Allen Dusk is a writer’s writer and does not fit into a neat category, he writes whatever he wants–and he does it deliciously and darkly! Enter his new online series The Girl Alone, that he writes in weekly increments. The premise of The Girl Alone pulled me in right away–sex and mystery?!?! I am simply thrilled to host him today!
I would like to take a moment to thank F. Leonora Solomon for this opportunity to provide a guest post for her blog, and for the opportunity to reach out to new readers who may not know me yet. Some of you may have heard my work on Rose Caraway’s KMQ podcast, or read my work in a variety of recent anthologies. I don’t put warnings on my stories or stick to specific genres, so it’s hard for people to place me in a box with regard to what I write. You can place me in a pine box when I’m good and dead, and until then, I will write whatever I want, and not what the market demands.
About three years ago, I came up with the idea for my latest project, The Girl Alone, after having a discussion with my wife about a sad girl drinking alone at the end of a bar. Gradually the idea blossomed as I found myself delving into who this woman was, and why she was sitting there all alone. Up until that time, I had never written a contemporary erotic story. My stories have always been a blend of sci-fi, horror, or what others consider taboo (clowns anyone?), so I was nervous about entering uncharted territory. My other concern was alienating the small fanbase I’ve accumulated. However, since I don’t really stick to any one genre, I guess my fears were a bit unfounded since I really had nothing to lose and much more to gain by trying something new.
I practiced writing a contemporary piece of erotica set in a bar in my short story “Last Call.” Whenever I begin to doubt myself, I reflect on what I do well and stick to that. My wife and I enjoy traveling around to Tiki bars and sampling their drinks. I’ve always found something intriguing about the kitschy culture of Tiki, so I attempted to capture it in a story, and “Last Call” was the resort. It was fun to explore what we liked about visiting new bars and trying new drinks, and sharing that with readers through a story. While writing this story I made certain to lay the cornerstone for a hunky bartender named Lucas, and foreshadow that he was headed off to bigger and better things which would eventually unfold in The Girl Alone.
Usually I can pound out the first draft of a story in a short amount of time. The Girl Alone ran into some complications because my wife and I decided to go back to school to earn our advanced degrees. I tried to keep up with regular writing, but beneath the pressure of my 50 plus hours a week full-time job and an accelerated degree program something had to give. Unfortunately, the main character in my story had to wait it out until I wrapped my degree before she would see her story finished. Every time I sat down to write a paper, I knew she was sitting all alone, nursing an empty cocktail glass, and waiting for me to ask her to dance. I gave myself a month to decompress after wrapping school before I returned to conclude her story.
The plan for The Girl Alone from the very beginning was to release the story online for free, one chapter every week for 27 weeks (there ended up being 27 chapters…so that’s where that comes from). I wanted to practice with the serial format because just as “Last Call” was a rehearsal writing for The Girl Alone, my girl alone is practice for a larger multi-book series that will also be published in a serial format. Paperbacks, ebooks, and audiobooks will follow, but these stories will always be available free online. The Girl Alone also deliberately jumps between scenes, with chapters beginning and ending in ways that will hopefully leave readers guessing, questioning, and (hopefully) craving more. The best part about the online format is that nobody can skip to the last page and read how the story ends – at least until I post the final chapter. For those of you not yet familiar with my writing style, I pride myself in the twists I work into the ending – and my girl sitting alone at the bar will not be excluded from this expectation.
So enough of the vague discussion about the guts beneath the flesh, what is The Girl Alone really about for readers? I would like you all to meet my friend Gabby, who was recently dumped by her boyfriend, and finds her suddenly caught up in a nightclub scene where strong drinks and casual sex are merely Band-Aids stretched over gushing, emotional wounds. Gabby has a complicated journey ahead of her that some may label as transgressive, and I simply label as life. We all endure rough spots throughout out lives that leave us questioning our actions, wondering if we could have done something different to avoid the trouble where we find ourselves. In order to become whole, Gabby must accept her losses, mend her wounds, and find strength in what she fears the most. We’ve all felt alone, and Gabby’s story is my epitome of what it feels to be at rock bottom of sorrow and clinging to a shot glass for pain relief. Love is found and lost along her journey, affections are misdirected, and sometimes she just fucks people because she’s obligated to follow the rules until she gains the wisdom to make her own rules.
If you have the courage to join Gabby on her emotional journey, you can find her sitting at the corner of the bar. Saddle up and buy her a drink. If you’re lucky, you’ll find out if she’s wearing panties or not, and if you’re unlucky she may throw the glass at you while she’s cussing up a storm. I can’t blame her though. Gabby’s life has really gone to hell lately, and I’m hoping she pulls herself out of it before something terrible happens to her.
An excerpt from The Girl Alone
“Can I get you something else, or were you planning on joining your friend?”
Names of drinks flashed through her head, none of them appealing. Creeping intoxication tingled her nerves. The music suddenly dropped in volume and muffled all at once, as if she were dunked underwater. The vengeance of the Strong Island bore at her with full sails.
“How about a Redbull and vodka,” she finally said.
“I knew it. Those silly broken hearts do have a way of parching one’s throat.”
Alcohol slithered through her veins, slowing time to a crawl. It must have been seconds before Lucas returned with her drink, but she really didn’t know. She returned his smile, was fairly certain she actually said thanks, then she sat there with her lips poised on the straw without ever drinking.
Gabby spun on her stool, her glass gripped with numb fingers. Where did Bry go off to? She craned her neck searching over the crowd for any sign of her girlfriend. She was gone; lost to a sea of fun and smiles.
She gulped her frigid drink, amused the brain freeze struck her before the warmth spread down her throat. Set her glass on a coaster, which she couldn’t recall if it had been there before or not. Despair submerged her spirit, laser beams and starlight drifted past; again, she was set adrift through the universe of depression.
Lucas passed by, his handsomeness blurred by inebriated ogling. “Do you mind me asking how you plan on getting home tonight?”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about me.”
“Well, maybe I’m in the wrong business, but I worry about pretty girls who drink as fast as you. Perhaps that’s because I made that drink stronger than I should have.”
“I’ll be fine. I realize we hardly know each other, but you can trust me.” Gabby’s words slurred. Her gaze drifted past Lucas. “I’ve learned to get around just fine on my feet lately. No thanks to my ex-boyfriend that screwed over my credit and got my damn car repossessed.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.” Lucas set a glass of ice water in front of her. “Promise me you’ll slow down just a tiny bit, and I’ll see to it that you get home safe and sound. I’ll even pay for the cab if I need to.”
“Deal.” Gabby gave his hand a quick shake, treasuring the sensation of his warm skin pressed around hers. Her glassy stare pursued duties along the bar. She caught him looking her way more than once. Even if it was only to check on her, his attention was still thrilling.
Layer by layer her imagination stripped him naked, revealing every detail of the tattoo scrolling over his flesh. Slowly he stroked himself, his pure desire fixated on her. Gabby gawked at the erection swelling for her honor. Bry was absolutely right; his cock was huge.
Allen Dusk is a splatterpunk at heart who enjoys toiling long hours in isolation while he’s dreaming up stories. Whether they’re horror, science fiction, erotica, or a wicked blend of genres, he enjoys keeping readers guessing where his words will take them next. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon, and when he’s not helping keep the city weird, he enjoys experimenting with photography, lusting over old horror movies, and exploring the world through geocaching. Curious readers may connect with Allen through his website AllenDusk.com.