Editing Rant: For Want of a Body

Illustration 6672404 © Gheburaseye |

It was as if her body wanted him. Not just (the female character’s name), but her body.

Why is her BODY more important than her name, her being? (pinch nose)

The author is trying to be romantic, to say (the action of sex) of his male MC with his love interest went deeper and connected to him more than anything else. This is a known toxic male trait – they have been so starved for any connection – physical, mental, and emotional that body touch is assumed to be this an amazing be-all end-all connection.

When writing, remember Name and the Person is more important than the Body.

Flash: X is for Xanthic

Photo 159761726 © Darius Bau�ys |
The rotunda in the Central city Park of Odessa on Deribasivska Street. Ukraine
(photo paid for through – please purchase from them so that the artist may be paid)

Flash: X is for Xanthic

A weight bounced on my bed. “I’m ready.”

“Ready for what?” I shoved up my sleeping mask and opened one bleary eye to focus on my special American fully dressed for the day, laying across half my bed, sunlight streaming in behind them bathing them in yellow.

“For the slide show, let’s go, chingu.” They slapped the covers gently, rolled over, and headed down the steps from my loft.

I don’t have a door. Xanadu got the one room in our open space as their bedroom, other than the bathroom, with the door. I might need to rethink that. Especially when obviously they had a conversation in the shower without filling me on my side of whatever happened. Maybe a dream. Likely a dream. Maybe this was one now.

“Coffee’s ready!” They shouted below. “Morning is awasting!”

Not a dream. I groaned and roll out of bed. Stripping out of my pajamas, I replaced them with slacks and a button-down short-sleeve peach shirt. I pick up the linen jacket from where I laid out my clothes for today’s afternoon interviews last night and circle the staircase to our kitchenette below my loft. When they opened their mouth to dive into whatever part of reality I missed, I held up a finger. “Juda coffee.”

They passed me a mug. I smelled the sweetened bitter brew. Enough sugar to give the caffeine of the French press jitters, and a spoonful of matcha powder with a pinch of cinnamon to give caffeine a leg up on the sugar. I leaned on the counter and sipped the steamy mug down to half. While I did that, Xanadu finished making us both Korean street toast, dropping the ketchup bottle on our island. They added cabbage to our grocery list before sitting down with their green tea opposite me.

We gave proper consideration to their cooking skills and ate the egg and vegetable sandwiches in silence. Tomorrow starts my three days cooking and I would need to do the grocery run tonight. So far alternating three days cooking each with one day off for Saturday hijinks has worked, but we were only on the second week of living together.

Pushing the plate to their side of the island with the empty mug, I asked them, “Alright, what slide show?”

“The one you keep putting off, of course.” Xanadu slipped off the stool and took our dishes to the dishwasher.

“Oh, that one.” I pinched the top of my nose and rubbed. “Don’t you have to do prep work for your commission on the Manyard columns?”

“Got it done this morning waiting for you to wake up. I got them scanned and off to Georgio before I started the coffee.” Xanadu walked around the island and pressed a finger to my chest while looking into my eyes. It wasn’t often they were at my height, but the stool made us equal eye level. “I am clear of all projects. This won’t impact anything I am making.”

I looked over their shoulder at the open space behind them. A corner of the room was sectioned off behind privacy screens where my photography computers lived. The rest of the space included a long table, a pottery wheel, a curtained section near a window to work wood, and a stack of boxes where a stained-glass dragon fighting a tiger resided until the greenhouse the contracted buyer finished being adjusted for the art piece. We grabbed the space recommended by one of my father’s friends once we realized we did not actually want to live in New York City, and Georgio, the art agent Xanadu had lucked into getting before graduation, let them know he had galleries on both coasts. Everything in their studio was cleaned up and packed away. “Don’t you need to make examples of the columns?”

“Not until the initial sketches are approved.”

“Okay.” I pushed up from the chair and walked over to my office area. Xanadu grabbed one of the folding chairs left behind by the last renters we will use for guests once we started having them, and added it to the cordoned off space, flipping it around to side in to astride, leaning their head on their arms across the back. I fired up my desktop and waited the few seconds for the three monitors to load everything, then activated the sixty-inch screen. “Are you sure?”

Xanadu switched to Korean. “Seok, you see my work every step of the way. I want to see yours too.”

“Your work uplifts, mine reveals.” I paused, to concentrate on clicking until I got to the curated pictures I had taken during my senior exchange student time. The group I put together for my final project. “These are unpleasant.”

“But their yours. Stop protecting me.” Xanadu firmly ordered. “If these are things that need to be revealed, reveal them.”

I looked at the clock on the computer and set an alarm for 1:00 so I wouldn’t miss my interview, then opened the first picture. I debated describing it in English, but ended up choosing French since that was mostly what I spoke while I was there. “You know how I love art everywhere. This hospital’s stonework is from where it served as an abbey in the 1300s. I spent a full day there just filling my camera USB.” I clicked through a dozen of the best pictures, until the last showed rubble and a wing of gargoyle. “It was bombed during the ‘softening’ exercises. They didn’t have time to evacuate the bedridden.” The next picture was a mangled bed, the obviously used bedsheets still on what was left of the mattress.

Xanadu gasped softly beside me, but I didn’t look over.

“This was the city park, about five blocks from where the university students stayed. I spent a lot of time there taking photos as winter switched to spring. The landscaping included hundreds of unique plants gathered over the centuries…”

(992 words, first published 6/9/2024)

Capturing the Tiger and Dragon Series

  1. X is for Xenophile (4/28/2024)
  2. X is for Xylotomous (5/19/2024)
  3. X is for Xanthic (6/9/2024)
  4. Exhibit (7/14/24)
  5. Exit Strategy (9/1/2024)

Magical Words: Working the Crowd

DragonCon 2018 – from Nerd Nation Magazine

It’s convention time again. ConCarolinas, ConGregate, DragonCon, and so forth. Which means selling books, which mean working the crowd.

You know, it’s very amusing watching people used to the solitary occupation of writing and editing, nearly all by nature introverts, figure out how to work a crowd.

Gail Z. Martin gave some excellent advice related to “Working the Crowd – How to Survive and Thrive Staffing a Booth”. At one time she was a corporate marketer, so her simple list of advice is sound. The Magical Word post was published August 24, 2016.

Item 1 – Wear comfortable shoes. Concrete floors are not kind to knees and the back.

Item 2 – Stand as much as you can. It give you energy, you are more visible, you will attract more people, and it is easier to talk. I (Erin) have been told to stand at work as it conveys a welcome; you are paying special attention to the person. It also matches body language with both people standing.

Item 3 – Try not to eat in your booth. Don’t NOT eat – get food, but if you have to eat at the table, keep it hidden. Half-eaten food disturbs people. And most people don’t like interrupting people who are eating.

Item 4 – Make the booth attractive. Swag, create levels, use banners behind to create depth.

Item 5 – Smile. At everyone. Invite them closer.

Item 6 – Use the person’s name – at cons, they come with name tags. Ask questions to engage them – what do they like to read, are they enjoying the con, how is the weather.

Item 7 – Hand them the merchandise. Studies show people are much more likely to buy something when they have handled it.

are just some of the twenty suggestions. Again the URL is:

Book Review: Siren Bridge

Amazon Cover

Siren Bridge by Jean Marie Ward


Lady adventurer Oleander Jones knew the rules:

  • Never embroil yourself in the affairs of kings.
  • Never offend an asshole with an army.
  • And never, ever confront a monster in its lair.

But the ruby Heart of Gruende, the most precious of all the Gruen crown jewels, was so big and so sparkly, and the pay-off for stealing it was so enormous. She couldn’t bear to leave it in the sweaty, grasping paws of the governor of the New Dominion Territories another instant. Smashing a whiskey bottle over his skull was simply a bonus.

Now she’s got a reward on her head bigger than the Logressan national debt. The Territorial Militia, the full detecting might of Falchion Apprehension Services, and every country bumpkin and city lowlife who can read a wanted poster are on her tail. And there’s only one way to get where she needs to go…

Through the killing ground of the biggest, meanest, man-eating, avian monster Roche County has ever seen. Dead across Siren Bridge.



The cover (both versions – the boobie bird and the fantasy bridge) do a disservice to this amusing, involved Weird West-Heist-Fantasy-Humor delightful novella (story of about 100 pages).

I adored all the problem-solving Oleander, our quick-thinking thief-illusionist main character, comes up with as each step of her “simple” heist of a necklace drags her deeper and deeper into monsters and militia. Bounty hunters and governors; sirens and bartenders. Magic for sale in this weird west and the differences money can buy.

The language is spot on. The motion is constant. The ending when all the pieces come together in an explosion of energy worthy of a supernova dragon, is picture perfect (really, totally movie worthy!).

Loved this.

(Read through Kindle Unlimited)