I seldom get reviews for my short story and essay ebooks. When I got a head’s up a few weeks ago that TeraS of Succubus.net was reviewing my recent short story ebook, “Some Bad Decisions,” where a serial killer finds himself rolling in a world of hurt with a “succubus” prostitute, I welcomed the full-length review even though I got skewered with a pitchfork for taking some obvious shortcuts with the succubus character.
More telling to me personally is that I just found it hard to care to know or see anything more about Jane when the story was finished with. She just wasn’t a Succubus that I could like in any shape, way or form. It’s rare for me to say that, but in this case it’s true. She was a means to an end, a direction in the story, a way to tie up loose ends in more than one way.
Guilty as charged. Plain Jane as a succubus—or, more precisely, a sexy demoness—tied up quite a few loose ends. Until I read the review, I haven’t given any serious thought about what a succubus was beyond being the deadly prostitute who takes revenge against a serial killer stalking prostitutes on the Las Vegas strip. I wrote a straight forward horror short story with a huge dollop of sex added, which is something I don’t like reading from other horror writers.
As a short story writer, I always danced around the sex scenes because most print publications didn’t go there. “The Unfaithful Camera” was my most “sexually explicit” short story to date, where a little boy comes home from school to find his father and older sister doing the “bouncy bounce” in bed. That’s all, folks.
Writing a sexually-explicit short story for an erotica horror anthology on a short deadline was a special challenge. The editor rejected the first submission as being too short and a requested a revision. I doubled the length of the story by playing the characters against each other and sharpen their personality quirks. The editor accepted the second submission without a peep about how I handled the sexuality of the succubus character. But that was also the general complaint about the anthology: too much horror, too little erotica.
I find myself wondering what Jane was really like… this image of her was formed, as I said, to ensnare Claude and I have to wonder if she isn’t more than just a being of terror as she was here. There is a hint of connections with the Vegas underworld in the story and I find myself wondering about that aspect of her, and where it would take her story in the future should the author continue the story from here.
I’m thinking about moving Plain Jane the Succubus out of the horror genre into the urban fantasy genre for a novella, novel and/or series. The short story will be rewritten as the first chapter from Plain Jane’s point of view as she eliminates a serial killer that she later discovers was the wrong guy. With the planted evidence implicating her, the homicide detective designates her the Las Vegas ripper, the supernatural underworld turns against her, and the chase is on for her to find the real serial killer before something really bad happens to her.
I’m going to take my time developing the longer story. Urban fantasy is not the same as horror. I need to know more about the supernatural creatures that inhabit the Las Vegas underworld, which I know little about except for the Godfather movies. I’m more confident about writing sex scenes now that my second sexually explicit short story is available in print. Maybe I can nail down the erotica part this time.