STAGE ONE: HEAR by B.K.Bilicki

STAGE ONE: HEAR by B.K.Bilicki
Paranormal fantasy erotic romance

ADDICTIVE DESIRES by Big Ed Magusson

ADDICTIVE DESIRES by Big Ed Magusson
Literary erotica

THE WATCHERS by Larry Archer

THE WATCHERS by Larry Archer
Cuckold Hotwife Voyeurism Sex Party

OPERATION: CUCKOLD by Delores Swallows

OPERATION: CUCKOLD by Delores Swallows
Cuckold / Hotwife Erotica

INITIATED ON VIDEO by F.J. Smith

INITIATED ON VIDEO by F.J. Smith
Gay fraternity BDSM erotica

Blog

by Kathleen Bradean

For those of you who don’t live in the western United States, it’s hard to explain what this drought has meant to us. I live in Southern California, which either stole, swindled, or skillfully negotiated water rights years ago that make us the villains of the west (See the movie Chinatown for a glimpse into this). Northern California suffered far worse in the drought than we did simply because we’d been sold the rights to the rivers up north. They had to eat of paper plates for several years rather than run the dishwasher and limit showers to once or twice a week, again, for several years. We simply turned off our irrigation in our back yard and let everything back there die, but were still able to avoid penalties for over usage when we continued to water out front (albeit on a reduced schedule). But then, it started to rain. Northern California got the brunt of it first and came out of drought months before we did, which seemed only fair. Now, it’s pouring outside and several times this week I’ve had the rare (for LA) pleasure of falling asleep to the sound of rain spattering on  the patio.

Metaphorically, that’s pretty much what happened to my writing the past few years. I simply couldn’t write. I wanted to. I had a manuscript due, but there was nothing that could drag those precious drops of creativity from a dry well. Then, finally, something happened and I was able to write again. I wish I could tell you what it was. Nothing in my life circumstances changed. The horrible things are still dragging along, and the good things are also unchanged. For those of you suffering from writer’s block, I wish I could offer you some magical solution, but I rally don’t know what made it possible to write again.

Okay, maybe I do, but it’s no magical bullet.

I forced myself to write. It didn’t matter how crappy it was. Things can be rewritten, but only if there’s something to rewrite, right? It wasn’t a smooth return. I would write a sentence or two then take a month to get back to it. I took a stab at several opening chapters and discarded all of them. (This is, unfortunately, my writing style. It’s wasteful and slow and awful and I don’t recommend it to anyone.) Then I went to visit another writer and she gave me an amazing idea that I ran with for a while until I decided it wasn’t going to work, but when you know something isn’t going to work, you have to have a vision of why not and that’s as close to an idea of what I wanted to do as I could find, so I tossed out those two chapters and began over again. Now I’m on the threshold of chapter three. It’s a dam bursting in slow motion, perhaps like the infamous Great Molasses Flood in January 1919, only not nearly as quick.

It’s relief to be writing again. Only now that I’m wading back into the waters, I’m remembering things about writing that I’d conveniently forgotten. Writing a novel is a hell of a thing. Every character is a moving part with their own motivations and personalities. It’s not so easy to shove dialog into their mouths and make it seem natural, and they never seem to naturally do what they need to to move the plot along. Unless, of course, you’ve created the right character, in which case of course they’re going to say and do those things you need them to. That means backing up and recasting parts, which is also a slow painful way to write that I don’t recommend, so try to start out with the right characters.

The main thing I’d forgotten is how long it takes to write action. It’s a quick little movie in my imagination that takes maybe ten seconds to play. Describing it in words takes forever. For-ev-er. But I hate it and I love it in ways that no non-writer could ever understand. It’s like a rain storm after eight years of drought. I knew something was missing, but I didn’t remember until the tortured drip-drop of words began to form lakes on my pages.

Erotic Lure banner

Dear Lecherous Literati,

Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays has past, we can get back to serious matters. Like sex. Sure, mistletoe and champagne can ramp up the romance , but seriously, during November and December one hardly has the time to indulge.

We’re deep into January now, with short days and long nights—perfect for erotic exploration. Here at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association, you’ll find everything you need to turn up the heat and keep the thrills coming until spring.

Being an author myself, I always like to start in the Erotica Gallery. In this edition, we have a steamy half-dozen Awesome Authors (left sidebar), each of whom shares a sexy short story or book chapter. Selections in this edition range from paranormal lust to rough power exchange, with everything in between. Meanwhile, original erotica from the ERWA Storytime community is featured in the right sidebar, including ERWA’s trademark flash fiction. Don’t miss these elegant and arousing nuggets.

More than just dirty stories:

http://www.erotica-readers.com/story-gallery/

If you’re like me, the Gallery (wonderful as it is) just won’t be enough erotica to keep you happy. Satisfy your hunger for arousing reading in our Books for Sensual Readers section. It’s dangerous for me to do the necessary research for the Erotic Lure; I always end up adding more titles to my want-to-read list.

This month I honed in on the steam punk collection Valves & Vixens, edited by Nicole Gestalt, as well as Giselle Renarde’s Best Fetish Erotica. Nobody does kink like Giselle! Looking at the novels section, I immediately honed in on Fionna Guillaume’s Tokyo: A Job with a View, about a young woman who takes a position that requires extensive travel—plus much more unorthodox activities. (Check out Fiona’s magnificent story in the Gallery for a sample of her style.) A Little Too Farby Lisa Desrochers also grabbed my interest, with its theme of a woman torn between two taboo attractions. We have a huge selection of gay and lesbian titles for you to sample, including gay fantasy The Woodwoseby Nicolette deSada, habu’s gloriously literate gay collection Creampuffs, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 1, edited by the legendary Sacchi Green, and Selena Kitt’s collection of naughty lesbian shorts, Girls Only.

When I tell you this is only the tip of the iceberg, believe me, it’s true! We have scores of titles in every sub-genre for your browsing pleasure, with quick links so you can grab copies of anything that takes your fancy.

Indulge your literary libido:

http://www.erotica-readers.com/books/

What about movies? We’ve got you covered there, too. (Or maybe I should say, uncovered?) In this edition, we feature a top ten list of films starring the delectable Latina, Sara Luvv. I was particularly intrigued by “The Faces of Alice”, about a closeted young lesbian who makes a deal with the devil to win back her out-and-proud lover. (Sara does het porn, too…) Scanning some of the other sections, I noticed “The Doll Underground”, a wild tale about four angry women who become sexual revolutionaries to fight the evils of big business. I also love browsing through the Classic Porn section (since I’m a classic myself). Digital technology allows older films to be restored and remastered so they can be enjoyed by new generations. Henry Paris’ 1970 masterpiece “Maraschino Cherry”, which set the standard for intelligent porn, is a case in point.

Porn for couples, porn for women, porn with a plot, porn parodies, totally unmitigated smut… whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it (conveniently categorized) at ERWA. Plus we’ve got links to the very best places to acquire the films you crave, including Gamelink, Adult DVD Empire, and SmutNetwork.

Get visual:

http://www.erotica-readers.com/adult-movies/

All you need to fully enjoy your new adult film is some popcorn—and a sex toy or two. Our Sex Toy Scuttlebutt column keeps you in the know about the latest innovations in self-stimulation. Many of these items are high tech gadgets that wouldn’t be out of place in your typical computer store. (Geeks love ‘em!) For instance, the “Hot Octopuss Vibrating Duo Stroker for Couples” offers a 9 speed oscillator, 5 vibration modes with adjustable frequency, a remote control unit and a USB charger. Fortunately one can still find good old-fashioned manual erotic implements like the Büch Dich (“Bend Over”) Paddle Dildo. An ingenious combination of a multi-textured silicon paddle with a versatile phallic handle, this toy does not require batteries, controls, or anything else other than toned biceps and a good imagination!

Of course we have the links you need to get your hot little hands on any of these items. Let me remind you that everything you buy via our affiliate links helps support the best free adult site on the web. (That would be ERWA, of course.)

Come play!

http://www.erotica-readers.com/sex-toy-playground/

Inside the Erotic Mind this edition, people are discussing “Spicy Sex”. Altoids? Peppermint oil? Ginger? Chili peppers? Ever tried spicing up your sex life with this sort of fiery additive? What were the results? Come read what others have to say, then share your experiences and opinions. Just click on the Participate link.

There are lots of ongoing discussions on other topics of perennial interest to the prurient. Just make sure you have plenty of time to explore—and some privacy!

 

Dare to venture into the erotic mind:

http://www.erotica-readers.com/inside-the-erotic-mind/

Last, but certainly not least, we come to the Authors Resources section. If you are an erotic writer, you can’t afford not to take advantage of this rich compendium of knowledge and news. Our Calls for Submission listings are the most complete and up-to-date on the web. The current edition features new calls for femdom erotica, fetish erotica, and erotica on the theme of gluttony. We have guidelines for four new e-publishers seeking erotic romance and literary erotica. The CFS and publisher guidelines are updated regularly, not just when we create a new edition of the site, so bookmark us and visit regularly.

In addition to the CFS section, we have dozens of links to marketing and promotional services, editing services, review sites, author communities— really, everything you need to get your sexy stuff out there where the world can read it.

Meanwhile, for the latest advice on craft and commentary on the erotica writing community, follow the ERWA blog. Written by some of the top authors in the erotic writing industry, the blog discusses everything from character development to dealing with rejection.

 

The world wants to read your work!

http://www.erotica-readers.com/erotica-authors-resources/

Is that all there is? Hell, no! I figure you’ll have fun exploring the rest on your own. I’ll see you again in April. Or if you really can’t wait… well, you know where to find me! (You can probably guess what I’ll be doing when you do, too!)

Stay naughty!

Salaciously yours,

Lisabet

Visit me at my blog Beyond Romance: http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com

stack of books

By Lisabet Sarai

When did books become so ephemeral?

I have a bookshelf in my apartment full of titles I’ve lugged around for most of my adult life—from the East Coast to the West Coast and back again, and then from America to Asia. Indeed, some of these books (Alice in Wonderland, The Complete Sherlock Holmes, The Complete Plays of Gilbert and Sullivan) have been with me since I was a child. These are books I don’t want to live without. I never know when I’m going to want to re-read one of them.

Many are hard-cover. Some have begun to disintegrate with age. I recently replaced two dilapidated volumes with new editions: Little Big by John Crowley and A Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin. I found it heartening that both these books, among my life time favorites and first read decades ago, were still in print.

Growing up, books were my closest friends, possessing a special magic. They seemed more real than many of the people around me. It is perhaps strange, given the fact that I started writing as soon as I knew the letters, that I didn’t fantasize about being an author. However, I had a famous author in my extended family. I knew that having penned and published a book was a major achievement.

I remember the thrill of holding the first edition of my first novel. It was a cheap paperback, printed on dingy, low-quality paper. Still, it had my name on the cover, and my words inside. At the age of forty six, I felt that I’d achieved some small measure of immortality.

Now, seventeen years later, sitting in my apartment storage room, I have at least a dozen copies of that book that I can’t get rid of. Living as I do in a conservative Asian country, I can’t just toss them in the trash. I don’t want to send them to readers; I’m only too aware of the weaknesses in that edition, hopefully remedied or at least improved in the most recent release of this title.

I have even more copies of the second edition, and the third. In fact I have author’s copies of dozens of books that nobody wants—including me.

I used to believe that books were forever. Now they’re just clutter, inconvenient and space-consuming.

And that’s print books. What about everything that I’ve written that has been released only in electronic form? Talk about ephemeral! In a couple of decades, as technology and file formats change, it may not even be possible to read those books. (This is assuming that people will still know how to read.)

All the blood and sweat I put into those books, the energy and the love, produced nothing more than a collection of bits, easily erased by a random cosmic ray or an erroneous mouse click. Definitely a bit discouraging.

Books these days are ephemeral in another sense, too. In the days of traditional printing, it was expensive to release new editions. The text of a novel was more or less fixed.

In contrast, when I scroll through the directories on my hard drive, I find multiple versions of almost everything I’ve written. It’s so easy to tweak a tale for a new audience. Sometimes the changes are sufficiently large that it should really be considered a new book.

Which version is the “real” book? When future generations of students study my work (ha!), which file will be take as the authoritative text, from a literary analysis point of view?

Do you know how many e-books are published now, every day? Thousands. One estimate I found said there are 40,000 new ebook titles on Amazon each week.

Even as a reader, I’ve started to treat books as temporary, disposable commodities. Mostly, my DH and I don’t hold on to books anymore, unless they’re among the best things we’ve ever read. We tend to buy in used bookstores, and pass the volumes along when we’re done with them.

Still, there must be some readers out there like me, readers who remember the books that touched them most deeply, who want to make sure they have copies for the future. I recently got a request to reprint a story I wrote ten years ago. A few people, I guess, pay attention to what I’ve written. A few people remember.

Meanwhile, when my husband went to a used bookstore recently looking for new reading material, he found a copy of Raw Silk front and center on the shelves, staring at him. First edition.

I do hope someone buys it—to keep the story alive.

 
Greetings, Authors!

It may be the depths of winter where you are, but here at ERWA we’re heating things up. Today’s the 19th of the month, which means it’s Sexy Snippet Day!

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. No extra promo text, please!

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. One snippet per author,
please. 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.

Enjoy!

~ Lisabet

by Donna George Storey

In last month’s column, I discussed the implications of a comment by an elderly gentleman with a white mustache who imagined that “most erotica writers are fat and ugly, fantasy based [sic] women with a serious case of penis envy.” In particular I examined the long history of using “fat” as a way to shame people with less power in our culture and also discussed the denigration of sexual fantasy, which plays a significant part in the sexual experience of those of us with brains.

This month I’d like to talk about the implied opposite of “fantasy-based” sexuality—Real Sex.

Here’s the main problem. We have very little reliable factual data on humanity’s actual sexual experiences. Kiss and Tell: Surveying Sex in the Twentieth Century by Julia Ericksen with Sally A. Steffen discusses the obvious reasons why this is so. Both men and women feel shame in being honest about sex, because the tradition is still strong that “decent” people keep sex private and besides it wouldn’t do to expose yourself to accusations of abnormality. Equally importantly, it is extraordinarily difficult to get funding to do a comprehensive study of any sexual topic, unless it is related to the “problem of sex” such as teen pregnancy. And even studies that have been done such as those by Kinsey and Masters and Johnson are likely skewed by the design of the study (nonrandomness, how the topics are examined, interpretation of data) as well as the usual cultural factors affecting and reflected in the research. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like this situation will change anytime soon.

And so, in the main, we are left with voluntary surveys in magazines, honest, intimate discussions with friends (if you’re fortunate to have such friends), and public pronouncements that reflect as much how the speaker wants sex to be as what actually happens.

I cannot help but conclude that Real Sex is the biggest fantasy of all.

In my study of sexuality in America one hundred years ago, Real Sex was understood to be as follows. A man had a natural sex drive, which he must strive to control, but a good woman did not until her husband awakened her on their wedding night. Her body had no sexual feeling until a penis was inserted into it. If she didn’t experience pleasure even then, it was because she was especially pure and above lustful concerns. This was a tribute to her fine character.

As the elderly gentleman with the white mustache’s comment illustrates, our culture’s view of sex is not so very different today. Women must have “penis envy” because only the penis possesses and bequeaths sexual feeling, not, presumably, because they wish they had boners at inconvenient times or ejaculated prematurely, for example. Female sex organs are, on their own, without sensation, desire or pleasure.

I’ll leave each individual reader to determine the validity of that view for herself.

But there are advantages to this antique approach. Men don’t have to worry about the details of an erotic encounter because just having a penis inside her is enough to drive a woman to ecstasy. Again, rather unbelievably, this is still a common presentation. I was dismayed that the most vivid sex scene in the Christmas special of Sense8, a Netflix original series I watch, consisted of a couple on a Tinder date who do it doggie style, with the man pounding hard and fast with no other stimulation to the woman but an occasional slap on her ass. “I love it!” she cries as her whole body jiggles from the assault. Oh, yes, I almost forgot, she is on top for a while but again with that super-fast up-and-down movement, which focuses on penetration and no stimulation of her clitoris or other body parts.

Sense8 is a cool show. It has lots of creepy supernatural stuff, artful orgies and tender gay sex, but heterosexual sex is presented as a porn cliché. Yet for many viewers, our eyes and the Tinder date’s enthusiastic review tell us we’re being shown Real, hot, casual sex, right? Clearly something is the matter with you if you don’t get off on such a vigorous, frenzied pounding of your cervix.

Another advantage of “the penis is sex, end of story” is that any complaints from the woman are covered. If she’s experienced enough to be picky about your technique, then she’s a slut. If she needs more, you know, that “fantasy” stuff like romance, a scenario where her needs are important and she experiences pleasure and orgasm in the encounter–like most erotica offers, by the way–then again, she’s being greedy, fantasy-based, high maintenance. This is problem sex, not Real Sex.

Naturally, this view does not benefit men if the man cares about “reality.” It only does if you measure your prowess in bed by the number of partners alone, believing that the insertion of your penis into a vagina—whether that vagina belongs to a cognizant, consenting partner or not–proves your manhood.

What if sex only “counted” if the partner genuinely had a good time? How many guys would still be virgins?

The fantasy informing traditional female behavior deserves attention, too. A variant on “the man awakens the woman” fantasy of Real Sex is that you expect the man to be “good in bed” and do everything right without a word or a false move. He knows instinctively how to pleasure your body in ways you’ve never even imagined. The problem is that if you believe that mutually satisfying sex comes naturally, then the best lover (male or female or nonbinary) never needs to ask what is pleasurable, or make a mistake and learn. If you believe that ecstasy is immediate in Real Love, the traditional female variant of Real Sex, then you’re as much a victim of fantasy as the guy who thinks his dick is the center of the sexual universe and everyone wants it hard and fast.

Good Real Sex requires time, communication, trust, understanding, and most of all, self-understanding. This was true one hundred years ago. It’s true today.

Here’s to speaking our truth in 2017.

Donna George Storey is the author
of Amorous Woman and a collection of short
stories, Mammoth
Presents the Best of Donna George Storey
. Learn more about her
work at www.DonnaGeorgeStorey.com
or http://www.facebook.com/DGSauthor

I
am a child of the cinema. I think that can be said for most of us baby boomers.
And, although television was a big part of our upbringing, the art form that
most influenced us was the movies. It was an overlapping of a preference shared
by the previous generation, which had also been influenced by radio art,
particularly radio dramas. Radio had pretty much gone by the boards by the time
I was coming up.

I
recall lamenting the death of our television sometime in the 1950s and my dad
saying, “Why don’t you turn on the radio? Maybe ‘The Lone Ranger’ is on.”
And I remember how crestfallen he was when I told him no such shows existed on
the radio anymore.

But
movies endured, and thanks to television recycling films from the Forties and
even Thirties, we wee boomers also thrilled to the exploits of the likes of Sam
Spade and Rick Blaine.

When
I was a kid my imagination worked like the movies. I imagined myself as a
character in my own film, exchanging dialogue with other characters.

Yeah,
I was a bit of a contrarian when I was young, so didn’t make a lot of friends.
But, before you begin playing the world’s smallest violin, I recall the friends
I did make had an abiding love of the movies too.

I
can say I learned to write dialogue by listening to movie lines, and
recognizing the rhythm, appreciating the wit exchanged between characters who
shared a sophistication that made me want to emulate them.

Who
wouldn’t want to be like Bogart? But if I couldn’t grow up to be as cool as
Bogie, Claude Rains would do, or even the immense Sidney Greenstreet, whom I
adored.

The
words that came out of their characters’ mouths. No one could get the edge on
them in a battle of wits.

And what in heaven’s
name brought you to Casablanca?

My Health. I came to
Casablanca for the waters.

The waters? What
waters? We’re in the desert.

I was misinformed.

Who
talks like that? Nobody in my old neighborhood.

How
I would have liked to have told a miserable old nun, “I’d despise you if I
gave you any thought.”

As
I got older, I realized characters in movies didn’t spout dialogue
spontaneously. Someone had to put those words in their mouths. I began to
appreciate good writing, particularly dialogue writing, how to make it sound
natural, original, spontaneous.

Those
conversations continued in my head, and when I arrived at a certain age I began
to write them down.

Today,
younger folks watch movies on screens barely bigger than the palm of one’s
hand. Dialogue … clever repartee … doesn’t move the plot along as much as
explosions do.

Is
it any wonder the national discourse has been reduced to a childish tweet?

I remember in the old days, back in 2010 (*rocking like the old-timer I am, in a chair on the porch*) when the ebook market was the wild west of publishing…There was gold in them thar hills, I tell you! So. Much. Gold! Those of us who got in early? We made out like bandits. Now, I know this isn’t 2010 anymore, but the metaphor of the gold rush still applies. The avenues to “easy money” have mostly been closed off in indie publishing. As Amazon continues their attempt to dominate the ebook market, other income streams narrow down to a trickle. And Amazon themselves continue to squeeze indie authors, offering them less in profits, while their algorithms force them to spend more money in ads to make a larger sum.

Depressed? Dejected? Don’t worry. This isn’t the end of indie publishing. It’s just a shift in the market, and the best thing about indie authors is their ability to adapt. Yes, the market will continue to be flooded with new authors and more books. As the pond gets bigger, there will be a larger gap between the “big fish” and the “little fish,” and it will become even more difficult to gain visibility. But if you stick with it, and do all the right things, you can still make a career as an indie author.

2017 holds a lot of promise. It may not be the gold rush anymore, but there’s still a lot of gold in them thar hills—you just have to work a little harder to find it.

I think upping your marketing game this year will be key. Learn how to create effective ads with the biggest bang for your buck—or hire someone reputable who can do it for you. Amazon Ads will start giving Facebook ads a run for their money. Bookbub will continue to be effective (but less so than in previous years – we may have reached a saturation point there…) To be fair, most mailing list sites are less effective now than they’ve been in years previous. That said, many are still worth investing in to get the most eyes you can on your books.

Unfortunately, I do believe that Amazon’s market share will continue to grow. However, I think we are starting to see the giant just beginning to stumble, now that they have to turn a profit and actually pay shareholders (and this isn’t limited to selling books). Amazon has made several missteps this year, and they’re battling widespread fraud (again, not just in ebooks) and I see this trend causing mistrust, both in their customers and their vendors.

Amazon algorithms will continue to give boosts to KDP Select books, but given the issues that have recently come to light about “Kindle Unlimited” (not the least of which is Amazon’s inability to actually count the “pages read” they’re using to pay out to KDP Select author participants) authors may become more selective about their use of KDP Select as a marketing tool. Authors may put only certain books into the program, or put books in for just the first 90 days and then use sale prices coupled with a Bookbub ad (or a cluster of other smaller ads) to push the book wide. I believe authors will continue to use KDP Select, but many will begin to back off from the “all in” philosophy. Personally, I’ve never been a proponent of putting all your eggs in one basket.

Still, Amazon will remain the elephant in the room, and I believe their own imprints will continue to dominate the top book spots on the site. Because of this, we may see authors seeking to go hybrid this year, whether it’s looking to become an “Amazon author,” or submitting to traditional publishing houses.

I think growth in 2017 will be in foreign markets (where Kobo already has a foothold), as well as audio (where the market is still growing by leaps and bounds) and direct sales (which means sites like Gumroad and Patreon will gain even more popularity with authors). And while we’ve seen some small pubs down-size (like Samhain) and other smaller sites collapse (like All Romance Ebooks / Omnilit) others like Excitica and A1 Adult Ebooks (and their sister sites) will be around to pick up the slack. And as Amazon and other vendors crack down on more “adult” material, these sites will offer niche markets for subsequently disenfranchised readers and authors.

My best advice for 2017 is to work smarter, not harder. It may feel as if you’re on a writing treadmill, forced to release something new every thirty days or so, and the truth is there are plenty of authors doing just that. And some prolific authors have found success doing so. There is certainly something to the formula of “writing to market, writing fast and publishing often.” But don’t worry if you’re not the 5-10K-a-day sort of author. You can still be successful writing just a book or two a year. How?

Work smarter. Make sure you’re growing your own mailing list—and engaging with your readers on a regular basis. Don’t let them forget you exist (but don’t spam them—or annoy them—either). Readers like engaging with authors. And what they seem to enjoy most is authors with big personalities. So find your author persona and work it! I’ve seen authors do this in many different ways, from the inimitable Chuck Tingle to the sassy Jordan Silver. Take the best parts of you—the parts that others tend to be drawn to—and amplify them by ten. Turn up the volume. Be bold. Do and say the things that will make them remember you, in your newsletter and on social media. Just make sure you’re doing it from a genuine place. You’re just turning up the volume, not changing the channel!

Also, remember that no author is an island. Find other authors who write things similar to you and work out a way to cross-promote and cross-pollinate on a regular basis. Trust me, even if you’re the most prolific author in the world, you can’t turn out books fast enough to keep up with readers. Cross-promoting keeps readers on your side. They’ll start looking to you for recommendations and it will help keep their interest while you’re writing your next novel. And if you find you really click with another author, you can always consider an author partnership. After all, two authors can writer faster than one!

I don’t think 2016 was a great year for indies—but I do believe 2017 has the potential to be. No, 2017 won’t be anything like the gold rush year of 2010, but it’s still full of possibilities. I think the indie author community has grown together and become stronger over the years, and their future is still quite bright. Indies know how to adapt. They’re natural entrepreneurs, and even when the learning curve is steep, they’re willing to jump into the deep end to learn how to swim.

Looking forward to 2017, I think indie authors will continue to innovate, push the envelope, and transform the face of publishing itself.
Selena Kitt
www.selenakitt.com

(…That’s a Story)

 

By Belinda LaPage (ERWA Gallery co-editor)

Yes, I paraphrased Crocodile Dundee. I’m Australian. What did you expect? Move along.

Scene vs. Story

Erotica writers, have you ever written a hot little scorcher only to be told by some dilettante that it’s not a story?

Readers, ever read a hot little scorcher, only to realise you don’t remember it the next day?

Well, it might be for the want of Developmental Editing. It might be for the want of Structure.

Erotica, you see, lends itself handsomely to short stories—about twenty to forty minutes reading time—because … well, you know why. That’s about five thousand words, give or take. Plenty to lay down a solid foundation, followed by some solid banging. Job done—write another.

And there lies the danger. We as erotica writers want to get to the fun bit, so we set the scene quickly and get the action started. The result for the reader is gratification, but not recollection. It’s not something they’ll come back and read again. It’s not something they’ll recommend to a friend.

Sadly, it’s not a story.

That’s the problem. It’s actually just a scene, and there’s a difference.

A developmental editor (or a lovely ERWA Storytime subscriber) will find those missing key ingredients that make a story and help you build your scene into something greater. Why wait though? If you know what these key ingredients are, then you the writer can add them yourself. Before you commit, no less.

You can create … (pause for effect) … a story plan!

* * * *

Still with me? Thank goodness, because story planning sucks big time. I’m surprised you didn’t nod off. To make it more interesting, I’ll devote the rest of this post to a case study.

This is an actual story I’m actually about to write (so don’t freakin’ steal it, okay?).

Stroking up a Scene

Erotic scenes are easy. I have dozens of them in my ideas folder. All you need is a sexy, novel way for your protagonist to get his or her rocks off and you’ve got a scene.

Here’s mine. Matt goes to the Sperm Bank to make a deposit, but instead of porn in the donation rooms, they have assistants (sexy ones). So Matt gets PAID to receive a hand job. Fun, right? I can make it more fun pretty easily; the Sperm Bank is run by a convent and the nuns do the jerking off. Why? Because masturbation is a sin, silly.

The Little Sisters of Grace Sperm Bank.

The title almost writes itself. We can make it more fun still by making Sister Mary Katherine a pretty young novice, and this is her first time at the altar, so to speak. A beginner like Mary Kate might very well over-commit collecting Matt’s donation, and a creative soul like me could easily bend this to a sweet First Time fantasy.

Now we have a sexy niche and kink, as well—First Time / Nun / Uniform Fetish. Let’s go write this sucker and make us some money.

What happens next? I bang it out (figuratively) and send it to my loyal band of beta readers, who say wonderful things like “lucky Matt”, and “Mary Kate was a treat”. Those guys are great for my ego. They’re not just being polite—they really enjoyed it. I write hot nuns like nobody’s business and they love that about me.

Buoyed up, I scribble a quick premise (blurb) and send it to a publisher, who gives me a “Thanks, but no thanks”. Maybe if they’re in a generous mood, they’ll bless me with a “Your characters and plot need more depth”, or perhaps just, “Under-developed”.

Then I cry for a bit, drink wine, and self-publish. Or …

What do you mean, ‘Under-developed’?

Or, I could get some help. Some developmental editing help. Someone who can explain to me the difference between a developed story and The Little Sisters of Grace Sperm Bank.

Now, I’m no developmental editor, so I’ll skip the mechanics of what they do, and stick to the small but important subset of stuff I can do myself.

I’m a simple person, and I need simple instructions, so I have this cool checklist of questions in a spreadsheet. I fill it in before I begin writing. It helps me find gaps in my story—or in this case, gaps in my scene that stop it from being a story.

Q1. Who is the protagonist?

Duh! It’s Matt. The protagonist is the hero—the main character. Clearly, Little Sisters of Grace is about Matt.

Q2. How is the protagonist constricted?

Matt is imperfect in some way that drives his actions. All protagonists should be, because perfect people don’t behave in interesting ways.

Constricted … um, he’s horny? No, he’s broke. And sploodge-for-cash is Matt’s idea of easy money.

Q3. What is the protagonist’s goal?

Seeking the goal gives Matt something to do – hopefully it’s an interesting enough thing to get us reading.

Well, Matt wants to jerk off, but that’s the means, not the end. His real goal is making some quick cash. Why? What does he want to buy? A book? A case of beer? Does it even matter?

This is my first red flag. Whatever Matt is going to do with the money, it’s not going to make a shit of difference to the sexy nun awaiting him at the Little Sisters. You can’t just answer these questions with any old thing—they need to tie together.

I press nervously on to question 4 without a goal.

Q4. What is the protagonist’s focal relationship?

Secondary characters play off the protagonist and give us drama. This one is easy: Sister Mary Katherine.

Q5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

The antagonist stands in the way of Matt achieving his goal.
This drives conflict and makes the story compelling. I have a list of generic possibilities:

  • Man vs Man (or woman, or monster, whatever), e.g. Little Red Riding Hood
  • Man vs Self, e.g. Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • Man vs God, e.g. Bruce Almighty

The list goes on: machine, society, the supernatural, nature, situation, fate. It’s good for blue-skying how conflict might guide the story.

In my case, who is going to stop Matt collecting? Red flag number two. The whole point of this story is that Matt gets his money, and that means he gets a hot ecclesiastical hand-job along the way.

My story clearly transcends antagonists. Who needs them? Moving on.

Q6. What is the conflict?

The protagonist acts towards his goal, the antagonist acts against them. That’s the conflict, and it makes a story interesting. It makes us invested in the protagonist and his quest. It makes us turn the page to find out ‘what next’.

No antagonist means no conflict. So now I’m really fucked. My system is telling me I don’t have story, all I have is an ending, albeit a happy one.

Back to the drawing board?

Okay, so Matt has no goal, no antagonist to stop him from reaching it, and no conflict to drive the story forward. And if we believe this blog, adding those things will turn Little Sisters of Grace into a story.

We didn’t have any luck thinking of a goal, so let’s skip that and find an antagonist. Maybe the goal will present itself later.

Pick one—how about Man vs Self? Matt could be the virgin instead of Mary Katherine. Let’s change his constriction from being broke to being inexperienced. So he’s reluctant, and the good Sister will need to try all sorts of tricks to coerce his donation. That could be the conflict. Matt can’t get it up, so Mary Kate gives him a blow job. MK’s hand and mouth work is unskilled, so Matt can’t reach climax. MK’s hand gets tired, so she has to use her … Okay, we can all see where this ends up.

Antagonist: check. Conflict: check. Goal? Still struggling. Matt’s goal now is to get his first real intercourse with a live girl, but it doesn’t explain how he ended up at The Little Sisters in the first place. Unless he already knew about their extraction technique, but that spoils much of the fun. It’s boring.

Tie it together: Goal – Antagonist – Conflict – Constriction

Start again. Let’s go back to my list of antagonists. Man vs man? Nope. Man vs Self? Tried it. Man vs God? Hold on a bible-bashing minute. Nuns? God? Surely this is a match made in heaven.

Matt vs God—let’s go with that. So God is acting against Matt. Does God want him to bone Sister Mary Kate? Or does He want to stop him? Mary Kate is doing His work, so clearly that’s what God wants. Does Matt want the opposite? No way, José, Matt wants MK like a duck wants bread.

So maybe Matt wants something else. Turn it around and look from another angle. God wants Mary Kate to do His work, so Matt wants …

Matt wants to do Satan’s work!

Yes, okay. Matt’s off about town and ready to do something evil, like rob a store, or bang a hooker, and God keeps thwarting him. His brakes fail and he crashes his car through a Little Sisters billboard. He tries to catch a bus, and the bus sweeps past at full speed, carrying off his bus-pass in the slipstream (with a Little Sisters sign on the back). Matt breaks down and cries, and a little old lady gives him money. Waiting for the next bus, Matt meets a homeless man and gives him the old lady’s money. Awww. The homeless guy gives Matt a business card: The Little Sisters of Grace Sperm Bank—$20 per donation. Hilarity ensues.

Now all we need is an ending.

Q7. How is the protagonist changed?

Well, clearly if Matt was doing Satan’s work before, he must have changed for the better. He must repent and denounce his evil ways. No more hookers for Matt; he’ll be doing the Lord’s work, from now on. Maybe he could convert his friends. The Little Sisters are certainly up for it.

Now do we have a Story?

Do we have something that will keep the reader reading? Sure. It’s fun, it’s action packed, and there’s a payoff at the end. Will we remember the guy who bangs a nun at the sperm bank? Maybe not, but we stand a better chance if we make him work for it. A hot fantasy like that shouldn’t come for free.

Next time you’re critiquing a story on ERWA Storytime that just doesn’t grab you, but you can’t put your finger on why not, try out my seven questions. It might be because its only a scene, and maybe you can help the author turn it into a story.

In case you might be wondering what I’ve been up to lately, check out this link to the articles I’ve been doing for the great Future Of Sex site. Other things brewing, but writing about the sexuality of tomorrow has been a blast!

Why Not?

Every writer gets frustrated, especially when they’ve been rejected for stories that seem to be just what the editor was looking for: smart, stylish, deep, interesting, heartfelt, and all the rest. It was a sure winner, right?

But first, a quick word about rejection slips. Do they really express how the editor feels about your work? No, they don’t. Now, that doesn’t mean that some editors aren’t being sincere when they send out their rejections—especially if they include a personal message with their generic rejection—but it’s just about impossible for one editor to write to everyone who didn’t make the cut. What’s their answer? Enter the form rejection letter. They can be polite (“Sorry, your story didn’t meet the needs of our publication”), cold (“Your submission was not satisfactory”), sympathetic (“I know how tough this is”) or even rude (“Don’t you EVER send me this drivel again”) but they mean the same thing: better luck next time.

But there is a bright side. Think of it this way: at least that editor spent the time to send those notes out. There are still some cowardly editors out there who never reject; you just hear that your friends were accepted or the book comes out and you’re not in it. At least getting a note—any note—means that you can now send the story somewhere else.

Now then, onto the Great Secret of Being Accepted. Are you ready? You sure? Okay, okay, put the baseball bat down. The Great Secret of Being Accepted is ….

There isn’t one. If there were, don’t you think I’d be selling it? If there were, then why the hell do I still get rejected? The fact is that even though you think, hope, and work really hard to give editors exactly what they want, the decision is still very subjective.

In my own case, I’ve been rejected because:

+ The story is too long by a few hundred words

+ The editor didn’t get aroused reading my story

+ There is already a story selected that’s set in New York City
+ The editor doesn’t like the use of certain words in a story

+ The publisher may object to it

+ Some of the sex is “objectionable.”

Now I’ve never used any of these reasons—either subconsciously or consciously—in rejecting a story, but that’s just me. Every editor is unique, as are the criteria for taking, or not taking, a story. At first, that seems like a situation that should, nay must, be corrected somehow, but that’s just the way the world works. The editor is the boss, and he or she is trying to put together the best book they can, using what stories they got, according to their own call for submissions. If there was a concrete method for selecting stories, we’d have books by machine, and anthologies created by a precise formula. Luckily for the reader, we don’t, but this lack of a more scientific—or at least quantifiable—method for picking stories can be very frustrating for the writer.

If it helps, rejection never gets any easier to give or to get. As an editor, I hate to give them out, but I have to because I feel writers deserve to know whether they made the cut. I’m also in a position of having to put together the best anthology, as I see it. As a writer, I still get rejection notices and will get even more in the future. It’s simply part of the writing life; good, bad, or indifferent. The only remedy I can offer is to keep writing because—as I’ve said before— the only way a writer fails is not when they get rejected but when they stop writing.

And by keeping at it—trying to write each story better than the last one, and never giving up—you’ll stay on the road to becoming perhaps not a great writer, but at least a better one: published, rejected, or not.

 by Ashley Lister

 Happy New Year everyone. I’m genuinely hoping that 2017 will
be a year when we can all find the happiness and love that seemed to be such a
scarce commodity during 2016. And, as this is my first post of the year, I
figured I’d start with a fairly accessible form of poetry: the list poem.

That Bedroom Drawer

Condoms, dildos and a long-eared bunny
Novelty nipple-tassels that look quite funny
A thumb drive of films from PornoTube
And lots and lots and lots of lube

Crops and paddles and pairs of canes
An electric device powered by the mains
Lacy corsets, a satin basque
A leather morphsuit (with gimp mask)
A mould for making rude ice cubes
And tubes of fruity flavoured lube

Various hairbrushes, that have never seen hair
Toys that we will use (down there)
Sexy toys for sexy play
Loads of sexy lingerie
Cuffs and cats and broad bullwhips
A gag to go between your lips
Sexy clamps that bite at boobs
And lots and lots more tubes of lube

The list poem is a simple form.  We’re not looking for a particular rhyme
scheme or meter.  All that we need is a
list of items that suggest a larger picture. Back in 1989, Billy Joel sang ‘We
Didn’t Start the Fire’ and used the list form to provide lyrics that gave a
chilling view of post-World War II history. Before that we have list poems in
sonnet form from the likes Elizabeth Barret Browning with Sonnet 43 ‘How do I
love thee, let me count the ways…’

It’s a fun way to approach without the confines and
restrictions of a rigid form and structure. And, as with all poetry, it can be lots
of fun.  As always, I look forward to
seeing your poems in the comments box below.

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