My Top Ten

How many erotic stories have I read, in the eighteen years since I formally entered the erotica reading and writing community? Five hundred? A thousand? For years, I wrote reviews for ERWA, as well as for the wonderful Erotica Revealed site. I’ve edited anthologies, too, which means I’ve done a lot of mucking around in the slush pile. I’m not proud to admit that most of what I’ve read, I’ve forgotten. Sometimes I’ll be digging around in my review files, looking for something to recycle for my blog, and come across a book I don’t remember at all. It’s a bit embarrassing. Of course, a lot of erotica is pretty forgettable. Even when they are well written, erotic short stories tend to follow predictable plots and feature familiar stereotypes. I may enjoy a story—it may even arouse me—but after I’ve closed the book and written my review, the details all too often slip away. Some stories, though, have stuck with me. I was struck by this recently, when reading Emily L. Byrne’s lesbian collection Knife’s Edge. This book includes her stunning tale “An Incident in Whitechapel”. I read this story a long time ago, no doubt in some other anthology. I found I remembered it vividly, and was just as impressed by it on the second (and third) reading as I’d been on the first. That experience got me...

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The Hidden Political Power of Erotica: A Reader’s and Writer’s Journey

“When you write, you illuminate what’s hidden, and that’s a political act.” So said Grace Paley in a 1985 “Fresh Air” interview. I came across her quote in a New Yorker review of the new collection of her work: A Grace Paley Reader. It’s hard to get more hardcore literary than the New Yorker, but even as I held that august magazine in my hands, I thought, “She’s talking about erotica writers, too! Actually, not ‘too.’ Especially us.” After all, who is best at illuminating what is hidden from polite society than erotica writers? Sexuality is, even today for the most part, segregated in private spaces or specialized commercial venues. Writing erotica in any dedicated, and certainly celebratory, fashion (bad, uncomfortable, or punished sex is more acceptable for literary fiction than a good, contagiously hot sex scene) “cheapens” a serious writer. But most human beings do have sex. It has meaning in our lives. It elates and confuses, embarrasses and enlightens, connects and exploits. To explore this aspect of our existence honestly in our writing is courageous, and indeed political, in the sense that it “speaks truth to power” by refusing to obey the rule of silence around sexuality. Yet for me, erotica’s illuminations go even deeper. I speak now as a reader of erotica, the twin pillar of our association’s name. When I first encountered sexually explicit writing,...

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The Ugliest Word

The dust has pretty much settled since comedian Bill Maher’s flippant use of the mother of all racial slurs and his pro forma celebrity apology that followed. I’m not a fan of Maher; his smug, smarmy style brings to mind that of an obnoxious hipster irritating everyone at the party by showing how down he is by running his mouth. The effusion of criticism, condemnation, indignation that followed was just as irritating as Maher, due to the wholesale use of the term N-word. I can’t conceive of a sillier construct contrived to avoid saying a word out loud or written full out. What? Are we not all hearing the actual word resounding in our heads? Or maybe it isn’t resounding in our heads, and that’s my gripe. N-word is childish: Johnny’s in trouble cuz his teacher told mom he said the N-word. It diminishes the power and brutality of the word as well as little Johnny’s sin: Johnny called one of his little classmates a nigger! Resorting to the N-word is like trying to ignore a pile of shit in your living room by daintily placing a paper towel over it, all the while carrying on in a calm and civil manner. But, it’s still there and it still stinks. Best you heed your nose and your gag reflex and deal with it. The Maher affair also brought comments from...

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Confessions Of A Literary Streetwalker: Meet Me Halfway By M.Christian

Let’s open with a joke: a guy pleads with god over and over: “Please, Lord, let me win the lottery.” Finally, god answers: “Meet me halfway – buy a ticket!” Back when publishers only put out – gasp – actually printed-on-paper books I was known as a writer who would give anything I did that extra mile: readings, interviews, PR events, press releases … you name it I’d do it. To be honest, I’ve always had a small advantage in that my (unfinished) degree was in advertising and I’ve less-than-secretly really enjoyed creating all kinds of PR stuff. I’ve always felt that a good ad, or marketing plan, can be just as fun and creative as actually writing the book itself. Sure, some of my PR stuff has gotten me (ahem) in some trouble … though I still contest that the “other” M.Christian who staged that rather infamous plagiarism claim over the novel Me2 was at fault and not me, the one-and-only; or that my claim to amputate a finger as a stunt for Finger’s Breadth was totally taken out of context… Anyway, the fact is I’ve always looked at publishers as people to work with when it comes to trying to get the word out about my books. Sure, some publishers have been more responsive and accepting than others and, yes, I still have bruises from working with...

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Effective Feedback

by Daddy X When I first started writing, I realized early on how difficult it is to get anyone to read erotic work. Friends proved somewhat less than helpful. Either they told me what I wanted to hear or I never heard from them again. After losing several friends, I abandoned that approach. :>) So I took a few workshops with Susie Bright. She mentioned The Erotica Readers and Writers Association as the place to have our efforts read and commented on by those who know something about the subject. IMO, Storytime represents the heart and soul of ERWA. Our critiquing process has long been acknowledged in erotica circles as one of the most effective means of taking the initiative to improve our craft. There’s no set-in-stone requirement for participation in ERWA Storytime, though we do suggest an honor/common courtesy-based guideline: ideally an author offers two crits of others’ work for every story the author has posted for feedback. No one’s going to reprimand you if we have a slow week and not enough stories come in to fulfill the guideline. But over time, if it looks like all take and no give, expect a gentle reminder from our oversight staff. Over the years, I’ve picked up some helpful tips about offering, and receiving, critiques: The best way to start It’s important to formulate your own critique before you...

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Writing Exercise – The Lune

The Lune By Ashley Lister No time for foreplay I want you Let’s get naked now The lune, otherwise known as the American Haiku, was first created by the poet Robert Kelly.  Kelly, seemingly frustrated with the English interpretation of the traditional haiku, adapted the form to a 13-syllable poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 3 syllables in the second line and 5 syllables in the final line. I like this form because, unlike he traditional haiku, there are no restrictions on content or subject. With a lune the poet can be serious or humorous, solemn or playful, abstract or concrete. As an exercise to get creative writing juices flowing, the lune is an ideal entry-level poetic form. Inhaling your scent Then tasting Leaves me wanting more As always, I look forward to seeing your poetry in the comments box below.  ...

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Writing as Masturbation

K D Grace Happy Masturbation month, everyone! I hope you’re enjoying it as much as I am. Aside from the obvious, May is my favorite month for a lot of reasons. The flowers are blooming and the birds are singing … and mating themselves silly and everything is suddenly made new. As is always the case in this glorious month, I can’t keep myself from thinking about those new beginnings and the fact that many of them seemingly come from nothing.  At the moment, I’m finishing the final rewrite of Blind-Sided, the second novel in the Medusa Consortium series. Like all the Medusa tales, it’s a big book and, as I work through the final draft, reading it out loud as I go, occasionally I find myself wondering how we writers can create something out of nothing, from the tiniest seed of an idea. And that’s all any novel I’ve ever written is in the beginning. Honestly, I’m amazed at what results. But this is masturbation month, so how can I not think about the absolute pleasure I take in creating something out of nothing, in the solo act of sitting in front of a laptop for months and hammering out a tale that didn’t exist before. Oh yes, my dear friends, for me, writing a novel is very much self-pleasure. The ancient Egyptians believed masturbation was a creative act in its own right....

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Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her three cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page.  Her new m/m erotic medical thriller Roughing It is out! This book is a sexy cross between The X Files, The Andromeda Strain, and Outbreak. Read her short erotic story Babes in Begging For It, published by Cleis Press. Her story Neighbors appears in the new lesbian anthology The Girls Next Door. You will also find her new novel No Restraint at Amazon. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.  ___ As anyone familiar with me is aware, I love to spend time at the beach. I live in Massachusetts so it gets quite cold here but that doesn’t stop me from taking my nearly daily walks in the sand and surf. This time of year it’s far too cold to swim in the water, though, but that hasn’t stopped some crazy people (especially surfers) from doing it. My husband and I are used to the surfers dodging waves and the brave (crazy) locals who swim in 50 degree water, but what we saw this past weekend just astounded us at how stupid some people can be. Not long ago, we were on Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester,...

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Consequences

by Jean Roberta Netflix has changed my life. Not only can I binge-watch my favourite TV series from the beginning in order to understand plots and the appearance of new characters (Who’s he?), I can watch without the interruption of commercials. Watching a backlog of episodes of a currently-running series is somewhat like cramming for an exam, but much more fun. Lately, I’ve been catching up on the BBC serial Call the Midwife, a dramatization of midwife Jennifer Worth’s memoirs of delivering babies in the gritty East End of London in the 1950s and 1960s. As the viewpoint character, Jenny Lee, tells us in a reminiscent voiceover (in the mellow voice of Vanessa Redgrave) “midwifery is the very stuff of life.” The birth scenes are certainly not sexy, but they show the natural consequences of sex in a time when it was only supposed to take place in marriage, and when married women were expected to spend most of their adult lives bearing and raising children. They didn’t always have a choice. In Season 1, there is an episode in which Conchita, originally a refugee from the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, is giving birth to her 24th baby by her English husband. He seems to dote on her, but he never learned Spanish and she never learned English. Their older children are fluently bilingual, and they translate...

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The Fire

I’ve been smoldering all week. Last weekend I started a new story, a dark and kinky paranormal tale that I’m planning to submit to the ERWA anthology Unearthly Delights. I made amazing progress on Sunday, but then I had to call a halt in order to deal with all the other demands in my life. I should explain that normally I reserve Sunday for Lisabet to come out and play. I devote as much of that day as possible to actually writing. The rest of the week, I have too many other demands on my time to do much more than check my email and maybe do a bit of marketing. This story, though, wouldn’t let me go. I pushed everything aside on Monday to write 1500 words. On Tuesday I managed to squeeze in another 1000. Wednesday was tough; I had blocked out an hour, but was interrupted half way through. I almost screamed with frustration. When I wasn’t writing, I was thinking about the story. Snatches of dialogues would float into my head while I was exercising; I’d rush to write them down in my notebook as soon as I got back from the gym. I’d find myself pondering the structure of the tale while I was supposed to be grading exams or testing student programming projects. I realize that other authors experience this sort of obsession...

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Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica

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Babysitting the Baumgartners – The Movie

Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie

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