Behind The Story of CONSTANT

One thing I can’t do with much success is read fiction while I’m actively working on a project. I’m far too guarded against the possibility of some other author’s voice sneaking into my work, so I resist the urge to read someone else’s (perfectly crafted) story.

Two weeks ago, I finished the latest draft of a manuscript, and (finally) took some vacation time. Time to read an actual novel! I’m embarrassed to say I’d never read Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451, and it had made its way to the top third of my to-be-read stack (no small feat). And there, in the new introduction by Neil Gaiman, I found this gem.

“There are three phrases that make possible the world of writing about the world not-yet (you can call it science fiction or speculative fiction; you can call it anything you wish) and they are simple phrases:

What if…?

If only…

If this goes on…”

( – Neil Gaiman, Foreword to FAHRENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury)

The last one, of course, is spot on for Bradbury’s arguably most famous tale, but it’s that first one that always seems to occupy my brain at 2am.

What if?

Some time back in the early ’00s, a friend and I were chatting, and she threw a monstrous curve ball my way.

What if reincarnation were real, but time was fluid? Could two instances of yourself exist in the same span of time?

My head exploded, reassembled, then exploded again, and kept exploding for the next decade and a half.


In 2018, I applied and was accepted to the Golden Crown Literary Society’s Writing Academy. For ten months, I studied the craft of writing under some of the most popular, prolific and talented authors in the world of lesbian fiction. With each class, I learned more about the how and why of writing, and considered all the ways I could apply what I was taught to my work.

Every writing project is an opportunity – not only to tell a story, but also to try something new from a craft perspective. In each story I write, I’m conducting some sort of writing experiment in an effort to level up my craft.

For years, I considered telling a story in second person – something many instructors and critics emphatically insist can’t be done well. When the opportunity arose to submit a story to the Writing Academy anthology – a chance to showcase whatever we students wanted to share – several ideas coalesced into one.

The result was “Constant”, a speculative fiction short (coming in at less than 1400 words; I tried to make it longer, but the story said otherwise) told in the second person, suggesting an answer to the question that had plagued me for over a decade.

What if reincarnation were real, but time was fluid?

Very few of my works satisfy me. I’m always convinced there’s more to tell, that I missed some nuance, that the story could use another round of editing. “Constant” is the outlier. I have never been more proud of a story, and I hope you’ll give it a chance.

“Constant” is included in the GCLS Writing Academy anthology WRITING FREEDOM from Brisk Press, available from Bella Books and Amazon.

GCLS 2019 – What’s Over and What’s New

For the last year, I’ve been an eager participant in the year-long writing intensive program at the GCLS Writing Academy. I’ve met some amazing writers, learned from some of the best in lesbian fiction today, and shared some powerful stories with other authors.

(If you write lesbian fiction and want to learn more about the craft of writing, I **highly** recommend this program.)

Today, I graduated from the program in a ceremony held during the Annual Golden Crown Literary Society Membership Meeting. This is more of a beginning than an ending. Though my year in the program is over, my studies of the craft will continue as long as I’m a writer.

To celebrate, I’m giving away copies of my novella, BIG CITY BLUES, to anyone who joins my list this week. Here’s how this will work:

(1) Sign up here for my mailing list.

(2) Respond to email verification, if prompted.

(3) Check your inbox in a day or so for the downloadable PDF!

My ebook is available in other formats if you’d prefer. Check your favorite ebook retailer for details (or click on the image in the sidebar).

I can’t thank the amazing program coordinators enough for their hard and seemingly endless work.

Playlist – The Improbability Volumes

Are You Still Talking About That Crazy Thing You Did?

By now, I’ve screamed enough from the rooftops about National Novel Writing Month. (No-way-near-humble-brag: this year was my second official NaNoWriMo.  Once again, I made it to “winner” status by achieving the goal of 50k words in the month of November.)

Improbability’s final count was around 56k, and for the whole month, I listened almost exclusively to the same music.

As always, for a story of this magnitude, I created a playlist to help set the mood for the daily word output, but I also had another ace up my sleeve – someone else’s playlist.

Since Improbability is a futuristic enemies-to-lovers romance as well as a spy-vs-assassin suspense novel, setting the mood was crucial. I needed a dark tone, but one that hinted at possibility – something sexy but not mushy, and futuristic but not cheesy.

I ask a lot from my playlists.

“Dark tone” crossed with “futuristic” equated electronica. Sexy without mush meant slower beats but no flowery violins, and “not cheesy” meant that I needed to stay away from the ’70s sci-fi synthesizer sound.

Start With The Bones

I started with my primary protagonist, the ethical hacker working for a government agency, newly transferred to a field assignment. Logically, this led to coding mixes on YouTube inspired by THE MATRIX. Within minutes I’d found a coding mix with killer Matrix-inspired visuals and a playtime that clocked in at over two hours.



(If you play this while you read the posted drafts, you’ll be immersed in the world I imagined as I wrote it.)

In The Car, At The Library, In The Shower

Most of these songs ended up on my own personal mix as well. When I’m working on a project, I obsess on it, which means I need a portable version for the car, or my phone, or wherever I am – and I’m not always plugged in enough to play YouTube.

This list contains singles from several different artists, though one entire soundtrack was nearly ideal for the mood I was trying to create – “Halt and Catch Fire” by Paul Haslinger.

Everything else is listed below, but there are two standouts. Trentemoller’s “Take Me Into Your Skin” and Blank & Jones “Florent 2 A.M.” were the sexiest tracks on the list, and absolutely the environment for the shift in the sexual dynamic for the two main characters. (The first encounter between Denna and Katja is edgier than this, and required something more tense – Reznor and Ross’ “Intriguing Possbilities”.)

The rest of this list:

  • Trentemoller, “Evil Dub”, “Like Two Strangers”
  • Colin Stetson, “Like wolves on the fold”
  • Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, “Complication With Optimistic Outcome”
  • Solar Fields, “Outlined Surfaces”, “Insum”
  • H.U.V.A. Network, “Indigo Room”
  • Charlie Clouser, “For Alaska”
  • Gus Gus Vs T-world “Anthem”
  • Mega Drive, “Converter”

On to the next story…and the next playlist.

Give the gift of romance –  give BIG CITY BLUES to your favorite lesbian fiction reader!