We're half-way through The Lady Riding Atop. Chapters 1, 2 and 5 sprung forth from a dream one night at a technical conference where I had a bit of free time. Originally, chapter 3 was going to be an opportunity to take stock of the unusual aspects of the Light of Passion culture introduced earlier and get into Ashley's head. However, while I was writing, Storm stumbled into the scene without really considering the consequences of his actions. Before I knew what was happening, Ashley decided to flex her new-found independence, claiming the shiny new toy as hers, and I found myself with a new character. I really like what this did to the chapter: I think we still get an opportunity to appreciate all the different ways Ashley is on edge, but something actually ends up happening and we get our first look at a man from this culture.
Unfortunately, we're coming hard up against the big editing challenge of the story. In the next chapter, Ashley meets a brother and sister from an insular agricultural community. The folks from Shepherd's Crook have a recipe that works well for them, building a balance between themselves and their flocks, and providing them with products they are proud to offer the world. My editor has been struggling to fully appreciate their taciturn dialect. There's a lot of time watching the sheep graze, and they have found that once you spend enough time together, few words say much. However, the dialect needs to be strong enough to be a focus of an entire novella, for I think Shepherds Crook will have a lot to tell us later about our connection with the primal. I have a session scheduled with my editor, Chuck, where I hope we will finally conquer the dialect. I hope you will appreciate their enjoyment of their sensuality and sexuality as much as I do when you read chapter 4.
However, I've also been looking to a new short story, "Demon Bride." In chapter 3 of Lady, Celeste mentions that she would see a lover who truly degrade her given to a demon bride. I thought it would be fun to meet one and see how they hunt and love. It's really fun to right such a compassionate, loving predator; I think she will be an interesting surprise. The relationship between love and sacrifice—the need for the old to die and make way for the new—is something that I've been exploring spiritually for a while. I'm looking forward to the demon helping explore that in fiction. I think "Demon Bride" may end up being the only Light of Passion story without water sports or male/male sexuality. I hope you enjoy the story when it is ready.