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  • Spar
    Spar
    by Nikko Lee

    A closeted black belt comes to terms with his bisexuality when he takes an openly gay student as his new sparring partner.

  • Wolf Creek: Gay Werewolf Romance
    Wolf Creek: Gay Werewolf Romance
    by Nikko Lee, Digital Fiction

    Life as a gay omega werewolf is no fairytale.

  • Bon Appetit: Stories & Recipes for Human Consumption
    Bon Appetit: Stories & Recipes for Human Consumption
    by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt, Rev. Thomas Thorn, Nikko Lee, Dax Bordas, Sebastian Bendix, Rick Powell, Misty Tyers, J. N. Cameron
    Contains Bouillon de Bebe 
  • NECRONOMICUM #2 (NECRONOMICUM: The Magazine of Weird Erotica)
    NECRONOMICUM #2 (NECRONOMICUM: The Magazine of Weird Erotica)
    by Gary Budgen, Julian Darius, Richard Greico Jr, Nikko Lee, K. A. Opperman, Alice Renard, Rose Banks, Paul St. John Mackintosh, Michael Seese

    Contains Instabiable by Nikko Lee

  • Zombiefied Reloaded: The Search for More Brains
    Zombiefied Reloaded: The Search for More Brains
    by Carol Hightshoe, Cynthia Ward, Terry M. West, Christie Meierz, Dana Bell, Mary E. Lowd, Patrick J. Hurley, Francis W. Alexander, Liam Hogan

    Brainatarian by Nikko Lee

  • Coming Back
    Coming Back
    by James Arthur Anderson, Brian Barnett, Dave Fragments, Shawna Galvin, Vince Darcangelo, Ken Goldman, Michael Lindquist

    Contains A Mother Knows by Nikko Lee (paperback available at Lulu.com)

  • Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology
    Wolf Warriors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology
    by Jonathan W. Thurston

    Contains Great Mother Wolf by Michelle Knowlton

  • People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
    People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
    by Frank Larnerd, Tony Peak, Geoff Gander, Shenoa Caroll-Bradd, Robert Hart, Nikko Lee, Kyle Yadlosky, Edward Martin III

    Contains Bouillon de Bebe by Nikko Lee

  • Valves & Vixens: Steampunk Erotica
    Valves & Vixens: Steampunk Erotica
    by Nicole Gestalt, Crysta Coburn, J.T Seate, Nikko Lee, V.C., Zak Jane Keir, Blair, Regina Kammer, Jim Lee

    Contains Boson's Mate by Nikko Lee

  • The Big Book of Bizarro
    The Big Book of Bizarro
    by Rich Bottles Jr.

    Contains Honey-Do by Nikko Lee

  • Between Love and Lust
    Between Love and Lust
    by Nikko Lee

    E-book

    Print-on-demand paperback

  • Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
    Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
    by J. Troy Seate, Patricia McCarthy, Nikke Lee, Andrea Saavedra, James Hartley, Edward McKeown, Mike Graves, J.E. Gurley, Zakk Erikson, David Bernstein C.C. Blake

    Contains Pure Delight by Nikko Lee

Tuesday
Aug272019

When place is a character

The past few weeks have been busy. Daycare has been closed for nearly two weeks. I've split my time between working from home, vacationing near Baxter State Park, working from my mother-in-law's in Vermont and lots of driving.

Wherever I go, I have a whole caste of characters that I bring with me and try to fit them into stories. I have one particular character I met last year while camping near Baxter that continues to insist on being in a story. This year I came to the realization that the character was less a person and more of an embodiment of a place that I love to visit.

There is just something about going up north from the coast. Roads, people and all the trappings of civilization become further and farther between. There is so much space. The churning of motors and people gives way to the chatter of squirrels and brooks.

We visited the Katahdin Iron Works and walked down to the stream leading to the Gulf Hagas trails. The kids are still a little young for fording streams and long hikes. But we played along the shore, throwing rocks and wading into the water. There were a few hikers following the Appalachian Trail, even one taking a rest day by the shore. The air just felt so much freer, wilder, full of possibilities that come from that necessary break from routine and responsibilities.

I wish I could have stayed by that stream a little longer or even walked across and explored Gulf Hagas. Maybe next year. My almost five year old daughter and I talked about taking a hiking trip just the two of us. Her legs and attention span may be short, but she loves to wander and just take in the scenery. We could all use a little more of that.

Tuesday
Jul162019

Je me souviens

Home for me has always been Knowlton Landing, Potton, Quebec. It's not that I spent my entire childhood on the family farm of which I was the eighth generation. In fact, we moved so regularly that I've now lived more years in Maine than I have lived anywhere else. Yet it was the first home I ever know and where my father's family lived. The land that was settled by my ancestors in 1821 and has been more or less -often less- in our family since than until this year when we sold the farm.

Knowlton Landing was always the place I returned to no matter in which province or country I had my primary residence. It was where I spent holidays and summer vacations during high school and undergraduate. The land is tied to my nearly all my memories of family and childhood.

My children are too young to have formed many memories of the farm. In all likelihood, they won't even remember visiting it. Years from now when they take me on a trip to Quebec in my old age, I will have to point out all the old spots that used to be so familiar to me. Their experience growing up will be so different from my own in many ways. I wonder sometimes how I will impart to them their family heritage, particularly their French Canadian heritage.

Although my father's family is English, descended from Massachusetts residents who sought their fortunes in Quebec, my mother's family is French of the first French Canadians to settle the province. I can remember understanding and speaking French as young fives years old. I've tried now and again to sing to my children in French and they will indulge me sometimes by singing along when they aren't telling me 'not that one'. Yet they will never be fluent in French if they even remember some phrases.

In recent years, my husband and I have started hosting Reveillon Christmas parties. Even though those particular parties weren't a part of my up bringing, it's an excuse for me to cook the foods I remember my mother cooking for special occasions and other uniquely French Canadian recipes.

With the sale of the farm and my father moving away from the place I had always considered my home base, I am forced to reflect on how I define myself as Quebecoise. Researching the history of the farm has helped me connect to my anglophone roots. My maternal grandpapa wrote a great family history that helps connect me to my francophone family. But I can't help but feel a loss that my children will never really know what it means to be half-French, half-English. One foot in each culture.

So if I seem a little too eager to speak to you in French or pull out random French Canadian recipes for gathering, it's just my small way of holding onto a piece of me that isn't so obvious.

PS For an explanation of the 'Je me souvien motto' see this Frenchly post.

Tuesday
Jun252019

What a story is versus what it is about

Nearly a month ago, I attended the Maine Crime Wave 2019 in Portland Maine. This is my favorite writer conference (and closest). As always, the room was packed with numerous successful authors and authors aspiring toward success. I love this opportunity to talk to both kinds of authors about their craft, the business of publishing and their non-writerly interests. It's a comfortable and welcoming gathering for readers and writers at any level who are interested in crime fiction. And what fictions doesn't deal with death, police or a mystery?

There were several fascinating panels and workshop. One workshop with Julia Spencer-Fleming really brought home to me how much I rely on exposition to give the back story of my characters when I should be relying on their actions, thoughts and words. The iceberg poster comes to mind. I definitely struggle with burying the driving motives and emotions of my characters, which tends to have the duel curse of slowing the plot.

Another workshop with Gayle Lynds focused on the elements of plot. Most importantly for me, Lynds spent quite a bit of time explaining the difference between what a story is (the plot outline) versus what a story is about (the relatable cord running through the novel that says something about life or people).

It's often hard to boil down a 90,000 word novel into a one sentence summary. That summary tends to focus on the nuts and bolts of the novel including character, place, action etc.

Safe Word (my languishing novel that will most likely get trunked) is the story of psychiatrist Jacob Riley teaming up with strong-willed Detective Katrine St. Onge to stop Jacob’s former submissive from framing him for murder.

But what's it about?

I struggle with this question. Both Jacob and Katrine use control as a means of protecting themselves from rejection. Jacob more overtly prefers sexual relationships that involve dominance and submission. He also enforces a kind of emotional control on himself that keeps people at a distance despite his deep need for personal connection. Katrine downplays her feminine side, unwilling to appear vulnerable as a means of protecting herself from rejection. The problem is expressing this aboutness in a catchy one sentence that doesn't sound trite or cliche.

I'm still working on that part.

Wednesday
May292019

Flawed hero

I've started reading Save the Cat! Write a Novel in the hopes that it will help to break down the basic elements of story writing. This book uses the script writing advice of Save the Cat! beatsheet for script writing but twists it to explain story structure in novels.

Movie reviews have become my gold mine for analyzing character, plot, story structure and pacing. There really is a lot of overlap in how stories unfold regardless of the medium.

So I'm going to try the exercises with Safe Word as my basis.

Chapter 1: Why do we care?

Jacon Rilley is the main character of Safe Word. His big flaw is that he feels he must control everyone around him if he's going to be certain of meeting their needs and garnering the love and approval desperately wants. Because of this flaw he's chosen to avoid standard relationships, instead seeking sexual and emotional fulfillment by being the dominant to his chosen submissive.

The root of Jacob's obsessive need for control and approval stems from growing up in a sexually repressive house with a controlling father who died when Jacob was a preteen leaving him to care for his mother whose health deteriorates. His need to please her and be the head of the household requires him to put his own interests aside for his mother's needs.

At the start of the novel, Jacob is looking for a new submissive after recently ending his relationship with his previous submissive. His goal is to find the perfect submissive to whom he can devote all of his attention and affection toward. He turns to an online forum he has used before to screen and interview potential submissives.

Jacob can never find the submissive to meet his needs because he never lets himself give up control of their interactions. The moment one of his submissive challenges him or lets him down, he ends the relationship rather than addressing the problem.

What Jacob really needs is to relinquish his unrealistic idea of control and accept that disagreements and disappointment are a part of building relationships and becoming a person capable of loving and being loved.

Wednesday
Apr172019

Facing rejection

"... if I am honest, although I thought your idea was interesting I found the manuscript lacked a bit of depth; the narrative was told rather than shown.  So, as it stands, it is not really a match for the ... brand and we won’t be pursuing publication."

"Although we felt it had some good concept and story it falls short of our required 80,000 word count and still needs work in some areas to keep the momentum going for the reader."

I admit it. I've been avoiding the above feedback for a few weeks now. Safe Word has been trunked. My attention has been focused on my nonfiction project. But those words linger in the back of my mind. So much so, that I've been actively avoiding my fiction projects.

Fortunately, I have a wonderful writing group partner who reminded me that I won't get better without working on the problems that exist in my writing. And that won't happen if I stop writing fiction.

The goal to get me back on the fiction horse is to finish a less than 5000 word short story contest that's due at the end of the month. I already a short story that fit the criteria but needed to be finished. Now I'm battling limited time and energy while fighting back my inner critic that whispers 'may you just aren't really good at this'.

Two more weeks to go...