Monthly Archives: January 2014
Eroticon 2014: a festival of erotica and celebration of sex blogging
House, Telephone Avenue, Bristol, UK
When: 8th and 9th of March
One day tickets
Two day tickets
Promotion for ERWA members:
10% off tickets during February 2014 – from 1st
February 2014 until 23.55pm 28th
Use code ERWA10 at checkout
Tickets page: http://writesexright.com/eroticon-2014/
Eventbrite discount page (they can use
the code in the tickets page but this link pre-populates the code):
About Eroticon 2014…
been running for three years now and as the organiser I get more out of it year
I came up with
the idea of the conference to give sex bloggers and erotica writers an event
dedicated to supporting their craft in a safe and non-judgemental space, but it
has become so much more than that.
Every year I meet the most amazing
people who support each other and me to become better writers and bloggers; the
atmosphere is alive with ideas, openness and kindness. The writing and blogging workshops are really
inspiring and of course it’s a great place to network with editors and
publishers, I am so proud when I hear back from writers that have gone on to
have their work accepted into anthologies or signed publishing contracts since
I’m super proud of this year’s schedule
with a great range of practical and discussion sessions planned. There are writing workshops from Ashley
Lister, Kristina Lloyd and Primula Bond, advice on how to market your books and
blog from Ruby Goodnight and Michael Knight as well as insight into commercial
writing from Cara Sutra and a guide to getting your anatomy in the right place
in your erotica stories from Lily Hastings.
Of course I can’t go without mentioning
the sponsors that make the event possible and who all come along to meet up
with writers and bloggers in the hope of signing them up to their projects;
this year we are welcoming Velvet Books, Constable Robinson, House of Erotica,
Doxy Massager and Give Lube.
With just six weeks before the event I’m
delighted to offer ERWA members a 10% discount on tickets throughout February
with the code ERWA10 when you buy your ticket.
You can buy tickets for the full
weekend, one day only or for single sessions.
All weekend and day tickets are fully
catered and guarantee entry into our social events.
I hope to see you all in March!
by K D Grace
Confession time! I’ve been totally
gorging on J. R. Ward’s dark and sexy Black Dagger Brotherhood novels.
Honestly, I’m totally addicted! These seriously delish novels along with the
fact that I’m working on the final rewrite of an epic fantasy novel got me
thinking about heroes and villains. First of all, I want to be almost as afraid
of the hero and I am of the villain. Secondly I want to be almost as attracted
to the villain as I am the hero. Oh the angst! I honestly can’t think that
anyone could really fall for a vampire or a werewolf or a ghost or a powerful
witch, or any other paranormal or fantasy hottie and not be terrified at the
same time. For that matter, even in just a really good erotic romance, the hero
is so much hotter if he’s dark and dangerous.
A part of what makes good story that has
even an inkling of romance in it, work for me is knowing that the hero could
easily turn and destroy the very thing he loves and longs to possess. More
often than not, the best heroes are really antiheroes, striving, or being
forced by circumstances, to be greater than their nature, and the more
difficult the struggle, the more endearing I find them to be.
In fact, there
are times when the only separation between the hero and the villain is how
willing he is to do battle with his own flaws. The fact that the lover is not
safe raises the level of the tension and the excitement. And yet that danger
makes the sex all the hotter and the angst all the angstier.
seeing Frank Langella’s Dracula back in the day and thinking, as I watched the
horribly delicious scene in which he takes Lucy, even with the terrible truth
of what the end result of his sexy attentiveness to her would be, who could
possibly refuse even if they had not been under his thrall? He was a gentleman,
he was charming and mysterious, he was hypnotic, he was gorgeous, he was
terrifying. And I wanted him!
steam-punkish re-think of Dracula
with Jonathan Rhys Meyers blurs the lines between the hero and the villain still
further in the battle with flaws. I want him too! In fact I want him much more
than I do Jonathan Harker, but then Jonathan Harker has always taken a sad
backseat to Dracula in his full glory.
Dangerous heroes and seductive villains
aren’t just for paranormalsies though. Writing as Grace Marshall, I found that
the villain in The
Exhibition, the third of the Executive Decisions novels was an
evil nasty piece of work, and yet oh so fuckable, even though, like Dracula,
the chances of surviving such a shagging intact weren’t good. And yet …
It’s not so much that evil is sexy as it
is that nothing is really all that black and white. It’s the contradictions
that make for a good, chaotic story, and it’s the shades of grey (Oh please
tell me I didn’t just say that!) where the story takes place. If I want to shag
the villain and run from the hero, then how can I trust my own heart, and how
can I possibly keep from turning the pages? Those flaws are oh so sexy and oh
so scary and those endearing character traits in a truly delicious villain make
us squirm, makes us uncomfortable in our fantasies, and from a fictional point
of view, what the perfect place to be.
But what happens when I write the baddies? Why do I love
being in their presence so much? And even more to the point, what does it say
about me that I find them so easy to write? Am I all of those people, the
heroes, the victims, the incidentals and the baddies all rolled into one
neurotic, twitchy woman? Do I have all of those traits somewhere hidden inside
me — the fantasies about being the evil tyrant as well as the fantasies about shagging
him? I doubt there’s any way to peek into the strange depths of my own
psychology that’s quite as revealing as writing a baddie. I shiver at the
On some level we writers live on the page in all the
characters we create, whether they’re hot and gorgeous and deliciously flawed
in sexy ways or whether they’re evil and twisted and scary as hell. The darker
parts of me are kept in check and held in balance by all of the other parts of
me, all of the other parts that participate in the tenuous semi-democracy of my
inner workings so that the evil demon in me and the potential sociopathic
tyrant in me and the petty back biter in me are all channeled in full bloom onto
the written page. Instant therapy? Am I scaring you yet? I promise, I’m
For the last two
months of 2013, I was seriously depressed. I have bipolar disorder, which I’ve
talked about on this blog before, and my doctor tried a new medication on me.
It didn’t work. I sank into a pit of despair I hadn’t been in in many years. In
fact, I had forgotten how horrible I used to feel. When it was unbearable but I
had enough composure to ask for help, I called my doctor. I’m now back on my
old medication, just a slightly higher dosage. I’m fine now. I don’t ever want
to go through that again. That nightmare has long been over.
One thing I did
while in the pits was self-medicate through music. I listened to a nature
sounds radio station, an alternative therapy station that played New Age and
ambient music you’d hear in reiki healing, massage sessions, and holistic
health spas. I also listened to trance music in the afternoons as a way to pick
myself up. This music was very soothing. I even played it in the bedroom so I
could listen to it while I slept, and it helped me to sleep well. As an
afterthought, I’ve considered buying some French and Italian language CDs to
play while I sleep so I may learn Italian and brush up on my French. I used to do that in college with cassette
tapes and it works.
So imagine how
intrigued I was to learn that a study
determined which songs are the most relaxing tunes ever composed. Granted,
this study was conducted by a bubble bath and shower gel firm and the sample
size was tiny (40 women), but it’s still fascinating. The song deemed the most
relaxing tune ever made was “Weightless” by Marconi Union. The study
determined this song is so relaxing you shouldn’t listen to it while driving
because it could make you drowsy! Here is “Weightless”:
All ten songs in
order of relaxation are:
1. Marconi Union –
2. Airstream –
3. DJ Shah –
Mellomaniac (Chill Out Mix)
4. Enya –
5. Coldplay –
6. Barcelona – Please
7. All Saints –
8. Adele – Someone
9. Mozart –
10. Cafe Del Mar –
We Can Fly
[Go to the link
above to listen to all ten songs.]
I listened to
“Weightless” and I didn’t find it to be all that relaxing. I
certainly didn’t get drowsy. The ones that seemed to work with my natural
rhythm were Enya’s “Watermark”, Airstream’s “Electra”, and
Adele’s “Someone Like You”. I’ve always enjoyed Enya, anyway, so
“Watermark” came as no surprise.
This got me to thinking
about listening to music when reading, editing, doing research, or writing. I
like to listen to music when working and reading. Not everyone does. I know
plenty of writers who must work in dead silence, otherwise they can’t
concentrate. They find music to be much too distracting. Other writers don’t
mind lots of noise including wailing kids underfood, the TV blaring, the radio
playing, game sound effects when the kids (or the husband) are playing World Of
Warcraft. Some require all that chaos. Then there are the writers who prefer
white noise playing softly in the background without anything else going on
I like to listen
to nature sounds and New Age/ambient music in the morning when I write, and
trance music in the afternoon when I edit, do research, or work on particular
types of scenes. Sometimes I listen to classical or Baroque music. For me, the
type of scene or book I’m working on determine the music I listen to. When I
was in that black pit of despair last year I couldn’t write at all, but music I
found relaxing helped me maintain my sanity. I often listen to the same music
in the morning to get in a very relaxed mood so I may properly write romantic
and sexy scenes. I can’t be agitated and write erotic romance. I save the
agitation for horror and dark fiction. 🙂
Here are some examples of music or ambient sounds I listen to that either inspire my erotic writing or put me in a safe and comfortable place where I may write at all.
First up, thunderstorms. I can listen to this all day and night and my heart rate will never go about 65. LOL
The same applies to the sound of ocean waves crashing. Plus these two videos run for ten hours! I live near the ocean so I don’t have to listen to waves crashing on my computer. I can jump in my car, take a ten minute drive to the beach, and listen to the real thing. It’s very soothing and inspiring. The only thing missing in this video is seagulls calling.
To me, Biosphere’s “Substrata” is the most relaxing and beautiful ambient music ever recorded. “Substrata” consistently makes the top of “best of” ambient music lists. It’s worth a listen.
This is my favorite song from “Substrata”. Eerie. The voiceover is from “Twin Peaks”.
I recently discovered “Duet” when I watched the movie “Stoker”. Philip Glass’s minimalism can be inspiring if his music is the sort of thing you get into.
Another song I discovered from a movie. The entire soundtrack to “Half Light” is beautiful, the love theme in particular. Plus the movie is quite good.
When I write erotic scenes, I often play “Principles of Lust” in the background. It suits the mood.
I found the study about the most relaxing music to be very interesting if flawed. Some writers love sound whilst others can’t bear it because it ruins their concentration. Do you listen to music when you write? How about when you read, edit, or research? If you do listen, what are your favorite songs and types of music or ambient sounds?
By Jean Roberta
Animals and children always seem to know what they like, and they show it. Human adults are more complicated, or so they seem.
How is this related to erotic writing? Before anyone’s clothes come off, attraction has to be shown. If the reader is going to be seduced along with one (or more) of the characters, the author has to make the attraction plausible. Since human interaction is the subject of most fiction, sexually-explicit or not, writers in general have to show attraction on various levels so that what follows from the attraction will seem believable. (I’m reminded of Virginia Woolf’s famous line about female friendship: “Chloe liked Olivia.”)
I recently went to a conference in Santiago, Chile, with my spouse Mirtha, who grew up there. We were thrilled to meet Mirtha’s five-year-old niece for the first time when her father (Mirtha’s half-brother, who is younger than Mirtha’s older son) showed up with her. While Mirtha and her brother hugged each other, Jessie the niece threw her arms around me. To my amazement, she seemed stuck to me for the next three days, whenever we all got together.
To understand my amazement, you need to realize that Mirtha is the only member of her family who is fluent in both Spanish and English. Her brother knows a few words in English, and I know a few more words in Spanish. Little Jessie speaks Portuguese, having been raised in Brazil, where Mirtha’s brother settled in 2004. (Jessie’s mother is Brazilian.)
Communication was a challenge, to say the least. Jessie chattered a lot, presumably about the kinds of things that are important to five-year-olds, then she would look at me. I would laugh, usually because I had no idea what she meant. Jessie would laugh too, and show me what kind of game she wanted me to play with her. (She did very good impressions of several animals.)
Jessie repeated a certain question slowly, several times, until I caught on: she wanted to know why my hair is white. (The Portuguese words for “hair” and “white” are not much different from the Spanish versions.) I told her in Spanish that it’s because I’m old. This amused her as much as everything else I said and did. She seemed especially amused that I held onto her legs whenever she would try to lean halfway out a window on the thirteenth floor to admire the view. “Peligroso!” (Dangerous!) I would warn her. She would giggle, even though all the adults in the room became equally alarmed when they saw her.
I don’t know why Jessie was attracted to the strange, foreign tia (auntie) with pale skin and hair. I found her adorable, of course, but the charm of a child (which even includes nerve-racking recklessness) seems self-evident, at least to me.
As all parents know from experience, children change a lot in short periods of time. Will Jessie remember me as her Tia in years to come? Will we ever have an adult conversation? Time will tell.
Attraction between adults which leads to intimacy in various forms might seem to be more logical than the whims of children, but it isn’t. “I didn’t know what I was doing” is a common way of explaining away a past relationship that has come to seem like an embarrassment.
Deep, visceral attraction (the feeling of a nail drawn irresistibly to a magnet) seems like the hardest aspect of a relationship to remember once it is gone.
As a reader, I find that some descriptions of attraction are convincing, and some simply don’t work. A tall, slim woman with big breasts may swoon over a man with sculpted musculature and a predatory glint in his eyes in a story, but physical descriptions alone (especially if they are cartoonish) don’t convince me that these two people would be equally attracted to each other in the real world.
As a writer, I will sometimes rework a paragraph until I’m tempted to throw the thing away. In most cases, the problem passage is part of the exposition that leads to the sex. Once it becomes clear that sex will happen soon, I’m on more familiar ground. Physical friction in some form turns most people on, so if a reader has stayed with me to that point, I have more confidence that the reader won’t leave during the climax of the plot, which is often a physical climax. During the resolution, the cooling-down part in which loose ends are tied up, I have some faith that an already-hooked reader won’t leave then either. And I like to write conclusions that imply the possibility of a sequel.
Hooking a reader in the first place by describing attraction between two or more characters is a challenge, especially if the writer doesn’t want to depend on stereotypes. How could I explain why the boyfriends of my youth appealed to me? Most of them turned out to be Mr. Wrong, and none of them resembled movie stars or underwear models. And then there was my first woman lover, who had no trace of feminine glamour, but who also lacked the physical fitness or boyish appeal of more conventional butches. She had a short, square, box-like shape. Yet at the time, her energy lured me.
The currents that pull some people together while pushing some others apart are still a mystery to me. Yet as erotic writers, we have a mission to explain what often seems unexplainable. I can only hope that if I bring enough enthusiasm to the job, some of it will be contagious.
By Rose B. Thorny (Guest Blogger)
As writers, we all know that there
comes a time when we have to end it all.
Whether we’re plodding, strolling,
prancing, or hurtling towards the inevitable, we know it is precisely
that… the unavoidable conclusion that we must reach if we’re
going to have a marketable product, even if we don’t actually sell
it for money. By marketable product, I mean a story that satisfies
someone other than the writer. The way I see it, the point of
writing a story is to tell a story you have inside you, but the point
of finishing it is to share it with others.
That last part is the gamble, though,
Not long ago, I was involved in a
discussion that arose from a writer saying, essentially, that she was
“stuck” part way through a major project. Part of the discussion
touched on where, in stories of any length, one is likely to get
stuck, and I gleaned that it is not unusual for authors to stall when
their stories are reaching the conclusion. If it had occurred to me
at the time, I would have taken a little informal poll just to get a
ballpark percentage, rough data on the number of writers who stall
near the end of their projects.
Of the stories I’ve started and not
finished, the majority of them are close enough to the end – beyond
the major turning point – that I realize that point is where I have
stalled. It isn’t that I don’t know how the story is going to
end, because I have a very clear vision of the where and how of the
conclusion. Of the stories I’ve written and finished, though, I
think about how much easier it seemed to be to finish them before
I’d had any successes.
The more stories I wrote and finished,
the harder it became to finish them. While I was writing the final
act of my later stories, I’d write a sentence or two and then I’d
feel paralyzed. I’d have to get up and walk around, look out the
window at the bird feeders, or get a coffee, then I’d sit down and
write another sentence, then maybe do a chore – put on a load
laundry, or walk out to get the mail (and that’s a fifteen-minute
break, because out to the mailbox is a quarter-mile hike) then sit
down and a few more words. It got really bad when I’d watch myself
writing two or three words and then being so antsy I’d have to get
up and move around for ten or fifteen minutes (taking deep breaths
and feeling totally wired), before I could sit down and write another
few words. I reached a point where it really just wasn’t fun. It
was all anxiety about writing the perfect story.
I’ve thought about this a lot, just
to try and analyze what’s going on in my brain when this
unfortunate impasse occurs.
I’m not going to get into the
mechanics of writing and how, if such a thing happens, you should
just sit and write, write, write, even if what you are writing is
crap. I don’t believing in writing crap on purpose, the same way I
don’t believe in making a crappy dinner on purpose, even if I’m
cooking just for myself. If it’s crap, it isn’t the story I’m
writing and all I’d have, if I did that, is a good story with a
crappy ending, which, I think, is why I’m subconsciously afraid to
continue on to the conclusion in the first place – the fear of
writing a crappy ending. To me, a crappy ending means there wasn’t
much point in writing the story at all.
I’m also not going to be shy about
saying that when I’m writing what I consider to be a good story, I
sincerely believe it is a good story. My gut tells me
it’s a good story. Of course, I don’t know if that’s misplaced
confidence, or an example of perfectly appalling hubris, or pathetic
self-delusion, or, by some weird twist of fate, true. I do know that
when I read and re-read (and re-read) the story, up to the point
where I’ve stopped, I find it entertaining. I think, “This
is a story I would read right to the end, if someone else wrote it.”
And that’s when I wish someone else
had written it… and finished it!! I think that if someone
else had written it, they would have known, in advance, what the very
best slam-bang ending would be, the one that would have the readers
saying, “Wow…just wow.” I know what the ending is going to be,
but I think what happens is that very special fear creeps in. It is
the fear that the conclusion will not live up to the rest of the
story, that it will be a disappointment, not to me (because I can
self-delude with the best of the self-delusional), but to the reader.
With the stories I’ve written and
finished, I thought the endings were good, but before I heard
that from anyone else, first I would think it’s good and then I’d
start thinking, “No, it sucks. Everyone is going to hate this.
Why did you even put it out there?” And then I’d get the
feedback and it confirmed that my initial gut reaction was on track –
the story, including the end, was good.
And that is the bigger picture:
Writing a good story and finishing it and having it
acknowledged as worthy by one’s peers and other readers. That’s
great, when it happens, but then the next story is all
conclusion, by which I mean that before I’ve even gotten a few
hundred words into it, I’m already thinking, “This is going to be
a disappointment. I won’t be able to do it again. Even if the
story line is good, the ending is going to be a letdown.” I can’t
help but think that any success is a fluke and the odds of flukes
continuing are not good.
Conclusions mean, to me, that I just
have to keep getting better and better and better, but, in my
experience, at some point, there is no better, there is only a “this
is as good as it gets” plateau and after that, it’s just like the
boiling point of water. The only thing that happens when water
reaches the boiling point is that it starts evaporating. But there’s
also no sitting on your laurels, because, well, that’s what
everyone says… don’t sit on your laurels. The implication is
that sitting on your laurels is the equivalent of failing. So what’s
the alternative? Keep going, keep boiling that water in the pot.
Keep proving to everyone that you’re as good as, or better than,
your previous success. Keep walking along that edge. Keep that gut
of yours clenched and those hands shaking and your heart pounding
with anxiety wondering when the fall is going to come. Rest on your
laurels and you’re a has-been failure, who loses all respect, or
keep going knowing that, eventually, you’re going to fail anyway.
This isn’t just the ravings of an
insecure, anxious wimp.
Very few published authors, whose work
I enjoyed initially, maintained a level of quality and anticipation
that has kept me coming back for more. Of course, there were/are
some, a few, who have maintained the momentum, but so many others
started out writing stories that had me gripped to the end and then
something happened. Somewhere along the line, while their subsequent
stories held the promise of, “Yesssss, that was a fabulous read,”
the conclusions became predictable, and then, even the stories became
repetitive and predictable, and the endings a yawn I saw coming.
I don’t want that to happen to me,
but if it happens to so many oft-published professionals, with so
many years of writing under their belts and so much more experience,
how can I possibly expect it not to happen to me? Why would I
be an exception to that? What would make me think I’m so
special that I believe I would be? And that creates the specter of
being a disappointment, the image of a has-been that nobody cares
about or even remembers. “Yeah, what’s-her-name was good to
start, but then, pfffft… she lost it. What was her
name, anyway? Well, doesn’t matter.”
The conclusions become harder and
harder, because every ending means a next beginning and the doubt is
always present that there will either be a plethora of
three-hundred-word beginnings, or no next beginning whatever, because
all of it, and not just the slam-bang endings, will have dried
Okay, so if you’ve read this far,
you’re probably thinking, “This is the most downer blog piece
I’ve ever read on ERWA,” and, perhaps, you’re right, but bear
with me. Just keep reading a bit further… I’m almost done.
I started a story, way back in
September of 2012. Just as I reached the turning point of the story,
the part that heralded the conclusion, I stopped. Over the
subsequent months of 2013, I went back to it regularly and re-read
it, edited it (and by edited, I mean embellishing or changing
phraseology, or finding a better word, or rewriting sentences –
nothing major, just touch-ups), but never added to it following the
last sentence of the story as it stood when I’d stopped. I really
enjoyed re-reading the whole story over and over. I couldn’t see
much at all wrong with it, and still don’t.
While it is unfinished, though, it
holds all kinds of promise. I think the fear is that once I finish
it, it won’t live up to the promise and, if I put it out there and
it’s a flop, I will have neither the energy nor the inclination to
do it all over again. The second fear is that if I put it out there
and it is not flop, what do I do next? The expectation will
be that the next one has to be even better, and if this one took over
a year to write, and it’s good, how long will it take to write an
even better one? I mean we’re not talking novel, here. I’m
talking about a story that is, at this point, just under 14K, and
it’s taken me fifteen months to get that far.
But here’s the upshot. I did
get over the first hurdle of the conclusion. Over the past winter
break, when I had thirteen days mostly to myself (if you don’t
count getting up every two minutes to tell the new puppy, “Get
down,” “No, you can’t have that,” “Drop that,” “Here,
play with your toy instead,” and ask “Do you need to go out and
pee?”), I actually sat down and wrote the pivotal scene that
presages the final act of the story.
If I can do that, then I can finish the
story. And if a neurotic, anxiety-ridden, over-analyzing
perfectionist with crazy-ass self-esteem and insecurity issues can
finish a story, anyone can.
Rose B. Thorny (the “T” is often
silent) has been a denizen of ERWA since 2005. She has been
published in the anthology, “Cream, The Best of the Erotica Readers
and Writers Association,” and boasts stories in Volumes 7 and 10 of
Maxim Jakubowski’s “Mammoth Book Of Best New Erotica,” plus
stories and poetry in ERWA’s Treasure Chest. By day, Rose is a
not-exactly-mild-mannered administrative assistant. The rest of the
time, she is all over map trying to focus on writing, cooking, art,
photography, wildlife and running the homestead with her husband, all
the while, looking after three cats and now a new puppy. Rose is
also an ERWA Storytime editor; she loves the thrill of reading work
by the promising new writers who make ERWA the coolest hotspot in
One has to wonder what was going through the minds of the Disney company when they decided to make the movie Saving Mr Banks. Did they truly think that in the internet age they could control their image as the company has in the past? Did they think the real story wouldn’t come out? Or were they banking on the extreme likeability of Tom Hanks* and the immense talent of Emma Thompson** to overcome a story with no real tension, because we all know the movie got made? Let me be super cynical here and guess that they knew someone would cry foul over their rewrite of history and hoped the controversy would spark interest in what otherwise sounds like the sort of film I’d possibly watch on cable three years from now while working out when I couldn’t find anything else to watch. (That should be a new Oscar category)
But why bend history until it broke, unless Walt Disney went to hell and he’s coming before Satan’s parole board, so the company decided to make a PR film to bolster his plea for early release. I’m just guessing here. Really, why did this story NEED to be told this way? Why did it NEED to be such an unctuous lie? “See the Feel Bad Movie of the Year!” Is the company coming up on a special anniversary or something? Maybe the 100th year of all things Disney and they wanted remind everyone who built the empire? (It was actually Roy, the financial genius brother, but facts should never get in the way of a good story. Even original source material should never interfere with Disney’s version.)
The aims of the story told in this film seem to be twofold: make everyone believe that P.L. Travers was ultimately won over by the folksy charm of Walt Disney and she was happy with the movie he created; and convince us that she was a real cunt who deserved to be lied to anyway so it was okay that he did it, because his right to make the movie he wanted to trumped her right to protect her creation.
By every profile of her I’ve read, P.L. Travers did not suffer fools gladly. Amazing, talented, pioneering, intelligent, opinionated people often aren’t nice, except when you’re a woman because when you’re female, your personality will always be the main focus of criticism of your creative output. It’s unfair, but that’s how the game is played. Unless you’re P.L. Travers and you don’t give a damn, or perhaps you simply feel that strongly about some matters. Then you dig in your heels and say “No,” for personal reasons, for artistic reasons, for whatever reason you want to because it’s your art and you should have a right to protect it from the things you most despise. And what Ms Travers despised was animation, American film, and all things Disney.
If you squint hard enough at this movie, you see P.L. Travers fighting hard for artistic integrity. Those who don’t work to see her in a better light will only see an unreasonable woman being mean to America’s Uncle Walt. What a bitch! Amirite? But even that doesn’t bother me as much as the utter lack of honesty about what really happened. They didn’t show her crying in misery at the premier that she (allegedly) had to beg for an invitation to. Because Saving Mr Banks was made by the Disney Company, they decided to Mary Sue it rather than give an honest depiction of the rather callous way Walt Disney lied to her.*** Showing her being drastically unhappy with the finished product would
have made a much more interesting film. I wish they would have had the balls to reveal him as a ruthless bastard. Show him betraying his word, his honor, and not giving a damn because he got what he wanted. That would be braver. That would be a film worthy of critical acclaim. Poor P.L. Travers was dead right all along to mistrust him. Alas, because the winner got to write the script, she will go down in cinematic history as the villain of the piece. So I’m here to say that it doesn’t matter if she was the bitterest pill ever, she still had the right to protect her work without being criticized as a person for doing it.
* remember when he used to be allowed to play assholes in film? I miss that.
** Isn’t she the best? If I were ever to be stuck in a country house in England for a week, she’d be at the top of my list for people I’d like to hang out with, because, hey, writer and actor! And she’s funny. Plus she seems like the type who’d know how to play sardines.
***I will not argue that he understood much better than she how to make a
hit movie.She wasn’t the intended audience for his film. And it’s possible that nothing he did would have ever made her happy. That still doesn’t make it all right to promise something knowing full well you aren’t going to keep your word.
Each and every month, I’m highly aware of following Lisabet Sarai’s posts – they never fail to be awesome. This month, though, Lisabet has directly inspired my post – thank you, Lisabet!
There was a particular sentence, though, that gave me the idea for this post, and I’m sure Lisabet won’t mind me borrowing it:
The inclusion of F/F and M/M in a book that is mostly M/F will evoke criticism from many romance readers, who seem to want a sort of genre purity.
Firstly, I agree with her comment and have found it to be true. But it led me to a slightly different way of thinking about the “genre purity” Lisabet mentions. There are many, many types of erotica and erotic romance, so many I can’t list them all as we’d be here for weeks. Some of it reflects real life, some of it is much more seated in fantasy. But, the thing to remember is, for the most part, it’s just fiction.
So why do readers dislike cheating in erotica and erotic romance? It happens in real life, it happens in television programmes, films, and it happens in other genres of book. But only in erotica and erotic romance does it get such a battering – readers really seem to dislike it, even though it’s made up and the characters aren’t real people – nobody’s actually getting hurt. I’m not bashing anyone. Far from it, I’m asking a genuine question – how come, for the most part, erotica and erotic romance readers are incredibly open-minded and they’ll read about anything from threesome and orgies, to BDSM, to anal sex, even water sports, blood play, and pseudo-incest but cheating is off-limits?
Please educate this poor confused writer 🙂
Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and
erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100
publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several
editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic
Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and
co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house.
She owns Erotica For All, and is book
editor for Cliterati. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join
her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her
newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9
By Lisabet Sarai
When I was in my mid-twenties –
during my sex goddess period – I sometimes went out without
panties. Walking around bare beneath my skirt, every current of air
caressing my naked flesh, was thrilling to the point of addiction.
It’s not that I’m an exhibitionist (although perhaps we erotic
authors all share a desire to expose ourselves). I wasn’t interested
in treating strangers to a flash of my pussy. Indeed, I would have
been mortified if I’d accidentally revealed my bottomless state.
The appeal had more to do with a sense
of freedom and a consciousness of risk, a heady appreciation of my
own delightful recklessness. Most of my life I’d hewed close to the
rules, an overachiever always trying to please others. I’d been shy
and timid, dutiful and diligent, the quintessential good girl. When
my hormones took over the helm, that changed. I found that I was far
braver and more brazen than I (or anyone else who knew me) would have
believed. And I loved that feeling, the notion that I was treading
the edge rather than keeping to the straight and narrow.
My panty-less state focused my
attention on the sensual. I became acutely aware of temperature and
texture. Arousal simmered through me, ready to be sparked into flame
by a chance encounter with a kindred spirit. Erotic possibilities
waited around every corner, and, bare-bottomed and moist with
anticipatory desire, I was ready to take advantage of them.
Writing my first novel felt very
similar to “going commando”, though it came more than a decade
later. I didn’t worry about markets or reader sensibilities. I wrote
what turned me on: wild, kinky, transgressive scenes, every
assortment of genders, twosomes, threesomes and foursomes, floggers
and spankings, nipple clamps and butt plugs, public sex, pony sex,
anal sex, even golden showers. I pushed the limits of acceptability
to the point that my editor actually made me tone down a couple of
scenes (and this was back when Black Lace was billed as “erotica”,
not “erotic romance”). My personal fantasies provided the energy
to move the book forward. Craft issues were secondary. The book had
already been accepted on spec, and I wasn’t really thinking about
what happened after it was published. The writing process itself was
I didn’t know anything about genres
back then., though reading Raw Silk now, I realize that it
follows many of the conventions of modern erotic romance – except,
of course, for its omnisexuality. The inclusion of F/F and M/M in a
book that is mostly M/F will evoke criticism from many romance
readers, who seem to want a sort of genre purity. They’d probably
judge my heroine as promiscuous too, for having simultaneous sexual
relationships with three different men, although in the end, in
typical romance fashion, she chooses to commit to just one.
None of this concerned me back then. I
wasn’t so swept away that I lost sight of the story. Indeed, even now
the novel’s plot strikes me as quite tight and well-paced. I guess
that was instinct, though, because my focus was squarely on the sex.
Like those days when I eschewed undergarments and opened myself to
adventure, I wasn’t concerned with what others thought. I was free,
writing for the pure joy of vicarious experience. I was in my
heroine’s mind and body, living my dreams through her. If others
disapproved, so be it.
If you think catch a hint of
wistfulness in my description of those times, you’re not wrong. I
don’t go commando anymore. The notion embarrasses me – a
sexagenarian exposing her graying pubic hair to the world? But I
remember that intoxicating feeling of lightness and power. I miss it.
And my writing? I’ve had fourteen years
of education on the tyranny of genres, what sells and what doesn’t,
what you can and cannot include in a book aimed at a particular
market niche. I’m constantly tempted, for instance, to let my
straight heroines indulge their occasional Sapphic inclinations, but
I know that will be the kiss of death for any book aimed at the
erotic romance market. Meanwhile, I have a difficult time keeping my
erotica from becoming to “mushy”. Although I’ve had my share of
zipless fucks, I’ve never found sex without some emotional connection
– love, tenderness, loneliness, shared kink, whatever – to be at
I yearn for the freedom – the
innocence – of my first years writing erotica. I’ve started to
realize I’ll never be a best seller (and I’m not even sure I want to
be). So why should I care about pleasing a mass of readers? I know
there are some people who’ll appreciate my particular approach, my
personal blend of romanticism and filth. I should strip off my
official author’s uniform and just write to please myself, and them.
I can already feel the breeze.
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 & 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, if you’d like.
I’m going to include an example here in the body of the post, to illustrate. I’ll be away on the 19th, and I want you to have a model to follow. After this month, I’ll post my snippets in comments, just like everyone else.
————– Sample Sexy Snippet ——————–
the sadist in our relationship. But I’m the one who’s more extreme.
wanted to strap a butterfly vibe to my clit, to ramp up my arousal so
I could better bear the pain. Does he really believe I could be more
aroused than I already am?
immobilized in one of our dinette chairs. Leather cuffs secure my
wrists and ankles. Woven straps encircle my thighs, my upper arms, my
waist and torso. The first rasp of separating Velcro liquefied me.
No, that’s not right. I’ve been soaked since I served him dinner and
he informed me, ever so casually, that tonight was the night.
putters around the kitchen, drawing out the preparations, making me
wait. My Master possesses an instinctive sense of timing – an asset
for any Dom. He plays every action for greatest effect. The goose
necked lamp from my desk has already been plugged in, ready to dispel
any shadows. Spreading a clean towel on the breakfast bar beside my
chair, he lays out his materials and implements, one at a time: latex
gloves, a cigarette lighter, rubbing alcohol, cotton balls, betadine,
gauze, surgical tape, and finally, two gleaming, silvery scalpels.
words from “Limits: A Love Story” in Spank Me Again, Stranger
by Lisabet Sarai
Please follow the rules. If you post more than 200 words or more than one link, I’ll remove your comment and ban you from participating in further Sexy Snippet days. So play nice!
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.
by Donna George Storey
The New Year always inspires me to do some housecleaning, but this year I found myself craving a deeper level of de-cluttering. Of course, this involves more than just filling up the trashcan, it means asking a lot of questions, too. What’s in this box that’s been sitting on top of my filing cabinet for years and do I even need what’s inside? The answer led me on a little trip down memory lane, but also posed new questions for the future of writerly self-promotion.
The particular box I mentioned just so happened to contain my promotional materials for the original paperback edition of my novel, Amorous Woman, which was released in the US in June 2008. (Predictably, it’s been re-released with another publisher as an ebook and takes up no space in my office). This included postcards, bookmarks, a well-thumbed reading copy of the novel and a sample press kit as well as a stand-up sign decorated with Japan-themed stickers: “Take An Exotic, Erotic Trip to Japan with an Amorous Woman.”
Ah, the memories!
It was educational—and utterly exhausting—to promote my novel all on my own, as the majority of writers must. In some ways I still haven’t recovered, and yet I met so many wonderful, generous people and had countless adventures that still make me smile. Reading with “In the Flesh” at the glitzy Hollywood Hustler. Speeding past the junkies collapsed on the sidewalks of downtown LA in a decrepit taxi at 1 am after taping the Dr. Susan Block radio show. The countless emails, phone calls, guest blogs, radio interviews, bookstore readings, bookstore visits begging the owner to help out a local author. This experience, more than any other, made me feel like I was a real writer because my eyes were truly opened to the reality that writing a book is but the small first step in reaching readers.
|With Eden Bradley at our exotic, erotic booth (that’s my kimono in the background)|
The contents of the aforementioned box took me back to one event in particular—the West Hollywood Book Fair where I was part of a booth of “California Erotica Writers” in September 2008. (For anyone interested in a more detailed description of that hot, busy day, check out my blog post, The Last Hollywood Hustle).
Advised by a book fair veteran to provide freebies for the fairgoers to get their attention, I ordered some fortune cookies with my own erotic fortunes as follows:
Sip hot tea; swallow. French kiss your lover’s most sensitive spot.
Blindfold your lover; order him/her to remain still. Do things to make this difficult.
Caress your lover’s body with silk; try velvet, then your tongue.
Have your lover pick a number from 1 to 10. Caress his/her secret pleasure spot for that number of minutes.
FOR HIM: Sip crème de menthe; spread it over his member with your tongue. Blow gently.
Your lover’s been naughty. Maybe s/he needs a gentle spanking?
Give your lover an erotic book; mark your favorite passages first.
FOR HER: Don’t take off your lingerie tonight—make him (or her) “work around it.”
Have phone sex—even if you live together.
Make love anywhere but the bedroom. Be creative with the furniture.
The cookies–Would you like to try a grownup fortune cookie?–actually were relatively successful in getting the grownups to come over to the booth so I could chat them up about my novel. Without them, I probably wouldn’t have gotten a single person to listen to my pitch! Although I didn’t intend it to be self-serving, those who got the fortune suggesting you give your lover an erotic book smiled cynically, and I vowed to substitute a different fortune next time. (I still believe an erotic book is a good gift, and it doesn’t have to be my book!) While I would never call myself an outgoing person, for the sake of my novel, I took on the role of salesman as best I could. One athletic, silver-haired gentleman even asked me if I was from L.A. When I replied I was from the Bay Area, he smiled and said, “You seem like one of us,” which pleased me then, but feels more complicated as a compliment in retrospect.
Of course, I can’t let the rosy haze of nostalgia mislead you about the thrill of my self-planned book tour to Hollywood. I stood at that booth from 10 am to 5 pm and sold 5 copies total, all to strangers—which was the best record of all of my boothmates. And all the visitors weren’t so nice. One boozy woman monopolized my time for 20 minutes, driving away potential customers. Another older gentleman chatted for a long time without buying a book, but before he walked away, he did press his crumbled, uneaten fortune cookie into my hand as a return gift.
It was fun to sift through the contents of the box and reminisce, but my present goal to clean house called me back to 2014. Would I ever use a sign, a press kit or even the bookmarks again? Would I ever attend a book fair to promote my work or traipse around to local bookstores, discovering all too intimately which owners respected erotica and which seemed to take pleasure in sneering at smut?
This, Dear ERWA Blog Reader, is my question for you. Is face-to-face promotion a thing of the past? Are bookmarks and homemade signs merely momentos or worth keeping as tools in my arsenal for promoting my next book? I cannot say that a single event I attended resulted in monetary profit, although I came away with invaluable memories. It seems to me that for reasons of cost and convenience, the future of promoting now lies solely in the Internet ether.
In the midst of writing this month’s post, I happened to read Rachel Kramer Bussel’s column in Dame, “Why Is Self-Promotion Considered the Eighth Deadly Sin?” Most writers, including myself, are more comfortable sitting alone at their computers making stuff up, so it’s no surprise that many, even the successful ones who’ve gotten world-class promotional opportunities like Jonathan Franzen, bemoan the necessity to peddle our own wares. Online promotion certainly does offer real benefits to a writer who is more comfortable writing than soliciting fairgoers to come over to her booth for a chat-up. On the other hand, I sometimes feel that all the Facebooking and Twittering is too much like making faces at myself in the mirror.
Promoting my book is not about me and my wonderful talent, as the uninitiated might think. That was one of the most valuable lessons I learned from my first efforts back in 2008. Promoting is about making connections. In her article, Rachel has a great quote from creative badass blogger, Justine Musk:
“Social media is about finding a way to tell this ongoing, multiplatform kind of story that resonates with your so-called audience because it’s about them, it’s not about you. It serves the audience, not you. Not all marketing is bad marketing. Good marketing is about making an emotional connection with the people whom you are meant to serve.”
I couldn’t agree more. But I have to admit that thus far social media has not provided the same potential for intimacy—although I do feel all warm and fuzzy from the Facebook messages on my birthday—and as I look ahead, I know it will be a challenge to find ways to make a real connection amidst all the noise and distraction of the online universe.
If you have any words of advice, please share!
Wishing you a Happy and Creative 2014!
Donna George Storey is the author
of Amorous Woman and a collection of short
Presents the Best of Donna George Storey. Learn more about her
work at www.DonnaGeorgeStorey.com