Author Interview with Danielle Davis of kINKED

Danielle Davis

kINKED, an anthology exploring the intersection of tattoos and kink, was released into the world last week thanks to Pen and Kink Publishing. And though I’m rather fond of my own story, “Begin Again,” which kicks off the collection, I simply can’t stop fangirling over another story in the anthology – Danielle Davis’s “The Courier.”

The story is set in a world where paper is incredibly rare and modern forms of communication don’t exist; thus, humankind has come up with a rather resourceful and…creative way to send messages to one another – inked on the bodies of couriers.

Davis’s story follows Pier, a courier who gets a lot more than expected when he delivers a message to a wealthy and handsome woman named Aubra.

“The Courier” is such an inventive and interesting story, I had to ask Danielle Davis a few questions to learn more about its inspiration and characters.

First of all, your story is absolutely mesmerizing. What inspired this particular tale and, more specifically, a world where paper is scarce and human bodies are used as parchment?

Thank you! I got the idea while thinking about what I wanted for a new tattoo. I wanted to get something important to my life, something that made a stark declaration. Later, as I was getting it inked on my foot, previous inklings (no pun intended) that were floating around my subconscious came together into the basis for the story.

Unfortunately, I knew my courier had a message inked onto them and that it was a socially common thing, but I didn’t know why anyone would do that to themselves until Pier entered Aubra’s library and showed me how shocked he was – then it was “BINGO! Paper’s valuable because it’s rare! How did I not know that before?” This was one instance where it was like I was looking through a magnifying glass at the story, and it wasn’t until I pulled back a bit that I saw the rest of the world these characters lived in.

You mention fairytales in “The Courier,” and the story itself almost reads like a dark fairytale or a piece of didactic lore. In the spirit of classic fairytales, what do you feel we, as readers, are supposed to learn or divine from your story?

I’m so glad that came through, because “The Courier” went through many iterations as a failed fairytale before it figured itself out. I think this story serves as a cautionary tale against the spell fairytale endings cast. Too often we hear “follow your heart,” but we forget that the heart can sometimes lie; listen to your heart, sure, but let your head lead. Pier gets what he thinks he wants, but it comes at a high cost.

You achieve such gorgeous intimacy between the characters of Pier and Aubra, though it’s their first meeting. What advice would you offer authors to help them establish connection and intimacy between characters?

Look at what the characters want (or think they want) and let them see some part of the other character as a fulfillment of it. Even if the other isn’t actually the answer to a character’s desire, they’re more likely to allow an organic intimacy to form faster than if you just put two people in a room and say, “Ok, now chat.”

If you were to describe Pier in one word, what would that word be?

Naive.

And Aubra?

Predatory.

What is a song that you feel sets the tone for “The Courier”?

Definitely Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman.”

Why do you think folks should read romance and erotica?

I think it’s important to be able to connect with those fantasies and desires you may or may not be able to share with anyone. It puts you in immediate contact with the carnal part of you that craves physical intimacy. While some may use it as a substitute for things they aren’t getting in real life (and then it’s a necessary escape to relieve the pressure), others can use it to heighten their own sense of sensuality in order to feed their relationship with their partner.

Where can we read more of your writing? Are you working on anything specific right now? 

My website is www.literaryellymay.com. I post stories on my blog all the time and I have a page that links to my other published works.

About Danielle Davis 

Danielle Davis

Danielle Davis is a liar, a cheater of cards, and a misrememberer of song lyrics; only two of these are true. Her dark fantasy and romance has appeared in Sci-Fi Romance Quarterly, Andromeda Spaceways Magazine, and Tailfins and Sealskins: An Anthology of Water Lore, among other places. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, and beyond under the handle “LiteraryEllyMay.”

 

 

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Every tattoo tells a story… and you’ll want to read them all! Get your copy of kINKED today!

 

 

Read “No Ice Cream,” “The Remnants,” and “Bring the Llama” in Ironology 2015

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I am having a crazy week as a writer, because as of this morning, I’ve had four stories published this week!

Three of those stories are flash fiction pieces that I’ve written as a member of the Iron Writer community over the past year. I’ve written about Iron Writer before. It’s a concept and community that has challenged and changed my writing style and taught me how to craft quality flash fiction.

This week, The Iron Writer published a collection of flash fiction stories – and I’m in the anthology – three times! Here’s the blurb on the back of the book, which will explain and describe The Iron Writer and this collection better than I ever could:

“Atop the writer’s desk await the tools of the the craft. Four days and the deadline looms. Four elements must integrate the pieces into five hundred words. The pieces begin to fall into place. The competing writers will not relent and every word counts. The Iron Writer is a web-based flash fiction competition. It is about crafting short, element based stories in a competitive environment; winner take all. It was conceived out of the desire to help writers of all skill levels improve the writing through fast, fun skirmishes with other writers using elements common to each story. From around the world, writers have gathered and competed. Some are veterans of the craft; some are new to the game. Yet all of them were willing to do battle to discover if they were worthy of carrying the title of Iron Writer. Contained here are the winning stories by the current champions of… The Iron Writer Challenge.”

Ironology 2015 is a compilation of all the winners of the weekly challenges over the past year. And I am so proud to announce that three of my flash fiction stories, “No Ice Cream,” “The Remnants,” and “Bring the Llama,” appear in this volume.

If you’d like to take a flash fiction journey through a collection that is quirky, emotional, and crosses all genres of fiction, pick up a copy of Ironology 2015.

Me? I’ll just be over here eating cheesecake and sipping whiskey to celebrate!

I Don’t Believe in Resolutions

Photo by flickr user "Angle Torres."

Photo by flickr user “Angle Torres.”

Because I think starting a new year trying to “resolve” something is negative in connotation. Now, I do believe in setting goals. And if you do it right, your goals should build on successes or progress you made the previous year. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up to fail because you’re starting from square one (never a fun place). New goals for a new year should be all about momentum, continuing the GOOD things you’ve already done, taking them to the next level maybe–from a place where you’re already ahead of the pack. Doesn’t that sound so much better than making resolutions?

That all being said, here are my goals for 2015:

1. Get four short stories published–with pay. In 2013, my goal was to publish one story during the year, because it was the first year I started submitting my work publicly. Invidia was published that year. In 2014, I set a goal to publish two pieces, and I’m proud to report that I did publish two–Blood Melody and Give It Back. In 2015, my goal is four, because I already have two pieces accepted and lined up to be published. Two more pieces on top of that seems very realistic but also a bit of a stretch goal. Let’s do this.

2. Be more active. Notice how that goal doesn’t mention anything about a diet or losing weight? This is because I’ve identified that I need the happy endorphins released during exercise more than I need to be a size 2. I had a revelation the other day. I get depressed when I don’t have consistent physical activity in my life. That part I already knew, but the ephiphany was that I’m a little addicted to endorphins, because growing up, I was a competitive dancer. I was naturally doping myself up on an almost daily basis through pirouettes and pas de chats. When I don’t get a hit of endorphins at least two or three times a week, I lose energy, get moody, and past body image insecurities come back to haunt me. For my mental and emotional health in 2015, I need to be very conscious and intentional about exercise. Lucky for me, I found a kickass yoga studio in 2014 and I just purchased a Groupon for bellydance classes a couple weeks ago. I’m ready to stretch and shimmy myself to good health!

3. Read 40 books. I’m a better writer when I’m reading. I get inspired by those who’ve come before me. Sometimes, the writing style of the author I’m reading seeps into my writing, and that’s always an interesting experience that I tend to grow from. Most importantly, I’m exercising my brain. Reading isn’t a passive act. It keeps me sharp and engaged with the storytelling part of my brain. On top of all that, I genuinely enjoy it. When I carve out time for reading, I feel like I’m spoiling myself. In 2015, I deserve to be spoiled. And I’m already planning out my reading list. First up, Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman, Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, and The Carnal Prayer Mat by Li Yu.

4. Self publish a collection of short stories…or at least make a lot of headway toward this goal. This is the big one, kids! I’ve had an idea for a collection for over a year now. Recently, I talked to a good friend about it and she gave me some amazing ideas for art and the confidence boost I needed to decide it was about damn time to do this. My collection will need 12 short stories, two of which I have already crafted. So, 10 more stories to go. For this goal, I’m giving myself a little leniency. If I can’t crank out 10 stories that are totally worthy of this project by the end of 2015, I’ll publish in 2016. But I want to be intentional about my work and truly start to focus my creativity into this project. It’s time for a book. And the thought of it makes me happy and excited and ready to work.

Okay, those are my major goals for 2015, a continuation of everything I accomplished in 2014. And I’m not the least bit intimidated. Rather, I’m excited. I’m ready. May this be the Year of the Writer.

What are your goals for 2015?

Photo licensingAngle Torres

The Write Place, The Write Time

Photo by flickruser "urbanworkbench."

Photo by flickruser “urbanworkbench.”

My goal is to be published within the next six to nine months. And it’s going to happen. I can feel it in my bones. I’m hungry for it. And I can’t stop writing. I’ve become a literary madwoman. And I’m okay with that.

Revisiting an old short story, See How Her Garden Grows, and a number of my college stories and essays has lit a fire under me. I had this epiphany while perusing my old works and editing them, and the realization was that I’m a really good writer and that I need to be taking more chances with my writing. Posting stories on my blog is great, but it’s safe. Why am I not submitting these stories to contests or literary magazines?

Well, now I am. And each time I hit the “submit” button, it’s a rush of adrenaline to the system. Each time I get a rejection email, I simply go back to the list of publications I want to submit to and I’m inspired again. In fact, some of my best writing has occurred on days when people have said “no” to my writing. Weird, huh? You’d think I’d be discouraged. Apparently, I’m not.  

Within the past couple of weeks, I’ve submitted four poems and three short stories to a number of literary magazines. The submission whirlwind also inspired a story which I don’t intend to submit. I want it to be the foundational piece for a new project I’m working on, a collection of short stories, because I also realized that maybe I’m not the novel-writing type. This new story pushes the boundaries quite a bit. It’s probably one of the weirdest and most risqué things I’ve ever written. I consider that progress.

I’ve researched writing prompts and I’m currently working on a bizarre one: Write about a town that runs out of its sugar supply. Of course, running out of sugar is too easy. It’s not interesting enough for me. My story will involve government conspiracy and perhaps the beginnings of a zombie apocalypse. Well, maybe. It’s too early to tell, but those are my initial musings.

The drive I’m feeling right now is like a high. And I have to admit it’s pretty cool. I’m happy to be working toward a goal right now, one that will leave a lasting impression.

It’s time. Here’s hoping you’ll be reading me soon.

 

Photo licensing – urbanworkbench