Hey friends! I don't think I remembered to tell you that I signed a contract for a story in Jen Blackmore's Beastly Affair, a Beauty and the Beast-themed erotic anthology coming soon from Circlet Press.
I had a really great time writing my story, "Bête Noire." It's set in the Weird West, with a beast who's a former debutante, and a gun-toting, revenge-seeking Beauty.
When I finished the story and looked it over, I saw it had... drifted quite a bit from the fairy tale as told by Disney. That's what you want when writing, of course, because you need to make a story your own. I'm always fascinated by the process, though. To me, each step feels clear and logical, as if I'm just making minor adjustments. Then I hear myself describing the story to someone, and I realize it's radically different, and radical.
Like, why the Weird West? I'm not sure, but it made perfect sense to me at the time. I think I was looking for a time and place in which I thought a curse-giver could be passing through, and I didn't want to do the vague medieval England setting that one falls into so easily.
The key to my version of the story, though, came from research I did into the origins of the fairy tale. One old version of the story holds that the witch curses the Beast in a fit of rage after being sexually denied. It seemed to me like a person who would do that wouldn't only do it once, so I immediately envisioned a wandering sexual harasser, leaving behind a trail of Beast-cursed people. From there, it wasn't hard to imagine Beauty and a Beast teaming up to pursue the curse-giver.
I wanted the story to address the trauma the Beast has gone through. I put into it a lot of the feelings I've had myself in the wake of harassment—in particular, an urge to embrace the idea of ugliness because sometimes I see that as an antidote to vulnerability. I've also often observed that in the wake of trauma, my friends want revenge, and the things I want are much murkier and more complex.
Along with all that psychological and mythological stuff, though, Beauty and the Beast are into blood play, and the scenes I wrote for that are HOT—if I judge by my own reaction to them, anyway. ;)
I'm really looking forward to this book. I love Jen Blackmore's anthologies, both because her concepts are awesome and because she attracts great writers (I'm always honored to be in their company).
If you want to be in her next book, she has a call out right now for Golden Age Erotica (there's a link from here).
And if you want to see what I'm talking about, may I recommend Whispers in Darkness, her excellent anthology of Lovecraftian erotica?