Music & World Behind and Home Ahead

Sometimes a song plants the seed of a story in my mind. My earliest example is a songfic (in the “lyrics interspersed with prose” style of the early 2000s) for The Matrix set to When Tomorrow Comes by The Eurythmics. It’s lost to a dead hard drive from before I thought to back up my writing. My most recent song-inspired plotbunny (which I may never write) is a character study of Victor of Yuri!!! On Ice experiencing depersonalization, based on Billie Eilish’s disturbing Bury a Friend.

World Behind and Home Ahead, my contribution to Queer Sci Fi’s Migration anthology, is not a story born from a song. But several songs came to mind when I was editing and trying to decide on a title. Story titles that are excerpts from lyrics are something I’d seen a lot of recently and I liked the idea, especially because I find coming up with original title ideas difficult.

At first I tried to find something suitable from Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years. But though the song is lovely, it didn’t really make me think of my lady gays beyond a few concepts (being brave in part for someone else’s sake, undying devotion). And I didn’t like any of the lyrics for a title (One Step Closer was the closest and I didn’t feel it fit well enough).

A song that felt more thematically in line with the story was One Foot by Walk the Moon. I could envision my lady gays embodying the song’s characters, and my narrator being the song’s narrator, when I heard it a few days into edits (I took many more days editing than writing partly because I had many betas, partly because I needed a title and was indecisive). The song felt like it fit my characters fairly literally, even with the song’s characters being implied as a M/F couple, with the singer being male and referring to himself being king and his love being queen. My narrator is the kind of lady who cares little for traditional gender roles, so I doubt she’d mind being referred to as a king or queen! This song became a sort of anthem for the story, and I listened to it many times when finishing up edits and beyond.

But though the concepts (“us against the world” mentality, having each other’s backs, hearts/love protecting from loneliness/wilderness, one step at a time) fit the story I was telling, none stood out to me as a title.

I don’t recall what made me think of the line “home behind and world ahead” from a Tolkien poem/song (probably thinking of my bestie Grace Duncan sometimes using song lyrics as titles and being a major LoTR fan), but I remember having a eureka moment and looking it up to see if the opposite direction of travel was also in the song. It was. And as my narrator is traveling through the unwelcoming world to her new home with her lady love, “world behind and home ahead” became the title. Amusingly enough though, I haven’t listened to the song version of the poem since writing the story!

I hope you enjoyed this behind the scenes peek at the songs behind my lady gays!

Here’s more info about the anthology this story appears in, and where you can get a copy:

MI-GRA-TION (noun)

1) Seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.

2) Movement of people to a new area or country in order to find work or better living conditions.

3) Movement from one part of something to another.

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

Migration feaures 300 word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum,

About Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction:

Every year, Queer Sci Fi solicits stories around a one-word theme. We receive hundreds of entries with almost as many possible interpretations, and we choose some of the best for this annual anthology. Migration is book five in this anthology series.

Where to find Migration:

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TX2WMXQ
Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1732307563
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1471834289
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/migration-j-scott-coatsworth/1132393683;jsessionid=E570B49A0E713D6F306BCAB9F9760EB4.prodny_store01-atgap10
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/migration-19
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/book/migration/

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Blog Tour Stop: Hope, by Grace R. Duncan

Cover art by Jess Small

 

First, of course, many thanks to Sara for giving me space on her blog today!

One of my favorite part of the writing process is research and more specifically picking out the locations for my stories. I love finding houses or apartments or hotels or whatever to set my characters loose in. I can spend ridiculous amounts of—sometimes too much—time poring over maps or travel guides to find just the right place.

Hope takes place in several different locations, but only a couple of them are long-term. The boys start in LA, in Miguel’s family home, though they don’t stay there for long (not even a full 24 hours before they get on the road). Over the course of the next two days, they pass through a lot of places, but it’s not until the end of the 48 hours that they land somewhere.

What led me here was the realization that I hadn’t actually named most of the packs in the Forbes Mates series. There was, of course, the Forbes pack, and I had Finley’s, Jamie’s, and Miles’s original packs. But that was about it. So, I realized I needed to find the packs Miguel and Luis would pass through, which finally helped me find the pack names and where they might land.

One of my favorite locations in all of the Forbes series is where the boys end up for a while. They find a place in New Mexico’s Gila pack (named after the Gila National Forest in the western side of New Mexico), in a small lodge outside of Silver City (and where the alpha and his mate are located).

 

Credit: Here

 
Bear Mountain Lodge (https://bearmountainlodge.com/) popped out at me. Bonus points because it had a very rich history, having changed hands and been used for a number of different things over the course of its history (https://bearmountainlodge.com/aboutthelodge/lodge-history/). What really struck me is that over the course of time there, all of the history could easily work for a wolf couple. In fact, Mike and Beth very well could have been the same owners, considering how they could have outlived the general residents and even gone away, then come back with none the wiser. While I don’t state their ages, Miguel and Luis both notice that they are somewhat older—actually showing signs of age, which says that both were at least past middle age for a wolf—likely more than 150 years old. The lodge itself dates back to 1910, which means that Mike and Beth could easily have owned it from the beginning.

I didn’t have a lot of time to describe most of the area, but I did include a few bits, including the lobby:

 

Credit: Here

 

The dining room:

 

Credit: Here

 

And while I don’t describe it, I do mention they have the opportunity to wolf out in the forest beyond the hiking trails:

 

Credit: Here

 

I had a lot of fun researching this one. Probably too much, but it’s definitely one of the perks of being a writer: being able to travel, even when you can’t physically visit!

Thanks again to Sara for the space and her time! Hope you enjoyed traveling with the boys. ❤

 

* * *

 

Hope, part of the Forbes Mates series
Length: 13,000 words
Genre: m/m paranormal shifters

 

Miguel Garcia and Luis Rodriguez have been best friends all their lives. For the last year, they’ve been hiding the fact that they’re also destined mates. When Luis’s family finds out, they kick him out. Miguel’s family would keep them… except their alpha has been known to be downright violent against gay wolves.

With the help of Miguel’s mother, they set out to find a pack that will accept them. They run into more that a few obstacles before they end up in Denver, at the national wolf headquarters, meeting the alpha prime. They’re stunned to find, not only offers to join more than one pack, but that their struggle can shine light on a bigger problem–and make things better for LGBT wolves across the country.

 

Hope is available on September 6, 2019 exclusively at Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited.

 

And check out the upcoming blog tour appearances below!

 

noh8About Grace:

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Website FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

Cover reveal: Hope, by Grace R. Duncan

Sara’s note: Look at that gorgeous cover by Jess-Small.com! It fits right in with the rest of the covers for the Forbes Mates series. Though Hope can be read as a standalone story, it’s part of the Forbes Mates shifter universe, and takes place chronologically after the fourth book, Forgiveness.

Also, though this is a re-release/second edition of a story previously published in a charity anthology, it’s undergone significant edits. This edition of Hope has some changes and additions that seriously improve upon the original story (and I’m not just saying that because I suggested additions and helped with edits, heh).

Can’t wait for this to come out to get a taste of destined mates shifter goodness by Grace? Check out the rest of the series! Ditto for if after this comes out and you read it, you want more of the universe!

And now, on to more info and an excerpt:

Hope, by Grace R. Duncan
Cover Art by Jess Small
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Length: 12,000 words
Release date: September 6, 2019


 
Miguel Garcia and Luis Rodriguez have been best friends all their lives. For the last year, they’ve been hiding the fact that they’re also destined mates. When Luis’s family finds out, they kick him out. Miguel’s family would keep them…except their alpha has been known to be downright violent against gay wolves.

With the help of Miguel’s mother, they set out to find a pack that will accept them. They run into more that a few obstacles before they end up in Denver, at the national wolf headquarters, meeting the alpha prime. They’re stunned to find, not only offers to join more than one pack, but that their struggle can shine light on a bigger problem–and make things better for LGBT wolves across the country.

When they pulled into the Phoenix station, Miguel found himself annoyed that there didn’t seem to be anything nearby. He’d spent so much time in a city—a real, big city, with a McDonald’s and an In-N-Out on every corner—that to step outside and see nothing besides the bus station but an airport and desert was disheartening.

He shoved the thought off and found the text from his mamá with the Tonto alpha’s phone number. In a few moments, he had directions to a McDonald’s a little distance away by city bus and where to pick it up. They stored their bags in a locker and headed out.

But barely two hours later, he and Luis were once more waiting for a bus, this time with an even less friendly suggestion to move on. He couldn’t say the alpha was hostile necessarily, but the curled lip he got when he saw Miguel and Luis holding hands had said enough. The meeting had been very short, very tense, and ended with the alpha telling them there was a 2:45 a.m. bus from Phoenix going east and they “had better be on it.”

Miguel was already tired of that reaction. While the pack in Palm Springs hadn’t been nearly as mean, he knew quite well it was because they were same-sex mates. Three packs, so far—their original and two others—hadn’t wanted them.

“Maybe we shouldn’t tell them, Miguel.”

Miguel sighed and kissed the top of Luis’s head. “I was just thinking something like that. If we didn’t, if we maybe… made something up about why we left, perhaps we could at least stay for a while.”

Luis nodded. “We’ve only been gone, what… two days?”

Miguel had to think. “Just over twenty-four hours, actually.”

“Damn. It feels a lot longer.” Luis shook his head.

“It doesn’t help that we haven’t really slept. With any luck, Gila will want us. Or at least, let us stay for a bit. Maybe we can get jobs to earn some money.”

“That would be good. How much do we have left?”

Miguel pulled out the cash they still had and carefully counted it, while trying not to be obvious that was what he was doing. The bus station was fairly empty, but he didn’t want to start anything, especially because the best way he had to defend himself and Luis involved claws and fangs. “After the tickets to Deming, just over a hundred dollars. The tickets from Deming to Silver City are another thirty for the two of us. We could see about selling Mamá’s ring in Silver City, if we need to.”

“Let’s… let’s not do that until we are out of money.”

Hugging Luis close, Miguel nodded. “Yeah, I don’t want to either, if we can help it.”

They fell silent, occasionally glancing at the television in the corner, while keeping an eye on the Border Patrol officer sitting in another corner. They both had US driver’s licenses, but that didn’t mean much if he wanted to cause problems for them. He reminded himself to speak English. Then, trying not to worry, Miguel did his best to simply enjoy holding Luis. Luis’s breathing evened out, and Miguel did what he could to resettle his mate in the horribly uncomfortable metal nightmares they called bench seats.

He wasn’t sure if he was more relieved or more nervous when they could start lining up for the bus. He so wanted Gila to be where they could stay, if for no other reason than they could stop moving from place to place for a while. He buried both emotions so he didn’t alert Luis to anything, and they got in line.

 

 
noh8Author Bio:

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Website FacebookTwitterYoutubeGoodreads

New release: Migration anthology, including World Behind and Home Ahead by Sara Testarossa

 
Big news: it’s release day for my first published story! I’m thrilled that my story was chosen as one of the flash fiction pieces for Migration, this year’s installment of Queer Sci-Fi’s annual anthology.

I’m honored to be in such good company – I’ve read and adored pieces by several of the folks whose stories are in this anthology. I’m looking forward to reading theirs, as well as those from new-to-me authors!

The profits for this anthology are used to keep QSF running. It’s a great community resource for authors and fans of speculative fiction featuring queer characters. More details on the anthology and buy links are later in this post, but before that, I want to talk about my journey to having my first original piece published.

J. Scott Coatsworth has invited me to participate in the flash fiction contest every year, and has always been encouraging about it. This is the first year that his message made me think, “you know what? I’m gonna do this thing.” So, thanks to Scott for the gentle nudge.

My piece is a F/F paranormal story. The contest description said that in the past a large portion of the stories had been M/M sci-fi, and that more variety of character identities and subgenres would be great. That, plus having already wanted to get back into writing queer female characters, was enough to decide on an identity to focus on. How to incorporate the theme came quickly to me, and I started out brainstorming a horror piece involving zombies. But it became clear that my ideas for that world were too much to put into a scant 300 words. So, I changed subgenres, and was able to write the first draft in one sitting. I won’t say more on the plot, because my hope is that part of the fun for readers will be picking up hints along the way until everything falls into place.

For weeks, the document title for this story was “lady gays”, because the phrase made me happy. But it didn’t sound like a title. I ended up nitpicking edits for days longer than the story needed, because coming up with titles is difficult for me. Grace Duncan – my bestie and one of my beta readers – lovingly suggested I just submit it because it was good to go. I explained I’d been stalling to buy time to decide on a title. I’d been brainstorming about song lyrics that might fit the story, because I’ve been reading a lot of great fanfics with song-lyric titles, but had come up empty. Then (possibly because Grace is a huge LoTR universe fan) I remembered “World Behind and Home Ahead”, a line from a Tolkien poem/song. It fit both the story and the anthology theme in general, so I titled the piece, quadruple checked that I’d followed all the formatting guidelines, and emailed the story to QSF.

I had a lot of support while working on this story – the aforementioned Grace and my fandom friends Sintina, Dommi, and verity (all of whom are folks whose writing I adore) were instrumental as beta readers and editors. I can’t thank them enough for helping me polish this piece. I also am so grateful for the more general feedback and cheering on I got from my partner, dad, coworkers, and a few other friends & family members who read it before I sent it in. I was overwhelmed by just how much people supported me, and now I’m a bit overwhelmed at the fact that I’m actually published!

And thanks to those of you who will purchase and read the anthology! My lady gays can’t wait for you to read their story.

(By the way, I still will be migrating to my new domain eventually, as mentioned in my last post, just not yet.)

And now, for more info on the antho, buy links, and a giveaway:

 

MI-GRA-TION (noun)

1) Seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.

2) Movement of people to a new area or country in order to find work or better living conditions.

3) Movement from one part of something to another.

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

Migration feaures 300 word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

 

About Queer Sci Fi Flash Fiction:

Every year, Queer Sci Fi solicits stories around a one-word theme. We receive hundreds of entries with almost as many possible interpretations, and we choose some of the best for this annual anthology. Migration is book five in this anthology series.

 

Where to find Migration:

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07TX2WMXQ
Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/1732307563
iBooks: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1471834289
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/migration-j-scott-coatsworth/1132393683;jsessionid=E570B49A0E713D6F306BCAB9F9760EB4.prodny_store01-atgap10
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/migration-19
QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/book/migration/

 
Queer Sci Fi is giving away a $20 Amazon gift certificate with this tour – enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win:

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4774/?

Balticon, and Announcement (TL;DR summary at the end)

Hello, folks! It’s been so long since I’ve posted – a year and nine months. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen an earlier version of this announcement in April. Hectic life stuff has delayed me, but I’m determined to post this before this weekend, when I’ll be attending Balticon. It’s a great convention for motivating me to work on projects old and new, thanks to helpful panels and spending time with awesome creative friends. My panel schedule is here and I’m also volunteering at the LGBT+ Tea Social.

 

So. The announcement. I plan to blog again, and with a somewhat different scope than my original intentions for this site. I started jotting down notes for posts on a work break back in February, and have since added to them and fleshed out details for some of the essays. Posting this intention is another step forward!.

 

I’ve been following so many blogs (mostly sex blogs, but some others too) for so long while letting my own lapse. I didn’t have much to say about my fiction writing or voice acting (my blog’s original intended topics) at the time. I thought I should work on my unfinished original fiction projects, and felt guilty for wanting to shift focus.

 

But I keep being reminded, by different people and things, that I should write what I’m inspired to, and that it’s better to write something than nothing. Right now, what I’m inspired to write are essays/blog posts and fanfiction (a totally separate thing I’ve started again, which is exciting to me).

 

I’ve previously blogged here about sex positivity and kink, and have many more ideas for posts on topics that often intersect and are important to me: polyamory/ethical nonmonogamy, relationship health, mental illness/health, kink, sex, sex toys, and my work in sex/kink education in a retail setting.

 

And I’m going to give myself the freedom to post about what I want to, even if it doesn’t fit into those themes. I care more about getting my ideas out there than I do about a coherent brand… that may change over time, but for now, I like keeping everything in one place. I plan to tag posts diligently so that people only interested in certain topics won’t have to wade through too much other stuff.

 

I don’t know yet when I’ll start blogging again in earnest, but thanks to two fabulous humans, my best friend and her husband, my new website is in the works over at http://saratestarossa.com/ (nothing to see there as of the time I’m posting this, as we’re working behind the curtain). I’ll leave this WordPress site up for the foreseeable future, so I don’t break any links, and so people can see I’ve moved. All the content on this site will be on the new one. I still have to figure out what to tweak on the site, as I’m shifting focus. I joke that my “brand” is a hot mess because I wear so many hats, but it’s true that it’s hard to encompass what I am passionate about, and what the site is about, in a quick tagline.

 

So, that’s my news! I’m not promising to post with any specific frequency or anything, but I plan to get back to putting out content when I’m able.

 

Current bloggers and any about to start: rock on! I’ll be joining you.

 

(TL;DR version: I’m planning to start blogging again, at http://saratestarossa.com. My current intention is to shift from this site’s original theme of being about my fiction writing and voice acting. I plan to focus my writing more on themes like polyamory/ethical nonmonogamy, relationship health, mental illness/health, kink, sex, sex toys, and my work in sex/kink education in a retail setting.)

An update of some substance, with links to content!

Greetings! Folks who follow me on Twitter or Facebook may know I’m still around, occasionally posting a tweet or status. But I haven’t updated this site in over a year because there’s not been much to say. Except completely dropped the ball on sharing one relevant thing here – my first time doing voice work for someone else.

Last fall, I narrated a story by Nobilis Reed for the most prolific podcast in the known universe (The Nobilis Erotica Podcast, which anyone who enjoys erotic speculative fiction should check out). It’s an erotic F/M BDSM piece in the Metamor City shared universe, and I had a lot of fun recording it. Listen here if you’re so inclined! And if you like the podcast, consider supporting Nobilis’s Patreon to pay the authors and voice talent who write and voice the stories. When it gets up to a hundred patrons, Nobilis will be commissioning art to go with each Patron-sponsored episode (and there are already great perks like a fun Patrons-exclusive serial, Bra of Holding).

I also had a bit part in Chris Lester’s noir/crime spec-fic audio drama recorded live at Balticon 50 (also in the Metamor City universe). I think it will be airing soonish on the Chris Lester’s current podcast, The Raven & the Writing Desk (though it’s already available for download to patrons of Chris’s Patreon, which you should check out if you like his stuff). [UPDATE: The audio drama is now available on the main podcast at TRATWD Episode 90]

That reminds me, I was going to do a post-Balticon writeup but never did. Now that it’s three months later, I don’t think I’m going to. I want to get back to my fiction. I went over a year without writing a word of fiction (between mid June 2015 and a few days ago), which is extremely anomalous for me. I am not the type of person to write daily, but I want to get back into writing at a rate that feels right, and get my stories out. The bit I wrote the other day is for a fanfiction RP so it’s likely nobody but my RP buddy will see it, but I have so many projects that I want to work on and share with others. It may be slow, especially because I have a longer audio project that I want to prioritize, and I spend a lot of my free time doing things related more to my day job (hey, I need to research sex toys and read sex blogs outside of work to stay current). I’ve learned that being flexible is important, and that it’s ok that my priorities have shifted such that I care about narrating others’ stories more than writing my own at times.

Anyway. Thanks to anyone who read this and hopefully I’ll have more of interest to post soonish. I don’t intend to post lots if I don’t have much to share.

Take care!

Just a quick update

Hi folks!

Wow, I didn’t mean to let so many months pass without posting. Shortly after my last Free Fiction Friday post, I put maintaining a blog on the back burner because of life stuff and just took a long time to get willing to post again. I’ve been on Twitter and Facebook again, just not here. I just wanted people to know that I’m alive and well. I’d like to get back to posting something, at least free fiction and maybe other types of posts.

I’ve got a few projects in the works but nothing is very far along in terms of development or wordcount. I’m thinking about using Camp NaNoWriMo to help me get back into writing.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more posts!

Free Fiction Friday 15 – The Father of Her Child (A Naruto Fanfiction)

free fiction friday fb
I’m back for week fifteen of http://www.freefictionfriday.com! Today I’m posting something very different from everything else I’ve posted so far. It’s still fanfiction like my previous posts, but it’s not romance, erotica, or humor. It’s dark, and different from my usual writing style. Please heed the content advisories (they give away a lot but I’d rather over-warn than risk triggering people, because this piece has several potentially triggering themes/situations). It surprised me how dysfunctional and bleak the story ended up sounding, and I’m the author!

I wrote this story several years ago based on an odd, vivid dream that took place in the Naruto universe. When I awoke, I knew I had to turn the dream into a story. I typed notes, modified a few things from the dream to something that would be a story that made sense, and then let the words flow.

The protagonist is the first original character I’d written for a fanfiction piece in a very long time. I didn’t create her deliberately – she came to me fully formed in the dream. She’s… pretty fucked up in terms of her attitudes and actions/inactions. The other main character in this story is Sasuke (http://naruto.wikia.com/wiki/Sasuke). He’s a bit of a jerk in canon, and in this story, that still holds. This plot is in a divergence from the canon, as people familiar with Naruto will recognize. But it contains no plot spoilers for the series, beyond a bit of Sasuke’s backstory that’s revealed early in the anime/manga. This story can be understood without knowing the series (though people who know the series have an advantage in that the vocab is less unfamiliar).

Naruto, the world, and characters, belong to Masashi Kishimoto and I made no profit from the writing or posting of this piece.

ADVISORIES/CATEGORIES: dark story, kidnapping and rescue, unhealthy dysfunctional relationship (best described as quasi-Stockholm syndrome), not-so-strong female protagonist, jerkish manipulative male character, unplanned teenage pregnancy, discussion of pregnancy options (including reference to abortion) and prenatal medical care, mention of consensual sex between older teenagers (16M/17F), mentions of violence, minor character death, angst, introspection.

Potentially unfamiliar terms:
chakra – combined physical and spiritual energy contained in a person, necessary for performing techniques.
kunai – a type of knife used as a weapon.
sharingan – a rare ninja ability genetically unique to some members of Sasuke’s family. Can be activated/deactivated and has many uses, but they’re not detailed in the story.
ninjutsu – various ninja techniques.
taijutsu – martial arts ninjas use.
shinobi – ninjas in this universe.
Konoha – Sasuke’s home village

I hope anyone reading this enjoys it at some level!

She didn’t know what to call him. Her savior, her companion, her friend, her lover – none of those seemed to fit. There was only one thing he was to her that she knew for certain.

 

The father of her child.

 

He had happened upon her in the woods, while her captors slept. She was so drained of chakra at that point that they hadn’t even bothered to set up a watch rotation to worry about her escaping. He could have carried her out, chakra restraints and all, and unbound her feet and wrists when they were a safe distance away.

 

Instead, he purposely woke her captors, interrogated them, and killed them.

 

She was grateful to be rescued, but her first worry was that her savior would be no less cruel than the men who had kidnapped her. Killing the men who had been draining her chakra was the only way to keep her from becoming a liability to him. They would have hunted her down otherwise, for a while anyway. Someone like her with such vast chakra reserves was a rare resource, and they would not have parted with her, their personal chakra battery, easily. She understood that. It still bothered her though, the ease with which he had killed them. No hesitation, no mercy, just lightning fast speed and a kunai to the heart for each of them. He hadn’t even activated his sharingan.

 

He wiped his blade clean on the grass before freeing her.

 

He told her she was too weak to keep moving that night, and that they would stay there until morning. That way he wouldn’t have to carry her. He cut her restraints, then tossed her one of her captors’ sleeping bags.

 

They slept amongst the corpses, and she didn’t learn his name until the next day.

 

They ate the dead men’s food for breakfast, and took what looked useful from their supplies. Once he was sure she could move quickly enough to keep up with him, they set off in a direction of his choosing. He had asked her where she was from, but showed no intentions of taking her back to her village. It was just part of his fact gathering. For some reason, he thought it better to keep her with him than return her to her village, despite the fact that he would probably be rewarded for bringing her home safely.

 

She had no idea where they were, so she couldn’t just go off on her own. Despite the fact that her chakra reserves were huge compared to his, his ninjutsu and taijutsu were far superior to hers. And he had the sharingan.

 

So it was safer to stay with him, a potential protector, than to venture off and try to find her way home, from which she had been taken in a blindfolded, drugged state.

 

He told her just enough about himself so that she knew his mission. Kill his brother and restart his clan. When she asked where his brother was, he just told her they were on his trail. So she followed him, wondering what use she could be to him on his mission, and reminding herself to be grateful to be alive.

 

It was only a few days before they had sex for the first time. She wasn’t foolish enough to call it making love – there was no love between them, only desire and lust. She just didn’t know what his desire was for – her, sex, or the thought she did not even let enter her mind – restarting his clan. But that night, and the next, and those that followed, she didn’t care. She felt needed, wanted, cherished.

 

She knew she was pregnant only a few weeks later.

 

When she rebuffed his advances that night, he asked her what was wrong.

 

Sobbing, she told him, and he held her, stroking her hair as she wet his shirt with her tears.

 

He told her it would be all right. They would go to a doctor in the next town they reached, have her examined, and get her whatever vitamin supplements she needed. They would go to doctors for checkups as needed so they could make sure she was healthy during her pregnancy.

 

But what if she didn’t want to carry the pregnancy to term? She didn’t want to be a mother at seventeen.

 

When she said this, he pulled back as though she had slapped him in the face. He told her that it was her choice, but she could tell he was hurt and angry. It was only later, when she was less emotional, that she realized what aborting his child would mean to him. Her being pregnant was the symbol of his clan being reborn, and he couldn’t let that go.

 

She was a little over a month along when they first visited a doctor. The doctor pointed on the sonogram to the gestational sac where the embryo was growing – it was just a little dot. But she didn’t just see it as that. It was her child. His child. Their child. And she couldn’t kill it. She didn’t even know if she loved him, but she knew that she wanted to keep his baby.

 

When she told him she was keeping it, she could almost feel the relief radiating from him.

 

He bought her the vitamins the doctor recommended, and made a note of the next time they should head into a town for a checkup. He treated her to a nice dinner, and she almost felt as though they were a normal couple. Almost.
She was three months along when they finally found his brother.

 

He had her wait at their camp, not wanting her to be used against him. He left to pursue his brother at dawn.

 

It was dusk when he returned, covered in blood.

 

He sat numbly as she cleaned the dried blood from his face with a damp cloth. None of it was his own. She heard a small sound and looked around quickly before realizing it had come from his throat.

 

A sob.

 

Soon, his whole body was shaking with his sobs, and she held him. She didn’t know what else to do; he had never been this vulnerable since she had met him. Making soothing noises like one would make to comfort a child, she just held him until he finally went limp in her arms.

 

They would never speak of that night.

 

The next day, everything was back to normal. He told her they would be heading back to his village with an appeal to withdraw his status as a missing nin and to allow him to reclaim status as the head of his clan.

 

Then, looking away, he muttered something about marriage.

 

To spare him the embarrassment of having to ask, she told him a clan couldn’t be just one person, and that she and their child would be part of the clan as well. If, of course, she could go back to her own village, let everyone know she was fine, and invite them to the wedding. She was a bit young to marry, but her parents would accept her decision. She just needed to know that she was not a captive, and that she was actually allowed to see her family and friends.

 

His reaction was unexpected. He actually apologized. Not for getting her pregnant, not for taking her with him across miles and miles on his quest, but for making her think she would never see her loved ones again.

 

She accepted his apology with grace, and more than a little relief.

 

They stopped in the next town to see a doctor. Everything was going well with the pregnancy, and she felt as though her heart had stopped when she saw the sonogram.

 

Her child actually looked like a baby. Not a dot, but a baby. She cried, filled with emotions she couldn’t describe, and he held her hand.

 

A few days of travel later, he told her they were almost home, and pointed in the direction of his village.

 

She stood and looked over at Konoha, just visible before the horizon. Was she making the right choice, keeping her baby, and staying with him? Why had he rescued her? Did he love her? Did she love him? Just what was he to her?

 

In a rare show of tenderness, he embraced her from behind and kissed her neck. He ran a hand gently over her belly, and interlaced his fingers with hers.

 

He was the father of her child.

 

And maybe that was enough.

And, there ends what I consider to be the most fucked up story I’ve written thus far. Let me know what you think!

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Sex Positivity Blog Hop Post

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Welcome to my contribution to the Sex Positivity Blog Hop! Thanks to Grace R. Duncan for organizing it and everyone else for participating. Take a look at http://www.grace-duncan.com/sex-positivity-blog-hop/ to see who has posted already or will be posting in the last week. There have been some well-crafted, thought-provoking posts so far.

I am an unrepentantly sex-positive person. In my eyes, sexuality and sex are natural parts of the human experience.  I am all for people having as much (or as little) sex as they want, with whomever they want, so long as everyone involved is able to and does consent to all activities. I’m a proponent of comprehensive sex education in schools, encompassing everything from STI and pregnancy prevention to discussion of healthy sexual relationships. I want the variation of sexual orientations among people to be acknowledged and respected. I’m hoping for a cultural shift where more people will see sexuality in a positive light, and at the very least accept that it’s okay for people to be sexual beings. A much-desired bonus would be people not having to hide that fact about themselves.

Unfortunately, in my home of the USA, there’s a frustrating dichotomy that’s persisted for many years. I can only speak from experience about this country, but some other countries have similar issues, I’ve read. Here, we have a sexually repressed society where (in my opinion) far too many people, especially people in positions of power cry out against underage and premarital sex, and try to restrict people’s sexual freedoms. And yet we have hypersexual representations of people both of age and underage in all facets of mainstream entertainment – movies, television, music, and books. A good deal of the sexual repression I’ve encountered is religiously, or at least morally based. In “polite society”, sex isn’t talked about. I’ve seen so many instances where sex is spoken of in whispers with nervous giggles instead of among close friends, or talked about in raunchy detail as a way of boasting. None of that is conducive to seeing sex as just a normal part of life.

I think most people reading this are at least somewhat familiar with those issues, and other posters in this blog hop have touched on them in more depth. So I’m not going to rehash that any further other than saying in my eyes, it’s a problem.

A good part of my sex-positive views started in childhood, due to my upbringing. I’m an only child, and I’m not sure if that has anything to do with it, but it’s part of my story. My parents raised me in a household without any particular religion, and the moral code boiled down to “do your best to be a good person”.  My parents are body-positive and somewhat sex-positive. Casual nudity in our house was often the norm. They taught me that bodies were nothing to be ashamed of, and though nudity in public was not appropriate, in the privacy of our own home, it was ok. Naked bodies were not seen as inherently sexual in my home. So when one of us moved from a bedroom to the bathroom to take a shower for example, clothing was not a necessity. Sometimes one person would brush their teeth when another was in the shower in the same bathroom, no big deal. As I got older, when friends would be about to come visit, sometimes I’d have to warn a parent so they would be wearing more than just underwear when my friend arrived.

In terms of masturbation, my mom told me when I was a teenager that as a kid I’d fiddle with my genitals in public – kind of a precursor to masturbation –  and she had told me that I could do it in my room or the bathroom at home, but not in front of other people. So, I grew up knowing masturbation in private was ok.

Every time I asked my mom a question about where babies came from or about sex, I got a slightly more detailed answer. The first time I asked, I was apparently two or so, and got a very basic response that satisfied me at the time, and I didn’t ask again until a while later. By the time I was on the verge of puberty, my mom gave me the book her mother had given her about babies and sex, and she also bought me a wonderful book called It’s Perfectly Normal, which I recommend as an excellent sex-positive, informative, accessible text for pre-teens and beyond. I’m not sure what ages it’s recommended for but I believe I would have been ready for it at about nine.

At some point I learned my parents were not against premarital sex – they’d lived together and been having sex for years before marrying. This made sense especially since neither of them had belief systems telling them premarital sex was wrong.

I was taught early on that there’s diversity in sexual orientations and that gay, bi, and straight are just different ways of being. A close member of my mom’s side of the family has been in a relationship with someone of the same sex for many years and they have children together. One of my dad’s closest friends and some people he worked with when I was growing up are gay.

All that, plus somewhat comprehensive sex education starting in my public middle school made me comfortable having sex for the first time when I was ready late in my high school career. Since then, I’ve become what I consider increasingly sexually liberated, and have found places in which I can discuss sex and sexuality openly: in LGBTetc groups at college, on writing and art websites, and in other online communities, as well as with some friends.

I consider myself fortunate to have been brought up in a relatively sex positive environment. A good number of people aren’t though, and were raised in cultures where any sex outside of marriage for any purpose other than reproduction is seen as wrong or dirty, for one reason or another. Posy Roberts talked about that on her blog (http://posyroberts.com/2014/11/13/kissing-sex-positivity-blog-hop/) and provided this resource for people recovering from growing up in purity culture: http://nosmamemovement.com/post/65361252152/the-purity-culture. I encourage passing this link along publicly to anyone you think it might help.

Given my history, and the fact that I like to be a very open person, the current societal mindset around sex causes some challenges in my daily life. I have multiple identities that I juggle and shift between. There’s often the question of “what can I share with whom?” because so much of what I do is related to sexuality, directly or indirectly.

As Sara the employee, it’s neither appropriate nor safe for me to bring up anything related to sex and sexuality at work. That is part of professionalism, yes, but also telling of general societal issues. I don’t want to talk about sex itself at work anyway, but the fact that I have to hide things about myself from my coworkers is somewhat interesting. Some of what I hide is about my personality, like my pansexuality, and the fact that I’m a kinkster. Some is around my views on topics such as LGBTetc rights, polyamory, and casual sex.  Some is about my activities, such as my writing, beta reading, and editing erotic romance, or my activism related to sexual practices like BDSM and kink, and LGBTetc rights. A lot of my social activities outside of work are within my local kink community, so when I’m asked by a coworker what I did over the weekend, I have to reshape the truth so that I don’t reveal too much information that’s inappropriate for the workplace. I don’t mind this so much, really, and am okay separating my professional identity from my personal one. But I wind up with a lot less I can share with my coworkers than they can share with me. One coworker got engaged and we congratulated her. My partner and I collared each other with collars that can be worn as necklaces in vanilla settings, and that’s not something I can tell my coworkers about and expect congratulations.

As Sara the friend, I have fewer issues. Thankfully, my closest friends are sex-positive for the most part and I can at least talk a bit about topics related to sexuality with them, if not revealing details about my life in the world of kink or my sex life. I’ve grown apart from less sex-positive friends, and made a lot of new sex-positive friends in the kink scene and in the community of authors and readers of romance, erotic romance, and erotica. I remember feeling hurt years ago when telling one close friend from childhood, who had seemed more interested in sex than me years ago, about a new experience and being surprised and hurt when she said “woah, TMI, TMI”. I had thought this was someone I could talk about anything with, but apparently she had changed. And change happens. It was just a sad surprise that we no longer could talk about that sort of thing.

As Sara the family member, I’m closer to my parents than any other members of my family (I have parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins remaining, plus some more distant relatives). I don’t talk about anything related to sexuality beyond my activism and my writing/reading/editing with my parents and a few other close relatives. I did tell my parents when I started having sex with a boyfriend I’d been with for quite a while, and they were wary due to my age, though I was of the age of consent in our state. When I asked them how old they had been their first times, one parent had been a year older than me at the time, and the other had been a year younger. And though they weren’t thrilled about me being sexually active, they understood more where I was coming from, and were glad I was using safer sex practices. More recently, for some reason I felt the urge to tell my mom about getting into kink, and she was a bit worried about me – not because of the practices, but because she was wondering if my “thrill-seeking behavior” was a sign of mania, and correlated to my mental health issues. I managed to reassure her but we haven’t talked about sex related things since then.

I think I’ve gotten pretty good at not revealing too much information when I shouldn’t, but it’s been really freeing to have an increasing proportion of friends who are sex-positive and happy to talk about sex and kink. I am hopeful that efforts like ours in this blog hop, and those by others, will help bring about the shift for a society where humans sexuality is just seen as another part of the human experience. I don’t know how long it will take, or what efforts it will take, but I’ve seen more people speaking up just as I’ve seen more people speaking against it. Activism is hard work, but any little bit can help.

Thank you for reading and please be sure to check out the other posts on the Sex Positivity Blog Hop!

http://www.grace-duncan.com/sex-positivity-blog-hop/

Free Fiction Friday 14: Sleeping Arrangements Part Four (A Naruto Fanfiction)

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Welcome to yet another http://www.freefictionfriday.com post! Today’s story is the fourth and final part of Sleeping Arrangements.
The previous parts can be found at the following links:
https://saratestarossa.wordpress.com/2014/10/24/free-fiction-friday-11-sleeping-arrangements-part-one-a-naruto-fanfiction/
https://saratestarossa.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/free-fiction-friday-12-sleeping-arrangements-part-two-a-naruto-fanfiction/
https://saratestarossa.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/free-fiction-friday-13-sleeping-arrangements-part-three-a-naruto-fanfiction/)
If you’d like to read this post (please heed the advisories, they’re important) and missed any of the last three week’s posts, make sure to get caught up!

Leaving the rest of the same intro text from before, feel free to scroll past if you’ve read it in a previous week. This story takes place in the same headcanon as the fanfic I posted during the first week (https://saratestarossa.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/free-fiction-friday-1-satin-and-senbon-a-naruto-fanfiction/). I wrote this in the world of the anime/manga Naruto several years ago, and it’s been one of my most well-received stories to date, despite some potentially controversial content (underage sex and large age difference between partners – more explanation below). This story features Haku (http://naruto.wikia.com/wiki/Haku_(Naruto)) and Zabuza (http://naruto.wikia.com/wiki/Zabuza_Momochi). It is ambiguous in the canon of the series whether the two are lovers, but I like to think they are. This piece contains no major plot spoilers for the series, beyond a bit of Haku’s backstory, and can be understood without knowing the series.

One thing you should know before reading this story is that Haku is not typical for a young teen. In addition to a past that made him grow up very fast out of necessity, he has lived as an adult for years by the main plot of this piece. His accepted role in life is to be Zabuza’s weapon, killing for Zabuza and anyone who employs them. He is old beyond his years, has seen much and done much. And he is the one to initiate sex with Zabuza in this story, and Zabuza does not take unfair advantage of him. I don’t write underage sex lightly, especially when one partner is much older, so I wanted to address this before the story itself. I will understand anyone skipping the next few weeks of my FFF posts if they prefer not to read a relationship between people with this big of an age gap and the younger being fourteen.

Now that’s out of the way…

Naruto, the world, and characters, belong to Masashi Kishimoto and I made no profit from the writing or posting of this piece.

 

ADVISORIES/CATEGORIES: consensual sex between a 14-year-old young man and 24-year-old man, discussion of puberty, explicit sexual content (oral and anal), somewhat D/s relationship (Master/weapon is the best way to describe their relationship), M/M, mentions of violence.

 

Potentially unfamiliar terms: shinobi is the word for ninjas in this universe.

 

I hope you enjoy the final part of Sleeping Arrangements! I’ve started it off with the last line of the previous post for context.

 

“Enough,” Zabuza growled.

 

Haku released Zabuza’s cock from his mouth, and sat up, looking down at the older man quizzically. “Did I do something wrong?”

 

Zabuza answered by sitting up and kissing Haku greedily, his tongue thrusting into the younger man’s mouth. Haku returned the kiss eagerly, glad that he hadn’t made a mistake, and that Zabuza still wanted him.

 

“Want to fuck you,” Zabuza said when their lips parted. He looked into Haku’s eyes, checking for any signs of trepidation or distaste.

 

Haku merely nodded eagerly, and moved from between Zabuza’s legs to lie on his back. “Is this okay?”

 

“Perfect,” Zabuza said, running his hand down Haku’s stomach and giving Haku’s cock a light stroke.

 

Haku let out a small noise of pleasure, pushing his hips up in hopes of more touches, but the older man withdrew his hand. Zabuza reached over to the nightstand, pulled a small jar of salve from the drawer, and coated two fingers with the substance. “Spread your legs for me,” he said.

 

Haku complied, and Zabuza repositioned himself between the younger man’s legs. “This may feel strange, but it shouldn’t hurt,” he said.

 

Haku’s breath hitched when a cool finger circled his asshole, then pushed gently inside. The salve allowed Zabuza to ease the finger into Haku’s tight heat, and the older man slowly pushed his finger in and out. It did feel a bit strange to Haku, but when that finger crooked upward, hitting a bundle of nerves, Haku gasped in surprise at the pleasure, and Zabuza continued to stroke the sensitive spot.

 

“Like that, do you?” Zabuza asked with a grin. “Want more?”

 

“Yes… more… please,” Haku said breathily.

 

Zabuza added a second finger to the first, stretching Haku further. The fingers still felt somewhat alien, but Haku couldn’t deny that the pressure against his prostate was driving him wild, and making his cock even harder.

 

“Need you,” Haku said. “Fu-fuck me? Please?”

 

Zabuza laughed when Haku stumbled over the profanity, and kissed him. “Not yet, Haku. Need you nice and ready for me.” He used his free hand to stroke Haku’s erection as he continued to stretch him.

 

Just as Haku was about to warn Zabuza that he would come from this alone if the older man didn’t stop, Zabuza’s hands left him. Haku watched through lust-glazed eyes as Zabuza slicked his cock with salve and positioned himself at Haku’s entrance.

 

One more look between them, no words needed, and Zabuza slowly pushed himself into Haku’s willing body. Haku gasped. Zabuza’s fingers were nothing compared to this sensation of being so utterly filled, both stretched wide and filled deep. Haku looked up at Zabuza with pleading eyes, wanting the older man to move.

 

Zabuza got the signal, and pulled out slightly before reburying himself to the hilt. Haku groaned, and grabbed Zabuza’s shoulders, painted nails sinking into flesh, making crescent shaped marks.

 

Realizing that he might have hurt Zabuza, Haku let go and muttered a quick “sorry”.

 

“It’s okay, you can hold on,” Zabuza said with a laugh, and continued thrusting, taking his own pleasure from the young man beneath him. “You feel so good.”

 

Haku moaned with pleasure, both from the compliment and from the rubbing of Zabuza’s cock against his sensitive prostate. He threw his arms around Zabuza’s broad back, barely noticing the sounds that escaped his throat as Zabuza pounded into him. He was trapped in simply feeling Zabuza inside of him, on top of him, thrusting and making his own noises of pleasure. Haku couldn’t have guessed how long it was before he was nearing his breaking point.

 

“Ahhh… so good… so close…. love you…” Haku babbled, waves of pleasure coursing through his body.

 

“Come for me,” Zabuza growled.

 

Within moments, Haku did, letting out an “ohhh!” as he reached his peak and came in spurts between their bodies.

 

It only took Zabuza a few more thrusts before he was driven over the edge, and he bit down hard on Haku’s shoulder as he came deep inside of his lover.

 

Haku let out a small whimper at the pain of the bite, but he relished it all the same. He hugged Zabuza even tighter to him, wanting to be as close as possible.

 

They lay there for a while, breathing ragged. Zabuza pulled out and rolled onto his side, gathering the younger man up in his arms and petting his hair and back. Haku sighed happily and nuzzled Zabuza’s neck.

 

“Did you mean what you said?” Zabuza asked after a few minutes, when they had come down from their orgasms.

 

“Hmmm?” Haku asked, not sure at first Zabuza meant. Then it dawned on him – Zabuza could only be referring to one thing. Haku had said that he loved the older man. He pulled back slightly so that he could look into Zabuza’s eyes.

 

“Yes, I meant it. I… I love you, Zabuza,” Haku said, looking up at Zabuza adoringly.

 

“Good,” Zabuza replied with a smile, kissing Haku on the forehead.

 

And Haku somehow knew that the single word meant that Zabuza loved him too, in his own way.

 

 

And, we’ll leave the two of them there. I truly hope you enjoyed this story, and I welcome comments!

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