Apparently I’m not the poor excuse for a woman I thought I was. This comes as a surprise to me. I’ve been reading Caitlin Moran’s book on being a woman, and it’s made me realise that I am not a freak. I am not some kind of walking feminine-fail. I’ve talked about gender identity before. About how even though I bleed, have breasts, have given birth, I never felt like a proper girl.
Like most writers, I’ve had more than one of my characters, on occasion, take on lives all of their own … even to the point where, at books’ ends, when I figured I’d had from them all they had to offer … they still managed to leave with me the distinct impression that I should have done better by them, given them more exposure, and wordage. Such feelings, experienced by me, have often resulted in “series”, other contributing factors often being the popularity of characters with readers who want to see them back, whether I’m all that fond of them or not, and/or a publisher so pleased with sales that he comes asking, please, for more of the same.
2. The second book I ever sold (the first to be published), resulted in my gay detective trilogy series ADONIS / ADONIS AT ACTUM / and / ADONIS AT BOMASA.
3. There’s my m/m “rebellion in hell” series DEMON’S STALK and DEMON’S CORONATION.
5. My mainstream sci-fi THE CRYSTAL OF POWER became a series with THE GALACTIC ARENA.
6. My mainstream THE ALIEN WITHIN became yet another sci-fi series with the addition of MICHAEL: THE MASTER.
7. I followed up my first A SLIP TO DIE FOR: A STUD DRAQUAL MYSTERY with THAI DIED: A STUD DRAQUAL MYSTERY, and, then, introduced Stud’s cousin, Vlad, into the series (with his own series) by writing SUCKS: BOOK #1 OF THE DRAQUAL VAMPYRE CHRONICLES.
8. I began my cookbook series with THE GLUTEN FREE-WAY: MY WAY, and followed that up with BACK OF THE BOAT GOURMET COOKING, and then EVEN GOURMANDS HAVE TO DIET. My DINNER WITH CECILE AND WILLIAM, as well as my SWEET AND EASY VEGAN DESSERTS are due out this summer.
10. Most recently, there has been my BOYS’ REFORMATORY SERIES of short-short (think 5 minutes of reading for only $.99) e-books (now numbering 15) about youth incarcerated (or about to be) behind barbed wire.
There should be even more, since my publishers keep telling me, as they check in frequently, to ask for sequels, “William, do try to remember that one book does not a series make.” So, somewhere up the road, look for sequels to my THE BRENTRIDGE GOLD (“The Pleiades Portals Series”), AFRICA: SPICE ISLAND LOVE (“The Seven Continent Series”), RIDE THE MAN DOWN (“The American Shaman Series”), and #1 BOOK OF ANSWERS (“First of the Flicker Series”). Finally, readers keep asking, and I’m on the verge of giving, the sequel to my DIARY OF A HUSTLER which seems to have everyone who loved the book wondering what eventually became of its two main protagonists. While I did follow up that one with a short-story “What-If” in my CALIFORNIA CREAMIN’ AND OTHER STORIES collection, I’ve been told that a mere short story doesn’t count as a series-maker.
The truth be known, I’ve always found writing any sequel profoundly more difficult than writing the original book in any series, in that sequels have to adhere to a lot of information and description already carved in stone, by way of hard-to-remember background provided in the first book, and readers are famous for finding each and every mistake and not being very silent about it.
Filed under: Column: Between Heaven and Hell, Erotica, Fiction, William Maltese, Writer Tips & Tricks | Tagged: Adonis, BDSM, Brentridge Gold, Diary of a Hustler, Gluten-Free, Ride the Mad Down, sequels, Sucks!, thai died, writing | Leave a Comment »
I do a lot for Dark Roast, including writing blogs . I also write Star Wars slash and make digital art, though not my own covers. And every romance at the press has felt the touch of the Word Sith. You will love it. Muwahaha. I have six personal contributions , FF, MMF, scifi, and horror.
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At one time or another, you’ve likely experienced that Psychological phenomenon known as déjà-vu, wherein you have the distinct feeling that something supposedly experienced for the first time has, in fact, actually, been experienced by you before, whether in this lifetime or in some other. Certainly, I’ve had more than my share of such experiences with places, people, and things.
At the end of my climb of the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, I looked out over a genuinely familiar landscape wherein ruins were suddenly, momentarily, converted, as if by some complex mental computer, into the magnificence of their originally completed structures. While gazing over the escarpment at Machu Picchu in Peru, I had the distinct impression that I had been there before when I’d channeled the frustrations of Spanish conquistadors destined never to find me or the mountaintop whereon I hid. Within a ruined small temple enclosure in Olympia, Greece, I not only felt as if I’d been there before but actually imagined a foul-smelling mist and a drugged Pythia whispering in my ear, “You will write many books and lead an envied existence.”
Of peculiar interest, however, has always been the way by which I’ve found my knives for ceremonial procedures and/or for magical incantations. Or, rather, the way, they’ve found me. Or, rather, the way we seem to have found each other.
While perusing the goods and services available in a native bizarre in Fes, Morocco, I was possessed by the strange feeling that I was being called by someone from afar, the sound increasing and decreasing as I meandered this way and that through the maze of stalls, eventually ending up in a murky little backwater, in front of a small hole-in-the-wall establishment that seemed so familiar I felt as if I must have passed it several times before. Other than that, I couldn’t imagine it being of any real interest, unless I’d been in possession of some old pot, pan, or other metal kitchen utensil in need of repair. The proprietor, who sat at a small table, with hammer, pounding out the myriad dents of one metal container, looked up and said, “Ah, you’ve come to buy the Jambiya!” Before I could venture a contradiction, he got up, passed through the lone blanket that hung the doorway, in lieu of a wooden door, and returned shortly with a white metal-dagger, mounted on a wooden hilt, with engraved white-metal scabbard.
In a quaint English antique shop in Leeds, I came across a dagger with an ivory handle and four-sided blade. Drawn to it, as if I’d seen it somewhere before, I thought it was the store clerk who came up behind me to relate as to how the dagger’s blade had been specifically designed to inflict wounds that wouldn’t easily heal but would, rather, become infected, fester, and eventually be fatal. As it turned out, the clerk was across the room, at the time, no one at the counter in question but me.
In Monterrey, California, I stopped by a cutlery store, not because I expected to find a ceremonial dagger, but because I’d shopped there before and was on the lookout for a belated wedding gift. The store owner was amazed to see me, having just the day before thought he should contact me as regarded an ivory-handled custom-crafted dagger for which he’d been asked to find a buyer.
While strolling the streets of Bandung, West Java, I stopped at a crossroads that looked vaguely familiar, where I was almost immediately accosted by a little old lady who insisted she had a kris, owned by her late husband, and that the knife had literally spoken to her with instructions that she should turn it over to the man she would find exactly where I was standing, when I was standing there, the dagger having gone so far as to have described me as wearing an American “cowboy” hat (I was wearing my Stetson at the time). Thinking hers was merely a novel approach, compared to the other vendors out 24/7 to lure customers into their shops, I decided to go where she persistently tugged me, finding it wasn’t to a shop but to her home where the display case in which the weapon was positioned was quickly opened, the knife turned over to me. She refused any payment, saying the kris had chosen me and that was that. She gave the decided impression that she was actually glad to be rid of it, which had me uneasy for a very long period of time, knowing as I do that some krises can bestow bad luck on the people who possess them.
More recently, I attended a dinner party to which my cousin’s son brought a female “friend” who looked so very familiar that I thought I’d met her before, and she thought the same. Turns out, it hadn’t happened. She’d only been in town for a short while, having followed her boyfriend there, and she was in the process of packing up to head on back to Nevada, having decided the guy to whom she’d hitched her wagon wasn’t really right for her. She wanted to return to where she’d left most of her family and friends. Returning to Reno by plane, having driven out with her boyfriend, she was in the process of jettisoning much of what she’d brought with her by car. Spontaneously, I asked if she had any knives she planned to leave behind. As it turned out, she didn’t. However, the next day she called to say that, while packing up her things, she had come across the meteorite she’d found in Nevada, had brought with her, and had had all intentions of taking back to Reno with her, until she’d had this sudden inclination to call me to see if I’d be interested in buying it. On impulse, I did buy it, and, that very night, dreamed of how it should be melted down for its iron to make steel for the blade of a knife whose design hasn’t fully yet materialized but is getting closer and closer to doing so in my mind’s-eye.
Filed under: Articles, Column: Between Heaven and Hell, Magic, William Maltese | Tagged: daggers, déjà-vu, Egypt, Greece, Jambiya, knives, kris, Machu Picchu, meteorite, Morrocco, Olympia, Peru, psychological phenomenon, Reno, West Java | 2 Comments »
Rufus has just lost his mother to lung cancer and pours out his emotions to Heidi.
At last he toppled over on to Beaver and me, sobbing and saying, “Oh, Ma, Ma, Ma…”
My lights were all sorts of bruised pink and purple colors when at last he subsided into sleep. And of course I went with him. How could I not be concerned about where he went with his dreams in such a condition?
He brought us to West Virginia. We were in one of those sloping hayfields hugging the hillsides that he associates with his growing up. He was drifting through the alfalfa with a breeze in his hair and I was trailing along behind when I heard a hssst!– of someone calling for my attention.
It was his mom. She wasn’t the huge monument size she sometimes is, only about as big as me, and oh so very scrawny. When I turned to her, she smiled and shimmied her shoulders, and the flesh fell off her as though it had gotten too large. I came closer, intrigued to see her mottled and smoked skeleton enclosing the flattened tarry balloons that used to be her lungs.
But she was friendly, not ghoulish. She beckoned me closer and said in a hoarse whisper, “Boy’s about got me as dry as a raisin from all that sucking. Thought he outgrew that. Here.” With a creak her ribcage swung open as if her spine were made of hinges. Inside was a wrinkled dark red globular mass of something meaty that looked as if it used to beat. It looked a lot like an old apple did once that was in the bottom of Steen’s refrigerator.
She put her fingers into it and pulled it apart. Inside it was a solid mass of seeds. “Take ‘em and water ‘em, woman,” she said.
I put out my white and pink mitten-like hands and took the mass, compressing it a bit so that not too many of them would spill out. It was very flattering to me to be called ‘woman’, because back then I wasn’t so sure about being one as I became later.
And then she crumbled. Even her long gray hair just fell into dust and blew away over the tall grass.
So here stood Heidi Wasabi, the inflatable comfort item, bobbing gently up and down in the middle of a hayfield in the sunshine with a wrinkled heart in my hands. Now what? And where had Rufus got to? After all, this was his dream!
I looked all around and finally spied something that could be him off in the distance. At the crest of a rise was a silhouette of him sitting down, under a tree with extremely pendulous branches that swayed, just like long hair. Since then I’ve found out that this is a tree associated with sorrow in folk songs, which is why he’d chosen it.
As I drifted closer I saw that it was Rufus, only he’d turned himself into a fixture. He was like a statue of himself made of metal pipes, and from his closed eyes the tears continued to flow steadily into a puddle that ran gently off downhill.
That solved the problem of how to wet the seeds, at any rate. How to get Rufus to abandon being a standpipe was a whole other problem that I sincerely hoped wouldn’t be up to me to fix. He’s a lot more forceful than I am in general, and I was still pretty new in the universe.Carefully I shook out a few of the seeds into the trickle. Then, growing bolder about the business, I followed the stream of tears downhill to where it finally was absorbed into the grass, scattering the seeds alongside.
I’d barely made a dent in the supply of them. As I turned to look back up toward Rufus, they were already sprouting into yard-high green shoots.The first one nearest to him began to develop a swelling bud until it had opened out at its top into an incredibly fragrant white flower.
When he smelled it, Rufus finally opened his eyes, his sky blue eyes.He looked at me and his mouth smiled, and the smile cracked the metal skin away from him and turned him back into the pink and gold freckled hunk of human man he is supposed to be.
He saw the dark wrinkled purse of seeds in my hands which I held so gingerly before me and said, “Jasmine.”Since I looked puzzled, he got up and came to help me carry the seeds with his much larger and less clumsy fingers.
“Naw, I know these aren’t real jasmine plants; jasmine’s a vine; but that was my ma’s name, honey. Jasmine. And she did good in this world. None of my business why she wanted to turn her insides black, because she did good.”