I’m lying in bed next to my wife when Stella McMasters lifts the covers and slips in beside me. She taps my chin.
“When are you going to do it?” she asks.
I glance over to see if Stella has awakened Jane. My wife usually takes a dim view of me sleeping with two women at the same time. Fortunately, she’s snoring.
I turn back. “Going to do what?” I ask.
She snuggles closer. “Tell the rest of my story.”
I sigh, for she’s asked this before. Stella’s the cyborg heroine I created in Beyond Those Distant Stars, a SF action-adventure romance published by Mundania Press (http://tinyurl.com/74a6zqp). Twice I’ve tried to write a sequel, Star Warrior, but I’ve been stymied each time by my friends’ substantial and valid criticisms.
I try to brazen it out. “Listen, honey, you’re my creation, and it’s up to me to continue your story or not.”
This doesn’t fly. Stella’s face hardens, and she raises a fist. Two-thirds of her body is synthetic, and she could crush me with a single blow. “I rule an empire of a thousand worlds,” she says, “and I’ve got enemies who want to destroy me. Hell, there’s enough for a whole boatload of books. I can be an even bigger hero than Miles.”
That’s Miles Vorkosigan, the creation of the multiple prize-winning SF author Lois McMaster Bujold, whose name inspired Stella McMasters’ name. “Look,” I say, “I tried twice to continue your saga, but my writers’ group found too many implausibilities.”
Stella gives me a chaste kiss, which is unlike the passionate ones she gave her unfaithful lover in Beyond Those Distant Stars. “Screw the implausibilities. Just write it.” She smiles. “I feel great adventures ahead of me. New challenges, new men, new triumphs and revelations. Sweetie, my saga is just getting started.”
My name isn’t Sweetie, but I don’t tell her that. “I can’t do it,” I say. “I tried twice—”
Her hand squeezes me below the covers, but not as a lover. I moan in pain.
“Do it,” she orders. Seeing Jane roll over beside me, she taps my chin again and disappears.
Jane sighs. “Stella again?” she asks.
Great. My wife heard. “Yes.”
She moves closer. “It was worse this time, wasn’t it?”
I don’t need to answer. Jane kisses me gently.
“Honey,” she says, “why don’t you do what she says. Only in the sequel . . .”
She giggles. “In it, you kill the bitch off.”
* * *
Being haunted by your own character is no fun. If Stella wants sequels, why doesn’t she take charge and sweep me along plot-wise like other authors’ characters do? Doesn’t she recognize writer’s block when she sees it?
Two days later, I enter the shower to find Stella waiting there for me.
“Look,” I say, “we have to stop meeting like this.”
Nude, she taps my chin. “Then you know what to do.”
* * *
After I dry off, I sit down and start Star Warrior again.
John has published twenty books and three hundred short stories, most of them science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal romance. He’s the former editor of Horror Magazine and Chairman of the Board of the Horror Writers Association. Recently, he’s focused on his Inspector of the Cross series which features a 4000-year-old hero fighting to save the human race from seemingly invincible aliens.
Web site: http://www.johnrosenman.com
Blog site: http://www.johnrosenman.blogspot.com