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  • Writer's pictureTravis

On staying the eff at home

(I don't know why I said "eff." Y'all have heard me cuss before.)

Greetings! It's been a minute.

I've been sheltering in place for nine weeks and change now. Fortunately, my family and I are all staying safe and healthy, and I like everyone who's in my house, so while I sure do miss being out in the world, all is well and I have no real complaints. I have never, however, been so excited to do the weekly grocery shopping.

I will say, though, that writing's been a little tough lately.

Normally it's just my husband and me (and our neurotic dog and our terrorist cat) in the house. We get along--quite well, actually--and are pretty good at giving each other space, which is a lovely thing when I need to sit down and wrestle with words. But for most of the quarantine, I've had my brother living with me.

My brother, eight years younger than I, is an absolute delight. He's funny and (at least most of the time) good natured. I've known him most of my life, so we've had plenty of time to get used to each other.

And he has Autism Spectrum Disorder.

It's likely you have, or know someone who has ASD, too. According to the CDC, it affects about one in 54 children. But if you know multiple folks with ASD, you've probably noticed they can exhibit a wide range of behaviors.

One of my brother's most noticeable character traits is that he talks. And talks. And talks. From the moment he wakes up till the moment he goes to sleep. Favorite topics include the Muppets (both of the Sesame Street and the Muppet Show varieties), Disney films, Full House (he's obsessed with that awful Michelle Tanner), and the music of the 60's and 70's (which is what our parents played in the car when we were kids.) Conversations with him largely consist of reciting a series of scripts he's devised, and which we've memorized, in which he'll ask questions and I'll respond in the voice of Fozzie Bear or Jiminy Cricket.

Like I said, it's funny, and sometimes fun. It's not, however, conducive to writing erotica. (I'd feel a little weird about it with my brother in the room anyway, but certainly not while I'm answering questions in the persona of Miss Piggy.)

So. All of this is to say that I am well aware that I haven't released a story since late March, and boy, am I sorry about that. (Not only because poor Bryce has been stuck, Groundhog Day style, on a random-ass Wednesday for nearly two months, but also because I genuinely like writing, and also also because y'all have been so terrific and so supportive of the first three stories in the series, and I hate leaving you hanging.) But it is what it is, right?

(Side note: It is what it is has become my motto for 2020.)

But here's some good news!

My brother usually wakes up sometime between 7 and 8 a.m., and goes to bed sometime between 7 and 8 p.m. (Not to sleep. Just to bed. He chit-chats to himself for hours.) I can handle most of my day job stuff while we banter, even if writing is a little much. So, for the past few days, I've been going to bed around 9:30 and getting up around 4 a.m. This gives me (after half an hour of coffee drinking and Twitter scrolling) a good three-ish hours of writing time in a perfectly quiet house.

Today is Saturday. Since Thursday morning, I've written almost 4300 words of Bryce's most recent

adventure. (Some folks write a lot faster than that, and I used to, too. I think I'm just getting back into the swing of things, you know?) The point is, I plan on completing the first draft of Throw Hips, the fourth story in the Bryce Can Play series, tomorrow or Monday.

And that means by Tuesday at the latest, I'll have done a quick proofing and sent it out to my beta team. While they're reading that, I'll start working on part 5, Quick Study. And if things continue to go well--remembering of course, that things are what they are--I'll have a finished draft of that one by the time my readers give me their feedback.

It may be a little while yet before I start publishing again, because, as I mentioned in a previous post, I put each story through a fairly rigorous editing process, but at least the wheels are churning.

And I can't say it enough: I am absolutely in love with each and every one of you, and couldn't be more grateful for your support during this unplanned hiatus.

Other than that, quarantine's been fine. Uneventful but fine. A quick rundown: ▪ I wrapped my spring classes and started teaching my summer classes (online only, naturally.) I'm doing a humanites survey from prehistory to the Renaissance, and I've become obsessed with these Smarthistory videos from Khan Academy. (This one's on one of my favorite buildings in the world, but they have about a trillion of them.)

▪ Other than nerd videos for class and Muppet movies with my brother, my husband and I have been keeping up with the current season of Drag Race, and we watched Hollywood together. We're currently working our way through The Witcher, which is silliness, but enjoyable silliness. I also remotely buddy-watched season three of WestWorld with my author friend Isaac. (@isaacgrisham, if you like following LGBTQ authors on the Twitter.)

Here's a classy nude of David Corenswet, just cuz.

▪ I messed around a little bit and did some audio recordings of snippets from The Party Crasher and the first three Bryces. They're all available on my Twitter feed, but if you care, here's the one from On Display. (My friend Adam suggested I add the thirst-trap pictures, which I paid for on Adobe Stock.)

▪ I've also, now that my extra-busy semester is over, been catching up on my pleasure reading. (All images will take you to the Amazon page.)

(Oh, and for the record, I got paid zero dollars to recommend these books. They're all things I've read or am reading, and have genuinely enjoyed.)

Gay erotica picks:

The first two explore D/s relationships and have nice HEA or HFN endings. The Too many kinks to enumerate. Some I find hotter than others, but the writing's good.

And non-erotica picks:

(The first three are single-author short story collections. The fourth is a series of novels I've been listening to while I cook and clean and whatnot. The narrator, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, is astounding. I'm actually on Book 5 now, but I've included the link to Book 1.)

▪ One last weird little rec from me before I go: because I've been writing really early in the morning, I sometimes need a little help getting in a smutty mood. I've made myself a YouTube playlist making sex noises. (Don't judge me. I'm very aural.) Here's one of my favorite, um, orgasm artists.

If you're not alone, put in your earbuds.

All right, folks. That's more than enough out of me. Besides, my brother just went to bed, so I'm gonna try to get some words in before hitting the hay myself.

Take care of yourselves. Stay safe and healthy. Please.

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