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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

The Write Stuff

by Ashley Lister

Six Serving Men


Kipling is often quoted for his opening lines to the poem ‘I Keep Six Honest Serving Men.’

I keep six honest serving men
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

I remember once saying to a girl, “Do you like Kipling?” and she replied:  “I don’t know.  I’ve never Kippled.”  Which is an incidental joke and probably old enough to be drawing a pension.  And, on the subject of tired old jokes, I think my favourite ever subversion of a Kipling poem comes from the opening lines to ‘If.’

If you can keep your head when all about
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
Then you’re probably Jason Voorhees.

But it’s Kipling’s ‘I Keep Six Honest Serving Men’ that I’ve been returning to recently when I’ve been teaching my students about creative writing.  The pithy summary of Kipling’s verse is as much as any thinking writer needs to take with them to any new writing situation.  Asking ‘What?’ and ‘Why?’ and ‘When?’ and ‘How?’ and ‘Where?’ and ‘Who?’ will inevitably uncover all the aspects of a potentially insurmountable task and make the situation manageable. 

However, whilst this may be a quick way of establishing the framework for a synopsis or the direction of a poem, short story or novel: it’s also a very good way for a writer to clarify their writing goals.  This is illustrated by the six questions below, fashioned on Kipling’s mantra.  They’re not in the same order that Kipling presented them, but I’m not as poetic as Kipling.

Which is your preferred method of writing?

Paper and pen/pencil



There are no right or wrong ways of writing.  Some writers use paper and pen.  Some use computers.  Some use typewriters.  Some record their thoughts onto cassette and then get those recordings typed up.  Some will only ever use one of those methods.  Some will vary between them depending on the mood, the piece of work or other factors.  The only important detail is that the ideas must be taken out of the writer’s head and transformed into a format that can be read by others.

What do you want to write?


Short Story





Whatever you want to write, it is vital that you focus on that specific goal.  No one will produce a novel if they spend all their writing time composing poems.  Decide what you want to write and write it.

When do you prefer to write?



Most writers have a preference for a time of day when their writing flows more easily.  Some are happier at the start of the day, when they feel at their freshest.  Others work more effectively in the evening, when the chores of the day are behind them.  Work out which best suits your disposition and use the time to your advantage.

Have you drafted your idea?



I know where I’m going

Ideas are very much like the winners of Britain’s Got Talent.  One day they’re at the forefront of your thoughts: absorbing and all-consuming. The next day you can’t remember a single important fact about them.  Write down ideas when they strike you.  Keep those ideas safe and return to this ‘ideas file’ whenever you are stuck for inspiration.  Draft and redraft and make sure you keep earlier versions saved in a safe place.

Where do you prefer to write?

A specific desk/study at home

Anywhere the mood takes you


If your working environment is too noisy – fit soundproofing.  If it’s too quiet, buy a radio or an MP3 player.  If family think your writing environment is a place they can invade – set limits.  Some writers don’t mind where they write.  Some writers can’t write anywhere except at their own specific desk.  Wherever you write, make sure you’re comfortable and you have all that is needed to accomplish your work.  This includes necessary solitude and respect.

Why are you writing?

To make £1,000,000 on the bestsellers list?

To create a literary legacy that equals Shakespeare?


If you’re writing to get your name on the bestsellers list: you must be writing to please a carefully specified audience.  If you’re writing to create a literary legacy that lives on beyond your lifetime: you must write to please yourself.  Whoever you’re writing for: always make sure that your writing is something you enjoy.

Kipling kept six serving-men
They taught him all he knew
But now he’s dead
Those words he said
Can still work well for you.

Ashley Lister
July 2009

If you have any comments or insights to share about this column, please send an email to Ashley Lister

Find more of Ashley's Write Stuff in ERWA 2009 Archive.

"The Write Stuff" © 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), 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.
Email:  Ashley Lister

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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