Welcome Gentle Readers

This blog tends to wander from its main purpose -- updates on my fiction. I do have updates and excerpts of my work. But I also write about my obsessions -- food, friends and pop culture and my weird life in Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Strange Baking and Clever Concoctions

This weekend was about strange baking and creating concoctions. The baking involved helping a
middle-schooler create a cookie in the shape of Washington State. He came up with the ideas on how to geographically decorate the cookie with the mountains and rivers, etc. But the young lad was at a loss on making a cookie big enough for a school demo. I've had him as a cooking student before. We made a variety of wings for his Grandfather's Super Bowl party. We were happy to help. Jon is the kind of foam core templates. Meanwhile, I had a lot of cookie recipes. All he needed was a sugar cookie dough that was formulated for heavy decorations. I had some that I've used for Christmas cookies. The big problem was rolling it to an even thickness on the back of a cookie sheet (we needed a baking surface that we could slide the end product from onto a cooling rack then into a box. He was lucky to not have gotten a harder shaped state. Strangely, that isn't the oddest thing Jon and I have ever created in a kitchen. It takes a lot of food to get through a scene involving actors eating. And you should never let the owner of the location permit her dog to be in the vicinity of food props.

Clever Concoctions



In the upcoming title for Vampire Rent Boy, my lead character makes a number of tasty cocktails. I've always been one to share recipes I find. I'm especially fond of cocktail recipes as I was a bartender through graduate school. The setup and breakdown of a commercial bar came back as easily as if I had done it yesterday. My feet and back ache from the memories. Anyway, the two of the four recipes I did (they will appear on the book's webpage tomorrow) are liquids I never made when I tended bar. It was not fashionable at the time. One was an infused vodka (cucumber) and the others was a flavored bitters (orange). One of the drinks I made and consumed was a green tea hot toddy. It was really delightful. I've made many a toddy with hot water, but the tea gave the drink a really mellow taste that was quite lovely. The simple syrups used behind the bar aren't nearly as interesting as recipes, so I didn't bother making those – for now. They are integral to making sweet tea and lemonade, and Summer is coming soon!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Insomnia, MoF Preview, Bi-Lingual Shopping and Updates

It's clear that I'm not in the habit of writing the blog. The big issue has been that I'm not in the habit of being consistent about anything. It's still something that I'm struggling with as we come up on five years since the MOAS and chemo. I don't write on a regular basis...or cook or swim. It's all very distressing. And it's nothing new. I'm muddling along as best I can but never as well as I'd like. I suppose I can take some solace that the momentum is generally forward.

Life in our tiny, luxury adjacent (though far from luxurious) abode has been a bit too exciting of late. Jon had a bad health scare (he's fine) that launched me into the most serious bout of insomnia I've had since the early days of my illness. I went for three straight days without sleep at the worst part of it. Fortunately, I have friends on the interwebs in all time zones to chat with though mostly I was up trying to be productive. Then, I was feeling terrible for not being very productive at all. This is nothing unusual for these sorts of bouts. The TV options are better, but that's about it. I have a sleep study scheduled for the first week in June.

Speaking of my illness, Friday, April 22nd will be the sixth anniversary of the MOAS (Mother of All Surgeries), the only known treatment for the kind of Appendix Cancer I had. As always, I will celebrate. I'd love to kick my heels up with a certain group of gorgeous Cosplayers I know, but that will have to wait for September. Cosplay Bishies, you all owe me a dance!

Month of Fun 2016


As this is April, next month will be the annual Month of Fun. For those new to the blog, I celebrate my birthday for a month. I don't do anything extravagant. I try to give myself – in the words of Agent Cooper from Twin Peaks – a little present every day. That can be as small as a 'damn fine cup of coffee.' The plan is to continue the practice throughout the year. I've been less than successful with that, but the Month of Fun has always been a grand time. My usual plan involves seeing what Groupon has to offer as far as facials or massages go. Perhaps, I can grab and early discount seating at a restaurant I've had my eye on for a while. There is usually a big new film coming out during the month. I know for sure there will be a special screening of an Anime Film that we have tickets for. I almost always try some sort of new recipe. Hopefully, there will be presents from kind friends. Last year, I didn't celebrate the Month of Fun. I was in the midst of a fight with Social Security and that depressed me quite deeply. This year, I plan to make up for that. Nothing will keep me from my enjoyment this year. I'll try to keep you posted on how that goes.


Bi-Lingual Shopping


Speaking of recipes, I was doing a bit of shopping at Mitsuwa Marketplace. I like to keep my pantry
stocked with proper Japanese ingredients. I really enjoy shopping there for produce there. Only Gelson's has prettier fruits and veggies, but the ones at Mistuwa are priced for normal people. ($5 for a bunch of collards my rear end. I don't care how beautiful the leaves are). I'm strangely attracted to the vast array of mushrooms. The mixture of varieties really tastes great as a duxelles or a coup. The enoki (long, thin white ones are awesome in a Ramen soup. And then, there was the mackerel. I was so excited to see it, I sent the photo to my father. He's a big fisherman of mackerel. He uses it for fertilizer in his vegetable gardens and loves to eat it. I enjoy it broiled with onions on top the way he makes it. The cooking isn't helping with my Japanese language skills as much as interacting with the market staff, but it is helping me understand the culture.

Erotica will be discussed. Fair warning!


Updates


Now that I've finished the latest Vampire Rent Boy, Hopefully, that will publish this week. I will move onto sketching the covers for the print Version of Ensnared Volume Three and the ebook version of the first installment of Ensnared Volume Four. I now know what I want to do for both of them. I'll start work on that as soon as I get back from swimming tomorrow. I made sure that I got all of my errands done over the weekend, so I just have to head home afterward...and state at a large, white piece of paper instead of a laptop screen. It's a similar creative process.

I've also finished an online course in creating comics in preparation for the webcomic I'm planning. It will be a prequel to my Soldiers novels. I've been acquiring images for backgrounds to various locations. At some point after finishing the next two covers, I plan on doing the model sheets for the characters. My hope is to begin publishing it on or shortly before Yaoicon, but that all hangs on my being able to do something more consistently than I am now. Hope springs eternal.

Stay tuned!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Cupcakes, Hot Guys and Writing with Insomnia

At five forty-five Saturday morning, I was making zucchini cupcakes. They are a lot like carrot cake cupcakes save for the central vegetable. The spices are similar. I was making them for our film partner, Ralph, to pick up around 11 am to pass along to the food show producers. He would be in the area. I was awake anyway having defied all of the meds that warned of making me drowsy. So, instead of watching another true crime show, I started grating zucchini. Believe it or not, I've never made cream cheese frosting. That was a tasty experiment – even at that early hour. What an evil thing veggie based cupcakes are – full of fiber, vitamins. They almost off set the fat and sugar! There is a trend toward sweet treats that aren't horrendous for health. I'm giving them a try to get more veggies in the Hubs. There aren't many circumstances that I could see him asking for a big ol' handful of shredded vegetables save for in cupcake form. I wanted to try using avocado as a replacement for butter in the frosting, but I don't have a lot of experience with using that as a fat. I didn't want everything to go wrong and spoil all of that baking.

Bishounen Joys

This past week was full of minutia. Lots of paperwork filled last week related to the next magazine and some government issues that are personal. There is still much to do with all of that. There is some fun though. I am working with a group of incredibly good looking and talented young men whilst putting together the calendar for our fundraiser.

I am guaranteed at least a smile and most likely a belly laugh from one of them. I haven't had such fun with a creative collaboration since I last worked on a film. Creative and humorous interactions really can propel a person through the worst kind of day. And upbeat connections like these can  have a ripple effect, I believe. Wonderful and achievable plans have developed since we began the calendar project. It all keeps me upbeat – and that has not been an easy feat. I did say these guys are very talented?! I will be talking about them a lot in the next few weeks. If you want to get in on all the news for our 2016 Bishie Cosplay Calendar (Including the launch party and prizes), you can sign up for the Newsletter here: http://yaoiagogo.com/Calendar.htm

Writing Updates! Warning!! Erotic Content!!

Rent Boy Magic


Writing is never the kind of magic where things are conjured from thin air. The magic comes from thoroughly figuring out the characters and the journey they will take through the story. This must be distinctly understood, or nothing wonderful can come of the story I am going to relate. (tee hee) I've been living with Tristan and writing about his mishaps and love affairs for months now. I have a basic outline in my mind for where the story will wind up. And I know the characters really well now. When Jon and I started spit-balling the latest volume, the ideas were coming a mile a minute. The jokes were sharper. The sexual tension was high long before anyone got near a bedroom. For a while, I was channeling the fun I had when I was bartending. It was magic. Joyful, gleeful magic. Jon is a great sounding board for sharpening the plots in general. For Rent Boy, he's awesome for the uber rude joke or a sexy set up that is organic but surprising. Just a few hours on Sunday afternoon last week set me off writing at such speed that I'm barely keeping up with what's coming out on the screen. The cover photo that features one of our Calendar guys is also adorable. So exciting!

For those readers who wonder, I have the same kind of magic with Ensnared. I've written so much more with those characters that I know them and their journeys very well. Currently, Darius is on the sideline muttering about why I'm paying attention to the vampire AGAIN while Andreas is trying to calm him and get him to be more patient. He's not patient. I'll be sketching the cover of the print version while working on this Rent Boy.

Library News


I was checking out available ebooks in the LA Public Library system. Along with a score of cookbook titles I want to explore, I discovered a few hundred Yaoi Manga titles! That was exciting enough. I also discovered that two of the titles I worked on are among those manga! My name is in library meta data! Here they are:


I had a meeting with the head librarian at my branch about submitting some of the yaoi novels and story collections for consideration in the system. That would be sweet!

Book Sales

Don't forget that Ensnared Volume 1& 2 are available on ALL formats and at half price on Smashwords.com. Clcik the link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/95691

For those who are not familiar with this epic erotic fantasy, here are the details:
In this world, even the most powerful are captives

Lord Darius Galatea seems to have all the power in the world. He is Leader of the Cosimo or Cosi,
those who keep order in an advanced civilization built upon a strict caste system. He could have a city razed with one call or have the most high born citizen put to death for the slightest transgression. Andreas Hesper comes from the lowest caste. He used an agile mind and just the right amount of muscle to become the most successful leader of an underworld gang. A chance encounter between the two men not only upends both of their worlds, but also ultimately puts their lives in jeopardy. It is custom that some of the Elite citizens of the world class city of Amara owned their lovers as playthings for a time. But those trained playthings or Damis were from a specific caste bred for their obedience and loyalty. Never had a gang leader become a Dami and thus privy to the secrets of an all powerful Lord. But there is more to the streetwise young man who agreed to be a plaything despite the objections from his caste and those from his Master's world. Andreas felt bound to the Cosi from the moment they met. He sees and hears more than even Darius himself. Andreas knows that they must tread very carefully in both of their worlds or the attraction that so closely binds them together will cause their destruction.

An incredible twist of fate means a drastic change in fortune for Andreas. This change also tears Darius
and Andreas apart. While they both cope with being apart, Andreas is faced with all manner of unexpected dilemmas. He has to find a way to be a success in his new role to have a chance at returning to Darius. Andreas also must fend off sexual advances from all manner of surprising people -- including another, very determined Cosi. He must also watch with dread as those close to Darius once again seek his favor, including an infamous ex-lover. Meanwhile, Darius has found that not only is any future relationship with Andreas in jeopardy, his rule as a Cosi may also be in peril. Both men’s freedom and their lives are at stake. Neither can afford the slightest misstep. Passion, however, will not be denied. Darius and Andreas are determined to find a way back to each other no matter what the cost.





At this point, I have not slept since Sunday morning and I only had a few hours then. I'm hoping to stay awake while swimming. Stay tuned!




Friday, February 26, 2016

Still Juggling and Still Writing

Hello, yes, it's been a while...

I'm not sure what happened with the blog thing. I think I may have gotten to a point where I felt like all I could do was complain. I'm not entirely sure. Anyway, I'm back. We'll see how it goes.

                                                                    ***

I had to rescue a souffle recipe yesterday. I rescued it like a champ in under five minutes – so worthy sauce pot. Put the whole mix back into the prepared ramekins and into the oven. It and the meal turned out beautifully. Alexandra Guarnaschelli would have been proud, I think. Of course, I'm the reason the souffl├ęs were in peril in the first place.
The souffles going into the oven for real.
of Chopped! I had to dump the contents of the ramekins back into the sauce pot and put the mixture on low heat whilst I washed and dried the ramekins, buttered them then added crumbled feta in the bottoms. Then, I whisked up the stiff egg whites that were in the fridge. I folded the egg whites into the egg yolk, milk and goat cheese mixture in the


The finished souffle for dinner.
I'm not as good at juggling as I once was. Now that we depend on the money I make from the Kindle titles for part of our income, I have to always be writing the next one. The money is reliable (though less than I'd like). Everything else is speculation. I really have to weigh the value of anything that would take me away from writing for a significant length of time. But we still live in Los Angeles and still have many irons in all kinds of fires. Beyond the books, I'm taking a class on comic design for a webcomic we want to launch. On top of that, I'm still struggling to get back some of my mobility. Any day that I work out (now includes the actual gym along with the pool), I have trouble thinking let alone juggling. But requests for re-writes of scripts or business plans or website updates keep coming when I least expect.

The latest unplanned project is an online cooking show. It was proposed by some colleagues of our film partners at Central City Stages. I'm all for anything that gives me an excuse to experiment with and expand my cooking skills. I have a fun concept that is a little different from other such shows and even have a slate of recipes. The problem is that I have become the queen of spreading the making of most recipes to at least two days. One took me five days to finish. I tend to run out of energy fast. Typically, these shows tape a bunch of episodes in one session and then release them over time. I certainly don't want to lose more than a whole day when I could be writing. It's been a challenge finding a day when I have the energy to make the trip to our partners' new sound stage and have the time. I'm really going to make sure to have the meeting sometime next.

I am pleased about the possibility of doing some fancy cooking for the show. There is something soothing about the motions of chopping and stirring and especially kneading. Working with dough is especially satisfying. From the touch of the doughs in various states to the scents of raw and baking breads, it all lulls me. Cooking requires just the right amount of focus that it distracts me from all the many things buzzing through my mind and sometimes orders them in a much better way.

That's it for now. As always Stay Tuned!

For those interested in my erotic titles, the current one is:

Ensnared Volume 2 – Ambush at the Sit Down
Andreas is more in love and in more danger than ever. He's never felt more alive than when he is overwhelmed body, mind and will by Lord Darius Galatea, the most powerful being in the known universe. Their lives, however, are far from simple or idyllic. Scientific evidence is mounting that the capital city from The Time That Was exists in the barren wastelands. News from the Cosi Compound convinces Darius and Mykos that their predecessors misled them about the extreme danger looming over their civilization and that a faction there is actively working against them finding answers. In spite of all of this turmoil, Andreas, Darius and Mykos are determined to have a Sit Down with the most unstable hostiles under Cosi rule far from safety where unknown elements are in play. 

Cover art is by yours truly!

For links to all of my titles on amazon Kindle (which you can read without a device on a PC or Mac), go here for my Author Page:








Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Not So Month of Fun, Other Disasters and a Few Bright Spots

April has not been a good month for me. I am embroiled in a bureaucratic nightmare involving my insurance and other aid that is taking weeks to sort out. This happened on the heels of a diagnosis of a debilitating condition that can only be managed and not cured. The plans to manage it are on hold until I can get my insurance back. Thus, I am in constant near excruciating pain. I am not sleeping well. I have not been able to swim in weeks. I actually feel worse than my 8th round of chemo – the one that put me in the hospital. Coping is an hour by hour process right now as I wait for this to right itself or decide to go postal. It could go either way depending on the hour.

Needless to say, I could really use a magical Month of Fun this May. I haven't really been able to plan any big outings, because I just can't think that far ahead. I also don't know what we'll be able to afford. Not that I am into large presents during the MoF. It's that things really are that tight right now. So, right now, my goals are to get back to my routine since coming home from Philly last year and maybe indulge in cooking something interesting. Maybe there will be a bottle of bubbly somewhere.

There is good news that keeps me going. Of course, my not wanting to go out of the house meant that some things started happening with the films that required I go sign contracts. And I had a long and hellish communte for a meeting that will mean a lot to the publishing company and our convention travels. I can't give details about any of it right now, but I hope to break a lot of that news next month. It was nice to find that I have fans in some surprising places.

And then, there is Vampire Rent Boy. It was born of a flippant comment from Jon about a stock photo I was looking at. It's turned into my first erotic parody for publication since The Secret Logs of Mistress Janeway. It is already a bestseller in four categories on Amazon Kindle. It is not for the faint hearted, but is it is terribly funny. Here's a relatively tame excerpt:

“The hardest part, actually, is trying to appear excited about a St. Andrew's Cross,” Tristan said bleakly. “I mean, who hasn't been tied up on a St. Andrew's Cross?”
Tristan didn't realize that his current popularity was largely because of Twilight. He had stopped reading with the advent of talkies, and he was always behind on popular culture. On the other hand, Klaus, Tristan's manager – he hated the word pimp – loved vampire fever. Clients paid obscene amounts of money for playmates who didn't break.
Despite his immortality, some of those encounters with his clients could be incredibly difficult. Thus, like legions of courtesans – Tristan really hated the term whore or hooker – he found himself in a booth at a tavern, in this case a local waterhole called Muttley's, trying to drown his sorrows. He didn't drink, but it did help to share woes with the others in Klaus' stable.
“Yeah, a sub can't ask a Dom to kindly shove this dildo gag in your pie hole,” Keiko muttered. Then, she smiled with glee. “That's why I'm so glad I never let my clients drive!”
Keiko's smile was more chilling than lovely, even with that beautiful face. She could easily earn ten times what Tristan earned, but she refused to bottom. Tristan wondered why Klaus never forced the issue. He wouldn't stand for the rest of them having a preference for clients.
“We know what happened the last time one of them drove,” Kevin quipped over his martini.
Tristan didn't know what happened, and judging from the killing glare Keiko shot Kevin, it wouldn't be wise to ask. Tristan really wished he could have a martini. It looked so clear and crisp. It seemed to him that it should ping.
“Shut. Up. Kevin,” Keiko hissed.
“It's Miranda to you, honey.”
“Now, now,” Tristan said before Kevin could open his mouth again. “Let's not fight, okay. I get so little time to talk to anyone who gets me.”
Kevin sighed as he reached over to stroke Tristan's waist length, jet black hair.
“I really don't know why you get so glum, Trissy,” he murmured. “You've always been comfortable in you own skin.”
“You would be, too if you'd pick one,” Keiko said sweetly.
Tristan put a hand on Kevin's thigh to keep him from getting angry.
“That's not fair, Keiko,” Tristan said with a shake of his head. “It's not easy to change gender. I find that it can be done at all a marvel. Such notions would have been considered witchcraft in my day.”
“Whatever. He's not getting snipped anytime soon,” Keiko retorted. “He doesn't call himself a she. And he still uses Kevin, despite the mega tits. Do you even have a girl name?”
“I told you! Miranda!” Kevin snapped before slogging down the martini.
“It's Miranda this week!” Keiko snapped
“I need another drink.”
“Go easy on that, Kevin dear,” Tristan said then whispered. “Klaus won't like it.”
“Screw him. I'm paying for the drinks, and that's renting the booth,” he muttered before stalking to the bar.
The weight of Kevin's breasts made his gait ungainly. The F-M heels made him look like a hazard to life and limb. Tristan wondered vaguely about how Kevin walked when he was his other self. He looked over at Keiko who was watching Kevin as well.
“Don't say it,” Keiko murmured. “I know I'm being a bitch to him today. You haven't been listening to him whine for the last hour about something he can fix on his own.”
Tristan couldn't argue the point. That would involve thinking, and that would give him a headache. Instead, he looked at Klaus' resident Dominatrix expectantly.
“I'm more than over clients that get pissed when I won't let them top from below,” she said. “Trying to keep from breaking every bone in their arrogant bodies leaves me really infuriated.”
“Why do they ask for a Dominatrix then?” Tristan asked.
“Honey, if you find out, let me know,” she muttered. “Klaus should know these young guys don't want someone like me. They barely know who they are. None of them are confident enough to really bottom for a Domme.”
“Klaus likes the money,” Tristan said.
“That's very true,” she admitted. “He's send me to a gorilla cage if the gorilla had a platinum card.”
That made Tristan laugh. He finally felt like smiling.
Kevin returned by then in a far better mood. Tristan thought it may have been the new pitcher of martinis, but he was trying to get them to look at a booth across the room.
“Where has HE been all my life,” Kevin said with a waggle of his brows.
Tristan looked over to the man at the table diagonal to where they sat. He wasn't expecting much. When Kevin had that many martinis, his taste ran toward the old and strangely hairy. This man was neither. Tristan wouldn't call him classically handsome, but there was something about the square jaw and deep set dark eyes that was compelling. He was broad shouldered and the fit of his custom suit told Tristan that he was powerfully built. His posture was perfect – something odd for this casual slouchy era in time. The man looked about for the typically elusive servers for a moment or two before standing and making his way to the bar. Tristan's jaw dropped. He was really tall. Six foot six or seven if he was an inch.
“His hands and feet are really big,” Keiko observed impassively. Tristan expected an exact measure to the centimeter. “With that height, big hands...big feet...you know what that means.”
“What?” Tristan asked, genuinely confused.
“Oh, sweet mystery of life I've found you,” Kevin prompted.
“What?” Tristan gaped.
“How drunk are you?” Keiko demanded.
“He has a big dick,” Kevin declared in a voice that was four martini loud.
“That's not very lady-like,” Tristan hissed, hoping the tall stranger hadn't heard.
“You're more lady-like than he ever will be,” Keiko muttered.
Of course, the stranger looked over at them. The amused smirk revealed a deep dimple that kept him from looking smug and made him look quite charming. Something struck Tristan just then. It was a powerful spark of recognition.
“I know him,” he murmured softly. “I'm sure of it.”
Tristan wracked his brain as he looked at the man who was smiling at the bartender while his drink was poured. He looked over at Tristan when he had his drink and raised the glass to him. His expression seemed to be that of pleasant surprise.
“Oh, no you don't, Trissy,” Kevin said. “I've seen that expression before. He can't be the love of your life when you've never met him.”
Tristan was about to protest that he had met him before, but he couldn't quite place where he had seen those eyes and that smile.

It's available here:

Amazon Links:
US, UK, DE, FR, ES, IT , NL, JP, BR, CA, MX, AU, IN


As for the Month of Fun, Stay Tuned.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Photos of the Infamous Pool!

I was finally able to find photos of the pool where I swim. I was too chicken to take them myself, but I could some on a services review site. I was pleased to see that the YMCA has a very nice rating on Yelp.com. I agree. So, now that you have an idea of the length of the pool. You can see how much I have to swim to do the average of 6 laps that I'm up to. They are still fairly slow due to traffic in the open pool. I'm going to start going to the lap session with lanes that are in photos number 2 and 3.
This is the pool from the driveway of the YMCA.

This is shot from the outside in from the deep end of the pool.

And this is from the entrance from the lobby. The railing is where we get in via steps.

Another angle of the deep end from near the lifeguard's perch.

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Ensnared Publishing Update and Magical Moments

Before we get to the blog topic, I have big news. The next Ensnared – print version – will be released for Yaoi-con. Meaning, it will be available for purchase on Amazon and other outlets beginning the weekend of Yaoi-con (September 18). There will be a special sale price that weekend to match the convention price. That's usually a 25 to 30% discount on the list price. The ebook will be handled differently than before. We received many complaints about the ebook being too long. It was a surprising number of complaints. So, we will do a staggered release in the run up to Yaoi-con of ebooks that are shorter installments of the whole. We also plan to make sure the print versions of the book are as attractively priced as we can. That may mean that the next print volume could be two. I've been spinning this story into many unexpected places, so it is getting to be far longer than I first thought. Speaking of that, onto the blog!

Magical Moments


I was asked a question during the Valentine's Day online party that was most interesting. The question was what was the best thing about writing. The best part of writing for me are what I call Magical Moments when the characters I've written are so well developed that they begin to act on their own. It can reek havoc on my outlines, but the story is often better when I don't fight the direction the character wants to take. Darius has taken the reins in this book with some astonishing results for me. There were scenes that I thought would be a paragraph or two that turned into these lovely little character moments between Darius or Andreas and supporting characters. And some of those moments gave me a path to the climax of the book that works far better than the one I had planned. I'm not winging the plot by any stretch. The outline I created is still the template. I've just had a detour here and there. These changes have made the book even more fun to write. I suppose it's because these unexpected scenes have all been sweet or funny or hot.

These little scenes are important, because Darius goes through as many changes in this book as Andreas had in the first book. It is essential that readers are able to get past the frosty, aloof nature of the Cosi and see Darius and Mykos in a different light so that this change resonates. I've also been really pleased that I can give my readers time with their favorite supporting characters in some very entertaining ways without it appearing that I was trying to find ways to feature them. All of these scenes happened in a natural way.

It's not really surprising that this sort of magic is occurring. I've been living with the characters for years now. I've spent a great deal of time thinking about the next part of their lives. This cast of characters are very dear friends by now. I think that this knowledge is subconscious like the way I know my friends or family. I innately know how they would react in a given situation. Still, it really feels like magic when a scene starts building right before my eyes with seemingly no effort. And I prefer thinking of it that way.


I have no preview this time. There are too many spoilers in what I'm doing right now. Instead, I give you a quick sketch (30 minutes and out) of a towel clad Darius swinging his hair like a tart. The point of view is Andreas' from a reclining position. I hope you enjoy.   

Swimming, Black Women and the Hair Thing

Swimming has caused me a problem that I hadn't really thought about – fuzzy edges. In the parlance of Black hair care, this would be the hair at the hair line. It grows in fastest and is often the least chemically processed and unruly. I hadn't thought about the problems with re-touching my relaxed hair and contact with chlorine in a pool when I started swimming. I swim three times a week (ideally), so there was just no time for me to re-touch my hair when it wouldn't be dangerously exposed to pool chemicals. No matter how well fitting the swimming cap is, my hair still gets wet at my forehead and the nape of my neck. It was a big problem with my first cap. It just couldn't contain all that hair. The picture to the left isn't as wild as it can get. It's damp from the pool. It's about a quarter Chaka Kahn. When it's in the full Chaka, my cousin swears I have three heads of hair on one scalp. I had to get a new one for long hair to contain it all (Note my cool mirrored goggles. They kinda scale the seniors in the pool). Ultimately, I decided that now was the time to just stop the practice of chemically relaxing altogether and grow my hair out au natural. But that left the problem of the fuzzy edges.

Is this really a thing, you wonder. Indeed, it really is. I forgot my black beret one morning in a rush for my bus. I have my hair pulled back in a French braid and neatly pinned, but I don't use anything on my hairline as hair products will make my swim cap slip, and I end up washing my hair in the shower after swimming anyway. The driver, a lovely Black woman around about my age, actually quietly asked me if I was feeling poorly. She noted that I usually have my act together leaving the house, and those edges made her wonder. I told her I forgot my hat en route to swimming and allayed her worries.

The Bus Driver Lady's concerns made me realize that I was in need of a routine that would tame my hair while keeping from becoming a part of pool chemical induced superhero origin story. Of course, the internet had a lot of information – especially Youtube. Just look up natural hair care and a plethora of videos pop up for every situation. It seems transitioning from chemically treated hair to natural hair is a thing amongst Black women. Thus, there was a lot of advice to be had on the subject. There was a mind boggling amount of advice on the subject and a cottage industry on specific hair care products for the transition. Fortunately, I have enough stuff in my cabinet to make do. I started last week making sure my hair was properly moisturized and conditioned from the roots to the tips. My edges are no longer unruly. I like the feel of my hair, and Jon likes the way it looks as well. This could be a really good thing.

As for the the swimming itself, I am reaching the point where it's difficult to cope with the goings on during the open pool time. I found that the later sessions have lanes in the pool. And there is a slow lane for swimmers who aren't very strong. They'll even allow me to wear the float belt in the slow lane. The later start would have other advantages for me as it is really difficult for me to get out of the house in the morning on some days. I'm now doing 6 or 7 laps routinely. I'd do more, but navigating the bobbing seniors eats up time. I sure can't work on speed with all those people in the way. So, it's a new time for me.

The next big hurdle for me is buying a new swim suit. Mine is getting to be too loose as I lose weight and tone up. Still, I hate buying such garments. The mirrors in a dressing room are not my friend. And this will be a lot of exposure. But it must be done. I don't want the current one to slip off in front of the lifeguard. He's very nice and should not be traumatized.


Stay tuned.