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July has arrived with the songs of tree frogs. Summer to me is the gothic south of sweltering nights where you feel the hot sweating breath of the world on your neck, a world of night swimming and shadows made darker by long days. I feel it necessary, first and foremost, to correct some misconceptions that have plagued my quiet passage through June. Despite the persistence of rumors it is untrue that I was being held in a labor camp outside Moscow after being captured with books stolen from the KGB archives. That is absurd as it was back in the 90s and not germane to current events.
Today, I am simply a humble man who spends his days lost in books, though June found me part of two cultural experiences. One was COVID-19 and the other found me at the steps of the Supreme Court of the United States protesting a landmark ruling. Both of these experiences I could have done without but one happened to me and one I felt compelled to stand up for. Yes, I believe in punching fascists no matter what flag they try to hide behind.
As July broke, my friends lifted me up and did much of the labor of getting One Thousand Cranes ready for publishing and it is available now, on Smashwords, Amazon and Bookapy. It is a short story in the Yuri, or girls’ love, genre. It is not explicit and not about sex but about love, both the love between friends and unrequited romantic love. It is bittersweet and sweet. It may be narcissistic for a writer to love their own work, but I do love it. It is also the rare thing that came into existence with almost no effort. There is something perverse in writers who take pride in the things that take the least effort but that is how it is.
Perversion is my bread and butter, though not always carnally. It has been said that there are only so many stories and we tell and retell them. There is truth to that. We pervert things, twist them and reshape them both to make them palatable to the contemporary and to find new audiences for them. And that brings me to upcoming works and some plugs. Strap in buckos I have a list.
The first plug is my newsletter. I will give birth to it soon, like Frankenstein, except with a keyboard and a tad less hubris. And vaginas will be involved this time. I will start promoting sign-ups for it first through my Twitter and then other sources. Be prepared for my ramblings, freebies and excerpts of in-progress works.
The second plug is my new YouTube channel. There I will talk about writing, gaming and eventually cooking. Additionally, I will regularly be talking about issues between men and women, topics that I think are important to address with a growing toxic culture of masculine behavior with misplaced anger. And in case you didn’t know I am also on TikTok.
My third plug is the first in a trilogy of novellas. The first novella will be a paranormal erotic romance as a college sorority sister attempts to recruit a college trivia whiz but has to contend with his secret first. The trilogy will follow the growth of a heroine and her adventures. It is graphically violent at times but will appeal I think to readers of Kim Harrison, Faith Hunter and Laurell K Hamilton though none of them, even Hamilton, gets quite this explicit.
Fourth, I have another erotic male/female short in the works with some dubious consent and I think it is rather hot.
My affection for Yuri doesn’t end with Cranes though, and I am already working on a second story, this time set in 1970 in the English countryside. A young woman from New York inherits an estate from an uncle she didn’t know she had. The estate has been largely abandoned except for one girl, barely a woman herself, who insists on remaining a night maid.
Both of these works centre around characters with plots. But, let’s be honest, sometimes smut can be silly and fun instead of literary and profound. In that genre, I am working on free-use kink edits of two well-known Sherlock Holmes stories with a third original in progress. The edits will be given away to newsletter subscribers first before being made more widely available, and subscribers to the newsletter will get to see the third original story as it progresses.
And finally, a fun and silly sapphic piece set upon the high seas using tropes familiar to fans of tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder. Don’t expect true love in this story but you will find out just how pervertable a lot of low-level spells are. And this one has, not many, but a few tentacles.
That is it for July. It is time for me to go listen to tree frogs and see what echoes of R’lyeh I find in my sleep.
Leto Armitage, July 2022
ABOUT LETO ARMITAGE
Leto Armitage was born in America under a set of circumstances that prophesied that he would one day unite the lost tribes and return the Ever Summer. Somewhere around twelve, he realized he had been left unsupervised and binged too many Arthurian movies in his formative years and that he was just another kid who accidentally got an education while reading above his age level.
By the time he turned old enough to get a passport, he started finding excuses to travel determined to find out what culture, food and women there were to experience. After learning to grill in Oaxaca, do kinbaku in Japan, and being banned from several former Soviet block countries, he returned home to settle down and see what damage he could do locally.
After working jobs including being a short order cook, bodyguarding strippers and professionally doing reader’s advisory for erotica he realized the most reasonable path forward was to become a writer. Today he lives with cats, dogs, and humans who seem to like him despite actually knowing him. He prefers to sit on his back deck, listening to the birds and Barry the Bumblebear bee, while he writes cozy, uplit romance and raunchy erotica.