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'09 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Digital Publishing & Print
Common Myths of Epublishing
Ebook Formats and Devices

by Louisa Burton
Compelling Characters
Point of View, Part I
Point of View, Part II
Learning to Love Conflict
Story Structure
Keep ‘em Guessing
Keep it Simple
Keep Your Writing Real
The Importance of Pacing

Literary Streetwalker
by M. Christian
New World of Publishing
To Blog Or Not To Blog
Meeting & Making Friends
Thinking Beyond Sex
Selling Books
Walking the Line
e-book, e-publisher, e-fun
Still More E-book Fun

Shameless Self-Promotion
by Donna George Storey
Our Journey Begins
Pitches and Bios
Websites, Blogs & Readers
Publicists, Press Kits and...
Viva the Internet
Adventures in Cyberspace
Promoting In the Flesh
Make Your Own Movie
Bigger is Better
Looking Back, Planning Ahead

Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Questions to Ask Yourself...
Tough All Over

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Practice Makes Prefect
5 Books for Fiction Authors
Poetry In Motions
Six Serving Men
Ashley Lister is Anal
Stealing Ideas
Celebrating Poetry

2009 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
A Year of Living Shamelessly
Adultery, Exhibitionism ...
John Updike Made Me Do It ...
Story Soup: Forbidden ...
Lessons from Amazon
Naked Lunches ...
Erotic Alchemy
Secrets of Seduction
Are You a “Real” Writer?
Don’t Fondle My Sentence

Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
The Passionate Taphophile
Havens on Earth
A Knight Without Armor
Magic Carpet Rides
Getting Hammered
Keep It Quiet
Hang Around for a Spell

Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Worked Up About Why
Worked Up About Why, Part II
All Worked Up About Porn
The Catholic Church
Purity Movement
The National Crisis
The Future
About Homosexuality
Public Indiscretions

Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Premature Ejaculation
Auctioning Off What?

Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Who's Who Around the Table
Ritual Sex
Mixed Legacy
The Spectrum of Consent
Drawing the Line
Marriage without the Hype
The Distracting Smirk
Innocent Guns
Gardens of Earthly Delights

Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Anneke Jacob
D L King
Kristina Lloyd
Lisabet Sarai
Mitzi Szereto
Portia Da Costa
Shanna Germain
Sommer Marsden
Susan DiPlacido

Guest Appearances

Marketing a Self-Published Novel
by Jeanne Ainslie

Between the Lines

Ashley Lister talks with Shanna Germain


Shanna Germain

The name of Shanna Germain will be familiar to any serious reader of erotic fiction.  Shanna’s short fiction has appeared in a wide range of anthologies including Alison Tyler’s Hurts So Good, Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Spanked and Alessia Brio’s Coming Together With Pride. 

For those who aren’t familiar with Shanna’s work, this small extract from ‘White Heat, White Light,’ gives a taste of her distinctive style:

Night is falling.  In the rising dark, I am free.  For now.  The bonfire lights my way to him, a grounded star trail a thousand hours long.  I travel with the speed of light on winged sandals until I am there, in front of him, fierce and free in my summer dress.  In the wind my hair whips around my head.  It makes untameable snakes with pretty patterns. 

Ashley Lister: I’ve noticed that in your fiction you seem to prefer using the first person perspective.  Does this allow you to create a more intimate relationship between yourself and the reader?  How far removed are you from the personae of the story?  Is it always a fictional character that you’re writing about or do you sometimes get yourself caught up in the identity of that character?

Shanna Germain: Oh, wow. That’s a doozy of a question to start with. I love it!

I think it has more to do with the fact that I’m very character driven. Most stories start because I hear this person talking in my head, saying something in a voice and a language that’s wholly theirs. A recent story started because I heard this woman say, “It was my first death party, and I was late to it,” and of course I had to follow her along and see who died and why she was late. Another piece started when I heard a young man singing this old Scottish song. I find that I can get into a character’s head more clearly when I write in first-person, I can tell their stories as they would tell it, which in the end, hopefully does create more intimacy, not just between myself and the reader, but between my character and the reader.

To me, first versus third person is like driving versus riding in a car. In writing, I like to be behind the wheel (although not in life nor in sex – I hate to drive, and I’m very much a submissive). But in writing, driving lets me get closer to the action and the emotion of the character. That being said, I do try to be true to the story, and some stories just demand third person.

As to how close I am, I’d like to say I’m very close to my characters (and there are some characters I’d like to be very close to!). But, while they all have a bit of me, they are never actually me. I can’t write non-fiction, although I’ve tried about a bazillion times. I enjoy lying far too much to tell the truth.

Ashley Lister: One of my favourite Shanna Germain stories is ‘White Heat, White Light’ from Alison Tyler’s anthology Playing With Fire.  The description in this story is poetic, eloquent and intense.  Where did the idea come from?  And how would you explain the story to someone who hasn’t read this piece?

Shanna Germain: Oh, thanks. I’m blushing. Maybe that’s just the heat. Is it hot in here?

-fans herself with a copy of Alison’s book-

Whew. That’s better. A little.

The story is actually a very loose retelling of Andromeda, and the original title of the story was, “Chained Lady.” So there are a lot of references to the myths and constellations in the language and the visuals: stars and winged sandals, snakes and serpents and sirens.

In the original version, Andromeda is chained to a rock for eternity—offered as a sacrifice to a sea monster—in punishment for her mother’s bragging. She is saved by Perseus, the man who becomes her husband. In my version, she makes her own mistakes and takes her punishment, knowing full well what she’s getting into and that sometimes the punishment is actually part of the pleasure.

Ashley Lister: Away from your writing, I know that you do a lot of travelling.  Do you find the influence of different cultures and locations adds to your fiction?  Do you find yourself setting new stories in locations that you’ve recently visited?

Shanna Germain: Oh, yes, travelling influences my work very much. Right now, I’m living on a wild island off the coast of Scotland, and I find myself writing about sea-faring creatures like mermen and selkies. When I’m in a city, my work takes on a highly sexualized, faster, more urban tone. It’s not just that I write about different subjects, but also that the language I write with changes, the breath and rhythm of the words and sentences. Right now, for example, I’m in Germany, and the language has this lovely sing-song quality about it that, when combined with all the Gothic and fairy-tale type buildings, makes me write in this fantastical, whimsical voice.

Also, sometimes, I find that I can’t write about a place until I’ve left it, when I can look back and see it from far away. I suppose that’s true of many things, isn’t it?

Ashley Lister: I particularly enjoyed reading your story ‘Perfect Bound’ in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Spanked.  As always, the description is exciting and the sexual tension between your two main characters is tangible from the opening line through to the conclusion.  How do you create this dynamic between characters?

Shanna Germain: Okay, okay, I promise I won’t blush again.

Oops, there I go. Damn it. See what you did?

To hear that the sexual tension works means so much to me. That’s a great deal of my goal when I’m writing erotica. I’m not so much into the sex itself – in fact, editors often say, “I love this story, but can you add more more sex?” – because to me, the interesting part is the tension that happens on the way to the sex.

Getting the tension right at least partially goes back to that first-person voice, of listening to the characters. The first thing I ask my characters is “What do you want?” Sometimes they answer, sometimes they don’t. The story, to me, is about discovering what they want, why they can’t have it, and how they can get it. I think there’s so much tension in just that alone.

The reason I enjoy writing erotica is because, to me, sex is a time when we are most human, when we put down all our walls and our safety nets. I’m always aiming for that moment in my fiction – when everything’s exposed and every little touch and word is fraught with tension and desire.

Ashley Lister: What are you currently working on?

Shanna Germain: I work best when I’ve got about a million things on my plate. So I typically have a couple of novels, a couple of novellas, and ten or twelve short stories and poems going on at a time. Much of it is erotica – I’ll never leave that genre, I just love it too much. I also write horror, fantasy, speculative fiction and some mesh (I wrote ‘mess’ the first time, which is probably more appropriate) of all of that.

For the past ten years or so, I’ve been making my living as a freelance writer, editor and teacher, and just this spring, I gave all that up to write fiction full-time. So, it’s a scary and wonderful time for me. As part of that, one of the cool things that I’m working on is an e-book publishing company called MindFuck Fiction, where readers can buy my short fiction (and eventually the fiction of other great authors) for a song (or a few bucks).

Ashley Lister: If you could offer one piece of advice to aspiring authors, what would it be?

Shanna Germain: It would be that old cliché: Write and don’t give up. I teach fiction writing, and I see it over and over again: too many fantastic authors get so scared that they just stop writing. I tell them it’s like a mountain range: you get to the top of one skill and you think you know it all, and then you make one wrong step and you’re at the bottom looking up, with six hundred more mountains to climb. You’re never going to get through them all if you don’t just start.

Tape the words, “Fuck Fear” (or something else that gets you past the stoppage) over your desk. Say it aloud until you mean it. Then glue your ass to the chair and put words and words and words on the page. 

Ashley Lister: Where can readers now go to find more of your work?

Shanna Germain: I’m in a bunch of new anthologies coming out, including this year’s Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica, Like a Thorn, Blood Fruit: Queer Horror and Bitten. Readers can also see what I’m working on at my blog, Year of the Books.

Thank you, thank you, Ashley! Such a pleasure to talk to you, even if I don’t get to hear your great accent on paper.

Ashley Lister
August 2009

"Between the Lines" © 2009 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, Swingers: True Confessions from Today's Modern Swinging Scene (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753511355), a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his first title published under his own name.
Ashley's non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica.  Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto.  He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.
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'09 Movie Reviews

Blame It On Savanna
Review by Byrdman

Cry Wolf
Review by Spooky

Review by Spooky

Heaven or Hell
Review by Oranje

House of Wicked
Review by Diesel

The Office: An XXX Parody
Review by Spooky

This Ain't The Partridge Family
Review by Spooky

'09 Book Reviews


A Slip of the Lip (ebook)
Review by Jean Roberta

Best Women's Erotica '09
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Bottoms Up
Review by Ashley Lister

Enchanted Again
Review by Victoria Blisse

Review by Kathleen Bradean

Girls on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed
Review by Ashley Lister

Libidacoria (Poetry)
Review by Ashley Lister

Licks & Promises
Review by Ashley Lister

Like a Thorn (ebook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Mile High Club
Review by Ashley Lister

Nexus Confessions: Vol 5
Review by Victoria Blisse

Nexus Confessions 6
Review by Victoria Blisse

Oysters & Chocolate
Review by Kristina Wright

Playing with Fire
Review by Ashley Lister

Sexy Little Numbers Vol 1
Review by Ashley Lister

Up for Grabs
Review by Lisabet Sarai


A 21st Century Courtesan
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Ages of Lulu
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Amanda’s Young Men
Review by Kristina Wright

As She's Told
Review by Ashley Lister

Bedding Down
Review by Victoria Blisse

Review by Ashley Lister

Brushes & Painted Dolls
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Cassandras Chateau
Review by Ashley Lister

The Edge of Impropriety
Review by Kristina Wright

Review by Kathleen Bradean

Free Pass
Review by Ashley Lister

The Gift of Shame
Review by Victoria Blisse

Kiss It Better
Review by Ashley Lister

The Melinoe Project
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Mortal Engines & The ...
Review by Ashley Lister

The New Rakes
Review by Ashley Lister

Ninety Days of Genevieve
Review by Victoria Blisse

Obsession: An Erotic Tale
Review by Kristina Wright

Sarah's Education
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduce Me
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Lesbian Cowboys
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Night's Kiss
Review by Jean Roberta

Where the Girls Are
Review by Jean Roberta

Gay Erotica

Animal Attraction 2
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Boys in Heat
Review by Vincent Diamond

Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Low Road
Review by Jean Roberta

Personal Demons
Review by Jean Roberta

Ready to Serve
Review by Vincent Diamond

The Secret Tunnel
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Review by Kathleen Bradean

Review by Vincent Diamond


Best Sex Writing '09
Review by Kristina Wright

The Big Penis Book
Review by Rob Hardy

Erotic Encounters
Review by Rob Hardy

The Forbidden Apple
Review by Rob Hardy

Hollywood’s Censor
Review by Rob Hardy

Lady in Red
Review by Rob Hardy

Licentious Gotham: Erotic...
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Elf
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Girl
Review by Rob Hardy

The Other Side of Desire
Review by Rob Hardy

Scripts 4 Play
Review by Ashley Lister