Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality


Writing Update

So, this is my first of the month update.  Royal Indiscretion (contemporary m/m) is being a pain.  I have some good dialogue written for when two protagonists actually start talking to each other, but right now it’s hard to force them into the same space without making them out of character.  I often introduce a new character when a plot gets stuck, but adding in the sober sponsor Nick didn’t really help.  Someone may get hurt soon.  That often forces people to talk.

The Witness (mystery/kink m/m) is on a short break because I have too many plots going at once, and I needed to choose Royal Indiscretion or The Witness Wears a Puppy Tail. Doing both was hurting my head.  Too many voices up there at once, ya know.

Saddled (contemporary kink m/m) is going hot and strong.  While this started as pretty strictly pony kink, it is quickly developing one hell of a plot. When I’m done, I think I may send this over to MLR Press.  However, I have to get John out of danger, navigate the relationship problems between John and Clive, save momma, deal with a drug addicted brother, and figure out how to get two stubborn alpha males to admit they’re in love.  Yeah, I got a ways to go.

But as usual, my muse is always tempting me with new thoughts.  Once Saddled is done, I’m thinking about two options.

Earth Fathers are Weird focuses on a pilot who took to the skies to fight off an alien invasion—or what Earth thought was an invasion. It was actually the equivalent of a high speed chase that spilled into undeveloped space.  When his jet was shot, the alien authorities scooped him up to prevent his death. And when the chase was over, he was dropped at a very nice interplanetary port.  The computers can mostly translate English. Sort of.  And he can interface enough to see how much a ship would charge him to take him back to Earth.  If he took a job helping refine the translator function, he could afford a ticket in roughly three hundred years.  A job entry for what he thought was a nanny could get him home in seven to eight years.  He might have mistranslated “nanny,” though.

alien tentacles

Loyalty Betrayed is about a covert ops specialist. He’s run his own team for nearly a decade and had an on-again, off-again relationship with the team interrogator/psychologist.  However, he is beginning to fear that their team is being misused in the worst ways.  When he gets a warning to get out, he runs without looking back.  However, he’s not willing to leave his lover. And even if he did, the man knows him well enough to act as birddog for the government agents trailing him.  So our hero makes a horrible choice out of a desire to avoid an even worse one.  When his friend comes for him, he knows the government will send killers to finish the job. So he sets a trap, grabs his lover, and decides to use what he learned about psychology and brainwashing to tie his lover’s allegiance to him.  Only then will he feel safe to unravel the conspiracies working to turn his government against him.


So, that’s me. Oh, and I am an amateur with book covers, so if anyone has feedback (especially anyone with the actual experience or expertise I lack), I would greatly appreciate it.


Does anyone want a free short?

Introduction to Xenolinguistics

Debbie studied the sea of fresh-faced babies. For a time, she panned the vid so her office screen would show her the entire class. She could already divide them into rough camps based on their seat choices and expressions. Proxemics, oculesics, and kinesics weren’t covered until much later in their training, so right now they exerted absolutely no control over how their bodies were shouting without even using words.

The three young men and two women in front were either serious students or wanted to present themselves as serious students. They were busy with their tablets, and Debbie’s monitoring program reported that all five were reviewing the class text. A small group near the window chatted away, their bodies twitching with sexual interest. Nothing wrong with that as long as they focused on the work once Debbie started the lecture.

A range of less confident students filled the middle section. Debbie groaned when she saw that two of them were reading Lost Words: The Unauthorized Biography of Lieutenant Liam Munson. Shit. That piece sensationalized Munson’s life—made him out to be some poor wounded soul abandoned by the system and abused by the authorities in his life.

Debbie had no idea how anyone could fall for the crap the modern press put out. Munson was a linguistic genius who had made the rare leap out of his culturally enforced point of view into the Rownt perspective. Leaps in translation could only be made after someone had navigated that chasm, and to reduce Munson’s contribution to luck and some lost puppy personality was incredibly offensive. The man had studied Rownt language before taking the post on Prarownt and had then spent years working to collect language samples and form relationships with natives.

His willingness to immerse himself in a new culture opened opportunities for the entire human race. The popular media might be fascinated with the Rownt because of a few vid shots of a female visiting a hospital and the young male clearly trying to protect Lieutenant Munson in a crowd. However, those involved in Command were more interested in the technology and raw materials the Rownt could provide. They were certainly better potential allies than the Anla. And Munson made all that possible.

She made a note of which students were reading that trash in her classroom. They would have to show much more dedication to linguistics if they wanted to follow in Munson’s footsteps. Assuming that an alien species would feel sorry for you and take you home was stupid. And Debbie did not like wasting her time on stupid students.

She turned her monitor off and sighed. Time for one more semester of teaching people who could never hope to achieve the genius of Colonel Diallo or Lieutenant Munson. Sometimes she regretted ever becoming a teacher. However, someone had to set the next generation of linguists on the path, and that was her sacrifice.




A long-overdue update (and a story)

I haven’t been here forever, and I’m going to try hard to change that.  Part one in today’s update is a general state of where I am writing wise.  Part two is a bonus snippet from one of my universes.

Loose Id closed, and they were my primary publisher, which really threw me. I now have my backlist all up.  Yea me!  Considering how I feel about 1) change and 2) new computer systems, I’m pretty damn proud of myself.  The sales have been sluggish, but steady.  Aberrant Magic 6 is trucking along.  I’ve gone from 74K words down to 66K, so it’s much tighter.  I did too much “show” on the casework, so I’m trying to “tell” on those bits so the book focuses more on the relationship.  I also switched POV on a couple of chapters so the readers could see into the motives of grumpy Art.  He has a cat as a spirit guide for a reason.  He likes his butt scratched, but if you do it too long or wrong, he’s pretty quick to make a quick escape. That’s his personality, but I’m focusing more on showing why he’s that way.

When I’m done with trimming and editing Aberrant Magic, I have two thoughts.  One, I might go back to Royal Indiscretion, the story of an ex-addict youngest son of a duke and the closeted bisexual football player.  I think the guys could have some nice enemies to lovers moments.  I’m also thinking about Carina Press.  They have a call out for continuing series that combine romance with suspense or adventure.

I always wanted to do a second “season” of Aberrant Magic.  Kavon and Coretta would have two separate teams, although they would work closely together.  Coretta would bring in a new FBI agent with shamanic powers.  Joe has an octopus guide and he is as clever and secretive as that would imply.  What he doesn’t tell anyone is that he’s Roma and his mother has ties to the Earth magics that Native shamans use. Kavon brings in a new magic user. Milton is a cross between Blair Sandburg and Rodney McKay.  He’s brilliant, flat out. He’s actually invented a new form of magic by combining crystals and computers into an interface that allows so much more control than a normal crystal user, but he refuses to believe in magic as anything other than an alternate power source.  He’s hyper and ADHD enough that Kavon considers murdering him, and he generally rubs people wrong with his verbal diarrhea and ability to spout trivia.

Our team would still be there in the background, but with Joe and Milton taking lead, maybe I could convince Carina to pick it up as a new series. I’m still thinking about that one.


So, that’s me.  Now on with the story.  This time it’s Ondry’s mother having a mom/son moment from long before the first Claimings book.


“Asdria’s Fears”

Asdria flared her nostrils as she crouched down next to Ondry. He was such a willful boy that sometimes Asdria despaired for him. “You have gathered healthy fruit.” She would have liked to comment on her son’s diligence, but he had already passed the age when he would accept such compliments.

Ondry kept sorting the small, firm gasha berries.

“He who would trade must begin by trading in words,” Asdria rebuked him.

That got Ondry’s attention. He sat back, his short legs crossed in front of him. “I know you won’t trade.”

Asdria tried to calm herself before she could pale and give her headstrong son evidence of her disapproval. She was proud that he had taken to trading so well, but he was young enough that he should eat the fruit, or at the very least have competitions with other children to see how far they could throw it. However the drought that had led to her own eggs drying up had denied most of the town of a generation of children.

She considered moving to another town with more children, but she was loath to leave the Grandmothers she knew.

“How have you reached that conclusion?” she asked her child.

“You said I was too young. You disapprove of me trading; therefore, you will not buy from me.”

Asdria couldn’t fault his logic. He had so many centuries ahead of him—years of standing on his own and proving his own worth. During those long years before a woman left an eggling on his door, he would regret rushing toward adult responsibility. A Rownt would have centuries without touch, and those who had too little of it in childhood would suffer for it later. She had mourned each hatching when no children emerged from her eggs. She felt such a yearning to hold a youngling, and yet she had to satisfy herself with pulling the tail of some ambitious man or cheating an arrogant woman out of her profits. Those had been a poor substitutes.

And now Ondry was rushing into that same isolation. Since Ondry insisted he was an adult, she settled into the dust and tried to construct her thoughts as he might for an adult. “If you trade, you are growing up more quickly than most Rownt.” She tried to keep her statement factual so he would have no reason to show his stubborn streak.

“You would have me live forever with egg on my backside,” Ondry said with a childlike hiss.

“I would have you learn to steal meat from my table, but perhaps you can wait until you can see over the edge of the table.” Asdria knew she had made a mistake with that exaggeration the second she said it. Ondry paled. Normally he would rumble in pleasure when she treated him like an adult and insulted him, but clearly that permission did not extend to insults about his height.

He stood and walked away, his tail twitching in aggravation. Asdria shut her nostrils. Her son was quickly becoming more aggravating than a dozen kawt haunting her favorite trading trails. She failed to find the words to explain the truth he would not see. He rushed toward adulthood, and she feared he would suffer later. He would spend years unable to touch or hold another, and Asdria would be helpless to assist him then. But she could not find the words to help him now.

She sometimes feared she had some great flaw in her parenting that prevented her from clearly communicating logic.

But the gods would have their way, and she could not prevent Ondry from choosing his own paths in life. Hopefully he would prove profitable in trading. Maybe then he would have a youngling left on his door before he turned four hundred.

And then she would enjoy watching him try to explain logic to a child who was too willful to listen.



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.

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I fell into the weird part of the internet. The bonding fic led me to knotting. Supernatural knotting, as in kinky dirty-wrong sex knotting. And some of these… oh god… it’s like watching an accident that you know you shouldn’t, but you can’t look away. Worse, I want to fix them. Do something to… no. Must get muse away.

Personally, I am doing much better. Last weekend the rollercoaster was about at the lowest point and I felt like I was going to throw up. I did get some great advice from you guys. I already had in-home care while I was at work; however, the social worker hooked me up with someone one day a week, and a friend is coming in a second. That’s enough to take some of the burden off. And then I hired someone to clean my house and yard. Hired. Seriously hired someone to do my dishes and wash my bathrooms, and I think my brain whited out somewhere along the way because 1) I’m too cheap for this shit 2) I’m not rich enough for this shit, related to #1, and 3) Dude, someone touched my dirty underwear. I mean, she touched it because she was doing a load of laundry, but I’m still not sure how I feel about that.

However, again, it took the weight off me.

This isn’t forever. Mom is making good strides. She can now get to the bathroom on her own. That is a huge victory. I’m also getting more efficient with things, and showers and changing nightgowns and dressings and blood pressure… it all takes less time now.

The roller coaster isn’t at the top of the hill, but I’m starting to feel like I see daylight.

And I don’t think I’m going to pay anyone to touch my dirty underwear again. Seriously… still do not know how I feel.


Five Star Self

Don’t rate your own books!

That’s the advice from most people, but then I’ve never been much of a rule follower. Oh, I follow rules that I agree with or even the ones I think questionable but I understand the rule-creator’s purpose. I really do try to avoid “naughty” words with my high school students, although a “hell” slips out every once in a while.

However, rating your own books hardly seems like a great sin.

What is the harm of rating a book? I suppose some would say it skews the statistics. Well, so does the one-star rating I have that berates me for on-page underage rape in Desert World. 1) There’s no on-screen rape. 2) All the characters are adults.

Shrug. It happens.

So if the overall ratings are already skewed, what’s the big deal?

I suppose the bigger sin is arrogance. After all, if you think everything you write is five-star, doesn’t that make you a raging egomaniac? Is that simple pride in your work?

Trust me, I don’t think everything I write is perfect. I have 17 works on Goodreads. One is simply awful, and I don’t know why it’s even listed there because it was part of an “Easter-egg hunt” on the Dreamspinner website and was never intended as stand-alone story.

I wrote one novella during one of the darkest times in my life when I was inches from unemployment and being harassed by a boss who was breaking the law and I had no proof. I think that negativity came through on the page because when I read it now, the words seem far more jagged than I ever intended.

However, out of 17 works, I have rated five of them as five-star because I want to tell people which of my novels I am truly proud of… the ones that I wouldn’t go back and rewrite, even if I could magically make the previous version vanish.

If people look up my profile, I use those stars to try and tell readers where I think they should start.

Desert World Allegiances and Desert World Rebirth taken together create one of my favorite couples. They start as idiots and each has to come to terms with his own demons before they come together.

The two BDSM novels I’m really proud of, Fettered and Gathering Storm, both treat BDSM practitioners as real people, and that’s the one thing that annoys me when I’m reading—the idea that those into the lifestyle do nothing except brandish a whip all day every day.

And my beloved Blowback. Blowback is what I want out of femdom. The female lead is strong enough to let her sub be tough as nails without ever doubting her own ability to bring that junkyard dog back to heel.

So I rated them five stars, and I’m sticking by it. They are the only books I’ve written that I go back and reread myself.

However, with every book I hope to create that new five-star read that I will read in bed on my Kindle with the lights out. If, a few months after my new book comes out, you find that I’ve rated it five stars, then you know I’ve been able to reread my work without cringing at the things I didn’t do and the scenes I could have written and didn’t.