Summary: Seth and Lars are drawn into the world of Arcanium after Seth makes a throwaway wish in front of the circus fortune teller, who decides Arcanium needs a little something extra in the ring. Seth and Lars are torn from their lives of intermural soccer, on-campus parties, and bright futures. Instead, Bell curses the two men to never separate, forced to remain in constant contact at all times.
Now they perform incredibly skilled and beautiful aerial acts for the circus, but these two otherwise straight men must also adjust to always touching – how to sleep together in the same small bed, how they never have any privacy, and how the curse alters the way they express and experience desire for others, like their choreographer and the Arcanium contortionist Valorie as well as conjoined twins Joanne and Jane.
And – to their chagrin and confusion – themselves.
In keeping with my hope to write one long novel a month, with all the time I have on my hands due to illness, I managed to write both the second and the third Arcanium novels in May and June respectively. This means that I can now set them aside until October to edit. The original plan was to write them in July and August and edit right after, but I hate immediate editing turnaround, so putting aside my other project for July in order to write the Arcanium novels turned out for the best in all cases.
With the third written – and all the time and hope invested into it – my nervousness about writing erotica with circus oddities and being perceived as adding to the fetishization and demonization of non-average people only increases. Seriously, I am sometimes paralyzed and terrified, wanting to contact my editor and withdraw Arcanium from her consideration. But I love it so much, love all my people, and because I love them, I want to share them, want others to love them as much as I do.
I think Arcanium partially arose out of a reaction to the narrowness of body types that are permitted in erotic fantasies. As though those are the only ones who are permitted to have erotic fantasies. The only ones who deserve to have sex. And the rest of us are out of luck. I realize it’s about fantasy and there’s no shame in wishing to be pretty people, but I think we do ourselves a disservice keeping our fantasies so narrow and not seeing the beauty, humanity, and sexiness in more than the conventionally beautiful.
There are those in Arcanium there voluntarily who embrace what they are, whether they made themselves that way or were born that way. There are those in Arcanium there voluntarily who accept that there aren’t many other places for them to go. There are those in Arcanium who are cursed into it, who eventually reach a tentative acceptance of the oddity or ability that Bell gave them. There are those in Arcanium who are cursed into it and who never accept it, or who are definitely being punished.
My cast run the gamut of human and demon, cursed and natural, accepting and resistant. I think that represents a lot of humanity’s response to being non-average. It’s not an ideal existence, but everyone deals with it in different ways. And since this is Arcanium – and since an incubus and succubus stick around – a lot of them deal with it with sex. Average and non-average amazing sex.
I know my intentions. My fear is that intentions aren’t good enough, that I’m still making a mistake, although damned if I know what it is. I want to bring more than ‘average’ and ‘conventional’ to the erotica table (on so many levels, not just physical), but if all people end up seeing is freaks getting it on, I’m doing something wrong.
It’s a dilemma. My biggest fear. It keeps me awake nights. But I don’t want to be so afraid that I don’t share what I think is a good series of dark stories to tell. A voice too afraid will always be silenced.
Then there’s the slightly smaller fear that no one will read them, and all this worrying is useless because I might as well be silent.
…So all of that was a deep, dark sense of where I am after the completion of the first three novels, since three are needed for the cogs to start turning for series publication. It just makes it real.
Aerial itself, though, out of the context of those fears… It’s my first foray into primary MM fiction and a male protagonist. I think it turned out quite well for that. I’ll have to read over it again to see if the male voice sounds convincing, but I believe I did all right in that respect.
Like Carousel it didn’t end up nearly as long as I thought it would. When I look back on Fortune (Arcanium Book 1), the reason it was longer was because it acted as a sexual introduction to more than just Bell but many of the other characters. As a result, the stories following Fortune could narrow their focus, so future stories can be projected around 90k, I think. I hope. :)
Also, it has less of a horror element to it than Fortune or Carousel. Just how the story ended up, I guess, unless having to contend with queer desire after a lifetime of straight identification qualifies as horror – which one might legitimately argue, speaking from personal experience.
At this point, I’m glad that it’s finished. The pace I held myself to in order to finish, especially with the bad days of the illness, was exhausting. It’s good work, but still exhausting. And like reaching the end of a long race, I’m thrilled with the effort but quite ready to be done. :) I’m also looking forward to December or January, when I’ll tackle Kitty’s story in book four, Ringmaster.
I wish I could do this all the time, not just these last two months. Alas.
But take heart. It’s stat time!
Word count: 88,918 words
Projected word count: 110,000 words
Days to write: 26
First lines: “Cameron, who’d already gone to the circus with a few of his friends, had given it a high recommendation. He said that the Bearded Lady’s tits were amazing—just ignore all the hair, and the rest of her was a real piece—and that you could see the outline of the snake charmer’s nipples and pussy lips against her leather bikini. ”
Largest number of sexual participants at once: 5. When your primary couple can’t separate and their secondary partners also can’t separate, it leads to a lot of foursomes, as you might imagine.
Number of sex scenes: 8. Two of those scenes are quite involved, though. Again, you have to expect that from foursomes and moresomes. Also, there’s a lot of sexual thoughts and angst that don’t qualify as a sex scene. Like I’ve said before, Aerial returns to the raw carnality of Fortune.
Up Next: A few months off from erotic projects, then editing Carousel and Aerial. After that, depending on how much time I have between finishing those edits and NaNoWriMo (when I’ll complete the Sanctuary trilogy with Call for Blood), I might write something else. I’ll just have to see.