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Yearly Archives: 2017

It feels right that my last post for ERWA should be my favorite post of the year. On the 30th of the month, I’ve been posting on the ERWA blog for five years and the December 30 posts are always the ones I enjoy most. They’re more festive, more reflective and more fun because they’re winding up the old year and anticipating the New Year about to begin. I always feel like I should write something profoundly moving for this end of the year post. Last year the stress of not feeling very profound got to me and I gave it all up and just wrote a poem instead.

 

There is no dearth of inspiring posts this time of year. In fact, inspiring posts are easy to find any time of the year, and even I’m not sadistic enough to subject you lovelies to yet another one of my bad poems.

 

Any December 30 can’t help but bring with it a look back at what the year has brought and a look forward to what is ahead in the year to come. That has never been more true for me than it is this year. As I mentioned, this will be my last post for the ERWA blog. As much as I will miss my monthly palaver with my wonderful friends here, it’s time for me to move on. (Though I have every intention of popping by and checking in from time to time) Over the course of the last two years my writing has been slowly transitioning from erotica and erotic romance to urban fantasy and paranormal. I still have an open bedroom door policy and I still believe that just as sex is a vital part of our humanity, it should also be a vital part of the stories I write. But sex has become less the driving force of my stories and more a component of a larger whole. Much of that transition has taken place in my Medusa’s Consortium series, which strangely enough began with the very erotic M/M romance, Landscapes. (free at the moment, BTW)

 

The heart wants what the heart wants, and I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for urban fantasy and paranormal. There’s no time like the present for me to experiment and spread my writing wings.

 

I want to thank you all for being so tolerant of my navel gazes and for following along on those strange wanderings through my imagination on the 30th of every month. It has been a pleasure to be a part of such a respected blog. Most of all, it’s been a joy to share a bit of myself, my filthy mind and my writing journey with you. Believe me, you have given me a much bigger gift by reading and commenting than I could have ever managed in my monthly postings.

 

As you reflect on the events of 2017 over a little fizz or maybe a nice cup of hot cocoa, I hope that the memories warm you and inspire you and that the year past has brought you much joy and growth.

 

As you anticipate and plan and prepare for 2018, I wish you a wild and wonderful 365-day journey full of love and laughter and deepening.

 

I thank you again for sharing the journey this past five years, and as I close my last ERWA post, I leave you with one final really filthy, seasonal story from my own blog. Please read and enjoy Doing the Gingerbread Man.

 

Happy Holidays Everyone! Wishing you all the best in 2018

I read an interesting post on Facebook in which the writer asked everyone for their 2018 goals. Not resolutions. Goals. He said most people broke resolutions or never even bothered to attempt to meet them. Goals? More realistic and more likely to be attempted and fulfilled. So I asked myself, what are my goals for 2018?

Here are a few:

Finish my erotic fairy tales collection and self-publish it.

Publish my two erotic fairy tale novellas in print. These two books are Trouble In Thigh High Boots (erotic Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (erotic Rapunzel). You may find the ebooks at Amazon and Smashwords.

Finish my horror novel Hell Time.

Find an agent for my thriller novel Secrets and Lies.

Find a home for my bisexual werewolf erotic romance novel Full Moon Fever.

Send out my newsletter regularly.

Submit to a minimum of 5 submission calls in 2018. Bonus points if I publish at least 5 stories.

Join the YMCA and make an effort to swim and work out this winter and spring. My husband and I are joining the Y next week.

Head to the beach every day in late spring and summer to swim, walk, and otherwise get some fresh air and exercise especially after being cooped up in at home all winter.

Save enough money each paycheck to fund a trip to Europe most likely taken in 2019 or 2020.

Sell more books!

Make an effort to attend more book events like readings and conventions but only when money permits. Those events tend to cost more than I can afford.

Bake more. I didn’t bake enough in 2017 which is a shame since I enjoy baking very much. I didn’t bake as many cookies this year as I usually do so I shall remedy that in 2018. Here are the last two recipes I made – pumpkin bread and pizzelles. Pizzelles are anise-flavored Italian waffle cookies.

Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup olive oil ( can sub with canola or vegetable)

2 eggs, Beaten

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl combined pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, and spices.
  4. Then, combined with dry ingredients but, do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in walnuts.
  5. Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.
  6. Makes one loaf. Can easily double the recipe.
  7. If desired, you can use them in a muffin tin as well. They come out just as moist. If you use muffin tin bake for 20-25 minute.

Pizzelles

You need a pizzelle iron to make these cookies. I’m sure you can find one on eBay or at Amazon. I have an electric one that makes four pizzelle cookies at once. It’s over 30 years old. My mother gave it to me when she saw how much I loved those cookies. An Italian neighbor made them all the time.

Ingredients

3 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

3/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon anise extract

1 tablespoon anisette liqueur or Sambucca (optional)

1/4 cups anise seed

1 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter

Instructions

Beat the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla until well combined.

Stir in the flour and baking powder, mixing until smooth.

Add the melted butter, again mixing until smooth; the batter will be thick and soft.

Heat your pizzelle iron. Grease it as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions. As the iron heats, the batter will stiffen.

Cook the pizzelle according to the instructions that came with your iron. In general, they’ll take between 45 seconds and 2 1/2 minutes to brown.

Remove the pizzelle from the iron, and cool on a rack. If desired, use a pair of scissors to trim any ragged edges.

Dust cooled pizzelle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Now that 2017 is drawing to a close, I’m ready for next year. 2017 was a bit of a slow and rather uneventful year for me writing-wise. I need to be more proactive. I plan on that starting Jan. 1 with my stint at Night Owl Reviews. I’m in an author chat that day at 8 PM EST. I’ll talk about my erotic romance novel No Restraint. Here’s the link to join in:

https://www.nightowlreviews.com/v5/Chats

See you there, and have a fantastic 2018!

A bit of sexy holiday silliness…

A Visit from Mistress Nicole

‘Twas the night before Christmas.

Outside the snow fell,

But inside Club O,

It was hotter than hell.

The slaves were all hung

on their crosses with care

in hopes that their dominants

soon would be there.

The Doms were preparing

the racks and nail beds

with visions of ropework

and chains in their heads.

My pet wore her collar

and I with my tawse

was laying down stripes

red as old Mr. Claus.

 

When out at the entrance

arose such a clatter

I left my cuffed slut

to see what was the matter.

 

The light on her breasts

was like new-fallen snow

when compared to the crimson

silk corset below.

Her hair was like fire,

her lips were like cherries,

a ruby stud winked

in the dip of her belly.

Her black leather boots

clasped her legs to the thigh.

Her emerald eyes twinkling,

she raised her whip high.

 

“I’ve come to reward

all the masochist perverts

for all the year’s humble

and diligent service.”

Though purely a top

as you’re likely to meet,

I admit I was tempted

to kneel at her feet.

 

She strode through the dungeon

with oiled single tail.

Her lash made the subbies

all quiver and quail.

To each bottom’s lips

the delicious Domme bent;

she wouldn’t do more

till she had their consent.

 

But then she let loose

while we tops watched in awe

as she happily flogged

half a dozen subs raw.

“Now, baby – oh, boyo!

Breathe, girly – Now, Pet!

Take this now! Don’t you move!

Are you hard? Are you wet?”

As her whip kissed their flesh

we all thrilled at the sight,

while their asses turned scarlet,

their spirits took flight.

 

When at last she relented,

the ritual done,

we Doms found that we,

like our slaves, had all come.

 

And we heard her exclaim

as she vanished from sight:

“Merry Kinkmas to all!

May your bonds remain tight!”

 

A good sexy story offers us a glimpse into the secret lives of strangers. Through her sensibility and skill, an erotica writer enables us to expand our own sensual experience through the bodies and minds of her characters. That, for me, is the eternal allure of a well-written sex scene.

Perhaps this desire to pull back the curtain on hidden erotic pleasures is why I am especially drawn to find out more about what sex was like in the past. We know it happened, because children were born, but did our ancestors experience it as more than a furtive, shameful act for the sake of male sexual release and procreation? More to the point, did women ever enjoy it?

The process of researching historical erotic fiction allows us to uncover treasures that reveal that at least some people in the past had a hot time between the sheets—or elsewhere. I’ve been learning about everything from marriage manuals and Edwardian underwear to red light districts and contraception for my novel-in-progress set in the 1910s. The novel’s completion is a ways away, but I’m happy to announce the publication of a short story informed by many of my discoveries: “The Back Room at the Saloon” in The Big Book of Submission, volume 2, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel.

In the nineteenth century, female submission was regarded as a natural component of marital relations. As my protagonist prepares to fulfill her duty with her husband of a year or so, she repeats to herself the words of advice her mother told her the day of her wedding. This was likely the only sex-related information the young bride ever received from an experienced older woman:

“A good wife gladly submits to her husband’s desire.”

Like “Lie back and think of England,” these words suggest that the passionless bride has to suffer, while her husband selfishly takes his carnal pleasure with no regard for hers. But fortunately, as the story unfolds, we see that my protagonist’s husband, John, is genuinely concerned about his wife’s physical and mental gratification.

Would a man in the nineteenth century even know, much less care, about his partner’s sexual pleasure? We generally assume that because there was little public expression of sexual pleasure in the past, good sex didn’t and couldn’t exist. Still today we are encouraged to censor the enjoyment of sex and assume that a lack of public celebration signifies absence. The media demeans the sexual pleasure of anyone who isn’t model-gorgeous, young, and “cool.” Older people, married people, anyone who couldn’t make it onto a Men’s Health or Playboy cover and “nerds” (I must plead guilty to all four sins) are supposed to have dull or nonexistent sex lives. Even the suggestion that such unworthy folk might experience sexual pleasure is disgusting.

Of course, we unworthies know the truth about our own eroticism. The gulf between what we do in private and what we admit in public can be a Grand Canyon of difference. Was the same true of our corseted and suspendered nineteenth-century forebears? Did they ever experience a jolly time in the bedroom?

We do have a few illuminating glimpses of sexual joy in America in the nineteenth century. To name just a few examples, Emily Dickinson’s brother Austin, engaged in a passionate (and mutually orgasmic) three-way relationship with Mabel Loomis Todd and her husband in late-nineteenth-century Amherst. The diary of Mary Pierce Poor, the upper-middle-class wife of pioneer financial analyst Henry Varnum Poor (yes, of Standard and Poors), shows that the couple had sex approximately every five days and always right before he left for a business trip and right after. This frequency continued for the 27 years of their marriage and is consistent with that reported by married couples in the 1970s (Contraception and Abortion in Nineteenth Century America by Janet Farrell Brodie, 10-11).

Mary Hallock Foote, a writer and illustrator of stories of the Western frontier in the late nineteenth century, provides one of my favorite pieces of evidence that women in the nineteenth century had erotic impulses. Foote’s letter to a female friend in 1877 describes a spontaneous orgasm during a church service in the company of two male friends, Mr. Hague and Mr. Ashburner.

“’…The organ made me feel so strangely—Its throbbing seemed to stifle me and for the first time that pulse within me woke and throbbed so strong and it took away my breath.’ Seated between her two men friends, she felt faint. ‘Everything grew dark and I did not know anything for a minute—I don’t know how long—but came to myself with great drops of perspiration on my lips and forehead—Mr. Ashburner was looking at me very closely—Both Mr. Hague and Mr. Ashburner were delicate enough not to allude to it.’”

Foote went on to describe the interlude as the “strangest feeling,” that “double pulse—that life within life—I cannot get used to it!” (The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, vol. 1 Education of the Senses by Peter Gay, 351)

Ms. Foote was young and unmarried at the time, but in my opinion, even if one does get used to “that life within life,” one can certainly never get enough of it!

In “The Back Room at the Saloon,” I put my faith in the ability of lovers of the past to transcend their culture’s fear of sexual exploration. My highly respectable married couple not only achieves mutual pleasure, but actively creates it by pushing–within the privacy of their own home—against the many erotic taboos of their time. John’s willingness to teach his wife about male sexual pursuits encourages her to assert her own desires. At the time, a saloon was an exclusively male preserve where only women of ill-repute could enter. Just by stepping inside, a respectable woman was respectable no more–and thus free to do a lot more than she otherwise could as a proper lady.

I don’t want to give away all the good bits, but I would like to finish off with a historical note about “French love,” which plays a role in the final climax of the story.

Again we have little evidence from the nineteenth century that “respectable” couples engaged in oral sex. In the podcast “19th-Century New York City Prostitution,” Elizabeth Garner Masarik and Sarah Handley-Cousins inform us that a sporting man in New York would have heard all about the services available at Miss French’s on West Twenty-seventh Street and the House of All Nations, a brothel offering courtesans from Ireland, France, Germany, England, Asia, Africa or South America, all ensconced in rooms decorated with the appropriate ethnic decor.

“Many women who worked at the House of All Nations specialized in the ‘French’ style, which consisted of ‘unnatural acts’ – the code word for oral sex. Reformers often blamed Paris for these ‘unnatural acts,’ prompting one social reformer to complain that women working in ‘French’ houses’ stoop to practices that the ordinary American girl could not be induced to do.’ It is interesting to note however that a study in 1908 found that of 2,000 surveyed prostitutes, almost three-quarters were American-born.” (“19th-Century New York City Prostitution”)

If American professionals could “stoop” to give a blowjob for their trade, isn’t it possible that a loving wife, supported by her husband’s appreciation of her sensual curiosity, might attempt the act of her own volition? Indeed, is erotic contact “unnatural” if it is quite easily accomplished without any props or interventions?

“The Back Room at the Saloon” gives new meaning to the words “A good wife gladly submits to her husband’s desire.” The story is a work of my imagination, based on intriguing hints of from letters, diaries and frank marriage manuals by brave pioneers of centuries past. But I hope that I’ve also captured some timeless truth about what really happened behind closed doors so long ago.

As John reassures his wife: “It’s nobody’s business what a man and his wife do in private. Trust me, dear, and all will be well.”

I think I was about six when I first learnt the whole ‘twelve days of Christmas’ song. Even at that age, the gifts on offer struck me as rather unmanageable in terms of frequency, quantity and accommodation. What sort of man, after all, sends their partner ten leaping lords?

And how does one convey one’s varying levels of gratitude for the continuous influx of peculiar gifts? By email, of course! The finely crafted email is the handwritten letter of yesteryear, and the means through which I intend to convey poor Donna’s yuletide saga…

Is there a learning point in this exercise?  Hmmm… yes, and no.

Yes, in that telling a story in the epistolary form is a good way of making the reader imagine all the chaos happening ‘off-screen’, so to speak.

No, in that it’s December, there’s shopping to do and nativity plays to attend, and I just wanted to write something fun rather than ‘educational’.

Have a great winter break folks, however you choose to celebrate.

 

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… a wanker with a spare key.

 

Dear Darling

I hope you landed safely in Riyadh and that you got a decent night’s sleep after the rough journey.

I found the sweet little note you left on the kitchen table—you have twenty-four gifts organised for me? Wow! One day at a time, eh? It’s a good thing I work from home; I can catch all those delivery men. 

However, as grateful as I am for the imminent arrival of lovely pressies, I would’ve really appreciated it if you could’ve warned me about ‘Spud’ (what’s his real name?)

I realise that you’ve served together and that he needs a place to stay for a couple of weeks, but he gave me a bloody great shock by arriving while I was in the shower. Literally! He apologised for needing the loo in an emergency, but he didn’t show much sense of urgency while washing his hands and face. That man cleans himself at the speed of a sloth giving himself a pedicure. Thank goodness for frosted shower glass! Let’s hope this has just been a case of first-day teething problems. I’m sure he’ll settle in.

Right – I’ve got dinner to make, so I’ll email tomorrow.

Donna

 

* * *

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… two dirty gloves

Hi love, quick text to say thanks for the first pressie. I love the pre-loved gauntlets. They’re very robust. I’m sure that if I ever need to handle a batch of thermite cacti then I’ll stay very safe, lol. Are we getting a stove? I’d love a stove. Some of our neighbours have applied to have one installed and they keep going on about not having to pay for heating anymore. Warm nights by the fire sound ideal to me—especially with that dodgy door leading out to the roof terrace.

Spud made an effort to apologise for springing in on me yesterday by bringing home burger and chips from Tony’s Takeaway. It was a nice thought but—alas, like the gloves—the chips had clearly been ‘pre-loved’ between Tony’s place and my front door.

Hope you’re getting through your first day okay. I know it’s always rough when you go back on tour. xxxx

 

* * *

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… three French hens!

Evening Dan

I hope you had a good day setting up and that you won’t get sent out to some grim fox hole straight away.

I now understand the gloves! The three French hens arrived in the early afternoon, and I needed the gloves to round them up and get them out of the kitchen. Damn their claws are sharp! They also move surprisingly fast once released from a cage. For the time being, they’re hanging out on the roof terrace. I had to nip out this afternoon to buy them a hutch (no idea what you call an enclosure for hens), and spent a good couple of hours trying to build it.

Spud isn’t hugely fond of the hens, I’ve noticed. He complains (without a hint of irony) that they’re ‘messy.’ Hmm. Sorry. I WILL try to stop complaining about my sudden house guest. If he could replace some of the red wine he’s been working his way through, then that would be grand.

Are the hens safe with pizza, by the way? I’ve noticed that pizza certainly isn’t safe around THEM.

Much love. I’ll try to call tomorrow.

Donna xxxx

* * *

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… four calling birds

Hi love

Just a quick note to say thanks for the calling birds. I’m afraid they turned out to be quite temporary presents. Spud left the door of the roof terrace open when he went for a smoke and the birds made a swift exit, stage left. The hens didn’t follow them, you’ll be glad to hear. Mind you, it’s probably a good thing that we don’t have seven birds roaming around the apartment. My neighbours slipped a passive-aggressive little note under my door this evening, asking me if the ban on pets had been relaxed.

You have the greatest imagination for gifts but I’m not sure our flat is really designed to accommodate quite so much wildlife 😉 (gentle hint).

Right, I’m behind on my work so I’d better spend a few hours catching up. Love you lots

D xxxx

 

* * *

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… five gold rings!

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… Six geese a-laying

Dan

I know things got heated on the phone, and I’m sorry we argued. But I did try hinting that I couldn’t take on any more animals. Goose eggs might be great for Christmas, but the bloody geese aren’t. They’re like miniature forces of destruction. I’ve already had to sell two of the five gold rings to cover the cost of repairing my furniture and getting the carpet professionally cleaned.

It’s all very well telling me to put the geese on the roof with the hens, but these geese:

  1. a) are unexpectedly murderous – we only have two French hens now
  2. b) aren’t having any of this sit-in-the-cold rubbish. They like being warm, it seems.

We managed to get all six of them outside, but after their streetfight-showdown with the hens, they lined up by the doors, giving us death stares through the glass. Even Spud was freaked out in the end. Sorry love, but tomorrow morning, those geese (and the hens) are going straight to the park on Millbank, where they can squawk, cluck and screech to their hearts’ content.

 

* * *

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me… seven swans-a-swimming

======================================================

OUTGOING TELEGRAM OFFICE: RAF_LN

DESTINATION OFFICE: SdA_Rh

Attn: Captain Daniel Forrester

======================================================

Stop it with the bloody birds STOP 

Swans are fucking evil STOP

Send me one more bird (or creature) and we’re finished STOP

======================================================

* * *

On the eighth day of Christmas, my weirdo sent to me… eight maids a milking

Dan

I’m tempted to email your CO and ask him to send you for a psych-eval.

What in the name of the fat noodly fuck am I supposed to do with these maids? WE DON’T HAVE ANY COWS! We don’t even have any room for them to sit anywhere, let alone stay here. They’re just wandering around the flat, clenching and unclenching their fists, looking lost, libidinous and weird.

Spud’s cheered up for the first time in a couple of days. He’s convinced he can get at least four of them to ‘milk’ him. He’s an annoying git, but I’ve seen the ‘goods’ and can understand why he thinks he’s a two-maid job.

I’ve spent the money from gold ring #3 on minibus hire so Spud can drop the maids off at various railway stations tomorrow.

I missed my publishing deadline, by the way. Thanks a bunch for keeping me so busy.

Donna

Ps: please, please tell me that there aren’t any cows coming? That should be a stupid question, but I wouldn’t put anything past you anymore.

 

* * *

On the ninth day of Christmas, my dickhead sent to me… nine ladies dancing

Dan, allow me to summarise. Nine ‘ladies’ dancing in the corridor = eight morally offended neighbours = 7 formal complaints to building management = six rude messages left on my voicemail = five equally irate messages left on their voicemail (I’ve blamed you, by the way) = four dancing ladies being arrested = three arrested ladies demanding I pay their bail = 2 hours sleep last night, and one furious EX-FIANCÉE.

 

* * *

On the tenth day of Christmas, my ex-dick sent to me…  ten lords a-leaping

You immature tosspot! The last thing I need while I’m packing is a bunch of drunken peers flinging themselves around the flat. I don’t know WHY I even answered the door.

I’ll be as glad to leave Westminster as I am to leave you. Spud was my hero today. Using a cattle prod, he persuaded all ten lords to make themselves useful by carrying all my boxes down to the moving van. It seems that Spud doesn’t like being leapt upon any more than I do.

 

* * *

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me… eleven pipers piping

Joke’s on you, buster. When you get home, you’re homeless. We’ve been evicted. Spud has found a two-bed apartment in Lambeth. I’m moving in with him.

Have fun sweet-talking the bailiffs and reclaiming your worldly goods from SCARY_BLOKES_STORAGE.com.

 

* * * 

On the twelfth day of Christmas, your ex-girlf sent to thee… twelve drummers coming

Hi Dan!

Thanks for your call. I couldn’t make out much of what you were saying—you really ought to shout more slowly when calling overseas—but I gather that you objected to the early-morning bukkake shower.  Spud and I both felt that, after so many angry messages, we ought to try showering you with love and affection. I’m only sorry we weren’t there to see you receive your unexpected bounty. And in answer to your question, yes, the drummers will follow you around, alternately drumming and coming for the rest of the day.

I trust there will be no more Xmas gifts from you.

Be well

Your ex, Donna xxxx

By Ashley Lister

There are some forms of poetry that are so simple it’s easy to forget how compelling they can be. This is the loop poem and, in my humble opinion, it’s a powerful way of introducing repetition.

Leather, lace and whips and chains
Chains me to the bed at night
Night time comes and so do you
You lick and suck and sometimes bite

In each stanza of a loop poem the last word of the first line becomes the first word of line two. The last word of line two becomes the first word of line three. The last word of line three becomes the first word of line four. This pattern is followed for each stanza.

You pull the bindings far too tight
Tight enough to make flesh red
Red marks are like your calling cards
Cards hand-delivered to my bed

The rhyme scheme for the above format is xaxa, where x is an unrhymed line of poetry, although a rhyme scheme is not a necessity for this type of poem.

As always, I look forward to seeing your loop poems in the comments box below. And, finally, I’d like to extend season’s greetings to all the regular readers of this column. I genuinely hope the new year brings you all those things that you personally desire.

As a writer of erotic romance, I’m always trying to analyze the ways in which sex strengthens story. I’ve been very vocal in my belief that a story without sex is like a story without eating or breathing. Sex is a major driving force in our lives on many levels that I’ve dealt with in many blog posts. Because it is a major driving force in our lives it must also be a major driving force in story. Sex is a powerful way to create conflict and chaos in fiction. It’s a way of allowing our characters to interact on an intimate level. And it’s one of the very best ways to cut through our characters’ facades and get an honest look at who they are when their guard is down and they’re at their most vulnerable. With that in mind, I’ve decided to share a few points that I always find helpful when I write sex scenes. For me, going back to the basics is always a great way to sharpen my skills. And I love to share the things that work for me.

I would like to add that many of these points I have learned as much from reading bad sex scenes or gratuitous sex scenes as I have from my own efforts. But then every writer hones her craft through being an avid reader.

Three occasions not to write sex

1. While writing children’s books
2. While writing the definitive work on antique saltcellars.
3. When you’re not a writer, you’re a bricklayer. Even then …

Three important reasons to incorporate sex in your writing

1. Sex adds tension.
2. Sex adds depth and dimension to a story, and gives it more humanity.
3. Sex adds intimacy and transparency to the story and helps the reader better know the characters.

Three big no-nos in writing sex

1. Sex should never be gratuitous. If it doesn’t further the story, don’t put it in.
2. Sex shouldn’t be a trip to the gyno office. Technical is NOT sexy.
3. Sex should never be clichéd or OTT. (unless it suits the story)

Four suggestions for writing better sex scenes
1. Write sex unselfconsciously. No one is going to believe you’re writing about yourself any more than they believe Thomas Harris is a cannibal.
2. Sex scenes should always be pacey. Too much detail is worse than not enough. Sex should neither slow nor speed up the pace of the novel. It shouldn’t be used like an interval in a play. It should not serve as filler to bolster word count. It should always keep pace with the story being told.
3. Approach sex in your writing voyeuristically by watching and learning from your characters. Their personalities, emotional baggage and behavior traits will dictate how they have sex and how you write it.

4. You should always be able to feel a good sex scene in your gut. I’m not talking about wank material, I’m talking about The Clench. It’s a different animal. The Clench below the navel is for the sex scene what the tightness in the chest and
shoulders is for the suspense scene. Ya need to feel it.

The power of good sex can drive a story in ways that almost nothing else can. Good sex can be the pay-off for a hundred pages of sexual chemistry and tension, but the pay-off is even better if it’s also the cause of more chaos, sling-shotting the reader breathlessly on to the next hundred pages and the next.

Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her two cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page. 

Her m/m erotic medical thriller Roughing It is a sexy cross between The X Files, The Andromeda Strain, and Outbreak. Read her short erotic story Babes in Begging For It, published by Cleis Press. You will also find her new novel No Restraint at Amazon. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.

___

Thursday, Nov. 23 was Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s a holiday dedicated to when the Native Americans and American colonists broke bread together. It’s a day of remembering what you are thankful for.

It’s also a day of massive, bloat-worthy Triptophan turkey dinners, insane political talk from Crazy Uncle Joe at the dinner table, greedy shopping binges, and kids flushing their underwear down the toilet so that you have to pay the exorbitant Holiday fee to have a plumber unclog it. It’s all about family get-togethers and good cheer in between two much pumpkin pie and copious amounts of cheap wine that loosens tongues.

I was hanging out on FARK, my favorite not-news social media aggregator, when I saw a post about “what are you thankful for today?” The comments included the usual snark like:

A couple hours ago my cat walked right up to my feet and immediately puked. I thanked her for missing my feet. But not the socks I left under my desk last night. Did make clean up easy.

My cat came up to me in bed and expressed displeasure of hosting 2 dogs by projectile vomiting on me. Intimacy, I am thankful for.

Health, familial stability, kindness and understanding. And all you assholes, I’m thankful y’all’re here too.

I have weed.

I woke up again today. That was good.

Living in a country where I can buy one of those enormous containers of Utz cheese balls.

Most comments were sincere though, and they reminded me of what I am thankful for.

I am thankful that I don’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re not American, have you ever seen a Thanksgiving dinner? There’s a picture of it next to the word “gluttony” in the dictionary.

I also have weed.

I have good health and a husband who loves me very much.

I know better than to talk about religion and especially politics at the dinner table today or any other day for that matter.

My son is doing well. He has a job he loves but he needs to find his own place. He’s working on that.

My husband is doing well. He’s retiring in about two years. He’s my soulmate. I don’t know what I’d do without him. 

My two blind cats. They love snuggles and petting and they keep me entertained.

I have the ability to write freely. I wish I were paid better but I have writing freedom lots of people don’t have. I also get support for my writing from my family which I understand lots of writers don’t have.

So on this Thanksgiving 2017, I wanted to write about what I was thankful for. I know I’m very fortunate, and I will not look a gift horse in the mouth. So now that the holiday season has started whether you live in or outside the U. S., get those lights lit and that tree up. Wrap those gifts. Enjoy the endless streams of Christmas music (or gouge your ears out with an ice pick, whichever applies). Seasonal affective disorder doesn’t start for me until January so I’m going to enjoy this good mood while I can. Happy holidays, everyone!

On Flirting

by | Nov 26, 2017 | General | 2 comments

by Jean Roberta

For most of my adult life, men have told me they are confused about what women want. This question was famously asked long before I was born.

As a result of the recent avalanche of “me too” stories about a spectrum of sexual harassment and abuse, heterosexual men have been asking wistfully whether “flirting” is now considered unacceptable.

I haven’t heard anyone in the “me too” crowd suggest that being casually groped in public is as damaging as gang rape that leaves visible and invisible scars, nor the long-term effects of being murdered. There have been numerous references to a spectrum of abuse ranging from relatively mild to almost unbelievable, yet women who object to actions that feel abusive are accused of lacking a sense of proportion.

None of this is new. The claim that too many women are humorless prudes who want to outlaw all erotic interaction between males and females was made many times when Second Wave Feminism got rolling in the early 1970s.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “flirt” is an intransitive verb which means:

1. To move erratically, e.g. butterflies flirting among the flowers,
2. To behave amorously without serious intent, e.g. a man flirting with every attractive woman he sees,
3. To show superficial or casual interest or liking, e.g. flirting with a idea,
4. To experiment with something new, e.g. a novelist flirting with poetry,
5. To come close to experiencing something, e.g. flirting with disaster.

One essential quality of “flirting,” according to these definitions, is a lack of commitment or serious intent. A man or a woman who flirts is not promising anything beyond the pleasure of the moment. If flirting is generally accepted as a flattering exchange of interest between two (or more) people, then:

-no one who flirts should be accused of “asking for trouble” by appearing to offer sexual service to everyone who sees them. “Flirting” is not a promise.

– no one who flirts is entitled to blame the object of attention for responding positively.

In my experience, the biggest opponents of flirting are heterosexual men. Before I started high school, my father warned me that women “get themselves raped” by flirting with men, especially in bars, and accepting free drinks. I was too young to get into a bar, and it hadn’t occurred to me to venture into one in search of free drinks. However, my father seemed to think I should be warned early. On other occasions, he claimed that “real rape” was impossible to commit.

After I passed through puberty, I began having alarming encounters with guys of various ages. These experiences started out (in my perception) as harmless flirting, a fun conversation. A guy would see me walking past and make a cheerful comment about the weather. (In Canada, this could be “Nice day, eh?” or “Aren’t you glad the temperature warmed up?” meaning it had gone from 40 degrees below zero to minus 20.)

I should probably mention here that I love conversation, and I’m not bored by “small talk” because it is often interesting in itself, and it can lead to longer-term relationships. In my youth, I didn’t consider an offer of conversation to be as dangerous as the offer of a free drink. I’ve usually responded to people who speak to me, regardless of who they are.

This has often turned out to be a mistake on my part. The guy would ask where I lived, then show annoyance when I wouldn’t tell him. He would invite me to his place, and assume I wasn’t serious when I tried to reject the invitation politely. Once when I was coming home from work on a city bus, a guy persistently told me (didn’t ask) that I was going out with him for a drink, although I repeatedly told him I was going home to my husband. After dashing off the bus, I thought it prudent to take a long, indirect route home to avoid bringing trouble to my door.

A word of advice to the confused: grabbing the ass of a person you do not know (and who might not be interested in sexual interaction with a stranger) is not “harmless flirting.” If flirting is defined as harmless by definition, then ass-grabbing is not flirtatious. It is abusive. And to those who think ass-grabbing shouldn’t even be mentioned as part of the spectrum of abuse because it is less harmful than other forms of assault, consider how quickly assault can escalate. Many women know this from experience.

If a woman whose ass you grabbed takes offense, pushes you away, or tells you off, do you feel entitled to retaliate? If a woman whose ass you grabbed doesn’t seem offended enough, do you interpret her passivity as a sign that she wants sex with you as soon as possible? Do you think women who don’t reject your “flirting” fast enough, or firmly enough, are sluts who want you to try harder? Do you think women who don’t want to be touched by men they don’t know are frigid killjoys?

None of these reactions fall into the definition of “flirting.” And if you think flirting should make a glorious comeback, it would be wise of you not to complain that: 1) it’s hard to respect women when so many of them are sluts without shame, and 2) it’s hard to respect women when so many are self-righteous about “boundaries.”

As an example of sexually-explicit but non-abusive flirting, I offer you the following anecdote from my distant past. I was crossing the street to my apartment, where my belongings were half-packed. I was planning to move myself and my daughter into a bigger apartment across town with my first woman lover. This was a milestone event in my life, and I had reached the milestone age of thirty.

A fresh-faced young man who looked like a teenage skater dude approached me, said I looked like a fun person to know, and asked if I would like to come to his place to fool around for awhile. His intentions were clear. I felt flattered, and I couldn’t help wondering if Fate were offering me a chance to change my mind.

I was dressed for moving (old jeans, faded T-shirt), not for seduction. I can only assume that my hope for my future was giving me a visible glow that attracted an unlikely suitor. I thought about trains that pass in the night, or the day.

Accepting Young Dude’s offer would have complicated my life more than I wanted. I told him no, I was involved with someone.

To my relief, Young Dude smiled, let me know he was disappointed, but wished me a nice day. He didn’t demand any information from me, nor did he offer an insult, a warning, or a threat.

Now there was a man who knew how to flirt, as young and inexperienced as he looked. I hope he has had a good life, including lots of good sex.
I never knew the stranger’s name, but I wish more men would follow his example.

Not Me Too

by | Nov 21, 2017 | General | 8 comments

Angry woman

I probably shouldn’t publish this post. I’m likely to get all sorts of flak. However, I’ve been bothered by this for weeks, and it seems that ERWA is the only public forum to which I belong where people are mature enough to actually read this post, instead of automatically condemning it.

Like many members of Western culture, I was simultaneously unsurprised and astonished by the Harvey Weinstein revelations, and the consequent cultural fallout. Tales of women forced into sex on the casting couch are so common as to be cliché. Weinstein, it seems, was a particularly egregious example, but power differentials between male bosses and (mostly) female underlings that lead to sexual abuse are hardly new. The more remarkable and disturbing aspect of the case was the flood of other accusations and confessions it triggered.

All at once, people were talking about issues previously swept under the rug. I approve. Too often in Western society, stories about rape and abuse leap into the headlines for a few days, then fade away. The stories are dismissed as isolated, extreme cases. Now, finally, we can all see the patterns embedded in our culture and in our legal system that encourage sexual harassment and assault.

Still, I was not prepared for avalanche of anger that met me when I logged on to Facebook. “#MeToo” screamed my friends, my relatives, my female acquaintances. I was attacked too, they wrote. I was harassed. I was raped. I could not believe how many of them identified themselves as victims. I’d say sixty to seventy percent of my female contacts in the US and Canada posted the #MeToo hash tag.

I felt strange. Weird. Almost left out. Because in my more than six decades of life, I’ve never been forced into sex. I’ve never been assaulted or been the target of an attempted rape. Aside from the ubiquitous wolf whistles and cat calls, nobody has ever sexually harassed me.

Why not?

Am I just lucky?

I haven’t led a particularly sheltered life. I spent a good while in academia, an environment not known for its equitable treatment of women, then moved to the tech world, which is notorious for its sexist attitudes. I lived in major cities, in not particularly upscale neighborhoods. When I was in my twenties and thirties, I loved to dress provocatively, going without a bra, wearing short skirts and plunging necklines. I wasn’t trying to attract attention. I just liked feeling sexy.

It’s true I have enjoyed a wealth of sexual experiences, probably more than the average woman (whoever she is). However, it was all consensual. I’ve occasionally had sex even when I wasn’t aroused by my partner, but I’ve always known I could say no. For the most part, I’ve enjoyed all my lovers (and hope that is mutual).

Some might question my memory. Maybe I’ve suppressed some experiences. Maybe I’m in denial. I’ve been combing my recollections for weeks, looking for any hint that I’ve been through anything like what my peers report. Nothing. If it’s buried, it’s buried deep.

Or is it all a question of labels? Would some other woman have called some of my encounters “assault”? I really don’t think so, but of course I can’t know. I gave away my virginity at sixteen to a man six years older. That would be considered statutory rape, I guess, but I knew exactly what I was doing and what I wanted.

Perhaps I’m simply oblivious. I don’t see the discrimination, or feel the power differentials. Perhaps I’ve been passed over for promotions because I’m female, without realizing what was going on. Perhaps “the guys” joked about my tits behind my back, or talked about how they’d love to gang bang me, and I just never noticed.

Maybe I’m just the exception that proves the rule.

Maybe. In any case, I find myself concerned about what I see as an overreaction to the Weinstein saga. Any sort of sexual attention to a subordinate, no matter how far in the past, will put a person under scrutiny. Celebrities offer tearful apologies for what I would view as minor transgressions. Sure, a man who pats a woman’s behind is being sexist and rude, but there’s a huge gap between groping and rape. I’d argue that they aren’t even necessarily part of the same continuum.

But women are angry—rightly so—and they want to punish anyone who demonstrates, in any form, the arrogance and sense of entitlement that can be the precursors of sexual abuse. The problem I see is that anger is not an effective strategy for creating positive social change. Anger polarizes. Anger overgeneralizes and oversimplifies, lumping an inappropriate innuendo at work in with a rape at knife point. Our anger triggers answering anger in men, some of whom—perhaps many of whom—are innocent of the crimes committed by the Weinsteins of the world. These men feel threatened, wrongfully accused. Meanwhile, those who are not innocent feel even more justified in attacking the “crazy, frigid bitches” who deny them what they want.

This is not a recipe for sexual equality, or sexual harmony. What we need is, first, rational analysis and discussion to identify the true issues and to tease apart the different cultural factors that lead to sexual violence. Then we need to specifically target these factors with action – legal changes, educational programs aimed at both girls and boys, public relations efforts that use the power of celebrity to encourage and inspire rather than to shame.

Finally, we need to recognize that in today’s hyper-connected world, both traditional and social media amplify emotion at the expense of civil discourse. Tweeting #MeToo gives you a satisfying sense of solidarity. It may feel like striking a blow against sexism and rape. However, it does nothing if not followed up with concrete, constructive activities to solve what is a real, but not a simple, problem.

 

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