Behind “Mothflame”

Mothflame originally appeared in Not One of Us and was reprinted in my chapbook Ashes & Rust.

Mothflame originally appeared in Not One of Us and was reprinted in my chapbook Ashes & Rust.

While I was at the Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Workshop, I went through a novel that I just couldn’t finish writing and pulled out my favorite scene.  In it, a rock’n’roll singer is methodically throwing wine bottles against a white wall, hoping to express his anger and grief when his young companion dies of an inevitable OD.

I loved the scene.  It was the piece I would miss the most when I abandoned the novel, which had gotten huge and unwieldy and could not be separated from its source material.  I’d written myself into quicksand and the only way out was to dig out the scene and write a new story around it.

That’s how I wrote the story “Mothflame.”  The title seems to refer to Ysanne, the singer (who became female in the story — I think she looks a lot like Tilda Swinton), but it really refers to Chris, the androgynous first-person narrator, who is Ysanne’s opposite.

All these years later, I am really proud of the story.  The scene-setting is particularly nice.  I adore Aden, the doomed young model, and his wardrobe.  The descriptions of the concert come very close to shows I’ve seen.

I’ve been thinking about all of this because I’m experimenting with Wattpad, a site where authors can post their work for free.  Mothflame is up there now, if you’d like to take a look at it.  Here’s the link:

Please let me know what you think, either here or at Wattpad.

About Loren Rhoads

I'm the author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel, as well as a space opera trilogy. I'm also co-author of a series about a succubus and her angel. In addition to blogging at, I blog about my morbid life at
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