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elizabeth black

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?

———

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

___

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

___

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

___

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.

 ___

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.

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. 

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.

 ___

I recently celebrated my 25thanniversary of the day I met my husband. We’ve been married for 13 years. Our relationship is a bit unusual in that we lived together for over a decade before marrying for no reason in particular. We were living our lives and were too lazy and busy to have the ceremony and sign the paperwork. When we finally tied the knot, I joked I married him for his health insurance.

Long-term relationships are different from initial romantic attraction. I’m sure readers have noticed – and wanted – that most romances are about that initial romantic attraction leading to a HEA or HFN ending. Serials are popular because readers becoming invested in characters they grew to love when those characters first met.

Limerance according to Wikipedia is “a state of mind which results from a romantic attraction to another person and typically includes obsessive thoughts and fantasies and a desire to form or maintain a relationship with the object of love and have one’s feelings reciprocated.” The heart-palpating rush when you hear your shiny new lover’s name and how your pupils dilate when you see that person is limerance. Limerance is that infatuation stage you find in budding romantic relationships. It’s good to remember this fevered state does not last long.

Romance readers love that feeling of infatuation they get when they read about their favorite characters. They can live vicariously through the stages of the character’s relationship, from initial attraction to conflict to honeymoon phase to a deeper and satisfying longevity. It helps to remember that the fevered intensity of a budding relationship is a temporary thing, and that when the high settles that doesn’t mean you are falling out of love. It means the love is deepening.

Over the years, my husband and I have learned from each other and we’ve changed in ways that have benefited our marriage. Jealousy isn’t an issue for us. Jealousy is a common feeling in newer relationships. I’ve been jealous in some of my past relationships, even in one case of going out to dinner several times with another man to make the man I was interested in jealous. It didn’t work. That relationship did not last.

I see and accept my husband’s flaws, and he does the same for me. There is very little he does that gets under my skin. I certainly don’t see him as a knight in shining armor which may be a feeling you have for your partner in a newer relationship. Your love interest can do no wrong and you feel that person is perfect in every way. It’s the old rose-colored glasses phenomenon.

As you get to know the person you love, you will find conflicts in personal views, taste, habits, and even how to raise children. During infatuation you see only the good things about your partner. When the not-so-good things rear up, don’t panic. You’re only finding out your love is human.

When written well, romances depict all of these stages and in the HEA ending, the couple successfully deals with conflict and grows in the process. Conflict is necessary to grow. It doesn’t have to mean fighting. It means the characters are removing those rose-colored glasses and are seeing each other as they really are, warts and all. Accepting those warts (the ones that are acceptable – I’m not talking about abusive relationships) and not trying to change the other person are both important qualities in a healthy, long term relationship.

The whirlwind of romance is a wonderful feeing that can be experienced when reading romance novels. The reader puts herself into the main character’s shoes and experiences what that character feels. It’s a safe way of experiencing the ups and downs of a relationship without actually being in one. In your own case, just remember that although the passion inevitably dies down, a deeper love will flourish in the healthiest relationships. And that’s what matters most.

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!

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!

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 three cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page. 

Her m/m erotic medical thriller Roughing It is out! This book is a sexy cross between The X Files, The Andromeda Strain, and Outbreak. This book is 30% off at JMS Books until June 30. Get your copy now! Read her short erotic story Babes in Begging For It, published by Cleis Press. You will also find her novel No Restraint at Amazon. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.

___

What inspires me when I write? I get my ideas from my personal life, the news, and my imagination. Positive feedback also inspires me. Nobilis Erotica recently accepted one of my short stories for a podcast. Thumbling will be available in audio format sometime in the near future. This story is my erotic retelling of the fairy tale Thumbling, which you may know as Thumbelina. The original involved a guy and not a woman. It’s a very sexy story that illustrates how versatile one can be as a lover when as small as can be. Thumbling can get into places no mere man can get into and what he does while in there will want you to take a cold shower after listening. Two other stories are under consideration for publication and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. I’m also going to self-publish these erotic fairy tales plus several others in an collection.

My short fantasy story The Care And Feeding Of Your New Pet Dragon will soon appear in the FARK charity anthology, Through A Scanner Farkly. FARK is a news aggregator that specializes in weird news, current events, and sarcastic humor.

Seeing acceptances, especially two within such a short period of time, inspire me. I’m sure I’m not the only writer who craves good news regarding her writing. When I am in the midst of a dry spell – no good reviews, lackluster sales, rejections – I can easily get into such a funk I don’t want to write. When that happens I take time away from the computer to take care of myself. I garden, go to the beach, watch TV and movies, and ride with my husband around town just to cruise.

Events in my life inspire me. Something happened recently to my Dad and sister that is inspiring a short horror story. My sister was helping my dad with his phone when she found 83 old messages that he never listened to. He didn’t know they were there. These messages date back several years. So, they had to go through each one and delete them individually. One of the ones was my mother telling my father to turn on the TV and watch a channel she liked to watch. It freaked him out, since my mother has been dead for two years. He went to turn on the TV when my sister told him it’s a very old message. It’s not my mother calling from the grave. That message was at least 2 years old. He calmed down and erased it. The next message was from his sister (my aunt) who died several months ago. More creepiness. The messages are now off the phone and it’s in proper working order. There is definitely a weird story in this business somewhere.

Conventions also inspire me, although I haven’t been to any in a very long time. That is about to change. NECON is in a few weeks. That’s a New England writers convention. This is my first NECON and I’m looking forward to it. Many of my friends in the horror community will be there, so it’s not like I’m diving into unknown waters. Some of the talks sound interesting. Here are a few examples:

  • Kaffeeklatsch: How to Avoid Shooting Yourself in the Foot: Self-Publishing Pitfalls and Tips
  • Not Dead Yet: The State of Publishing Today
  • Edge of Your Seat: Pacing and Plotting the Thriller

I plan to schmooze with the guests (including the Guests of Honor) and I’ll ask some of them to be a guest on my podcast, Into The Abyss With Elizabeth Black. That’s how I get my best guests – I ask them. There’s nothing magical about it. I just ask. Most of them say “yes”. Some of my guests have been very high caliber, such as Joe R. Lansdale (mojo storyteller and author of the Hap and Leonard series that appears on Sundance), Daniel Knauf (writer and producer of the TV shows Carnivale and The Blacklist), and Walt Bost (supervising sound editor for the TV show iZombie).

Finally, as anyone who knows me is aware, the ocean inspires me. I head there every day and walk about 2 miles. It’s not only exercise (which doesn’t feel like exercise), it clears my head so I may brainstorm about my writing. I’ve worked out plot holes while walking on the beach. I’ve thought out brand new stories while walking on the beach. I go to the beach with my husband and we talk, play in the very cold water (I live in northeastern Massachusetts. The water up here ain’t bathwater.), and crush empty crab shells with my feet. The last one is an obsession. I love to go for long walks on the beach, which sounds like a romance cliché but it’s true.

Everyone is different. What will inspire you will not inspire someone else. Find what inspires you and keeps you going. Writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Live life and stay inspired. Keep at it and best wishes to you.

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 three cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page. 

Her new m/m erotic medical thriller Roughing It is out! This book 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. Her story Neighbors appears in the new lesbian anthology The Girls Next Door. You will also find her new novel No Restraint at Amazon. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.

 ___

As anyone familiar with me is aware, I love to spend time at the beach. I live in Massachusetts so it gets quite cold here but that doesn’t stop me from taking my nearly daily walks in the sand and surf. This time of year it’s far too cold to swim in the water, though, but that hasn’t stopped some crazy people (especially surfers) from doing it. My husband and I are used to the surfers dodging waves and the brave (crazy) locals who swim in 50 degree water, but what we saw this past weekend just astounded us at how stupid some people can be.

Not long ago, we were on Good Harbor Beach in Gloucester, Massachusetts enjoying a warm bout of weather. He went swimming (crazy), but not me. That water is like ice. We went for our daily mile long walk, not expecting anything unusual but we were in for a scary surprise.

There is a small island about a half mile from shore. It’s called Salt Island and it’s basically a huge boulder in the water covered with vegetation and seagull guano. When the tide is low enough, the water recedes so much there is a sand pathway between the island and the shore. People, including me, love to walk that pathway and explore the beach side of the island. You can’t get to it during high tide or even normal tide. Most of the time the island is completely surrounded with water. This is what the sand pathway to the island looks like from the beach. Note the two people on the pathway. They give you a scale to judge how big this area is.

This particular day, we walked to the island end of the beach and saw four young people standing on top of the island. There was a serious problem – it wasn’t low tide. Water completely surrounded the island and it can be pretty deep. We thought they might have had a boat moored on the opposite side of the island, and they’d get off that way.

They didn’t. To our surprise and horror, the four climbed down the island facing us and proceeded to swim in the water towards shore. The shore is at least a half mile away and there might be riptides out there.

This is what the island and the beach look like when the tide is almost in. That’s Salt Island straight ahead.

This is the view from the side with Salt Island on the right and the beach on the left.

That’s a lot of water between the island and the beach.

These four idiots (three guys and one woman) swam in water that was way over their heads. We were afraid they weren’t going to make it, so my husband dialed the Coast Guard in case they needed a rescue. We had hoped they’d make it to the shallow area where they could tread water or walk with water nearly over their heads. The first two guys made it and we weren’t worried about them. We were more worried about the guy and woman bringing up the rear. They were slower and in the deeper water. However, they did make it to the shallow area and were able to walk to shore. We didn’t need to call the Coast Guard after all.

They were young, reckless, and had lots of stamina to pull off that crap. We left that side of the beach when it was clear the four of them were safe. Several people had stopped at that end of the beach to keep an eye on them and I saw iPhones out. It was tense and touch and go, but they did make it to go on and do other stupid things. Like kiss snakes. Skydive. Light bottle rockets up their butts and set them off. You know, like the thrill seekers they were.

I wrote a short sweet romance years ago about an idiot who walked to a similar island during low tide and got stuck there when he got drunk and passed out. He wakes up during high tide with the walkway gone and finds himself stranded on the island. With a Nor’easter coming. He knows damned well he can’t swim across to shore. What to do?

I never thought I’d see people actually try to get off that island during high tide for real. Truth is stranger than fiction.

If you’d like to read my story, it’s called The Storm and it’s free on my web site. While you’re reading it, keep in mind I saw four young people pull the stunt for real while on one of my beach walks. Wonders never cease.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica

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