Fighting as Storytelling

Photo via Showtime Boxing

I’ve been watching lots of fights lately. Boxing, UFC, and even the bare-knuckle stuff (which I enjoy, but also can’t believe it’s legal). People often ask me why an intelligent, literate dude like me enjoys watching people beat the crap out of each other. They say my love of combat sports runs in contradiction to my personality. An easy answer would be to simply say people are full of contradictions, and then just put it to bed, but this is a blog, so let’s dig a little deeper.

I’m both a storytelling enthusiast and a storyteller myself.

A fight is the oldest and most primal type of story there is.

Before I dive into this further, I want to clarify a couple of things. First, I’m not a meathead. I don’t fancy myself a tough guy, by any means. Second, I think fighting outside of a sanctioned, sporting event is almost always foolish and unnecessary.

With that out of the way, what is a fight, really?

Two combatants who want the same thing (a win, sometimes a championship). Each of them must stop the other in order to accomplish this goal.

So, what’s a story?

Two characters who want the same thing (a win, usually some form of self-fulfillment). Each of them must stop the other in order to accomplish this goal.

Here are some random examples off the top of my head:

In MOANA, the lead character hopes to restore the world to its previously balanced state. The lava monster Te Kā, a heartless shell of the goddess Te Fiti, also wants to balance the world. Their methods are different (much like each fighter has their own style). Moana seeks restoration. Te Kā seeks the eradication of humanity.

In STAR WARS, the rebels and their Jedi allies seek balance to the galaxy. They believe restoring the Republic is the way to do so. The Empire and their Sith allies also seek that balance, but by contrast, they believe domination and the destruction of the Jedi is the key to achieving this goal.

In my book SAINT SADIST, the protagonist sets out on the road, not just to escape an abusive environment, but to become herself. The multiple antagonists she faces aim to mold her into who they believe is the most perfect version of herself. Their methods are abusive and their visions for her are skewed because they aren’t her.


In a mystery, the criminal wishes to get away with their crime, while the detective hopes to solve the crime. While their goals are different, they, like fighters, aim to outdo the other in their achievement of their goal.

In a romance, the hero and the heroine, are both looking for love. They often find themselves at odds with each other, because their own damage prevents them from seeing how perfectly matched they are. “Love is a battlefield,” as Pat Benatar said, and like fighters with good sportsmanship, the battle ends when the combatants, no matter how bloody, embrace each other.

I could go on and on.

Perhaps, I’m simplifying things, but I don’t think so.



Excerpt from All I Need – Crescent City, Book 1

The following is an excerpt from the novel All I Need, first in an exciting new romance series by debut author Jamie St. John. If you enjoy this excerpt, you can pick up All I Need right here.

Kylie – Now

His mouth is a doorway to magical taste and sensation. I melt with desire to melt with him. Our tongues dance, like our bodies so recently, but with more force, like no amount of contact is enough. With each writhing motion I want more. The kiss is everything Holy Communion should be, a sharing of flesh, divine and dripping with sweet revelation.

When he pulls away, I lunge forward, needing him back in my mouth. Another song starts, but the spell doesn’t break. I’m ravenous for him. He says something about getting a room, and somehow I manage to answer.

He kisses me again, and we leave the club in a rush, sole passengers on a bullet train burning carnal fuel. Somewhere between the club and the hotel, I realize I never bought the second round of drinks, and start laughing like a crazy person.

He stops and asks if I’m okay, if I’m sure I want to do this, if maybe I’ve had too much to drink. But the only thing I’m drunk on is the need to be as near to him as possible. I’m in danger of thinking beyond the night, about what might happen tomorrow morning when I wake up in his arms, if I wake up in his arms, if he doesn’t leave before dawn’s first light. I think about what might happen if I see him again before my vacation is over. I think that I’m thinking too much and quell my thoughts with another deep kiss.

I love everything about this. I love that we’re still in costume, our faces covered by masks. I love that I don’t know his name. More than anything, I just love how caught up in it I am, back in New Orleans and pulsing with expectation.

Somehow I hold it together while I pay for the room. I overcome his objections, first by telling him that he bought me a drink, then by telling him that if he buys us breakfast tomorrow, we’d be square.

The middle-aged woman at the front desk can barely contain her smirk as I fumble with my credit card. She knows what’s up. I can read it all over her flushed face as she hands me the receipt.

“Have fun,” she says with a wink.

The elevator ride to the room on the fifth floor is too long. I want him now. We share few words. Mostly, we just look back and forth at each other, giggling like children and occasionally sharing more kisses as reminders of what’s coming later and can’t come soon enough.

Nerves abuzz, it takes three tries to get the room key to work. He asks again if I’m sure I want to do this. He says we can stop whenever, and I believe he means it. There’s no whiny disappointment in his voice. His features hold concern, but it’s clearly concern for me, not for whether or not he’s getting laid tonight. I’m a good reader of people and his expression exudes empathy.

“I’m more than sure,” I say, and with that, I finally get the door open.

When we enter the room, time slows down even more than in the elevator, but this time, I don’t resist it. It’s always better to take your time.

I cross the room and face him. He hasn’t moved from the doorway. He watches me for instruction. I love a man who can let go of control. While I don’t deny the existence of benevolently dominant men, I’ve yet to meet one myself.

“Okay. Rule one: masks stay on.”

“Okay with me.”

“Rule number two: you will wear protection.”

“Oh, shit. Should I run down and get some? I think there’s a convenience store across the street.”

“Not necessary. I always carry condoms in my purse, because, well, I guess you never know.”

I watch him closely for one sign of judgment, one indicator that he’s the type of man who would shame me. Believe it or not, even in the twenty-first century, such men exist.

“Cool,” he says. “That will save us some time.”

He smiles then. I can tell he is a little nervous now.

“Don’t worry. I’m healthy.”

“Same. I just… well, I guess I don’t normally do this.”

“That sounds like a line, but for some reason, I believe you.”

“I also, I dunno. I kind of get the feeling that you don’t either.”

Now, that’s a shocker.

“Well, if we still had our drinks, I’d say we should toast to trying new things.”

He laughs and I join him. After something like fifteen seconds, we stop.

“So, who gets undressed first?”

“Maybe we should do it together. On three?”

“Okay. I like that.” Then he bites his lip. “Well, maybe I should get a head start. This hat leaves me more to shed.”

“Fair enough,” I say, glad to get a full view of that fantastic hair.

He removes the hat and I stare, admiring the wavy locks. I can’t believe how thick they are. I can hardly wait to run my hands through them.

“Okay,” I say. “One-two-three.”

We take our time. I don’t know how much time has passed before we’re fully naked, but I’m grateful for it. Anticipation is my favorite part of lovemaking. We stand there, examining each other. I’m not crazy about letting men give me a full inspection when I’m disrobed, but something about this man is so disarming, I want him to see me naked, to examine the goods before he signs on the dotted line. I even do a little twirl so he can look at my ass and whatever else catches his fancy back there. I’m partial to the back of my neck, myself, a space of flesh tattooed with a butterfly.

I face him again and can see he is pleased. I try not to notice a man’s cock before anything else, but in this case its’ challenging not to. He’s rock hard, and his length extends so that the head of his penis reaches his navel.

The body that houses the organ is not too shabby either. Clothed, he appeared deceptively wiry, almost frail and birdlike. His large hands should have been a dead giveaway though. He is anything but frail. His abs are like eight polished stones lined up in two perfect columns. Pecs are similarly smooth, and just as firm. His arms are lean and sinewy. His legs are like a runner’s. Aside from some strange pink scars near his color bone, his body is pretty much flawless. Either he’s got a great workout regimen, or he was grown in a lab from top-of-the-line genes.

I utter a breathy “wow,” before I can stop myself.

“Wow bad or wow good?”

I take a step toward him. “I think you know.”

We close the distance between each other. The eye contact holds steady with each step. It’s like we’re in a trance, each of us a space particle caught in the gravitational pull of the planet between us, a world made up only of our mutual desire.

We kiss, and I’m pleased to discover that we’ve lost none of our momentum. It’s like we’re dancing again, this time even closer together, connected at even more points, with nothing to keep us apart. We dance our way to the bed.

He kisses his way down my torso, each touch of his full lips a warm drop of exquisite oil. I stop him at my waist, taking a fistful of hair that feels as amazing as it looks.

“You should let me first,” I say. “If we go straight from blowjob to sex, you probably won’t last long.”

“Wow, that’s incredibly forward.”

“I’m not knocking your stamina. It’s just physics. If I get you to an eight on the scale of flaccid to thar she blows, and then put you inside of me, it will be over way too quickly.”

“Wow. You’re really confident about your head game.”

“I’ll get you to the brink. Then you can go down on me. Then intercourse. Longer lasting intercourse, especially with the aforementioned protection.”

Before he can help himself, he’s in stitches, cheeks flushed and laughing like he’s heard the latest, filthiest version of The Aristocrats joke.

“What?” I say, trying to stifle my own giggles.

He catches his breath. “I guess I’m not used to this kind of honesty or planning.”

“Is that a problem?”

“No, it’s kind of nice, actually.”

“Great. Then get your ass on the bed and let me suck your dick.”

He stands up straight and salutes, which looks all the more ridiculous given his nudity.

“Ma’am,” he says.

Then he’s sprawled out on the bed waiting for me.

“How fucked up would it be if I just left?”

“You wouldn’t even bring your clothes?”

I grin big and get down on my knees between his muscular thighs. When I take him in my mouth, he gasps and grips the bedsheets in tight fists.

Oh, he’s gonna be a fun one.

And he is. Everything is. It’s great. As close to a perfect lay as one is apt to get, really.

But then a disaster happens.

After I collapse on top of him, spent and climaxed out with my juices a puddle in and around his crotch, after we’ve gone through positions tried and true and even a few new ones, and after he comes, filling the condom with his pleasantly scorching seed, and it feels so good I almost wish I hadn’t made him wear one, after all that, the worst thing I can possibly imagine happens.

He says my name. I didn’t give him my name.

All I Need – Crescent City, Book 1 is available now on Amazon.

Preorder My Romance All I Need

If you follow me on Twitter or IG, or if you know me personally, you may have heard that last fall I wrote a romance. I talked a little bit about that on an episode of The JDO Show, but I believe that episode is exclusive to his patrons, soooo, I figured I’d talk about it a little here.

With the exception of a phase during my teenage years where I exclusively wrote science fiction and action-adventure, I’ve been writing horror my entire life. It started when I was six-years-old with a handwritten, illustrated chapbook called The Skeleton that I photocopied and sold to my neighbors.

I had a well-documented psychotic break around this time last year. What I haven’t talked much about is that this break was the culmination of a whole lot of other things. Call it a sophomore slump or call it imposter syndrome, and you’d probably be onto something, but around 2014 (a few months after selling Flesh and Fire), I could feel my love of what I was doing, along with my love of myself fizzling. But I kept trucking forward. Kept writing. And, most notably, kept quiet. I published Mania and the first edition of Engines of Ruin. I finished Gods of the Dark Web and We Are the Accused. I did all of this, even though I thought I was a complete fraud.

After my son was born though, the mental exhaustion of dealing with a newborn proved too much. I stopped finishing things. Even when Gods of the Dark Web came out, I had a difficult time getting the fire back. Part of that was I tried to recapture the tone and style of that book, which I’d finished two years prior. Another part was that I was always tired and probably on the wrong medicine.

Eventually, I stopped writing altogether. You want to know whether or not writing is for you? Try not doing it for a while. After six months of a self-imposed hiatus, as well as getting hit with the news that because of my son’s allergies we had to get rid of all our cats, I just couldn’t take it anymore. This resulted in a long weekend stay at Austin Lakes Hospital.

While there, I learned some interesting things. For example: mental patients have a strangely acute sense of respect for others’ personal space. Most “well-adjusted” folk are always up in my shit. I also learned that writing is damn important to me. When not going to group, eating or sleeping, I was at it with a pencil and notebook, mostly just trying to create a perfect scene.

When I got out, I hungered to start a new project. After a long chat with accomplished romance writer Tracy Wolff, I thought a good way back into the process would be to try something completely different.

Enter All I Need, a romance in which two masked strangers who have a one night stand discover they’re long lost high school sweethearts, torn apart thirteen years prior by Hurricane Katrina.

I stuttered my way through the first bit. Not only had I not written in a while, but this was a whole new genre for me. Then Killer Con happened, and I remembered, goddamn, of COURSE I still love horror, and hammered out a few short stories that found their way into the reissue of Engines of Ruin. But since I hate leaving good ideas unfinished, I returned to All I Need and typed the words “The End” on the document in November.

Multiple revisions later, All I Need, the first of 4 romance novellas set in New Orleans, is up for preorder on Amazon. If you’re curious to see the piece that got me writing again, check it out.

If you’re only here for the horror, that’s cool, too. Finishing All I Need got me to Saint Sadist, and I’ve got many more tales of terror in the works.

Preorder on Amazon

Thirsty Thursday

At school. It’s drizzling outside. I started revising my romance novel, and I’m eager to get back to it this afternoon.

The first 5-7k words are so rough, I cut them, and wouldn’t you know it? The story is already stronger. Of course, now it’s a novella (I hate that word; I think I’ll follow Carlton Mellick III’s cue and say “short novel”). I’m weirdly okay with it.

20-30k words is plenty to tell a story. Start in medias res. Cross the point of no return. Reverse the goal at the midpoint. Reach rock bottom. Ascend to a satisfying conclusion.

I haven’t the attention span for subplots, and I will hereby stop trying, unless I really hatch some good ones, or get offered money to write a book of a certain length.

My model of storytelling comes from Star Trek (TOS) and The Twilight Zone. I’m serious. If you want to write a lean, mean story, analyze the fuck out of each of those show’s episodes.

Now, that said, if I want to make a living at this, that means I have to up my productivity. When Saint Sadist comes out on March 16, it will be my third this year. Not bad.

I want to do more, and I can do more. It may be tough to get more than one or two more releases out there this year, but we’ll see. I’ve been reading How to Write Pulp Fiction by James Scott Bell and getting a lot of inspiration.  I like this new productive me, and I aim to keep at it.

Look for my romance book to drop in May. I’ll be using the pseudonym Jamie St. John, but that’ll be our secret.