Today's update is that - there will be no update! Not yet, anyway, and no promises for the future. But I did want to comment on two new stories.

Yes, after two years, I finally finished another story, and with one thing and another, ended up posting not one, but two.

I've had a few ideas percolating for a while - some for a very long while. They tend to fizzle when I realize I'm not doing anything new. Impressions was one of these, and I had it to about the half-way point when I set it aside. It was one I liked, but seemed to be becoming a little pedestrian. I knew I'd finish it, but didn't know when.

Then a few days ago, I had an idea which I wanted to write immediately. That's now A Song for Gabriel. The thought behind it was what would happen if you were to meet someone you worshiped from afar - whom you would expect to remain afar. Gabriel meets his idol, but she's taking a break from idol-ness.

I finished it just before Thanksgiving, and polished and proofed it until I thought it was ready to post.

But the problem then was I knew I'd have Impressions finished soon. (For some unspecified value of "soon".) And I liked A Song for Gabriel, and I didn't want it to be pushed from the top spot of the story listings by what I was thinking of as a fairly ordinary story.

The only option was to finish Impressions, so that I could post it first.

And in the process of doing so, I discovered that I was actually quite fond of Impressions. I didn't have to change any of the half I'd written (other than proofing tweaks), and it turned out to be a nice, sexy romance. I do think it's the last F/F story I'll write, though. Not that I have any objection to writing more, but "girl on girl" becomes a theme that overwhelms the central idea of the romance / seduction. If Gabriel had been Gabrielle, A Song for Gabriel would have been a lot more about Karen's secret desires (and the truth of the tabloid rumors) than it was about Gabriel's attempt to overcome his hero-worship.

(And if Gabriel had become Gabrielle, would Karen have been Xena? - sorry, just an idol thought :)

One comment I'd like to add about A Song for Gabriel. The first version of the story seemed okay, but there was a lot of dialog and resolution of emotional issues followed by yet more resolution in the final section. The sexual interludes prior to that were good, but then there was just so much story... I needed to cut back on the dialog, but there was nothing that could go.

So I had a smart idea, and added another sex scene, instead :).

And yeah, in the end, I quite like the balance. It's as unrealistic as any romantic story told in about two or three pages (leaving aside the sex scenes) is likely to be, but within the confines of the types of stories I'm writing - which isn't any serious fiction genre - I think it works okay.

So there you are. Two nice (in my opinion) romances for you. I just hope you've set up an RSS feed so that you know they're online.


I thought I'd add a new entry for two reasons: because I forgot two more comments I wanted to make yesterday, and because I felt like it.

It's probably obvious to anyone who has followed the journal to any extent that the city in A Song for Gabriel is San Antone. Or at least, a very fictionalized version of San Antonio. I didn't attempt to get any of the geography correct; I have no idea whether there are downtown apartments, or whether any of the hotels have bars in their pool areas. And that was the point, really, those were things I wanted in the story, so whether they exist in San Antonio is irrelevant; the town isn't San Antonio, but it has stolen its ideas from it.

The downside is that if I can't get specific about locations like the Riverwalk, I also can't bring in the Alamo or the missions, which makes the sightseeing references need to be blandly generic. That's disappointing, and I wish it would have been possible to set the story in San Antonio.

The other comment I forgot to make is one particular scene is something I've wanted to add to a story for a long time, but never found a workable way to do so. Well, it dropped right into A Song for Gabriel, and I like how it works. Ten forum points for identifying it :)

So after a fairly cold Thanksgiving (30 degrees or so overnight temperatures, not the bitter cold much of the rest of the country suffered), this weekend has been mild and pleasant.

Laurel called this morning to ask if I'd like to go to the Japanese Gardens in Fort Worth. Yolanda had to work today, and this should be the ideal weekend to see the gardens. Fall colors should have set in, but the trees would be about to lose their leaves. So I told her I would, but asked if I could bring the kids, because they'd probably enjoy it, too.

Clarice wanted to go shopping, and if I took the kids I'd be doing her a big favor, so the timing was good, and I borrowed little Terrell's car seat and took him and Mara over to the twins' place, where we transferred everyone to Laurel's car and left for Fort Worth.

Today definitely was the right day. Most of the Japanese maples were a light, fiery scarlet, red oaks were a deep purple-red, and the sweetgums were yellow and green. There were enough leaves in the ponds to tell me that one more week might have been too long to wait.

Mara is a precocious ten, now, and Terrell will turn two in a couple of months. Mara bosses him around, but he adores her, and meekly follows her everywhere. They were both fascinated with the koi in the ponds, feeding them handfuls of fishfood. Terrell wanted to go swimming with them, and we had to keep Mara in sight, because if I hadn't been there, she might have let him. Although she really is an intelligent kid, and I think she'd have more sense.

There were all kinds of people at the gardens. Several Japanese or Japanese-Americans, and I found myself wishing that Toshio was still around, if only so that I could ask him how close they were to the real thing. But he's been gone for almost a year, though we stay in touch by email. (He's determined to have me visit him in Kobe, but I don't see that happening.)

There's certainly enough of a Japanese feel to the gardens to make me find myself missing him.

There were also Chinese-Americans, French (French-Canadians would be my guess, but my only real clue was that they were speaking French), and one Russian family. I was thinking to myself how cool it was that a group of people could wander around speaking Russian and not have everyone look at them askance.

And then I thought, what if the man had dark hair and a beard, and the woman wore an Islamic headscarf. Plus ça change, etc.

While the kids were cajoling the koi into a feeding frenzy, I noticed that Laurel was talking to a couple of young women, one caucasian, the other Japanese. I wasn't sure whether I should intrude, but Laurel brought them across and introduced them. They were local, and wanted to visit the gardens for the same reason we did.

They were visiting together, but weren't together, it seems, just friends and co-workers. Amy was Japanese-American, and couldn't give me any insight into how good a representation the gardens were of the real thing. She was tall, Laurel's height, and very pretty. She spent most of the time smiling at Laurel.

Before they left, Laurel asked Amy to help with a photo. She had her lean against the rail by the feeding koi, to add foreground interest to a shot of the brilliant foliage. She texted a copy of the photo to Amy.

I can be very slow sometimes. "That was nice," I said as we headed away from the other two.

Laurel gave me one of her famed "Can you possibly be as stupid as you look?" expressions, and held out the phone to me. It took me almost a minute to see why. In her copy of the text message was both the photo and Amy's phone number, of course.

"You. Are. Incorrigible," I told Laurel, laughing.

"You know you're welcome to visit when we invite her over," she said.

I shook my head. She is incorrigible, and I love her for it.


Three entries in three days...

Because it turns out that I may have jumped the gun on contriving to post my stories to have A Song for Gabriel take pride of place. Because in my newfound (if temporary) enthusiasm, I just finished a third story. It's going to be a few days before it's polished and ready to post, but it will be there soon.

It's one I've wanted to write for a long time. It's called "The Kiss," and it's about how the passion in a kiss can have unintended consequences. Which is a theme I've returned to a few times, but this story's more direct than most.

The situation is more contrived than I'd like, but yesterday I hit on a change that makes the idea much closer to believable, while giving the story an interesting aspect that wasn't there before. I can't say more without spoiling it, but expect it probably by Wednesday or Thursday this week.