Word Sprint #5

(Parameters: 6 paragraphs 3/3, Random scenario generator: “Two families having a picnic, one 50 years in the past and one 50 years in the future”)

Then and Far from Now”

50 years ago, under the ancient oak tree, there was a family having a picnic, like they did every Sunday after church. There was a checkered blanket, a gently used wicker basket brimming with home-made delights and a lovely family surrounding it. The boys would run ahead and set the blanket down on top of the prickly oak leaves after a fun quick round of tug-o-war. The girls followed more sedately, carrying pitchers of lemonade and fruit punch, dutifully helping mother while trying to keep their dresses clean. Father carried the basket and mother carried a bouquet of sweet lavender and mint to set on the edges of the blanket to discourage bugs.

When they settled they held hands and bowed their heads, and father said a prayer for forgiveness, health, love and strength for the coming times. Then the meal was brought forth, juggled from hand to hand and settled on the blanket, a smorgasbord of mother’s fine cooking. The boys ripped through their sandwiches, orange slices and cookies, eager to play after hours of being forced into stillness at church. The girls preferred to chat quietly first among themselves, savoring the meal and the reprieve away from annoying brothers. But eventually even they couldn’t resist the beautiful day and were soon running through the flowers and playing as children should.

Mother and father sipped lemonade, touching shoulders as they sat back on the grass and enjoyed their day of rest, thanking the Lord in their hearts for a bountiful meal and beautiful children, knowing that so many had much less. When the children were distracted, they shared a kiss and a secret smile, still as in love now as when they first met. “Till Death do Us Part” was a serious vow but it wasn’t a burden. Not for them, the forever young couple who believed it took three to hold a marriage together.

The Oak tree heard it all. It remembered the pitter-patter of little feet turning into the loud thumps of adults coming to and fro, doing chores and going to work. It remembered fevered lovers conversations, tearful fights, mournful grievances and all the elderly advice given to younger generations. It also heard the hum of technology and felt the electrical current of the world increase. The world became white noise, dulling the senses and distracting from the beauty of nature.

Instead of visiting nature to be in it, 2068 observed it from behind a fence. “For preservation”. A museum collector’s item instead of a connected piece to the puzzle called Mother Earth. Disinterested eyes glanced over its mighty branches and craggy bark. The whisper of its leaves in the wind fell on deaf ears, plugged with head phones that funneled in noise directly to the brain. The families didn’t interact with each other now, but with their gadgets and phones, taking selfies and sending them to friends thousands of miles away; getting likes on social media for visiting “the oldest tree at blah blah museum and recreation!”. Even the youngest ones were plugged into tablets, scrunching their chubby cheeks in concentration over the cacophony.

There were different kinds of picnics held there under the shade of the tree now, ones full of lights and sleek black boxes blinking lights that offered a full entertainment experience. Music, movies, and video games, all played out in nature. With the click of a button, suddenly Abraham Lincoln was there, talking and interacting with humans as if he had never been dead. Trevor Noah joined in the conversation, cracking jokes and truths like a modern-day Jester as did Stephanie Meyer and Freddie Mercury. Donald Trump joined in briefly, said two words and was quickly eliminated to the groans of the crowd. They ate the food as an after thought, mostly synthesized to preserve resources and enhanced with vitamins, then continued to push buttons and smile into the artificial lights of their rectangles.

 

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Walk the Line: a deviation from Paint splatters

You wanna know why it’s so detestable to color between the lines? Because it’s boring!

Yes you can make the sky plum purple and the cow aquamarine with chartreuse spots but the colors are still defined by lines. Thin black tyrants of doom and conformity.

For me, story structure rules are a little like those black lines. I detest them and started this journey without a care, stepping on all the lines, breaking mama’s spine all over the place. (To those of you who don’t understand the reference, it’s a game my sister and I used to play where we couldn’t touch the cracks/line on the side-walk or we would break mama’s back/spine. Childhood is fraught with horrors. Do you KNOW what Ring Around the Rosy was about?)

I had an idea and the will to write. I read about it a lot and that’s basically the same thing, right? It’s the same as coming to this country as a foreigner with $20 in her pocket. It’ll all work out if I just believe, right? It’s the land of dreams!

My gawd I’ve never been more tortured in all my life than by that singularly stupid idea.

Writing a book, or attempting to, is the hardest work I’ve ever done. Seriously. Having two children within ten months of one another is a cake walk. Breaking both my elbows at the same time was slightly harder to endure but I’m still mostly whole and have forgotten the pain. Putting words on paper (or on a screen, whatever the case may be) is like that special pen from Harry Potter that uses your own blood as the ink to write with except that the scars it leaves are on your soul instead of your hand. It just leeches everything out of you, bit by bit until you feel like giving up from weakness and frustration doing the same lines over and over.

I counted all my unfinished book WIPs yesterday. I have 14. 14!!! All with great plots that I haven’t read before and nary a one has a completed first draft. Why? Because I detest lines. I prefer paint splatters. I can write a pretty damn good scene but if there’s nothing to connect it to, nothing to contain it, it’ll dribble off into oblivion, appreciated for a moment and nothing more.

I can’t deny it anymore. My piddly-ass stories will never be read by anyone but me (and Owen ❤ ) unless I grow up and take the long, less colorful road to success. Don the boring suits of a young professional and wear the boring black loafers that look hideous but apparently are very comfortable.

Here I go.

To have a decent story, at least for beginners, we need to start at the beginning, which means following a pre-set path laid down for us by the giants that came before us. A good way to do that is to be a mockingbird. Pick a story you really like (book, movie, manga, whatever) and break it down by identifying the story structure set up. Let’s be boring and do Harry Potter and run with a theme here, kay?

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling (SPOILER ALERTS BIG TIME)

(Part of this analysis was referenced from The Friendly Editor on this website https://thefriendlyeditor.com/2013/07/18/story-structure-rowling-potter/ )

The Set up: Harry’s life is crap. He gets picked on and abused by his cousin. We feel sympathy for Harry and his stunted existence. Wonder where his parents are.

Hook: Harry makes the glass to a snake cage disappear and reappear at the zoo, trapping his cousin inside. How? Why? He also talks to the escaping snake. Interest is peaked. Harry keeps getting letters from owls delivered to his door step.

Inciting Event: Hagrid comes and tells Harry he’s a wizard invited to go to Hogwarts.

First Plot Point: Harry is standing at King’s Cross Station waiting to board the Hogwart’s Express and meets the Weasleys.

First Pinch Point: There’s several for Harry that happen over the course of a chapter or two. He meets Malfoy, an obvious antagonist once Harry rebuffs him, meets Snape who despises him at first sight, feels his scar ache for the first time and is warned about the third floor corridor (though we don’t know this is important until later)

Midpoint: When Harry makes the connection between the package Hagrid took at Diagon Alley and what’s hidden on the third corridor. Finds out someone might be trying to steal it and decided to take action instead of standing by. reaction turns into Action.

Second Pinch Point: Harry sees Snape with a bitten leg and assumes he’s trying to get past Fluffy, the three-headed dog guarding a trap door on the third floor. Harry then is forced to contend with a cursed broom stick at a Quidditch match where we see Snape muttering and assume he’s doing the cursing.

Second Plot Point: When Harry realizes it’s Voldemort and not Snape who wants the stone, having been attacked by Voldemort in the forest. Then Hagird tells him that he traded information on how to get past Fluffy to a stranger for a Dragon’s Egg. Harry feels he needs to get the stone first to save his life and everyone else’s. Faces a series of tests and spells that hinder him on the way and his friends get hurt.

The Resolution: Harry gets through the tests and faces off with Quirrell, not Snape, who is discovered to have Voldemort inside his body to sustain him. Voldemort figures out that Harry has gotten the stone and they fight but Harry has a hidden power that makes Quirrell turn to ash when he is touched by Harry’s hands. Harry defeated the minion but Voldemort ultimately escapes to love another day. Harry saves the day and the world.

 

And there we go. Story Structure basics. Eat it. Drink it. Sleep with it. Marry it. Because it is your entire life as an aspiring (and seasoned) author.

This really is the first step in creating any sort of story (except non-fiction), not just fantasy. You need to be able to identify these steps quickly and clearly for every movie you watch and book you read because they are the building blocks for your own stories. Yes, it’s boring to stay inside the lines but if you get good enough at doing it this way, you can start to color outside them a little.

This is admittedly a difficult task for me because I get so invested in the story I forget I’m supposed to be analyzing it. Add to this the desire to write something different from anything I’ve already read (because breaking the cliché is my favorite thing EVER in stories) and my life just got three times as difficult as I needed it to be.

Let your first attempts suck. They’re going to. Accept it and move on. I am at this stage. Leave my really GOOD stories for later, when I can give them due diligence, and in the mean time make crappy romance or lame cliche fantasy princess stories.

Start at the beginning with the boring black loafers. I promise, this will save you so much time and energy being wasted on trying to make your sparsely outlined novel fit into a different structure. Give yourself over to the work because this is part of the journey too. Keep writing your brilliant scenes and witty dialogue. Keep them in a three-ring Unicorn binder or in a document folder on your hard drive and bust them out once you have a solid grasp of Story structure. Just follow it long enough to let it guide you in the right direction.

To be a writer, you need to read. But read with two brains: the Writer AND the Reader

There are more terrible ways to pass the time, no? 🙂

(p.s. ROAR ROAR GRYFFINDOR!!)

The Devil is in the Details: more is better

People start new stories a myriad of different ways. Sometimes it’s a flash of a scene they see in their mind’s eye or the lyrics to a song that sparks some dialogue. A specific smell might trigger it or the way someone is dressed.

I don’t know if it’s true of everyone but I like to believe that writers have a stronger connection to certain parts of a story than others so when inspiration strikes, that strength comes to the foreground.

For instance, you could be thumbing through a magazine and see a beautiful cursive type font and suddenly you see a young woman from Jane Austen’s world penning a letter over a scarred and ink-stained desk, a tendril of copper hair escaping her severe bun. Or you can hear the distant refrain from some classical Russian Ballet soundtrack and then you’re meandering down cobblestone streets, carrying a basket of fruit and bread down an alleyway to take home for dinner and you look up to admire the cloudless day in between the white washed buildings.

One is character driven inspiration and one is world driven.

When I write, I tend to be more character driven. I love the process of picking out names and giving the blank slate mannequins different personalities. I used to be really bad at creating believable characters. I would pour into them sugar, spice and everything nice on top of all my personal hopes and dreams. Guitar playing? Yep, since childhood. Knows several languages? Bein sûr! Can run 5k marathons and hike Mount Everest–without oxygen? Cake walk! And that’s just the main character.

Yeah I know >< We all start somewhere. (Keep that in mind when you’re writing!)

I’ve since learned to spread those qualities out among the entire cast. I’ve also learned that they really do need annoying habits and quirks to make them believable. I created a character that pretty much hates everything except music and death. He’s my first anti-hero and probably the most extreme character I’ve ever created. I’ve also made a character that sacrifices so much of herself for other people that she never figured out what she wanted out of life and has to journey to figure it out. Another extreme.

It was some big personal growth for me realizing how one-note my cast was and fixing it, adding to it and balancing them appropriately. I was pretty proud! I could re-read my drafts now and nod approvingly. Yes, these could be real people walking down the street. Yay me! Gold star on my forehead!

I still have more growth that needs to happen though, naturally. I realized this as I was trying to go back to writing one of my NaNoWriMo stories, “Hourglass”. In a nut shell, I abhor details.

Lemme explain.

I had my three main characters set up in this story. They had names and personalities that played off each other. They had importance in the story and provided plenty of conflict. All seemed well until I came to a flash back. Ahh crap. This means I need to provide BACKGROUND. And here, my friends, is where my downfall is while creating my characters.

Background. History. Family. Childhood.

Now these things don’t seem like they’re important in most stories. Unless you’re writing a biography or writing a lot about the character’s history, you’ll only ever really write about key events from their past to explain their current behaviors. Minimal effort put into the background may seem sufficient. Plus, this is a lot of extra work, writing down background stuff that may never end up in the story at all.

BUT MAYBE IT WILL.

I had an instance where my character basically had to go back and visit her husband in the past. She had to get answers from him that would determine her future actions. It is a rather pivotal scene that I’ve been stuck on for a long while because I never gave her enough history to augment this dialogue.

Creating history for your cast or characters can only benefit you in the long run. And the beauty of it is that you can make it as detailed or as simple as you like. If you don’t know how to start, there are tons of questionnaires out there on the internet. You can google it and come up with hundreds of results. There’s no shame in using them! There’s also no shame in changing details when you need to. Great aunt Mildred can become Great Aunt Tessie. Daddy could have died of leukemia instead of sickle-cell anemia. Favorite childhood snack could be popcorn instead of brownies.

The point of it is, to have the information on hand when it’s needed. Or even when it’s not needed. Often writers will have secrets about their characters that no one else is supposed to know, not even the readers, but sometimes they slip in anyway. Go for it! Details like that make them seem more alive and personable.

Plus, creating a character background allows you to be on-on-one with your cast. You can really get to know them, ask them questions and get answers. You’ll be able to know exactly how he/she will react in any given situation because you know them so well. They won’t act out of character when a bomb blows up their car or they’re passionately kissed by a stranger because you, as a writer, took the time to familiarize yourself with their personalities.

Yes. This is more work on top of everything else a writer is “supposed” to do but think of it as building a foundation. These details will build your stories brick by brick until you’ve created a mansion for readers to frolick through and enjoy.

Put in the work, reap the rewards!

Real or Not Real? Location, location, location!

Hello my friends. Welcome back!

Lately I’ve been thinking about locations. Why? Well, I live in southern California and recently I’ve decided that the weather is bi-polar. Yep. I’ve taken to wearing tank tops with a coat just so I’m prepared for any eventuality. Being on the coast, we have such a thing called “May Gray” and “June Gloom.” It’s a time of year where we get a cloudy maritime layer of yuck over the city for the better part of the day and the sweet Cali sun will bust through. This year the weather seems to be flip-flopping a bit more than usual and I find I have to change my clothing at least once a day to follow suit.

Annoying sometimes as a resident. Intriguing as a Writer.

This got me thinking about all the books I’ve read that were based on real cities and places. I really love it when authors do this. The fact that I could board a plane to Forks, Washington or Manhattan, New York and follow the steps of the character; see the sights they saw and ate where they ate is very appealing. There’s a kind of grounding in reality with this kind of setting. Blue sky. Green grass. Neon lights. Yapping dogs. It’s comforting and familiar and it makes me that much more connected to the book.

I’ve set my “Silver Sun” story partly in my own city. I love being able to share a walk down Main Street with my readers and describe the smell of Thai food mixing with the pizza place across the street. I can include real live people (with permission of course) that I’ve talked to, like my favorite postal worker and my cat’s veterinarian. Not to mention its kind of cheating. There’s no need to make up a city and people to interact with. They’re already pre-set for the writing!

It definitely has appeal for a writer (and a resident in my case. I’m lucky to live in my little paradise.) Even less than desirable cities and neighborhoods can make intriguing stories. “Cry, the Beloved Country” by Alan Paton comes to mind and “A Child called It” by Dave Pelzer We just wouldn’t necessarily want to GO to those places. They’re tangible locations you could put  a pin in on a map though.

Then again you can also change reality and still base it on earthly locations. A melding of the two. There’s a whole genre that has explored this phenomenon and it’s called “Fiction” with sub-genres such as Paranormal, Science Fiction, and Magical Realism. A certain percentage of the story is based on earth with cities and people who resemble reality but might have portals to other worlds or have mythical creatures walking among the humans.

I think that would be a really awesome reality to live in. This kind of setting is where I base a lot of my stories in. There’s so much freedom! To be able to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge and then rebuild it with super advanced alien technology or step through a mirror and end up in another realm is appealing to imagine, not to mention write. You can choose how much science and how much fantasy are included in your story although you run the risk of getting those ultra fussy critics that demand facts to support your werewolf metamorphosis theory.  (My husband is one of these *ROLLS EYES*)

And then there is, in my opinion, the hardest kind of setting to write. Let’s sing about it Jasmine!

~”A whollee neewww worrlllddddd! A dazzling place I never knew!”~

Sorry. There’s your ear worm for the week. But it’s true. Writing an entirely new world is a daunting task. I’ve read quite a few Epic fantasy sagas that are so rich in politics and language and lore I wonder how they ever found the time to FINISH it. “The Lord of the Rings” by J. R. R. Tolkien, “Symphony of Ages” by Elizabeth Haydon and “The Belgariad/Mallorean” series by David Eddings. So much work and thought and love went into each one of these stories. But even these are still roughly based on reality.

Creme de la Creme? Science Fiction writing. How about we take all this up to the stars? I don’t read much Science Fiction because it’s not my cup of tea but I greatly admire authors who write this genre. This is completely new territory that they literally build from scratch. So little is known about space and what IS known barely makes sense to the professionals who study it much less curious writers. However, this, in its own way, gives complete freedom to the author to write whatever they want; even more so than fantasy writers.

Advanced technology. Brand new races of people. New threats and planets and galaxies born from their imagination. New problems and conflicts and malfunctions. New issues with politics and marriage and bearing children. All off the surface of the earth into the last frontier. How amazing is that?!

I certainly don’t have the fortitude or the will to create something out of nothing. Yet. Baby steps. But deciding where you’re going to base your story changes the whole tone of it. The setting really IS its own character. Probably the most important side character ever. World building gives the reader a frame of reference to where everything is happening to the main characters and paints the canvas of your mind with color and feeling. Don’t treat it like the background that it is. Make sure you can engage all five senses when you’re writing and have your characters interact with their surroundings frequently.

Keep it real. Or fantastical ;D Your choice!

Enjoy and keep plodding.

Do Re Mi–dafah is Writing Voice?

Voice is the author’s style, the quality that makes his or her writing unique, and which conveys the author’s attitude, personality, and character; or. Voice is the characteristic speech and thought patterns of the narrator of a work of fiction. ~(Taken from www.thebalance.com)

Go to your book shelf and pick a book by a favorite author.

Now pick another book from a different favorite and set it beside the first.

Open to the first page and read a chapter out of both.

They’re different right? Well, obviously they’re different but can you explain HOW? Can you describe specifics other than the novels aren’t the same genres or reading levels? (Saying they have a certain “Je ne sai quoi” is cheating btw.)

“It’s tone,” you might say. “Like the authors are writing with different accents or dialects.”

Or you might say it’s the way the sentences are structured. Maybe in the first novel they are short and gruff. In the other they may be beautifully sculpted, rolling trippingly off the tongue. Maybe they’re as dense and hard as stale bread. However the writing may be, you should be able to pick up any book by the same author and instantly recognize it as theirs. Different story, different plot line and characters maybe but still distinctly THEM. Why?

Writer’s voice should be consistent,  like speaking to a friend or receiving a letter from them. The way they curse a lot or the way they dot their “i”s with little hearts. If they speak softly or write ONLY WRITE IN CAPITAL LETTERS should be instantly recognizable as this specific friend. You’d recognize it anywhere. Authors have branded each of their stories with their own unique thumbprint; it is something they’ll be known for forever after, no matter how many books they write.

This concept is perhaps one of the most difficult I think for young writers to grasp because it’s not something that can be TAUGHT. Plot, characterization, pacing, arcs…these can all be taught and perfected with time. Voice cannot. It’s something every writer has to discover for themselves through the process of writing. For some it might take a couple of novels to figure out. For others it may come quickly and naturally.

I find myself in an in between category when it comes to discovering my own writer’s voice. When I write my blog posts or my flash fiction, I find that the writing style is bold and consistent. A little passionate sometimes maybe but it flows from one subject to another smoothly. At least in my opinion it is does. I rather enjoy that it is that way currently and that it is a reflection of my true self.

However.

(Yes you knew that was coming.)

Thus far I have limited myself to only writing short stories or flash fiction, usually fantasy or reality based. I’ve also had a steady diet of YA fiction in my reading lately, which explains the writing preferences.

BAD JESSIE! SPIT IT OUT!! SPIT OUT THE YA FICTION THIS INSTANT!

Awwww.

Writing fiction makes me feel confident and competent. I’m safe to bull shit safely within it’s walls because anything and everything goes. But it limits me as a writer. In a way, it’s taking the easy way out as compared to writing Nonfiction or poetry or even a genre I don’t read, like horror, subjects that require research and deep thought.

(Did I just make a blond joke out of writing fiction? I didn’t mean to. I’m sorry!)

Now it’s never bad to be thoroughly versed in one category before moving onto another. Being able to have an anchor to safely return to in this crazy writing world is a GOOD idea. Trying to have a finger in every pie as a beginner will likely confuse and deflate a budding writer. To really be certain that you’ve had a balanced diet though, you should explore different types of writing and reading. Penning a dark macabre flash fiction should still sound like you as much as the romance novella and the only way you’ll be able to achieve that is by knowing what you’re writing.

Telling a different story with the same voice takes practice and it’ll take some time for you to recognize it. Even longer to carry it throughout your career.

I guess I don’t really have much to say on this because I’m just discovering my own Writer’s voice but I felt I had to write about it so it’ll be on the list of subjects I can come back to eventually and expand upon.

Do Rei Mi! Good luck with your writing scales and arpeggios! 😉 I look forward to hearing your sweet new voices ^_^

Sweet Sweat Lady

“Are you ready?”

“Bet your sexy ass I am!” I murmured, closing my eyes and taking a breath. I focused in on my body, stilling my thoughts and preparing myself for what was to come. I forced the problems and worries of the day ahead to shut their yaps and leave me in peace. This was me time now. Time for just me and this deep timbered, ripped man who looked absolutely incredible in everything I’d ever seen him wear.

“Don’t push yourself. Remember to breathe.”

“Don’t worry about me baby. I’ll let you know if you’re going too fast.”

“Slowly now. There’s no rush…”

I started to move. He guided me with confidence, so sure in the knowledge that he’s done this before and he would be with me every step of the way. This wasn’t our first rodeo together but I wasn’t an intermediate at it either. Being a fatty most of my life it was painful to open up and be myself with anybody. I’d tried it with others but I always quit on them within the first month. We didn’t connect and they definitely didn’t understand. Until Dan. With him, it was straight-forward, no games, tell you like it is. What you saw is what you got with Danny Boy. He was refreshing and genuine with an ass I wanted to take a bite out of.

RAWR.

He began by telling me to move my arms up over my head and I obeyed without question, stretching my toes down in the opposite direction and giving myself a nice stretch. I bowed my back and pelvis upward, closing my eyes and enjoying the sensation.

“Ohhh that feels good,” I whispered.

“Feels nice doesn’t it?”

“Yes sir it does.”

His voice vibrated in my ear, guiding me into another position. It took me a minute to get there, heaving myself up and sitting up on my large bum but the transition was smoother today than it was last week. My joints didn’t complain nearly as much since Dan had been helping me “lubricate” them, generous and patient man that he was.

I could see my hunky eye candy better from this position and I took a deep breath. I placed a leg on either side of him and bent forward until I was almost touching him. In the distant recesses of my mind I was amazed I could do this. Before I was too shy, too stiff, too willing to give up in the face of my previous failures. Experience taught me that things rarely differ from man to man. Fakey assholes. Too full of themselves to understand that everyone has levels and layers to them and it takes time to get where they wanted to be. I’m so glad I was proven wrong.

My body followed his directions with ease and it gave me satisfaction that I could complete them. He didn’t say it aloud to me but I know Dan was pleased as well. My progress meant we were working out and able to advance at a good clip. The more confident I was, the happier I was and that pleased him. What woman could ask for more?

I tried to move fluidly from each movement to the next without too much impatience, knowing what was coming. Dan kept having to remind me to breathe (I always got light-headed because I held my breath too long) and to hold on for just a little bit longer. Sometimes I think he liked to torture me, stretching my limits a little too far because he was a sadist. I still adored him. All he had to do was groan at me or puff out an exacerbated breath and I was putty in his experienced hands. He was on my level. He was having to put his all in as well and not over-do it before it was time. His effort made me forgive his pushing and I submitted to his commands.

“Now I want you to spread your legs about shoulder width apart and push your hips up into the air–”

“Dan!” I cried, sweat already beading at my brow with effort.

His frank statement left my face red as a tomato but I did as he said, still facing him and feeling like an absolute hussy opening up this way to him. I stayed there, trying not to move or let my breath come too fast. Sometimes that would get me light-headed too. Maintain breath control, he said. Endurance is key, not strength.

“Just another few seconds–”

“Come on Danny Boy,” I whimpered. “I can’t keep this up all day. Just finish me!”

“Release and relax for a second, then move back up and squeeze. Pulse. Don’t lose momentum if your legs get tired. Try to keep going.”

“Yer killin’ me Smalls!” Or maybe I should be calling him Bigs?

Dan knew I would try to follow his directions to the very letter but sometimes, like now, it was too much. I sank back and eased my aching thighs down to rest flush with the floor again. He immediately switched to a more comfortable position and I felt relief. He knew I was at my limit. Such an attentive man.

“Move over onto your side now and keep the bottom leg straight. Bend the one on top over the straight one…”

Ohhh sideways huh? One of my favorites. Danny Boy was buttering me up for the grand finale now. My heart was racing. It was almost here. I could feel it. He was bringing me the ultimate pleasure.

“Switch sides.”

“Dannnnnn!”

“Bear with me. One more to go. Lay on your belly–”

“Yes!” I gasped.

I waited, listening to his breathing, trying to ignore the muscles already whining at me they’d had enough. They were done but I wasn’t. I wanted to earn my reward!

“Annnnnd…”

Beep Beeep beeeep.

Work out complete!”

I collapsed into a sweaty disgusting mess onto my yoga mat, feeling like I’d been chewed up and spit out. I was smiling though.

“Damn you Dan. I love those words.”

“You’ve just finished twenty-minute Yoga and Pilates total body workout. See you next time.”

“Oh yes you WILL Danny boy. Same time Thursday?”

God love hunky muscled men with stubble and free work out videos.