Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality



Desert World

Desert World Two is now out!

I didn’t make much fuss when Desert World One came out

because the first book is really background on the characters. My reading background is sci fi (yeah, no one is shocked there), so I don’t have a problem with a book that slowly introduces the world and the people in it. Livre is a colony planet on the edge, and homosexuality is considered the norm for young people. Due to a war in the larger universe, this half-terraformed planet has been left to slowly die, but these colonists are too tough to give up that easily.

Shan is the local priest, a man with more skill with a set of tools than with the Bible. However, he has a good heart that struggles under survivor’s guilt. He was never sexually abused, but he came from a home with abuse, and now he feels like he has to save the universe because he never could save his brother.

Temar is young enough that he has not found his voice. This nineteen year old is smarter than your average bear, but he expects that the world is fair and he lets others take the lead because older means better able to deal… right?? Yeah. That’s a problem.

These two do have problems.

In the first book, you see what happens when they give in to their problems. There’s no romance. There is a lot of soul searching and a single kiss. But then in book two, both men are strong enough to start facing their personal demons… just in time for disasters in the rest of the universe land on Livre’s doorstep.

These are science fiction… but science fiction done in a gay friendly world with two gay men.

I really hope people will give these a chance… but remember, it takes two books to make up the story. If you’re a romance fan who tolerates science fiction, I would say skip book one and go to two. If you then want to go back and get a better sense of the world and the growth these men went through individually, you can go back and read book one.



Third Tier Writer

I’m not a first tier writer. Nope. I never actually expected to be counted among the ranks of people who make millions off their titles. That’s not the kind of book I write, and that’s fine.

At one point, I wanted to be a second tier writer. I dreamed of being able to make a comfortable $40,000 per year and quit the day job. I hoped and read everything on commercial success and marketing. I tried to write what was popular. I sucked at it.

Worse, every time one of my titles performed well below expectations, I felt like a failure. My femdom books—Drift and Blowback—are two of my favorites. However, my profits haven’t even hit the hundreds. Claiming was a home run, but Assimilation is a slow burn and I don’t know that it will every catch up with its older sibling.

But now I’m comfortable ensconced in the third tier. I can work on a third Claimings book without dwelling on the failure of Assimilation, which at one point had more free downloads than sold copies.

What is the third tier? I make a nice sum of money. It’s not enough to pay the rent, but I can pay the electric bill and car payment (most months). I can put some aside for when the hot water heater goes out. I can splurge a little. I will never be successful enough to quit the day job, but that’s okay.

And I’m not complaining. I still have stacks of $2 and $5 checks and feel copies of magazines that are mute evidence of my days as a fourth tier author making pitiful amounts of money. I rose above that. I have just come to realize I’m probably not going to rise more.

Instead of making financial goals, I use my writing to work out my feelings. When I watched one of my kids go through hell with his unsupportive family, I wrote Two Steps Back. When I was being goofy with a friend, I started the bunny for Mountain Prey. A friend and I were talking about race!fail and the fear of characters of color when I wrote Steampunk Pirate to prove to myself that I could write a culturally and historically black man without turning him into a white man with black skin.

And now I signed a contract for one of my darkest titles yet. Without a Net is a futuristic police procedural. It’s not scifi, but it’s set a few decades in the future when BDSM control clubs are mainstream and Shade clubs are for edge play and more dangerous folk.

I know that some people are going to get frustrated because I won’t settle down in a genre and stay so that I become an autobuy. They have to eye each new title from me with suspicion because they can’t trust me to write a certain kind of book.

That’s fine.

I’m not an autobuy type of author. But when my mother nearly died a year and a half ago, I wrote some dark damn fanfic. I had Todd the Wraith win and brainwash Rodney and John into becoming bad guys. Boy were they good at being bad. I had Crowley capture Dean and turn him into a bitch for a hell hound (who was sentient so it wasn’t quite as squicky as you think, although it is close).

This time my mother got cancer less than a year out of the hospital after a series of strokes that nearly killed her. So I wrote the first two 10K stories of a Hercules series where his 12 labors basically become a long series of abuse and dub-con. Yeah, I don’t know that those stories will every go past my flist.

And I wrote Without a Net. Does Ollie come through in the end? Hey, this is me. I do get to the happy or at least happier ending. However, this is dark and abusive and grim. Ollie is a tough sub, a cop who can endure anything if he has that glimmer of hope that he might get to shoot someone in the head on the other side. However, some readers are going to hate how much he goes through before he gets a chance.

I’m not reinventing myself. I’m not struggling to find my “voice.” I’m not even writing for the readers. This is me. Since I am a third tier author freed from the dreams of being able to make a living at this, I have to find other goals.

And my first one is to please myself and work my own emotional demons out in a place where I can do it without damaging my real life. Now that my mother is in remission, don’t expect another dark book from me. However, don’t assume that means that my next book will give you what you want. My writing has to be about me. That’s the beauty of being on the third tier.



Disabled and in Love

Does a disability make a romantic hero less desirable?

I’ve been thinking about this lately. I had a fanfic story, Green Eyed Hope, where Blair loves Jim, but Jim is simply not gay. Trust me, when you are gay, this is an entirely too common situation. Anyway, Blair is disabled in a car accident, learns to trust that Jim loves him like a brother and moves on to find his romantic partner in another disillusioned soldier.

One of the most common comments I get on this story is that people are sorry Blair never recovered more. He gets to the point where he can use a cane for short distances, but he’ll never have the strength back in the legs to easily walk.

It reminded me of a big kerfuffle in fandom where someone else had written a wheelchair using Blair, but he was magically healed in the end by a shamanic ritual. Someone else fanficed the fanfic to rewrite the ending so that Blair stayed disabled and Jim loved him just as much.

I can see why someone would want that ending. If a person is disabled, where are the romance stories for him or her?

WilliamIn my newest story, William is never identified as disabled, and I doubt his parents ever got a diagnosis, but he is obsessed with his hobby (American history), has a job where he can handle numbers because he cannot handle relationships with people, he pisses off every boyfriend he ever had, and his social skills were so abominable that his very loving parents sent him to a boys boarding school in the hopes that he could learn to be more social.

I don’t think it’s hard to see the disability, but it makes my heart hurt a little when the comments come in with… Dallin can do better than him… William is just too antisocial… I wish Dallin would have walked out and stayed gone.

Even people who admit that William has a heart of gold are uncomfortable with him in a relationship, and then there are the comments about how William gets too involved too fast. Oh boy. Um… yeah, that’s part of the disability. Lots of Asperger’s kids have to be explicitly taught to not stalk because once someone expresses an interest, they often don’t know where that line between appropriate and inappropriate lies.

Which is why those on the autistic spectrum are so much more likely to abstain from sex. It’s just hard to find a partner.

Now, I’m not saying that William would be easy to love, and even at the end, Dallin has to move his stuff into another closet because William can’t handle having his stuff disturbed, and vacation consists of visiting historical sites that William’s interested in.

But on the other hand, William completely and totally loves Dallin and will do anything for him. There is an upside to having an autistic spectrum lover.

So, does the disability make William less appropriate as the subject of a romance novel? Should Blair be “healed” at the end in order to have his happily ever after? Can you have a happily ever after if one of the main characters is suffering and continues to suffer a serious physical or mental difficulty?



It shouldn’t work that way

Normally I’m not a great fan of het romance. Sure, the gender issues drive me nuts and the “little woman” needing rescue is a trope that should be relegated to the trash heap until it’s new and fresh again… which would be in two or three thousand years.

But as I pondered the last het romance that I read and really liked (C.L. Wilson’s The Winter King), I think I realized why I like that couple so much.

Oddly, it’s not the lack of weird gender insults. Yes, they’re equals. Wynter saves his little woman from monsters, but Kham rescues him from an army and a demon trying to take over his soul, so they’re even.

More than that, though, they have every reason to leave each other. Wynter has made things politically uncomfortable in his own castle by bringing home the headstrong Kham. If he let her leave, he would let a few of those raised eyebrows go back to their normal shape.

And Kham’s brother and nurse come for her. She could walk away. More than that, she could walk away and save her country by being part of the force to conquer Wynter instead of chasing any of this alliance stuff.

Logic said they should split apart.

I think that’s why I like them—because something is holding them together despite that, and that’s where I see all the smudgy fingerprints of love. I could never quite put my finger on why Tom and Da’shay from my own Blowback tripped my trigger so hard, but I think that’s it. They SHOULD break up. They don’t make sense together. So when they insist on holding on despite everything, I can see love winning against the odds.


So, do you have couples (het or gay) that you love that when you look at them, they should leave each other, but you know they’ll never, EVER make that decision?

writing pen artistic


Kill that Passive Voice

I should be writing my novel, but I either have the stomach flu or Wendy’s did not keep their meat at temperature… who knows? Anyway, I’m surfing Facebook—the time killer and bane of all writers and I came across one more post admonishing writers to avoid passive voice.

Most of these posts include a nice little description of passive voice. It’s when the thing getting acted on is placed up front and the person doing the action is shoved into the back of the sentence or removed altogether. You can spot them because a passive voice sentence picks up a helping verb.

Active voice:

Lyn threw the ball

Passive voice shoving the subject in back:

The ball was thrown by Lyn

Passive voice with subject missing:

The ball was thrown.


And here is where most of these posts stop. The author must find and fix passive voice on their own. That’s a little like pointing to a field and saying… “Hey, there’s a bomb somewhere. Go disarm it.” They don’t even explain WHY it’s considered poor writing in English. So, here is some of what I’ve picked up over the years.


Passive voice lets writers hide a guilty party.

The money was stolen. The inspection was botched. The suspect was incorrectly arrested.

Yeah… do you see how the guilty people are suddenly ducking out of the blame? In romance writing that’s a particularly serious error because the reader can’t tell who is doing what.

Susan was betrayed.

Um… by whom? The asshole who cheated on her, the girlfriend who was the second person in the bed, or both? Passive voice hides Susan’s true feelings of betrayal.


So, how do you fix passive voice? First, you have to find it. Here’s a short passage.

Da’shay was carefully watched as she moved toward Tom with that sway in her hips that meant she was in a mood to play and Tom was considered her favorite playtoy. Tom never had much luck with women, so he wasn’t sure how he had lucked out with Da’shay. However, the chase was included in their game, so he planned a good long run, and he’d keep running until he was caught fair and square. Then she could tie him down and use him as she liked, and she would.


You want to suspect any linking verbs.

1. “Da’shay was carefully watched as she moved”

2. “she was in a mood to play”

3. “Tom was considered her favorite playtoy”

4. “he wasn’t sure how he had lucked out”

5. “the chase was included in their game”

6. “he was caught fair and square”


Passive voice is a structure where the person doing the action is either moved to the back or removed. Check each sentence by looking for the action (verb) and deciding if the person doing that action is up front where he or she should be.


1. The verb is “watched.” Who is doing that? Either Tom is watching her OR there is someone else watching the couple start their gameplay. This is the worst type of passive voice because it makes the actions unclear. If Tom is going the action, “Tom” should be placed at the front of the sentence so the reader knows who is doing the action.

2. The only verb is “was.” The sentence is about Da’shay, and the “she” is up front. This sentence is fine.

3. The verb is “considered.” Who is considering it? Does Tom consider himself a playtoy or does Da’shay think of him as a playtoy? This is written from Tom’s point of view, so this should reflect Tom’s thoughts, but this sentence is so unclear that it almost reads as if we’ve jumped to Da’shay’s point of view.

4. The verb is “was.” The fact that you don’t have another verb in there means this isn’t passive voice.

5. The verb is “included.” Who is including it? “Chase” is the thing that is included, so it can’t be the subject doing the action, but it’s up front. That’s passive voice.

6. The verb is “caught.” Who is doing the catching and who is getting caught? The person doing the action should be up front and the person getting caught should be in back. Wait. The sentence is backward. Tom is getting caught, but his name is up front.


So this short passage has four pieces of passive voice. Fixing them isn’t difficult. In each case, you do the same thing. You have to figure out who is doing the action. Then take that person and put their name (or a pronoun that refers to them) up front.


1. “Da’shay was carefully watched as she moved”

Who is doing the watching? I don’t want someone else in this scene so it must be Tom. I need to put him up front. I then drop the helping verb out of the sentence: “Tom carefully watched Da’shay as she moved”


3. “Tom was considered her favorite playtoy”

This is Tom’s point of view, but the fact is that thinking about yourself as a playtoy is a little creepy. I want Da’shay to look at Tom like he’s a playtoy, so he’s just thinking about her attitude and reveling in how much she likes to “use” him. So I’m going to put Da’shay up front as the person doing the “considering.” That will push “Tom” into the back half of the sentence. “Da’shay considered Tom her favorite playtoy.


5. “the chase was included in their game”

This is confusing. Who included chasing as part of their sexual game. I seriously hope it was both of them agreeing on it. But as it’s written, it’s really not clear who set up this dynamic. This is where passive voice makes things truly confusing. Put that both of them include this up front so it’s clear this is a shared kink: “They included the chase as part of their game.”


6. “he was caught fair and square”

Clearly Da’shay is doing the catching, so leaving her out of the sentence is just lazy. If she’d doing the action, put her up front. “Da’shay caught him fair and square.



So, put it all together and write the passage in a more active (rather than passive) voice:

Tom carefully watched Da’shay as she moved toward him with that sway in her hips that meant she was in a mood to play and Da’shay considered Tom her favorite playtoy. Tom never had much luck with women, so he wasn’t sure how he had lucked out with Da’shay. However, they included the chase as part of their game, so he planned a good long run, and he’d keep running until Da’shay caught him fair and square. Then she could tie him down and use him as she liked, and she would.



So that’s how you kill passive voice (after recognizing it).


Look, I honestly don’t know who reads this blog. Is this useful? A waste of time? Should I be off writing my pirate novel?


dirty Jayne


Submissives, fanfic, and an Apology to Jayne

code4Well, I finally updated my webpage, and I have to give up on Firefly.

No, don’t get your panties bunched. I still love the show. I still love the fanfic I have done with the show, but I just don’t write that much fanfic with it, so my fourth slot on my main page switched from Firefly to Stargate.

You see, the only thing I miss in Firefly is a sexual relationship between the characters. I started with Thoughts Colored Ugly where River’s telepathic powers allows her to see Jayne’s submissive nature, but she accidentally drives him away before she can step up and claim her man.

I then did Old War Horses, which I loved. Jim (The Sentinel) had been a Purple Belly government officer who had been turned into a government experiment. While fleeing from arrest, he runs into Mal and the Serenity, who have very strong Browncoat feelings. I loved watching these two try to continue a war when both of them had lost the war so long ago, and it let me play with my favorite dynamic—the strong submissive.

I love kick-ass submissives. I love the idea of someone having power and choosing to lay it at the feet of the person they love. I think you can see that in Liam and Tom and Ferro, and so many of my submissive characters.

Jayne is the ultimate strong submissive. When I see how, in canon, he was willing to accept his death if it came at Mal’s hands, when I saw him follow Mal into certain death with the Reavers when he couldn’t follow any other captain through a simple trade… I knew him. He was my strong submissive.

I thought I would be able to play with Jayne forever.

So I started Big Damn Dog, and I realized I had run out of fuel in the tank.

You see, there’s really nothing else I can change or fix in the series. Once I have my beautiful submissive Jayne settled, I’m happy with Joss’ world. I’m done. I don’t feel the call of any more epic stories—I can just go watch the series and be sated.

But Stargate? Oh, yeah. That’s just a hot mess.

The Not in Kansas series lets me totally stick my fingers in both SG1 (to poke Jack’s all symbiotes are evil button) and in Atlantis (to poke the let’s run this like a base and not the colony it is button). Face it, both ideas are pretty dumb. No species is evil as a whole—there’s just some other definition of right and wrong going on in that alien head. In my universe, the goa’uld are what happens when a perfectly sane symbiote has the bad luck to join with a psychotic/sociopathic ancient race and learn all about power and pain. And when Gibbs and Tony move to Atlantis in not one but two 100K epics, that poor city never saw it coming!

The Magical Cage let me poke at the Wraith/vampire connection by pulling Buffy in. The Shadows Universe let me use The Sentinel and their fear of government as well as La Femme Nikita to point out that the SGC is a scary covert ops world, we just see the friendly face of all the scary. We see that again in Dr. Sandburg Finds a Sentinel.

Dark Still Water gives Teal’c the voice he never got in canon, and lets the SG1 folk torture Jim (The Sentinel) for his most assholish season 4 behavior.  Airman Harris lets me poke at all the psychological damage these people take that rarely gets addressed in canon.

Yep, the Stargate universe feels more flawed. It ignores the very ideas I want to explore. It’s more interesting because it’s more flawed, so Stargate has now officially bumped Firefly off the main page.

I’m sorry, Jayne. I still love you!


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The Source of All Evil

Georgia teens indicted for brutal post-prom rape that left unconscious victim hospitalized

That’s the headline I read this morning. You can read it for yourself, but it’s a depressingly common story. It’s  HERE

It does seem like the tide is turning in the girl’s favor this time, unlike the Steubenville case; however, when reading the comments, I still ran into the all too common comments:

  • “He ate where I work Sunday and he was a really nice guy. With his girlfriend and his parents I really don’t think he did what they say…”
  • “He is the sweetest person out there. Thank you for that comment. The truth will come out!!!!”
  • “Thank you so much for posting this because it is true this kid has always been so nice and super respectful. I know his parents and live in his subdivision. This kid has always been nice as is his parents. Cannot tell you how much it is appreciated to see someone think about this objectively without even really knowing him. Praying for the truth to be revealed.”

You can be creeped out over  HERE

I think the problem is that people don’t understand evil.

They think evil stands out—that it’s ugly with meth sores or it’s a man with black, slicked back hair and a goatee. They watch television where evil is big and often overwhelms people until all they are is evil, even if they started with noble intentions and a desire to financially protect their families.  To them evil can’t be polite to neighbors or mow the lawn.

To them evil is something all-encompassing. It swallows everything

Which is stupid.

I grew up in a small town with a very involved and probably overprotective mother. The two biggest dogs on the block were our collie and the German shepherd two doors down. I dog sat when the family went on vacation. I walked the little boy home when he got in a fight at the bus stop. My mother gossiped with the wife, and the husband would ask me to play with the dog while he mowed the lawn to keep him out of the way.

They were normal.

Except for the part where the father turned out to be a pedophile who had killed and buried the little girl who had disappeared out of the neighborhood the second year we lived there. He wasn’t caught until after we moved, but the point is that evil doesn’t look evil. It looks pretty damn normal. Evil mows the lawn.  Evil gets upset when his son comes home with a black eye.  Evil plays with his dog.

And yet people assume that if someone smiles and treats their parents well that they can’t be fuck-all crazy or evil or just twisted up inside.

I bet these boys don’t even think of themselves as evil. They sodomized a girl with an object so brutally that she had to go to the hospital, but I bet they’d point to their girlfriends and grades and athletic trophies and say, “but look—I’m normal!”

Unfortunately, honey, evil is normal. Evil is about the choices we make, and making disgusting and morally bankrupt choices doesn’t require that you have a mustache to twirl or the sunken eyes of a drug addict. Hell, most drug addicts are too apathetic and lost to be evil anymore.

But every single one of us is one choice away from evil. That’s the real danger. And the second we turn evil into some black lagoon monster that eats Tasha Yar or a primordial force that threatens Buffy, then we can pretend that it isn’t in us.

These boys can pretend they aren’t evil.

That little twit in the restaurant can pretend Fields Chapman isn’t evil because he has a girlfriend.

The people in Steubenville can pretend that winning athletes aren’t evil.

But guess what? People can look perfectly normal and still make an evil choice. People need to learn that because as long as long as they think of evil as something “other,” they’re not going to notice the seed of it growing in their own heart.