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    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.

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    by Nikko Lee, Digital Fiction

    Life as a gay omega werewolf is no fairytale.

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    People Eating People: A Cannibal Anthology
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    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

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    The Big Book of Bizarro
    by Rich Bottles Jr.

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    Between Love and Lust
    by Nikko Lee

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    Templar and Other Stories of Suspense and Terror (Vampires 2, Volume 4)
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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.

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