Friday, January 20

Epic ConFusion

I'm off to Epic ConFusion this weekend...

Oh, wait, what's a con?  Hmmmm..... okay, "con" is short for "convention". In this case, specifically a science fiction convention.

'Round abouts these parts, we used to have three big ones: ConFusion, ConClave and (yes, I am dating myself) ConTraption. (see a theme there?) 'Traption, I'm sorry to say, went the way of the dodo. I'm not sure what's up with 'Clave; last year's event was frightfully small and they've announced there won't be a con in 2013, but promise to be back in 2014. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed that that's true!  At any rate, PenguiCon sort of replaced ConTraption (I don't know if it was the same folks with a new name, I was never involved in the planning of these things, but PenguiCon not takes place right around the same time that 'Traption used to. Gods, I'm old!  My writer friends who do cons frequently hadn't known about 'Traption. Sigh.)

Metro Detroit cons are literary based (i.e. books/artists), except for PenguiCon which is also focused on open share software (totally out of my depth, what I know about computers would fit inside a thimble and there would still be room left over!)  There's always gaming (board games, role play games, like D&D, and occasionally live action, or LARP--I've run a couple of those myself. Always great fun to dress up like vampires and run around the con for a night  ;-)  There's filking and socializing, Uncle Richard's "bad movie night" (or whatever it's being billed as these days), room parties, food and friends... once upon a time, I used to *live* for those three times a year when I could go hide out in a hotel and forget the world outside. (Oh, and make no mistake, there's sex-a-plenty... where do you think the fodder for that BDSM story came from  ;-)  not that sex is what ever drove me to a con, I actually only ever picked up one person there. Sigh. Sweet, sweet man.)

One thing that makes me a bit sad, though, is that the folks in charge of our cons don't ever give us actors, screen writers, directors, or anybody associated with film or television. When I talk to my friend in NY and she tells me about *her* local cons, I drool with envy. I agree that the literary aspect is important, but would it be such a bad thing to bring in a minor or B list actor? I know actors cost money, but they also bring in people. People bring in money and--like it or not--money keeps the con alive.

Not that I don't love filking, and gaming and....filking?  No, it's not some kinky sex act... well.... erm...

heheh. Here, here's some filk for you:

Well, now that I've introduced the unwary to sci fi con culture, here's an itty bitty sniopet of that WIP I've been talking about. I'm desperately hoping to get it finished and submitted to a publisher by the middle of Feb.... which of course is no guarantee of anything, but I really love my boys in this one and have no intention of giving up on them, even if they don't happen to fit into my publisher's catalogue for 2012. (In other words, this piece *will* see the light of day, even if it takes me a's pretty edgy and a total departure from Heart's Home.)

Heart in Knots
excerpt rated: hmmmm.... pretty warm and toasty
novel rated: BDSM scortcher
Thanks again to Kitsa for suggesting the new title!!
(last disclaimer: this is FAR from a final edit)

The gray leather was so soft, it felt like silk in Jason’s hands. It was a good solid piece, though, about two inches wide, with four heavy D-rings attached. It was the kind of collar that would tell a man he belonged to somebody—not that there was anyone Jason wanted to belong to. Still, if he did, this was the kind of collar he’d want to wear.
“Nice choice.”
Jason jumped at the sound of the rich baritone voice behind him—he not-so-silently cursed himself for getting caught “window shopping”. The dealers’ room wasn’t open yet, he was only allowed in because he was working off his convention membership by helping with setup, which didn’t include pestering the merchants.   
Normally, Jason didn’t pay even attention to anything in the dealers’ room, any more. He’d been going to science fiction conventions since he was fifteen—nearly seven years ago—and the dealers’ room pretty much always looked the same: displays over flowing with paperbacks, crammed with comic books, piled high with DVDs of movies and old TV shows (some legal, many not). There were action figures and plush Lovecraftian monsters; the sword dealer was next to the guy who sold replicas of Star Trek phasers and Stargate zat guns. Across the aisle was a woman who did custom corsetry work—for both women and men. Next to her was the guy who sold uniforms: Star Fleet, Storm Trooper, Alphan, Colonial (as in the Thirteen Colonies of Kobal)… if it was on TV or in the movies, he could get his hands on it.
The last few years Jason had noticed more brass and leather making its way in the dealers’ room, thanks to the rising popularity of steampunk literature and the Victorian culture it came from. He didn’t mind. There was nothing hotter than a good looking guy decked out in Victorian era garb—and all the better if he was wearing leather.
Jason wasn’t wearing leather, mostly because he couldn’t afford it, but what he did have on was almost as good: a black fish-net shirt that showed off the silver hoops in his nipples, and a pair of ass-hugging jeans with a couple of gray bandanas tied into the belt loops.
He turned to face the shop owner, to apologize, and hope the guy wouldn’t complain about him being where he didn’t belong—but suddenly his mouth went dry and his throat refused to work. He found himself staring into a brawny chest clothed only a brown leather vest.  He looked up. The shop owner smirked. The guy was at least a foot taller than Jason and, while he wasn’t exactly Incredible Hulk muscular, Jason didn’t think he lost too many arm wrestling contests, either. He certainly did a fair job of making Jason feel small, just by standing there.
He was the epitome of “classically handsome”, with short cropped dark brown hair, a full mustache and long straight nose. He had a strong jaw, cleft chin. Dimples. God damned dimples. He also had really nice lips. Jason’s heart beat a little faster in his chest.
“See something else you like?” the guy asked him with a lopsided grin.
“Yes. I mean no! I mean…” he floundered helplessly, certain the tips of his ears were as red as the ballroom carpet. “Sorry, I know you’re still setting up. I saw it and I guess I couldn’t resist.”
Steel blue eyes seemed to pierce right through him. “I know exactly what you mean.”
Jason’s heart hammered harder—the guy couldn’t have meant that the way it sounded. Could he?
“C’mon,” the merchant took him by the shoulders—his hands were huge!—and turned him around, so Jason’s back was to him once more. He let go of Jason’s shoulders and lifted the collar out of his hands—then he hesitated. “Jesus, boy, you got enough hair? Get that mop outta my way,” he snapped.
“I… huh? Sorry, I…” Jason blinked. Why was he apologizing to a total stranger about the length of his hair? Didn’t he get enough of that shit at home? “I should get back to work.”
The merchant leaned in so close, stopping him in his tracks. “I’m sure you can play hooky for a few more minutes,” he whispered into Jason’s ear, his tone lilting. Seductive.
“Huh?” Was all Jason came back with. God, could he sound any more like a clod?
“Let’s put this on you and see how it looks.”
“I… okay.”
Nervously, Jason lifted the long auburn hair off up off his shoulders, exposing his slender neck. The only collars he’d ever worn before had come from the pet aisle in Walmart, and he’d put them on himself. It was so much more satisfying when someone else buckled the soft leather into place, even if it was only someone trying to make a sale.
“There,” the merchant laid his hands on Jason’s shoulders once more. “How’s the fit?”
“Perfect, sir.” Jason faltered. But ‘sir’ was a generic enough courtesy, and the shop owner looked a few years older than him. Well. Maybe closer to ten years older, not that Jason minded. Older guys knew what the Hell they were doing. Not that he thought the merchant was flirting with him. He was just trying to make a sale. He wasn’t going to succeed. “I’m sorry, sir, but I really can’t afford it,” Jason admitted sheepishly, as he started to turn.
Strong hands kept him where he was. “Last time I checked, looking was free,” he said.
“I can’t actually see anything.”
The merchant chuckled. He reached behind him and passed Jason a brass hand mirror.
Jason accepted the mirror and gazed down at his reflection. He looked… perfect.  He tilted the mirror so he could see the other man’s smiling face; he looked just as pleased as Jason felt. Somehow that made wearing it even better. “Just… just out of curiosity, how much…?” Jason asked him.
The merchant told him the price, and Jason’s heart fell. “Definitely out of my price range.”
“You get what you pay for.”
“I know. But right now, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to afford to school next semester.” God, he sounded pathetic. He took a last look at himself in the mirror as the merchant undid the collar’s clasp. Jason felt an immediate loss when it came off his neck. He smiled anyway. “Thanks for letting me try it on…” he sought out the man’s name badge, but the only thing printed on it was ‘Sir’. He smirked.
“Henry Durand,” he held out his hand.
Jason accepted. “Jason Dullaghan.”
“Good to meet you, Jason.” Henry’s hand swallowed his whole, but his grip was light. Friendly.
“You too. Well, I… s’pose I should get back to work. See you around the con, Sir,” he added, despite having exchanged proper names.
Henry quirked an eyebrow, but then laughed. “I’ll be right here, boy,” he shot back with a wink. “I might even let you model a few other things, if you like. Got a set of cuffs you’d look good in.”
With heat burning in his cheeks, Jason beat a hasty retreat. He told himself that Henry Durand was an accountant or something, that selling collars and leather cuffs was just a weekend gig, but even the thought of Mr. Tall, Dark, and Leather Clad sitting in front of a pile of income tax returns wasn’t enough to make his dick go soft. 

The only advantage to showing up before 10 a.m. on the first day of a weekend-long convention to work setup was that as soon as his shift ended at six, Jason was free for the rest of the weekend. He had his own hotel room, a rare luxury, and one he knew he was going to end up regretting at the end of the month when his Visa bill came in. The interest rate was on his card was insane, but he was sick of sharing a room with ten other people—which was why he wasn’t telling anybody he had his own room.
He took a long, hot shower, and used two towels to dry off, just because he could. He wrapped a third towel around his narrow waist and enjoyed taking as much time as he wanted, to dry and style his hair. He shaved carefully—the only thing less attractive than stubble was little nicks he got when he rushed—applied smoky black kohl to his eyelids, then got dressed. Instead of putting the fishnet shirt back on, Jason opted for a plain black turtleneck. He wanted to feel something around his neck and after having that expensive collar on, if only for a few minutes, the Walmart collar in his suitcase just wasn’t going to cut it. Finally, shimmied into his best ass-hugging jeans, tied a single gray bandana into the belt loop on his right hip. Gray was to signal his interest in bondage—on the right meant he was the one who liked getting tied up.  
After a last quick once-over in the full-length mirror to be sure he looked perfect, Jason headed down to the main lobby to see who was hanging out. He wasn’t the best looking guy in any room, but his mother had always said it wasn’t what you had, it was what you did with it. He doubted she would have approved of his life choices, but didn’t matter. She wasn’t around to see them.
As soon as he stepped off the elevator, Jason spotted his friend Kendra Lonnineau, across the sea of costumes and faces. Kendra was in full Colonial Warrior garb—original Battlestar Galactica, not the one from a few years ago. She was a purist. They’d grown up together in Troy, two kids from the same trailer park. Now, she was a student way, way up north at Michigan Tech. He was living in the middle of nowhere going to community college. Jason hadn’t seen Kendra since last year’s convention, and was dying to talk to her—unfortunately, it looked like Terry had beaten him to Kendra’s side.
 Terry Carson was Jason’s on-again off-again boyfriend. At the moment, they were mostly off-again, which didn’t mean they weren’t speaking, it just meant that Jason didn’t feel like talking to him. Or fucking him. Or being fucked by him.
“You coming or going?”
Jason jumped; he turned and saw Henry Durand grinning down at him.  Jason’s brain seized up and his dick swelled painfully inside his tight jeans. Henry had changed out of the vest and was wearing a snuggly fitted black leather “wife beater” T-shirt. He was carrying a large duffle bag and had several lengths of nylon rope slung over one shoulder.
“’Course if that’s not just for show,” Henry went on, nodding at the gray bandana, “I’ll expect to see you in the demo I got ‘roped’ into giving. Pun intended,” he added with a lopsided grin.
Jason opened his mouth. Then he shut it again. What was his problem! Just because Henry was a totally hot guy who may or may not be an accountant, but who definitely did sell leather collars and cuffs on the weekends—a totally hot guy who might be flirting him, who knew exactly what the gray bandana meant… Before Jason had the chance to make a second attempt at intelligent speech, he felt a pair of arms wrapping themselves around his waist. He didn’t have to turn his head to know it was Terry.  
“I’ve been looking all over the con for you!” Terry landed a sloppy kiss on his cheek. “You avoiding me, or something?” His tone was playful, and he smelled like Aqua Net hairspray, cheap vodka and Juicy Fruit gum.
Jason pulled out of the unwanted embrace and turned to face the other man. “I was working set up. Sorry.”
“I thought your shift ended, what…? Like two hours ago?”
Jason didn’t answer.
“You’re not still pissed at me about the other week, are you?”
“No,” Jason lied. He turned around and realized that Henry was halfway down the hall. He considered running after him, but how pathetic would that look?
“I’m headed up to the con suite,” said Terry.
Jason shrugged.
“You coming?”
“I’ll meet you up there in a minute.”
“Where are you going? There’s nothing happening for a few hours—”
“I said I’d be up in a minute!”
“I could give you a hand getting up,” Terry offered, brows raised, lasciviously.
“No. Thank you. I’ll see you in a few.” Jason turned on his heel and walked away as quickly as he could, hoping to get lost in the crowd. It worked—either that, or Terry wasn’t in the mood to chase after him. Jason didn’t care which. He ducked into the first empty conference room he came to, to collect his thoughts. He really didn’t know why he’d bolted, last week wasn’t the first time Terry had stood him up. It probably wouldn’t be the last. Right. Now, all he had to do was figure out what kind of demo Henry was doing and find it…

Twenty minutes later, Jason stood outside one of the smaller ballrooms. The door was closed and he had a swarm of butterflies flapping madly around his stomach. He considered forgetting the whole thing, the demo was almost half over, anyway, but it was either go in late or go meet Terry up in the con suite. Or wander around pathetically on his own.
He didn’t want to see Terry and he didn’t feel like wandering around aimlessly.
The other option was to hang around outside the ballroom door and wait for the demo to end, catch Henry coming out. But that would be even more pathetic than running after the guy.
Taking a breath to calm his nerves, Jason opened the door and stepped inside. Thirty or forty people sat up near the front of the room, listening to Henry talk about safe, sane and consensual play. As soon as Henry noticed him standing there, he stopped his speech midsentence and fixed Jason with dark glare. “You’re late,” he snapped. Jason blushed—he was sure people in the hallway must have heard. Certainly everyone in the ballroom turned to stare at him.
“I was starting to think I’d need to find another volunteer,” Henry continued in the same angry tone.  Jason’s stomach lurched and his dick snapped to attention—he had no idea why. He was not into humiliation, public or otherwise. “Well don’t just stand there boy! Get your ass down here! These nice people don’t got all night, you know!”
Jason swallowed hard. Henry had to be kidding!
He didn’t look like he was kidding.
“You want to get tied up, or not?” Henry demanded.

1 comment:

eleeri said...

I really enjoy this snippet and can't wait till the book is finished and published!