by Jean Roberta
Oops! Due to being on holiday time, I didn’t write my December 26 blog post soon enough. However, I have a post ready to go.
I hope to post it on one of the in-between days after the December 28 post.
By Kathleen Bradean
The need to write seems to run strong in the Bradean gene pool. My father, grandmother, sister, daughter, and cousins have all tried their hand at it. Recently, one of my cousins saw a comment on FaceBook I’d made about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and was intrigued by the idea, but like many people, was hesitant to give it a try. My first thought is always, “What are you so afraid of?” But that’s an easy thing to say when you’re already published. I don’t want to be flippant about new writer’s fears, so if you’ve always wanted to write but haven’t worked up the courage to try it yet, I’m here to give you constructive advice. NaNoWriMo is over, so if that felt like too much pressure, you can now work at your own pace.
So… you have a story you want to write. Last month, I mentioned that the stories we tell ourselves are like dreams. They seem to make sense, but once exposed to the harsh light of day, we can realize how fuzzy our grasp of it is. Maybe you have a detailed vision of what you want to do. If so, that’s great and you can plunge right in, but if you don’t have it mapped out that well, you can still get started as long as you know the following things:
1) The central conflict of your story.
This conflict will be created by:
2) What your main character wants.
Does she just want to go home (Wizard of Oz) or is she seeking something? (Winter’s Bone)
3) What stands in their way of getting it?
Society, culture, parents, a corrupt system, her own self-delusion, a crazed duck who won’t let her near her car… And it helps to know:
4) The cost of failure/success.
These are the stakes, and they should get more intense as the story progresses. Life is hard, and we like to read about people becoming their better selves when tested. But feel free to show people
corrupted by their desires. Sometimes we get what we want then find out it wasn’t worth it. Pick your moral and run with it.
That’s the bare minimum. You could get started with just those points in mind, but it’s also important to know
A character working at a high school has much different challenges to face than one working in a tattoo parlor, with different norms of behavior and rules to follow, not to mention working hours. Winter in Boston isn’t winter in Tallahassee. Mass transit in NYC and San Francisco are integrated well into the cities but don’t work the same way, and don’t even think of trying to get around in Los Angeles on the trains even though they exist. As Harold Hill’s nemesis says in The Music Man, “You got to know the territory!”
Of course you’re going to add much more as you write. I’m talking about the absolute least information you need to know about your story.My process, if you can even call it that, is that from nowhere, I’ll envision a snippet of a scene. Then I’ll go What was that? And replay it in my mind. Each time, I’ll push the timeline a little longer or try
to fill in more of the details. As I’m playing with it, I’m asking myself questions such as “Who the hell are these people and what are they doing?” If they’re working together, what are they working for. If they have a conflict, what is it about and why do each of them have a valid reason for their opinions? I’m noticing where they are. If they’re in a hut, is it because they were traveling and got caught in a storm so they took refuge there, or is that hut home? So what I’m doing is searching for the five information points I mentioned above. Other writers may feel differently. I’d love to hear their input.
By Lisabet Sarai
I’ve been working on my latest erotic romance novel for more than a year. It’s not that I’m an incredibly slow writer—my new 8.5K holiday story took me about sixteen hours to write, edit and format—but in the case of this novel (The Gazillionaire and the Virgin), life kept getting in the way. In fact, from May through October, I could scarcely work on it at all.
There’s also the fact that I didn’t really expect this to be a novel in the first place. When I came up with the premise and the characters, I figured the story would be 20K, tops. My characters did not agree, however. This is the first time I’ve tried the Character-driven Random Walk method for novel writing. I began with a moderately clear notion about the story arc, but Theo and Rachel kept taking time out from the plot to have sex. I mean, the sex wasn’t gratuitous—it developed the characters and helped define their emerging relationship—but it slowed things down, from both a productivity and a narrative perspective.
Figuring that a deadline might help me finish the thing, I reserved a publication date at Excessica and committed to completing the first draft by the end of 2015. I’ve made some excellent progress over the past few weeks (partially because some of the other demands on my time have relaxed). One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that the plot is moving faster as I approach the climax and conclusion. The characters seem less likely to dawdle in bed. That got me started thinking about the general question of pacing in a novel—how it impacts the reader’s experience and how we as writers can control it, or at least be aware of it.
What do I mean by pacing? I can define the term as the ratio of the amount of action to the number of pages it takes to express that action. (Sorry—can’t get away from my engineering background!) In other words, pacing is the speed with which the story develops.
Many novels begin at a relatively gentle pace, as the author introduces the characters, the setting and the initial situation. It’s also fairly common for the pace to pick up as you get deeper into the book.
Not all books work that way, though. Some authors begin with an intensely active scene (sort of like the intro to a James Bond film), build to a minor crescendo, then slow down in order to provide the back story. This strategy can be very effective. It yanks the reader into the book, triggering all sorts of questions, which are then answered when things settle a bit and the reader can catch her breath. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books fit this model, as do the couple of books I’ve read by Carl Hiaasen. It’s also a favored style in science fiction.
There are some risks to this approach, though. If you extend the section with frenetic action for too long, your reader may begin to feel exhausted. The tension arising from unanswered questions can be pleasurable for a while, but if you don’t resolve the mysteries eventually, you’ll have a reader who’s confused, frustrated, or both.
The rapid-fire pacing one typically finds in some genres (e.g. thrillers, mysteries, horror) is a relatively modern phenomenon. Fiction a hundred years ago tended to be more discursive and deliberate, the action interspersed with frequent description. Nineteenth and early twentieth century fiction also tends to use more consistent pacing throughout the book.
Jane Austen epitomizes, for me, the effective use of slow and relatively steady pacing. Many twenty first century readers might find her novels too sedate, but I feel that her pace fits the stories she’s trying to tell. In the world and society she describes, change occurred gradually. Relationships took years to develop, and news (and gossip!) required days to circulate.
In modern erotica and erotic romance novels, things often happen more quickly. Characters may become sexually involved in the first chapter. Things then happen to threaten their sexual and emotional connection. Typically some conflict, internal or external, appears. The opposition of forces implied by that conflict propels the story forward, further ramping up the pace. Eventually the conflict will be resolved, and the story will slow down as it concludes.
It doesn’t have to be that way, however. A book may alternate between fast and slow paced sections, cycling between action and reflection. Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife uses this pattern. In erotica, the pacing may tend to pick up during sex scenes and slow down in the bridging periods where the characters are getting on with their lives. On the other hand, as I’ve found in my current novel, the opposite can also be true. My characters get distracted by carnal activities, in some sense putting the plot on hold.
When I noticed the accelerating pace of events in Gazillionaire, I started to worry. Was I rushing the story too much, in trying to get it finished? After considering the question, I’ve concluded that more rapid pacing is what the novel requires at this point. The core relationship has been established; the conflict has been exposed and has temporarily torn my protagonists apart. It’s time to move forward in order to get them back together again.
There’s no one right way to pace your novel, of course. In fact it’s not an issue I think about much. Normally, I trust my intuitions, developed over decades of writing and more than half a century of reading. However, when something feels wrong about your novel—when you sense it’s not working the way it should, but you don’t know why—pacing could be the problem.
Earlier this year I reviewed a four hundred page BDSM erotica novel that, in some ways, I liked very much. It offered a much more realistic and nuanced treatment of power exchange than many books in the genre. It featured interesting characters and hot sex. Yet somehow it left me feeling flat. When I analyzed my reactions, I concluded that pacing was partly to blame. The novel was constructed as a series of episodes that unfolded over a fairly long period of time (at least a year). The pace of the book didn’t vary at all, over the full four hundred pages. There was no rise in tension (and consequent increase in pace). This even pacing somehow decreased my interest in the action.
Pacing is one component of each author’s individual style. You probably shouldn’t try to force your books to use a different pace than what comes naturally. Being aware of the issue, though, may give you clues as to how to make your writing even more effective.
Greetings of the season to everyone reading this! I know you’re all busy with cards and gifts, shopping, baking and writing. But I do hope you’ll take some time off to enjoy Sexy Snippet Day!
This is your chance to share the hottest mini-excerpts you can find from your published work.
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, if you’d like.
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. 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.
by Donna George Storey
I’m always amused when I see erotica writing workshops that advertise the potential for big money in our genre. More power to those who’ve gotten rich, and there are some out there, aren’t there, E.L. James? But most of us are doing this for love and the occasional check for the amount of a modest family dinner at the local Thai restaurant (without the tip).
Actually, I tend to take a familial attitude toward my writing, as if my stories and novels are my children and deserve my best, if imperfect, efforts at nurture and support. Two recent columns here, Lisabet Sarai’s “The Care and Feeding of Your Back List,” and Elizabeth Black’s “Preparing for the Publication of a New Novel” reminded me that I have not been as attentive a parent as I should be.
Namely, I have several dozen previously published short stories in my archive that I would like to re-issue in themed ebook collections. I managed to drum up the energy to find a new publisher for my novel, Amorous Woman, when I got the rights back from the original publisher, but I haven’t gotten it up to move beyond a list of tables of contents for my collections. But Lisabet is right. I should be doing more for these “children” in the digital age.
Part of my reluctance can be explained by Elizabeth’s thorough list of what an author needs to do to promote her work. I’ve been down that path for my novel. It was exhausting, even though I did meet some wonderful people and had some very cool adventures. But how do you promote collections of previously published short stories? And won’t they all just be relegated to the erotica desert on Amazon?
With the New Year close at hand, I figured this is a good time to resolve to do something this year with my back list, but I am wary of the realities of publishing. Larger publishers are prestigious, but in my experience, they’ve dropped the ball on promotion and take a much larger cut of the proceeds, even if I could get their interest (highly unlikely).
My preference would be a smaller publisher, but there are horror stories out there about author abuse and publishers melting into the dew, resulting in a hassle to get the rights back. Then there is self-publishing which takes the stress from the submission process and puts the responsibility for promotion all in one place.
No one said this is easy, but… is there any erotica writer out there who’s been happy with her choices? What do you think about the trade-off between a small publisher or self-publishing? I really would love to dialogue with my fellow erotica writers about these choices in the current market. It seems the pro’s and con’s are changing every day. Erotica publishing is not at all what is was when I started writing in 1997 (when Libido and Yellow Silk were still around) nor when I reached a peak of output in the mid-2000s (Bay-Area-based Cleis, Seal, Best Mammoth Erotica, Best American Erotica and Clean Sheets).
It is so valuable to share our experiences of publishing, especially in terms of how the reality is very different from the dream of publication as a path to validation and riches.
Although come to think of it, some of the most validating moments of my life have been when a reader tells me she loved one of my stories. That’s worth millions to me.
Wishing you all a happy, productive and creative New Year!
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
One of my favorite moments to write (and read) in erotica and erotic romance is when a character’s desire first gets sparked. It’s often the kernel of a story that comes first, that sparks the story for me as a writer. I love stories that sit in that moment, let me take the time to really witness the
character realize they are hot for someone, or something. And then see what they are going to do about it. (Because realizing desire, even naming it, is not the same as choosing to act on it.)
I’m not necessarily talking about the first moment of attraction for a new person, though that’s lovely. More that first moment in this particular story when the character’s juices get flowing. It can be that first attraction. It can be that moment when a character is hot to do something in particular with this person or people. It can be that moment when a character really lets themself sink into desire after a scene has already begun—when they let go. Here’s an example of a top sinking into desire for cruelty and D/s at the beginning of a scene, from my story “My Precious Whore”
“The edges of her stockings are peeking out from under her skirt, tantalizing me. Her beautifully large body is offered up for my pleasure, and I bask in the sight of it, sinking into my desire. I want her fear tonight. And her breath. I want her tears. I want to split her open, fluids dripping. I want to unleash my cruelty upon her. I want to reach deep inside and wrap her around my fingers.”
Desire is powerful, and important, and something I deeply value. I want to write stories that center characters figuring out how their desire works, seeking their desires, acting on their desires. I want my characters to be intensely in their desires when they play and fuck and kiss and approach someone for a date. That’s what I love about writing erotica—it gives me an arena to show people claiming their desire. That’s my context for writing this moment, in my own work.
What is your context? What do you believe about desire? Why do you want to write stories about desire and sexuality? What is important to you about centering those things in your own writing?
Just as we have contexts and beliefs about desire as writers, our characters also bring those things to their own desire. So, when I’m writing about that moment of sparking desire, part of what I need to consider is not just what I want to do, but what the context is for the character. To get specific enough in my own mind so that
I can work from inside the character’s relationship with desire, instead of my own scripts and assumptions. (Believe me, if I don’t get clear, I will work from those!) Desire isn’t easy stuff, and it’s not straightforward. Most people struggle with it.
“Hell, it’s hard to even figure out what our desires might be! Where can you go to learn about sex and the possibilities of desire? How do you learn to understand the physical body and its transformative potential, to appreciate the erotic uniqueness of each individual—the knowledge and skill we can only gain as we feel, smell, and discover ourselves through sexual acts, giving ourselves to (or taking) a willing partner? Who will help us learn what we need to know in order to practice our desires with awareness and comprehension? Where in this culture can we discover what is erotically possible between ourselves and other human beings? Where can we gain sexual and gender knowledge without being ruthlessly punished?” –Amber Hollibaugh, “Defining Desires and Dangerous Decisions”
Some questions to consider when figuring out your character’s relationship with desire:
The questions above can shape so much about how the character responds to desire, how much they recognize about their own desire, what choices they make about the fact of their desire. But before I go there, I need to center in on the spark of desire itself, the shape and heft of it.
I want to get really specific here, want to make this spark as individual as I can. It’s a way to illuminate the character for the reader, and I want to use that opportunity well. The details are where pleasure really resides. I especially like to revel in the sensory aspects of desire, as in the below example from my story “Ready”, of a boy’s desire for his Daddy that’s sparked by scent.
“Daddy was looming over me, his large belly brushing against my head. He smelled so good, a musky sweaty scent mixed with oil and metal. That smell alone gets my dick hard—the smell that tells me a man has been working hard on a bike. It was clear he had. He was dirty as only a mechanic can get dirty, and I ached to suck the grease off his thick fingers.”
As the example above illustrates, desire is as individual as any other aspect of relationships and embodiment: it does not all look the same. There are infinite possibilities here, so much that I could not name them all, or even categorize them all.
When I teach BDSM, I often offer several lists of things that might turn someone on, to assist folks to learn more about their own desires, and to find language to describe them. I’m going to reproduce some of those lists below, as I think they might be useful jumping off points for getting specific about the spark of desire in your story. I’m pairing each section with an example from my recent collection, Show Yourself To Me.
For some, desire can be visually oriented. This can be visuals that are actually in front of the character, or something that sparks the character picturing something that turns them on. These are the most common descriptions I’ve seen in erotica and erotic romance, so I’d be wary of overusing the same visual repeatedly. (For example, the image of breasts bouncing while someone is being fucked as the spark to desire for heterosexual cis men is rather over-used, in my opinion.)
Some Ideas for Visual Sparks: Spotting a cock in his pants; A girl on her knees, bent over, in the position of your choosing; Watching hir eyes tear as ze takes it; Standing over him kneeling; Seeing your cock disappear into their mouth; The reveal moment; Eyes widening; Her mouth on your boots; Hir wrists bound; Your hand disappearing inside him; Licking lips; A slow secret smile; Eyes dropping; Tight jeans; Garters; That strut.
It’s a good idea to get really specific with visuals, in my opinion. It helps the reader see it, and also makes the spark for desire more individualized to the character. In the excerpt below from my story “My Pretty Boy”, the visual that sparks Jax’s desire is his pretty boy’s blue sparkled mouth sucking off a pair of sharp scissors.
“He pulled out the scissors and pressed them to Rickie’s lips. ‘Open up those pretty lips, boy. I wouldn’t want to smear your lipstick. Yet.’
They shined in the shallow of his mouth, and Jax groaned as he saw the boy’s tongue caress them, his cock pulsing. Those blue sparkled lips closed on the sharpness, and his pretty boy sucked the scissors off with a glorious enthusiasm, pausing to pant around them before suckling again, drawing himself off and then sliding back down, his eyes on Jax’s face the entire time.
‘I don’t think I’ve seen anything more beautiful,’ Jax murmured.”
Some folks are very aurally oriented in their desire. Sounds can be very powerful sparks, and provide great opportunity for you to get inside how the character interprets the sound. Some folks are turned on by the sounds they make themselves.
Some Ideas for Sparks that are Based in Sound: Thud; Rip; Screams; Moans; Boots on the floor; Taunts; Breath catching; Voice wavering; Humiliation; Begging; Gasps; Throaty laughter; Firm tone of voice
The excerpt below from “Compersion” centers around a Daddy’s desire being sparked by listening to his boy sob, describing how one of the reasons he loves watching his boy get topped by sadists (like the two men he is watching him bottom to in the story) is that he can revel in the sound of him crying.
“Franklin reached around to remove the clamps, and Abe yowled as they were twisted off, writhing and gripping the bed with his fists until his voice broke and he began to sob harder. My cock felt like it was going to burst at the sound of it.
I love it when he cries. There is nothing that makes my cock throb more than hearing him sob. And to get to watch it, to hear it, gave me more time to savor the sounds, more freedom to sink into my skin and enjoy it. I didn’t have to control myself with him and make sure his sobs didn’t ramp me up too high. I could trust that Marcus and Franklin were going to keep up their cruelty, that he would be free to sob as he fucked Marcus, and that Franklin would continue to fuck the tears out of him.
This is what I love about watching him—the freedom to let go and really enjoy the impact his tears have on me. That is the show Daddy really wants and he knows it.”
Some folks really get off on language. Words can be really hot. Not just dirty talk, but also things like honorifics and role names (like Daddy, Ma’am, girl, etc.), as well as homophobic slurs and misogynist slurs. Part of this is about the larger narrative that these words can evoke or the roleplay that they can keep going. For some folks it’s the language itself, and for some it’s the story that really gets them hot.
Some Ideas for Language Sparks: “Good boy”; “Take it”; “Slut”; “Mine”; “Yes, Sir”; “queer”; “Oh, Ma’am”; “Please, Daddy”; “cocksucker”; “girl”
In the excerpt below from my story “Dancing for Daddy”, an adult who does Daddy/little girl play describes the power of language in age play, and how being called princess sparks her desire.
“The words are classic, basic. They should not work as well as they do. But they reach into my throat and twist fear into my being. Afraid. Excited. Shamed. Special.
The words are charged for me. Daddy knows just what to say. They are charged for her, too. She watches my eyes after she calls me princess, sees the struggle and intensity, and feeds on it. She knows which words will reach in and hold me.”
For some, the spark of desire is more about what particular things mean to the character, the kind of feelings or dynamics they invoke, or the kind of emotional reactions that get them hot.
Some Ideas for Sparks Based in Emotions and Dynamics: Teasing; Denial; Gratifying; Torture; Exposure; Serving; Shame; Mercy; Suffering; Praise; Nurturing; Helplessness; Fear; Desire; Objectification; Possession; Pride; Strength; Humiliation; Pleasure; Endurance; Reward; Control; Cruelty; Invasion; Force; Nervousness; Respect; Ferocity; Worship; Dependence; Frustration; Embarrassment; Betrayal; Safety; Structure; Punishment; Usefulness; Boldness; Deference
In this excerpt from “My Will”, a submissive describes what boot worship means for him, how it sparks his desire.
“I lick boots the old fashioned way: belly on the floor, as low as I can be. As I placed myself on the floor at his feet, I shivered. It felt so good to be here, to be worshipping the boots of this man I deeply respected. I was in his care, and he would be careful with me—I knew that. When I touched my lips reverently to his boot, I felt so full I could burst. This was exactly where I wanted to be.”
In my novel in progress, Shocking Violet, I spend an entire chapter building up to and savoring the first moment of desire Jax has for Violet, so that you feel the shock of intensity with Jax when it crystallizes, when it’s visceral and real and he knows that he wants her for the first time. I’m loving the slow burn of that kind of storytelling, where the build-up is such a deep part of the pleasure of the story.
In short stories, you don’t have that kind of space for this moment; you have a couple paragraphs at most. So, I urge you to make them specific and concrete and individual to the character. Your story will be better for it, I promise you.
Here’s another old favorite. It’s not quite an article but as it is about writing … and the special people I’ve had the pleasure of knowing…
“You could have stayed with me,” he’d said the first time I went to Seattle to see him, but stayed in a motel. I hadn’t even thought of it, and so the disappointment in his eyes.
I never went back. After he got promoted there wasn’t any point.
You could have stayed with me evolves into a fantasy in which those four days play out differently: an invitation made earlier, my discomfort of staying in someone else’s house miraculously absent. Fresh off the plane, strap digging into my shoulder (I always over-pack), out of the cab and up a quick twist of marble steps to his front door. A knock, or a buzz, and it opens.
A quick dance of mutual embarrassment as I maneuver in with my luggage, both of us saying the stupid things we all say when we arrive somewhere we’ve never been before. Him: “How was your flight?” Me: “What a great place.”
Son of a decorator, I always furnish and accessorize my fantasies: I imagine his to be a simple one-bedroom. Messy, but a good mess. A mind’s room, full of toppling books, squares of bright white paper. Over the fireplace (cold, never lit) a print, something classical like a Greek torso, the fine line topography of Michelangelo’s David. A few pieces of plaster, three-dimensional anatomical bric-a-brac on the mantel. A cheap wooden table in the window, bistro candle, and Don’t Fuck With The Queen in ornate script on a chipped coffee cup.
Dinner? No, my flight arrived late. Coffee? More comfortable and gets to the point quicker. We chat. I ask him about his life: is everything okay? He replies that he’s busy, but otherwise fine. We chat some more. I say that it’s a pleasure to work with him. He replies with the same.
I compliment him, amplifying what I’ve already said, and he blushes. He returns it, and then some, making me smile. My eyes start to burn, my vision blurs, tears threatening. I sniffle and stand up.
He does as well, and we hug. Hold there. Hold there. Hold there. Then, break – but still close together. Lips close together. The kiss happens. Light, just a grazing of lips. I can tell he wants more, but I’m uncomfortable and break it but not so uncomfortable that I can’t kiss his cheeks. Right, then left, then right again.
But his head turns and we’re kissing, lips to lips again. Does he open his first or do I? Sometimes I imagine his, sometimes mine. But they are open and we are kissing, lips and tongue, together. Hot, wet, hard.
But not on my part. Wet, definitely – in my mind it’s a good kiss. A generous and loving kiss. Hot, absolutely, but only in a matter of degrees as his temperature rises and mine does in basic body response.
Not hard on my part, but I am aware of his. Between us, like a finger shoved through a hole in his pocket, something solid and muscular below his waist.
Does he say something? “I want you,” “Please touch me,” “I’m sorry,” are candidates. I’ve tried them all out, one time or another, to add different flavors, essences, spices to that evening. “I want you,” for basic primal sex. “Please touch me,” for polite request, respect and sympathy. “I’m sorry,” for wanting something he knows I don’t.
“It’s okay,” I say to all of them, and it is. Not just words. Understanding, sympathy, generosity. All of them, glowing in my mind. It really is okay.
I’m a pornographer, dammit. I should be able to go on with the next part of this story without feeling like … I’m laughing right now, not that you can tell. An ironic chuckle: a pornographer unable to write about sex. Not that I can’t write about myself, that making who I am – really – the center of the action is uncomfortable, because I’ve certainly done that before. I’ve exposed myself on the page so many other times, what makes this one so different?
Just do it. Put the words down and debate them later. After all, that’s what we’re here for, aren’t we? You want to hear what I dream he and I do together. You want to look over my mental shoulder at two men in that tiny apartment in Seattle.
I’m a writer; it’s what I do, and more importantly, what I am. So we sit on the couch, he in the corner me in the middle. His hand is on my leg. My back is tight, my thighs are corded. Doubt shades his face so I put my own hand on his own, equally tight, thigh. I repeat what I said before, meaning it: “It’s okay.”
We kiss again. A friend’s kiss, a two people who like each other kiss. His hands touch my chest, feeling me through the thin cloth of turtleneck. I pull the fabric out of my pants with a few quick tugs, allowing bare hands to touch bare chest. He likes it, grinning up at me. I send my own grin, trying to relax.
His hand strokes me though my jeans, and eventually I do get hard. His smile becomes deeper, more sincere, lit by his excitement. It’s one thing to say it, quite another for your body to say it. Flesh doesn’t lie, and I might have when I gave permission. My cock getting hard, though, is obvious tissue and blood sincerity.
“That’s nice,” “Can I take it out?” “I hope you’re all right with this.” Basic primal sex, a polite request including respect and sympathy, and the words for wanting something he knows I don’t – any one of them, more added depth to this dream.
My cock is out and because he’s excited or simply doesn’t want the moment and my body to possibly get away, he is sucking me. Was that so hard to say? It’s just sex. Just the mechanics of arousal, the engineering of erotica. Cock A in mouth B. I’ve written it hundreds of times. But there’s that difference again, like by writing it, putting it down on paper (or a computer screen) has turned diamond into glass, mahogany into plywood.
Cheapened. That’s the word. But to repeat: I am a writer. It’s what I do. All the time. Even about love – especially about this kind of love.
He sucks my cock. Not like that, not that, not the way you’re thinking: not porno sucking, not erotica sucking. This is connection, he to I. The speech of sex, blowjob as vocabulary.
I stay hard. What does this mean? It puzzles me, even in the fantasy. I have no doubts about my sexuality. I am straight. I write everything else, but I am a straight boy. I like girls. Men do not turn me on.
Yet, in my mind and in that little apartment, I am hard. Not “like a rock,” not “as steel,” not as a “telephone pole,” but hard enough as his mouth, lips, and tongue – an echoing hard, wet and hard – work on me.
The answer is clear and sharp, because if I couldn’t get hard and stay hard then he’d be hurt and the scene would shadow, chill, and things would be weighted between us. That’s not the point of this dream, why I think about it.
So, onto sex. Nothing great or grand, nothing from every section of the menu. A simple action between two men who care about each other: he sucks my cock. He enjoys it and I love him enough to let him. That’s all we do, because it’s enough.
He sucks me for long minutes, making sweet sounds and I feel like crying. He puts his hand down his own pants, puts a hand around his own cock. For a moment I think about asking him if he wants help, for me to put my hand around him, help him jerk off. But I don’t. Not because I don’t want to, or because I’m disgusted, but because he seems to be enjoying himself so much, so delighted in the act of sucking me, that I don’t want to break the spell, turn that couch back into a pumpkin.
He comes, a deep groan around my cock, humming me into near-giggles. He stops sucking as he gasps and sighs with release, looking up at me with wet-painted lips, eyes out of focus. I bend down and kiss him, not tasting anything but warm water.
I love him. I wanted to thank him. I hope, within this dream, I have. The night that didn’t happen but could have.
For me, writing is just about everything: the joy of right word following right word all the way to the end. The ecstasy of elegant plot, the pleasure of flowing dialogue, the loveliness of perfect description. Sex is good, sex is wonderful, but story is fireworks in my brain. The reason I live. The greatest pleasure in my life.
And he has given me that, with nearly flowing letters on an agreement between his company and I, between his faith in my ability and myself. He looked at me, exposed on the page of a book, in the chapter of a novel, in the lines of a short story, and didn’t laugh, didn’t dismiss or reject. He read, nodded, smiled, and agreed to publish.
Sex cannot measure up to that. Bodies are bodies, but he has given me a pleasure beyond anything I’d felt: applause, and a chance to do much, much more with words, with stories.
He doesn’t have a name, this man in my fantasy. There have been a lot of them over the years, and a lot more in the future, no doubt. Gay men who have touched me in ways no one has ever touched me before, by making love with my soul through their support of my writing. Each time they have, this fantasy has emerged from the back of my mind, a need to give them the gift they have given me: passion and kindness, support and caring, and pure affection.
I worry about this. I worry that they won’t understand, take this secret dream of mine as being patronizing, diminishing them to nothing but a being with a cock who craved more cock. I’ve confessed a few times, telling a select few how I feel about them, how I wish I could do for them what they have done for me, to be able to put aside my heterosexuality for just an evening, an afternoon, and share total affection together.
Luckily, or maybe there really isn’t anything to worry about, the ones I’ve told, they smile, hold my hand, kiss my cheek, say the right thing and to this day, even right now, make me cry: “I wish we could too, but I understand. I love you too.”
Am I bi? I know I’m physically not – I simply don’t get aroused by men – but that doesn’t mean I don’t adore men, or for the ones I care about, the men who have touched my soul through their support and affection for my stories and writing, I wish I could change. More than anything I wish I could give them what they have given me.
With a cock or a pen, with a story or hours of wonderful sex, it all comes down to one thing: love.
by Ashley Lister
Shall I compare thee to a porno star?
Thou art more lovely and more sexy too:
I’ve yearned to have you naked in my car,
And I would really love to service you:
Sometimes you let me glimpse your muffin tops,
Your shorts reveal your sweet and cheeky cheeks,
The view’s enough to make my loins go pop,
And make me long to have more than a peek:
But I know you’re no exhibitionist,
You’d never ever play games of team tag,
Not even if I got you truly pissed,
Because, I know, you’re really not a slag,
So long as I can hope there’s half a chance,
I’ll dream about what’s there inside your pants.
It’s been almost two years on this blog since I mentioned the sonnet. I’m mentioning it again here because I love this form. The skill that comes from balancing rhyme, syllable counts and rhythm always makes me marvel at the talent on display.
All sonnets contain 14 lines. There are three main styles of sonnet: Petrachan, Spenserian and Shakespearian. Each one of these forms is made distinctive by its rhyme scheme.
Sonnets are usually written in iambic pentameter (that is, ten syllables made up of five unstressed/stressed pairings).
The poem above is a Shakespearian sonnet characterized by the rhyme scheme of abab cdcd efef gg. In the example above we can see the poem divided into the three quatrains (abab cdcd efef) and a final couplet (gg).
However, this month I’d like us to look at the slight variant to this form: the Petrarchan sonnet. Again, we’re looking for fourteen lines. And, again, the poem should be presented in iambic pentameter. The rhyme scheme for the Petrarchan sonnet is not as fixed as the Shakespearian and, whilst the first eight lines usually begin in the following fashion, abba abba, the final sestet varies from poem to poem. On this one I’ve gone with cde cde rhyme pattern.
I can’t remember when we last had sex
I only know it’s been a long long time
But I remember that it was sublime
So let’s get you dressed up in tight latex
Where you can make my manly muscle flex
And you’ll find that I’m still well in my prime
And able to do lots more in bed than rhyme
I can roar like Tyrannosaurus Rex
But if you’d rather just drink cups of tea
Or maybe watch Netflix without the chill
If you’re thinking ‘Thanks but no thanks, Mister’.
Then I’ll respect your right to reject me
Though being celibate won’t make ill
I’ll just nip out and call on your sister
As always, I look forward to seeing your sonnets in the comments box below.
I’m just back from four glorious days in Rome, and I’m reminded once again why I love the place so much. Poor Raymond
was stuck in a conference the whole time, but I tagged along to play, to explore Rome MY WAY! The introvert’s way, and that meant a very long walk on the Queen of Highways, the Ghost Road, better known as the Appian Way. Living in Britain we know a thing or two about Roman roads, with more than a few of our byways and motorways having been built on top of Roman roads. The Romans did roads real good! Built in 312 BC, the Apian Way connected Rome to Brindisi, in Italy’s boot heel, some 350 miles away. It was originally built for military purposes. Wasn’t everything?
I once spent a fabulous afternoon in High Gate Cemetery in London. The Appian Way reminded me of that outing, only with more warmth and more sunshine. Places of burial and the way a culture deals with its dead are reflections of the culture itself. When High Gate was built churchyards were so overly full that the stench and the spread of disease were serious problems. What to do with the dead is a major issue in urban areas, so cemeteries were built outside the cities to ease overcrowding in churchyards, but the cities grew up around them. Cemeteries are a relative modern solution.
Now, imagine if the burial solution had, instead, been to allow people to bury their dead along the main motorways and freeways. That was the Roman solution in the time of the Caesars, when burial was not allowed inside the city. The Appian Way is a living monument to the dead. The road begins at the gate of San Sebastiano in the old Aurelian walls with a series of catacombs just beyond. They were all closed the day I went, which was fine. I was there for the walk. The first ten miles of the Appian Way have been made into a national park, and those ten miles are chockablock with ancient monuments, mausoleums and ruins of villas. Not only was the Appian Way the place for burying the dead, but it was prime real estate for building your villa. Beyond the first few kilometers there’s no traffic other than the rich and entitled, who now have their own villas along the Appian Way. Those you can’t see because they’re all set well back from the cobbled road out of sight of the hoi poloi.
I stopped at the Villa and Circus of Maxentius to picnic on the sandwich I’d bought at a cafe near the Appian Way Visitor Center. After spending way too much time exploring the mausoleum and the circus, I realized there was no way I could manage any real walking if I stopped for a detailed look-see at every monument and ruin along the way, and it was the feel of the road I wanted. In a way, it was a road trip ancient Roman style. I’m a huge fan of aqueducts and after studying the map I’d picked up at the visitors center, I made an executive decision to walk all the way to the aqueduct at the seven-mile mark. Of course seven miles out meant a seven miles return to where I could catch a bus back into the city. Never mind that! I’m a pit bull when I decide to do something, and I had my mind set on aqueducts.
My choice was a good one. Both sides of the road are literally lined with monuments, broken statuary, and even the odd remains of stone coffins. Some of the more important monuments were on the map, but most were not. The Appian Way is like the Forum and the Paletine in a straight line, but without the heaving crowds and the city noise. Since most people were more interested in the catacombs and the monuments just beyond, I shared the whole Appian way with only a few other intrepid walkers and runners and the occasional cyclist — oh, and a goat herder with a large flock of goats, bells tinkling, kids bleating as they crossed the cobbled road in front of me.
An erotica writer alone with her thoughts on a long walk in the beautiful Italian sunshine would have been enough to
inspire without the bloke who had, perhaps found riding his bike along the rough vibration of the cobbles a bit too stimulating. (I kid you not! What are the chances?) I figured he either thought he was alone or his situation was too urgent for him to notice that he had an audience. I suppose it was possible he was just an exhibitionist. That was all right, since I’m a bit of a voyeur, albeit a shy one. I smiled to myself and pretended not to see. Really, rough cobbled or not, who could blame the man for taking matters into his own hands on such a beautiful day. There’s something very stimulating about a nice long walk in the sunshine. I tucked that little scene away in the back of my mind for future use, and you’re welcome to borrow it if it inspires.
I made it to the aqueduct, and not a step further. Oh I was tempted to see what was along miles eight, nine, and ten. I was tempted to go all the way, but seven miles out meant seven miles back to the
bus, and I was in serious need of espresso. Besides the walk was a stretch for me. It was the longest I’d done since my knee surgery in February. I made it back no worse for the wear, giving myself a mental high-five as I arrived just in time to catch the bus back to Rome with a Danish couple who had been leap-frogging me for the last five miles. Immediately upon my arrival at Piazza della Repubblica where our hotel was, I found a café and had a celebratory espresso. In fact, I made it a double — being too embarrassed to ask for a triple.
Later, after I had re-caffeinated, drank a gallon of water and lingered beneath the shower massage, I enjoyed wine and spaghetti carbonara in an open air café, while I watched the lights of the Eternal City blink on around the Piazza della Repubblica, with its fountain and it’s spotlights on the ruins of Diocletian’s Bath. It was one of those days that felt, larger than life, as I often find days do when my only job is simply to pick up my feet and put them down one step at a time while I watch and observe and let myself be acted upon by what I see. Those days stand out. Those days are precious because they make me feel up to the task, they make me feel like I can do anything. They open me to possibilities, and there’s nothing more precious to a writer.
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 tuxedo cat, Lucky. Lucky needs playmates, so two kittens are in her near future. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page.
This picture above is of me, doing the Happy Dance.
After two years of submitting, one of my erotic romance
novels has finally been accepted by an excellent small press. This press has
already published four of my short stories in four anthologies, so we weren’t
strangers to each other. I don’t feel comfortable naming the publisher or the
title of the book yet since the deal isn’t finalized. I need to get my
contract, sign it, and return it. I will say that I’m over the moon about this
acceptance. I sent this book to over 70 agents and all the good erotic romance
publishers. Everyone rejected it. If this particular publisher hadn’t accepted
the book, I was going to shelve it. I had nowhere else to send it, and I loathe
self-publishing. So to say I’m very thrilled is an understatement.
Now for the real work – preparing the book for publication
and preparing myself for publicizing it. I know the title has to change. Any
book with the word “Threesome” in the title will be slapped with the
“Adult” label by Amazon and other distributors and relegated to the
“Erotica” category where it will die a quick and lonely death. If any
of that sort of censorship happens, my book won’t sell because the publishers
would have hidden it from searches. My current and potential readers won’t be
able to find it. So I need a new title.
I want my cover to be sexy but not tacky. I’m not sure I want
any oiled male torsos on the cover. I like the cover of “Fifty Shades of
Grey”. It’s subtle and hot. I’ll talk to the publisher, but I’ll trust the
pub’s suggestions as to what kind of cover will sell the book.
I’ve already decided who I’d like to write the forward for
my book, but I need to ask her first. I hope she accepts. She’s an excellent,
award-winning erotic fiction writer who’s a great seller. She’d be perfect. I
also have a list of writers I’d like to contact to write blurbs for my book.
I’ll send an ARC of the book if they need it, or I could send a PDF of several
short stories in the likely event they want to read my works first but want
I’ll write a press release to send out to the local
newspapers. I’ve done this before for a charity anthology, so I know how to write
it. Now to get newspapers to write about me and/or the book.
I need to set up a list of reviewers to review the book.
I’ll send it to Night Owl Romance, Manic Readers, Dawn’s Reading Nook, and The
Romance Reviews, to start. I’m not sure where else to send it at this point,
but I do have a list of review sites buried on my computer somewhere. I’m also
going to get the book set up with NetGalley. I’m a member of Broad Universe, a
networking group for women writers. Broad Universe has a very good deal set up
where I can submit my book to NetGalley for a reduced price. I’m definitely
taking advantage of that. I’ll submit the book to Publisher’s Daily anyway. You
never know. I may get a review.
I also need to set up a newsletter. I plan on sending
newsletters out monthly and at times when something unique is going on, like
the release or special sales. I need to create or pay someone to create a
newsletter header. If I can’t do it myself, I’ll ask the woman who made my
excellent covers for my two erotic fairy tales, Trouble In Thigh High Boots (erotic Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (erotic Rapunzel). I’ve
subscribed to MailChimp awhile ago, but I’m not comfortable using it yet. Then
I need to get subscribers. How do I create a “sign up for my
newsletter” link on my web site and on my Facebook timeline? I need to
figure that out. If there are easier and better newsletter programs out there,
please let me know!
I need to plan live readings. I can go to Broad Universe for
this, since that group does group readings. I need to find the local erotic
fiction audiences and give readings to them. I could go to conventions like I
do every year, but the ones I go to are for science fiction, fantasy, and
horror. Smut wouldn’t fit in, although some local SF/F cons do include erotic
works. I need to find the romance and erotica conventions. Hopefully some of
them will be nearby.
I’d like to pay for some advertising, but I’d like the
advertising to give me results. I don’t want to throw away my money. I may buy
a spot on Night Owl Reviews’ web site and magazine. The Romance Reviews has
reasonable rates for advertising. I’ve had good results there when I advertised
my two erotic fairy tales. Is GoodReads advertising a good idea? What about
Facebook sponsored ads? Any other suggestions for good places for book
I need to set up one or two blog tours. I’ve done these in
the past on my own and while they’re a lot of work, I liked the results. I have
my old list of contacts and I’ll contact those people again for my blog tours.
Any other suggestions of promotions I left out? I don’t want
to miss anything!
I’m very excited about this acceptance. It comes on the
heels of one of my publishers closing its doors. That pub was supposed to
publish my first family saga/thriller novel in 2016, and now I have to start
from scratch again to find it a new home. More agent queries and small press
submissions. Sigh. That closing really discouraged me as have the usual
rejections I’ve received during this period. I haven’t written a novel in over
two years. I’ve had a handful of short stories published in anthologies though,
in both erotic fiction and horror categories. So my work is out there. Just not
my long work. I have several unfinished erotic novels sitting on my computer
that I haven’t felt like touching in all this time. I was very discouraged with
my writing career, so I haven’t had the desire to write much. Now, my mojo is back. I have a m/m erotic
werewolf novel to finish. That one is loads of fun. A food porn erotic novel
needs me. That one has a touch of magic
in it. Then there is the m/m erotic romance set in an exotic location. It also
has a touch of food porn. The novel I sold has food porn in it. I like food
So my writing career is looking up for 2016. Here’s hoping
the publisher treats the book well (I don’t doubt it will), and my promotions
give me lots of sales. That’s what I want and need – readers to buy and read
the book. I don’t want to lose my mojo. Not now, when everything looks so good.
What a great present for the holiday season. I’m psyched!