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Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her two cats.

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

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

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

___

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, 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.

Ooh, Shiny!

by | Feb 28, 2018 | General |

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.

___

It’s been a bit of an adventure for the past three weeks. I was sick with a nasty head cold for two weeks. Then, going into the third week, the car died. While my husband and I were driving on the highway. In traffic. At 60 MPH. I’d never been so scared in my whole life. Our old Honda Civic Esmerelda served us well but we needed a new used car. Fast.

We bought a 2004 VW Bug. I’ve always wanted a Bug and now we have a blue one we named Zhaan after the big blue bitch on the Australian TV show Farscape. This car is very nice and we’re blinging it up. I have crystals hanging from the rear view mirror. We bought a bud vase! You can’t have a Bug without a bud vase although the newer ones don’t include it. That’s a sacrilege in my opinion. I bought fresh flowers for the house and put one in the bud vase. Here it is, on the dash.

We have veteran’s plates, but if we ever get vanity plates I want one that says “Bugasm”. Or one that says “Feature”. Get it? It’s a Feature, not a Bug? LOL

So this got me to thinking about new beginnings. It’s the beginning of the year so I wanted to see how I could change this year so that it is better than last year. 2017 sucked. I’m going to make 2018 better. So far, I’ve submitted five short stories to submission calls. They’re about equal between erotic fiction and horror. Six if you count the one that I submitted two years ago and it’s still under consideration. I’m not pulling it because this particular horror anthology is like Ahab’s White Whale and I really want to be in it. It’s just delayed. The book isn’t getting published until 2019, but I’m very patient.

I’m working on a seventh short horror story right now as well as my collection of erotic fairy tales. I plan to release the fairy tale book during the summer. I need someone to create a Table of Contents (I don’t know how to do that for a Kindle book) and I need a book cover. I also need to do some pre-release marketing. Hopefully this book will sell better than the two books I released a couple of years ago. They tanked. I need some good news. Fairy tales do well so I have great hope for this book.

I also just received my final edits for a mystery/suspense novel I’m working on. I have a lot of work to do on it yet, but I have confidence I can finish it in a month or two. Then I submit that book to agents and a few very good top notch indie publishers. I’m very proud of this book and I have great hope for it.

I think I’m off to a good start. A handful of short story submissions and two books. As these works get published, I’ll write to tell my readers where you may find them. Keeping my fingers crossed I’ll have more good publishing news very soon.

I found this article about women who did not take their husband’s surnames upon marriage interesting and I do agree with it to some extent. I took my first husband’s surname. That marriage ended in an ugly divorce. I kept my maiden name when I married my second husband, and we’re going strong over 20 years later. Take all that as you like.

I kept my maiden name because it’s my name. I am already known well by that name. I used it for my past political and feminist writing. I am aware of the irony of my maiden name coming from my father – another man – but I didn’t sign over my identity by changing my name upon marriage. That’s how I see name changing for me personally. I already have an identity and I didn’t want the hassle of changing a multitude of legal forms. I could have taken my maiden name as my middle name and my husband’s name as my married name but I rejected that, too. I did that for my first marriage. Switching back and forth before and after that marriage was a pain in the ass.

The problem is that the description of men whose wives do not take their surnames as being perceived as being “less masculine” in the article from the Independent seems to be seen as a negative thing. Far from it. How do we define what is masculine? The traditional definition seems to me to be somewhat harmful to men. Some positive attributes considered masculine include being assertive and ambitious. However, “Real” men are also strong who keep their emotions in check. Big boys don’t cry. Brute force is a positive thing. And what’s wrong with a man being seen as more feminine? A balance between stereotypes would go a long way towards showing more humanity.

Those who decried the research (the term “hostile sexism” was thrown about) thought of men whose wives did not take their surnames were “disempowered as a result of their wife’s decision.” That’s a load of crap.

This statement also intrigued me: “A woman’s marital surname choice therefore has implications for perceptions of her husband’s instrumentality, expressivity, and the distribution of power in the relationship,” explains lead author Rachael Robnett. My marriage is not traditional. The power is evenly distributed throughout our relationship. There is no God-ordained leader in my household. I’m not submissive and when I’m upset or angry I feel free to express myself without repercussions, unlike my first marriage. That’s not related to whether or not I took my husband’s name but due to the nature of each marriage.

I also kept my maiden name upon my second marriage because I had taken his surname for my first marriage. I had done it once and didn’t see a need to do it again. I also didn’t have a traditional white wedding for my second wedding. We had a nondenominational ceremony in our backyard with me in a green lace dress. The town clerk officiated. Our sons and my son’s best friend attended. Then we went inside, had my chocolate sachertorte wedding cake I had baked and watched Hellraiser. Hey, there are newlyweds in that movie! It’s appropriate!

I am probably viewed as non-traditional in my marriage, my actions, and beliefs. According to previous studies, “women who violate the marital surname tradition are viewed differently from others. They are described in terms of instrumental traits that in a gendered society are typically assigned to men. These include having a higher status, wielding more power, being more self-focused, ambitious and assertive. These traits contrast with the expressive characteristics that are typically assigned to women, such as being more nurturing, kind and having less influence and power.” My husband freely expresses his emotions like sadness and insecurity as well as anger. Why is anger seen as a masculine emotion? I see why nurturing is seen as feminine since women traditionally have raised children, but that is not an exclusively feminine characteristic.

My point in this rambling post is that keeping my maiden name was a personal choice between my husband and I with my feelings being paramount. Maybe it reflects the dynamics of my second marriage, maybe not. I just know that traditional definitions of masculinity and femininity can be harmful to both men and women. It’s time we viewed ourselves as individual human beings with our own wants and needs and not be held hostage by stereotypes.

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. You will also find her new novel No
Restraint
at Amazon. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.

—–

I got a
late start in the publishing world. I didn’t publish my first story until I was
47. That story was Happily Ever After,
which appeared in Scarlet Magazine in 2007. It was also my first erotic
retelling of a fairy tale. Suffice to say Cinderella had married her Handsome
Prince and all was not well in paradise. Her Prince preferred to torment the
peasants instead of spending time with her. Their love life was in shambles.
So, a Magical Sex Coach appeared to give her some tips in the lovemaking
department. This man was not her Fairy Godmother. That woman wouldn’t know what
to do with Cinderella’s problem if it came up and bit her on the ass.

I’m very
proud of that story.

Sometimes
I wonder if I waited too long to begin writing. After all, Billy Martin (known
professionally as horror writer Poppy Z. Brite) published his first novel to
critical acclaim when he was only 25. I’ve always been a late bloomer, but I
wondered there was too much moss on this stone.

It turns
out I’m not alone. There are many artists who didn’t get their start until
later in life. Here are a few examples.

Martha
Stewart found success at 41 when she published her successful book Entertaining. Seven years late at age
48, she launched Martha Stewart Living
and became synonymous with home décor.

Fashion
designer Vera Wang started off as an accomplished figure skater. She didn’t
begin designing clothes until she was 40. I’m quite a bit like her in that I
started out in the theater as a stagehand. I worked as a union gaffer
(lighting), scenic artist and makeup artist (including F/X) when I was in my
30s. I didn’t have much interest in writing then. I was all about the movies
and television. I had wanted to be an actress until I discovered crew work 1)
was steadier, 2) paid better, 3) was less damaging to your self-esteem and 4)
had more respect than acting. I enjoyed my entertainment years and I don’t
regret the time I put into them at all.

Following
my work in the entertainment industry, I was sidetracked into working as a
feminist activist. Primarily, I wrote political and feminist essays and opinion
pieces for publications like Sojourner, American Politics Journal, On The
Issues Magazine, the blog fo the National Organization for Women, and Alternet.
I was not often paid, but I found the work rewarding – for awhile. I was
writing but not fiction. Not yet. I gave up activism after several severe
disappointments in my chosen field that left me disillusioned with modern, mainstream
feminism. I still consider myself a feminist but I do not like what the
establishment and the mainstream large feminist groups have done to the
movement. I gave it all up cold turkey around 2007 – which was about the time Happily Ever After was published. At
that point, I switched from thankless activist work to working as a fiction
writer and a non-fiction sex writer. Both were more rewarding and more fun. I
also made money at it. That was an added, pleasant bonus.

Here are
some other late bloomers:

Tim and
Nina Zagat left their legal careers at age 42 to start their now famous
restaurant guides.

Harland
Sanders was an even later bloomer than I am. He had been fired from numerous
jobs and could be considered a failure career-wise. But… when he was 62, he
sold his first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise.

A
contemporary of Harland Sanders didn’t begin writing his first food and hotel
guides until he was 55. When he was at the golden age of 73, he licensed the
right to use his name to the company that developed cake mixes. You may have
heard of him. His name was Duncan Hines.

More
food-related news, Ray Kroc was past 50 when he bought his first McDonald’s
franchise. He expanded it to become the worldwide phenomenon it is today. Julia
Child published her first cookbook when she was 39. She made her television
debut in The French Chef when she was
51.

Daniel Knauf, writer and co-executive producer for The Blacklist and creator of Carnivale, didn’t get his big break until he was in his mid-40s. I interviewed him for a podcast earlier this year. Here’s the link if you’d like to listen in. He’s a fun, fascinating guy who gave great information about the business of writing.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2016/08/02/award-winning-show-the-blacklist–daniel-knauf–world-of-ink-network

Charles Bukowski was 51 when he wrote his first novel, Post Office.

Charles
Darwin was the ripe old age of 50 when he published On The Origin Of The Species.

And
finally, for my list (there are many more), Samuel L. Jackson didn’t start his
motherfucking career until he was 46 years old when he starred in Pulp Fiction alongside John Travolta.

I’m going
to turn 57 in March. I know I’m not too old to make it as a writer. I’m not as
successful as I’d like to be, but I see now I have plenty of time. You don’t
have to be a child star like Mary Shelley who was 17 when she wrote Frankenstein or Bret Easton Ellis who
was 21 when he wrote Less Than Zero.
You can be a successful writer at any age.

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. You will also find her new novel No
Restraint
at Amazon. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Even more so than
Christmas. I love the decorations, the candy, the parties, and the movies
playing endlessly on TV all month long. I have recorded scads of Hammer Films
and even a few Universal Pictures.  Today
I’m going to watch “Horror of Dracula” and “Frankenstein Must Be
Destroyed”.

Here’s what I do for Halloween – I bake. I make gingersnaps,
pumpkin bread, maple candy, shortbread cookies, sugar cookies with sprinkles,
pizzelles and more. I buy mead. I make hot buttered rum and hot cocoa,
sometimes with a dash of cayenne. In honor of the Day Of The Dead (Mexico), I
sometimes make candy sugar skulls. Fall is soup time so I make turkey noodle,
chicken noodle, leek and potato, and oyster stew.

Here’s what else I do for Halloween – I decorate. I have a
“Biohazard Research Facility” plaque hanging on the front door. Skull
and ghost candles are scattered about the house. I don’t burn them. I keep them
as is and use them as decorations. My Yankee Candle votive holder depicting
ravens at the entrance to a cemetery looks very classy. I use festive dish
towels and oven mitts. I even have a black cat on a pumpkin magnet on the
fridge. My large terra cotta carved Jack-O-Lantern sits outside my bedroom
window. I use an electric light that flashes so that it looks like candle flame
inside the Jack-O-Lantern. You can see it front the street. I should buy mums
to place around it to give it that extra special fall look but I haven’t bought
any yet. I get out my snow globes. I have snow globes depicting scenes from the
movies “Halloween” and “Fargo”. I’m especially proud of the
“Fargo” snow globes. One depicts the car crash scene and the other
depicts the wood chipper scene. The “Halloween” snow globe depicts
heroine Laurie Straud sitting on the floor in front of  a couch reacting in terror to seeing Michael
Myers standing over her behind the couch brandishing a butcher knife.

You may think horror movies have nothing to do with romance
and sex, but oh boy do they ever! There was nothing more exciting than curling
up on my boyfriend’s arms in the movie theater when Christopher Lee homed in on
a nubile victim. It was more fun to be scared with someone to be scared with. I
later attended a horror film convention every year in my hometown of Baltimore.
I flirted amid discussions of dismemberments and decapitations in the
Australian zombie horror comedy “Dead/Alive” and debates over which
Italian director was scarier, Dario Argento or Lucio Fulci. I voted for
Argento.

I met my husband thanks in part to horror movies. I met him
at a science fiction convention that included panels on horror. When we started
dating, I made him watch “Dead/Alive”. I told him if he couldn’t get
through this movie in one piece we weren’t meant to be together. He loved it!
Every year on our anniversary we watch it. He teases me about my love for
horror movies, but he often occasionally relents and watches one with me. Then
we cuddle and I pretend to be scared. Just like when I was in college.

Horror movies and books 
have their place in romance. Sex, too. Science
proves it
. Dopamine levels rise when we’re scared, even in an artificial
setting like a horror movie. Dopamine’s nickname is the “cuddle
hormone”. So the next time you want a romantic evening, ditch “When
Harry Met Sally”. Choose Hitchcock’s “Psycho” instead. And enjoy
the cuddling – and more!

UPDATE: This is a Halloween display I made about 10 years ago in front of the 200 year old house we were renting. I was into Asian horror movies, and I made a life-sized display of Sadako coming out of the well from the movie “The Ring”. I stuffed an old white gown with newspapers and plastic grocery bags and made a head out of plastic bags and duct tape. I put a long wig on her head. She wears my white leather gloves. The well was made out of boxes spray painted to look like granite. I scared the little kids silly with that display. One little girl asked me, “Will that lady eat me?” I almost said, “No. She’ll come out of your TV and chase you around your living room until she catches you and kills you,” but I’m too nice to do such a horrible thing. LOL

 

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!

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 Facebookpage, 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 and The Andromeda Strain. Buy it at Amazon!

You’ve seen those web articles about life hacks. Stuff like pouring iced tea into ice cube trays so your tea doesn’t dilute. Punching holes in the lid of an orange juice container so that it may function as a water pitcher for plants. When freezing raw meat, flatten it out in the plastic baggie as much as possible to cut down on thawing time. You get my drift. Have you ever wondered what kinds of life hacks for writers exist? Look no further! Here are a few I dreamed up.

1. Turn your phone off. Get off the Internet. That means no Facebook or Twitter. The point is, cut off contact with the outside world so you aren’t distracted. As the meme says, you should be writing.

2. Many writers like to drink while they write, whether it’s wine, cocktails, coffee or tea. Or something else. Coffee is elixir of the gods though, according to nearly every writer I’ve ever spoken to. Keeping the brew hot is a major concern. I use a travel mug that keeps my drinks cool or hot. If you don’t want to go that route, but you don’t want your coffee getting cold on you, invest in a Mr. Coffee Mug Warmer. I picked up this handy little hint at Positive Writer.

3. Make up your mixed drinks ahead of time. I like Negronis, so my husband and I bought bottles of Campari, gin, and sweet vermouth. We mixed equal parts of each and poured them into a container we keep in the fridge. This way, by making your cocktails ahead of time, you don’t waste writing time measuring, mixing, shaking and stirring and getting out of your groove. You pour your drink and BAM! Back to writing.

5. Invest in a water boiler. I use one by Zojirushi. You won’t have to wait for your water to boil when you’re making coffee or tea. It’s in the boiler, ready for you. You can even use the boiler to make ramen. My husband and I take ours with us when we travel for fun or for conventions and retreats. We can have hot drinks 24/7 in our room without having to wander down to the hotel lobby, thanks to the boiler.

6. Collect music compilations that match the mood of what you are writing. When I write those smoldering sex scenes, I like to listen to Enigma and Lords of Acid. Both are incredibly hot. When I write horror and dark fiction, I listen to the Internet radio station Drone Zone. It’s full of dark ambient and minimalistic electronic music.

7. If you need to get out of the house because you have a scorching case of cabin fever, go to a location that allows you to stay for a bit with your laptop but does not have wifi. That way, you won’t be tempted to spend too much time answering Buzzfeed quizzes when you should be writing. Make sure you bring cash with you so you don’t overspend your budget by using your debit card too much. Those coffee shops can be expensive. I also read about the cash idea at Positive Writer.

8. Get exercise balls for your feet so you don’t cramp or tire while seated for long periods of time. Another possibility is to get a standing desk. I read about them at Write On Sisters.

These are only a few suggestions for things to do to make your writing life easier and more enjoyable. Do you have any writing hacks? Feel free to tell me about them in comments.

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 and The Andromeda
Strain. Buy it at Amazon!

—–

It’s finally feeling like spring. The weather here on the
northeast Massachusetts coast has been cooler than average for this time of
year. It’s also rather wet. I like the cool temps, though. Now that the leaves
are sprouting and the forsythia has finished blooming, it’s time for me to get
into my warmer weather routine after being cooped up in the apartment the
entire winter.

I look forward to spring every year. That’s the time for me
to replenish myself and to assess my progress in life. I’ve begun my beach
walks again, complete with a stop at the beach ice cream shop. The shop has
been open for about two weeks. I like to run plots and characterizations
through my head as I walk in the waves. The very, very cold waves. LOL The
ocean up here is far too cold for me to swim in even during the dog days of
August. My husband and I are talking about moving to Hawaii when he retires in
a little over three years. We can swim in that water. Pacific, here we come!

I believe writers need a safe space where they can listen to
the quiet inside and work out their stories. The beach provides that solace for
me. I worked out a horror story in my head over this past weekend, and I
finished the first draft Monday morning. It’s one of those stories where the
movie version kept getting in the way of my imagination. I finally got past
that. Think outside the box, as my husband says. I’d go today but there isn’t
enough time. Until Wednesday.

I also relax by gardening, which I’m into full swing now.
Spring brings forth the herbs and veggies I like to grow that won’t survive in
the apartment over the winter. I’m growing tomatoes from seeds for the first
time. If you write to University of Florida and donate $10, the horticulture
department will send you tomato seeds. This department is developing tomatoes
that actually taste delicious. Most mass-grown tomatoes you buy in the
supermarket are so bland they’d might as well not have any taste at all. The
two tomato strains I bought are Garden Gem and Garden Treasure. The seeds have already
sprouted and are doing well. I bought more seeds in the hope they’ll take and I
can plant them in pots. I bought more tomato seeds (Roma and Best Boy),
chamomile, and cilantro. They’re planted but the seeds haven’t sprouted yet. I
also buy starter plants. This year I picked up sage, rosemary, oregano, and
three varieties of thyme – lemon, orange, and English. Then there are the
pineapple sage, tarragon, and marjoram. My jalapeño peppers from last year
survived and they’re just starting to flower. The peppers grow from the
flowers. My bay plant needs to be transplanted since it’s root bound and it’s
complaining. I have a huge plastic pot for it. My tiny avocado I grew from the
pit three years ago is now almost five feet tall. That one is adjusting to a new
pot and the great outdoors. Here are pictures of my herb garden, which I keep
in pots since I can’t plant them in the ground.

Getting outside myself and away from the computer only makes
my writing flow easier. I need time away from writing so that I may continue to
write. It’s easier for me to do this in the spring, summer, and fall since
there are so many opportunities out there for exploration and enjoyment. I
don’t get that sort of thing during the winter. It’s too easy to hole up up
here, and I’m reclusive by nature.  It
also doesn’t help that I took on far too many projects recently, and I need to
finish them before the end of the month. Hopefully by the time this article
posts, I’ll be mostly finished. One can hope. By getting away, I come full circle
to meet my muse and the words flow. I need that.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica

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