We just got back from walking the Two Moors Way, also known as the Devon Coast to Coast -- Nine days of walking across the whole of Devon. We did it from Lynmouth in the north to Wembury in the South. It was 117 miles of moorland, farmland, red deer, ponies, prehistoric ruins, bluebell woods, wild garlic pathways and much more than I could ever write about in one blog entry. We were usually walking by nine-thirty in the morning and in bed by nine-thirty at night. Somehwere in the midst of blisters and aches and lovely views and gorgeous wildflowers, we developed a routine, and by the beginning of the fourth day, that routine opened into space for thinking. For me, space for thinking always means it's time to plan and scheme a new story, and certainly the inspiration was there. Now that The Initiation of Ms Holly is off to my editor, I'm constantly thinking about what comes next. With my days full of the enormous emptiness of the moors, and nothing to do but put one foot in front of the other mile after mile, whole scenes played out in my head. Charactors I'd been toying with revealed themselves more clearly, almost like they had dropped in for the day's walk, and nebulous ideas became more concrete. All that without ever setting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
I've always walked my stories. Whenever I reach a road block, I go for a walk, whenever I'm not sure what happens next, I go for a walk. I've just never had nine whole days to walk a story before. I'd like to say that I now have the next novel all planned out in detail, but that's not what happened. I walked across open spaces, huge open spaces, always wondering what I was missing, what I might be able to see if I just looked a little harder. I'm not sure how so much emptiness can feel so full, but it does. There's a lot out there, and even now that I'm back home, I'm still seeing what's out there. I think it's a good metaphor for what happens when I write.
I've come home to my own little enclosed space to discover that my story, Accidental Hitchhiker, is now available on the Xcite eBooks anthology, Between the Sheets. Also, my story, Muscle Bound, will be available in October in the Cleis Press anthology, Smooth: Erotic Stories for Women. A very nice homecoming, I think!