We are experiencing technical difficulties – please stand by.

A year ago we bought the domain “Onehandedwriters.com” from WordPress. Due to lack of notification from WordPress, our yearly rental came up yesterday unnoticed and, because we hadn’t paid, we lost the site for most of a day. Our abject apologies.

Unfortunately, upon the return of our site, we note that we seem to have lost almost a year’s worth of posts, which is most unfortunate. We are now looking into that and hope that the situation can be rectified.

For anyone new to this site: No, this isn’t the first post since November of last year. But feel free to peruse some of last years posts, you may find something interesting therein.

Technical glitches also come up in writing. I’m editing a novel where the author has a scene where a character (we’ll call him John) engages in something that is going to last a set period (we’ll say one week). The author then moves on to other characters in the novel who use several scenes to do two weeks worth of activities. Then the story returns to John, who finishes with his one-week job thus throwing the time-line of the story-telling off. Solution: either move John’s second scene to an earlier chapter in the book or change the one-week job into a two-week job. [You can sometimes get away with having the jogs in time, but not in this particular case.]

In my novella “Strip Chess”, Jen and Bill play a game of chess, where the pieces represent articles of clothing. Once the victor removes that article of clothing he (or she) can fondle whatever it covered while the opponent tries to make a move (thus distracting said opponent). Taking a pawn allows a further distraction period.

While writing the novella, I had a chessboard on my desk near the computer. Whenever Jen or Bill took a piece or pawn, I removed that piece or pawn from the chessboard so that I wouldn’t have Bill taking three of Jen’s Bishops, for example. [For those who don’t play chess, each side has only two Bishops.] I also had to leave enough pieces on the board so that a checkmate could be achieved.

I think the story turned out rather hot, but while writing it I had to alternate between being involved in the story and keeping a critical eye on the chessboard to keep track of what each character had left in terms of clothes, and in terms of what could still be taken yet allow the final checkmate. I thus avoided technical glitches. Sometimes it more fun to just be the reader.

So, technical glitches happen both in books and in real life. We hope that this real-life one will resolve itself as easily as moving a scene in a book to an earlier chapter. If not, well, we’ll just keep on keeping on and encourage you to keep coming back.

Live the joy, my friends,

Delta.
(Who also writes as Echo Chambers)

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Echo Chambers’ books

Delta’s Books

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Ambition!

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So… I’m something of a people pleaser, but I like to pretend that I’m just being ambitious. It’s a little easier that way sometimes. If you tell someone that you want to make everyone happy, they kind of look at you funny, as if they’re thinking that’s not possible and you’re a crazy person. If you tell someone you’re ambitious, they think that’s wonderful and inspirational, though. I think that’s kind of weird, but oh well. Who am I to judge?

Anyways!

I think it’s fun to make people happy. When I’m writing, I can make my characters happy, too, you know? And then someone reading about those characters can be happy that they’re happy, and I can create this wonderful cycle of happiness and magical wonder and all of that. It’s all very pleasant and nice.

When I started indie publishing, my goals were a little different, though. I guess I was a little more selfish in a way? I mean, I wanted people to enjoy my writing, yes, but I also wanted to be able to quit my job at the time, because it wasn’t very fun. I think jobs should be fun; that’s my main criteria for them. If you like what you’re doing, and you can survive while doing it, then that’s a good job, no matter what it is.

Things kind of changed over time, though. I guess “ambition” sneaks in there, but I think I just wanted to make more people happy, too. I delved into writing longer works, and series stories so that the characters could keep living on. People liked those, and they’re some of my more popular stories, which is nice because I like writing those, too. Some of them are kind of strange, while others are silly, and then more are oddly erotic in a peculiar way?

I got a review once that explained it better, I guess. Here is a snippet from that:

“I will admit from the very start I was turned on. It was like this horrible porn video and I couldn’t look away at first and I was getting off on it… at first. The first chick is just banging everyone and it’s kind of hot. She seems to have cum everywhere and I kept wondering who or what she was going to do next and where this story was going. The Beast is literally a fucking hair ass, big cocked beast that just wants to impregnate women.” ~ Mistress M, S&M’s Book Obsessions

So… I mean, she gave the book 2 stars, but she was aroused for parts of it, so I’m going to consider that a good thing? Maybe? I don’t really know, haha.

Everything’s not for everyone, but I like to write a little bit of everything sometimes. It’s more fun that way, and you can reach more people. I don’t think I go too overboard, except maybe with that story. The review above is from uh… well, it’s “different,” I guess you could say? There’s, er… sex with kitchen utensils (they’re magical), a dress dummy (that’s magical, too), sex with the thornless vines from a magical rose (that’s magical, too), and then there’s just other sex. It’s a lot of sex, but I like to think it’s nice because there’s sort of a happy ending and it’s supposed to be an erotic fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast, so…

(Random Field Trip: Did you know that’s one of my favorite Disney movies? My book isn’t really anything like the Disney movie, but that’s alright)

Anyways! (again)

I like to write these things that I think maybe people will like. But after awhile, I wanted to do more, too. Like… what if someone wants to buy a paperback copy? I could do giveaways! On Goodreads! That might make someone happy? So I made some paperbacks, and they’re neat.

Audiobooks! People could listen to them in the car! I don’t know if I’d suggest that, because being aroused in a car seems slightly dangerous, but a nice bubble bath would be nice, too. And, I mean, they have good stories, I think, so you don’t necessarily need to be aroused or anything. Most of my audiobooks are romance-y anyways, so it works.

And I like to help the narrators of those out, too. Some of them are newer to professional voice work, so they can use the audiobooks as a staging ground for more, you know?

So… where am I going with this?

This is just personal opinion, but I think that’s one of the things that sets various writers apart. Being ambitious and wanting to please people might seem like they have similar results, but in reality I don’t know if that’s true. If you just want to -do- more, but you don’t care if it makes people happy, then what is the goal? It’s certainly possible it’d work out for someone, but I don’t know if it leads to a lasting, nice happiness, you know? If you want to do more because you want to help people, or you want to make them happy, or anything, it seems better to me. You might gain a lot from it, too, just as being ambitious and taking risks can bring you great benefits, but I think you can build more as a writer if you care about the people who are reading your writing, too.

You can see this kind of thing in a lot of aspects of writing. Some I agree with, and some I don’t, but I believe that a lot of writers are looking to make people happy with what they do. Audrey Niffenegger initially didn’t want to release The Time Traveler’s Wife as an e-book, because she didn’t want to devalue the story (I’m paraphrasing that). Even now, you can only buy that particular e-book from Zola Books, which is kind of an indie, small-time retailer. While I think that’s a little weird/crazy, I respect the fact that she had a reason and purpose for doing it and she wanted to make that book/that story better for people by doing what she did.

Stephen King has done similar things where he offered cheap e-books directly from his site. I forget the exact situation for that, but this was before e-books were really a thing. I believe he was only charging $1 (or even less? Taking donations, letting people choose their own price? I forget). I’m pretty sure a lot of people paid for it, though. He gave them something cheaply, and readers offered him their support in return.

Piers Anthony recently announced that he’ll be self-publishing his next Xanth book, because it lets him release it within 2 months instead of having to wait years going through a traditional publisher. Books really do get tied up for a long time if you go the traditional route, and while it can be worth it in some ways, it’s not very reader-friendly in others.

These are well-known, “professional” authors, but there’s tons of indie authors that are like that, too. I think it’s something you can tell, though. You can see a writer’s passion for not only his/her writing, but for their fans and readers, too. Writers who want to make you happy are the ones that I think will go on to be some of the best.

As a writer myself, that’s my goal, anyways. Money helps, of course, because I need to live like anyone, but my main goal in making writing my career and profession is to make people happy. For writers, one of the nicest things is when a fan/reader reaches out and tells us how we made them happy, too. I always feel a little warm and fuzzy afterwards, as if I’ve done something wonderful and amazing. I mean, technically I just wrote some words, but words have power sometimes, you know?

So… if you agree, then I’d suggest going out and making someone happy! It’ll make you happy, too, I bet. You don’t have to do a lot to make someone happy. Just read a book. If you read a book, and you like the book, then I’m pretty sure the author will be happy. You can tell them if you want, but it’s not 100% necessary. Or just tell your mother that you really like the way she makes meatloaf. That’s a nice thing, and it’ll make her happy. If she doesn’t make good meatloaf, maybe choose something else, but still, it’ll work.

Feel free to be ambitious, but also don’t forget that it’s not a bad thing to try and make people happy, too.

The End … or … The Rest Of The Story

Most of us, as children, had Fairy Tales read to us by our parents. No, not the original Grimm tales, but the sanitized ones which are told to entertain children in these, more enlightened, times. You know the ones: Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella.

They resemble, to a degree, the B-Westerns that my family would watch on TV from time to time. How, you ask? Well, the good guys and gals win, the baddies lose, and all the loose ends get tied up. Oh, yes, the good guy gets the gal, and They Live Happily Ever After.

There’s a certain finality to that phrase: “They lived happily ever after.” It ends the story. Nothing after that is worthy of note. You see, happiness doesn’t make for good storytelling. The struggle to attain it can make a great story, but once there, things turn boring rather quickly.

I woke up this morning and it was great. It felt good to be alive! The smells of Spring were in the air, a fresh breeze blew, and energy filled me. I enjoyed breakfast, then went off to work. Everything there went wonderfully. I love my job, and can’t believe I actually get paid well for what I love to do. The people there are all nice … no, more than nice, they are my friends. We get on like a close family. Anyway, after work, I came home to my other family. We ate supper, played games, and then I tucked the children into bed. It’s just great seeing those angelic faces, slowly smoothing as sleep overcomes. Then my partner and I went to bed as well. We made love, and then went to sleep, content in the sure knowledge that it will all repeat tomorrow … and tomorrow after that … and the next day…

Want me to write about those following days? I didn’t think so.

A story about attaining happiness can thrill, and fulfill. Then the author takes care of the future by saying … or implying … that the hero and heroine lived happily ever after. THE END. THE END because no one wants to hear about Happily Ever After. Not really.

I’ll never make a good Romance novelist. I can’t get into writing Happily Ever After (HEA). I can’t do it for a couple of reasons. I like my characters, and I don’t want their stories to end. I remember some of my first writing lessons in high school. They told us that we should tie up loose ends, so that the reader wouldn’t be wondering about them, and feel cheated – or whatever – when they realized that we (the authors) didn’t tie things up with a bow.

Well, life doesn’t work like that. We always have loose ends floating around. Those people who pop into our lives, then leave – they have lives of their own which continue after the parting of ways. I often wonder what John, or Jane, or Joe, or Jenny, are doing now. I can extrapolate from when I saw them last. They were each headed in a direction. I wonder if they got there. My imagination allows me to compile a possible future for each of them. Their story goes on, and though I’m not in it, I still feel a part of it. If they happen to send me a letter, an e-mail, or word with a friend, then I again dip into their lives, if only briefly.

I do the same with characters I meet in books – or those I write myself. I wonder how they got on after the author (or I) wrote ‘The End’. And I can do that if the author leaves open some threads, some possibilities. Then, their stories don’t finish with The End, but continue on in my imagination. I continue following the stories for my favourite characters, be they Luke Skywalker in StarWars, or Kat and Fred in my book, Domme of the Hot Springs.

Domme of the Hot Springs ends with a situation that the characters appear to have wanted, or have been destined for. Fred believes himself happy with the result, yet another character figures that eventually he will tire of the situation, find it less than optimal. At that time, she hopes that he’ll look her up.

As reader, you can decide whether or not she’s right in that prediction. You can have Fred enjoying his place at the Hot Springs, having further adventures there. Or, you can have him pick up and leave, possibly to find a greater happiness with the departing character. You get to ‘write’ that story.

Domme of the Hot Springs doesn’t end with The End. The End is merely a convenient place to halt the tale. The Rest Of The Story is up to you, the reader – and to me, the author, if I want to continue it. And, I do. But only in my mind.

The way I continue the tale may differ considerably from the way you continue the tale, but both stories are equally valid. And they exist only because I left certain ends loose, possibilities open, and didn’t use the words (or implication of): They Lived Happily Ever After.

Some readers want the story to finish. They want “Happily Ever After” with all the loose ends finally tied up. I have no argument with those readers; they want what they want. I wish them full enjoyment of HEA.

Those readers will, however, find my stories unsatisfying. For those of you who prefer to continue the story after the book ends, I welcome you as compatriots. Let us venture forth, keeping our favourite characters alive, engaged in never-ending adventures in our minds. Together, though individually, let us delve into The Rest Of The Story.

The Ghost of Mia Natasha

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I have literally nothing to say.  I’ve sold two copies of Cinderella Club on Amazon.com this month and no copies of my other six titles.  Last month I may have sold four books?  Something like that.  I will not get paid until next month and I know the money won’t even cover the cable bill.  I don’t feel like an author and right about now I’m so disappointed with the nonsense of trying to be someone who can be the jack-of-all-trades in this business that I’m temporarily throwing in the towel.

I believe I will be financially successful and yet it’s not happening.  But if you tell me that I need to do this or that or the other aspect of more work to make anything happen, I’ll tell you to go fuck yourself.  Advice, I do not need you.  But someone who wants to toot my horn for me because my work is that good to them, then just do that – because actions speak louder than words.

I’m spending money like there’s no tomorrow because I’m absolutely certain that something will happen that will make this situation laughable at a later date.  I am single-handedly helping the economy, at least that’s what it seems like when I’m surrounded by tight-wads.  Because if there is no tomorrow, I will be a spectacular looking corpse.

I haven’t tweeted in about a week, haven’t posted anything on Facebook or on my own blog and it is surprising how quickly Mia Natasha can just disappear.  Writing is like another relationship that has fizzled.  At first you’re all gung ho, like you can’t think of anything else and your brain and body are just consumed by the sex of it all.  Then you get into a steady rhythm of bliss.  Coming home to the internet where you link up with the fans and the colleagues, and the thrill of success, the hope of more and that is satiating.

But my real life is not that.  I have other responsibilities and a bucket list of things to achieve.  Real people to interact with – sorry internet strangers.  Writing a novel had been just one of those things on the list just like a name on my who I fucked list.  Writing a trilogy was just a bonus.  Writing’s not my career, much as I wish it could be.  My mojo is in stasis.  Maybe I’ll snap out of it in two weeks when my next post is due, maybe not.

The Beginnings of a Romance Writer

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nicholas-burgess-bodice-ripperI remember when I first read a bodice-ripper.

It was in high school, between my freshman and sophomore years, and I was taking non-honors chemistry over the summer. That was mostly an option for people who’d flunked it, but you could take it ahead of time and free up the double period it usually occupied in everyone’s sophomore schedule, too.

That meant it was a class full of people I’d never really interacted with. My school was huge and depressingly segregated: honors and AP classes were affluent, overachieving, and predominantly white; non-honors classes were underperforming, had low graduation rates, and were almost entirely occupied by poor, non-white students.

(It was a shitshow, and probably still is. But we’re here to talk about sexy writing today, so I won’t dwell on the glaring social inequities.)

Anyway, there I am at the back of the class, whipping through the entire day’s work in fifteen minutes and then reading whatever book I’d brought while the teacher tried to retain control of the rest of the class. Daily routine.

And one day the girl sitting next to me pulls out her own book and starts reading.

Keep in mind I pretty much knew everyone who read for fun at that school. It wasn’t a very big demographic. You noticed your fellow bookworms pretty quickly. So it was unusual to see someone I didn’t know with her nose in a book.

For a couple days we’re there reading side-by-side together, and then she and her friends start giggling and passing her book around, and finally she turns to me and says “Do you ever read stuff like this?” and hands me her book.

I don’t recall the exact wording, but it was one of those nobleman’s boudoir sorts of scenes, where her “womanhood glistened with eager wetness as it slid around his steely shaft,” and so on.

Epiphany! Awkward epiphany. I was not really equipped to deal with the concept of girls who would just flat-out tell you they were into sexy things, at the time, so I think I mostly stammered and blushed and maybe even tried to feel intellectually superior about my reading choices, which were mostly paperback fantasy at the time so good luck with that, Younger Me.

I certainly won’t say that I came away from class that day having decided to write porn for a living. But it was my first concrete evidence that somewhere, someone was doing it — I had seen the fruits of his or her labor. And clearly my classmate was enjoying the hell out of them.

So looking back, is there a little of that moment in my career? It might just be. Not the giving minors access to adult content part, of course, but if people in general — especially people who we wouldn’t think of as “readers,” due to our own messed-up societal expectations — are enjoying the smutty word, I’m all for getting it out there to as many of them as possible.

Glistening womanhoods and all.