How writing buddies become fighting buddies

Or: Can wounds be sexy? – From being stuck to publication

With the imminent release of the first short story in the Tales of Freya series came retrospective. How each story was born and brought to life, nursed, and groomed until it could be sent into the world. And each story has a unique back-story that is interesting to recall. A major ingredient to their success: my writing buddies!

A story needs rich plot, setting, characters – and writing buddies!

I rely on the help of my trusted and well-worn writing buddies every step of the way. They are always the first to help me – writing-wise, and life-wise :-). They are the first to help me brainstorm, get inspiration or, when I’m stuck, to unstick my knotted brain. And my best-worn buddy, Elaine Coetzee (I couldn’t do all this without you, lady, you’re the BEST!) is the first one I turn to for everything: ideas, plot-twists, plot-solutions, added scene-depth, characters, a smack on the butt, whining, murderous rants, a relieved or naughty laugh, some fun to grease the writing wheels (or those of mood in general). We work together for close to 15 years now! She’s sacred, and MINE 😉

And by the gods, have we grown together, and held each other’s hand every step of the way.

So naturally her part in making my current, steamy Viking short story come alive is HUGE. Actually, she wasn’t only the midwife there, she somehow impregnated me with the whole thing!

How forcing a story can lead to its publication

“The Current – A Battle of Seduction” is an example for a story being “forced” into this world. I wasn’t struck by my troll-muse with the idea for this steamy Viking piece. I had nothing but frustration when I turned to Elaine for help. I was stuck with something else – I forgot exactly what other story drove me mad then. All I know is, we talked, we laughed (I’m sure there was this picture of a Viking man involved …), we loosened me up. Then I was like “I need something else to write. To restore the fun. A short story to prove I can still do this. Something naughty, just between us!”

Haha! Ahem.

Ingredients to restore the yum

And we bantered about that gorgeous man I had discovered as an inspiration, and what a good Viking warrior he would make … and we brainstormed in our very own, very speedy, very crazy way: Fingers flying over keyboards faster and sharper than the northern winds; snippets of ideas thrown back and forth, enriched with details. We were like: “sexy is good, you write steamy best, but let’s drop all the weight of romance and happily-ever-after … let’s get him nekkid, and let off some steam! He’s a warrior, he’ll be exhausted, he’ll want to wash, there will be water, we need a stream, we need him filthy, we need muscles, and wounds … wounds would give an edge. So the water will be our setting, we will give him a woman to trip him up … and she will challenge him – they will fight in a different way!


Finding title and theme in an instant

All of that happened in a few seconds. Yes, we really type that fast when brainstorming. It’s the BEST part of every story. Then we went on: We have setting, characters, and props (the stream, the man, his sexy female opponent, light wounds, bruises, torn clothing, bloody weapons, and the everlasting pull of that CURRENT — and the title was there immediately. I only had to write the story to it! The current of the stream, the current of them being drawn to each other, then and there, for just that hot moment right after surviving a battle. As one reviewer put it, there is: “post battle fatigue and the need to affirm life in a basic way but not without emotional connection.”

We couldn’t have put it so beautifully then … but that is actually the theme I had in mind: The healing power of sex, the physical help this game offers them to restore their sanity.

Writing buddies inventing fighting buddies

Realistically, adrenaline would be soaring high. He was still in fighting mode, alert, when he walked to the stream to clear his head of the frenzy of battle. The last thing he expected to find was his fierce, but sexy fighting buddy (there she is again: another buddy! Buddies really are the best comrades for everything) – and she is IN the water already, and naked.

From there on the plotting came easily, now that we established the mood, the tone of the story and its participants. There would be seduction, emotion, heart even. But mainly, it would all happen as a result of two bodies still vibrating in fighting mode. More playfully, and on another level, but it would be a spectacle to watch these two fighters trying to tear down the defences of the other. And who would win in the end?

Would our warrior Aldaith yield to Nyssa’s female charms (she has none, btw; she is outspoken, straightforward, and strong, a real tease with a competitive streak), or would she give in to his muscled advances that know only one way forward?

He has to learn that all his training didn’t prepare him for this fight. 😉

There is a happy ending after all!

So The Current, Aldaith and Nyssa, and Me: we all have to thank my writing buddy Elaine, my desperate mood on that day, and that picture of an unknown man. And without the pressure of “You have to write something to publish” a story was born that is now being published – a short and hot one with a plot that is rare: a woman taking charge in a straightforward, effective way, seducing another warrior in ways he isn’t prepared for. Their banter and back of forth of teasing and advance is what I love most about this story. The basics for this were created together with my precious buddy.

As Elaine herself put it: “Brutality turns into sensuality in an instant, leaving the reader satisfied, yet craving more.” Yes, she’s better at putting these things into words 🙂

But okay, there is some kind of happy ending, too. Not that these warrior-guys would marry or ride towards the horizon together, because their encounter first and foremost is just that: a very multi-layered form of decompressing, of restoring sane minds via a physical exchange of the sexy nature. But it seems they might go raiding and fighting together in the future. They didn’t get quite enough of each other then.

So yes: wounds can be sexy. 😉

“The Current – A Battle of Seduction” is the first in the short story series Tales of Freya set in the Viking age.

Available for FREE preorder now at all major retailers!

Release date: April 24th.


The Current - Tales of Freya

The Current – A Battle of Seduction by Sarah Dahl


Tell us: Which stories are behind the stories you write or read? How do your stories come to life? Do you have writing buddies and would you tell us more about how you work together and which results you create together? I’d love to hear from you in the comments! 🙂

Happy reading and writing!

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