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.
Word count: 25,069/110,000
It’s taken me a week and a half to reach 25k words, mostly because I didn’t make a lot of demands of myself the first week. I’d just finished editing Bloodbound, which entitled me to some days off, but I was bored, so I started. My concession to being on break was that I didn’t have a quota, and I didn’t write on Tuesday or Wednesday last week because of some medical procedures that meant I wasn’t supposed to exert myself. I worked up to my higher quotas by Sunday, and even though I’m back to square one with the discomfort and pain, I’m still writing that much every day.
Part of it is that I don’t know when my wealth of time is going to end, but I suspect it’s soon, and I’d like to be finished with Aerial before then. The other part is that this story is just flowing from my fingers. I was really excited about Carousel, but when I started Aerial, I was distracted by the upcoming medical procedures and hadn’t planned things very well. Once I had a handful of scenes to look forward to, though, the words started pouring out, those handful of scenes my personal carrots. So even though I’m still feeling as badly as when I wrote Carousel, writing Aerial is more of an escape than before.
And it’s funny how quickly this is coming out, because Aerial represents a major set of firsts for me. I’ve written MM in the past, but in short stories or as a secondary or tertiary part of a narrative. This will be my first MM novel, although there will be a good bit of MFM. (That’s why I dislike calling my stories gay, bisexual, lesbian, etc., because orientation lines tend to be blurred.)
It’ll also be my first novel written from a male perspective. I’ve written scenes from male perspectives, but this whole novel is Seth’s. I’m still not sure whether I can pull it off, but I’m drawing on my own more masculine side as well as the part of me that likes women, so I think I’m doing okay? It’s definitely a stretch.
What I do like about this one is that it’s got the same nearly non-stop carnality of the first book, Fortune. What I also like about it is that I finally get to write about some of the more cursed of Arcanium’s cast. Maya (Fortune) was wished in by her boyfriend, which meant Bell didn’t directly curse her when he added her to the cast, and Caroline was a voluntary (an accidental voluntary, but voluntary nonetheless). In Aerial, Seth and Lars are cursed in, and they’ll eventually develop a working relationship with similarly (but worse) cursed conjoined twins Joanne and Jane. I won’t write from a cursed perspective again until Book 6 (cursed books will be Nymph, Arachne, and Silk, with room for growth).
My questions at this point have more to do with how I introduce Arcanium. Will devoted readers be turned off by the repetition of Arcanium’s introduction? I change it in every book, but it’s essentially the same information. On the bright side, the next two books are written from the perspective of people already in Arcanium rather than people accidentally wishing their way in, so that much introduction won’t be required.
Another question is whether readers are as interested in the different performances of the same characters as I am. The biggest difference is the POV reaction to it, but the characters also change their acts every once in a while to keep from getting bored, which means that every performance I describe is unique. But would series readers get bored themselves?
The Arcanium series is one of standalones. Each story needs to function on its own, so that requires a little bit of repetition, which I hope works as long as it’s done in new and interesting ways every time. But it’s still something I’m concerned about. Those might be questions to ask a street team. Or since I don’t have a street team of beta readers, my editor. :)
Right now, the story’s going strong, moving fast, and I haven’t yet hit the point where I think I’m awful and never going to be finished with it in my lifetime. Who wants to predict that it happens this next week?
(And why that picture? Because I don’t know what else to use, and Aerial‘s color is blue. That’s the light they perform in.)