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1232950_28690356Title: Ringmaster

Series: Arcanium

Summary: Kitty has been part of the circus Arcanium for over fifteen years, presenting herself the Bearded Lady, but also taking care of its inhabitants when the curtains closes, a kind of den mother for both the humans and demons who live there.

However, she’s kept a dark secret for over eight of those years, a secret that she shares with the sadistic demon known only as the Ringmaster, the enforcer of Arcanium and undeniably the most evil member of the cast.

One might believe that the Ringmaster couldn’t have a tender bone in his body, and it would be a stretch to call the arrangement he and Kitty share tender. However, the Ringmaster finds himself curiously drawn to the kind but dark heart of Arcanium.

When Kitty convinces a long-time lover of hers outside Arcanium to join the circus – Victor, a sweet, handsome, charming man in love with every square inch of hair on Kitty’s body – the secret between Kitty and the Ringmaster not only threatens to come to light, but the strange relationship itself threatens to crumble and throw Arcanium into chaos.

Notes:

Can I just say that writing an erotic novel about a beautiful bearded and hairy lady was an amazing experience? Kitty was an amazing character to write. She’s confident in a way I wish I were because she has to either be completely confident or completely beat down. She has a sex life and a family that most women would envy, and she can braid a beard like nobody’s business. She’s my personal hero, my other half, and I hope she stays with me a long time like the best characters do, and I can go “What Would Kitty Do?” when I’m frustrated having to shave my head all the time.

Basically, Kitty is awesome, and I hope everyone loves her as much as I do.

It makes me sad that this is the only novel from her perspective that I get to write. It helps that there are some free Arcanium short stories I’ll be getting into at the beginning of next year. She’ll have two of her own. So I’m not all done with her yet, and she’ll doubtlessly play a role in the rest of the Arcanium series. She usually does.

Each novel of the Arcanium series stands on its own, but in a lot of ways, Ringmaster (IV) was the thematic sequel to Fortune (I) more than Carousel (II) was (and Aerial (III) was a prequel anyway). There’s a reason Maya and Kitty hit it off.

I’m unsure of the beginning – I usually am – and I may have to do some cuts back there and do some expansion in the second half, but that was where things really started to feel like it was coming together and where the Arcanium aspects of it really shone. There were some places where I nearly went off the rails, but thankfully, I think I was able to reel it back in and juggle like the circus writer I am.

There were some days that the 5k-word pace really pushed me to my limits, but I think I’ve arrived at a point where it’s not inconceivable to do, which is pretty cool. 4k words is still my preferred daily quota, with 5k on the weekends, but I know that if I have to, I can push that word count (and work on editing other things in the mornings, go figure). It means late nights and lots more coffee than I’d like, but it’s possible.

And I got to refresh my memory on how to use a bullwhip. Which I have and know how to crack, by the way. That was pretty cool.

Also, for some more randomness, it makes me secretly happy that this title is similar to Wishmaster, which helped inspired the first book in the first place, before I decided to do a series of it.

Now, for the numbers that don’t matter to anyone but me, but I love them anyway. It’s stats time!

Ringmaster Stats:

Word count: 92,284 words

Projected word count: 100,000 words

Days to write: 22 days (I wrote more words in fewer days than Aerial, which isn’t such a surprise, since I wasn’t in pain this month. That’s a nice feeling, by the way, not being in pain. I hope it continues indefinitely.)

First lines: “Kitty had been in Arcanium for over fifteen years. Over fifteen years of Arcanium staying the same. Over fifteen years of herself more or less staying the same. Yet every time she walked around the circus with all its patrons, there were whole minutes in which she felt normal. And she always felt like she was home.

Largest number of sexual participants at once: 2 (Yeah, sadly no threesomes this time around. Kitty has multiple partners, but never at the same time.)

Number of sex scenes: 8 (It always feels like more until I count. Part of that is because one encounter might include several rather intense sessions.)

—–

Up next: I need to decide whether I want to stay in the Arcanium ‘verse with Contortion (Arcanium Book 5) or shift back into the Meridian ‘verse, which I haven’t touched since January, and tackle Fever & Fray. My plan was to stagger Arcanium out to December and work on Meridian this month, and I’d kind of like to stick to that for the sake of drawing the Arcanium ‘verse out so that I can enjoy it rather than get tired of it, but I’m also still in Arcanium mode at the moment. Either way, I’ve got until Sunday to figure that out.

I work all the time when I’m writing, Monday through Sunday, afternoon through early morning. I take time off when Mistress Red visits, when we’re doing family things, and between these long projects. So this is basically my weekend (plus family’s coming over and I’d like to spend time with them). It’ll be nice to have a breather. It’s important to take care of yourself when you’re working. Stretching your limit with a quota is nice, but so is sanity – as much of that as I’m able to have. I always need to be careful of burnout, the pace I go.

If I get totally bored, I might start editing one of the novellas I wrote during the first half of September that set me behind so much. I also need to start edits on Bloodbound, which I’d like to make available either mid-January or mid-February.