Yeah Write #217- Dragon Lady

Dragon Lady

by

Shannon Barber

 

“I love you, I love you, I love you.”

His words come in time with the rhythm of my fist hitting his gut. I’m panting and sweating, he’s sweating and the way he’s tied with his arms above his head he looks like a sacrifice.

I am the dragon.

I stop swinging my fists and he’s angelic.

“I love you too babe. Had enough?”

He is quiet for a long moment and then he nods.

“Yeah, thank you.”

I drag my little step stool over and untie his hands, he buries his face between my tits. Not quite a motorboat but close.

I laugh and step down.

“You don’t get off that easy being cute.”

He nods and puts his hands behind his back the way I like.

“Good, now go. I’ll be in there in a minute.”

He is mine. He is my posession. He cooks my meals, he shines my shoes, he polishes my nails and shaves my legs. I tie him up, beat him with fists and objects d’kink.

Our friends don’t really know the depths of our mostly private depravity. In mixed company, we are delightful, he is an attendant date. They rarely know that as we dine or dance he is wearing one of his specially ordered chastity devices, or my panties, or a short length of rope tied lightly around his cock.

As I walk back into the bedroom I stop in the doorway to look at him, he’s beautiful. Stretched out on his back, his cock lubed and ready for me just the way I like. I smile at him.

“I love you baby.”

He smiles so sweetly I want to slap him across the face for it and listen to him cry. Maybe later.

“I love you too.”

###

 

 


Lamentation by Joe Clifford. A review.

All right y’all.

Review time.

I got a review copy of Lamentation by Joe Clifford recently and finished reading it last week. I’ve been a fan of Joe’s short work for a long time. I don’t remember where I saw it first, maybe Shotgun Honey or the Flash Fiction Offensive but yeah I dig it.

Let’s go in.

First of all the hardback has a really beautiful dust jacket. I just love it. And we know I’m kind of a sucker for good book design.

Look at it.

lamentation

Super pretty.

Now overall the short review is that I really like this book. I’m going to give it a name in terms of how the subject matter is dealt with and call it Dirty Pastoral. Not dirty like perverse, but dirty as in grimy, it’s a glimpse into the ugly side of living in a small town. This isn’t Charming Small Town America, this is decaying America where if you gotta be there, you have to fight for your bit of okayness.

It is very well written. Had I not known Joe wrote it, I would know he wrote it. The pacing is nice and tight and y’all, the end…I won’t spoil it but I was not ready and had I not been on the bus I would have yelled at the book because that’s how I handle things I love.

Overall, if you like crime fiction and you want something that isn’t just gangsters or big city drug fiction pick it up. (Affiliate link sorry)

Time to get nerdy because there are some things going on that tickled my writer nerd.

First of all I want to talk about the character Jay Porter. Jay is our low key hero and the way he’s written gives me an Everyman who isn’t just bland.

When we first meet Jay he is ostensibly a loser. At first blush, he’s that guy we all know, has a kid and an ex he’s hung up on. He has a shitty job and we’re tired of telling him he can do better. He’s the guy we all know who half the time you don’t know if you want to punch or hug or both.

What I really love about how Joe write this character is that we get that loser Everyman vibe but he isn’t pathetic. I personally really am not into the pathetic anti-hero trope. It’s boring.

The thing I find masterful and intriguing is that in the start of the book we get flashes and hints that Jay has an inner life that is beyond his current position in life. He’s not an undercover badass, he doesn’t suddenly find big brass balls, there’s a very tangible realness in Jay’s character that is upheld through the book and I really appreciate that.

The plot revolves around Jay, his speed freak shitbag brother Chris, murder, an ex girlfriend, a baby and a lot of douche bags.

One of the other things that I really love about this book is the lack of machismo. I’ve read too many crime stories and books where regardless of where the hero starts out, at some point he hulks the fuck out and suddenly can do shit. He can shoot, he knows how to handle any situation. He’s like Stallone in fuckin Cobra. (SHUT UP don’t judge me I love that movie)

Most of the main male characters aren’t written to be bad masculinity tropes. There is vulnerability, hurt, there is depth in the presentations of hetero masculinity that I appreciate. It takes someone who can write from a place that is secure in their masculinity to present other men that way.

There are few women in the book. And with those few women they are different from each other. I feel like this is something that was paid attention to. They weren’t all hot versions of the same chick.

I think one of the appeals for me of Joe’s work overall is that it feels rooted. It feels real because things are grimy. This book takes place in this lovely New Hampshire place in the dead of winter and I felt the sadness, I felt being a guy like Jay living in a shit town, with shit circumstances and a dirty life.

Again, I don’t mean dirty in a pejorative sense.

This is dirty like hood life is dirty.

I think for me my enjoyment of this book comes down to the fact that it feels authentic. Granted, I doubt there’s a lot of Black ladies in this town, I feel like I understand it because I like the grimy. Hood dirt is comfortable for me.

Like his book Junkie Love I will come back to this book. This is a world I can get lost in comfortably.

The bottom line is the following:

  • Read this book if you like crime fiction.
  • This is the type of shit I like.
  • Joe Clifford is a fine damn writer.
  • Read his work.

Keep your eye out. The next book I review will be by Kola Boof and I’m probably going to babble about some really awesome things going on. AND some updates on Self Care Like a Boss coming soon.

And let me mention before I forget that if you are one of my Patrons or if you’re interested, head on over there and check it out. I put out a letter and the first in a series of new stories, like serious Urban Fantasy stories that my Patrons get first dibs on. So come drop a dollar in the bucket and get a download.


Yeah, Write #216 Entry- My Twin Tried It

My Twin Tried It

 

“Come on, why  you bein’ stingy?”

I’m sitting on the counter in my bathroom putting my eyeliner on and my twin brother is sitting on the toilet complaining as usual.

“Look, I already told you, it is not that kinda party.  It’s not for you.”

“Tay, come on bitch why not?”

His voice is starting to annoy me and I don’t want to explain, but I know I’m going to have to or he’s going to whine until I leave then text me every ten minutes while I’m gone.

“Because Tee this party is like, hella gay. Super gay. Like, the party is called Bitches 4 Bitches. It’s for hood dykes. You are not a lesbian.”

I can see the face he’s pulling behind my back.

“Really? Really, Tay? Bitches 4 Bitches? Is you serious? That’s nasty.”

I turn and stare at him, eyes narrowed.

“The fuck did you just say to me Tee? My party is nasty? Really? You think I forgot you went to that stupid what was it? Do I have to remind you about that Anti Black bullshit flyer? No dark girls? Yo’ Mama is fuckin’ dark. You’re dark. I’m dark. And my party is gross? Really bitch? Really?”

Tee is cringing, he puts his hands up and tries to shrink.

“Not to mention I’m fucking gay and GOD forbid I want to go dance with other women of color without some Hotep ashy dick Negro like yourself have a problem. Don’t start with me, I still gotta do my eyebrows and get my lashes on. I’m tryna get with that pretty fat dark girl I me that the last party.”

“Fine, damn. Calm, down. This ain’t twitter.”

I can’t help but giggle, I already put my girls on him about his bullshit on Twitter.

He stands up and comes to watch me finish my make up.

“You know I don’t mean that shit right? I’m tryin’ sis.”

I turn my head and plant a big shimmery kiss on his cheek.

“I know, boo boo. We’ll get you woke yet. Here hold this mirror so I can get my lashes on.”

He holds my hand mirror still and I can see he’s got that look on his face.

“Don’t put them girls from Twitter on me again. Them girls ain’t no joke. I never been roasted like that in my life. “

I do a good job of not laughing and screwing up my lash placement.

“Well, I told you if you got on that Hotep bullshit I’d put them on you. You wouldn’t listen to me. Look, I keep trying to get you to understand that lack women, especially Queer Black women are not here for that. I’m not here for it. You stay on that bullshit and they’ll fuck you up again. How are my eyebrows?”

Tee tilts my head and nods.

“Looks good. I’m trying. I swear I’m trying. Some of that is true-“

If I wasn’t already running late, we’d be fighting. I roll my eyes and jump off of the counter.

“Don’t even. Now shut up and tell me I look cute and that girl is gonna be there.”

“You look cute and she’s gonna be there. Okay, but-“

“Tee. Don’t. Don’t go down that fuck boy path again. Every one of our gay ancestors and every hot ass queer Black girl I know will destroy you. Again. In public. Now stop it. I’m leaving. Do something about yourself Hotep. Be glad I got a girl to talk to.”

I get out of my robe and put my shoes on before grabbing my purse and heading out the door. I love my brother, but I can’t. I have girls to seduce and no time for his nonsense.

###


What’s Going On?

So homies.

Holy shitballs.

Lots of things are happening right now. A couple are secret, but here’s some stuff I’m good to talk about.

I wrote over on Medium about the recent happenings in ConPo, Vanessa Place and AWP and what critics of the mainly POC people talking about this are doing and how they are using some new shit coded racist language. That was convoluted, the short version is people in the lit world are being extra racist as fuck lately.

I have more to say about that, but it’ll happen next week.

What else?

I’m ready for more Patrons. My household finances are about to get leveled out and I would like to start saving for AWP16 in LA soon.

What else?

It’s 7:30 inthe fucking morning. I’m coming off of a migraine and can’t sleep.

I keepthinking about the banality of the way the lit world gets a racism boner.

I  say, hey don’t be fucking racist. I get blocked on social media by white dude bro poets I’ve never heard of. I get shitty messages everywhere about how I’m ruining my career before it takes off. How if I’d just be quieter and nicer with allies, if I’d write “normal” stories.

Okay so recently I got published at Shotgun Honey. That was a big fucking deal for me. I’ve been a huge fan of that magazine for a long time and yeah, there was an agenda with that story.

The Junie in the story is a Black lesbian who under her mentor has put her art and anatomy to good use in the criminal world.

That is not a story I’ve heard before in most noir type stuff so I wrote it.

A few “friends”  suggested that it was weird and why did Junie have to be Black AND gay.

That’s what I deal with from “friends” .

That’s well meaning people upholding white supremacy.

Those people are honestly worse than straight up racists.

Instead of saying like, hey that story was a piece of shit or hey cool little story. I got but why was she Black and gay.

It is exhausting.

It is demoralizing.

And yet, I’m still doing it.

Mostly unpaid. Entirely too visible sometimes.

It’s why my comments are moderated.

Why I will block people or ban them. So far on my author page on facebook I’ve deleted a treasure trove of racist sexist comments. I’ve blocked I don’t know how many people.

And, look.

Here I am. Exhausted. Stressed out. Half terrified and giving way too few fucks.

I’m still here.

Okay I’m being told to finish my food and take some drugs so I’ll sleep.

Goodnight moons and hams.


Yeah Write entry # 215- I Met A Girl Today

I Met A Girl Today

by

Shannon Barber

I met a girl today.

I met a girl with short hair and crazy eyes.

I was waiting for a bus for no particular reason other than itchy feet and enough money in my pocket for fare and a cup of coffee. I wasn’t paying attention and then there she was, her face turned to mine, her eyes open wide and her lips quivering between a smile and a frown.

“I like you.”

Her words were strong beneath her reedy tone. She sounded like she didn’t talk to many people.

“I like you too.”

We didn’t say anything else for a long time, but she reached for my hand the way a very young child or a very old person might, it was a gesture that didn’t ask for affection but gave it unquestioningly. The bus came and we got on together, we sat like children on a school trip holding hands and smiling at each other.

Everything felt so strange and wonderful. I kept waiting to wake up or find that I was the butt of some joke. The more tense I got, the less likely that seemed to be.

I relaxed, I held her hand tighter and she leaned against me while the bus rocked. She put her lips to my ear and whispered.

“I want to make love to you. For days and days.”

I blushed, I couldn’t help myself. No one talked to me like that ever. I didn’t know what to say and I ducked my head, so embarrassed that I wasn’t sure what to do or say. I swallowed hard, she smiled her huge crazy smile at me, she was patient. She waited until I could speak.

“I- I would like that. I want to make love to you too.”

We giggled. We sat with our heads bent towards each other, whispering inane dirty things and when we couldn’t stand it, we got off of the bus and headed back the way we came.

The bus ride back was excruciating. It was the first time I have ever felt a ball of lusty need sit in my belly and have it be pleasurable. It was awful and beautiful, the ride was too short, and all together too long. I felt decadent, wanton and magnificent. We made it back to where we had started and we stood at that bus stop again for a moment.
It felt like we were marking our territory, as if returning to the spot where we met could somehow cement things.

We didn’t need the symbolism of that return.

All we needed was to be hand in hand again, to be the tender bit of mercy in the hard ugly world.

I took her back to my place and we did make love. We made love for days, for weeks and now for years.

I love her.

She loves me.

We are complete.

I met a girl today.

I met a girl with short hair and crazy eyes.

###

PS..this is very loosely based on a girl I actually knew.


On Dominance in Erotic Fiction: A few Questions

I spotted this over at Remittance Girl’s Blog and have been turning it over in my brain. Go look at her entry here.

For my purposes I will de-gender the questions because that is how my mind works. Okay, let’s go in.

1. As an author of erotic fiction, what assets or personality traits do you believe make the  lead in a work of erotic fiction attractive to the ‘everyday’ reader?

I think what works in this context depends on a lot of factors. For me as a reader, there aren’t standard traits that make any character work. I really like what RG said:

I need them to have agency and volition – to be agents of change rather than victims of circumstance. I enjoy writing erotic fiction that involves male characters whose erotic attraction doesn’t come from standard measures such as physical attractiveness or wealth

For me what I feel hooks myself as a reader and other readers is that agency. I personally don’t care for things to just happen, someone just happened to spank someone or want to get spanked or whatever. When I write a character I am not just making them so sex or kink can happen. I write them from the perspective of them being a being who has a need. Or I write them from their voice through who they are to what they want and how they get it.

That isn’t to say they are always fully 3d in each story. I do like to read and write stories where all you get of the lead character or narrator is a slice, a piece or a shadow. That’s one of the joys of using discretion in creation.

2.) In stories regarding a Dominant and Submissive, why do you think readers have an impulsive reaction to be attracted to either or?

I think a lot of readers of erotica are just like readers of anything else. There is something they have a desire for and something about a story speaks to them. For me, I can be hooked by a great line or idea. I think a lot of the reasons why we read what we read rely on those impulses or long standing desires.

I think readers react because that’s what humans do. Some of us are attracted to things that will make us feel warm and fuzzy in the pants. Some of us like something more challenging. I think the why is pretty simple, people like things. All different things and that is what is kind of great about humanity. Sometimes.

Personally, I like a buffet style approach to my reading. Sometimes I want mcdonalds fries and a shake, sometimes I want filet mignon. I don’t think my taste for either is mutually exclusive.

3.) a.) What is it about domination that the characters themselves find appealing? b.) And what do you think is it about the concept of domination that readers find appealing?

a.) What is it about domination that the characters themselves find appealing?

I think in my work it varies pretty widely. In one I can think of, it was mainly about the fluidity of power exchange. I personally really enjoy writing doms in ways that let them explore their own feelings in terms of why they are doing what they are doing. In others, I’m thinking of a story I have sitting in my to be edited folder. The dom in the moment does not understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. He feels a compulsion to do it and part of what I find interesting about this character is that underlying his desire he’s terrified.

b) And what do you think is it about the concept of domination that readers find appealing?

That I don’t know about. I know what I find appealing. When it’s done in a way that I find both arousing or interesting from more than an OH SPANKING perspective it’s appealing. It might not turn me on per se, but I will be interested. I will say I think a lot of people are drawn to the things that seem to be or feel like are beyond their own lives.

Isn’t that why a lot of us read fiction? To spy on other worlds and lives? Well, that’s why I read fiction. I am essentially an incredibly nosy..er let’s be nice and say curious person. I want to know what’s driving a thing.

I also enjoy a diverse range of expressions of the concepts of domination. I’m not personally into the generalized whips, chains n bitch boots. I am far more interested in things that aren’t quite so showy. I have a story in my drafts where the domination is done through under the table knee squeezes and glances. I love that.

4.) What kind of connection do the submissive and dominant characters have to have? Is it both physically and mentally?

I don’t believe there is a prescriptive “have to”.

In  my meatspace life, I have experienced connections that were both exclusively physical or mental. I believe that there is no correct way for these connections and relationships to be done or written.

Part of why I enjoy writing submissive and dominant characters is to explore the ways in which people can connect. Somewhere, probably on my dead PC at home, I have a story where the connection is lost in the present moment, but present in memory and focused on a piece of a razor blade.

There is a vast expanse of ways to explore how people connect with each other. I feel like D/S can have such a rich diversity of ways these relationships work. I am very greedy and just want to see more.

I want to see more writers explore a connection that is mental by necessity. Long distance lovers, disabled lovers etc.

D/S as it might take place in other worlds. There is so much room for conjecture and exploration.

Okay, while I was thinking about this I also was thinking about more of the reasons I’ve mainly abandoned the industry side of Erotica.

This is no shade to the asker of these questions at all, I do feel like there is a bit of a prescriptive tone and that seems to go along with a lot of what I’m seeing in the industry. Things must adhere to what I feel are fairly narrow parameters and I honestly think that’s terribly boring.

Personally most of what I’ve been writing in terms of kink is outside of these constraints. I have a deep burning desire to explore desire, dominance and submission through lenses that are not so strictly stuck in gender roles or ideas about what does and doesn’t make someone dominant or submissive.

One of the stories I have in my Etsy shop right now (the one titled Call me Lolita) is not D/S in a classical sense.

This story is hetero only in that both characters ID as cis male/female.

However.

This story at the bottom is about gender fucking and trust.

In a deeper sense it is about the depth of connection a man has with his dominant lover and how that connection and trust enables him to redefine masculinity for himself. To find the place where in more traditional kinky stories it’d be called “sub space”, what he feels is the place where he can be a girl. In this case his submission is not just submission. For him it becomes liberation from the prescriptive ideas about gender and masculinity.

So when I say that I’m interested in the wide open areas of writing kink and writing dominant characters and submissive characters this is what I’m talking about. Yes, I want folks who read it to get good and hot in the pants, but I also want to drop these things about gender roles in their ears.

This is the part of writing erotica that I missed when I wasn’t writing much of it.

I want the complications.

I want to go back to when I was 18ish and reading amazing Queer erotica that just took me places I didn’t understand and that made me uncomfortable.

I want to distill that powerful combination of discomfort and arousal I got in those early days (think old school Black books) and spread it all over everyone.

I don’t want to say I’m transcending but it feels transcendent.

This is the type of transgression that fuels me both as a writer and a reader.  This is how I think about not only the erotica I write but everything. I want to be the sort of writer who might take you someplace that makes you uncomfortable, but I want you to want to go on the ride with me and stick it out.

 


Why I am Still Going to AWP Next Year.

First, I encourage y’all to do some googling because I cannot rehash a lot of stuff, but I’ll give you one link to get started. Start here and I warn you there is a lot of ugly art involved.

While I was waiting for AWP to make the linked decision I started thinking very hard about boycotting along with a lot of other folks.

I calculated how expensive it will be, travel, hotel, books etc. And it is a lot of money. I will probably spend almost a month of my dayjob pay.

That money could do a lot of things.  New tech for my partner and I, it could go into a moving fund, it could do a lot of things.

I was very close to not going. Very, very close.

And then I saw this:

AWP must protect the efficacy of the conference subcommittee’s work. The group’s work must focus on the adjudication of the 1,800 submitted proposals, not upon the management of a controversy that has stirred strong objections and much ill-will toward AWP and the subcommittee. Perpetuating the controversy would not be fair to the many writers who have submitted the proposals.

These disrespectful mother fuckers.

As if those of us who weren’t acting out of “ill-will” but justifiable concern that someone who engages in and profits from playing with racism and using literary Blackface would be in that kind of position of power.  I will not pay to have anything to do with that person.

I got angrier.

I’m going.

I am going because I want the people in charge to see that in spite of their anti-Blackness I am still there. I will have things to sell. I will meet other authors.

I will read as much as I can.

In spite of how nervous the crowds and everything make me I will be known. I will be seen. I will not be shuttled into the shadows because AWP values freedom of speech, but not protecting their POC members who also pay to be members from racists.

I also have an idea that I might want to do some guerilla reading. I will tweet my wee heart out. I will make as much of my presence known as I can because I want them, and the writer in question to know that their actions have not scared me away.

I want to make people I KNOW have not supported or even shown a little bit of willingness to do the work of anti-racism that their lack of action hasn’t made me docile.

As I said to MCAG on twitter last week, I’ve got a heart full of gasoline and a book of matches. My boots are on this ground.

Not just because of Vanessa Place. Fuck, Vanessa Place and her ilk.

Because this is my life.

This- literature and writing means more to me than everything.

I am not a concept.

I refuse to hand over my life, my history, my pain to Whiteness, so that it can be regurgitated and fed back to Whiteness.

If I have to go to mother fucking AWP and stand in the middle of the book fair sobbing because of all this it will happen.

If I have to read EVERY single poem I’ve written about how this shit make me feel I will.

I will be seen.

I will be heard.

So fair warning.

AWP I am coming.

I will not be cowed.

I will not be silenced.

I will also probably do some dedicated fundraising to help with costs. In the meantime scroll down to your right for my new masterpost on supporting my work.

 


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