THE PASSION STROLL...
a blog by author Ashavan Doyon
It's Halloween! I'm delighted to share the next installment of my free serialized fiction story, The One That Feels!
When we left our intrepid explorers, they were still lost in a dream, drowning in the discovery of pleasure in a kiss. Now Thommas has woken up, and the torture he endured at the hands of the king of Zaharoth awaits his waking self. What will Nem do when he's faced with the truth of his father's abuses?
Find out in Chapter 13!
Don't miss the story from the very beginning. And if you haven't yet, subscribe to the email newsletter.
I woke screaming. Some part of me knew, of course, that the pain had to be simmering beneath the surface, pushed aside by the thrill and adrenaline of Nem’s kisses from the dream. Kisses that I’d wanted, needed on some level. I pulled myself upright and tried to catch a breath in between the screams. Nem ran to me, frantic, and then his eyes grew wide with shock and slowly, very slowly, he backed away, his hand over his mouth.
Desperately I ripped at the fabric of my shirt and began to peel it from my body. The shirt was already badly ripped, mere tatters hanging from the flesh of my back, glued there by bits of blood and gore that had dried into the skin as my body tried desperately to heal from the very real damage the king of Zaharoth had dealt to me in the dream.
Nem had fallen to his knees, his mouth desperately forming the word “no” over and over as he looked at me. And then he stood abruptly, his eyes dark and furious as he walked over and knelt next to me. He pulled a small vial from a chain around his neck and held it to my lips.
I've been sitting staring at a blank page for too long. Why is it blank? Well, honestly, it's not exactly blank. It's stuck at about 4000 words. It's a decent amount of text, about a quarter to a third of what I want on this particular project, but it's not enough. Worse, I wrote the last thousand of those words about a week ago, which means I haven't written squat in a week.
Why am I worried?
One word: NaNoWriMo. Yes, I'm cheating, it's actually four words. National Novel Writing Month. Celebrated annually during November, National Novel Writing Month (cheerfully referred to as Nano by many participants) is an opportunity to let loose and write with wild abandon. It's a chance to jump start a project, or finish one. At its best, it's a finished draft in a month, packed with all the support you need.
It means writing 1667 words a day. Every day. For a month.
Pursued by the knights of Zaharoth, Nem and Thommas seek to escape and find Jordan. But what does that search mean for the Nem's not so subtle interest in Thommas, and how will they deal with their pursuers?
Find out in Chapter 12 of The One That Feels.
Note: This chapter contains some graphic violence. Be warned.
New to the story? Check it out from the beginning.
Brian looked up. “You’re back?” he asked. He sounded desperate.
He stood as I shook my head and moved toward me.
“No! Stay there.”
“What?” Brian looked at me, confused. “Why?”
“I am not here, Bri. This is not real, not in the way you’re thinking.”
“This is as close as you get,” I said, my voice firm. “We’re in a dream.”
“It feels real.” His voice was sullen. I could see his grip on Jordan’s hand loosen.
“Keep hold of his hand,” I snapped, harsher than I wanted. “Don’t let go.”
Brian’s surprise was evident as he looked down and realized he was at Jordan’s bedside, as though he had forgotten. He gulped and sat down, pulling the hand to his lips. “I’m losing him, Thom.” The words were mumbled into his lover’s skin, a confession. Not a new one. He’d known it when he first sought me out.
I've been trying so hard to make Chapter 12 of The One That Feels come out on time... and I'm forced to admit that it's just not in the cards.
There's a lot of factors at play here, all of them legitimate, but the end result is the same. You expected to see Chapter 12 here tonight, and I can't deliver it to you as promised. Don't get me wrong—the chapter IS finished. But the editing and other work that goes into having the post up aren't complete and chapter 12 is not the place to skimp on that.
It's a vibrant chapter, full of emotion, full of revelation, full of hard choices. You deserve to see it shine. Please bear with me and give me just a couple more days to get this out and ready. I'll have it posted soon!
Until then, perhaps this quote will suggest the things that are to come...
Happy to share Chapter 11 of The One That Feels. We join our hero as he quests through the forests of Zaharoth in a desperate search for Brian's love Jordan. His companion? A spoiled prince who may just be more complicated than he seems.
If you're new to the story, start here, otherwise dig in and enjoy!
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Hiking in the woods can be exciting for a day, even for two or three. In the Realm, surrounded by what can only be described as the true vibrancy of life, I managed a week. A full week before the chill of the Realm had filled my bones so completely that I was sure no heat would ever warm me. A week before sleeping on the hard cold earth had left my bones and body weary.
We seemed no closer to the goal. The wood seemed to delight in trickery, leading us down paths too dangerous to contemplate. And if the wood itself were not already against us, we had been followed for at least two days by something more than just eyes in the distance, glowing in the dark of night.
Nem stumbled behind me and I turned quickly to catch him before he hit the ground and help him back to his feet. Silver tears glinted in his eyes. He started to speak but I set a finger to his lips, took his hand in mine, and kept moving.
That it was day could be told only by the scarce light that penetrated the great canopy above. There were bare spots of sunlight, penetrating the deepest depths of the forest like a spotlight, dotting the floor of the wood with scattered shining spots of burning light. The rest was in a shadow that had grown worse with every day as we sank deeper into the wood. Even the glowing eyes at night seemed fewer in number, as if even they feared the true depths of the forest.
As some readers already know, I am changing jobs. My last day in Student Affairs was Friday (which reminds me, that means I need to update my bio). I've worked in Student Affairs at the college for just shy of 15 years. I was hired just after September 11 as a temp and managed to transition to being a full time regular employee in my department in June of 2002. While there were longer term employees in the department, in the core office I had been there the longest. I was the person with all the answers; I could answer pretty much any question. Over the course of that time I'd assisted every position in our office, from the residence life staff to the dean of international students and scholars.
While that service will serve me well, I am acutely aware that I am moving to a new office where I won't know things. It's a scary thought, not unlike trying to write a story with a hero or setting radically different from my personal experience. I know that there's a base of knowledge as an assistant that will serve me well, and because I transferred within the institution, my knowledge of the college and its procedures will allow me to continue the appearance of casual competence.
It's not that I'm worried, not really. I will tackle the new job with the same sort of strategy that I might use if I was writing a story about a soldier. I'll research. I'll ask questions, and I'll brazen it out.
Comfort in a job is important to me. Long time followers of my work will remember how I struggled when I first moved to my new house to do any writing until my office was set up. For me this is much the same. So I went over on Friday (with the blessing of my outgoing supervisor) to get the new digs at the college setup. As promised, my new desk mascot is in place!
A few housekeeping items
No doubt some of you noticed that September had only one chapter of The One That Feels released. That's my fault, work and my life offline made any more impossible. In addition to my own impending departure from my workplace, we were also working short one member of the administrative support staff, during opening, in student affairs and residence life at a college. Needless to say, there was a lot of stress. To make it up to folks, there will be THREE chapters in October, starting tomorrow with Chapter 11!
I'm working on the next issue of ARDOR—a full issue this month rather than news briefs. Part of that is continuing work on the planned freebie for subscribers. It probably won't go out with this issue, but there may be an additional mailing with details. If you haven't signed up for the newsletter, now's the time! I will make sure that currently signed up folks also get the freebie once it's available, so there's no reason to wait.
Writer of the mysterious, fantastic, and the romantic. Sometimes sappy. Often angsty. Always searching for the sexy. Stories about men who love men.