A Slightly Different Kind Of Demoness

I seldom get reviews for my short story and essay ebooks. When I got a head’s up a few weeks ago that TeraS of Succubus.net was reviewing my recent short story ebook, “Some Bad Decisions,” where a serial killer finds himself rolling in a world of hurt with a “succubus” prostitute, I welcomed the full-length review even though I got skewered with a pitchfork for taking some obvious shortcuts with the succubus character.

More telling to me personally is that I just found it hard to care to know or see anything more about Jane when the story was finished with. She just wasn’t a Succubus that I could like in any shape, way or form. It’s rare for me to say that, but in this case it’s true. She was a means to an end, a direction in the story, a way to tie up loose ends in more than one way.

Guilty as charged. Plain Jane as a succubus—or, more precisely, a sexy demoness—tied up quite a few loose ends. Until I read the review, I haven’t given any serious thought about what a succubus was beyond being the deadly prostitute who takes revenge against a serial killer stalking prostitutes on the Las Vegas strip. I wrote a straight forward horror short story with a huge dollop of sex added, which is something I don’t like reading from other horror writers.

As a short story writer, I always danced around the sex scenes because most print publications didn’t go there. “The Unfaithful Camera” was my most “sexually explicit” short story to date, where a little boy comes home from school to find his father and older sister doing the “bouncy bounce” in bed. That’s all, folks.

Writing a sexually-explicit short story for an erotica horror anthology on a short deadline was a special challenge. The editor rejected the first submission as being too short and a requested a revision. I doubled the length of the story by playing the characters against each other and sharpen their personality quirks. The editor accepted the second submission without a peep about how I handled the sexuality of the succubus character. But that was also the general complaint about the anthology: too much horror, too little erotica.

I find myself wondering what Jane was really like… this image of her was formed, as I said, to ensnare Claude and I have to wonder if she isn’t more than just a being of terror as she was here. There is a hint of connections with the Vegas underworld in the story and I find myself wondering about that aspect of her, and where it would take her story in the future should the author continue the story from here.

I’m thinking about moving Plain Jane the Succubus out of the horror genre into the urban fantasy genre for a novella, novel and/or series. The short story will be rewritten as the first chapter from Plain Jane’s point of view as she eliminates a serial killer that she later discovers was the wrong guy. With the planted evidence implicating her, the homicide detective designates her the Las Vegas ripper, the supernatural underworld turns against her, and the chase is on for her to find the real serial killer before something really bad happens to her.

I’m going to take my time developing the longer story. Urban fantasy is not the same as horror. I need to know more about the supernatural creatures that inhabit the Las Vegas underworld, which I know little about except for the Godfather movies. I’m more confident about writing sex scenes now that my second sexually explicit short story is available in print. Maybe I can nail down the erotica part this time.

Smashwords, PayPal & My Borderline Incest Short Story eBook

Read on the Smashwords blog that PayPal is forcing the removal of erotica ebooks from the marketplace with themes of bestiality, incest and rape. Although I didn’t receive a notice to remove my short story ebook, “The Unfaithful Camera,” I did send off an email to the Smashwords support team to find out if I should remove it on my own.

My short story is about a little boy who comes home angry because his father didn’t pick him up from school, finds his father and 16-year-old sister doing the “bouncy-bounce” in bed, and uses the camera on his sister’s cellphone to send a video to his mother to prove that he wasn’t lying about what he saw in the past. While the theme of incest is prevalent in the story, the focus is on the little boy reacting to an unfair family situation. The description for the “bouncy-bounce” scene is mild and a little more explicit than the incest stories in the Bible.

Among all my short story ebooks published to date, this is perhaps my most “controversial” ebook. Most readers don’t read it because of the implied incest theme in the ebook description. The few who have read it sympathized with the little boy’s family dilemma, which probably isn’t that uncommon these days. This is the only ebook I have  on Smashwords that has a rating (three stars, “cute short story”). Readers may soon no longer have a choice on whether or not to read my borderline incest short story ebook. If censorship in Corporate America taught us anything, the axe wielded with a heavy hand leaves nothing untouched.

Updated 03/04/2012 — My borderline incest short story ebook is staying on Smashwords for the time being since the incest content is “incidental” to the main storyline. This may change if PayPal decides to impose a broader ban against bestiality, incest and rape, forcing Smashwords and other ebook retailers to pull such ebooks from the virtual shelves. If a broader ban goes into effect, this short story is history, and, ironically, I might have to find a print publisher for a science fiction short story that I’m writing about a human police officer investigating sex trafficking on a feline-humanoid planet where sexual behavior between the two species is regarded as bestiality. Print publications have stronger First Amendment protections than ebook publications against censorship.

Updated 03/17/2012 — PayPal got out of the business of censoring legal fiction for ebooks. Readers will decide the fate of my borderline incest short story and not the credit card processing companies. For now, that is. And this will not the last battle over ebook content.