Monthly Archives: March 2012
By Heidi Blakey Who is Total-E-Bound Publishing?We are an erotic romance eBook publisher based in Lincoln, England.We have been trading since July 2007 and have grown rapidly in that time. We publish a variety of genres and formats and have authors and readers from all around the world. We have approximately 250 authors, release six eBooks per week (312 per year), eight print titles per month and six audio books per month. The staff at TEB love what they do and we are always striving to provide a better service. Here are a couple of pictures from a Ladies’ Night we did last year that raised money for charity.
Total-E-Bound Publishing’s team are passionate about all that’s newest and naughtiest in the world of erotic romance. Working with some of the hottest erotic romance authors in the world – both well-loved big names and exciting, new voices – we bring you a full half-dozen smoking-hot titles every week.Indulge yourself with our lush covers and the clever characters and passionate plots our world-beating authors create.Whether you prefer a slow burn at the sizzling end of our heat range or want to push your boundaries with our scandalous taboo line, Total-E-Bound can fulfill your desires.Do you want to read hot historicals or salacious sci-fi? Do you want to play on Team Vampire or Team Werewolf? We have everything from boy-meets-girl to boy-meets-boy, threesomes, foursomes and moreseomes!Each year we invite our authors to explore different thrilling themes in our anthologies and collections.This year we kicked off Valentine’s Day with a bang, with Heart Attack, our collection of pulse-pounding thrillers. In a world of undercover cops, private eyes and bad guys, can love win out over the darker side of human nature?When spring has sprung, why not try something a little different with our exciting new takes on sexy, spine-tingling horror stories in our April anthology Scared Stiff? Get your thrills and your chills in one passionate package.As the weather heats up, so do our stories, as our May anthology All Together Now explores ménage and multiple-partner stories, with our heroes and heroines overcoming insurmountable obstacles to be together.And to celebrate sixty years of royal rule, look out for Stiff Upper Lip, a series of stories that show that famous British reserve is all an act. Exploring iconic English settings from tea at the Ritz to crime and punishment at the Old Bailey or journalistic hijinks on Fleet Street, we’ll be bringing you the best of British.Our sizzling summer anthology Bodices and Boudoirs will explore past passions with a sultry summer setting. Regency rakes, knights in shining armour, Victorian gents, raunchy Romans…these stories are hot in both senses of the word.To help fight off the chill in September, our Switch anthology is packed with playful takes on the word ‘switch’. With spanking stories and romantic role reversals, this set of stories is all about flexibility.Halloween brings us haunting tales of restless spirits and lost loves. Curl up with soulful stories about sensual spectres and the return of lost lovers from the past in Haunted by You.Finally, as a Christmas treat, explore the darker side of fairyland. Get chills reading sexy stories about the winter fae of the Unseelie Court and their wicked ways in Oberon’s Court. Then follow the path to fairyland into 2013, with our companion piece Titania’s Court, where we’ll show you the sexy summer fae and the magic and mayhem that happen when fairyland is hot.That is just a peek at what is to come from our fabulous authors over the next year.We are constantly striving to improve the experience for our readers and authors and celebrating the New Year in style, we launched a fresh new look for the website on Valentine’s Day. Check it out here http://www.total-e-bound.comWe are confident that the new look will provide better functionality and make browsing and purchasing more enjoyable and overall enhance the customer and author experience.The first phase included a total re-design of the site providing a cleaner, more stylish and contemporary look.Improved functionality and navigation on the website makes it easier for readers and authors to have a more enjoyable experience. We introduced a fabulous banner at the top of the homepage to highlight offers and promotions. We have improved visibility of products, enabling customers to see relevant book information and making the buying experience quicker and easier.Later on this year we will also have a TEB app, so you can keep up to date with all things TEB at the click of a button!We also have phases two and three planned, but let’s keep some of it in the bag for the time being. We can come back later and tell you more!If you are a new TEB reader or someone who fancies giving our books a try we have a free books page where you can read a selection of stories in a variety of genres from a selection of our authors.Our customers can also download straight to a kindle device from their VIP account on our site, as well as downloading to the nook, iPad and iPhone – or any other eReader.A final piece of news to tell you about (for now) is our new print solution. As much as we adore eBooks we still like to hold our books from time to time and we know you do to! We now have a worldwide shipping print solution for our customers to benefit from. Whether you’re in Australia, UK, USA, or Europe, we can ship directly to your door.We are very excited about 2012 and hope you will be too! If you haven’t given TEB a try before now, check out the website and you might find something to tickle your fancy.And if you write erotic romance – the steamier the better! – visit our Author Information page to find out how you can become part of our team.You can find out more about us, our books and our authors at www.total-e-bound.comTotal-E-Bound Publishing – the hottest books from the coolest publisher.
By Lisabet SaraiSally and Harry live on opposite coasts. Although they work in the same field, they’ve never met. At the conclusion of a professional conference both have attended, Sally discovers her plane home has been canceled, so she decides to stay another night in the luxurious conference hotel. Harry resides only an hour’s drive away, but after the intensive socializing of the conference, he’s disinclined to go back to his lonely bachelor apartment.Nursing a beer in the hotel bar, Harry can’t help but notice the unusual woman sitting by herself at a corner table. He introduces himself and offers to buy her a drink. Before long they’re chatting as if they’d been friends for years. Sally is charmed by Harry’s chocolate-brown eyes and infectious laugh. Harry finds his companion’s outspoken intelligence as much a turn-on as her voluptuous figure. Conversation gradually morphs into flirtation and then into outright groping. They adjourn to Sally’s room and have the most incredibly pleasurable, mind-blowing sex in either’s experience. Waking the next morning, entwined in each other’s arms, they make slow, sensuous love. Sally gives Harry her business card before rushing off to catch her plane.Ending A: Harry returns to work, but he can’t get Sally out of his mind. He calls and she tells him that he’s been in her thoughts, too. Harry doesn’t believe in love at first sight, but he can’t argue with his heart, which tells him that Sally is as close to a soul mate as he’s ever going to find. He takes a leave of absence from his job, books a flight to her city, and shows up at her door at 2 AM, begging her to let him into her life. Sally’s joy at seeing him overwhelms her irritation at being rudely awakened. She drags him into her bedroom, where they have loud, passionate sex. As Harry is coming, he blurts out a proposal of marriage.Ending B: Harry returns to work. His whole world seems brighter whenever he remembers his time with Sally. He thinks about calling her, but is leery of invading her privacy. As time goes on, his memory of her face fades, but he masturbates to the recollection of her uninhibited screams as she climaxed around his cock. A year later he attends the same conference and notices a note with his name on the message board. It turns out to be an invitation to Sally’s room.Either of these synopses might describe a story I’d written. I believe that I could make either outcome plausible, sexy, and emotionally satisfying. In my view, A and B describe parallel universes. You never know how a chance encounter will play out.In the eyes of many publishers, though – not to mention readers – A and B are far from equivalent. In the first resolution, Harry loves Sally and we presume that his feelings are reciprocated. No matter how often, how enthusiastically, and how explicitly the characters shag, the fact that there’s love involved somehow raises the tale to a higher plane. Story A is not a story about sex – it’s about love.Story B, some might argue, focuses more on appetite. Clearly Harry-B feels affection and concern for Sally-B – more, perhaps, than Harry-A, who barges into her life and drags her out of bed in order to declare his love. Both Harry-B and Sally-B appear to be content allowing their encounter to stand on its own, as one of those incandescent, magical connections that sex sometimes creates – although Sally-B seems inclined to try for a repeat performance. In story B, though, Love doesn’t enter into the equation, at least not overtly. Story B is erotica – or in the eyes of some, just plain smut.The two versions of the tale might feature an equal number of moans, shudders, licks, sucks, cocks and climaxes. Nevertheless, Story A will be viewed as more worthy and more socially acceptable than Story B – just because of the L-word.If you go to All Romance Ebooks/Omni Lit (http://www.allromanceebooks.com), you find a list of categories in the left sidebar. One category is “Erotica”. Click on that link. You’ll find yourself at a page that tells explains you must log in before you can see any books in that category.On the other hand, you’ll also see categories like “GBLT”, “Multiple Partners” and “BDSM”. Out of curiosity, I chose the latter. This time there were lots of books listed, some of which appear to include fairly intense kink. But that’s okay, apparently, because the individuals involved love each other and are in a committed relationship.I’m sorry, but this just doesn’t make sense to me. Does love in some miraculous way sanctify and sanitize the sex? Don’t get me wrong. Love is a wonderful thing. I’ll agree that sexual experiences are frequently both more intense and more satisfying with a partner (or partners) whom you love. However, the division between erotic romance (where sexual partners declare their love) and erotica (where they don’t necessarily mention the L-word) strikes me as artificial. And the difference in status is just plain unfair.My first novel, Raw Silk, was written and originally marketed as erotica, by the late lamented Black Lace. It features a woman exploring her sexuality with three different men – plus a woman or two – trying to understand just what she really wants. The conclusion happens to fit romance conventions – sort of – in that Kate chooses the Master who has recognized and cultivated her desire for submission over her long-time lover from America or the charming, sexually-omnivorous Thai prince who’s been wooing her. However, the sexual variety in the book, not to mention the transgressive nature of many of its scenes, qualifies it as erotica, at least in my perspective.When the book went out of print, I resold it Total-E-Bound, where it has been reborn as erotic romance. Aside from some edits of vocabulary and punctuation, the book didn’t change. (Of course, by that time, Black Lace had re-branded its books as romance as well.)I had the same experience with my second novel Incognito, which presents an even wider range of sexual scenarios. Yes, there’s a burgeoning romance in Incognito, but it’s set against a backdrop of sex with strangers, ménage and swinging, BDSM, age play and pseudo-incest, lesbianism, homosexuality, cross dressing, exhibitionism… well, you get the picture. Yet by some strange quirk, Love makes it all okay.These days I deliberately choose to write erotic romance stories – at least sometimes – and I’ve had reasonable success publishing them (though not necessarily selling them!) I’m something of a romantic at heart anyway. I have to be honest, though, and admit that I prefer the greater freedom that comes with writing stories that will be labeled as erotica. Even though they don’t sell as well. Even though admitting that my characters don’t always fall in love will result in my books being hidden away behind the digital equivalent of a brown paper wrapper.Ironically, my erotica tends to be less physical and more emotionally nuanced that much of the explicit erotic romance I encounter. Even when writing romance, I sometimes find myself struggling to deliver the detailed, explicit sex scenes that seem to be popular with today’s romance readers. Go figure.I entered my user name and password at ARe, just to see what showed up in their erotica category. It’s an incredibly mixed bag. Porn-like titles such as Open Your Legs for My Family and Caught in a Werewolf Gangbang mingle with romancey titles like Keep Me Safe and Trust in Me. I noticed books by erotica authors I know and respect, as well as books where the blurb made it clear that the authors could use some serious editing help.Oh, and there were over 9000 entries. This made it pretty difficult to see whether my books showed up there. Somebody must be reading all these books, though. Certainly there are a good number of people writing them.Erotic romance readers have some pretty weird notions about erotica. They seem to believe that sexually explicit fiction, without love, is basically trash – without plot, character development, style or suspense. I’ve read dismissive, somewhat insulting blog comments evincing the opinion that, if there’s no love involved, it’s “just porn”.Sigh. As if writing porn were something anyone could do – with skill, at least.Sometimes I feel like shaking them. “What’s love got to do with it?” I’d say. “Not every sexual experience ends happily. Not every happy sexual experience results in an ever-after. Don’t you get bored knowing ahead of time how your stories end?”They don’t seem to get bored, any more than the folks who purchased Open Your Legs for My Family will be bored when they get hold of Bend Over for My Family.Maybe, as usual, I’m just asking for too much.
By Donna George Storey
I thought I’d have to write a really depressing post this month. In recent weeks, the election-year War on Sex has escalated, and things were looking bleak for erotica writers, supporters of women’s autonomy, and anyone who thinks sex outside of a heterosexual union blessed by an established religion, preferably Christianity, can be something other than evil.
Fortunately, the past few weeks have brought some victories for sex-positive forces. Rush Limbaugh is hemorrhaging sponsors after his slut-shaming of Sandra Fluke for speaking out about the medical uses of the birth control pill. Female legislators, such as Ohio state senator Nina Turner, are sponsoring bills to regulate Viagra, declare sperm cells persons, and require unnecessary, government-mandated rectal exams for men. I find this both a witty and brilliant way of bringing the point home to men, many of whom seem to be unaware that restricting women’s sexuality and access to contraception will impact their intimate lives in any way.
The sweetest news of all is that Paypal’s campaign to censor books on topics they found distasteful, by forcing publishers and authors to silence themselves, was successfully overturned by the admirable efforts of authors, readers and progressive activists, ERWA’s own Remittance Girl being a notable figure in the fight. Of course, the cynical part of me suspects the back-down was due less to a new understanding of the importance of free speech than to the huge profits Paypal and the credit card companies would lose, especially given the recent media attention to the BDSM novel Fifty Shades of Grey. But I’ll accept the HFN ending anyway.
Even if the immediate danger has passed for the moment, the Paypal edict raised an issue in in my mind that is still worth examining for erotica writers. As I understand it, portrayals of rape, incest, and underage sex were not allowed if the work was classified as erotica and thus was assumed to be written with an intent to arouse sexual feelings. However, “pure literature” with those themes were fine—A Thousand Acres and Bastard Out of Carolina (underage incest), The Kite Runner (the anal rape of an 11-year-old boy), or fiction in other genres such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (rape and child abuse) being just a few famous examples.
The distinction between sex scenes meant solely to stir your loins and those that have a higher redeeming purpose is assumed to be clear to all readers of sound moral character. Yet many of us, myself included, found ourselves questioning the criteria used to determine the two categories. It certainly couldn’t have to do with the quality of the prose, because frankly, I find that the work of many erotica writers is more thoughtful, sophisticated and redemptive than much of what passes for literary fiction.
Here’s my theory as to how the distinction is generally made. In “literary” or mainstream fiction, sexual themes, while sometimes written with the same language used in erotica and possibly the fodder for secret sexual fantasy for many readers, are kept safely circumscribed by making sure whoever has sex, whether victim, aggressor or willing participant, is somehow punished. Death, insanity, lifelong sexual dysfunction, social ostracism, divorce, any of these horrible consequences will do, as long as the emotional message is not so different from what it was in the nineteenth century, “Have sex outside of heterosexual marriage and you will die!” As long as the “pure” writer is on message, he is free to cook up all kinds of plot twists that feed on forbidden desires and acts, and in fact might arouse the reader as much as any officially designated erotica. Then he will redeem himself by showing how sex is harmful. It’s a brilliant move by those who want to capitalize on sexual repression. Use our natural human curiosity for the forbidden and our natural sexual impulses to draw us in, but impose highly conservative justice on the characters, so we’re left feeling that sex is dangerous and damaging to our bodies, souls and reputations.
Erotica, on the other, often, although not always, portrays sexuality as enjoyable. Sometimes it eroticizes the power relationships inherent in our society, and thereby transforms and complicates these relationships. This is clearly a very scary idea to the guardians of social order.
The truth is people read all fiction to be aroused. Erotica is assumed to focus only on sexual arousal. Literary and mainstream fiction are supposed to stay above the waist to arouse love and hate, our sense of justice and morality, and an identification with the fate of the characters. I can’t count how many times I’ve read advice for literary writers to give your poor protagonist as many trials and conflicts as possible, the better to create a sense of pleasurable release when she prevails. Eroticists are accused of manipulating their readers for a low purpose in that perhaps—or even hopefully [gasp]—the story will lead to what has traditionally been referred to as “self-abuse.” However, I personally have felt emotionally abused by some of our most celebrated and/or bestselling authors.
As a mother, I am horrified at how many times child abuse or a child’s death is brought into the plot for emotional impact. It certainly brings tears to my eyes and sick knot to my stomach. And of course, these terrible things do happen in real life. However, when I started looking at this phenomenon as a writer, I began to get suspicious. If you read literary fiction, you might begin to think toddlers drown in pools as often as smokers die of the complications of their addiction in our country. There’s no doubt the victimization of the innocent provides an instant punch to the reader’s gut. Some authors handle it well and explore the consequences with sensitivity. But too many, in my opinion, go straight for our vulnerabilities and fears in a cheap way. And, for the record, I admire works of fiction and nonfiction that deal with these issues responsibly. The brilliant and moving The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by journalist Rebecca Skloot involves horrifying child abuse in private and institutional settings, but within a context that exposes the costs of poverty, racism and a misguided trust in the medical establishment. Henrietta Lacks was harrowing, but one of the most memorable and important books I’ve ever read.
Sure, it might be easier for me to choose reading material if Paypal established a panel of “experts” to review all literary fiction to determine if the trials of its protagonists were edifying to the reader or merely created a sense of fear and danger more in character with the horror and action-adventure genres. But even at the risk of my sensitive soul, I must continue to support free speech no matter what my personal tastes. Some authors may betray our trust, but we can always stop reading or go write a scathing review on our blog!
So, fellow erotica writers, the next time someone tries to shame you for aiming to incite lustful feelings your reader, remember that all good writers try to arouse their readers’ emotions. Some of us are just more honest about what we do.
Donna George Storey is the author of the erotic novel, Amorous Woman. Her short stories have recently appeared in Best Women’s Erotica 2012, Best Erotic Romance, and The Best of Best Mammoth Erotica. Learn more at http://www.facebook.com/DGSauthor.
By: Craig Sorensen
As the end of 2011 approached, I had lived over sixteen years at the same address. The longest I had ever lived at any one address in my life. I had been working for the same company, and for thirteen years been in the same job. For a man who had lived through a lot of changes in his life before that, it was an unprecedented trend of consistency. It gave me time to really pour myself into my passion for writing.
I got nice and comfy.
Along came an offer to move on to a new company, new city, new business. It was an excellent offer, and yet I hesitated. I was in a good place, despite some concerns about the future in that current job.
Yes, I hesitated at an offer that was beyond tempting.
Sometimes we find we don’t want change. Sometimes, it seems, change wants us.
Don’t Change a Thing
I said not to change. I wanted you, loved you, married you, just as you are. Don’t change, I said.
Not one of the long blonde hairs on your head, perfectly coiffed. Not your clear face, totally unadorned by makeup. Don’t change those bright dresses that light up a room when you enter, bare legs extending from your short dresses to ever-present sandals. That big smile that warms me when I’m feeling down. Your round glasses, so out of the step with the current fashion, magnifying your brown eyes like precious gems, begging me to take you, but first a nice dinner you made. You rise, knees close together, hands cross at your lower back, nipples that could cut glass. I reach up your dress, your thighs widen. “I’m yours,” you whisper.
“Yes you are,” and I lift you over my shoulder and haul you down the hall, toss you on the bed, your playful laugh at the urgency you so easily seduce.
But tonight, you suggested a restaurant where I’ve never been.
You have never been late. Someone turns my head as she walks into the room. Hair bobbed short, jet black and tousled. Meticulous makeup on her face. A conservative, dark dark dress with silk stockings extending from the low hem line. High heels clack slowly, and I can tell, despite competent grace, how unpracticed she is in them. I feel my brow lift higher and higher.
Your eyes suddenly a deep emerald green as you take the seat across from me, and act aloof. You don’t grab my hand the way you usually do.
How dare you.
How dare you!
Words fail me and my jaw falls slack.
I reach in my pants and turned the uninvited, uncomfortable thing to twelve o’clock.
Hardly a word spoken, we nibble on the appetizer you order. You suddenly hold up a key to a room in the hotel upstairs. I want to hesitate. You take my hand under the table and place it on your silk clad knee. I slide up and feel where the garter binds. You shove my hand away as if you didn’t invite me.
You pay for the half consumed appetizer. “No, there’s nothing wrong,” you say to the waiter, who can’t take his eyes off you. “My appetite just changed. A woman’s prerogative.” You nod my way and almost smile for the first time tonight. You stand up and wait.
Slowly, I rise.
On the elevator ride, I want to ask who you are, but I have some idea. I know there is a part of you that craves control, but rarely admits itself. I follow you. I worry. I am so hard as you unlock the door. I wonder what waits inside. You walk into the room and don’t turn on the light. “Come in. Get naked,” you command.
I hesitate. Briefly. “Yes, ma’am.”
Today I ran across an artifact. It’s a letter written in 1985, by Charles Bukowski to the journalist Hans van den Broek, responding to the news that his book, ‘Tales of Ordinary Madness’ had been banned from a public library.
He wrote: “Censorship is the tool of those who have the need to hide actualities from themselves and from others. Their fear is only their inability to face what is real, and I can’t vent any anger against them. I only feel this appalling sadness. Somewhere, in their upbringing, they were shielded against the total facts of our existence. They were only taught to look one way when many ways exist.”
I’m surprised that no one, as yet, has written on the ERWA blog about PayPal’s pressure on eBook sellers to remove erotica containing taboo subjects such as incest, pseudo incest, bestiality, underaged sex and rape.
Finding this letter in the middle of what is happening today was strangely poignant. We are still in a world where people hide actualities from themselves. We don’t really like the fact that some people find fiction that disgusts us erotic.
It is very easy to look at those taboo labels and wonder who in their right might would ever find any of it erotic? Aren’t they sick, deviant, in need of psychological care? It turns out that over 40% of women have rape fantasies. The average age of first sexual intercourse is 17. One of the primary reasons why we find tales of werewolves so appealing is the eroticism of their beast-like nature.
When writers write on transgressive topics, especially when they look at them through an erotic lens, they are digging deep into the darker recesses of our subconscious. They bring things into the light that may scare and fascinate us in equal measure.
I remember watching a film called ‘The Collector’ when I was young. Based on the novel by John Fowles, it’s the story of an obsessive butterfly collector who decides to kidnap and keep a girl. I found it both incredibly frightening and inexplicably erotic. I was very ashamed by the fact that it turned me on. I was equally ashamed that I got so wet watching late night reruns of Fay Wray screaming and struggling in King Kong.
I admit it. I really did wonder how he was going to fit that enormous ape cock into little itty bitty Fay. Turned me on no end just thinking about it.
It wasn’t until I was a middle-aged woman that I decided to bring that shame into the light of day, or rather onto the page, and examine it. I realized that I wasn’t equating my fantasies with the real world. Having experienced real rape, I can assure you, it’s horrific. And yet, although the words I used for the fantasies I had pertained to real acts in the real world, their fantasy counterparts were entirely different. Unrealistic, and yet full of semiotic meaning.
What I have concluded was that I had taken realities in the world around me and re-encoded them, appropriated them, retold the stories they way I wanted. And isn’t that, in a way, what a lot of fiction is about?
Murder mysteries aren’t celebrations of the act of murder. Intergalactic wars aren’t celebrations of holocausts. Historical romances don’t revel in the awful realities of women’s lack of agency and power in the 18th Century. Fiction allows us to retell the things that fascinate and terrify us in ways we can absorb, be thrilled by, enjoy.
I can’t claim to really understand why fiction with edgier taboos turns some people on. I just know it does. As I writer, I am interested in examining why it does. How we take those horrors into ourselves and somehow reprocess them into other things. Words give me the freedom and the safety to get inside the phenomena and dissect it. I think we can learn very important things about ourselves when we write or read those dissections.
I think fiction is a good place to recognize our inexplicable strangeness, to acknowledge that we have unaccountable feelings and ideas. And history has taught me that we are at our worst when we decide there are things we shouldn’t talk about.
Oh, dear, I’ve done it again.
Just in case you may have missed it, I have a new book out,
called Finger’s Breadth. As the
book is a “sexy gay science fiction thriller” about queer men losing
bits of their digits – though, of course, there’s a lot more to the novel than
Anyhow, I thought it would be fun to create another bout ofcrazy publicity by claiming that I would be lopping off one of my own fingersto get the word out about it.
Naturally, this has caused a bit of a fuss – which got me to
thinking, and this thinking got me here: to a brand new Streetwalker about
publicity … and pushing the envelope.
The world of writing has completely, totally, changed – and
what’s worse it seems to keep changing, day-by-day if not hour-by-hour. It seems like just this morning that
publishing a book was the hard part of the writing life, with publicity being a
necessary but secondary evil. But
not any more: ebooks and the fall of the empire of publishing have flipped the
apple cart over: it’s now publishing is easy and publicity is the hard part …
What’s made it even worse is that everyone has a
solution: you should be on Facebook,
you should be on Twitter, you should be on Goodreads, you should be on Red Room,
you should be on Google+, you should be doing blog tours, you should be …
well, you get the point. The
problem with a lot of these so-called solutions is that they are far too often
like financial advice … and the old joke about financial advice is still
true: the only successful people are the ones telling you how to be successful.
That’s not to say that you should put your fingers in your
ears and hum real loudly: while you shouldn’t try everything in regards to
marketing doing absolutely nothing is a lot worse.
But, anyway, back to me. One thing that’s popped up a lot lately has been people
telling me that I’ve crossed a tasteful line in my little publicity stunts –
that somehow what I’ve been doing does a disservice to me and my work.
Yeah, that smarts.
But hearing that I also have a rather evil little grin on my face: for
what I’ve done is nothing compared to what other writers have done.
Courtesy of Tony Perrottet of The New York Times (“How
Writers Build the Brand“), comes more than a few tales of authors who
have done whatever they could – and frequently more than that – to get the word
out about their product. Case in
point are these gems: ” In 1887, Guy de Maupassant sent up a
hot-air balloon over the Seine with the name of his latest short story, ‘Le
Horla,’ painted on its side. In 1884, Maurice Barrès hired men to wear sandwich
boards promoting his literary review, Les
Taches d’Encre. In 1932, Colette created her own line of cosmetics sold
through a Paris store.”
Ever hear of a fellow by the name of Hemingway? Well, Ernest was no stranger to GETTING THE
WORD OUT. A master of branding, he
worked long and hard not just to get noticed but become the character that
everyone thought he was – to the point where we have to wonder where the
fictional Ernest began and the real Hemingway ended.
Then there’s the tale of Grimod de la Reynière (1758-1837),
who turned the established idea of “wine and dine to success” by
staging a dinner in celebration of his Reflections
on Pleasure – though the guests were locked in until the next morning and, while
they ate, Grimod lavished the assembled with anything less that praise. Outrage ensued – to put it mildly – but
his book became a bestseller.
One of my personal favorites, though, is Georges Simenon –
and not just because he lived in a rather exotic arrangement with his wife and
claimed to have made love to over 10,000 women – but because he’d planned a
stunt to write a novel in 72 hours while in a hanging glass cage in the Moulin
Rouge – with the audience encouraged to choose the book’s characters, title,
and more. While Georges sadly
didn’t carry out his plan that hasn’t stopped other writers from trying their
hands on the similar: Harlan Ellison, for instance, used to write in the front
window of the now-defunct Change of Hobbit Bookstore in Los Angeles.
So should you lock yourself in a glass cage? Lock in a party of critics? Hire a hot air balloon? Stick flyers on windshields? Claim that another writer has stolen
Well, it’s up to you, but keep in mind what another author has
said – also known for his publicity: “There is only one thing in
life worse than being talked about,
and that is not being talked about.”
Oscar Wilde may
not have lived in the age of the Internet but he, like Hemingway, Grimod, Poe, Simenon,
Maupassant, and so many writers before or since, understood that it’s important
to stand out from the crowd.
Certainly it’s risky, absolutely it can backfire, but at the
same time there is a very long tradition in authors having a total and complete
blast in getting the word out there about their work.
Before I wrap this up, I want to say one final thing about
near-outrageousness and publicity.
While I can’t speak for Hemingway, Grimod, and all the rest, I can
speak for myself: money would be nice, fame would be pleasant, but why I’ve
taken these risks and accepted the occasional backfires is because I’ve had a
blast writing these books and so I’ll do whatever it takes to get them out into
the world — and read.
To quote Groucho
Marx: “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a
dog it’s too dark to read.”
by Ashley Lister More often than not, enjoyable fiction is all about characters. Many readers approach fiction for the excitement of meeting new and interesting characters – the characters that you, the writer, have created. Characters often remain the most vivid and memorable parts of any fiction. This is particularly true in erotica with a heritage that has given us such literary stalwarts as John Cleland’s Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure), Pauline Reage’s O (The Story of O), and Justine from de Sade’s Justine ou Les Malheurs de la Virtu. But creating convincing and credible characters can be one of the trickiest aspects of the craft. The following exercise might be helpful for those writers who want to create a distinctive character that readers will remember long after they’ve finished the final page. 1) Think of an easily identifiable activity or occupation such as cop, soldier, cowboy or office worker. Ideally, pick an occupation with which you are already familiar, or with which you’d like to be familiar. (It’s worth noting that in the list of occupations above, each of these job titles has been the subject of themed anthologies focusing solely on characters connected to that particular occupation). 2) Once you’ve picked an occupation for your character, write down all the stereotypical things you’d expect that character to do, both positive and negative. Using one of the examples from above, you’d expect a cop to eat donuts, or blurt out the name of the culprit when watching a whodunit film, or have a set of handcuffs dangling from his or her hip. You’d expect a cop to have a natural air of confidence and a commanding air of authority. But the chances are you’ve picked a different occupation other than cop. Write a full list of traits that you’d usually associate with a character in the occupation you’ve chosen for this exercise. Include the good traits and the bad traits. 3) Now start to think of things your fictional character could do to become an individual – things that break the stereotypical mould. As an example, the cop I mentioned before might collect fine glassware. This interest in the aesthetic breaks the mould of the stereotype because few people consider police officers to have an appreciation for art or craftsmanship. This is not to say that police officers don’t have refined taste. But there are a lot of readers out there who see police officers solely as the face of authority with little interest in art. Could this unexpected aspect of my police officer’s character be considered erotic? Well, if he has an appreciation for fine glassware, then there’s a chance that his strong and powerful hands could be taking masterful yet sensitive control of a piece of fragile and delicate Lalique. His fingers could smooth against its detailed curves. His broad palms could cup the swell of a rounded base. He could caress a smooth and swollen surface. He could trace his fingernails against unyielding ridges. And this is before the situation has even moved toward being erotic. Compile a list of traits that would go against the stereotype of the occupation you’ve chosen – make this a list of things that no one would expect your character to do. These facets will make your character stand out as memorable. 4) Write a short scene showing your character going against the conventional norms of their occupation. Write a short scene that shows your character as a unique individual. Take time with this exercise. It’s not easy but the rewards can be plentiful – for yourself and for your readers. The chances are, after trying this a couple of times, you will have created an intriguing character who demands a place in your next fiction. The characters we create in our stories are going to live on the page and exist in the minds of our readers. Making these characters as vivid and memorable as possible is a sure way of making our work stay with the reader. More importantly, they give the reader a valid excuse to return to our writing again and again in the future. Ashley Lister
From the Erotica Readers & Writers Association
By Lisabet Sarai
Dear Bootylicious Babes and Backdoor Boyfriends,
Welcome to the March edition of the Erotica Readers & Writers Association. I chose the salutation above because we seem to have an anal erotic thread running through the site this month. Not that I mind, of course. Anyone who’s read my stories knows how I feel about rear-entry revels. (I recently noticed, with a bit of embarrassment, that there’s a butt plug in every one of my novels!)
In the Sex Toy Playground, to start with, we have Alicia Guinn’s great article “How to Bend Over Your Boyfriend”. Ms. Guinn writes with authority about the myths and truths concerning anal sex, offering step by step instructions for novices that had me, at least, squirming in my chair. Mr. and Mrs. Toy continue the theme with their rave review of the Spare Parts Deuce Male Harness, a machine-washable dildo harness that allows double penetration by the male – but which does double duty when a lady wants to wear it. Our regular Sex Toy Scuttlebutt column includes a couple of devices oriented toward anal exploration (and discount coupons from many of our affiliates). Of course, if butt sex isn’t your bag, you’ll find lots of other pleasure-enhancing artifacts in our Toy pages.
Shouldn’t you take some time out to play?
I just found out that “pegging” is slang for a female anally penetrating a male. Talk about life-long learning…! In the Adult Movies section, we’re featuring Tristan Taormino’s “Expert Guide to Pegging” – simultaneously educational and arousing. And speaking of Ms. Taormino, she’s also in the spotlight over in the Books for Sensual Readers section, with her new compendium THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO KINK: BDSM, ROLE PLAY AND THE EROTIC EDGE. I’ve put it on my wish list – as I said, you can always learn something new!
The Movies pages offer many more delights, in particular two very different films directed by Nica Noelle. “A Mother’s Love” deals with the explosive attraction between a devoted mother and her grown-up son’s best friend. The more hard core “Office Affairs: The Office Flirt” offers up a high-powered female executive who takes on the re-education of an inappropriately flirtatious subordinate. I also zeroed in on “The Bodyguard”, the tale of an international mob boss who hires a female bodyguard to keep his sexually insatiable daughter out of trouble – with predictably steamy results. I’m sure you know already that if you’re intrigued by these films, or any others of the dozens we feature, you should use our links to purchase them. Not only will you be supporting ERWA, we’ve also arranged for you to get the very best prices from our partners.
Lights! Camera! And some serious action!
Personally, although I enjoy a lusty adult film (especially if it includes anal sex), I’m a word girl at heart. When I open a new edition of ERWA, the Erotica Gallery is always my first stop. This month, ERWA is honored to have the legendary Maxim Jakubowski as our featured author. His astounding bio is almost as fascinating as the three atmospheric erotic vignettes he’s supplied, set in New Orleans, Venice and Greenwich Village.
In addition to Maxim’s contributions, the March Gallery features an amazing variety of fiction authored by both long-time members and newcomers. From a pimp reincarnated as a vengeful snowman to a high-spirited hillbilly romp featuring plenty of (you guessed it) anal sex – from wistful gay desire to an invitation from the Devil – well, you really never know what you’ll find in the ERWA Galleries, but you can be sure it won’t be the same old erotica cliches. We’ve got poetry, too, brave and beautiful attempts to capture the elusive experience of Eros.
Indulge yourself in the best erotic writing on the Web:
The Gallery always whets my appetite for more erotic tales. Fortunately, our Books for Sensual Readers pages have what it takes to satisfy me. Pick up a copy of OBSESSED, Rachel Kramer Bussel’s new anthology focusing on female desire. Reviewer Ashley Lister guarantees you wont’ be disappointed. Then there’s Maria Isabel Pita’s CROOK & FLAIL, a tale of Egypt, BDSM and passion that survives beyond the grave. Belinda McBride’s gay romance AN UNCOMMON WHORE is sexy, escapist fun, featuring a ruthless pirate captain and a male prostitute with a secret. D.L. King presents a new anthology of butch-femme erotica entitled THE HARDER SHE COMES. And I’ve just got to read Nicholson Baker’s outrageous HOUSE OF HOLES, a bizarre visit to a pleasure resort where the rules of logic, physics and common sense are all suspended.
I found all these fantastic titles in a quick dash through the “featured books” page. Dig deeper and you’ll discover a treasure trove of erotic literature (not to mention art, photography and adult comics). Like what you see? You know what to do, right? (Hint: it involves our links to Amazon and Amazon UK.)
Find pleasure between the pages:
In the March Authors Resources pages, William Gaius is back after a few months’ hiatus. His excellent article on the art and science of choosing a pseudonym should be required reading for both novice and experienced authors, since his guidelines mostly apply to selecting character names as well. Witty and wise Ashley Lister talks about “The Joy of Deadlines”, vowing that he’ll never again leave a commitment to the last minute. Meanwhile, my series Naughty Bits continues with a simple, common-sense tutorial on HTML and web basics for authors. The World Wide Web is not nearly as complicated as you might think.
Our Guidelines and Submissions pages continue to grow. Open calls include “Hungry for Love”, a Coming Together charity anthology of zombie erotic fiction edited by Sommer Marsden to benefit diabetes research. D.L. King is seeking fem-dom erotica for “Under Her Thumb” while Shane Allison wants gay frat-boy stories for “Hot Pledges”. Kathleen Warnock is seeking stories for “Best Lesbian Erotica” and Blushing Books specializes in spanking stories of all sorts. Other opportunities include Carina Press’ call for science fiction novellas (not necessarily romantic or erotic) and Sizzler Editions’ open submissions for Sex in London and Sex in New York collections.
This is just a brief sampling from the ERWA list of publishing opportunities. You’ll find places to sell everything from romance to raunch, from flash fiction to full-length novels. ERWA is THE authority on the erotica market.
Refine your skills and kickstart your writing career:
Inside the Erotic Mind, our fearless erotic explorers discuss the controversial nature of relationships with large age differences. Cougar? Dirty old man? MILF? Cradle robber? You’ll be surprised by some of the commentary. Want to share your own thoughts? Just click on “Participate.”
ERWA is focusing on erotic romance during the first quarter of 2012. As part of our celebration, we’re hosting several chats with erotic romance pros. Kristina Wright dazzled chatters a few days ago. On Saturday March 17th, veteran Lynne Connolly will host another live chat. If you have questions about the genre, or just want to meet a lively and entertaining author, join in the conversation.
For details, see the ERWA blog:
Speaking of the ERWA blog, have you been by there lately? We’ve had some fabulous posts by our new stable of regular contributors: Ashley Lister, M. Christian, Remittance Girl, Craig Sorensen, Donna George Storey, Kathleen Bradean, Lucy Felthouse, Jean Roberta, Kristina Wright, and yours truly. We’ve had posts about marital sex, censorship, the experience of being an author, the process of assembling an anthology, using chocolate to improve your writing and your sex life… Book mark us and visit us often.
Now you don’t have to go into ERWA withdrawal between our monthly updates!
Well, that wraps up this month’s Erotic Lure. I hope you’ve enjoyed our quick romp through the virtual corridors of the web’s best free adult website. Perhaps this month, we’ve inspired you to explore some new – um – passageways. I can tell you from personal experience, you won’t regret it!
Write, learn, and play on ERWA email list. Details at:
The following report about the March 1st Erotic Romance Live Chat with Kristina Wright is from ERWA staffer Rose:
I just wanted to say that last evening’s live Erachat March Erotic Romance Theme Event (the first of two this month) last night was a complete success. We had about 25 people in there — some I knew, some who I was meeting for the first time — and everyone came with terrific questions for Kristina Wright, who was a most gracious guest with loads of knowledge and personality, both of which were evident to everyone who attended. Thanks, of course, to Kristina, but also to Karen/khatt ( our incomparable Erachat host), and to everyone who joined in. You people all rock!
The two-hour event just flew by. Before I knew it, it was coming up on 10 o’clock and we had to call it a night (at least officially… folks were welcome to hang around and chat with their fellow ERWAers and a few did.)
For those of you who would have liked to attend, but were unable to, Kristina agreed to allow us to log the chat, so the transcript of the session last night is available on ERWA website at:
I’m looking forward to the next live chat event, on Saturday, March 17th at 3:00pm EST (12 noon PST; 8:00pm GMT) with Lynne Connollyas our guest erotic romance writer. Hope to see a lot of you there.
ERWA Story Editor