. Feeling aggressive? That day I am killing monsters. Feeling creative? That day I start another housing community. Just want to chill? I can fish or try to expand my list of cooking recipes.

So if you haven’t tried it, I suggest playing Starbound. Who knows, you might even finish it one day.

 

Jul 232018
 

I have a soft spot in my heart, (and a hard part somewhere else) for Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, Queen of Halloween, Witch of My Dreams and Hostess with the Mostess. Most people think of Elvira as a great pair of boobs but she is more than that. She is smart and funny and a great pair of legs. Seriously, it is her humor that has carried her through the years when other pretty girl hosts have faded away.

It is that humor that also carries her comic books series, Elvira: Mistress of the Dark by Dynamite comics. In this limited series, Elvira is hosting her shoe when she opens the wrong trunk and ends up traveling through time to meet Mary Shelley on the famous weekend that inspired Shelley’s Frankenstein. Elvira and Mary team up to escape a terrible monster and it is the feminist horror creator team-up I never knew that I needed it. It was a lot of fun with plenty of smart humor, meta-references and of course, suggestive word play. It felt a lot like an unfilmed third movie in the Elvira franchise.

I am resentful that this is only a four issue mini series so I am urging to you to please buy all the copies so that will expand this into a monthly series.

Jul 182018
 

I have been on a weird fiction kick lately. Weird fiction rarely gives answers and is more interested in creating a hazy environment where your imagination infers what the fuck is going on. The best weird fiction reads like a constant state of confusion.

Black Helicopters by Caitlin R. Kiernan fits that description. It is a story about secret government agencies that are trying to protect the earth from cosmic forces. That would almost be a bland topic decades after the X-Files but Kiernan kicks everything into overdrive. The monsters are truly inhuman and disturbing, the characters are such broken messes that Agent Mulder looks like a stable Mr. Rogers and the government agencies are just as wicked and incomprehensible as the cosmic monsters they fight.

It is a challenging book to read and I mean that in a good way. The story tracks across multiple timelines and for the love of Nyarlathotep, pay attention to the dates at the beginning of each chapter. Each character is a damn mystery and at no point do you get a handy roster list to check. The plot seems wildly unconnected to the point that I wondered if it was being obscure for the sake of being obscure but then it begins to tie all together into a beautiful well-planned masterpiece.

It truly is a great dark book of weird fiction. There is another book with some of the same characters, “Agents of Dreamland”, but it is unnecessary to enjoy this one.

Jul 152018
 

This is a pin I bought from the wonderful Isabella Rotman. she has a wonderful etsy shop filled with great stuff. I highly recommend her Mermaid booklet.

I started thinking about pins while reading Alan Moore’s Providence. At one point he had a crazed country cultist who was bitter against the big city cult he belonged to that kicked him out. He wore a sash loaded with pins all different kinds. The first thing that crossed my mind was that every pin contained a spell and the guy was literally loaded with magic. Later I read some annotations that said the pins belonged to a bunch of different cult organizations. The notes guessed that the sash was showing off his memberships to everyone because of his insecurity.  I greed with the annotations but I still liked my earlier idea of pins as spell carriers.

Which got me thinking about the kind of magic I might put into a pin.

Anxiety has complicated every part of my life, especially my sexuality. I stress about how every aspect about sex and no amount of therapy has made it any easier. Writing porn is a safe place for me and I struggle to bring that sense of confidence and playfulness into my real life.

Which got me thinking about what kind of pins I would want to put magic into.

I saw this pin and something clicked. Is there any more powerful wand in our modern times than a Hitachi? “You do you!” is a wonderful mantra. The purple is pretty too. This is a pin made for magic.

Now I need to put the right spell in 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.

 

 

Jul 112018
 

I miss writing short stories. I learned how to write by writing short stories. A short story is like a quickie; fast and dirty and get to the point. I used to post a short story a week but usually I was writing as many as three in a week. There is something seductive about producing that many stories. The regular pace encouraged people to comment on my blog and those comments inspired me to keep writing.

An artist friend of mine expressed disbelief at the idea of posting free stories every week. It would be more accurate to say he was appalled. He was trying to make ends meet by monetizing every artistic thing he did and here I am just giving my work away. He thought I was independently wealthy and when I told him I wasn’t, I had the clear impression he just thought I was an idiot. Maybe he was right, but I did enjoy the thrill of having something new to show off every week.

I stopped doing short stories when my interactive books started making money on Amazon. I already greatly enjoy making interactive books but the money proved that people enjoyed reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them. The problem is these books take a lot of work and there was no way I could keep writing them and do my short-story-a-week pace.

Having said that, I am still writing a short Vaquel story once a month because I like Vaquel and I have been writing them for eight years. I plan to do her full twenty year voyage and that is too big of a goal to stop at the 40% mark.

Still, I do miss doing random short stories about whatever strikes my interest. Sometimes I see ebooks on Amazon that strike me as being super short for the money they charge. It makes me wonder if I could get my personal short story fix by writing little stories and selling them on Amazon. It is something to consider but since no one writes fan mail, I doubt I would get that same emotional rush like I get from posting on my blog and getting comments.

Tell you what I don’t miss about short stories and that is coming up with ideas. I would lose entire days of writing just trying to come up with a new story. Days I am not writing feel like wasted days and that would play havoc with my anxiety. It became a real problem when my wife thought I was having a depressive episode during one dry spell and I realized that maybe this kind of pace wasn’t mentally healthy for me.

Not knowing what to write isn’t a problem when you are writing a giant book like Ravished by the Haunted House or this new one, Fight in the Sex Arena. Every day I know what I need to write next. Sometimes I may brainstorm on how to make the next part more interesting than I originally planned, but those days feel far more productive than a day or two where I have no idea what to write at all. My mood has been a lot more stable and my depression is related more to the hellish world we live in rather than my struggles with my hobby.

So yeah, I miss writing short stories. I might treat myself and write one or two just for myself or maybe an experimental ebook project.

Right after I write another 100K words for this book I’m doing . . .

Jul 092018
 

Jack the Ripper bores me. Maybe it is pure over exposure. The first time travel movie I remember involved H.G. Wells tracking down jack the Ripper in the 1970’s. The Ripper, or an explanation, has appeared in a lot of occult fantasy shows and quite a few science fiction ones. There are dozens of short stories that speculate the Ripper is everything from an alien, to a Royal Family member to your mom. Okay, probably not your mom and I would read that one, but you get my point.

I think a big part of the reason I am bored with the Ripper is that he was one sick bastard. He cut up women in gruesome ways. There is debate on how many of the Ripper murders were actually done by him. He is never caught and we are in doubt over whether the most likely letter that was sent to the press is even by him. He is a shadow without personality.

These are the reason I haven’t read Alan Moore’s From hell until a few weeks ago. I love Moore and have read 90% of his work but From Hell never tempted me.  It is a giant ass book and that seems like too long of a time to spend with one of History’s least interesting monsters.

Thankfully, From Hell is about a lot more than Jack the Ripper. Oh, there is a Ripper, and he is fleshed out with motives and some explanations for his sick ways, but it is not about him. From Hell is about London. It is about the kind of place where five women can be murdered so easily because of their poverty and the way society treats sex workers. It is about the kind of society that makes the Ripper into a celebrity in his lifetime and forever more. It is an examination of the people that spawn a Ripper and makes it possible for him to kill.

That is not to say that the Ripper himself is not interesting. He is a Freemason doctor called upon to murder four women because of Royal intrigue, but he takes it upon himself to act out a magical ritual designed to oppress women and stop irrational female instincts from ruining his ideal patriarchal society. There is an entire chapter on the magical architecture of London that was a delight to read. This ritual of his gets out of control and he starts to see the future. These future glimpses unnerve the Ripper as he realizes that everything he does has been futile.

That was a nice touch and what really cinched the book for me. I have always been annoyed that the real Jack the Ripper never paid for his crimes that we know of. This fictional Ripper is locked away by the Freemasons and dies in an asylum, but he also suffers the full horror of knowing that he has failed. After so many pages of this monster and his deeds, it was cathartic to see him realize the depths of his failures.

I found the appendices that Moore wrote afterwards to be equally interesting. He shows his work and his research for his plot. Moore readily admits that his Ripper is based on a discredited theory but he didn’t care. Who the Ripper was is not nearly as important as what kind of scar it left on our society and folklore.

so if you are like me and you are bored with the Ripper, I still recommend giving From Hell a read. In fact, I feel like it is the only Jack the Ripper story you will ever need.