Author: Lance Withton
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Heat Level: 5 – Erotica
Genre: Contemporary, NineStar Press, LGBT, prostitution, sex work, degradation, kink, dirty talk
Torin’s anxiety has made it difficult for him to navigate romantic relationships, so instead of trying, he keeps himself occupied with his work. But just because he doesn’t chase relationships doesn’t mean he doesn’t want something, even if he has to get it with a dash of taboo.
At Pillar, the only all-male brothel in the city, Torin makes an appointment with a charming sex worker who goes by the name “Davies.” It becomes hard for Torin to keep his emotions out of the intimacy, and his feelings become more complicated when a designer he works with starts to let on that his interest is more than platonic.
My Writing Process
I’m a very disorganized writer, probably because I’ve been doing it since I was very young. I’ve been mashing stories together since I could speak and writing them as soon as I learned how to write. Only in recent years have I learned some things to make myself more productive.
The most important thing I’ve learned is that I write best immediately after waking up. That’s the point in the day when I have creativity on tap. I can’t get dressed, eat, or brush my teeth. I have to get up, sit down in front of the computer, and start writing. My best months, when I was writing between 30,000 to 40,000 words a month, came when I was writing or plotting the moment I woke up until the moment that my stomach told me that I should probably feed myself. I do work sporadically throughout the day in addition, but the real drive is first thing in the morning—or whatever time of day it happens to be when I wake up.
I’ve also learned that outlining has a time and a place. If something’s 10,000 words or fewer, I can usually get away without outlining. I write a story that length over a period of several days, saving between sessions so I have multiple files. Just before each save, I write a short note to my future self about where I planned to head—any events I might forget, the immediate details of the next scene, etc. That’s enough for a project that short, but far from enough for something over 10,000 words.
My outlines are super notes. They give me an easy to skim timeline of events and keep everything immediately relevant in order. Sometimes small details do get lost, but I tend to have a separate note with those so I can correct minor mistakes when going back. These super notes are crucial for me because the more details there are, the less liable I am to remember them. My memory is so horrible that I open the dictionary several times a day to check word definitions.
Let me draw attention to “Torin,” a project that’s approximately 40,000 words in length. I didn’t know it was going to be that long. “Torin” is part of the reason I know for sure when I do and don’t need an outline.
I initially thought “Torin” would be a short—perhaps 10,000 or 15,000 words in length, with only two characters to keep track of and nothing too complicated to remember. So, thinking that, I used the approach I take for stories around 10,000 words. I wrote little notes to my future self between saves and used them as a guideline. But then “Torin” got longer. And longer. And longer.
The first hint that I should have started to outline was when I kept getting the names of two characters confused—Davies and Russell. There were only three main names to keep track of, but I’d started to mix them up and forget a lot of the minor details in scenes—minor details I didn’t have notes on because I’d never started an outline. I ended up writing all 40,000 words without an outline and then had to go through the task of self-editing without my super notes.
I made a retroactive outline to try to keep things in order, but let me tell you that an outline made in hindsight can never be the same. I self-edited “Torin” three times before I handed it to anyone, and in the professional editing process, there were still easily avoidable mistakes. I expected there to be some grammatical errors and some typos, but a mistake that made me cringe was when I wrote three separate times, on three nearly back-to-back pages, that a character took off his pants. Ouch.
In another year or two, maybe I’ll find that there’s some other way to work that keeps me more organized (anything would be an improvement, really) or helps me focus so I can get things done for more than a couple hours a day. That’d be pretty nice.
Lance Withton © 2017
All Rights Reserved
“Please look over the document to make sure we’ve got everything right.”
Mr. M slid the paper across the desk. Torin took it with nervous hands and glanced over the list.
While in Pillar, the city’s only all-male brothel and where he currently sat across from the establishment’s owner, Torin had spent far longer than he liked filling out an electronic document to make certain he’d vetoed everything he was uninterested in or made uncomfortable by. A summation of the results were now on the paper in his hands. The details on paper made the situation more real, somehow.
Torin had taken penetrative sex off the table, as well as oral sex and even undressing or touching below the waist. He’d made certain that his chosen worker wasn’t contractually able to do anything other than kiss him, and he was happy the owner and the lead screener hadn’t treated him oddly because of it.
“Have you finished reading?”
Torin glanced up at the owner, caught a glimpse of his gray hair, and focused back on the paper in his hand. He nodded.
“Do you need to make any amendments?”
Torin took a few minutes to reread the document, nodded to reassure himself he’d filled things out correctly, and then told Mr. M that he had no changes.
Torin released a nasal sigh and looked up at the owner. Mr. M was more personable than he’d expected the head of a brothel to be, but this was a working-class brothel, manned by desk staff in a front lounge while the rest of the building was hidden behind doors that led to a veritable maze of hallways. Mr. M was in many ways like a grandfather, which Torin thought should have been more unsettling than it was.
“Do you have any further questions?”
Torin swallowed and put the paper back on the desk. “I, ah… I do get a choice in who I—who I want to work with, don’t I?”
“Of course.” Mr. M opened a filing drawer in his desk and flicked through the files for several seconds before he finally pulled a few onto the table. He held them up one by one, opened them in front of himself, away from Torin’s eyes, and shuffled the contents. “Here are the best options for your specific desires. I’ve put the modest photos up front, so if you dig deeper, you’ll have to deal with something more provocative than you’d like.”
Torin nodded while he slid the files over to himself.
He glanced at the name on the tab of the first one: Holland. He opened the folder. On the left was a photo of a young redheaded man, sitting on a barstool in a photo room and laughing. He seemed sweet. Torin looked to the right and read the list of his specialties. Intimacy, anal and oral sex, age play, and a few more things Torin didn’t care to process. He slid the file aside.
The second file was labeled Pisces. Its inner left-hand side displayed a picture of a man who could have been twenty years old at most. His hair was dyed ocean blue and he was sprawled out on grass, hands tucked behind his head. If nothing else, he seemed mischievous. Like Holland, his specialties included intimacy and oral and anal sex, but beyond that, things strayed into fetish territory. Torin snapped the file shut. Across from him, Mr. M chuckled.
Torin picked up the third and final file.
“I would recommend Davies the most,” Mr. M said. Torin glanced up at his smiling face. “I hear he’s the best kisser.”
Torin gulped and opened the file. As he’d come to expect, there was a professional photo on the left. This photo was like Holland’s—Davies was on a barstool in a white studio. He was leaning over his knees, fingers laced and forearms resting on his thighs. He had common black hair and common brown eyes, but there was something about his cheekbones and his grin that Torin liked. He swallowed, hesitated, and lifted the corner of the picture to see the one beneath it. It was also modest, though was far more suggestive than the previous picture. Davies was prone on a bed, head lifted so he could look into the camera, and his fingers were laced under his chin. His eyes were half shut, and the smile on his face was nearly a smirk.
The right listed Davies’s specialties, but Torin didn’t read them because the last two lists had made him lose interest. He closed the file and set it on top of the other two.
“I’ll take Davies,” he said.
“Excellent.” Mr. M collected the files and stacked them on his side of the desk. “Does the agreement cover what you are and aren’t looking for?”
Torin glanced over the document a final time. “Yes.” He paused and looked up at Mr. M. “And this agreement… the—Davies has to follow it exactly, right?”
“Of course. And if at any point you decide that you don’t want to do something allowed by the contract, let him know. Even if you can’t say no physically or verbally, he’ll check in with you every now and then to make sure you’re all right. If you choose to see him repeatedly, you two will figure each other out and routine check-ins might become unnecessary or might happen only rarely.”
For no reason other than he was uncomfortable, Torin looked back down at the paper on the desk in front of him. “Do you—ah, do you have a pen I can use?”
Mr. M opened his drawer and handed him what must have been a fifty-dollar pen. Torin stared at it for several seconds before signing his name on the provided line and then dating his signature. There were a few pages after the basic agreement, listing certain rules and legally pertinent information, which Torin skimmed for anything alarming. He initialed and dated those pages before he handed the paper and pen to Mr. M.
Mr. M stood, and Torin followed his lead to the rear exit of the room, which led to the administrative hallway separated from the lounge for client confidentiality.
“I hope we’ll see you again soon,” Mr. M said.
Torin felt comforted by his smile. “You will,” he said. He offered his own smile. Mr. M opened the door for him, and after a farewell, they parted.
Torin headed down the hallway to the end where Ms. Madison’s office was located. She was one of two people who handled scheduling and was the only one in today. He stopped in front of her closed door and knocked with his shaking hand. He was going to do this. Torin was going to book time with a sex worker, and he wasn’t even going to have sex with him.
“Come in!” Ms. Madison called, and while he opened the door, Torin wondered how he’d gotten to the point in his life that he’d become so desperate for a shred of intimacy that he was paying someone to give it to him.
Ms. Madison’s office was half the size of Torin’s bedroom, and Torin lived in a midtown apartment. The woman wore cat-eye glasses the same red as her nail polish and had her hair up in a puffball of a bun. She and Torin worked out an afternoon appointment three weeks from then, after Torin left work. The following day was a free day for him. He thought he might need a day to ground himself after the experience. His nerves tended to get the best of him.
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Lance resides in the desert of Southern California, sees a minimum of 50 Joshua trees daily, and is surprised every time it rains. He fiddles with stories almost daily and has dozens, if not hundreds, of unfinished ideas lying around in his writing folder. When not trying to write something that keeps him interested, he spends his time whiling the day away with video games and related media.
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