Everyone has stories to tell, but not everyone’s comfortable telling them. I wasn’t for a very long time. I started off more as a voracious reader than a writer. I especially remember not being like other children around Christmas. They all wanted toys. I wanted books. I still love that ‘new book’ smell and the feel of paper in my hands, but I did embrace technology eventually, right around the time that I discovered fanfiction.

That was entirely accidental. We’ve made great strides in my country since then, although not enough in my humble opinion, but at the time seeing a lesbian kiss on primetime television was unheard of. The broadcast channel never admitted to censorship but it was quite coincidental that all seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer were shown except those inclusive of and following the ‘infamous’ Willow/Tara kiss. What was I to do? If I couldn’t see it on television, I would have to rely on the internet. It was in the course of my searches that I came across Extra Flamey (the website, not the story). It’s gone now, like so many of the other sites I frequented, but it opened my eyes to a world I didn’t know existed.

I knew from a young age that I was attracted to women, but I also knew that would never be accepted by society, so I did my best to bury those feelings. You know how well that works out. By my late teens/early twenties, I was confused, depressed, and utterly alone. Until I wasn’t. Suddenly a whole world of women loving women was right at my fingertips. Xena, Law and Order: SVU, you name it and I read it. I eventually moved on to original fiction, and I started to write. My first story, also no longer available online, was a short Willow/Tara piece called “For All Time”. I was surprised at how well-received it was, especially given that it was very much PG-13. That was the push I needed to get me going. Now I can’t stop. Now I find inspiration everywhere.

Yes, my inspiration does come from my own life at times, but that’s not set in stone. I don’t need to be in love to create romantic stories. At the same time, I don’t have to be experiencing heartbreak to write about it. There have been occasions when something as simple as a song on the radio might lead to the creation of a particular piece, whether or not it resonates with what I’m going through at the time. I’ve written over two hundred poems so I couldn’t possibly walk you through the inspiration for each one, but I’m going to attempt that very thing for my stories, starting from the oldest.

The Story Of Us: I get asked about this one a lot. Most people want to know if it’s a true story or not. Others are convinced that it is based on real events and want to know the final ending. I’d like to say that I don’t kiss and tell but, as a writer, I can’t always do that. All I can do is protect the identities of those who might be involved. So, yes, the story is the first I ever wrote and it is true…up to a point. I’ve indulged in the luxury of a significant amount of artistic licence but this was indeed inspired by the first woman I ever loved. And for those who just have to know how it all ended; where’s the fun in that?

A Perfect World: Unfortunately, I can’t keep it a secret. That relationship did end, and the blow was devastating. I started writing this when the woman that I thought was ‘the one’ was spending the night in the arms of someone else, and I was contemplating getting totally wasted. It was one of the lowest points in my life and I was desperate to drown my sorrows. Thankfully, I chose my computer over the bottle. This was the result. I will admit that my male character did die in a fiery crash in the original version, but I wanted to be better than that person and changed that ending. I don’t know these characters. I don’t know where they came from. But together they made a complete story, and it remains a favorite among my readers.

Let Love Endure: I wish I could share this with you but, as a condition of it being published, it can’t appear on this website. You’re free to peruse its sequel though. I was inspired to write this at the point when I think I first started to heal. You can only be in pain for so long. Eventually you either give in and let it consume you, or you decide to let it go. That’s what this was about. Moving on and letting go…or maybe trading one obsession for another. It all depends on how you look at it.

Dearest Diary: I never had a diary growing up. I can’t remember why. It just wasn’t a thing in our house. As an adult, I did contemplate starting a journal (sounds better than keeping a diary huh?), but I already write stories, so why bother? But it did give me an idea for a story written as journal entries. I do like to experiment with story structure every now and then.

You Ask, I Answer: In keeping with the idea of experimentation (not that kind…get your mind out of the gutter), I wondered what it would be like to write a story consisting almost entirely of dialogue. Of course, given my love for the creatures of the night, this was the result. My original plan was to use this piece as an introduction to a longer story, but life got in the way. Never fear though. This won’t be the last time you see these characters.

Illusions: This one actually started off as a gift for a friend, and my first attempt at writing anything even remotely erotic. I’ve always been a fan of horror, or rather vampires if you want to be specific. The hopeless romantic in me is drawn to that whole ‘centuries old true love’ spiel. I actually had that idea for the first scene in mind for a long time but I just couldn’t seem to figure out where to go from there. One day it just hit me. Why continue from there? Why not fast forward? Everything just clicked then and writing resumed at a frantic pace, right up until I got to the love scene. It stalled there for a while. I just couldn’t stop blushing.

Just One Night: Sometimes a scene will pop into my head. That’s it. Just a scene. Nothing else. That’s what inspired this story. There I was, just minding my own business, and all of a sudden I envisioned this woman staring out the window into the pouring rain. I put myself in her place. What was she thinking of? What was she about to do? I have been in that situation where you know what you need to do, but walking away is just too hard. You convince yourself that it’s better to accept what you can have than have nothing at all. Here’s the thing though. It’s wanting so much and being given so little that’s killing you inside. I figured that was her problem too.

A Yearning Unknown: Should I really tell you that a dream inspired this? Maybe you might look at me and wonder what the hell goes on in my mind? Oh wait, you already do that. Fair enough. Well okay. This is based on an actual dream I had. In it, I played the role of Alexis and it was nowhere near as detailed as I wrote it. However, that bloody kiss close to the end? Oh yes, part of the dream. Is it getting hot in here? I was questioning my sanity for weeks afterwards.

Feeding Time: I’d like to say that anyone who knows me knows I have a dark side, but I can’t. Most people don’t. I’m often the joker of the pack but I have a self-destructive, and sometimes violent, streak that I’ve only recently learned to control. One of things that triggers my ire are criminals who prey on the innocence of others. I cannot say that I would be able to hold back should I ever come face to face with one such miscreant. That got me to thinking. What if a monster broke into a home only to find something much worse waiting for him inside (think The Collector, only the other way around). I know a lot of people were a bit surprised when they read this one but hey, I believe it’s better to embrace the darkness before it embraces you.

Kindred Killers: I know. I’m overdue for something ridiculously sappy and romantic, and I’ll get to it. I promise. Like I said before, I’m going through an experimentation phase (again, minds out of the gutter…or not). This was my attempt at something resembling Steampunk. The idea of this sort of old world, gothic brothel appealed to me. The idea of adding a twist appealed to me more. I decided to just run with it and see where it went. Clearly it derailed at some point and went off a cliff.

Meet The Muses: I have no excuse for this one. I usually joke with a friend of mine that our Muses always seem to be drunk or high. Somehow that idea got translated into a story, and my first attempt at something a bit more humorous. Of course my sense of humor takes some getting used to.

Finding Normal: The first draft of this was actually written as a submission for an erotica anthology. I had wanted to challenge myself to go a bit beyond my comfort zone. Unfortunately, it wasn’t accepted. What was accepted was the fact that this is my style, even though it may not push as far as many others (I have great respect for writers of tasteful erotica). So I decided to rework it a bit, make a few additions, and publish it on my own site.

Red Riding Cop: Again, I have no excuse. I came across a call for submission for re-imagined fairy tales and, even though I had no idea of submitting anything since the time was too short, the idea stuck with me. Sadly, this is where my imaginings took me.

As It Once Was: Relationships are hard. Sometimes the longer they last, the more work they require. What’s easy is giving in to the temptation to throw it all away, to take that first bite of the forbidden fruit. I wanted to show that with this one, and to show that it’s never too late to make amends. You may not be able to find the excitement of the beginning, but you may very well find something better.

In The Shadows: I had an outline for this one written for a long time, but I just didn’t know how to set about it. As I’ve said before, I’m a big horror fan. I am not, however, a big fan of gore. I’m not in the least bit squeamish, but I think that overt violence can take away from the story unless it’s an intrinsic part. That’s why I’ve always preferred books/movies that rely on atmosphere to get its scares. I wanted to do something along the lines of an old school haunted house. This is what I came up with.

Set Me Free: I don’t know where this one came from. I really don’t. It deals with such topics as death, self harm, and mental illness. Fun stuff, I know. If any of those things are triggers for you then please avoid this one. It’s not a happy story, although I did try to pack some glimmers of hope in there, but it’s one I had to write. I’ve studiously avoided working on my more emotional ideas, primarily because of my own battles with depression, but I refuse to hide any more.

Well that’s it. That’s about as much insight about me that you’ll get today. Some of my stories are just being born, either from me wanting to try my hand at new genres, or just finally being ready to face a lot of the things I’ve been hiding from. Maybe that’s why I’ve been concentrating on the supernatural stuff. Oftentimes, when I write, I have to go to a place that I don’t necessarily want to be and that I’m not sure I can come back from. It’s tough, and it’s scary. I have so many scars already. I hate picking at the wounds. But I have to. Each one inspires me to create. So maybe I will return to my roots soon and give you something that’ll make you laugh, cry, and really think. In fact, I think I hear my stories calling now. Time to see where they’ll take me.