Tactical Submission Release Day!
I once attended a lecture on how to write a novel in a month. It was given by an author who had nearly a hundred books to her name and absolutely knew what she was talking about. The talk was geared for Category authors who wanted to or already wrote for the big houses but there were good takeaways for everyone. A lot of it had to do with the kind of structure places like Harlequin and Entangled were looking for. The general theory was that you outlined to the structure then spend a month typing until your hands fall off. Not easy, but doable. One month, fifty thousand words.
The day after this talk I had the opportunity to pitch to a top acquiring editor for a major house who was actually taking non-hetrosexual pitches for the first time, and I had NOTHING! I had just put out Bowerbirds and had a couple of half assed things half started but nothing I could pitch. Fact, I have a master’s degree in pulling bullshit out of my ass. It’s actually a degree in film and television producing but believe me, same thing.
So, I sat down in front of one of the most prominent editors in the romance world and bullshited a story about a SWAT captain and a Medical Examiner. (I have a thing for the jock/geek trope, okay?) The editor in question asked if I could do it in 50 thousand words because they were looking for category length and I said “Sure, no problem, it’s half written already”. I was given a card with an email address, some words of support, and sent on my way.
The next day I sat down with all my notes on structure and outlining, and started trying to write what I had pitched. I ended up deleting the first twenty thousand words in tears and never submitted to that editor. Tactical Submission, Windsor Knot as it was known in the start, was never going to be a 50k naughty romance for a big house. I should have probably just started on something completely new but Jack and Isaac had set up house in my head and weren’t going away until I gave them the story they wanted. More sex, kinkyer sex, more angst, more cuddles, but, of course, a Happy Ever After.
“Why don’t you sit down, Jack?”
It was phrased as a question but the doctor’s voice was smooth and calm with firmness under it. The room had two plush antique looking chairs to go with the four-post bed carved out of heavy wood. He felt his face flush and took a seat. This was not how the night was supposed to go. Being recognized was not part of the plan.
“It’s good to see color in your cheeks. If you went any paler I was going to have you lay down with your feet up so you didn’t pass out from shock.”
Jack didn’t reply. There was still a churning in his stomach. He’d had his membership for two months, before he worked up the nerve to come to the Windsor Club. It wasn’t the first time he’d gone looking for a quick fix for the desires he shouldn’t have, but it had been a while and he’d been nervous as all hell. Rightfully so it seemed.
“I’d ask what you are doing here but that is blatantly obvious.” Jack nodded but didn’t want to speak. Speaking had not been part of the plan either. The plan had been to find someone who would take him down and use him enough to fry out the tangled mess of desire and stress his mind had become.
There was a knock on the door. Jack jumped but he didn’t stand. He hadn’t been told to stand. Was the club being raided? That was stupid. He knew from experience that police raids don’t politely knock. Had Dr. Bard invited someone else? That other guy who was talking to him? The doctor stood and opened the door only half way then closed it again. Now he carried a tray with a teapot and two cups.
“My standing order.” He placed the tray on the small table beside his chair. “Jasmin green tea. Would you like a cup?” Jack shook his head. He wasn’t sure if his stomach could handle something even that simple. Dr. Bard poured a cup and the smell took him back to late lunches with his mother at The Golden Palace Chinese Restaurant and Tea Shop when he was a teenager.
“You would be more comfortable kneeling right now.”
He hadn’t taken his eyes off Dr. Bard but now he dropped them. It wasn’t a question but a statement of truth. That was what he had come here for, for someone who’d tell him to kneel.
“Come here.” Dr. Bard gestured to a spot beside his chair. Jack didn’t move. Yes, this was what he wanted when he followed Dr. Bard into the room, but still he hesitated. He always hesitated, his desires fighting with his rational mind telling him it was stupid.
He tried to breathe, tried to keep calm but the thread of panic that was telling him to run; screaming that the world was about to know his secret, was fighting with the part of him that was desperate to let the night happen.
Dr. Bard didn’t ask again, he simply sipped his tea with a patient air. Jack stood and took the three steps to the spot by the chair. Dr. Bard gestured to the floor and Jack knelt. His breath came out of him in a rush as his body relaxed while his heart was still racing. With his eyes down, as was proper, he strained his hearing trying to anticipate what might be next.
He felt Dr. Bard lace his fingers into his hair, petting him softly before gently guiding his head down until his forehead was resting on the doctor’s knee.