elizabeth black

I’m reading Anne Lamott’s “bird by bird” which is a book written for writers. She talks about everything in this book. Jealousy. The voices in your head that are always telling you your writing is shit. Perfectionism. The craft of writing. Writer’s block.

She also talks about writer’s groups, ranging from a few writer friends meeting occasionally to critique each other’s work and gossip to expensive writer’s conferences where you can count on people, including those you have long admired, taking a blowtorch to your work.

I’ve been in two writer’s groups so far. One when I was much younger and greener. I was the only horror writer in a group of romance writers. It was an eclectic mix but I learned a great deal, plus I felt accepted and valued. Today, I’m in one where I’m the erotica, romance and horror writer in a group of memoir, literary, and non-fiction writers.  Another eclectic mix. This group meets once per week on Wednesday mornings, and I love getting together with the other women on a regular basis. It’s a woman-only group. The men’s group meets immediately after this one.

I may write what the others don’t but I don’t feel at all an outsider. That’s what I love best about the group – the friendship. We are honest (not brutal) in our critiques and I get lots of useful feedback, especially when my confidence is low or I’m stuck at a spot in the story where I see no easy way out. Sometimes I paint myself into a corner. These women help to get me out of that corner.

Lamott described her writer’s group which sounds very much like mine. She wrote: “We – the other students and I – can be like a doctor to whom you take your work for a general checkup. We can give you a place to show up and give you a little benevolent pressure, which we hope will help you finish stories and sections. We can give you some respect, because we know what it takes.” Everyone helps each other and is fair-minded in criticism. An important thing to me is that no one is attacked or feels attacked.

My writer’s group recently helped me out of a very sticky situation with a novel I’m currently struggling over. I had no idea who one of the important, pivotal characters was because I created him from the seat of my pants and his nature was still developing. I also had no idea where the book was going and because of that I was stuck. The group leader introduced us to an exercise which has come in very handy for me – writing in reverse from the end to the beginning. I knew in general how the book was supposed to end so I created note cards describing that ending and then I moved backwards, briefly describing each scene. While doing this, I discovered the identity of that vexing character. Suffice to say he is really a she and now that I know who she is she is much easier to write. I’m also able to further develop a few minor characters I’d rather see more of. They’re interesting people and important to the plot. I’ve almost written backwards to where I am currently in the book. I have a long way to go but I feel much better about this book now than I did months ago when I all but gave up on it.

Writer’s groups may be available in your area. Call the local library or college to find one near you. Contact your local chapter of Romance Writers of America. It may know of groups near you. If you have friends who live near you who write, set up one of your own. I think it’s best to stick to smaller groups. That way, everyone is heard and things stay informal. My group ranges from four to ten people depending who shows up on a given week. Time of year, weather, and personal issues come into play regarding attendance. I look forward to my writer’s group each week for several reasons. It’s nice to hang out with other writers. It’s fun to be exposed to genres I don’t write and to give and receive feedback. I look forward to plot developments from others in the group. Updated manuscripts are a joy to hear read because I watched that piece grow from an “OMG what is this shit?” opinion by the writer to “this story is working out well”. Publication news is always greeted with great cheer. I get feedback I otherwise would not have received, thereby helping me my work in a new light from different perspectives. The women often bring treats to the group like croissants and muffins. We make coffee. We have birthday parties and holiday parties. If you can find a writer’s group like this I highly recommend joining. There is great value in the friendships and work inherent in such a group.

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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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter:http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

I went to a writers retreat hosted by Broad Universe in mid-March. Broad Universe is a networking group for women who write speculative fiction. I’ve been a member for several years. This retreat was held at Starfield Farm in central Massachusetts. There were lots of trees, birds, peace and quiet. I spent four days working on short stories, blog posts and part of a novel.

Everyone cooked in some fashion. I had brought cookies I had made at home. One woman made some delicious Mexican food. Another made scrumptious kugel. I was in gustatory heaven, which made the experience ever more enjoyable. During the evenings we socialized, drank homemade mead and sangria made by two of the women, and enjoyed a brief snowfall.

The isolation and quiet made for easy writing. The house dog (the retreat’s mascot) came to me often for petting (and hoping for table scraps), which was a nice break. I did finish a short story and I wrote two blog posts. The novel is coming along nicely.

I like writers retreats more than conventions now. For one thing, I think I get more for my money. I am not trapped behind a table in the dealer’s room for eight to ten hours at a time. I can rest whenever I want to which is important at my age. And I felt inspired by all the other women around me and by the locale. Writers retreats are well worth the money I spend on them for room and board, which was inexpensive for this one.

If you are a writer and are in the market for a writer’s retreat, here are a few to apply for that I’ve read are worthwhile:

Wellspring House Retreat – Located in Ashfield, Massachusetts, Wellspring is open year round. Rates per week are reasonable and vary depending on season and if you are coming along as an individual or a couple.

Yaddo – This one is an artist’s retreat that welcomes writers. You must apply to be accepted. According to Wikipedia, collectively, artists who have worked at Yaddo have won 66 Pulitzer Prizes, 27 MacArthur Fellowships, 61 National Book Awards, 24 National Book Critics Circle Awards, 108 Rome Prizes, one Nobel Prize, and more. The name “Yaddo” rhymes with “shadow”.

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Retreat – Can you imagine your muse inspiring you in the Rocky Mountains? Then, you’d like this retreat. This retreat spans three nights and often includes agent and author guests. Prices vary up to $399 for a private bedroom for the duration of the retreat. You may also stay for one day for $65 including meals.

Retreats located outside the U. S. that may appeal include the Himalayan Writers Retreat, Luova Retreats in Provence, France, and the women-only A Writer Within in Tuscany.

I may be going on another writers retreat near Cape Cod around Memorial Day weekend. This one is also hosted by Broad Universe. It is a bit more expensive, but that’s okay. It’s five days long and at a beach house. The rate is higher because it’s the beginning of the peak summer season. Once again, we’ll provide our own food and there will be plenty of peace and quiet. One thing I like about these retreats is I tend to see the same people over and over again since this is the New England chapter of Broad Universe, which is very active. I plan on soaking up some rays, walking on the beach, and getting lots of writing done. These retreats are a welcome part of my writing future.

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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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter:http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

I’m sick this late February day. Sick with your stereotypical winter head cold. It’s in the tens outside and pretty windy. The last thing I feel like doing is going outside. So, what to do?

Read, of course. Watch TV. Sleep. And look for strange news stories just for fun.

For example, there is a rare shark population off the coast of Cape Cod right now. I wouldn’t worry too much about it since it’s like 10 degrees outside and no sane person (surfers not included) would want to be out in that. But still. Last year was the first fatal shark attack in Massachusetts since 1936. The rise in shark sightings could have something to do with rising seal populations and closed fishing areas, according to one person commenting online. This is the home of the movie “Jaws”, so sharks are often on people’s minds around here at the Fourth of July.

In an “Idiots Selling and Buying Drugs Story”, a man broke into his cousin’s home and robbed the four inside after accusing them of selling him rabbit chow instead of marijuana.

An Aussie man fleeing from police was felled by his own underwear when it got caught in a fence he was trying to jump. Police found him dangling upside down on the six foot fence. I thought I saw that only in Warner Brothers cartoons.

A man who played Good Samaritan for buying $540 worth of Girl Scout cookies to help the girls get out of the cold and rain that day was arrested for alleged drug distribution and fraud. So how many boxes of cookies is that? Five? Six? 🙂  The cookie purchase was unrelated to the distribution and fraud charges, but it was still very strange.

Best Life Online has declared the most boring town in each state. I’m from Maryland, and Easton won mention. It’s on the Eastern Shore, I think. I live in Massachusetts, and Barnstable won the title. I’ve never been there. Must now go to see how boring it is. It’s rather hopping for  a boring town – 40 entertainment spots and 196 hotels and restaurants.

An article linking from that one named the most famous celebrity from each state. Babe Ruth for Maryland. Mark Wahlberg for Massachusetts. Most of the celebrities are modern.

And finally, Pornhub porn star Mia Khalifa had plastic surgery to reinflate one of her boobs after she was struck by an ice hockey puck. The puck was moving at 80 MPH.

This is how I spend sick time when I’m not sleeping, reading, or watching TV. I look up strange news online for the entertainment value. I’m going to go back to bed now after I take some NyQuil. I hope to feel better soon. Until then, it’s strange news all the way.

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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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter:http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

I found a fun article about how your Myers-Briggs personality influences your sexual preferences. Do you like anal? Sex toys? Multiple partners? Now, there’s a handy test to help you find out how wrong you are about what you thought was your sex life.

You may read about the survey here at Metro:

https://metro.co.uk/2019/01/12/personality-says-sexual-preferences-8336852/

It’s total nonsense but amusing nonetheless. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Personality Test before. I always end up INTJ – Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging. With an emphasis on Turbulent rather than Assertive.

I’m in good company when it comes to writers. Isaac Asimov, Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, Emily Bronte and Sun Tzu are INTJs. There are even INTJ fictional characters including Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Hannibal Lecter, Walter White, Gus Fring (what’s with all the criminal masterminds?) and Victor Frankenstein. I like how Holmes and Moriarty are both INTJs. Lecter and Agent Clarice Starling are also INTJs. Nice juxtaposition, like a yin/yang of cold and driven people.

I also come very close to the following:

INTP – Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Perceiving

INFJ – Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging

INFP – Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving

The difference between T/F and P/J is nearly 50% in my case. I break even enough to consider them.

INTJ is The Architect, the rarest of the results (2% of the population), especially when it comes to women. Only 0.8% of women are Architects.

According to this new sexual preferences/Myers-Briggs study, I supposedly love doggy style. I don’t. It’s too impersonal. I don’t like staring at the headboard while my man bangs away. It’s also too hard on my knees.

I also don’t like cowgirl, which I believe is another preference for INTJs. This may sound strange, but I don’t like being on top because I get cold. It’s also hard on my knees. I like to be buried under the blankets while I make love. I stay warm that way. I also feel overexposed when on top. It makes me feel very uncomfortable and vulnerable. I do like side-to-side. That works well for both of us.

If I go by my other possible test results, I have the lowest average number of sex partners (ha!). I counted my lovers and they came out to just over a dozen. I came of age in the go-go 1980s so that number may be considered low for that era. Heh heh. I also supposedly would masturbate the least. Not a chance. I love my sex toys. I used to test them and write reviews. Companies would mail them to me for free. I got some nice ones, too – JimmyJane and Lelo. They can cost in the hundreds. I have my favorites and I use them.

According to INFP, I’m difficult to satisfy in bed and am most likely to be mistaken about what I like in bed. That one is close enough to being true, although I don’t know if the study means I don’t know what I want or if it means my partners didn’t know what I wanted. The former is not true at all. The latter has certainly been true. My past lovers occasionally not so much didn’t know but didn’t care what I wanted. I wrote them off fast enough.

Here are the categories for the Myers-Briggs sexual preferences survey. Are you a match or did you laugh your ass off? Me? I laughed.

Logistician (ISTJ) – least likely to share what they want in bed

Advocate (INFJ) – masturbates the least

Architect (INTJ) – loves doggy style

Protagonist (ENFJ) – second most willing to use sex toys

Virtuoso (ISTP) – most willing to have a threesome and is submissive in bed

Consul (ESFJ) – will likely decline threesomes and anal sex

Mediator (INFP) – difficult to satisfy in bed and most likely to be mistaken about what they like in bed

Entertainer (ESFP) – least likely to experiment with someone of the same gender

Campaigner (ENFP) – most likely to experiment with someone of the same gender Entrepreneur (ESTP) – doesn’t really fancy using sex toys and easy to please in bed

Executive (ESTJ) – has the highest average number of lovers and is most satisfied sexually

Commander (ENTJ) – most willing to use sex toys, likes role play and bondage, and very dominant

Logician (INTP ) – lowest average number of sex partners

Defender (ISFJ) – least adventurous in bed

Debater (ENTP) – most willing to have anal sex

Adventurer (ISFP) – second most likely to be mistaken about what they like in bed

Take the Myers Brigg test here: https://www.16personalities.com

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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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter:http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

I’ve never before set goals for writing for the year. My problem is that I’d list so many goals I’d get overwhelmed and not meet any of them. So I’m going to set a reasonable amount of reachable writing goals.

  1. Finish “Hell Time”, my YA sort of horror novel.
  2. Find a home for my paranormal werewolf romance novel “Full Moon Fever”. That one has been sitting forgotten at a publisher for months so I’m taking it back and sending it elsewhere. I could always self-publish it.
  3. Self-publish my erotic fairy tales collection, “Happily Ever After”.
  4. Aim for 6 published short stories in 2019.
  5. Try to get published in one of those Best Erotic Short Stories of the Year anthologies.
  6. Make sure I attend my writers group every week.
  7. Have fun while doing all this. It doesn’t have to be dreary despite all the rejections.

I’m in between visiting relatives and friends for the holidays.. Writing has come to a complete halt since Halloween. I managed to write a few short stories that ended up rejected, but I have new places to submit them. I’m busy writing blog posts like this one.

Above all, I want to wish everyone reading happy holidays and a very pleasant and productive 2019. Come up with your own reachable goals and go for them. I believe 2019 will be a good year.

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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.

 

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter:http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

 

It’s that time of year. Time for self-reflection. 2018 could have been a better year but that doesn’t matter since I have 2019 to look forward to. Some people are finishing off their NaNoWriMo books. Only three days left to get it together. I didn’t participate this year. I went to fewer public events mainly since I don’t have anything new out. Must rectify that.

Here is a list of 10 things I want to do to make 2019 a great year.

  1. Submit more short stories.
  2. Learn Italian.
  3. Finish my novel “Hell Time”.
  4. Go to more conventions especially since so many of them are only a short drive away.
  5. Write more thrillers and mysteries. I’m just getting started in those genres. They’re challenging but fun.
  6. Walk outside for exercise over winter. I now have the winter wear to do it.
  7. Find a home for my paranormal erotic romance with werewolves “Full Moon Fever”. And by home, I mean a reputable publisher that will market my book properly. I’ve considered self-publishing but I really don’t want to do that with this book.
  8. Publish “Happily Ever After: A Collection of Erotic Fairy Tales this winter or spring at the latest.
  9. Bake more sweets like cookies, brownies, and cakes. I already have crab soup in mind as well as turkey noodle soup.
  10. Make 2019 a much better year than 2018. 2018 sucked.

My list is writing-related. Even learning a new language, exercise, and baking. I do those things to broaden my scope and they clear my head so I may write well. I usually meet my yearly goals with maybe one hiccup.

2019 is going to be a good year.

So what about you? What are your resolutions or do you not have anything in mind?

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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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter:http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

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A Facebook friend of mine made a post where she asked for names of non-scary movies for Halloween. She wanted nothing super scary, no slashers, and no gore. I thought that was the perfect idea for this month’s ERWA post – The Halloween Edition.

I love a good horror movie, but my husband doesn’t so I try to find movies I think he’d like, especially this time of year when I find classics on TV that we both can watch. I also like paranormal romances which are perfect for the Halloween season. We both enjoyed Shaun of the Dead and Army of Darkness which are comedies. Ghost is another favorite and that one is a paranormal romance popular with romance lovers. Romance and paranormal lovers don’t have to feel left out this season just because they don’t like slasher movies and the like. There is plenty out there to enjoy.

Here is a list of Halloween movies for people who don’t like gory movies full of jump scares. There are romances here, some comedies and some black and white classics.

  1. The Nightmare Before Christmas – The King of Christmas wants that holiday to be like Halloween. Animated. Jack, the male lead, also likes Sally, the female lead.
  2. The Witches Of Eastwick – Three women stand up to Jack Nicholson. A fun film.
  3. The Haunting – This is the 1963 black and white movie, not the new Netflix TV series although the series is excellent. The TV series is entitled The Haunting of Hill House so that you don’t get confused. Based on the novel by Shirley Jackson. Could be scary but it’s atmospheric and psychological. Avoid the 1999 remake. It’s abysmal.
  4. The Sixth Sense – Tear jerker of a paranormal.
  5. Practical Magic – A witch movie that is about love and family.
  6. Shaun of the Dead – British laugh out loud zombie comedy.
  7. What We Do In The Shadows – New Zealand laugh out loud vampire comedy.
  8. Young Frankenstein – The ultimate American horror comedy. Frau Blucher! Whinny! LOL
  9. E. T.  – Takes place at Halloween. E. T. phone home!
  10. Gremlins – Don’t get them wet, keep them out of the light, and don’t feed them after midnight. Has a few genuinely scary moments but overall a fantasy with comic elements.
  11. Topper – Constance Bennett and Cary Grant as a married, ghostly couple. Another comedy. Black and white from the 1930s.
  12. Arsenic and Old Lace – Another Cary Grant vehicle. Yet another comedy. Black and white from the 1940s. Based on the play by Joseph Kesselring.
  13. Blithe Spirit – Husband calls back dead wife’s spirit during a séance. He’s since remarried. Hilarity ensues. Yes, another comedy. Black and white from the 1940s and based on the play by Noel Coward.
  14. The Ghost and Mrs. Muir – A lovely paranormal romance. Black and white from the 1940s.
  15. The Innocents – Based on Henry James’s novel The Turn Of The Screw. Very atmospheric, moody, and psychological. Standout performance by Deborah Kerr. Black and white from the 1960s.

So now you have plenty of movies to choose from to watch in the days approaching Halloween and Halloween itself. Whether you want a horror comedy or a black and white classic, there are plenty of movies to watch around Halloween that don’t involve buckets of blood. There is even romance! So pop some popcorn, get the bags of candy ready for the trick or treaters, turn down the lights, and enjoy your movie night.

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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter:http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

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What do you write when you have nothing to say? Sometimes it helps to get out of your head. Step. Away. From. The. Computer. Go outdoors. Visit friends. Recharge your internal batteries so your writing will improve.

I don’t get writer’s block. One of my favorite writers of all time is mojo storyteller Joe Lansdale. He believes that writer’s block is largely a myth. I know plenty of people disagree with that, and that’s fine. I have my own issues with his view but I largely agree with him.

Lansdale says a major rule of writing is to stop making excuses. If you wait for your muse to inspire you you’ll wait forever. Establish a routine. Write a set amount of words each time you sit down – even if they are crap. You can edit later. Just get your thoughts out. You may surprise yourself.

I’ve recently tried my hand at crime writing for the first time. This is a brand new experience for me since I’m not familiar with the genre except for my love for cozy mysteries, whodunnits, and crime dramas. I’m not familiar with the markets, but I will be soon enough. I love Agatha Christie, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, Jonathan Kellerman, and many more writers in those genres. I figured it was about time I wrote something criminal. Not criminally bad, just criminal. 🙂

At first, I didn’t know what to write. I had some ideas, though. I found one of my Sisters In Crime books and read some of the short stories to engage myself. I highly recommend reading good fiction in your chosen genre if you feel stuck. Sometimes seeing things from another writer’s perspective can help you find your own way.

Lansale recommends reading when you feel a need to take time off. He wrote when you read, “you put fuel in the tank and you begin to better understand how stories are constructed.” I often read erotic short stories to inspire my own erotic writing. I’ve read erotic versions of fairy tales to prepare myself for my own upcoming collection of erotic fairy tales. It’s fun to read the usual stories from other character’s points of view. Reading a book that makes me go “Hmmm” always elicits a fun response from me.

Another thing I do when I write is to plan first. I’m primarily a pantser but when it comes to writing mysteries I need to plot. Mysteries are puzzles and I can’t just wing one. I need to know everyone’s story and who the guilty person it right out the gate before I begin writing. So outlining helps me. If you feel you are stuck, try writing a vague outline depicting where you want your story to go. You can always change things as you write. Don’t feel you need to stick strictly to your outline. Half the fun of writing is not knowing where things are going until you get to them. Some of my best work came from ideas out of left field – stuff I wasn’t expecting.

I love the feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish the first draft of a story or novel. I celebrate by sharing a bottle of Mumm champagne with my husband. We drink champagne all the time, but I get out the more expensive bubbly for these occasions. Mumm is special and therefore I drink it following writing milestones. Do you celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small? Remember Stephen King’s novel Misery? Paul Sheldon drank one glass of champagne and enjoyed a cigarette after finishing each novel. I like that idea – celebrate your wins. Give yourself a pat on the back. You deserve it. Lots of people say they will write a novel or a short story. Lots of people never get any farther than that. Don’t give in to writer’s block. Find a way to turn the tables on it and own your writing and especially your accomplishments.

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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

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Summer is nearly over, and I can tell fall is coming. The signs are all there. I’m going to miss summer. While I enjoy spring and summer, I also enjoy fall. I am not fond of winter since we get nor’easters that dump tons of snow on us. I like snow that looks pretty and doesn’t clog up the sidewalks and roads. I hate ice. But it’s coming and I must prepare for it.

The air is getting cooler following August’s ripe heat here on the northeast coast of Massachusetts. The farmer’s markets are wrapping up for the season. I’ll know for sure when fall is over when Dairy Maid Ice Cream and Seaside Subs & Pizza close for the season. I like to get a kiddie-sized twist soft serve in a cup from Dairy Maid. Seaside Subs has the best pizza I’ve ever tasted. It is called the Surfside Six and it includes the following toppings: sea clams, basil, bacon, parmesan, mozzarella, all in a garlic sauce. This was my first garlic sauce pizza and I’m hooked.

The moment I saw my first titmouse of the season is when I knew for sure fall was coming. Titmice are little birds that I often see hanging around with the chickadees which also tend to disappear here during the summer. This is a titmouse:

I also see the purple loosestrife along the roadsides. That plant is an invasive species that can crowd the earth but it’s a very pretty plant. Tall purple spikes stand out amid all the green and brown alongside the road. This is purple loosestrife:

Goldenrod also signals the end of the summer season. I’m seeing it more often on the roadsides and in meadows now. People are not allergic to goldenrod despite somewhat popular belief. They are allergic to ragweed, which looks similar. Goldenrod gets a bad rap. Here is some goldenrod.

The last way I know fall is on its way and summer is winding down is when I see sandpipers on the beach. For some odd reason I don’t see them here during the summer. Only in the spring and fall. I thought they were year-round birds but I guess they aren’t. They’re adorable. They travel in flocks and they never sit still. I always see them at the water’s edge, pecking around for any morsels they can find. Her are some sandpipers at Good Harbor Beach, which isn’t far from my home.

I’m sorry to see summer go, but fall brings pumpkins, apple cider, maple syrup and candy and my favorite holiday – Halloween. I will walk on the beach as long as I can before the temps freeze too much to go outside. Until then, I’m enjoying what’s left of summer.

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, her two cats, a plethora of birds, a squirrel, and a chipmunk. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page. Sign up for her newsletter.

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. Coming soon: Happily Ever After: A Collection of Erotic Fairy Tales. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.

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Last month, I talked about using Twitter to maximize your author presence. This month, I’m going to talk about using Facebook to do the same. I prefer Facebook to Twitter because it’s more interactive and I don’t have a word limit on what I write. I also am in touch with all my writer, editor, and publisher friends on Facebook.

I have an author page but I don’t use it. Never got much use out of it. I prefer my regular timeline. I spent about a decade building that page so that’s where I hang out. I use my name alone but some authors include the word “author” with their names. Example: Elizabeth Black – Author.

My current profile picture is of one of my book covers. That works well to identify me. You could use a book cover or a recent head shot. I change profile pictures every month or so to keep things lively.

My banner is a photo of some of my book covers plus both of my pen names; Elizabeth Black for erotica and romance and E. A. Black for horror and dark fiction. My banner is eye-catching and it gets my point across that this is my page and here are examples of what I have written.

Like I said about Twitter, don’t make all your Facebook posts about your book. Endless book spam turns people off.  Talk about things that interest you. I talk about my cats, baking, the beach, gardening and much more. I also talk about my progress with my writing. Sometimes I’ll include an excerpt from what I’m working on to pique interest. A healthy mix of fun stuff and book stuff will inspire people to come to your page and talk to you. Ask questions. A few days ago, I posted about cotton candy grapes (yes, they are a thing and they really do taste like cotton candy). I asked if anyone had eaten them and if they liked them. Responses ranged from “Delicious!” to “Eww!” LOL That’s how you get a conversation going.

Update daily or at least frequently. I update several times per day. I also respond to other people’s timeline posts. Some writers talk about politics on their timelines. I don’t. I want my timeline to be neutral ground. In my opinion, it’s risky to talk about politics on your timeline since you may alienate potential readers. Not everyone feels that way. If you want to cull your friends list, go on a religious or political rant. That guarantees you’ll lose a few friends. Sex, on the other hand, is game. Talk about it all you like, especially if you have something very interesting to say.

I’ve found that Facebook groups are by and large a waste of time, especially author groups. They are primarily book spam dumping grounds and no one reads them. You aren’t going to find readers on Facebook groups. If you are able to find groups where there are conversations, jump on them. Granted, they’re probably all writers but you can meet some interesting and valuable people in those groups. Organizations and events may have their own groups. I’m in a few horror groups that are busy. Keep in mind book promo may be prohibited except under specific circumstances. For instance, Wednesday is Pimp Your Book day in one of my horror groups. Writers are to keep their pimping to that particular post.

Facebook has its limits. For instance, the number of people who actually see your posts is quite small but use that to your advantage. It’s possible to meet people in the industry on Facebook and they often have valuable and interesting things to say. Like their posts and comment. Facebook is best when you use it to have conversations whether on your timeline or someone else’s. I’ve met many publishers and editors as well as authors on Facebook. Not agents, though. That’s Twitter.

Above all, enjoy Facebook. Don’t let it be a time suck and don’t let negative posts depress you. Read only what you want to read and engage those people. While Facebook  has its limitations, it can be useful.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica

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