August MacGregor

Celebrating Sensuality. Intended for mature audiences, 18 and over


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‘Lucky’ Excerpt

Following up on yesterday’s post about my new novel, Lucky, being free until Sunday, June 25, I wanted to post an excerpt from the novel. Here’s the start of chapter 1:
 

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Hugo Freeman stared in disbelief at the lottery ticket in his hand, then at the television screen. But the string of numbers had vanished from the screen, replaced by the guy with poofed-up hair and cheese-ball grin and shiny suit.

“There you have it, folks,” the TV guy said in his ain’t everything great voice. “Congratulations to the lucky winners! If you’re not one of those, be sure to try again next week. Who knows when your luck will turn on the Cloud Nine Lottery? Good night folks!”

Cut to a commercial for some kind of drug to alleviate some kind of painful symptoms.

Hugo’s attention was more on the ticket than the screen. Did he win? The numbers that were on TV had seemed to match those on his ticket. Maybe some of the numbers were close. Was there a 39 in the winning numbers, or had it been 29?

Impossible that he matched every winning number. The chances of matching were astronomically against him — and everyone else who played Cloud Nine every week with the hope of picking the five regular numbers and the Lightning Strike number. Thousands of people across the many states where Cloud Nine was offered. All those people handing over a dollar for each ticket, buying several tickets every time.

Hugo had seen it happen regularly. He played regularly, too. Five tickets each week, never the same number. Some people played the same numbers with meanings: birthdays, anniversaries, and such. Hugo didn’t understand the idea behind that strategy. As if luck was somehow bound to catch up with numbers meaningful to a certain person.

It was like driving the same car on the same road and thinking the road would end up in a paradise of sexy beachgoers who handed you a tropical drink and invited you to join the party. But, in reality, the road led to the same Goddamn places it had always did. Same bullshit houses, same bullshit stores.

He would find out the winning numbers tomorrow, at work. He’d wait until Darnell was in his office doing paperwork, then Hugo would pull out the ticket and compare his numbers against the official ones. The numbers had looked close on TV, but that didn’t win anything. No prize for close. Only right on the money got you the money.

Hold on. The Internet didn’t provide answers to everything, but it gave a lot of answers. Would Cloud Nine’s website have the numbers so soon after the little plastic numbered balls were lifted out of the glass box, where they swirled in a mini tornado? It was worth checking out.

Hugo turned on his old laptop and retrieved a Budweiser from the fridge while the computer woke up. Taking a drink of beer, he knew he didn’t win. He never did. He was used to the slowness of his laptop, but it irritated him as he sat on the couch and watched the computer on the coffee table. He wanted to be done with this chore. See that his numbers were close losers, then he could wrap up Friday night.

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Stopping By

It’s certainly been a while since my last post, and please know that I’m still alive and kicking 🙂

This past summer, I was tugged in different directions that took me away from posting on my blog. Increased work in my day job was the main culprit.

Outside of my day job, I questioned if I should continue writing under my pen name. If I retired August MacGregor, that would simplify my writing life, allowing me to focus more on writing under my real name.

This question has popped up several times before, so it’s nothing new. The question visits me every so often, under the temptation of simplifying life.

However, the stories have a stronger temptation. Stories that fit under my real name’s writing, then more romantic and erotic stories that fit better under August. These stories have urged me to keep going, saying they want me to complete them.

I’ve listened to a couple of the stories, and I finished the initial drafts for two August MacGregor novels. That quieted down the urges a bit — and it felt good to reach that point with the stories. I’ve put the initial drafts to the side, and I’ll go back to them early next year. (Billionaire and River are their working titles.)

In the meantime, my attention turned to writing stories that fit under my real name. Which means the activity that has suffered is posting here on my blog. Unfortunately, it will continue to suffer as I keep putting more energy into my day job, family responsibilities, and fiction writing.

I don’t have a clear sense of when I’ll come back to being on WordPress regularly. I miss posting, and I miss reading posts from my blogging friends. I hope you guys are doing well.


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Why I Write Erotic and Romantic Fiction

I originally wrote this by a request from Elizabeth over at Just Add Tea, and I wanted to add it here after reading Emmanuelle de Maupassant’s post “Why Write Erotic Fiction?” that offers a wonderful variety of voices (I reposted it yesterday).

First, a little background in how I got to the point where I’m writing erotic and romantic stories. Several years ago, I saw an online contest for erotic short stories. I was writing general fiction at the time, and I figured, Why not? It’ll be fun to try something new. I won an honorable mention, and that was soon followed by an invitation to join other authors in contributing to Ruthie’s Club, a subscription website that offered erotica — with each story accompanied with an original illustration at the beginning. I enjoyed being a part of the site, and many stories came out of that relationship.

Unfortunately, Ruthie’s Club shut down around 2010. That left all those stories no longer published — and a lot of ideas in my head for more stories.

Then I learned about this little thing called “self-publishing.” You mean I could prepare an ebook and put it up for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords? I figured, Why not? It’ll be fun to try something new.

Yes, that’s a recurring theme for me. It drives part of my writing. Because stories can come in forms of fantasies that I want to see played out and see where they go. I imagine that scores of people have fantasies, and authors move those from their heads to the computer screen (or typewriter if you’re old school like that).

And sex scenes can be electric to write. Sometimes, my fingers can’t type fast enough to get the action out. Thank goodness I can type fairly well, and don’t have to hunt-and-peck — which would’ve driven me bonkers from impatience.

However, my writing is not just about the sex. (Okay, you got me: that part of storytelling is fun.) Deeply satisfying is writing about people connecting on emotional levels — not just physical. I’ve noticed that my writing in the past couple of years has come to include this. Before, I was pretty single-minded on writing about people simply enjoying pleasure. Now, though, the characters also enjoy togetherness. And that has broadened my writing to involve scenes besides sex.

In turn, that expanded my stories from only the erotica category to romance. Which is something I never saw coming. I read a mixture of stories, including general fiction, thrillers, and erotica. I don’t come from reading a vast library of romantic books. So I feel as a newbie in the field. (By the way, the romance that I’ve read which has probably stuck with me the most is The Lover by Marguerite Duras. An exquisite book.)

Relationships and emotions are complex, and I probably capture only a fraction of them in my stories. I’m fascinated by relationships and emotions, so there’s plenty for me to explore. My most recent novel is The Sweet Taste of Revenge, in which the main character divorces her cheating husband and plans to get revenge on him. That’s been an interesting challenge. I’m not a woman, nor have I been divorced. But in writing the book, I hope I was fair to the character. It was quite a ride.

Speaking of a ride, I suppose that’s the reasoning behind why I write. It’s the rush that I get when I take an idea and turn it into a story. That can be with an erotic and romantic story — or tamer stuff. I use August MacGregor as a pen name for the Rated Mature content and my real name for the rest. Writing is way too much fun to commit to only one type of story.

With my August pen name, I try to tell stories of people enjoying the sensual things in life and connecting with each other — but making mistakes along the way. I find that to be another part that brings interest to writing. Because things don’t always proceed perfectly. When a character is in love with someone, the second character may not feel the same way in return. People cheat in relationships. Not every couple has simultaneous orgasms that are mind-blowing every single time.

Which brings the hope that a story with people making mistakes is more interesting for the reader. Because I’d love for my stories to be a ride for readers, just like the stories were a ride to put together.


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Eric Keys

Yesterday, someone found my blog with the search phrase “where can i buy eric keys writing,” since I posted about his short stories last year. That made me wonder what Eric is up to, as I hadn’t read a new post from him in a while. I had guessed he took a long break from blogging — something I’m guilty of, since I did it for six months to focus more on my day job and my writing. But I discovered that his blog, Blood Glory Grace, is no longer available.

That led me to check out Amazon and Smashwords to see if Eric’s stories are still on those sites. But they’re not.

I remember Eric had an older blog that he shut down, then he started a new blog after an extended break. Now he’s closed up shop again.

I can imagine the decision to remove his stories and close his blog was a difficult one. It takes a lot of time and energy to craft stories, and then it takes a courageous leap to put your writing in public, for others to judge. Eric had fans, as shown by the comments on his blog and the reviews for his books on Smashwords and Amazon.

Eric’s stories were under dark erotica, and they were a combination of horror and sex. They didn’t pull punches in confronting the reader in bold images of these. But they weren’t simply a shock-fest; they had greater depth than that. They had something to say about religion and relationships and family and tolerance.

I’m sad to see that Eric pulled out his e-books for others to experience. And I hope he’s still writing stories. Writers tell stories to get them from our head to the page (or screen). We’re our first audience. I hope he’s writing for himself and finding a creative outlet for his vivid imagination.


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Two Tree Branches

Inspired by fellow author Nicci Haydon, I tried writing a story of four sentences. It’s a good challenge, one that I enjoyed as I took a break from editing a novel. Quite a shift in speed to come up with a story in a limited amount of space…

Two Tree Branches

Travis thought of Denise from accounting as aloof until, at the office happy hour, they both complained about the soulless song playing in the background at the bar, behind their co-workers’ chatting. They launched into a tipsy conversation about U2 — with Denise firmly resolved that their finest album was The Joshua Tree, and Travis arguing the band hit more powerfully with War. They finally agreed to disagree and played three rounds of darts, all of which Denise won, then they called it a night — going their separate ways in Uber rides. The next Friday night, after dinner at a Thai restaurant then going to Denise’s apartment, they first kissed as “With or Without You” started, and Travis knew he wanted to draw out much more from Denise — but at a slower pace than he was used to.


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Happy with a Banana

gorilla in store, by Ian Broyles (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Ian Broyles (Flickr, Creative Commons)

The store is filled with sodas and rice and noodles in all kinds of shapes and loads of packaged foods with additives you can’t even pronounce, let alone know what they hell they actually are.

Forget all that. Give him fruit. Give him bright oranges and juicy pineapples and mangoes with colors of blending red-yellow-green that’re so beautiful you’re captivated by the look of them, and then, when you actually eat a bite, you fall to the floor in astonishment, and you have to eat the rest of the mango down there — because you dare not try to eat it while standing on trembling, unsteady legs.

But let’s skip that for today. Today, he’ll just have a banana, thank you very much. He’ll sit on the floor and peel away the yellow gift wrapping and smile because he’s happy.

*****

The photo above is used under the non-commercial Creative Commons license. Click on image to jump to photographer’s Flickr page.


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Don’t Talk to Me About Love

“Don’t talk to me about love,” she said to him. “You don’t know love. You’re too young. What you think you know about love is actually what you’ve taken from the movies. And those are full of pink roses and froth. Those are falling in love with what you think is the ideal man or woman.”

She continued: “And that’s not love. That’s fantasy. Because love — real love — is more than that. Love is more than the image you have of someone. It’s not just a pretty picture. It’s not just thinking you know someone based on their texts or their tweets or their blog or their profile on some dating website.

“Love is getting to know that person far beyond that surface stuff. Seeing them every day. Seeing them in hard times that are so difficult you want to cry and scream and rage out. And you do those things to let those crazy emotions out. Love is staying through that chaos and staying there afterward. Love is sometimes being pissed off at the other person so badly you want to slap the shit out of them, but you don’t. Love is saying you’re sorry and actually meaning it. And doing things to make up for the stupid mistakes we’re all capable of.

“Love is seeing the ugly shit underneath the pretty surface. Love is dealing with your disappointments when someone doesn’t live up to your unrealistic expectations of them. Love is seeing the other person for who they really are.

“That takes days and days, years and years. Because we clean up ourselves when we go out on dates. We stick to sparkling conversation that tries to show our intelligence and our humor and our charm. We try to make the other person think we’re glowing good souls, when a lot of our selves are petty and selfish and lazy about the things we really don’t care about.

“So don’t jump off and tell me you love me when you haven’t seen me in all that. You love our dating. You love our sex. You love the charm. But you don’t fully, truly love me.

He looked at her for a long moment, his eyes thoughtful as he took all of that in.

Finally, he said, “Then let me find out about love. I want to find out with you.”

Another moment, a longer one than before. “You better be as strong as you think you are.”

“I am.”