Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pictures of Chinatown Without Comment

Soy Kee and Company on Pell Street, prior to 1897. Photographer and figure unknown.
____ "[Soy Kee Co. store front]"  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, b&w film copy neg.  http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b03206 (accessed January 30th 2013)



  Soy Kee and Company on Pell Street, prior to 1897. Photographer.  ____ "[Soy Kee Co. store front]"  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, b&w film copy neg.  http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cph.3b03206 (accessed January 30th 2013) 
 
Inside of Chinese hand laundry in San Francisco 1890s or early 1900s. Photographer and figure unknown. The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. "The Chinese Experience in 19th Century America." last modified 2006. Accessed 3/26/2013 <http://teachingresources.atlas.uiuc.edu/chinese_exp/perspectives02.html>

 
The inside of a chop suey cafe, 1900s. Notice the all white cliental. Ostrow, Daniel. Manhattan's Chinatown: postcard history. South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2008

Entrance to joss house, early 1900s. Taken from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.______ "Entrance to Joss House in Chinatown" Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) Aug. 12, 1900.


Soy Kee and Company and the Port Arthur Restaurant on Mott Street, early 1900s. Photographer ___  "[Port Arthur Restaurant 1900s]"  Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA b&w film copy neg.   http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print  (accessed January 30th 2013) unknown


Friday, April 11, 2014

Updates, Updates, Updates ...

So what has been going on with me?

Several weeks ago I fried my computer. Which was sad and knocked me back to using my very old and no-longer-portable computer. It also trapped several important manuscripts on the hard drive and I've been trying for the last few weeks to figure out how to dismantle the fried computer and them back.

Because of that, several of the books I've been working on have gone on hold until I can retreave the files. I have however gone back to the cheesy werewolf stories. So there is that.

Also the day(night really) job has cranked up to about a hundred and ten. Which means I've had multiple workshops and meets everyday for the last week and a half.

On top of that my semester, school wise, has gone from finished-all-my-requirements, going-to-take-these-last-few-months-slow to HOLY FUCK I am trying to write a dissertation proposal and impress one of the top names in my field so that she will take me on as a PhD student what my future in this field looks like could be decided with in the next two and a half weeks! What am I doing! Do I even want this! FUCK, FUCK. 

So ... this is why I have not been around as much and this is why my productivity fiction writing wise is going to be pretty low for the next few weeks.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Authors of Note: Diana Wynne Jones

Roughly one a month I write up an article about an author who has influence my own work. 

Most of these authors I encountered when I was young, either in elementary school or as a young teen. Each of them had a profound impact on the way I think about speculative fiction, myself as an author or storyteller, and books in general.


This won't necessarily be book recommendations, most certainly not reviews, and not even rereads. Instead I want to highlight my personal experience with books, books I loved and books that changed me. It will undoubtedly be pretty nostalgic and personal but I am interested in thinking and writing about the kind of literary traditions and histories that form the backbone of who I am as a writer.

Diana Wynne Jones (16 August 1934 – 26 March 2011):


was an English writer, principally of fantasy novels for children and adults, as well as a small amount of non-fiction. Some of her better-known works are the Chrestomanci series, the Dalemark series; the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm; and The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.

I remember when my mother brought home The Lives of Christopher Chant on a wimp one day. My sister read it first and then told me that I definitely needed to read it, I would love it, she said. Then like now, trusted my sister's book recommendations so read it straight after she was done. 


Mostly I remember being intrigued. Long, long before steampunk, Diana Wynne Jones set up a world that seemed to be very much like 19th century Britain but wasn't. In stead there was magic and sorcerers and a the ability to travel between alternative realities. 

In a lot of ways Diana Wynne Jones was like other fantasy authors I'd read but she didn't seem to play by the rules of fantasy and that intrigued me. 


Back at the library I picked up the rest if the Chrestomanci series and gobbled them down, then went back for more. Next I read Howl's Moving Castle, which remains one of my all time favorite books to this day (this is the ugly cover the copy I first read had.) 

After that I tour through every book by Diana Wynne Jones I could fine. When I got done reading everything I could find in the library's children's section I moved on to the adult section. The Dark Lord of Derkholm I loved, and Deep Secret.  


Reading Hexwood was really what stood out to me the most though. I picked up an old copy at a library sale for less than a dollar. Thrilled to have a new Diana Wynne Jones book I took it home and read it right away (this is the cover of the copy I bought). 


Hexwood blew me away. Hexwood is not my favorite book by Diana Wynne Jones. In fact if I were to list her books by how much I liked them Hexwood would probably come after all the other books I've already mentioned. The thing about Hexwood was it changed my life. Hexwood is so unabashedly genre crossing, it combines elements of fantasy, science fiction and pure weirdness. It doesn't wait for the reader, carefully spoon feeding them every detail of the world or the plot but gallivants on assuming the reader will either keep up ... or they won't. 

Before that genres had always been very bounded to me. Fantasy author's wrote fantasy in a very specific (high fantasy or modern fantasy) way. Science fiction author's wrote science fiction in a very specific way as did mystery author's. It might seem stupid now but up until that point it had never occurred to me that you could mix genres together. Not in a superficial kind of a way but in a no holds bared let's put shit in a blender kind of a way. More than that it worked. Even more than that Diana Wynne Jones brought incredible amounts of stuff to the table she straight up invented herself. 


I love authors who reinvent things from mythology to genre tropes. But there's something truly awe inspiring about an author who says fuck it to the rules and ends up with something amazing that actually works. 


What do I remember Diana Wynne Jones for? What did she teach me as a writer? 


Be fearless. Write something that no one is going to mistake for anyone else but you.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Why Is Lesbian Romance So Unpopular When Compared to Gay or Straight Romance?

I've thought about this a lot. I've written both gay and lesbian romance and although my lesbian romance gets far better reviews and nominated for far more awards I don't sell as many copies. Period. People aren't as interested in reading it. Even when I do give-always people are far more likely to want a copy of my gay romance novella than my lesbian romance novella.

A lot of people say romance readers are straight women so of course they are naturally going to be more interested in books with hot men. I think that is the easiest, least complicated, least threatening way of looking at the issue though.

I also don't really buy it, never have. 

What i really think is that women have a hard time thinking about women; about female bodies, female sexuality and female characters in general.   

Our society tells us female sexuality is dirty, wrong and shameful. Always. It tells us the female body is only ever not shameful or acceptably sexual when a man is looking at it. When a woman looks at herself, she is conditioned to only see the flaws, only see the ways she isn't attractive, only feel ashamed. 

In her article about why female fans hate female characters more than male characters "For All the Women I Have Loved Who Were Dragged Through the Mud"  Aiffe writes:

"Women project the standards society has put on them. If they’re told they’re annoying for talking about their feelings, they’ll think other women are annoying when they talk about their feelings. It’s a continuous cycle of policing. I think there is a certain degree of truth to this. Women absorb the social rules of what women are and aren’t allowed to be (spoiler: it’s all contradictory and we’re not allowed to anything) and judge other women by those rules. She’s annoying when she speaks, her voice is too shrill, she’s too meek and quiet and passive, she’s too rude and direct."

I think for a lot of women reading lesbian romance makes them have to confront their own anxieties and insecurities about their bodies and their sexualities as well as other women's bodies and sexualities. 

If both of the main characters are women and you find yourself having a negative reaction to them or to their gender and sexuality, you might find yourself questioning why? Is it something about you? Something about them? Something about women in general? It might make you stumble upon a whole new level of internalized misogyny you didn't realize you had.

That can be deeply frightening and off-putting. Not something a lot of people want when reading a romance novel.

It is so much easier to think about male bodies and male sexualities which are constructed as natural, normal and overwhelmingly positive. Sexualized cisgender male bodies are not associated with the same kind of body policing or shaming (this isn't actually completely true for all men but generally the kinds of men who are policed and shamed don't get romance novels written about them even in m/m romance) that sexualized female bodies are.

I think this is also where some of the backlash against 'strong female characters' comes from. Anytime this subject get's brought up in the writing community someone always pops up (almost always a woman) to tell me "not all women are strong" and "we need to write stories about non-strong women too." It has happened so frequently at this point that I think it's moved past the point of critiquing the way Hollywood has constructed "the strong female character" (which I think genuinely does need to be critiqued). The conversation is hardly ever framed as "the way the Strong Female Character is constructed in say Hollywood  action films or the fantasy genre is problemtic" instead it it almost always portrayed as "strong women as characters are problemtic." This distinction has caused me to wonder if a lot of women get triggered by any kind of talk of strong female characters because they themselves don't feel strong or don't consider themselves strong and its anxiety inducing for them to have what makes a woman 'strong' talked about at all. 

In the same way I think for a lot of women it's triggering to see women portrayed as confident and sexual without having men involved. It brings up, all of their own insecurities about their bodies and their sexualities. It highlights all of the ways they've been told that they are bodies aren't good enough and their sexual desires are wrong without the 'safe space' of a male body or male sexuality to retreat to. 

But there is also I think another layer to the question of lesbian romance vs. gay romance and why one is so much more popular than the other.

I also think it also has to do with the way (white, cisgender, able bodied, middle class) gay male identity is portrayed in the media and in Western society. 

Because m/m romance does better than lesbian romance, and bisexual romance, and trans* romance. It just does better period. Also in the m/m romance community the men being represented are almost always in white, able bodied, middle class men who conform to a normative standard of physical male beauty. There aren't a whole lot of chubby guys in m/m romance, disabled guys, working class guys (unless he is falling for a millionaire in which case the class problem will be 'fixed' by the end of the book when he marries into privilege.) Gay guys of color are often not represented and forget about trans guys. That can't be a coincidence.


"Popular culture was teaching newly-out gay men that they could be welcomed into the heteronormative fold so long as they shoehorned themselves into these pre-approved [media constructed] molds of gay male identity. " 

Basically he argued that the media and society has created a gay identity that is acceptable and non-threatening to heteronormative culture. These are the kinds of gay characters even otherwise homophobic Americans enjoy seeing as bit roles in tv shows like Will & Grace.  

Lisa Duggan has pioneered the concept of homonormativity which is:

"a politics that does not contest dominant heteronormative assumptions and institutions, but upholds and sustains them, while promising the possibility of a demobilized gay constituency and a privatized, depoliticized gay culture anchored in domesticity and consumption"  [1] (emphasis mine) 

Of course this heteronormatively acceptable homosexuality or homonormativity is really only available to white, cisgender gay men who conform to the acceptable stereotypes of a gay man. But these 'acceptable types of gay masculinity' are exactly what the overwhelming majority of m/m romance novels promote. They are comfortable and non-threatening images of gayness easily consumed by an audience that might even be, in many ways, homophobic. People can feel good about being "supportive allies" to the GLBTQ community through consuming these images of very normative white, able bodied young men. Whiles these images also mean that they never have to question any of the deeper homophobic, biphobic or transphobic views they might still hold.[2]
                                                               
Lesbian or other queer women on the other hand, along with any and all trans* people and QPOC, are still threatening to heteronormativity. These unacceptable forms of queerness are just not as easy or comfortable for a large part of a wider Western audience to consume.

I think that, coupled with a lot of the internalized anxiety and shame women feel about female bodies and female desires, makes lesbian romance or romances that depict queer women significantly less popular.     

----
Thank you to everyone who read over this first and encouraged me to post it. 

1. Luibhéid, Eithne.  "Queer/Migration: An Unruly Body of Scholarship."  GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, Volume 14, Number 2-3, 2008, pp. 169-190 (Article) Published by Duke University Press

2. this needs to be an article in and of itself but I haven't written it yet, because it would involve a long discussion of the hierarchy within gay politics, assimilation, and representation.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Authors of Note: Lloyd Alexander

So I've never done a series of blog posts before but I think I would like to start.

My plan is at least once a month writing up a piece on an author I think has influenced my own writing.

Most of these authors I encountered when I was young, either in elementary school or as a young teen. Each of them had a profound impact on the way I think about speculative fiction, myself as an author or storyteller, and books in general.

This won't necessarily be book recommendations, most certainly not reviews, and not even rereads. Instead I want to highlight my personal experience with books, books I loved and books that changed me. It will undoubtedly be pretty nostalgic and personal but I am interested in thinking and writing about the kind of literary traditions and histories that form the backbone of who I am as a writer.

By doing this I hope to both pay homage to writers who's work has made me who I am but also understand myself and my literary roots a little better.

So jumping right into that.

Lloyd Alexander (January 30, 1924 – May 17, 2007)

Lloyd Chudley Alexander was a widely influential American author of more than forty books, primarily fantasy novels for children and young adults. His most famous work is The Chronicles of Prydain, a series of five high fantasy novels whose conclusion, The High King, was awarded the 1969 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature.[1] He won U.S. National Book Awards in 1971 and 1982.[2][3]
Alexander was one creator of the children's literary magazine Cricket (Wikipedia )

If I were to pick one author I read as a child who has had the biggest impact on myself as a fantasy author it would be Lloyd Alexander.

 I remember, vividly, the first time my mother read the Book of Three allowed to me and my sister. I remember being completely enthralled, I couldn't get myself out of the story. I was terrified and enraptured in turns. It was like the world of Pyrdain was living inside of me, as if it had crawled into my skin and curled up in my rib cage. I carried it around inside myself for years. I might still be carrying it even now.

Before I ever red Tolkien, Alexander taught me about the use of mythology in fantasy. Lloyd Alexander unapologetically entwines mythology, folklore and history into his stories. Chronicles of Pyrdain are based on Welsh myth, The Iron Ring is based on Indian mythology and The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen is based on Journey to the West and another Chinese folktales. Although I loved the Vesper Holly books these fantasy novels were always my favorite of his works. 

I was already a fan of mythology and folk lore before I started reading Lloyd Alexander's books but it had never occurred to me before encountering the Chronicles of Pyrdain that I could use the mythology I loved to make stories of my own. Already knowing some Celtic mythology I recognized when Alexander wove Welsh legends it into the world he created in the Book of Three. Suddenly I was faced with a whole new possibility I had never thought of before, original fantasy that incorporated mythological characters, themes and events.  

About eight at the time it started me off re-telling and re-imagining different tales from Arthurian legend. If Lloyd Alexander could do it, I reasoned, so could I. I would reinvent different versions of the characters and stories surrounding King Arthur and his knights throughout my childhood and well into my adolescence. 

There was a brief period when I was about nine or ten years old, where I actually considered becoming a professional author as a serious life goal. I loved books, and being read to, I was already an accomplished story teller. I thought being a fantasy author might be a good career path for me. When I thought of the authors I most wanted to be like Lloyd Alexander's name was high on that list. 

Almost twenty years later his name still ranks high on that list, if for no other reason than I would over know that my books affects someone the way his books affect me the first time I read them.    


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Writing Song of the Spring Moon Waning

I think for the first time ever there is a cute story behind how I ended up writing Song of the Spring Moon Waning. 

About a year ago I was between jobs, apply for work but not having any luck finding anything I could do. I had my rent covered but not a great way of getting enough money for things like books and food. So the plan became write for as many anthology calls has humanly possible and the first anthology call on my list that January and February was If You're Reading This … over at Less than Three.

The thing was I kept getting blocked on ideas. I'd come up with something, starting writing it and discover I really didn't have enough there for an entire story, or I had too much and wasn't going to make the deadline.

As it got closer and closer to the deadline for the anthology I got more and more sure I wasn't going to make it anyway. With only a few weeks to go I had pretty much given up on writing anything for If You're Reading This …

Then one day I was over at my sister's apartment taking care of my nephew who was at this point about six months old. He'd been fussy all day, suffering from cramping, gas pain, and really just wanted to spend quality time with his mama who was at work.

I would lock my arms together in the classic baby holding pose but instead of facing him up in the crook of my arm I would face him down so my forearms pressed against his little chest and belly. He loved this pose, it was the only thing that would quiet him when he was having really painful cramps. I would walk him back and form across the dining room and living room for hours in that pose until my arms went numb.

While I walked him I would talk to him in a low, soothing voice, usually tell him stories. Sometimes I would tell him folk tales and fairy tales as I'd learned them verbatim, but most often I would reinvent them, coming up with retellings on the spot.

I love story telling, I did it long before I started writing and it was nice to get back into it. If I faltered or tried to think about any aspect of the story for too long he would get fussy so I would just let the story flow.
That was went it hit me, I would do a fairy tale retelling. It all fell together, the plot, the setting, the characters. I had done another fairy tale styled short story "Zi Yong and the Collector of Secrets" and was really looking for a reason to write more about that world.

That evening when my sister got home I sat on her sofa with a glass of tequila and lime soda and started writing. It was one of those great times when the story just fell into place. The setting was vivid, the plot simple, charming and fairy tale like, I knew exactly who Liu Yi was without even trying.

The only thing that made me hesitate was Wen Yu. Wen Yu is a young but brilliant scholar preparing to take the Imperial Examination. The story follows him as he meets a beautiful palace eunuch and an collection of talking animals which in turn leads him to becoming embroiled in the story of centuries old celestial romance. 

Wen Yu is the main character of Song of the Spring Moon Waning. The story is told through his point of view, one of the main story arcs is about him coming to terms with the idea that he wants something new for his life and leaving aside older ways of being.




Wen Yu is also a transgender man.

I'd never written a transgender character before. I'd wanted to, thought a lot about doing it, but I hadn't worked up the courage until that point.


The spring of 2013 there was a lot of controversy flying around the m/m romance cyberspace about trans men in m/m romance. A lot of readers were saying trans men didn't belong in the genre, a lot of writers and publishers were agreeing with them.

I thought long and hard about making Wen Yu cisgender. It would be easier for some readers to swallow and easier for me to write.

In the end though I couldn't do it. I couldn't ethically take a character who was supposed to be trans* and make him cis to make him fit better into our cultural perception of what a gay man should be. Even if I was the only one who would have ever known I'd done it.

Once I had made that decision one of the things that became really important to me was not having the entire story be about Wen Yu's trans* identity. I still wanted to write a fairy tale and in some ways a coming of age story, or at least a coming to make one's own life choices even if that's scary story. I wanted to do justice to a period of time and culture that I loved, as much as I was able to do so. I wanted to write a cute and sweet romance. I wanted Wen Yu's trans* identity to be part of this but not overshadow it.

Wen Yu is a dutiful son, a brilliant scholar, a poet, a brother, a friend, and an enthusiast of good food. He is also trans man but that isn't more important than many of the other aspects of what makes him Wen Yu.

Similarly when I sat down to write the sex scenes I wanted to make it clear that Wen Yu's trans* identity informed Wen Yu's sexuality but did not define it. Liu Yi's sexuality was also a part of those scenes, his own issues with is body and sexual desires just as important to their relationship as Wen Yu's.

I got the story written and edited just in the nick of time and send it off to Less Than Three for If You're Reading This … feeling very pleased with myself.

Then I got the email that Less Than Three liked the story so much that they wanted to publish it as a standalone volume. Which of course meant I could have written and edited it at my leisure instead of trying to make the anthology deadline ::facepalm::



That is how I came to write Song of the Spring Moon Waning.



I hope you enjoy it. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Excerpt: A Smutty Scene from the Mechanical Universe

Since I already shared a snippet from one of the two Mechanical Universe stories I'm working on I figured I might as well share another. This is a sexy scene from the longer of the two stories I'm writing, set in the same universe as A Matter of Disagreement and Duende.

The main character in this story is Captain Jérémie Ouakili second in command of the City Guard. He appeared briefly in Duende.

~~~

Jérémie hung up his greatcoat and climbed the stairs to his apartment before taking off his boots.


A knock came at the door followed by Matthew.


"How was your day?" Matthew held out the pup he'd been carrying and Jérémie felt more relief than he liked to admit as he took the wiggling puppy from Matthew.


"It was fine, quiet." He sat in his armchair in front of the fire and put the pup on his lap. "just how I like it."


"Good to hear." Matthew bustled around the room straightening things before heading for the door "Dinner will be really in a few minutes. Don't drink too much brandy before your eat, it'll spoil your appetite."


Jérémie smiled to himself as Matthew pulled the door closed behind him.


He shifted causing the chair to groan under his weight and stretched out his legs more. There was a little twinge of stiffness around his left knee and hip. Jérémie shook his head "I'm turning into an old man." He told the pup on his lap. "going to have to retire soon, and pack it in."


The pup sniffed his fingers, pawed at the leg of his trousers and then flopped onto his side.


His hip twinged again and Jérémie frowned and shifted. For all he liked to joke about it, he was beginning to think retirement might not be that far away. What would he do? Jérémie had never really thought about it. Buy a house somewhere? Stay in the city? When it came right down to it what did he have outside of the Guard and the military? With a shake of his head Jérémie tried to put aside those kinds of thoughts. He stroked one hand along the pup's back instead.


"I should find you a name." The little thing butted his head against Jérémie's hand looking up at him out of his one good eye. "Or better yet someone who has the time to take care of your properly and the space for when you get big."


Matthew pushed open the door again this time carrying a tray."Who are you talking to?" He put the tray down on the table and began arranging Jérémie's supper "Don't tell me you're talking to the dog."


"There's nothing wrong with that." Jérémie tickled the pup under the chin. "That's what dogs are good for in a city, companionship."


"that and chasing rats and protecting the household." Matthew picked back up the now empty tray "Although I suppose the little one won't be doing much of either, poor thing."


"You'd be surprised." Jérémie rubbed the pup's belly as the pup squirmed happily on his lap "he's tough, I think he'll make an excellent guard dog one day."


Matthew just raised one eyebrow. "Don't forget to feed him. I fed him porridge earlier in the afternoon but he'll probably need more if he's to grow."


Jérémie gently put the puppy on the floor in front of the fire and went over to the table. There was a small bowl of rice porridge and chicken along with his own food Jérémie saw. Jérémie too had chicken, it smelled delicious and seemed to have been cooked in a wine sauce. There was more wine on the table too along with potatoes cooked with fresh garlic greens


Opting to feed the pup before tucking into the food, Jérémie picked up the bowl of mush and went to sit on the floor next to the little creature.


"I still need to find you a name." Jérémie offered the pup a few fingers full of porridge and watched him practically fall over in his attempt to get to the food faster. "What would be a good name for a pup like you?"


The pup gnawed at the tip of one of Jérémie's fingers until Jérémie fed him more porridge.


"What do you think my little fighter? What name would be good?" the puppy looked up at Jérémie and continued to eat.


He should just admit it, for only having had the pup less than forty eight hours he was ridiculously attached.


"Lucas." Jérémie tried "Maxime, Meal, Bastien," The pup started biting his fingers again. "Loïc" the pup gobbled down more food and Jérémie continued to feed him until the porridge was gone.


He stood finally ignoring the pup's smile whine and went to wash his hands and eat his own supper.


He wondered if he would see Takahashi tomorrow, not really sure what he would say if he did. Business wise it would be a perfunctory meeting, just so he could rule out the possibility of Takahashi being threatened or attacked. Personally though he supposed there was nothing really to say.


I've been a fan of yours for years, watched your every fight, and fantasized about having you many times. Obviously not.


Jérémie shook his head and poured himself a glass of wine.


There was a pinch at his leg and Jérémie looked down to see the pup had somehow with only three legs managed to travel from the hearth rug to under the table. The little one whined and bite Jérémie ankle against.


Jérémie gave it a firm stare and the pup settled down curled up on Jérémie's foot.


Turning back to his meal Jérémie tried to quell the small knot of nerves in his stomach at the prospect of speaking face to face with Takahashi.


After eating, he settled in his arm chair with another glass of wine. The pup lay sprawled on one side on the hearth rug gently snoring. Jérémie picked up the book he'd been reading on and off for weeks now.


The young duke main character of Passion's Secret and his best friend had been  practicing fencing but quickly ended up having rough and sweaty sex instead.


There was no doubt it was hot, Jérémie could feel his heart speed up and arousal curl between his thighs as he read. His mind kept drifting away from the scene though and going back to the last time he'd seen Takahashi. It had been his last fight before he'd retired. It made nerves and a little bit of guilt mix with the pleasure in Jérémie's belly but he let his mind picture Takahashi anyway.


Takahashi was a big man, tall, broad, with a soft, large stomach that went along with the heavy muscles in his arms, legs and chest. He had powerful thighs and shoulders like a bull's and his chest was covered in thick dark hair, now going grey.


He moved fast in the ring, for a man of his age and size. He could be very still too, waiting and allowing his, often younger, opponents to tire themselves by attacking him. When he attacked though it was with speed and strength that had won him more fights then Jérémie could count.


Takahashi had been sweating by the end of that last bought, stripped down to only breeches. His back and the heavy muscles in his arms had been glistening. His opponent had blooded Takahashi lip early on in the fight, the red standing starkly against his pale skin. He'd been panting open mouthed, chest heaving by the time his opponent was on the ground. He'd looked up, as the crowd encircling the ring had roared, and grinned at them, licking some of the blood from his bottom lip.


Eyes closed Jérémie cupped himself through the fabric of his own breeches. Pressing against his cock and messaging. It was hard and swollen against his hand, trapped by the cloth. Unbuttoning his breeches he slid his hand inside, fondling his cock.


It was good but it wasn't enough. So after a moment Jérémie stood, rebuttoning his breeches and headed for the bedroom. He made sure the door that led out into the hall was locked on his way by.


He picked up the bottle of oily slick that smelled faintly of lavender, along with his small toy bag and headed back to the sitting room. Matthew had drawn the curtains when he'd laid the fire so Jérémie stood in front of the hearth and stripped of his jacket, waistcoat, shirt and undershirt. He sat and stripped off his stockings and breeches.


Naked Jérémie sat in his armchair again and let his hands run over the plains of his chest. The scarring was so heavy there that he didn't have a lot of feeling, but still the pressure of his hands was warm and comforting. Bringing his hands up to his shoulders and arms he traced the dark blue tattoos that covered his arms and his back. There was wide bands that ran like tree rings from wrist to elbow. There was the pattern of stars in folk designs from his home up his arms, across his shoulders and spilling down his back. He let his hands slide down his chest again and down his own belly feeling the large weight of it, the full roundness. Rubbing across the wide plains of his thighs and he then finally touched his cock. He kept the hair around his prick trimmed as short as possible, which allowed him best access to his tiny length. Reaching for the slick he poured some into his hands and let the tips of his fingers slide against the head of his cock. It made his hips jerk, made him suck in a hard breath at the feel of it.


He raised one leg up and hooked it over the arm of the chair before reaching between his legs with his other hand and stroking between his cheeks. The tip of his finger brushed against the small pucker of his asshole. Taking a breath he let himself relax enough to push the tip of his finger in, before pulling it and circling his hole again.


His other hand still played with his cock, rubbing across the tip. Using his first and middle fingers to encircle the shaft, Jérémie rubbed back and forth against the base of his cock. He alternated by making a pinching motion with thumb and four fingers and using the two to stroke up and down his shaft.


Researching for the toy bag, Jérémie upended it onto the side table. There was a long slightly curved phallus, one end thicker than the other, made out of red glass flecked through with white. The other object was also glass, short and mushroom shaped with a wide round flared head and flat horizontal base. It was made out of a dark violet tinted glass. Jérémie picked up the short plug warming it in his hands a moment before slathering it generously with slick.


Taking a deep breath, Jérémie lined the tip of the plug up with his hole and slowly, gently pushed. There was a feeling of stretching, tension, as his body struggled a little to allow the toy in. The muscles of his hole clenches and fluttered against the toy before relaxing and allowing the intrusion. Jérémie let out another long breath when the base of the toy was resting firmly against his ass cheeks, and closed his eyes letting himself feel of fullness, of being stretched and penetrated.


His hand came back up to his cock, toying and stroking it. He added more slick, letting his fingers play with the little swollen numb before reaching for the other toy. He slicked that toy up as well and eased the tip into his wet front hole. He groaned as his muscles clenched around it, sucking in a long shaking breath before pushing the toy deeper. The push of the long glass phallus into his body made his muscles of his ass clench around the large plug already inside him. He grunted and shifted making the armchair groan a little under his weight. When the phallus was as far as he could comfortably put it, he paused, trying to calm his breathing and enjoy the sensation of having both holes filled.


After a moment, once his breathing slowed he eased some of the long dildo out of his hole before pushing it back in again. He fucked himself slowly, but hard, feeling each thrust like a hit deep inside of him. The rhyme of it made his whole body feel sensitized, made him hyper aware of the large plug stretching his ass, holding him open and full. He found himself grunting and groaning with each thrust, bringing his leg up higher, even though his muscles complained, trying to go deeper. The glass toy was wide enough, long and heavy enough that each thrust felt like a punch. Not in a painful way, but in that the impact sent shock waves up through his entire pelvis and gut.


He wished he was down on his hands and knees, but then the angle would be awkward for him to fuck himself. Better yet, he wanted to be down on his hands and knees with someone else fucking him deep and slow from behind.


Eyes shut he pictured that, being taken, having each hard thrust be accompanied by the slap of hot skin against skin, the slick side of bodies pressed together.


He could imagine his partner grunting behind him with the exertion of the thrusts, telling him how good he felt, how good he looked.


His orgasm was building like a fist being clenched deep inside of him, something coiling in on itself and ready to explode.


He shifted in the chair bearing down as hard as he could on the plug in his ass, forcing it deeper, at an angle that was a little hard, a little rough, balancing on the edge of painful. At the same time he pressed the long cock in right up to the point where he thought he couldn't take it anymore.


Release was like a clap of thunder, like something powerful and dangerous that shook through his body forcing him to cry out and claw a the arm of his chair.


Going limp, he let his head fall against the soft cushioned back of the chair, and stared up at the ceiling. The fire crackled in the hearth and the pup sighed and turned over in his sleep.


Jérémie eased the long glass phallus out of his body first setting it aside and then worked the plug out as well. He stood, wincing as his knee protesting being forced up over the arm of the chair for so long and went to wash off the toys, and change for bed.

He tidied up the sitting room and unlocked the door so Matthew could collect the dinner dishes and then headed for his bedroom.