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erotic romance

 

I’ve been having a rough few weeks and a scorching case of
writer’s block has set in. My parents (both sets) have health problems. For
that to make any sense, you must understand that I have parents who raised me and
an older couple who adopted me of sorts a few years ago. I call them Mom and
Dad. That Mom is having severe vertigo problems due to a possible serious inner
ear infection. My mother who raised me died two years ago, and now my dad who
raised me is in the hospital with a heart problem aggravated by his COPD. I
know the parents labels gets confusing. It’s like Neal Gaiman’s Coraline –  I have Mother and Other Mother. Then there
are my biological parents and cousin since I’m adopted. My birth mother died
about four years ago and I’m in regular touch with a blood relative, a cousin. I’ve
turned family into a three-ring circus.

I’m not processing all this mess very well. On top of it,
my two latest books aren’t selling. That’s a severe disappointment. I don’t know what to do about it. The weather is getting colder and
winter is coming. The cats won’t stop fighting. The books not selling well is
hitting me especially hard since I see no point in writing at the moment. Why
bother when next to no one will read my books? I’m working on a horror novel at
the moment as well as a short erotic romance story, but the words simply aren’t
flowing.

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way about my writing. A fellow horror writer on Facebook just said pretty much the same thing about his own aspirations since it’s harder for him to reach his goals now than when he was younger. One commenter pointed out that maybe when he was younger he set the bar for his goals too low. I wonder if that could be my problem. I used to be happy simply being published. Now, I want to be published by bigger, better houses, get lots of great reviews, get huge sales, and eventually win awards. Not only is a lot of that out of my hands, it’s harder to achieve. I have accomplished the first of those goals for the most part but not the others. Not yet. Maybe I just need time. In the meantime, I have no desire to write at all.

What to do?

I haven’t had writer’s block in awhile, but I haven’t
forgotten how I’ve dealt with it in the past. The best thing for me to do is to
not fight it. Just give in to it and find something else to do that I enjoy that
will improve my bleak mood. I know this won’t work for everyone. This is only
about what has worked for me. My point is to find what works best for you. If
writing through the block works, do it. If getting away from the keyboard for
awhile works, go for it. This is what has worked for me.

I’m still going to the beach nearly every day. Walking on
the beach is my primary form of 
exercise. I’ve lost 15 pounds since the beginning of summer. The
difference this year is that my husband and I intend to join the local YMCA to
use their exercise machines and the pool. I lost 15 pounds last summer and the
summer before that, but gained it all back and then some because I had no
exercise regime set for the fall and winter. So there’s something to be happy
about. I’ll likely reach my target weight (130 pounds) by next summer. Good.

I’m concentrating on my new radio show, Into The Abyss With Elizabeth Black. It’s about horror and dark
fiction, my other literary loves. My first guest will be Josh Malerman, who
wrote Bird Box, a scary-as-shit novel.
I loved it. He’s going to be on my show Thursday Oct. 6 at 4 PM EST. I still do
radio shows for Blog Talk Radio and that includes shows about erotic romance
and writing. My past guests include women from Broad Universe, Madeleine Shade
(who specializes in fairy tales), Cherry Wild and Sophia Soror (they also
specialize in fairy tales), and Melissa Keir. Doing these shows keeps me afloat
so that I don’t feel as if I’m floundering without direction.

I’m reading more. I like erotic romance and erotica
collections by Cleis Press and Xcite Books. I have quite a few books by these
publishers, and they inspire me when I write erotic fiction. I’m working on a
call for submissions for Cleis that isn’t due until December, so I have time to
come up with a story. I would love to be accepted by them again. I also enjoy
books that scare the crap out of me. I’m about to begin Snowblind by Christopher Golden, which takes place in Massachusetts
in the dead of winter. Perfect timing. I’ve also decided to reread a classic to
inspire me while working on my own horror novel, Hell Time. I’m rereading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

Finally, I’ve been watching plenty of TV and movies. I’m
binge-watching Mr. Robot, and I’m on the season finale now. Rami Malek deserved
his Best Actor Emmy for playing the lead in this show. I’m also enjoying
American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare, although it’s not the best thing
I’ve seen. The new TV version of The Exorcist is very predictable but the first
episode held my attention. Nice Easter Egg with the brief glimpse of a
newspaper article about Chris MacNeil from the original movie. Lucifer is back! Love that show. My husband and I can’t get enough of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. It’s my favorite TV show.

I’ve been baking. I made lemon poppy seed quickbread, angel
kisses cookies, hobnobs (British oat tea cookies), maple candy (it is fall
after all) and lime spritzer cookies. The lime spritzers taste exactly like the
same cookies Pepperidge Farm used to make. They were sold only over the summer
and they’ve been discontinued a long time ago. I loved those cookies, and now I
can make them myself.

In a nutshell, I’ve been doing things I enjoy to take my
mind off my worries and the writer’s block. When I’m ready to write, I’ll write.
I’m not going to put undue pressure on myself since I know that will only make
the situation worse. Next week I attend a Writers Coffeehouse New England
meeting, and I intend to learn how I can get word out about Into The Abyss With Elizabeth Black, including
possibly getting it into syndication. This coffeehouse is chock full of
valuable information, and I go every chance I get. I’ve been to one before and
I learned a great deal there. After we return, I decorate the house with
Halloween gack. I have two Fargo snow
globes and a Halloween snow globe.
All three depict scenes from the movies. Those are my pride and joy, and I love
showing them off. I’m looking forward to Halloween and the fall season. I can
at least enjoy myself until this dreadful mood and block lift. Maybe my parents (all of them) will be better soon. Until then, I’ll
binge-watch more movies and TV and bake stuff. Once I begin writing, I know
I’ll be fine.

In the meantime, I will continue to watch this video, which I can’t watch and be unhappy at the same time. It’s Cab Calloway and the Nicolas Brothers doing Jumpin’ Jive. This is said to be the greatest dance number ever recorded, and I sure agree with that. Get those happy feet moving!

Want to come to a
book party? My new contemporary erotic romance novel No Restraint was released recently, and I’m hosting a book party in
its honor. I’m giving away some prizes including free Kindle erotic romance
books, some fancy schmancy soaps, and a Jack Rabbit vibrator!

I haven’t decided
which ebooks I’m giving away, but most likely they will be my two erotic fairy
tales Trouble In Thigh High Boots
(Erotic Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her
Tower
(Erotic Rapunzel).

I love parties, especially where books are concerned. The most fun one I went to was for Broad Universe. I brought some of my horror books with me for a reading. Everyone brought a treat. We brought chili. There were also brownies, cookies, and soft drinks. The crowd was small but it was worthwhile. I got to practice my public speaking skills and mingle with strangers, which is no mean feat for me since I’m very introverted. I’d love to attend another public, live, in person book party soon, but for now, Facebook will do.

Here is the link for
my Facebook party:

https://www.facebook.com/events/529660003897941/

It runs from 9 AM EST until midnight PM EST on Sept. 6.

Here is some
information about No Restraint, which was published by Xcite Books in the U. K.

Blurb and excerpt
from No Restraint. Buy this book at
Amazon.

Amazon U. S.: https://www.amazon.com/No-Restraint-Elizabeth-Black-ebook/dp/B01IGHFZI0/

Amazon U. K.: https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Restraint-Elizabeth-Black-ebook/dp/B01IGHFZI0/

BLURB:

Alex
Craig accepts a new job at a high-end sex doll company called Babes. Babes’
dolls are high-end, expensive silicone love toys. Working at Babes is like
working for a bacchanal. The company’s culture is all about decadence, enjoying
the good life, exciting sex, and enticing food and drink. Alex meets Jackson
Beale, one of the company’s vice-presidents. Jackson takes Alex on a new and
exciting journey of carnal pleasure. He introduces her to new tactile and kinky
pleasures, and she relishes her excitement. The world takes on an entirely new
meaning and importance to Alex as she learns what she’s been missing in her
life.

EXCERPT:

They
walked hand in hand down the wooden pathway and across the bridge to the fine,
warm sand. Hot sun beat down on her shoulders, making her sweat. The heat was a
bit overpowering, and she wanted to swim to cool off from the sweltering
weather as well as her own arousal.

The
chill from the waves lapping at her feet made her jump; the water was colder
than she expected it would be. Jackson took her by the hand and the two of them
ran headfirst into the waves, splashing water all about them. With a flying
leap, Alex plunged into the waist-deep water, shrieking as the chill shocked
her. Once immersed in the water she felt cool and comfortable. She enjoyed the
much-needed relief from the smoldering heat.

Alex
smoothed her wet hair as Jackson approached her to wrap his arms around her
waist. Holding her so tightly she couldn’t escape, he lowered his head and
kissed her full on the mouth. Not expecting the embrace, she struggled to pull
away from him but soon surrendered to her passion. She wrapped her arms around
his back and sank into his kiss. His tongue slipped into her mouth and she
greeted him in kind, tongues dancing a duet to music only the two of them could
hear. Her head spun and sparks exploded behind her eyelids as her blood rushed
through her veins.

No
man had ever gotten such an excited response from her from his mere kiss.

They
pulled away from each other, lips unlocking, and she stared into his eyes. She
couldn’t read his expression. He gazed at her with an intensity she hadn’t seen
before. It was as if he wanted to see through to her very soul and possess it.

And
she would let him if he insisted.

A
warm breeze brushed her skin as she and Jackson walked along the beach.
Bubbling surf washed over her feet, cooling her in the hot sun. They walked
hand in hand as if they had been partnered for years instead of only days.
Amazed at how comfortable she felt in Jackson’s presence, she strolled by his
side, not talking, but only enjoying his company and the smell of the ocean
surf. Her other lovers paled when compared to Jackson. He was all she ever
wanted in a man – worldly, handsome, accomplished, and drop-dead sexy. He
treated her with respect and gentleness; not that she expected anything less.
If he had been less kindly toward her, she never would have taken up with him
in the first place. She wasn’t one to believe in soulmates, but Jackson came
very close to being hers.

He
squeezed her hand, bringing her back to the real world. Pulling her toward him,
he wrapped his arms tightly around her and kissed her lightly on the lips. What
started out as a gentle caress grew into a fevered embrace; fingers entwined in
her hair, her hands massaging his back. She wanted to implant the memory of his
body and his touch in her mind forever so she could easily remember him when he
was away. Their romantic setting set her head spinning with delight. A handsome
man on the beach. Her dream come true.

Elizabeth Black –
Bio

Elizabeth Black
lives a dream life in a small home on the Massachusetts coast. She tries to go
to the beach every day. When in the Zone, she writes erotic fiction, romance,
dark fiction, and horror. She aims for la Dolce Vita and lives every day as if
it were a feast. She shared her life with her husband, son, and three cats. She
is published by Xcite Books, Cleis Press, Circlet Press, Bold Strokes Books,
and other publishers. You may find her on the web in the following locations:

SIGN UP FOR MY
MAILING LIST ON MY WEB SITE

Elizabeth Black –
Blog and Web Site

http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Elizabeth Black –
Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Elizabeth Black/E.
A. Black – Facebook Page (Like me please!)

https://www.facebook.com/elizabethblackwriter

Elizabeth Black –
Twitter (Follow me please!)

http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Elizabeth Black
–  Erotic Fiction Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

By Bob Buckley

Playing
with a person’s emotions is a dangerous thing, but we writers do it all the
time, from the moment we seek to hook our reader with an opening paragraph that
piques their curiosity as well as, we hope, tweaks their libido. Then we string
them along, leading them down a path to a conclusion where we hope they say,
“Wow.”

Or
maybe they’ll just say, “Huh?”

Along
the way to one conclusion or the other, our readers begin to wonder where our
tale is going. They can’t help it. They build up expectations: Will she sleep with him? Is he going to
leave her? Will they live happily ever after?

Even
that last expectation – guaranteed if the story has been labeled romance –
still elicits a guess about how we’re going to get there – the HEA, that is. We
all do it as readers, after we’ve come to
care one way or the other about the characters. Sure we wonder what’s going to happen next, but we also anticipate, which is different – in effect, we try to get ahead of the story, writing our own in our head and seeing if it eventually matches up with the author’s plot. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, said at the end of a story or novel, “I knew that was going to happen,” or, “I saw that coming.”

Anticipation
– okay, cue up Carly Simon honking away with that nasally voice of hers.

Writers
of mysteries and thrillers craft their tales around readers’ anticipation and deliberately defy their expectations. It’s
called a plot twist. It throws you off the rails if it’s successfully executed,
if not, it might annoy the hell out of you. But for readers of these types of
stories, nothing is more satisfying than a twist, particularly the
twist-at-the-end. It’s then they realize they’ve been manipulated, deceived and
perhaps even disoriented. And they love it.

But,
what if you’re writing a romantic, erotic story and yank the rug out from under
your reader by leading them to a place they didn’t expect to go? Well, if
you’ve achieved every writer’s goal of getting your readers to believe in your
characters and invest their emotions in them – they may end up hating you.

Some
years ago I posted a story to ERWA about a pair of what my mother would have called “poor souls.” I wanted to explore why some people, men and women, go
through life alone and lonely, through no fault of their own.

My
main characters included a lonely guy who couldn’t get a woman to give him the
time of day. You know the type, a guy whose romantic history involves him being
aggressively overlooked. But like the Lonesome Loser of the song, “he
still keeps on tryin’.” He’s allowed himself to be set up in a series of
blind dates – none of which have panned out – by a good-intentioned friend. On
one of these arranged meetings, he’s introduced to a girl who has as sad a
romantic history as he does. And voila, they hit it off  and have a wonderful
night together that leads to some wonderful sex.

Unfortunately
for them, I’m telling this story, and I decided from the beginning it was not
going to end with a HEA. While he wants to continue to see her, she rejects the
notion of them in a relationship. Though she likes him, she thinks
it would be tantamount to “settling.” She fears the world will look
at them as two losers who couldn’t land anyone better and she won’t give the
world that satisfaction.

Okay,
it’s a stupid reason to toss away something magical. Have you ever heard of
anyone tossing happiness away for a good
reason?

It
ends with her out the door and him sitting on the banks of the Charles River in
utter bewilderment.

I
wasn’t quite prepared for the vehement reactions to the story, even though I
allowed that folks who love a HEA were going to be disappointed. Disappointed?
They were furious! Even some critics who, themselves, were into darker
explorations of the human heart were appalled.

Multiple
responders demanded that I explain what it was about the male protag that made
him repulsive to women. Well, how should I know? Why do nice guys, or for that
matter, nice girls end up alone?

A
few suggested ways I could give it a happy ending. (In fact, I could have added
two short lines at the end and instantly turn it into a HEA.)

Given
my sometimes morbid sense of humor, it tickled me to no end that some people
were angry at me for being a prick to my characters. I had struck a nerve.

The furious backlash told me I had gotten under the readers’ skins, manipulated
them into caring for and hoping for all the best for my characters. I can’t
blame them for being furious, but I’m glad they were.

Still,
it gives a writer pause, does it not?

When
you write, you’re playing with nitroglycerin … be careful.

I read a lot of BDSM erotica and erotic romance. While what
I write is fairly specific, I enjoy reading a wider diversity, all different
sorts of pairings and groups. I enjoy the sort that is all about building a
fantasy for the reader, from the billionaire natural alpha dom, to the corral
where you park your submissive at the club. I also enjoy the sort that is
intended to feel real, to reflect the realities of kink life. I’m not one of
those folks who do BDSM and need fiction to be realistic; I’m perfectly fine
sinking into a fantasy story about a magical mind-reading dominant, whether it
comes with a critique of kink life (e.g. Cecilia Tan’s Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords) or
is purely there to fulfill a fantasy (e.g. Cherise Sinclair’s Club Shadowlands)

What I’ve found is that there’s a particular thing that’s
pretty much guaranteed to spoil my investment in and enjoyment of a BDSM story:
carelessness in the context of a scene or D/s dynamic.

To be clear, I adore mean, cruel and even cold dominants.
I’m not talking about sadism here, or needing to go easy on bottoms in a way
that treats them as fragile. I’m not even just talking about tops. Bottoms can
definitely be careless too.

I’m not talking about stories where folks have casual play,
or play that’s not centered on emotions or caring for each other romantically.
I’m not even talking about psychological edge play scenes that center on a top seeming careless. I’m fine with that
sort of play as long as I know, as a reader, that the top is actually seeing to
the well-being of the bottom, and that the bottom knows somewhere in the back
of their mind that they can trust the top to be careful with them.

What do I mean when I talk about carelessness?

I mean carelessness in terms of leaving a bottom tied up and
unattended. I mean carelessness in terms of casual selfishness where the
character is solely focused on their own needs to the point of ignoring the basic
well-being of the folks they are doing BDSM with. I mean carelessness in terms
of launching into heavy humiliation play with a novice with no negotiation. I
mean carelessness in terms of deliberate ignoring of basic bodily needs. I mean
carelessness in terms of deliberately fucking with someone’s head when mindfuck
was not on the table. I mean carelessness in terms of a dominant giving a
submissive away to someone without ensuring that the submissive is ok in that
person’s care.

For the most part, what it often boils down to is a
character treating another character like they are not a real person, but an
object, not as part of an agreed upon D/s dynamic or humiliation scene, but in
actuality. Treating them as if they are a tool to get off with, not a human
being with, y’know, needs and vulnerabilities, who is worthy of a basic modicum
of respect and care.

Is it realistic to have characters do this? Absolutely. This
behavior abounds in kink life, just as carelessness does in many other kinds of
communities.

Do I want it in my erotica or erotic romance? Absolutely
not.

Please do write about miscommunication, misunderstandings,
secrets, scenes that go wrong, common novice mistakes, times when people need
to safeword, accidents that happen in play, times when folks are not aware of
their feelings or not up for talking about stuff they should, and all the other
ways that people are human and have opposing needs and fuck up and things fall
apart and need to be repaired, especially if you are writing realistic stories
about BDSM. I’d love to see more of that in the kinky fiction I read. I don’t
need or even want characters to be perfect.

Carelessness is in a different zone for me.

Why?

I don’t trust the character any more as a practitioner of
BDSM. I wouldn’t recommend them as a player to a stranger, must less to someone
I care about.

I am not rooting for the couple anymore. I want the other
character to dump that asshole, not make excuses for them or sink deeper into
connection with them or ignore the problem or want to be treated that way.

I don’t want to witness them playing or falling for each
other. It’s not hot. I wouldn’t watch that scene in a public dungeon; I
definitely don’t want to read it.

I don’t want stories that support, elide, apologize for or
excuse carelessness in kink. Especially not in a main character I’m supposed to
be identifying with or desiring or rooting for. Especially not in a story that supposedly
has a HFN or a HEA ending.

Want me to love your BDSM erotica and erotic romance and
invest in your characters and story?


Show the reader moments where characters are careful with each other.

Where dominants take an extra moment to ensure they still
have consent. Where submissives consider a dominants needs. Where tops check in
after a scene. Where bottoms share information a top might need in order to
fully consent to something. Where a dominant pays attention to body language
and tone of voice and not just the words a submissive uses. Where a submissive
notices that a dominant seems off and checks in. Where a top thinks about what
a bottom might need from play. Where a bottom thinks about the shit a top had
to deal with today and treads carefully around sensitive subjects. Where
characters negotiate in a way that shows they are invested in each other’s
well-being.

It’s those moments that make me fall for your characters,
root for them as a couple or triad or group or whatever they are together, want
to follow them to the end of the story. Those are the moments that make me sigh
and smile and swoon.

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

People who know me know I write horror and dark fiction as well as erotica and erotic romance. I’m going to meet writer Jack Ketchum in mid-October at the Stanley Hotel Writers Retreat. That’s the hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, where Stephen King stayed that inspired him to write The Shining. While Ketchum is a horror writer, what he had to say about digging down into dark recesses of your soul to get to the meat of your characters applies to any genre. This excerpt is from an essay he wrote for the book Horror 101: The Way Forward:

“Dig into the dark mean night of your soul.” Remember Peter Straub’s line in Ghost Story? What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done? Well, what its it?

What god-awful things have you fantasized doing but would never do?

What’s the worst thing you can imagine actually happening to you? To your loved ones?

What breaks your heart?

Use your damage. Write from the wound.

Go as deep as you dare. Stare into your own abyss and report back. No need to reveal everything – children have to learn how to lie a little, or else they grow up without protection, and so do we writer types. But you need ot embrace the damage as a co-conspirator, as uniquely you, as something you can use. Throw it out there into the light, to a place where it can do some good for others and maybe even for yourself.

You need to be honest. Really good fiction is always an attempt at total honesty. Be true to both the good and the
downright dangerous inside. See them as clearly as you can, use your empathy, search out your characters in your own heart and write them as though they were you. They are you, you know. Every one of them, if you do it right.When I dig down into my soul to get to the heart of my characters, I feel exposed and vulnerable. There have been a few stories I’ve written I decided against publishing because they feel too close. Too personal. Some of the stories I have published make me feel over-exposed. Although a publisher liked the story enough to publish and sell it, I don’t necessarily feel comfortable letting people read it because I feel like the reader will get a glimpse of me I’d rather keep private. My short story Longing in Coming Together: Among The Stars and my novel Don’t Call Me Baby are excellent examples of my picking at a festering wound in my soul I won’t let heal, and I allow everyone on earth to read about it.

Longing is about my fear of growing old and forgetting who I am. Or my husband losing his faculties and losing his memory of me. The story is about a woman whose husband suffers from dementia and he can’t remember who she is. I based the husband on my husband and on a friend who suffers from dementia. I watched this friend devolve from a vibrant and genius-level intelligent human being to a shell of his former self. I don’t like to think about it anymore, but I needed to express my profound distress at watching what had happened to him. Likewise, I am over 50 and my husband is over 60. Aging is very much in the forefront of my mind, and I am terrified of losing the sense of who I am and who he is. I know it’s a normal rite of passage for someone my age, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Don’t Call Me Baby is semi-autobiographical. I deal head-on with two affairs with married men I had when I was in college. What possessed me to do something as self-hating and stupid as that? The book was in part about my fear of losing my identity to another man’s wishes and demands. I watched some of my girlfriends turn from independent and interesting women to creatures who lived to please their boyfriends and fiancés. I didn’t want to turn into a Stepford wife. I was afraid that to fall in love meant having to turn my will completely over to a man, and I didn’t want to do that. So I chose men who were not only unavailable, but who also couldn’t complain when I chose to date multiple men at once. I couldn’t get too close to them, and they couldn’t get too close to me. I’m very much aware of how selfish this all sounds. Catherine Stone, my heroine in the book, is also very selfish as well as a bit pig-headed. She does meet a man who doesn’t interfere with her freedom, and how she learns to trust him is an important part of the book. At that time in my life, I had not yet met that man, and I wouldn’t meet him for several decades.

I’ve noticed the common thread between both stories – my fear of losing the sense of myself. Growing old, losing my sense of myself, ending up alone surrounded by my dozens of cats, and becoming homeless are four of my greatest fears. I’ve looked into them in some of my stories, especially the horror stories.

What are you afraid of? What fears drive you throughout your life? How would you answer Jack Ketchum’s questions? What god-awful things have you fantasized doing but would never do? What is the worst thing you can imagine happening to you? To your loved ones? Use the raw emotions behind the answers to bring your characters to life. Like Ketchum said, you don’t need to reveal everything in your writing. However, you need to know that side of your character to make that person human.

Escapism is a wonderful thing to enjoy, especially in erotica and erotic romance. Every woman who enjoys a good sexy story likes being swept off her feet and taken to a fantasy world. I’ve written escapist fantasies as well. These stories are driven by some of my fears but they aren’t gut-wrenching.  My two erotic fairy tales Trouble In Thigh High Boots (Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (Rapunzel) as well as my short lesbian erotic romance Like A Breath Of Ocean Blue and my erotic fantasy A Dance Of Ocean Magic fall into this category. The main characters in those stories have their weaknesses and faults, but the stories have an otherworldly and magical quality to them that helps the reader escape her mundane, daily concerns. She can get lost in another fun world for a few hours.

When it comes to raw and uncomfortable emotion, I prefer the realistic approach, even if the story is fantasy or science fiction. If I wonder if the reader will disapprove of me or not like me, I know I’m on the right track. I know the reader may criticize my character’s choices, but those choices led my character down the path toward her maturation. Sometimes that maturation is found through trusting a partner in a vulnerable sex act. At few other times are we more vulnerable than when we are spread out, naked and exposed, before someone we care about. How will your partner treat you? Will you be cared for or abused? It’s all a matter of trust.

My story Longing appears in Coming Together: Among The Stars.
Amazon – US
Amazon – UK

Don’t Call Me Baby
Amazon – US
Amazon – UK

Trouble In Thigh High Boots
Amazon – US
Amazon- UK

Climbing Her Tower
Amazon – US
Amazon – UK

My story Like A Breath of Ocean Blue appears in Best Lesbian Romance Of The Year, Vol. 1, published by Cleis Press.
Amazon – US
Amazon – UK

A Dance Of Ocean Magic will soon appear in the erotic anthology Forbidden Fruit, to be published by Sweetmeats Press.

by Lucy Felthouse


There’s been a lot of negativity in the erotica/erotic romance writing world just lately. What with discussions on how “that book” has affected the industry and the market, publishers going under, sales dropping, the affect of Kindle Unlimited… the list goes on.

Because of this, I decided a positive post was in order. Yes, bad stuff is happening (and yes, some of it has affected me, and continues to do so), but I’m doing my best to stay positive and rise above it. I’m not letting it drag me down. Some people’s muses have understandably deserted them, leaving a whole bunch of writers with no output, hopefully temporarily. But it seems to have had the opposite affect on me. I’ve been driven to write more, write faster, experiment more, research other publishers, put more eggs in my self-publishing basket. Because there’s no way I’m giving up. Want to know why?

I love it.

Simple as that. I love it, and have loved it for years. I don’t make an awful lot of money from my writing. It’s increasing as I get more books out, of course, but it’s not my full-time job. Maybe it never will be. But I still won’t stop. I have tons of new stories left in me waiting to be told, characters to revisit, and, most importantly, readers that enjoy my books and look forward to reading new ones. That’s what keeps me going. That drive to write more, and those frankly awesome people that buy my books. Yes, I wish I could have a million-selling book, hit the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists, of course I do. But in the meantime I’m going back to basics. Instead of worrying too much about what’s going to sell and what isn’t – because, let’s be honest, it’s nigh on impossible to predict, anyway – I’m just writing what I want to write, telling stories I want to tell. I just finished a novella recently, and adored every moment of writing it. It might not sell and may get awful reviews – but I’ll take it on the chin. I always do. Equally, it could be a runaway success. Only time will tell.

Either way, I won’t forget the love. So please, everyone, remember that. Remember why you write, why you’re involved in this genre and industry. Keep creating, keep going, keep loving.

We always need more positivity in this world, after all.

Lucy 


*****


Author Bio:


Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and
erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100
publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several
editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic
Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and
co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house.
She owns Erotica For All, is book
editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth
of The Brit Babes. Find out more
at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk.
Join her on Facebook
and Twitter, and subscribe to her
newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

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

My last few ERWA
posts have been quite serious, so I wanted to keep things light this month.
Writers often talk about their muses, including writers whose works have
inspired them. I’ve long been inspired by Shirley Jackson, Stephen King, Joe
Lansdale, Edgar Allan Poe, Dorothy Parker, and Oscar Wilde. Writers also talk
about the support they get from their family and friends. Some have a mentor or
two. I’m fortunate enough to have a great deal of support from my husband and
my writer friends, especially on Facebook. I know that plenty of writers are
shunned by their parents, siblings, and spouses who especially don’t take
erotic fiction seriously. They want to support the writers in their midst, but
they wish they wrote “real” books. I can’t count the number of times
I’ve been looked down upon because I erotic fiction and romance. The genres get
a lot of grief they don’t deserve, especially when it comes to romance. Romance
is the most successful genre out there. It deserves more respect.

I consider pets to
be an unusual muse. Our pets are part of our families, and they give us
unconditional love. We feed them and give then a safe place to live and they
repay us by doting on us, curling into our laps, and displaying cute behavior
that turns us into puddles of delighted goo. Cats and writers seem to go
together like, well, cats and writers. Probably the most famous literary cat
lover is Ernest Hemingway, whose polydactyl cats are the stuff of legend. Edgar
Allan Poe had trained the family cat to sleep on his wife Virginia’s chest to
keep her warm since she suffered from tuberculosis. Mark Twain said “Some
people scorn a cat and think it not an essential; but the Clemens tribe are not
of these.”

Joyce Carol Oates
described the soothing calm she feels from her cat. “I
write so much because my cat sits on my lap. She purrs so I don’t want to get
up. She’s so much more calming than my husband.” Science fiction writer
Philip K. Dick wrote the following of his cat, Willis:  “Willis, my tomcat, strides silently
over the pages of that book, being important as he is, with his long golden
twitching tail. Make them understand, he says to me, that animals are really
that important right now. He says this, and then eats up all the food we had
been warming for our baby. Some cats are far too pushy. The next thing he’ll
want to do is write SF novels. I hope he does. None of them will sell.”

Neil
Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, and William S. Burroughs were owned by cats.  T. S. Elliot loved cats so much he wrote
poems about them that were turned into an award-winning, long-running
musical. 

I have
long been a cat lover, and their antics have inspired me so much I’ve included
some of my own in my fiction. Below is a picture of (from top to bottom)
Beowulf, Domino, and Scully. Domino is the matriarch. She was the first kitten
born to Oreo, whom I will talk about below. Yes, I have a cat named Scully. I
used to have a cat named Mulder but she died several years ago from kidney
failure. I like to tell people she was abducted by aliens.

My cats have
appeared in many of my stories. It’s my way of keeping them with me at all
times and making them immortal. Beowulf appeared in my short story The Party Crasher, which was published
by Scarlet Magazine in the U. K. It was one of my first published stories. One
of Beowulf’s nicknames was Mr. Fuzzyboy. Sadly, he died suddenly in January,
2015. I still miss him. This is Beowulf, showing off.

Here is the scene in
The Party Crasher when Beowulf made
his appearance. It’s Olivia’s birthday, and a man she’d been seeing (Fred) who
does not awaken her passions invited a medium to her surprise birthday party.
Madame Persephone quickly homes in on Jeremy, a friend of Olivia’s Olivia lusts
after. The resulting séance becomes quite comical.

The Party Crasher – Excerpt

Madame Persephone laced her thick
fingers together and looked around the room. She pointed to three guests,
including Fred, and asked them to take a seat at the table. She then asked
Olivia to take the seat next to her. That left one seat open.

She sniffed the air again. She
held out her hands, and her fingers danced on the air. She turned slowly, and
faced the kitchen.

“You, young man,” She
pointed to Jeremy. “I need you here. I have a strong feeling about you,
that you are especially sensitive.”

So Jeremy is “especially
sensitive” and Olivia is as thick as a rock. That made her feel just
wonderful. She doubted anything would happen during this silly séance, but she
couldn’t tell Fred to make the woman leave. Besides, the silliness could be
fun. At least the argument over Sir Paul’s divorce had finally subsided. Olivia
was afraid she was going to have to break it up, it got so heated.

“Sir –” Madame
Persephone pointed to Jeremy. “Please sit next to Olivia.” Fred
looked put out that he was not seated next to Olivia. He was between two of her
coworkers who were unable to stifle their giggling.

Madame Persephone lit the white
candles. She picked up the white sage incense, lit it, blew it out, and waved
the smoke around the table. She muttered some kind of prayer under her breath.

“We are ready,” she
said. “Someone please turn out the lights.”

One of the guests obliged. Olivia
let her eyes adjust to the dim light. Candlelight flickered on the table,
walls, and ceiling. Someone snickered in the quiet.

“All of us must be silent. I
will try to contact the spirits I sense lurking in this house. Everyone around
the table, please hold hands. Don’t break contact during the séance. That’s
very dangerous. You may trap a spirit here who doesn’t want to be here. I can’t
stress that enough.” Madame Persephone said. “Is everyone
ready?”

Olivia saw heads nod around the
table. A ripple flowed up her spine. She was a little excited about this
silliness after all. While she didn’t believe for a second that Madame
Persephone would contact any spirits, deep down she had hoped she would.

“I call to you, oh restless
spirits that may occupy this house. Speak to us,” Madame Persephone said.
She trembled, and lowered her head to her chest. She moaned. It was quite a
good show. The woman knew her stuff.

“Meeeeeeeeoooowwwww!!!!!”
Madame Persephone’s eyes bugged open. “Oh, now, Mr. Fuzzyboy, you behave
yourself.” She looked at Olivia. “My apologies. That was my spirit
guide, Mr. Fuzzyboy, making an ass of himself. He likes to show up at my
séances just to get noisy. He demands a lot of attention, and wants to talk
through me. He probably wants a treat.” Olivia realized that Mr. Fuzzyboy
sounded a lot like Fred, who was just as demanding and wanted treats for his
performances as well.

Madame Persephone closed her
eyes, and continued speaking. “Mr. Fuzzyboy, now is not the time. We can
play later.” She giggled. “Yes, I’ll get your catnip toy when I get
home.”

She rocked back and forth in her
chair, and hummed in a low voice. Glenda, one of Olivia’s coworkers, giggled.
Olivia heard someone kick Glenda under the table.

Madame Persephone bolted upright
in her chair, and stared at Olivia.

“My dear, there is someone
here who wants to speak to you.”

Olivia stared back. “Me?
Who?”

“It’s a man – definitely a
man, but he won’t tell me his name. He’s asking… what, sir?” She jerked in
her seat as if offended. “I most certainly will not ask her that, sir, not in mixed company.”

What on earth could this be about, Olivia wondered.

“How rude! Seriously, sir,
do you take me for a fool?”

“What does he want to ask
me?” Olivia asked.

“I can’t repeat what he
said. It’s… crude.”

“This sounds like fun,”
Jeremy said. Olivia pinched his hand.

“Say it anyway. I’m
curious.” Olivia insisted.

Madame Persephone squirmed in her
seat. “He wants to know if he can stick his finger in your bellybutton and
tickle you.”

Everyone laughed.

Olivia could do nothing but sit
there with her mouth hanging open. A flush rose from her chest and warmed her
face. She thanked God that in the candlelight, no one could see her blushing.

“You are ticklish in your
belly button, Olivia.”

“Shut up, Fred.” Olivia
said. To Madame Persephone, she said: “Please tell him I said ‘no.'”

“That’s what I thought you’d
say.” Madame Persephone was silent for a few seconds. “Sir, if she
won’t let you stick your finger in her belly button, I seriously doubt she
would let you do that.”

I don’t want to know, thought Olivia. Her heart jumped in her chest. She glanced
at Jeremy, who fought off laughter by biting his lower lip. Olivia felt
mortified.

Who the heck is that woman talking to?

Below is a picture of Lucky, our tuxedo cat. He’s about 12 years
old now and still acts like a kitten. He’s the most personable cat I’ve ever
met. He made a brief appearance in my short story The Wandering Cat.

Below is an excerpt
from my short erotic story The Wandering
Cat
, which was originally published by eXcessica. It’s out of print now.
Oreo the cat is based on my late cat also named Oreo, who had a penchant for
clawing her way out of the house. She loved to wander around Rockport,
Massachusetts, where I live. She looked like Sylvester from the Loony Tunes cartoons.
The picture is of Oreo with her tongue sticking out, as it often did. I swear
that cat’s tongue was too big for her head. As you can see, Beowulf made an
appearance in this story, too. He got around. So did Lucky, who is also in the
story.

The Wandering Cat – Excerpt

“Oreo! It’s chow time!”

Cat refilled the cat food bowl and the water
bowl. Beowulf and Lucky ran to see their new chow, but Oreo was nowhere to be
seen. That was unlike her.

Worried, Cat turned the house upside down.
She looked behind the bed, in the closets, and under the couch. No cat. There
was only one other place where Oreo could be, and that was sitting on her
window bench.

The large Gothic window was open. No cat sat
on the plush window bench. Cat took a closer look at the window, and saw that
the screen had been clawed. There was a hole in the screen big enough for a cat
to climb through.

Great. Oreo got out again.

Cat put on her sandals and walked outside.
She saw cat paw prints in the damp earth, and followed them through her back
yard. They ended at the fence marking Lance Hendry’s back yard.

Her heart raced. Would Oreo give her an
excuse to say something to Lance other than “Hello, how’s the
weather?” She fantasized about his scrumptious body every night. What
would his arms feel like as they wrapped around her? She wished she could
summon up the courage to say more to him than a few quick words.

Oreo gave her that chance.

She walked into his back yard. Peter
Gabriel’s music played from somewhere inside, making Cat’s heart beat all the
faster. Not only was Lance home, he was another Peter Gabriel fan.

She knocked on the back door. Her fingers
sounded muffled against the hard wood. How could he hear her over the music?
After a minute of knocking on the door, she backed up.

A Gothic window was open on the second floor.
She hoped he was up there. She felt like the rebuttal to Rapunzel. The damsel
stood below the enchanted window, and wished her man would appear in it.

“Lance? Are you there?”

No answer.

“Lance!”

A head with rumpled hair and a broad set of
shoulders leaned out of the window. He wasn’t wearing a shirt. Cat took a good
look at his muscular chest and the black hair that covered it. She didn’t know
when she would get a gorgeous sight like that again.

“Hi. What’s up?”

“Have you seen my cat? Oreo? The little
black and white one?”

“The one that always gets out? No,
haven’t seen her.”

“Oh. Thanks.” She was too shy to
ask him any more questions. Muscle up
some courage, girl! Ask him how he’s doing. Something. Anything! Talk to him!

“Would you like some help looking for
her?”

“I’d love it!” Cat was so excited
over getting to spend some time with Lance that her knees knocked. What would
she say to him? For once in her life, she was speechless. Would she be able to
make enough small talk to keep him interested in her?

“Stay put. I’ll be down in a
minute.”

He came outside wearing a button-down
short-sleeved shirt, shorts, and sandals. His shock of black hair looked as if
he hadn’t combed it in several days. That was the new fashion for young men
these days. Cat was ten years Lance’s senior, but she didn’t care. Maybe today
she’s win on two counts – they’d find her cat, and she’d gain a lover.

“What’s your name again?”

“It’s Cat. Short for Catherine.”

“Cat is looking for her cat?”

She laughed. “Yes, she sure is.”

“How long has Oreo been missing?”

“I don’t know. She didn’t come when I
refilled the food bowl, and she clawed through the screen window again. I’m
scared. I hope she’s okay.”

“I’m sure she is. She gets out often
enough. Have you looked around outside yet?”

“I’m just starting now. Want to come
with me?” Please say yes! Please say
yes!

“I’d love to. I’ve wanted to get to know
you better anyway.”

Cat’s stomach did The Happy Dance. She felt
light-headed and giddy. Lance wants to
get to know me better! All thanks to Oreo.

Below is an excerpt
from my upcoming family saga/thriller novel Secrets
and Lies
, which will be published by Eldritch Press in 2016. Kate Stanwood
is my main character. Her cat Koala is based on a Snowshoe cat that owned me,
also named Koala. Snowshoes are a mix between Siamese and domestic shorthairs.
They have white paws called “boots”,  hence the name. Koala was so smart he was
scary. My husband Bill (at the time we were dating) used to live next door to
me. Sometimes Koala would sometimes get himself locked out of the house at night.
So, he’d go over to Bill’s house. Bill often stayed up late. Koala would meow
loudly until Bill came outside, and the cat would then run to my front door and
meow to be let in.  Bill would let him
in, and all would be well in the world. Koala used to do the exact same thing
to me that he is doing to Kate at stupid o’clock in the morning. The picture is
of Koala on the left and Oreo on the right. They were inseparable.

Secrets and Lies – Excerpt

Meow!!!

Kate snapped awake. She always snapped awake
at the slightest sound. She was lying on her back. Koala stared at her from his
perch on the headboard, which was designed like a bookcase.  She glared at him. He stared back and mewed.

I am
not getting up just to top off your food bowl,
she thought. Koala meowed at her again. He
looked at her with that “Get up and feed me now
expression on his cherubic little Snowshoe face. He stood and stretched. He
looked at all the books stacked in a pile next to him.  The stack teetered precariously over Kate’s
head. She knew what was coming.

She slowly reached for the water bottle
behind her on the bookcase. Koala froze, one paw touching the spine of a thick
hardback that was already threatening to tip over onto her face. She held the
bottle between forefinger and thumb in full view of the cat. He knew what was
coming, too. As if that would stop the little furball.

You
knock that book over on my head, cat, and you’re Vietnamese food in a few
hours.
Koala tapped the book. Kate shook the bottle.
The cat’s eyes widened. He jumped off of the headboard and landed between Kate
and Ian, who slept through it all. He always slept through the nighttime
follies. The bed could fall through the floor and he’d sleep through it.

Koala used Ian’s shoulders as a springboard
and vaulted off of the bed. Ian said “Oof!” and rolled onto his back.
The snoring started almost immediately. Kate sighed and pushed him onto his
side. His snoring rivaled the foghorn at the end of the Cove.

She glanced at the clock: 4:51 a.m. She was
wide awake. She hated it when she woke up too early, which had always been a
bad habit of hers. Thank God she didn’t have to go to work, even though it was
a Tuesday. She could sleep through late morning once she became tired again.

She rolled out of bed and walked into the
upstairs kitchen. Koala followed her, mewing at her ankles, until she picked up
his food bowl, shook it, and placed it back onto the floor. That cat hated
eating anything that he knew had another cat’s spit on it, so she shook the
bowl until fresher contents reached the surface. Satisfied, he ate with gusto.
What a pain in the butt, but she’d never give him up for anything.

I don’t know what I
would do if I didn’t have my cats to keep me company and inspire me while I
write. They’re so important to me they’ve become a part of my fiction. Do you
have pets that inspire you to write? Do you cater to your dogs, or are you
owned by cats? Do you have unusual animals around you, like Flannery O’Connor
and her peacocks? I believe animals make some of the best muses, and they don’t
ask for anything in return but attention, food, and a place to sleep (often on
you). They are the ultimate givers of unconditional love. I wouldn’t part with
my cats for anything in the world, and I’ve immortalized them in my fiction.

If you’d like to
read my erotic fiction, feel free to visit my Elizabeth Black Amazon
Author Page
. If you’d like to take a look at my darker stuff, visit my E. A. Black Amazon Author Page.

by Lucy Felthouse


As this post goes live, I’m at Sexhibition in Manchester, England – also known as “the erotic event of the year.” Myself, my other half, and Victoria and Kev Blisse are running the Smut UK stand, selling erotic books and generally waving the banner for smutty books galore. We also have swag, goodies and a charity raffle. Every time we do one of these events, we have a fantastic time. We get to spend time with each other, having a giggle. We get to see other friends we don’t see often. We get to meet new people, or people we may have only chatted with online in the past. Invariably, these people are interesting, and we come away from the events exhausted but inspired, and looking forward to the next time we can get together.

Which leads me to my question – what do you think of real life events? As an author, and someone otherwise heavily involved in the industry, I know what I get out of it – but I’d love to know what readers/visitors get out of it. The events I’ve been to so far are more general smutty events, or conferences, rather than pure signings (though I’m signed up for one of those next year, and am considering others), so the people that go aren’t necessarily there for the books… but they generally go away with at least one! 😉 So I’d just love to know, whether you’re into books specifically, or the lifestyle as a whole – what drives you to these events?

And for those of you that go to more traditional book signings – what drives you? Is it because you want to meet the authors? Get autographs? Buy more books? Meet new authors? See your existing favourites? Please, do let me know… enquiring minds, and all that 😉


Happy Reading!
Lucy x


*****


Author Bio:


Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and
erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100
publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several
editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic
Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and
co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house.
She owns Erotica For All, is book
editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth
of The Brit Babes. Find out more
at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk.
Join her on Facebook
and Twitter, and subscribe to her
newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

by Lucy Felthouse

I don’t really post exercises here, but I used this recently at a talk I did at the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference in London, and it seemed to go down really well with attendees. So here goes… I hope you’re inspired 😉

I’m going to give you a theme, and I’d like you to write something down that’s outside the box. You may or may not use it in future, but I think if it sparks your imagination, it can only be a good thing!

  • Uniforms
  • Curvy men or women
  • Christmas
  • Chocolate
  • Sex at work
  • Twenty-four hours in a city

The reason I included the twenty-four hours in a city example is because I’m Managing Editor for the City Nights series from Tirgearr Publishing. These are novella length (25 – 30k) contemporary erotic romance stories that take place within a twenty-four hour time period in a city somewhere in the world. They’re all completely standalone stories, and we’re releasing one per month, with a break in December. We’ve just released the thirteenth! So if this is something you’re interested in, the full submission guidelines are on their website. I’d love to see some more submissions!

Happy Writing!
Lucy

*****

Author Bio:


Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and
erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100
publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several
editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic
Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and
co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house.
She owns Erotica For All, is book
editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth
of The Brit Babes. Find out more
at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk.
Join her on Facebook
and Twitter, and subscribe to her
newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

By Lucy Felthouse

This post was originally on the Dirty Birdies blog.

I have a question: what are your thoughts on authors that write in multiple genres and pairings under the same pen name? Does it bother you? Will you still read that author? Will you just pick and choose what genres/pairings from that particular author that you like? Or do you read anything and everything from your favourite authors, no matter what they write?

I’d really love your opinion on this. I’m asking because there seems to be no standard in the publishing industry. I “know” lots of authors because of the wonder that is social media, and some of them (myself included) write lots of different things under the same pen name, whereas others create new pen names when they branch out into something new.

I wouldn’t say I write different genres, exactly, because so far I’ve only written erotica and erotic romance. Though I write in lots of subgenres; contemporary, paranormal, femdom, maledom, BDSM, etc, etc… but I do write different pairings. It’s waaay too late for me to start splitting those up now, and I wouldn’t, anyway, because it’s hard enough work maintaining various websites and social media accounts for a single author name, let alone adding more to the equation. I just make sure to emphasise genres and pairings when promoting new releases, and I always put that information on my website. I can’t control what details my publishers put on their websites and third party retailers, but wherever I can, I make the information available. So hopefully I’m providing my readers with the details they need to ensure they’re only buying books they’re interested in.

So, what are your thoughts on this? Do you wish authors would use different aliases, or doesn’t it bother you?

Also, just for the record, if I moved into something like crime fiction or mainstream romance, I would start a new pen name. But while it’s remotely smutty, I’m sticking with this one 🙂

Happy Reading,

Lucy x

*****

Author Bio:


Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and
erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100
publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several
editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic
Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and
co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house.
She owns Erotica For All, is book
editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth
of The Brit Babes. Find out more
at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk.
Join her on Facebook
and Twitter, and subscribe to her
newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

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