Hello, everyone! I am not dead. I have been:

  1. Pneumotically sick and busy trying to cough up the insides of my own feet;
  2. At #porncamp;
  3. Neurosing about people again.
I don't think I have to go in to respiratory infections -- the entire East Coast appears to have caught this one, so there are plenty of valid reference examples. Illness is not nearly so stressful as it used to be, mainly because there are only two things in my life for which I have to leave the house to fulfill my obligations, and I can bow out of both of them if I'm spending a week deceased for medical reasons. Boss Lady is very understanding, mainly because when she's sick, she emails me from her phone with things like, 'trapped in bed, too weak to dislodge cats; just keep doing whatever it was I told you to do before'. I chronically under-bill her for this, because my job involves reading a lot of well-written smut and then handing out pieces of it to anyone who looks like they might share it with someone else. It's a longer-term version of that one time I ran across an ad for a psychopharm trial at McLean where they wanted to test the effect of various drugs on your brain function by having you sit around in the hospital for a few days while they gave you Xanax or Ambien or caffeine or placebo and then ran you through some cognitive tests. I'm still having trouble believing that I'm the one who's supposed to be getting money here.

On the other hand, I didn't go to WOMBAT either, because I was coughing too hard to juggle. I know I must look like lightly-toasted death when Jazmin spots me on her way in and observes, "You look..." and finishes with the international hand gesture for 'why have you not fallen down yet'.

Porn Camp, aka the Circlet Press writers' retreat, happened this past weekend, at the tail end of the coughing. That was fun. No, seriously. I found out that Annabeth Leong has the most awesome collection of tights, and told H B Kurtzwilde what I thought of his contention that he only had one fangirl. Boss Lady used one of my glittery juggling batons as a Talking Stick, because none of us have any manners, and when I mused aloud on how to top that on subsequent days, one of the editors basically dared me to turn up in the Black Widow costume. Which, in fact, I did. Now none of these people will ever forget me. This makes my job a lot easier, because now when they run into someone who needs more porn in their lives, they will remember to tell me.

The neurosing actually went shockingly well in at least one case. I never figure people out in a smooth asymptotic curve. Invariably, they'll say one thing that is relatively information-free per se, but when put into context with a bunch of other things that also looked meaningless at the time, will suddenly make about a dozen things make perfect sense. Thinking about origins and consequences for a few minutes will give me a dozen more. I do it pretty much the same way I do sudoku puzzles. There's almost always a point where you have a bunch of boxes that can logically be 2 or 8, one that's 8 or 5, 5 or 9, 9 or 7, etc. and you're unable to fill in any of them with certainty until you hit a square that must be a 7, which tells you that the 7/9 square must therefore be 9, the 5/9 square must be the 5, the 5/8 square must be 8, all in a sudden cascade.

I do wish, though, that it wasn't so difficult to get across that the Sherlocky-thing is not a competitive game. Knowing where my flatmates have gone for the day by inspecting what they've forgotten on the coffee table is useful, but it's a side effect. It's training and entertainment when I do it to celebrities and fictional characters -- in other words, to people with whom I will never be in danger of having a long, meaningful, emotionally-charged conversation -- but when I do it to someone in my actual meatspace life, the primary point is learn about them so that I can interact with them without trampling all over their comfort zone like an elephant in rugby cleats. I'm chronically blind to Things We Shouldn't Talk About until we're actually having the conversation, and I can see that it's making someone uncomfortable. 

I'm downright bizarre sometimes, and I know it. I only do it to people I already rather fond of, on account of it takes a lot of effort and energy, and I think it would be a terrible life plan to spend that much time with people I don't actually like. This is not a new thing; this was also 2/3rds of my rationale for not going to my own high school commencement, the other third being that it was being held outside in Phoenix in May, when it's already 100°F in the shade.


  1. What's the going rate for erotic short stories? Is there freelance market for it the way there are for visual/paint/image artists? I've done a tiny bit of looking into commissioning vignettes, but never actually got anywhere.

    1. All of our authors are freelance. We don't have anyone under a running contract, a la Harlequin; Circlet solicits stories for anthologies and accepts pitches for serials and full-length works. The going rate depends on publisher, but I know one of our current requests for submissions is offering a flat $25 for erotic shorts.

    2. Interesting. Thanks!


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