Finding writing inspiration… at a leather convention?

You never know when inspiration is going to cross your path. In my case, I never would have expected inspiration for my young adult writing to arrive at a leather convention.

Let me back up. Recently, we went to Chicago to visit my friend Scott. He’s a photographer and a good friend I originally got to know through blogging. Yes, it was that long ago. Blogging was still a thing, dinosaurs roamed the earth, and we all drove Model Ts. We’ve known each other for about 15 years, but I hadn’t seen him since before I went to grad school. So five, maybe six years. This is far too long, and I hadn’t been to Chicago in about as long a time, and he’d just recently moved there. So, up we went.

Amid all of our sightseeing and museum-going and dining and cocktailing (is “cocktailing” a verb? Well, it is now), Scott also was scheduled to promote a book of erotic photography that he’d published and was getting ready to publish a second edition. So he had to work a shift at the book table at International Mr. Leather.

Yes, that IML.
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A story: Murder on the Midway

cover of Men of the Mean StreetsThis story was a step outside of my comfort zone, something that my editor Greg Herren has always encouraged me to do. He’s commented how funny it is when writers are approached to contribute to an anthology outside their usual genre, the frequent response is “oh, I don’t write mystery/noir/horror/erotica/literary clown fiction.” (I made up that last one, but it’s got potential, don’t you think? No? Just me? Let’s move on, then.)

Where was I? Oh right, stepping outside of your comfort zone. Instead of responding “I don’t write that,” Greg told me, you might consider “I’ve never tried that before.” You never know what you’re going to enjoy writing.

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