This paddle is surprisingly painful.

Mrs. Lion kept her promise to spank me on Thursday night. She is good that way (humph!). She used a variety of paddles. As agreed, she started with the heavy slapper (see her post from yesterday). It’s big and heavy with five layers of thick leather. She had some difficulty using it. It will take practice to whomp with it. It is extremely thuddy. It almost feels good.

She also used the heart-shaped paddle. That stings like hell. I hate it. Then she gave a couple of swats with the paddle guaranteed to cut me. It has sharp edges on heart-shaped cutouts. I have no idea what possessed her to use it. She knows that each swat will draw blood. Could it be that Mrs. Lion has a liking for drawing blood? She set the spanking timer for ten minutes. She stopped at about seven minutes. The puppy was licking my hand and trying to make me feel better. What a sweet dog! I think that and the blood influenced Mrs. Lion’s decision to stop.

The points on the hearts draw blood with each swat.

I learned something. That heart-shaped paddle is *very* effective. It stings like hell. I suspect that because the face is fairly large, it delivers an even red. All I know is that I was yelping from the first swat. I do not like it one bit.

Mrs. Lion also teased me. She gave me a long session of oral attention. I didn’t make it to the edge, but got close. I’m not sure why I’m having trouble getting all the way, but Mrs. Lion is willing to keep pushing. She’s made it clear that an orgasm isn’t forthcoming soon. I’m OK with that, he said gritting his teeth.

Work on my second novel is going slow. I’m in my third reading of Stein on Writing. It’s an amazing guide to writing good fiction. I’m working very hard to improve. I re-titled my first book. It was Fan Mail. That title didn’t get much reader reaction. It’s now called Vacation with a Stranger: She liked his picture and invited him to spend a week with her on Maui. If you can, please read and review it. All of the reviews for the old title are lost. I would appreciate your help.

I am trying to become a writer. Yes, I know that this is writing, but I’m talking about fiction, the kind people buy. My first effort was a start, but one that didn’t interest any literary agents. I understand. Even if my work is genuinely good, it’s still a random manuscript thrown over the transom. There’s little chance it will be noticed.

What I’m doing is futile by all accounts, like buying a lottery ticket and counting on it winning. Sure, somebody will win. The odds are overwhelming that it won’t be me. Still, I can’t win if I don’t buy a ticket. I spend my days trying to tell a story.

I entered my first book in BookLife’s annual contest. It’s a chance for a professional to critique my writing. The writing is graded on a scale from 1 to 10. This is my report card:

Plot: The plot here will ultimately gratify readers who are especially drawn to romance: girl meets the perfect man, girl makes tons of money. While there is trouble, tension, and a somewhat compelling mystery element, the romance lasts, and the money continues to pour in.

Prose/Style: The prose is rather stilted, with a lack of variety in the sentence structures. Verb tenses switch back and forth between past and present, and the book would benefit from a thorough edit.

Originality: While generally formulaic in its storytelling and concept, this novel introduces a unique plot element concerning the heroine’s professional circumstances.

Character Development/Execution: These characters would be better served by appealing to the reader as authentic and relatable, while the novel’s timeline might also be tweaked to allow events to feel more organic–most significantly, the romance between the protagonists, which comes across as rushed.

Score:

          • Plot/Idea: 5
          • Originality: 4
          • Prose: 5
          • Character/Execution: 4
          • Overall: 4.50

The anonymous reader is a staff reviewer from Publishers Weekly. I can’t argue with the assessment. I wrote the book quickly. I also have no training as a professional writer. My education is scientific. Yup, I need an editor. The problem is that unless I get a publisher, a professional editor is way beyond my ability to hire one.

What does this have to do with male chastity? Nothing. Hey, it’s my blog. I can go off topic if I want.

My second effort is very different from the first. I’m trying to tell a very contemporary story. I’m also trying to get educated on the elements of writing fiction. While it was fun to write the first book, Fan Mail, the second is painful and depressing. I see the glaring flaws in my ability to tell a story. Depressing.

I’m lucky that I’m an optimist by nature. There’s an old joke that comes to mind when I think about quitting:

An old man prays, “God, I have been a good man. I have worked hard and helped the poor. I would like to spend my last days in comfort. Please let me win the lottery.”

A week goes by and he doesn’t win. He prays again, “God, why do you ignore me? I’ve been a good man. Please, please let me win.”

This is repeated week after week for months. Finally, after the man repeats his prayer yet again and says, “God, why do you ignore me? Why can’t you make me a lottery winner? Why? Why?” A deep voice from the sky says, “First you have to buy a ticket.”

I’m not going to get a literary agent simply by wishing for one. I need to buy a ticket. Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if someone out in the blogosphere can introduce me to one. Meanwhile, depressed or not, I’m going to write. The world can use one more bad author.

Maybe I’m losing it. Or, perhaps my attention span is tiny. I have no memory of Mrs. Lion telling me that my eye drops were done. She puts a series of drops in my eyes when we get up and before we go to sleep. We have to wait five minutes between drops. She does it because it’s easier for me. What a lioness! Anyway, I don’t always remember her setting the timer–we use Alexa. When she told me we were done, I was focused on watching an episode of “Law and Order, SVU” and didn’t remember our exchange. At least I hope that’s the reason.

Mrs. Lion often forgets that I don’t know or remember the context of a conversation. I think that’s why I struggle with pronouns. I use a product called “Grammarly” to copy-edit my writing. It uses artificial intelligence to catch things like unclear references. That’s what sometimes happens with Mrs. Lion. I think she forgets that when she uses a pronoun, the noun it refers to isn’t clear to me. I get it.

I’m very sensitive to this because I’m now a writer. I know. We are both writers. Each of us has over a million words of blogging. That’s writing. Somehow, becoming a novelist, albeit barely published, makes being a writer official, at least in my mind. I am approaching it as my new career. It’s very hard work, by the way. I’ve also decided to learn what I can about the profession from others. I’m reading books on writing fiction.

You know a lot about me. At least you do if you’ve been following the blog for a while. I tend to charge full-speed into things. I did with my first book, Fan Mail. I self-published it on Amazon. Sales suck. What’s worse, no agent will consider representing me since it is already published. Shit! What a mess.

It may well be that my second book won’t do any better at getting me represented. That’s a depressing thought. Most of the rejections I’ve gotten are from emails. One agent took the time to tell me that Fan Mail is an interesting idea, but no publisher will touch it since I put it on Amazon. Naturally, I think the premise is good. A successful TV actress decides to email a guy who sent a fan letter and asked for her picture. The story includes the actual emails. Within hours, she decides to invite him to join her on a week-long vacation in Maui. I think it is a nice start.

The rest of the story is hot sex and intrigue. The few people who have reviewed it gave it four stars. Thank you! Mrs. Lion says she likes it too. It’s hard to tell with her. She loves me and wants to encourage me. No, this isn’t a commercial for the book. However, for a few days starting Monday, you can get the book for free! I set the deal up on Amazon. Enjoy! Please review it too.

Usually, I’m not too fond of it when writers blog about their work. Here I am, guilty of the same thing. There is a point to this post. In his book, How to Write a Damn Good Novel, James Frey, writes that novels are about characters with lots of sex. It’s more complicated than that, but it reminded me of something I was told a long time ago: Write what you know about. Cool! My sexual adventures are numerous and varied. Finally, something I am qualified to do! I think the jump from sex blogger to novelist is pretty small. Wish me luck.

If you’ve been reading along for a while, you know I wrote a novel. I self-published it on Amazon. That turned out to be less than wonderful. I don’t have any way to promote the book, so not many copies have sold. I decided to try to get an agent. I own the Amazon publication, and I can transfer it to any other publisher. I sent lots of queries to agents. I got some replies, all negative. One agent liked the book but said publishers had trouble with previously published books, so she passed. I have more than one book in me, so live and learn.

I’ve also realized that I could do a much better job with fiction. Writing for this blog isn’t particularly good training. Yes, it helps me sharpen my vocabulary and style. I’m writing in the active voice most of the time now. But it doesn’t make up for lack of knowledge when it comes to fiction. Fan Mail has gotten good feedback from people who read it. I got a lot of help from Mrs. Lion and Julie, who are both gifted bloggers. I’m happy with that story. That doesn’t mean I couldn’t do much better.

All those rejection letters are hard to ignore. I realize that at best, some student reader spent ten minutes with the story. Unsolicited manuscripts get little interest. That’s why I published myself. I’m in the process of writing a second novel. This one is proving much more difficult to write. I think that may be a good sign. My writing process is less organic. I’m trying hard to craft the story so that the characters have more depth. Maybe I’m kidding myself. It could be that my confidence is damaged, and I don’t trust what I write. I don’t know.

After I sent off all those queries to agents and started getting rejections, I stopped liking the 150 pages of my new book, which I had already written. I’m back on the first page again, struggling with the opening. I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of Stein On Writing by Sol Stein. He’s a famous editor and writer. He gives good advice but does nothing to improve my self-confidence. I’m not a quitter, but I truly don’t need to find ways to depress myself. Before I published Fan Mail and tried to get an agent, I was having a lot of fun writing; not so much now.

I don’t know any fiction writers, so I have no network to help me through this. In the meantime, I’ll keep slogging along, and when I get enough of the revision done, I’ll share it with my amateur editors.