Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Story that has to be Written



I believe at some point every writer finds herself in the throes of the story that has to be written. I think erotica writers might find themselves there even more often than other writers because we’re often intrigued with the taboo, with the transgressive, with the unthinkable ‘what ifs’ that are a part of the dark unconscious. 

I think it’s a part of the calling of the storyteller -- that need to delve a little deeper, that need to see what’s really going on beneath the surface of the fairy tale, the myth, the urban legend. We seldom find sweetness and light hidden deep in the human psyche. Every demon, every monster, every nightmare, every dark fantasy that we won’t even allow ourselves to look at in the light of day is hidden there. I can’t even think about what’s behind that closed door separating acceptable story fodder from the darkness and not shiver.  

I had an experience once, while writing a story of that dark nature, or rather rewriting it, that reminds me of just how powerful that dark place can be. I was alone in the house, my husband was away on business. It was late -- long after midnight, and I was in the zone. There had been wine, there had been coffee, lots of coffee, and there had been fabulous uninterrupted writing. I had just rewritten a stimulating chapter that I was very pleased with, and I was all poised to begin the next, when I realized what that next chapter was. It was easily one of the darkest passages I’d ever written, straight from the depths of my less than pristine, less than sane unconscious. It frightened me when I wrote it. There was no way I could face it alone in the middle of the night and sleep afterwards. I downed tools and picked up the romance novel I was reading, a novel full of – you guessed it, sweetness and light. Truth is I needed some hearts and flowers just to lull myself to sleep, safely away from my monsters and the nightmares they bring. It was clean, it was safe, it was happy, and it allowed me to shut the door on the darkness until morning.

My point is that we, as writers, have the ability to bring those places deep in ourselves into the light. If we’re brave, we delve beneath the sweetness and the typical HEA and we meet ourselves in our darkest places. If we’re really brave, we write down what we find there, we shape it into a story because it’s a little easier to deal with that way, to experiment with, to study and to try and understand. And then, if we’re exceptionally fearless, we put it out there for the world to see. To the writer, it’s being naked in the worst sort of way. It’s vulnerability that any non-writer would never understand. But quite often to the reader, it’s a look into the mirror at the parts of herself she may never have been bold enough to examine before. 

I’ve been in both places. I’ve read stories through the haze of my own squeamishness, though my own anger and shame only to meet myself on the other side, and I’ve gutted it up with fear and trembling and told the tale that exposes self and mirrors it back to others. There’s no glam of the writing life in that, no swashbuckling, no billionaires, none of the Cinderella make-overs of a sunshine and cupcakes HEA. Instead, here be monsters, and they are not nice monsters. 

But if we can get beyond the need to make it all better, the need to wrap it all up in satin and tie it with a bow, if we can get to the blood and guts of what’s there at the center of the human experience, we might just find that our commonality has as much to do, even more to do, with the guilt and the shame and the hidden desires of the monsters beneath than it does with sweetness and light. We live in denial, and to a certain degree, I don’t believe we have much choice if we want to stay sane. But there are varying degrees of denial, and denying and defying that denial from time to time makes me feel a little more real, a little more human, and sharing it makes me feel a little less alone with my monsters.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Book Parties and Other Fun Things


Want to come to a book party? My new contemporary erotic romance novel No Restraint was released recently, and I'm hosting a book party in its honor. I'm giving away some prizes including free Kindle erotic romance books, some fancy schmancy soaps, and a Jack Rabbit vibrator!

I haven't decided which ebooks I'm giving away, but most likely they will be my two erotic fairy tales Trouble In Thigh High Boots (Erotic Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (Erotic Rapunzel).

I love parties, especially where books are concerned. The most fun one I went to was for Broad Universe. I brought some of my horror books with me for a reading. Everyone brought a treat. We brought chili. There were also brownies, cookies, and soft drinks. The crowd was small but it was worthwhile. I got to practice my public speaking skills and mingle with strangers, which is no mean feat for me since I'm very introverted. I'd love to attend another public, live, in person book party soon, but for now, Facebook will do.

Here is the link for my Facebook party:


It runs from 9 AM EST until midnight PM EST on Sept. 6.

Here is some information about No Restraint, which was published by Xcite Books in the U. K.

Blurb and excerpt from No Restraint. Buy this book at Amazon.



BLURB:

Alex Craig accepts a new job at a high-end sex doll company called Babes. Babes' dolls are high-end, expensive silicone love toys. Working at Babes is like working for a bacchanal. The company's culture is all about decadence, enjoying the good life, exciting sex, and enticing food and drink. Alex meets Jackson Beale, one of the company's vice-presidents. Jackson takes Alex on a new and exciting journey of carnal pleasure. He introduces her to new tactile and kinky pleasures, and she relishes her excitement. The world takes on an entirely new meaning and importance to Alex as she learns what she's been missing in her life.

EXCERPT:

They walked hand in hand down the wooden pathway and across the bridge to the fine, warm sand. Hot sun beat down on her shoulders, making her sweat. The heat was a bit overpowering, and she wanted to swim to cool off from the sweltering weather as well as her own arousal.

The chill from the waves lapping at her feet made her jump; the water was colder than she expected it would be. Jackson took her by the hand and the two of them ran headfirst into the waves, splashing water all about them. With a flying leap, Alex plunged into the waist-deep water, shrieking as the chill shocked her. Once immersed in the water she felt cool and comfortable. She enjoyed the much-needed relief from the smoldering heat.

Alex smoothed her wet hair as Jackson approached her to wrap his arms around her waist. Holding her so tightly she couldn’t escape, he lowered his head and kissed her full on the mouth. Not expecting the embrace, she struggled to pull away from him but soon surrendered to her passion. She wrapped her arms around his back and sank into his kiss. His tongue slipped into her mouth and she greeted him in kind, tongues dancing a duet to music only the two of them could hear. Her head spun and sparks exploded behind her eyelids as her blood rushed through her veins.

No man had ever gotten such an excited response from her from his mere kiss.

They pulled away from each other, lips unlocking, and she stared into his eyes. She couldn’t read his expression. He gazed at her with an intensity she hadn’t seen before. It was as if he wanted to see through to her very soul and possess it.

And she would let him if he insisted.

A warm breeze brushed her skin as she and Jackson walked along the beach. Bubbling surf washed over her feet, cooling her in the hot sun. They walked hand in hand as if they had been partnered for years instead of only days. Amazed at how comfortable she felt in Jackson’s presence, she strolled by his side, not talking, but only enjoying his company and the smell of the ocean surf. Her other lovers paled when compared to Jackson. He was all she ever wanted in a man – worldly, handsome, accomplished, and drop-dead sexy. He treated her with respect and gentleness; not that she expected anything less. If he had been less kindly toward her, she never would have taken up with him in the first place. She wasn’t one to believe in soulmates, but Jackson came very close to being hers.

He squeezed her hand, bringing her back to the real world. Pulling her toward him, he wrapped his arms tightly around her and kissed her lightly on the lips. What started out as a gentle caress grew into a fevered embrace; fingers entwined in her hair, her hands massaging his back. She wanted to implant the memory of his body and his touch in her mind forever so she could easily remember him when he was away. Their romantic setting set her head spinning with delight. A handsome man on the beach. Her dream come true.

---

Elizabeth Black – Bio

Elizabeth Black lives a dream life in a small home on the Massachusetts coast. She tries to go to the beach every day. When in the Zone, she writes erotic fiction, romance, dark fiction, and horror. She aims for la Dolce Vita and lives every day as if it were a feast. She shared her life with her husband, son, and three cats. She is published by Xcite Books, Cleis Press, Circlet Press, Bold Strokes Books, and other publishers. You may find her on the web in the following locations:

SIGN UP FOR MY MAILING LIST ON MY WEB SITE

Elizabeth Black - Blog and Web Site

Elizabeth Black - Facebook

Elizabeth Black/E. A. Black - Facebook Page (Like me please!)

Elizabeth Black – Twitter (Follow me please!)

Elizabeth Black -  Erotic Fiction Amazon Author Page


Friday, August 26, 2016

The Specter of the Constant Slut

by Jean Roberta

My original plan for this post was to discuss words for sex acts and sex organs, as did Lisabet Sarai earlier this month. Context is very important to me, and this is why some of the shorter pieces that have been posted in ERWA Storytime make me uneasy, especially if they refer to such characters as “the office slut.” Has any woman who works in an office ever considered herself The Office Slut?

I don’t object to the word “slut” per se, but context is crucial. The purpose of most offices is to produce a product or a service other than sex. If someone in the office is known as the official Slut, she is probably not taken seriously as an assistant or editor, or whatever role she was hired to fill. (For more on this subject, see Nine to Five, the 1980 movie about working women in which Dolly Parton plays the role of a private secretary who is ostracized by everyone in the office because everyone thinks she is having an affair with her boss. She isn’t.)

Even literary erotica sometimes implies what porn films explicitly promise: that viewers/readers can visit a kind of alternative dimension, where great sex is always happening, and it is available to everyone who visits there. Rumors about actual places on earth where, supposedly, anyone could have consequence-free sex with anyone else at any time flourish best in real-world environments where sex is hard to get (e.g. high school, most workplaces, jurisdictions where “obscenity” is broadly defined and highly illegal). In the Land of Blooming Orgasms, supposedly, no one has to experience the frustration, rejection, humiliation, or competition for mates that characterize the real world.

A traditional double standard of sexual morality lends itself to belief in the Land of Blooming Orgasms. An extreme division of women into the good and the bad, based on sexual history, usually divides Virgins from Sluts as though these words defined different personality types rather than phases in a life. (Everyone starts out as a virgin, but anyone who stays that way for a lifetime has been deprived of much valuable experience.) Sluts can be imagined as having constant sex with random strangers whenever they are out of sight, not doing something more mundane.

The biological differences between males and females might encourage males (straight, gay or bi, but not trans) to believe that some women have sex constantly. Men know that they simply aren’t equipped to get aroused, ejaculate, then repeat the process again, and again, and again. Even the mightiest stud has his limits. Females, however, can be penetrated in every orifice as many times as they want – and if their desire has limits, the ability of others (armies or gangs) to rape them has no limits.

And therefore the myth of the constant Slut pops up in various contexts, and is often treated more seriously than it deserves. When I had sex for the first time with a boy I liked, it was a fumbling affair of mutually-missed opportunities. I was a teenager, and I had only a vague idea of what to do. Nonetheless, as soon as the boy had caught his breath, he said: “You must have done this a lot.” Apparently one fuck had transformed me from a nice girl with no experience into the eternal Slut. I was tempted to respond with teenage snark. (Well, I’ve spent the last five years in a whorehouse in Tijuana.) Luckily, I didn’t say what I was thinking. I realized even than that the school gossip network would have accepted that statement, embroidered it, and circulated it throughout our small town.

This leads me back to erotic writing, a more wholesome exercise of imagination than gossip about actual people. References to the Office Slut, the Town Slut, the Wild Slut of the Jungle, or the Interplanetary Slut suggest fantasies about the Land of Blooming Orgasms. This is escape literature or masturbation material, and its charm is obvious. It’s not realistic, and intelligent authors don’t intend it to be mistaken for realism.

However, the tone of a piece of erotic writing isn’t always clear, or consistent. (If your goal is to write something entertaining and unbelievable, snark is good.) References to the Office Slut can sound negative, not because sexual skill or experience are necessarily bad, but because women are so often accused of being Sluts instead of whatever they appear to be: secretaries, administrators, students, teachers, mothers, faithful companions.

If I’m reading a piece about Captain Luscious of the Starfuck Fleet, I would like to see some reference to her actual ability to fly a space vehicle, even if it’s only mentioned in passing. This information would raise her above the level of a cartoon, or an insult. In the real world, even sex workers eat, sleep, do laundry, pay bills, meet friends for coffee, and raise the children for whom they need to earn money.

Besides, the sexiest stories are those that suggest the possibility of good sex in the messy, complex world where people actually live.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Avoiding Redundancy in Multiple Sex Scenes While Writing a Novel

by Kathleen Bradean

Two months ago, I asked readers to tell me what topics they'd like for us to cover. Martin asked how to avoid redundancy in sex scenes while writing a novel. I tried to pass that on to Lisabet and Donna, and they did answer, but this question deserves deeper investigation.

For purposes of discussion, I'm going to over-simplify a few things, such as an observation that there are two types of erotica novels. The first is a fun romp of sex scenes loosely tied together. The other is the exploration of a character through the lens of sex and sexuality.

If you're writing the first type, the aim is variety. A Donna mentioned, avoid redundancy by bringing in different or multiple partners, using different sexual acts, adding elements such a voyeurism, and increasing the stakes be it more intense BDSM or the possibility of being caught or whatever fits the plot. The result should be light and fun for both the characters and the readers. (I don't mean light as an insult. It's difficult to maintain an upbeat tone page after page. I couldn't write a breezy story if my life depended upon it. But I do enjoy reading them.)

If you're writing the second type, you're probably going to have fewer sex scenes than in the first type, but that's up to you and what best fits your story. You can use all the tools available to the previous type, but this isn't sex just for the sake of sex. This is a carefully crafted sexual encounter designed to transform the character. Titillating your audience isn't necessarily your aim or an inadvertent outcome, although there is absolutely nothing wrong/right/good/bad if it happens. Redundancy shouldn't be a problem here because you are focusing on what this particular encounter means to a character at this specific point in their life. Since your character should be changing throughout your novel, at each sex scene they have a slightly different take on what's happening and you're going to help them grow through it. So even if in both scenes the sexual positions and partners are the same, the emotional outfall might be very different. Maybe the first time the character is over the moon that this person wanted to have sex with them, but the second time, they feel used or sad. You also have the luxury of writing bad sex/sex gone wrong/discomfort with what happened/mixed or complicated feelings. We learn a lot through setbacks in life, and so should our characters.

Martin, I hope this is what you meant by redundancy. If not, let me know.

Feel free to add your thoughts on this.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Prick by Any Other Name?



By Lisabet Sarai

When it comes to sexual vocabulary, I'm agnostic. I will use whatever word seems to fit in a particular situation. Some authors I know are uncomfortable using terms that are particularly graphic or viewed as obscene. In contrast, I have no problem calling female genitalia a “cunt”, assuming the term is consistent with tone of my tale and the personality of my characters. On the other hand, I won't eschew a bit of euphemism, even somewhat purple-tinged, when the story, the characters and/or the readership require it. I'll use clinical or anatomical terms, too, if that's what seems right. I think carefully about the words I choose in sexual description, because an unfortunate decision can distract and even alienate readers.

Hence, I don't appreciate being told what words I can and cannot use in my fiction. For the most part, I am deeply satisfied with my main erotic romance publisher, TotallyBound. They're the most well-organized, diligent and supportive publishing company I've ever encountered. And they let me get away with a lot! However, I've had a few run-ins with editors when I wanted to use the word “prick”.

I've been told that, according to their style guide, “prick” is not acceptable terminology. I'm really not sure about the motivation, since for me the word is no more graphic or offensive than “cock”. It's true that in American English, calling a man a “prick” (or a “dick”, for that matter) is considered deeply insulting (though the two epithets do not have the same implications). Does that carry over into the original use of the word to denote the penis? Not in my dialect, anyway. It has occurred to me that the connotations might be different in the UK, where TB is based, but we do have readers all over the world.

I'll sometimes choose “prick” as an alternative to “cock” when a man is thinking about his own organ. It seems to capture, for me, some aspect of gritty physicality. It makes me think of locker rooms and surreptitious hand jobs, of embarrassing hard-ons and Internet porn watched on the sly. Personally I wouldn't tend to call a penis a “prick”, because I don't have one, but I feel that a man might (and I hope that our male Grip members will either confirm or refute this).

Prick” also has the nice implication of something that pierces or penetrates. I'm certain that extra level of meaning makes it sound a bit dirtier.

Anyway, when I received the edits for a recent erotic romance, Challenge to Him, there were several instances of “prick” called out.

He could scarcely look at her without imagining her rounded limbs wound with rope, her neat bosom bared to his pinching fingers, her lively brown eyes hidden by the blindfold that would give him license to use her however he chose. His prick swelled to an uncomfortable bulk inside his trousers. He was grateful that the motoring duster he wore concealed the evidence of his excitement.
This example fits in with my commentary above. The hero is slightly embarrassed by his sudden arousal, and thus thinks of his organ as a “prick”.

I thought a long time about whether it was worthwhile to fight about this. Ultimately I decided to change the word to “cock”. In my opinion, this loses a bit of the meaning, but not enough to justify antagonizing the editor.

However, a second case occurred here.

You’re a clever little slut,” Andrew muttered through gritted teeth. “I’ll wager this isn’t your first time eating a man’s prick.” He wound his fingers into her hair and held her head still. “Open!” Jerking his hips, he drove his cock down her throat with bruising force.

I refused to change this instance. Andrew has deliberately selected the term “prick” to embarrass and excite the heroine. Replacing this with some other term would weaken the utterance. There's also the problem of repetition, since I wanted to use “cock” in the following sentence.

Some authors agonize over every word. I have to admit that I don't do that. However, I can usually trust my instincts, especially in a sex scene.

I'm not a prima donna, I swear! You can even ask my editors! However, I'll stand up for my right to use the words that work in my story. Penis, cock prick, dick, dong, schlong, shaft, meat, phallus, skewer, screwer... there's a place for each one. Maybe even “hardness”! Words are my tools. I'm not going to reject any of them out of hand.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sexy Snippets for August



Where did the summer go?

I hope you've spent yours writing suitably steamy stories. If so, today is your chance to share a bit of them!

The ERWA blog is not primarily intended for author promotion. However, we've decided we should give our author/members an occasional opportunity to expose themselves (so to speak) to the reading public. Hence, we have declared the 19th of every month at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog Sexy Snippet Day.

On Sexy Snippet day, any author can post a tiny excerpt (200 words or less) in a comment on the day's post. Include the title from with the snippet was extracted, your name or pseudonym, and one buy link.

Please post excerpts only from published work (or work that is free for download), not works in progress. The goal, after all, is to titillate your readers and seduce them into buying your books!

Feel free to share this with erotic author friends. It's an open invitation!

Of course I expect you to follow the rules. One snippet per author, please. If your excerpt is more than 200 words or includes more than one link, I'll remove your comment and prohibit you from participating in further Sexy Snippet days. I'll say no more!

After you've posted your snippet, feel free to share the post as a whole to Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you think your readers hang out.

Enjoy!

~ Lisabet