Just thought I'd write a post about some of the stories that are moving in the background, since it takes so long to complete most of the stuff I post as Dark and Les. I learned my lesson from the difficulty I'm having with Sisters of the Mists ( which is always getting some attention, even if it's only brief little spurts or reading back through previous chapters to refresh my memory ) and I'll never release any part of any story that isn't already complete on my hard drive.
First, I have a significant portion of "Gates of Enchantment" complete. This is the second Darkni history story, following "Facing Destiny", and is a big part of the the foundation for the bridge between the history stories in "Nobles by Deed" prior to the freeing of Egoria, where the companions become the nobles of the country they set free from the tyrrany of Draxnia. I haven't been in the correct frame of mind to write the next scene ( sex ) but once I'm in that sort of mood, I hit the heart of the action afterwards.
More information about that story can be found in the thread about bridging the gap in Nobles, and the thread with the preview of Gates.
Second is a new story I've mentioned a few times, "One Whore's Town". It is a follow-up to "Lowborn" taking place a few years after that story, and following Betty, one of the three prostitutes who struck out to start their own brothel at the end of that story. It's about 2/3 into its third chapter right now. I started that particular chapter a couple of days ago. I honestly have no idea how many chapters this one is going to be. I know the general plot beats, and where it ends, but a lot of the middle is writing itself as the characters interact. It's a lot like Lowborn in that respect. Lowborn took years from first word on paper to release, so I can't even begin to guess when this one will be complete either. There's a thread with a preview for Chapter 1 here on the forum.
Third is "Queen of the Wood" which has made a lot of progress this year. Usually, I lose my drive as the possibility of releasing the story by Earth Day dwindles. This year, the story feels a lot more focused in my head after some changes, and it's still moving along. Much like Gates, I haven't been in the right frame of mind to write a sex scene that's next in the story beat, so the last few days it has moved to the back burner of what I consider active WIPs. Other than that, it still feels as if its on track.
I have the next two stories in the "Ancient Peoples" series worked out in my head. The first is called "Tangled Coils" and will introduce Nagas to the world, as well as the first Lamia who isn't the Queen or her sister. Following that will be "Beneath" which will introduce Krakens, and actually be a two part story where Aris isn't the protagonist, but only has a cameo role. His part of the story will be part 2.
The next story in "The Fey Folk" is in progress, and is geared toward the current "Love the One(s) you're with" contest on Lit. So, provided that story keeps moving, it should come out soon. Those stories have all been shorter tales anyway, and this one will fit right in with the rest. I've covered Sylphs, Fairies, and Gremlins so far. This story will introduce Brownies into the world.
With such a variety of stories on the active WIP list, I've only been sneaking in the occasional RR story ( most of them microfiction of late ) when a particularly strong idea strikes me. It's tempting to dive into those short, sex-heavy, and often tongue-in-cheek stories that don't require much thought or planning. There's also the fact that it's my most popular pen name, and the gratification of the feedback is a boost. It slows down production of my more involved works in these names, but it's also a necessity. I need the boost of that feedback every so often to keep me going, and I don't really spend a lot of time on any one story, so it balances out once a long story as Dark or Les finally goes gold.
I also have a few real world stories as Les that have been percolating. One is of a similar theme to one of my recent micros, where a man and an escort form something of a more significant relationship during their sessions, and eventually end up breaking out of their self-destructive lifestyles to find something better with each other. Another is a story where a guy and his first girlfriend meet after years and years. They never went beyond a little heavy petting before she got tempted by some older boy with a car, and becomes the town's go-to girl for easy sex. They never really broke up, she just sort of went wild and left him behind. When he moves back to town after a bitter divorce, she's deeply depressed because she's outgrown that wild, sex-crazy phase, and now she can't find a meaningful relationship because of her reputation. He still feels a little hurt by her running off on him all those years ago, but he still has feelings for her, and they end up being exactly what the other needs.