This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Roman Polanski’s renowned psychological horror film “Rosemary’s Baby”. I saw it within a few years of its release; to celebrate the fifty year milestone I watched it again at a local “classic films” club.
The movie stands up to the test of time pretty well. It still evokes a stifling sense of inescapable evil, set against incongruous but brilliant humor. Mia Farrow’s terror and resolve remain palpable and convincing, even if her submissiveness to her handsome, gregarious husband seems old-fashioned.
I couldn’t help notice, however, some critical ways in which the plot depends on the time period. In one point fairly late in the film, the heroine slips from the clutches of the coven who wants her baby and rushes to find a phone booth. (The coven is listening in on her home telephone.) Sure she’s being pursued, she waits nervously for the current occupant of the booth to conclude his call, before barricading herself inside. She calls a seemingly sympathetic doctor, only to find he is with a patient. Sweating with fear, she pretends to be on the line to discourage other people who want to use the facility, until the doctor returns her call.
As I watched this scene, I found myself thinking “Why doesn’t she just use her cell phone?” But of course that’s nonsense. Those of us who watched this in 1968 could not have imagined how mobile devices would transform our daily lives. If Mia had a mobile, she might have escaped.
Technology has changed radically, and changed our habits and assumptions along with it. We can expect that this trend will continue, and very likely accelerate. However society looks today, we can be certain it will be different next year, and maybe unrecognizable in five years.
What does this mean for writers? Well—my first novel Raw Silk was originally published in 1999, almost twenty years ago. At that time, it would have been labeled as contemporary. Since my heroine Kate is a software developer, the book includes exchanges of email messages (which was part of my life even then), but there’s no Web and no cell phones. Bangkok (where the novel is set) has no public transit aside from buses and taxis. (On my latest visit, I discovered there are three subway lines in operation, with another four or five under construction.) In Raw Silk, people actually write one another physical letters, on paper, in order to communicate.
I’ve revised and republished this book three times. Each time it seemed a bit more dated. I wrestled with the question of whether I should try to bring it into the twenty first century. Finally, I decided to deliberately anchor it in a particular period, a year or two after the time it was written. I peppered the text with a historical, cultural and technology references that make it clear this is not a contemporary erotic romance.
A similar problem arose with my erotic thriller Exposure, first released in 2009. For my latest revamp (2014), I chose to update it to the present (more or less). I inserted appropriate technology where necessary to be convincing. I was helped by the fact that my main character Stella is working class with little disposable income. In any case, she’s not the type to go gaga about gadgets.
I have to wonder, though, how readers five or ten years in the future will react to the books we are writing now. (This assumes, of course, that people will still be reading in a decade.) Will our plots seem contrived? Will our conflicts be incomprehensible? For instance (let’s be optimistic), suppose that the current movement toward acceptance of varying forms of sexual orientation continues. Many gay romance stories revolve around the need for the characters to keep their relationships hidden from society. Readers who come of age in a world where same-sex attraction is viewed as normal and commonplace will not be able to appreciate the angst that propels these stories today. The tales will lose their meaning, or at very least, will seem like quaint period pieces.
Or consider another, more pessimistic scenario. In ten years, surveillance by states or by corporations may become so pervasive that privacy will cease to exist. A story about an illicit affair will seem unbelievable to someone who has grown up in a world where it is literally impossible to do anything in secret.
I became sexually active after the invention of the Pill and before AIDS. At that time, popular culture was not nearly as saturated with sexual content as it is today. I know I have a different attitude toward sex than a millennial. For me, sex has always been special, a unique and thrilling adventure. At the same time being sexually active was far less risky for me than for my mother or my daughter (if I had one).
So, could I write erotica that my hypothetical daughter could appreciate? Or are my attitudes and assumptions likely to seem strange and foreign? (When I recently posted a flasher in Storytime that referred to the sixties film icon James Dean, who embodies, for me, a certain bad boy sexual vibe, some members of the list didn’t recognize the allusion.)
We still read books from previous centuries of course (or at least I do), some of which we label as classics. I wonder what makes them “classic”. Perhaps there is some sort of universality in these works that somehow bridges the cultural gap between the author’s time and our own. Do emotions remain fundamentally the same even as society changes? Is that why we can still identify with characters like Emma Woodhouse, Sydney Carton, or Jane Eyre? One has to wonder, though, about how our experience in reading these tales compares with reactions of readers for whom they were contemporary. Perhaps we’re grasping only a small part of what the author intended.
In any case, I don’t delude myself that my own oeuvre incorporates much in the way of fundamental truths or themes that transcend time. Nevertheless, I’m in this for the long haul (nineteen years and counting), so I’d like to write stories that will be appreciated not only today but in the future as well. I wish I knew the trick to this. Right now, as in so many other things, I’m just acting on instinct.
What Am I Writing? Or Did I Forget My Meds?
By Larry Archer
Caution, this is another long post so get a fresh cup of coffee before starting.
This is my third blog post for ERWA, and I’ve been conflicted as DropBox calls it. You know when you forget to close a DropBox document on one computer then you open the document and edit it on another computer. DropBox raps you across the knuckles like the nun in third-grade with her ruler.
While I’ve never had the pleasure of going to Catholic school and feel they failed miserably with my wife. Maybe the fact that she skipped out and went to public high school that she now has a rekindled desire for little school girl outfits but hey, who’s complaining? Those white thigh socks, black shiny buckle shoes, and ruffled white ankle socks are so neat. It’s just hard to find Mary Janes with 6-inch spike heels.
I’m writing this on my new MacBook Air and trying not to choke my chicken when I see her lying there, all opened up like a beautiful woman, who’s begging me to touch her with my fingers, the MBA that is.
Like the guy sitting on a park bench, in his raincoat, clutching a bag of candy with greasy fingers waiting for school to be over, the MBA loves me, but we have to be careful because my wife’s getting suspicious about our “alone time” in the bathroom.
I’ve always been a Windows kind of guy and not like my friend Jack who likes to stand outside and watch his wife through the bedroom window. Like everyone else, I bought into the theory that Apple people had drunk the Kool-Aid else why would they spend a bunch more money for a laptop with a half-eaten apple on it?
Going on six years or 3-raincoats ago, I was frustrated with my then Windows laptop. Sort of like Ray Charles, I could close my eyes and let the fevered scene play out between my ears as my fingers tried desperately to keep up with the action.
Then I’d look down and realize that I’d written a page of garbage because I’d mistyped some prose with my fingers on the wrong keys. Mr. Rogers my high school typing teacher would rip the yellow sheet out of my Underwood and scream, “Archer, all you’re good for is writing shit they keep behind the counter in a brown paper bag!”
As we all know, when you’ve tried everything else to solve a problem, throw money at it! By this time, I’d been through three laptops, and Wifey was getting suspicious about the fact my credit card statement was starting to smoke when you pulled it out of the envelope. In desperation, I bought a 2012 MBA, and it was love at first sight. Open her up, and she would instantly light up like a drunk college girl, ready for action and no foreplay required. She never told me no and never had a headache. To touch her was exquisite, your fingers fall naturally on the keys, and the touch is like a mechanical keyboard, without all the clicking noises.
To be able to type with one-tenth the level of mistakes and a battery that never went down on you. I was hooked and wanted more, much more until I got seduced by a new line of Windows laptops.
Since the MacBook Air’s seemed to lose favor with their CPU’s slipping further and further behind, I jumped ship and bought a high-end Windows 10 machine with the top box checked in every category.
My wife being a Luddite and who struggles to understand how to operate a light switch, it only seemed natural to re-gift my trusted MBA to her. I was surprised to see how quickly she became adept with the 3-pound marvel.
I, on the other hand, started to beat my head against the wall. My new machine’s touchpad had a mind of its own and apparently didn’t need any help from me to make mistakes. I spent hours with tech support and even had the touchpad replaced to no avail. Others on the vendor’s website were similarly upset.
Foxy said that she’d give me my Air back, but I couldn’t do that and just struggled in silence. Certainly, my new machine was cool, huge hard drive, bunches of memory, fast i7 processor, but using it always managed to piss me off.
One day she asked me to help to do something on her computer, and as soon as my fingers touched the keyboard, I was back in love. It’s kind of like when you’re doing the neighbor’s wife and will steal little touches when no one is looking, but that’s a whole different post.
After that brief illicit moment, I went right down and bought a new MacBook Air with a 3-generation old CPU but no matter, I’m back in love again. Of course the day my new MBA was delivered, I read that Apple is going to bring out an updated Air in the next few months!
I know that you’re telling yourself, this post is supposed to be about what I’m writing and not about my forbidden love affair with my machine, sort of like Wifey and her LeLo vibrator, except without all the buzzing.
My latest story, “Crashing a Swinger’s Pajama Party,” is rapidly coming to a finish and I thought I’d share a little with you about the story as it’s been a real hoot to write.
Lisabet Sarai and I converse a fair amount off-list about writing and story ideas. I mentioned to her that we’d had a straight couple crash one of our New Year’s Eve Pajama Parties and she suggested that we create a story based on it.
We keep trying to write a story together, but our styles of writing bump heads and we can never seem to get our stories straight, “Fake News!”
But I’m slowly getting the impression that we’re starting to rub off on each other. I’m learning to type with my little finger stuck out, and she seems to be getting more comfortable with her mind wallowing in the gutter. Sort of like that little sailboat and the clown in the sewer drain.
Anyway, I was telling Lisabet about the time we had one of our straight neighbors crash our annual New Year’s Eve Pajama Parties. For some years now we’ve hosted a pajama party to welcome in the new year. It gives kissing under the mistletoe, a whole new meaning.
The PJ party is typically 50-60 couples plus an assortment of unicorns that we run with and 2-3 single guys thrown in for good measure. There are always people from around the country that we’ve met in our travels, for flavor. So by midnight, there are well more than one-hundred naked or semi-naked people in our house. Victoria Secret is proud of us!
We carefully select the invitees and make sure that no one is invited that could cause a problem. Most of the people are professionals, doctors, business owners, and a handful of elected officials, not including the cops. Cops, doctors, and nurses are some of the most perverted when they let their hair down. We have to be really careful who we invite as some of our party animals are also on the social pages and being outed would not be a good thing.
One morning after a New Year’s party, I was reading the paper and on the society page was a couple who’d also come late to our party. The woman was wearing an exquisite dress cut down almost to where the crack of her butt started. The society editor was buzzing about what a knockout she was and how that dress was scandalous. I laughed as I remembered that dress lying in a pile on the family room floor after my wife had pulled down her zipper and let it slide off.
Anyway, after midnight, the doorbell rings and me being the idiot I am, answer the door. Standing in front of me is an attractive couple dressed to the nines. It was the couple, we somewhat knew from down the street, and I’m standing there with a short bathrobe on and nothing else.
It was somewhat embarrassing, but they asked if they could join our party as theirs was a snooze fest. Not knowing what to do I invited them in. Foxy joined me, and she was wearing her typical New Year’s outfit of an adult sized pair of kid’s long johns with bunnies on it. Except she wears it with all the buttons undone and so is open down to her bellybutton.
You can imagine their shock to see an orgy going on in the living room and all the people running around in teddies or much less.
We invited them to stay, but I think the shock value was too much for the husband. His wife looked like she wanted to stay. This is where the story Lisabet and I are working on diverged from reality.
She fired back with a suggested list of chapters, and we were off to the races.
With our sick minds, it was easy to suck the new couple in and throw them to the wolves. Greg, the dominating always in charge husband quickly discovered that he really wasn’t in control at all, courtesy of Foxy and her assortment of painful toys. Greg’s new word for the day was “pegged.”
Samantha, the otherwise “normal” housewife, was quickly divested of clothes as she realized that she was at an all-you-can-eat buffet or maybe the main course, depending on which end was up.
My stories are always HEA, but I keep getting told that a story needs conflict and resolution, yet mine always seem to lack conflict as everyone is too busy getting laid to fight. So it only seemed natural for Samantha to give Greg his walking papers and move in with the swingers down the street. She quickly discovered that it was a lot more fun to play, “hide the weenie,” with the neighborhood perverts.
But poor Greg was sent home with our real life cuckold – Hotwife couple, Pam and Jack, who proceed to take him within an inch of his life while giving him a sunburn with studio lights. If you look up nymphomaniac in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of our friend Pam, who is one of our resident MILFs. Jack is typically hiding in the closet watching or behind his movie camera.
So now I’ve gotten the neighbors split up, but so far they’ve not realized that they are the conflict part of my story. Greg has figured out that there is truth to the story of being screwed to death but is trying to soldier on. He’s afraid of coming back to our house as the last time Foxy and our redheaded Amazon Chrissy took turns pegging him. But he seems to be a good sport about everything, well except for the beatings!
Naturally, we didn’t want his wife to feel left out as she seemed to be enthralled by the idea of a gangbang and pulling a train. Why should we let her miss that experience? Now every time she hears a train whistle, she feels a tingle between her legs!
The story now stands over 40,000 words, and I’m trying to get the estranged couple back together again so the story can end up HEA. Lisabet and I are planning on co-releasing two stories in the next couple of months, so I should have time to finish it up. I’m looking at this blog post’s word count, and it’s at 1,700 words, and I’ve been trying to hold my posts down to under 1,000 words but not having much success.
You’ll have to wait a few weeks to see how the story comes out. Will Larry write his first non-HEA story, will Greg learn to love the sound of the whip? Or will Foxy sell Greg’s wife to a German Goo Girls movie producer? Check LarryArcher.blog for more ramblings from my perverted mind.
I promise Lisabet, my next blog post will be shorter!
My name is Larry Archer, and I’ve been asked to be a guest blogger at ERWA. Hopefully, I’ll write something that may be of interest to those who read and/or write erotica. On my first post, I’d like to tell you a little bit about my ideas on writing, myself and how I got here.
I’ve been writing smut since 2012 and have self-published 24 erotic novellas and novels to date. I write what is colloquially called stroke porn, but I’d like to think it has somewhat of a plot. My stories are generally pretty heavy on the sex side and generally get decent reviews.
While most of my stories stand on their own, the Foxy & Larry stories typically involve the same set of core characters and will often have a storyline that continues from story to story. Since my stories are always heavy on the sex part, don’t be surprised if someone gets laid on the first page. But I’m still working on how to do that on the title page.
I always have self-published my smut and personally believe in self-publishing as the best avenue for myself as a practical method of getting my stuff out there. I’m somewhat different from authors who go the print or anthology route. I’ll give you my reasons why and leave it up to the reader to make a decision for themselves if they are trying to make a choice on which way to go. There is no absolute right or wrong path to take, and so you can decide which way to take. I’ve done one 300 page print book to better understand that process, but that’s worthy of a blog post all its own.
A little background on Wifey and myself, we are swingers in real life and have been in the Lifestyle for some time. A lot of the things we’ve seen and done may very possibly show up in my stories, with the names changed to protect the guilty, of course. In fact, most of the reoccurring characters in my stories are based on real people that I know and are portrayed as closely as I can make them and still protect their privacy.
One of the reasons I do this is to add variety and a different perspective to my stories. I think authors often write using their personal beliefs and by using “real” people as a starting point, it adds a different slant on things. As an amateur psychologist, I find it fascinating to study other people and being in the Lifestyle brings me a lot of patients to lie on my couch.
Our lifestyle adds a different outlook on my writing as I approach stories from a different direction from other authors and hopefully, it’s of interest to my readers. While I realize that we’ve taken a different path than the average couple, I’m not here to convince you into doing the same.
My views on life and things, in general, may also seem a little skewed for a lot of people, so just remember there is always the off button if you don’t agree with me. I’ve been told that my sense of humor is a little strange, but I can’t do much about that either.
We are a committed couple, which may not seem to agree with our lifestyle but you’d be surprised at how few divorces or cheating occurs among our friends. We don’t consider sleeping around as cheating since we are always in the same house and never do things like end up at Motel 6 with Tom Bodett, because he always keeps the lights on.
Not trying to dwell on convincing you and your spouse to get in a pile with a bunch of naked people but simply that you may have to take my advice on life with a grain of salt.
My stories generally revolve around the swinger lifestyle as I have experience in it and have always found it to be a lot of fun. Most generally have a lot of sex in them from start to finish but very little drama. For the most part, our experiences have been positive, and for that reason, my stories don’t include cheating, fighting, or divorce which is common in a lot of swinger related stories from other authors. So typically my stories are all HEA, well except for parts with my wife and her whip!
I write some BDSM but generally no noncon, underage, or family stuff. Not that I have any objections to them, but I have enough trouble staying out of Amazon’s Adult Dungeon without trying to thread that needle. I’ve toyed with the idea of creating a pen name to write more hardcore smut under SmashWords and other more forgiving sites but right now just don’t have the free time to manage two different pen names.
I do not have any formal training in writing beyond Technical Report Writing in college and personally up until I started writing smut, hated to write. What I’ve found is that I really enjoy the process and typically write from the seat of my pants, or completely off the cuff. If you would happen to read one of my stories then treat my use of the English language with forgiveness.
My good friend and fellow writer, Lisabet Sarai is always trying to fix me, which I’m afraid may be a losing battle. She’s been trying to teach me how to write correctly, and it has been a struggle. Since I never had any formal training in writing, breaking my bad habits have been difficult. In many cases, I’m not convinced that the “correct” way is always the “right” way, but I’m always open to new things. Well, except for the time my wife got a new whip and a pair of real handcuffs from one of our cop friends. My butt hurt just from thinking about it and was glad to offer the services of a girlfriend, whose into that kind of thing, “Thanks, Gretchen.”
I’m told that I need conflict, resolution, someone to hate, and someone to love, but typically my stories have none of the above except maybe someone to love, but that’s touchy as, beyond our spouse, we shouldn’t be loving on anyone.
It probably seems strange to straights, but we have a fairly strict moral code even while we are coveting our neighbor’s wife. I’m allowed to screw someone, but I better not get caught giving a foot massage as that would put me in the dog house for sure.
Kissing is another no-no. We frown on kissing the opposite sex as kissing is personal and generally verboten. Certainly, you can kiss someone but don’t spend an hour examining their tonsils. A big percentage of the women are bisexual and kissing between women is encouraged and not considered cheating but a spectator sport.
My story is like a lot of other writers, I was reading smut on Literotica one day, and the thought hit me, “I can do this!” Fast forward five years and yet my new Range Rover is still sitting in the dealer’s showroom, but it’s been a fun trip.
Initially, I started writing about what we’ve seen and done in the Lifestyle and used Foxy and Larry as it was coming from a first-person perspective. Now some twenty plus stories later, if I’d been smart I would have picked different names for my regular main characters. This was one of my faux pas, but that’s water over the bridge.
The fictional Foxy and Larry own a strip club in Las Vegas, The Fox’s Den. Clever play on words don’t ya think? Most of my swinger stories involve the strip club as it’s a good place for everyone to take their clothes off and easier to work in than the Bridge Club.
We have several cuckold-Hotwife couples as friends in real life, and their alternate selves typically inhabit our stories or serve as a bad example of what people should not do at home. Cuckold – Hotwife couples are a study in itself and have a relationship that is surprisingly common. The common joke among swingers is that “straights” have no idea what is going on around them.
Foxy and Larry in the stories are as true to life as I can make them. Possibly a little more over the top but still true except for owning a strip club and having more money than God. They are a reasonably correct picture of a happily married couple who dabbles in the dark side.
We were lucky to fall in with a good group of people and learned the ropes from pros when we got into the Lifestyle. That’s a blog post that I keep telling myself to write and probably will one of these days.
My Thoughts on Self-Publishing
Why do I self-publish? The simple reason is cost and control. Every time you pick up a book or someone who’s written Writing for Dummies, they generally advise you to get an editor, get a cover designer, get, get, get.
It makes you wonder how they got started? Mom and Dad said, “Honey, here’s fifty thousand dollars, start writing porn stories.” I don’t think so, that’s maybe the 1% but the 99% of us, say to ourselves, “I wonder if I could write smut? But will it be okay to take my husband’s beer money to hire an editor?”
The problem with this approach is typically simple, you write a story that you may give away or at best sell for $2.99 yet you have to lay out hundreds of dollars in support help to get your story out the door. I’m an engineer by training and taught to make decisions by weighing good and bad options.
If you are a new writer, and unless you have a rich uncle you probably don’t have a bunch of money squirreled away to pay for all this help. Note that I didn’t tell you that you shouldn’t have an editor, cover designer, advertising firm, and publishing house to cover your back but that for many people and me, this is not financially viable. At some point in the game, you need to at least break even or hopefully make money.
I think most people who are reasonably intelligent can handle the job with minimal outlay until you get rich and famous. At which point, money is no object, and you can just hire everyone and retire. But until that point, you’re going to have to carry a majority of the load yourself.
The days of 4 and 5 figure monthly sales died years ago before everybody, and his brother started writing a book. I hate to burst your bubble, but 50 Shades was probably the last break out hit that made any real money, and my Frenchie could write better than that with one paw tied behind her back.
According to a recent survey, 80% of self-published authors make less than $1,000 per year or roughly $100/month. But before you hang yourself with your mouse cord, there is hope. First, go out an get a real job to keep the wolf away from the door and write in your spare time or have a generous spouse. If you’re a glass-half-full person, then you can say well what about the other 20%?
If you really want to be successful writing smut, beyond writing something other people want to read, is publishing on a regular basis. You should publish at least once a month, and before you fall down laughing, I’m telling you what I recommend and not what I do. My publishing cycle is typically every few months, and I fully realize that I don’t publish often enough but work and our social schedule eat up a lot of my keyboard pounding.
The search engines will typically throw you under the bus after about a month so don’t despair if your ratings fall off the cliff in 30 days. It’s like the old saying, “Publish or Perish.”
What I do is carry my laptop with me virtually 24 hours a day. Then when I’ve got a few minutes, I whip it out and type some. With many businesses that provide WiFi, you can get a connection most places or use the HotSpot feature on your phone. Be careful with logging into a public WiFi and disclosing personal information.
Publishing is sort of like wealth in the United States, just a handful have most of it while the rest of us have to scramble for their next meal. Sort of like your dream to play for the Harlem Globetrotters, and you’re five foot tall, while possible it will probably be a stretch.
As my Dad always tells me, “Faint heart never sold a vacuum cleaner.” Which in plain English means, be realistic with your assumptions but always try as hard as you can to achieve your goals.
Assuming that you sell your masterpiece for $2.99, typically the top price for a novel or novella, your takehome is about two bucks a copy. Out of that you have to deduct any costs you encounter such as cover design, editing, Internet porn, etc. Unless you can get your wife to strip off for the cover picture, your one fixed cost is likely to be the stock photo used. Your wordprocessing and photo editing software can be free if you use public domain software or a few hundred dollars for more professional products. One of my goals is to help you get into the game at the lowest cost.
Your first target should be to figure out if you can write or not. If writing were that easy, everyone would be Earnest Hemmingway or James Patterson. If you haven’t already joined ERWA, then do this next as you’ll have a host of other writers who can offer encouragement and advice in the craft of writing.
A lot of us started our initial publishing career at Literotica or a similar site that allows you to publish your stories for free without all of the problems of getting a cover, correct formatting, etc. You simply publish a plain text story and hope for good reviews.
I recommend this to new authors or those sticking their toe in the deep end of the pool for the first time. You get feedback and have to go through most of the process while skipping the hard parts.
As an engineer by training and not an English major, I am brutally aware of my shortcomings with the English language, and so you’ll rarely see me correct your sentence structure unless it’s so atrocious that even I recognize it. As I like to say, I always thought that when you had a dangling participle, you needed Viagra.
One of the things I hope to help people with is the mechanics of creating your masterpiece. Things like using the correct tools and getting started in a way that minimizes the grunt work required to publish. There are a number of things I’ve discovered which may be of interest to people. It’s not sexy but a job requirement.
A simple example is publishing to multiple publishers. We will typically publish to Amazon, SmashWords, Excessica, Apple iBooks, B&N, Nook, and others. The simple process of creating separate versions for each publisher can eat up a lot of time that could be better-served writing or jerking off.
Just try forgetting to delete a reference to SmashWords in your document and see what happens when Amazon catches it.
Well, I’ve killed enough electrons for now and will return control of your laptop back to you. See you next month on the 24th. Let me know your thoughts.
Larry Archer – LarryArcher.com
Dear Lecherous Literati,
Now that the hustle and bustle of the holidays has past, we can get back to serious matters. Like sex. Sure, mistletoe and champagne can ramp up the romance , but seriously, during November and December one hardly has the time to indulge.
We’re deep into January now, with short days and long nights—perfect for erotic exploration. Here at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association, you’ll find everything you need to turn up the heat and keep the thrills coming until spring.
Being an author myself, I always like to start in the Erotica Gallery. In this edition, we have a steamy half-dozen Awesome Authors (left sidebar), each of whom shares a sexy short story or book chapter. Selections in this edition range from paranormal lust to rough power exchange, with everything in between. Meanwhile, original erotica from the ERWA Storytime community is featured in the right sidebar, including ERWA’s trademark flash fiction. Don’t miss these elegant and arousing nuggets.
More than just dirty stories:
If you’re like me, the Gallery (wonderful as it is) just won’t be enough erotica to keep you happy. Satisfy your hunger for arousing reading in our Books for Sensual Readers section. It’s dangerous for me to do the necessary research for the Erotic Lure; I always end up adding more titles to my want-to-read list.
This month I honed in on the steam punk collection Valves & Vixens, edited by Nicole Gestalt, as well as Giselle Renarde’s Best Fetish Erotica. Nobody does kink like Giselle! Looking at the novels section, I immediately honed in on Fionna Guillaume’s Tokyo: A Job with a View, about a young woman who takes a position that requires extensive travel—plus much more unorthodox activities. (Check out Fiona’s magnificent story in the Gallery for a sample of her style.) A Little Too Farby Lisa Desrochers also grabbed my interest, with its theme of a woman torn between two taboo attractions. We have a huge selection of gay and lesbian titles for you to sample, including gay fantasy The Woodwoseby Nicolette deSada, habu’s gloriously literate gay collection Creampuffs, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 1, edited by the legendary Sacchi Green, and Selena Kitt’s collection of naughty lesbian shorts, Girls Only.
When I tell you this is only the tip of the iceberg, believe me, it’s true! We have scores of titles in every sub-genre for your browsing pleasure, with quick links so you can grab copies of anything that takes your fancy.
Indulge your literary libido:
What about movies? We’ve got you covered there, too. (Or maybe I should say, uncovered?) In this edition, we feature a top ten list of films starring the delectable Latina, Sara Luvv. I was particularly intrigued by “The Faces of Alice”, about a closeted young lesbian who makes a deal with the devil to win back her out-and-proud lover. (Sara does het porn, too…) Scanning some of the other sections, I noticed “The Doll Underground”, a wild tale about four angry women who become sexual revolutionaries to fight the evils of big business. I also love browsing through the Classic Porn section (since I’m a classic myself). Digital technology allows older films to be restored and remastered so they can be enjoyed by new generations. Henry Paris’ 1970 masterpiece “Maraschino Cherry”, which set the standard for intelligent porn, is a case in point.
Porn for couples, porn for women, porn with a plot, porn parodies, totally unmitigated smut… whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it (conveniently categorized) at ERWA. Plus we’ve got links to the very best places to acquire the films you crave, including Gamelink, Adult DVD Empire, and SmutNetwork.
All you need to fully enjoy your new adult film is some popcorn—and a sex toy or two. Our Sex Toy Scuttlebutt column keeps you in the know about the latest innovations in self-stimulation. Many of these items are high tech gadgets that wouldn’t be out of place in your typical computer store. (Geeks love ‘em!) For instance, the “Hot Octopuss Vibrating Duo Stroker for Couples” offers a 9 speed oscillator, 5 vibration modes with adjustable frequency, a remote control unit and a USB charger. Fortunately one can still find good old-fashioned manual erotic implements like the Büch Dich (“Bend Over”) Paddle Dildo. An ingenious combination of a multi-textured silicon paddle with a versatile phallic handle, this toy does not require batteries, controls, or anything else other than toned biceps and a good imagination!
Of course we have the links you need to get your hot little hands on any of these items. Let me remind you that everything you buy via our affiliate links helps support the best free adult site on the web. (That would be ERWA, of course.)
Inside the Erotic Mind this edition, people are discussing “Spicy Sex”. Altoids? Peppermint oil? Ginger? Chili peppers? Ever tried spicing up your sex life with this sort of fiery additive? What were the results? Come read what others have to say, then share your experiences and opinions. Just click on the Participate link.
There are lots of ongoing discussions on other topics of perennial interest to the prurient. Just make sure you have plenty of time to explore—and some privacy!
Dare to venture into the erotic mind:
Last, but certainly not least, we come to the Authors Resources section. If you are an erotic writer, you can’t afford not to take advantage of this rich compendium of knowledge and news. Our Calls for Submission listings are the most complete and up-to-date on the web. The current edition features new calls for femdom erotica, fetish erotica, and erotica on the theme of gluttony. We have guidelines for four new e-publishers seeking erotic romance and literary erotica. The CFS and publisher guidelines are updated regularly, not just when we create a new edition of the site, so bookmark us and visit regularly.
In addition to the CFS section, we have dozens of links to marketing and promotional services, editing services, review sites, author communities— really, everything you need to get your sexy stuff out there where the world can read it.
Meanwhile, for the latest advice on craft and commentary on the erotica writing community, follow the ERWA blog. Written by some of the top authors in the erotic writing industry, the blog discusses everything from character development to dealing with rejection.
The world wants to read your work!
Is that all there is? Hell, no! I figure you’ll have fun exploring the rest on your own. I’ll see you again in April. Or if you really can’t wait… well, you know where to find me! (You can probably guess what I’ll be doing when you do, too!)
Visit me at my blog Beyond Romance: http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com
Dear Debauched Denizens of the Darkness,
By the twitching of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Well, to be honest, it’s actually other parts of my body that are twitching as I swoop through the (literally) fantastic October edition of the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website. As All Hallow’s Eve approaches, ERWA celebrates the salaciously supernatural and the horrifically horny. Clicking from page to page, I’m overwhelmed by paroxysms of prurient passion….
Too much? Okay, I’ll rein in the alliteration and give you a quick tour, starting in the Erotica Gallery, where you’ll find a slew of stories focusing on magical lust and erotic horror. Blood-thirsty flora, a vengeful murderess, a smart ass exorcist and a clit with a mind of its own—our traditional La Petite Mort theme has inspired the ERWA authors to new heights of creativity. Across the page, our Awesome Authors section includes everything from historical fiction to paranormal romance, all breathlessly erotic.
Indulge your dark desires:
If you’re still craving more hot fiction after your sojourn in the Gallery, click over to our Books for Sensual Readers pages. We’ve assembled a rich and varied collection of featured titles for this issue, so you’re sure to find something that appeals. Delores Swallows explores the irresistible attraction of opposites in his short story collection Unlikely, while Giselle Renarde, Kendra Edge and the irredeemably filthy Lexi Wood team up to expose The Secret Life of Sitters. Cheri Verset’s collection So Wrong 12 offers nearly 80,000 words of taboo erotica, and Sharon Lynn Fisher shares her outrageously original erotic fairy tales in Before She Wakes.
If you’re looking for longer stories, check out Avery Kaye’s Royally Wicked, the escapades of a prince in Las Vegas, or Taisha Demay’s tale of a searing office affair, Love, Truth and Consequences: Playing Dirty. I’ve put Candace Blevin’s paranormal erotic romance Be Careful What You Ask For on my TBR list, intrigued by her premise of a half-werewolf/half-human who wants to be wholly wolf. Checking Him Out,Devyn Morgan’s gay erotic romance that pairs a shy librarian and a macho construction worker, sounds delightful. For FF fiction, I recommend Giselle Renarde’s Taboo Lesbian Erotica: 10 Scandalous Stories. I haven’t read it—yet—but I have no doubt it’s as sexy and intelligent as Giselle’s other work.
We have dozens more titles for your browsing pleasure, including vintage and modern classics, sensual romance and sexy sex education. Enjoy zero frustration: any book that casts a spell can be yours in a couple of clicks. Just use our affiliate links and give us a treat: your purchases help support the best free adult site on the web.
Revel in dirty words:
Did someone say porn? If not, why not? When you’re tired of reading and just want to watch, head for our Adult Movies section. Top billing goes to “Babysitting the Baumgartners”, a steamy blockbuster based on the novel by ERWA’s very own fearless leader Selena Kitt. Real life couple Anikka Albrite and Mick Blue star as the sexually adventurous Doc and Mrs. Baumgartner, who seduce their long-time baby sitter, played by Sarah Luv. Enjoy more of Mick’s and Anikka’s special erotic spark in “Mick Loves Anikka”, as Mick indulges his lover’s every forbidden fantasy, from girl-on-girl rimming to double penetration. Another couples top pick is “Tales from the Edge: Hotwife Bound”, a mix of exhibitionism, cuckolding and BDSM.
If none these suggestions ring your bell, explore our extensive list of other titles, conveniently categorized and equipped with buy links for instant gratification.
Experience the magic of movies:
Adult movies are a great way to relax while getting off. If you’re more the action-oriented type, though, don’t miss the Sex Toy Playground. This month’s Sex Toy Scuttlebutt focuses on toys for couples. Personally, I’m dying to try the Fetish Fantasy Spinning Swing. Then there’s the Tongue Star Pleasure Vibe, which is just what it sounds like—a mini-vibrator to enhance oral sex. Talk about creativity!
Wondering how to use Ben Wa balls? Confused about lubricants? Curious about prostate stimulation? The Playground includes links to frank and fun articles about these and many more sex-toy-related topics, penned by the experts from Adam & Eve, Good Vibrations and our other reputable suppliers.
You can never have too many toys:
Inside the Erotic Mind this month, you’ll find a sometimes arousing and always provocative discussion of body piercing. Expect strong opinions on both sides. Add your own thoughts by clicking Participate!
Dare to share:
Finally, if you write explicit fiction or non-fiction (or if you’ve ever been tempted to try!), do visit the Author Resources pages, the most extensive list of erotic publishing opportunities anywhere on the web. Three new publishers have just been added to the compendium: Inkubus for gay erotica, MoFo Pubs seeking literary erotica, and Deep Desires Press for erotica and erotic romance. There are also dozens of calls for anthologies including a new vampire anthology entitled “Ravenous”, fiction focusing on wanderlust—with the emphasis on lust—and Rob Rosen’s call for Best Gay Erotica Volume 3.
The page features opportunities for novelists, short story writers, poets and essayists, in every erotic sub-genre. Meanwhile, click on the ERWA Archive link for access to ten years worth of amazing articles by top authors on topics related to the craft and business of writing. Whether you’re an experienced author or just getting started, the archives are an incredible resource.
These days, we publish our craft articles at the ERWA blog – http://erotica-readers.blogspot.com. Our contributors talk about everything from writing sex scenes to doing promotion.
Follow your Muse:
I did it! A complete Erotic Lure almost entirely avoiding alliteration. Do I get a treat? Those fur-lined hand-cuffs look appealing…. Sure, I’ll wear the naughty nurse costume if you want, as long as you’ll let me use the swing…
Wishing you a month of chills and thrills,
I have a friend who has a preternatural talent for clever
turns of phrase and pithy remarks. Spend any amount of time in his company and
bon mots go off like cluster bombs. I’m constantly telling him, “I’m going
to steal that one.” And he just brushes it off – yeah, sure, feel free.
I have stolen a
few of his best and included them in fictional dialogue of my own, but not
before Googling the phrase, just in case he picked it up from someone else.
think we all pick up on clever remarks, and those of us who write are likely to
recycle them in the mouths of our characters. But a quick Google check might
reveal a phrase’s origin, or more importantly, whether it as fresh and original
as you thought. You don’t want to use it after it has become a meme or cliché. What’s
clever today has a briefer shelf life due to social media.
It might also keep you ought of trouble; what if it’s a
quote from a copyrighted work? There’s fair use, and then there’s being fair
and giving credit.
I think, though, stealing
lines is fairly common among writers. It may even be the sincerest form of
flattery, or homage. I think it’s the same as, for instance, using a locale
that figures prominently in the work of an author you admire. Or even borrowing
a minor character who inhabits that locale. Of course, you might want to do the
courtesy of giving the other author a heads up. The few times other writers
have asked me if they could borrow a
character my response was always, “Wow, sure.” It was fascinating reading
my own characters as interpreted by someone else. Truly, it can open your eyes
to another facet of a character you thought you knew inside-out … I mean, you
Outright plagiarism has surfaced in the news recently.
Taking someone’s unique creation and passing it off as one’s own is the
ultimate mortal sin among artists. The majority of such claims seem to arise
out of the music industry. The latest, Led Zeppelin’s exoneration of charges it
plagiarized it’s iconic “Stairway to Heaven.”
You have to wonder, though, with only so many notes at
one’s disposal, and with all the music already created by our species over
thousands of years, how anyone comes up with a distinct melody. Haven’t you
ever begun humming a tune and seamlessly segue into another tune with a similar
melody? And yet, we recognize each as a distinct song.
It’s a bit more difficult, I think, to plagiarize a known
written work, or a speech, for that matter. Changing a few words just doesn’t
do the trick. If the current political season has taught us anything, it’s just
plain stupid to try that.
Unless it’s a blatant rip-off, like lifting Michelle
Obama’s words wholesale, I tend to cut the accused offender a bit of slack
because of something that happened to me.
While writing a story that came to be called “What
Was Lost” – featured within “Cream” an amazing anthology of
stories written by members of the Erotica Readers and Writers Association and
edited by Lisabet Sarai – I took a break to watch a war drama, “The Lost
Well, the movie ended in the wee hours, so I hit the
sack. The next day I finished my story in time to post it to the ERWA critique
Among the responses I got was from a friend and an extraordinary
writer of erotica, Helena Settimana: “I bet you watched ‘Lost Battalion’ last
Huh? How’d she know that? Then she quoted a line I used
in the story. Think of what happened next as an epiphany delivered with a kick
in the ass. I had had the line in my head and it fit perfectly into the mouth
of my main character. The fact that I had, quite without intention, stolen a
line from the movie frankly scared me.
Nothing of the sort has happened since, but it does give
one pause, and perhaps a bit of empathy for the random artist who used a string
of notes, or a series of words in a particular order that turned out to be part
of someone’s else’s work.
They used to say, put a keyboard in front of a chimpanzee
and give him enough time, he’ll eventually bang out “War and Peace.”
I doubt either the chimp or its observers would live that long. But the human
brain insists on putting things in order as it recycles information it receives
Maybe whenever you come up with a great line, you should
try saying, “Gee, I wish I’d written that.” You know, just to reboot
your brain’s quality control.
Dear Doyennes of Decadent Delights,
Welcome to the July edition of the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website. Summer has officially arrived, and here at ERWA, we’re turning up the heat. Time to strip down, boot up, and follow me for a lazy ramble through some of the juiciest spots on the web. (Try not to be distracted by my naked booty. After all, it’s hot out…!)
In the Erotica Gallery, we’ve got five Awesome Authors to keep your mind (and maybe your hands) busy. They’ll take you from steamy Africa to windy Scandinavia, a prison cell to the family living room, with every stop a lusty new adventure. Our Storytime contributors offer up more sexy fiction (plus some clever poetry), with tales of the sweet hereafter, the bitter fruits of pride, and the tangled webs desire weaves.
Savor words that sizzle:
Hopefully you’ll get some time off this summer. If you need beach reading, we’ve got you covered. (Or should that be uncovered?) Our new, expanded Books for Sensual Readers section offers hundreds of choices for the erotica aficionado. Like short stories? Check out Strokes by Delilah Devlin, Alison Tyler’s The Big Book of Kink, or one of the featured Excite Spice themed boxed sets. (Don’t worry, they onlylook heavy!) If you prefer something longer, scroll through our huge list of erotic novels. My pick for this month is Taint, by S.L. Jenning, a taboo-busting tale of a sex tutor who “turns housewives into whores”.
For those of you who crave a happily ever after, we’ve got dozens of erotic romance titles, including Fionna Guillaume’s Not So Square, with its deceptively ordinary accountant hero, and Giselle Renarde’s shocking and arousing Two Complete Strangers. You’ll find plenty of LGBTQ erotica and romance, too. I marked R.A. Thorn’s Untethered for my TBR list, a historical romance about a gay Air Force pilot during WWII. On the FF side, I’ve been wanting to read Ily Goyanes’ widely acclaimed anthology Appetites: Tales of Lesbian Lust since I first heard about it. I can also recommend—personally!—my lesbian fantasy The Witches of Gloucester, which is reviewed in this edition by Bob Buckley.
One of the great things about the e-publishing revolution is the new availability of many previously out-of-print erotic gems. In our Classics pages you’ll find everything from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs to Portia da Costa’s The Devil Inside.
This is only a small sampling of the books we list. And every single one can be yours with a few clicks of your mouse. If you do decide to satisfy your craving for any of these titles, please use our affiliate links. Everything you buy via those links helps keep ERWA gloriously free!
Feed your erotic imagination:
When you’re in the mood for something visual, head over to our Adult Movies section. Headlining this edition is Adam & Eve’s newly released feature “Babysitting the Baumgartners”, based on the best-selling novel by our very own Selena Kitt. Once you’ve snagged your copy, (you know you want it!) check out our list of twenty five other “must-have” porn features. From classics like Marilyn Chamber’s “Insatiable” to curiosities like “The Uranus Experiment Trilogy” (billed as offering the world’s first zero gravity cum shot), you’re bound to find something—um—stimulating! We’ve assembled recommendations in many categories: porn for women, porn for couples, best-selling porn… Hey, we’ve done all the hard work (and I use the word “hard” advisedly). All you need to do is watch and enjoy!
In this edition’s Sex Toy Playground, we highlight toys for men, including a wireless vibrating thong to make him squirm and a Fleshlight that’s an anatomical copy of super-star Anikka Albrite’s luscious pussy. Don’t worry, ladies—we have goodies for you, too. How about a pair of Nipple Play Pleasurizers? Or the Kgoal Smart Kegel Exerciser? Working out was never so much fun!
Toys that aren’t meant for kids:
Inside the Erotic Mind, we have a lively debate about the possibilities for long-lasting ménage/polyamory relationships. The general consensus: not easy but worth the effort. Come share your opinions and experiences. Just click on the Participate link to contribute your thoughts.
Musing about some other sexy topic? Check out the other, on-going forums in the sidebars. Our visitors are discussing everything from blasphemy to cybersex. Add your voice!
You’re in good company Inside the Erotic Mind:
Remember that ERWA is for erotica readers and writers. Of course, many of us play both roles. Whether you are a newbie author or a veteran, you’ll find information and encouragement in our Authors Resources section.
We offer up-to-date listings of submissions calls, contact information and guidelines for more than three dozen publishers; links to editors, cover artists, marketing companies and other author services; and much more. The ERWA Archives link gives you access to articles on the craft and business of writing, dating back as far as 2006—book and toy reviews, too!
If you are a publisher or provide author services, use our handy form to tell us about yourself, and we’ll get you added to the page!
And while I have your attention, authors, let me invite you to join the ERWA Writers and Storytime private email lists. On the former list we discuss writing-related topics such as research, language, publishing tips and ways to handle burnout. The latter is an on-line critique group for posting and receiving feedback on stories, flash fiction, poetry and novels-in-progress. Storytime submissions are also the source of our Erotica Gallery stories, flashers and poems. Sound like what you’ve been looking for? Just click the link on the Authors Resources page to subscribe.
Expose your fantasies to the reading world:
Find the treasures in ERWA’s past:
Well, we’ve reached the end of my tour of site highlights. I’ll leave you to explore the many other delights of the new edition on your own. Just don’t do it at work!
Meanwhile, I’m going to take a dip in the pool, then spend the rest of the afternoon naked in the hammock with an appropriately steamy book. Ah, summer!
P.S. If you’d like to be added to my VIP email list, just drop me a note: lisabet [at] lisabetsarai [dot] com. Every month I do an exclusive contest, just for my VIP readers.
Dear Lubricious Lechers,
I’ll bet you thought I’d forgotten you. The latest edition of the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website has been live since the start of April, but not a peep from Lisabet?
A million pardons. I was occupied with my annual slave refresher course and retreat, two weeks of kinky re-education required by my Master each year. That means two weeks away from computers and the Internet. (Try it some time!) Anyway, I’m back now, honed and horny, eager to give you what you’ve been waiting for.
A tour of the current site, I mean. We can talk about the other stuff later.
Let’s begin in the Gallery, where we have stories and chapters from a stellar half-dozen authors who truly merit the label “awesome”. BDSM, science fiction, lesbian lust, magickal connections, taboo sex–sample their tales and you’ll find a bit of everything. Meanwhile, the plentiful selections from our ERWA Storytime list play with forbidden desires, sly humor and erotic horror.
Indulge in literary lust:
Summer’s coming–time to stock up on reading material for those long, hot days ahead. Our Books for Sensual Readers section has something for every taste. Check out the SPRING FEVER erotic super bundle, thirteen exciting, passionate tales of the season. Over 100,000 words–that will fill up a lot of days at the beach! Looking for a steamy novel? Consider the outrageously filthy HUNG: A FORBIDDEN ROMANCE by Aya Fukinishi. Go and get your favorite toy; it’s time. Or try MIDNIGHT MIRROR by Delores Swallows, a tale of extremes and obsession in a digital world where it’s all to easy to make fantasies real. I recommend THE GAZILLIONAIRE & THE VIRGIN, my genre-busting BDSM erotic romance that will turn all your expectations on their heads, and I’m definitely drawn to Delilah Devlin’s clever and unconventional vampire tale FRANNIE AND THE PRIVATE DICK. Lovers of gay erotic fiction should snap up a copy of L.M. Someron’s STROKE RATE, a M/M romance set against the background of competitive rowing. In the lesbian section, BOMBSHELLS AND BITCHES, edited Kathleen Warnock and Lea Delaria, caught my eye, as well as Sacchi Green’s BEST LESBIAN EROTICA 2016 volume. I know from experience that I’ll like anything Sacchi edits.
You might also want to take a virtual stroll through the Vintage and Classic Erotica section, where you’ll find (among many other titles) THE EMBROIDERED COUCH, a new translation of a 17th century Chinese novel banned in China. We’ve got lots of sexy non-fiction, too. I’ve put Dr. Sharon Moalam’s HOW SEX WORKS on my TBR list. Yeah, I do have a lot of first hand experience, but I figure I should bone up (so to speak) on the theory!
All these volumes and many more can be yours with a few clicks. Remember that every purchase you make via our affiliate links helps to support the ERWA tradition–twenty years of original, high-quality, free smut!
Mix the joy of reading with the joy of sex:
What about those of us who write all those books? Authors, we salute you! Visit our Authors Resources pages for tons of information about publishing opportunities, as well as a rich archive of articles on the business and craft of writing. Recent listings include the Silence is Golden anthology from Sexy Little Pages; Blood in the Rain, a vampire anthology; and Best Lesbian Erotica 2017 edited by award-winner D.L. King. In addition to specific calls, we provide submission guidelines for dozens of publishers, magazines and websites that will pay for YOUR erotic work.
Looking to publish your sexy stories? Start here:
Are you more visually oriented? Meet me in the newly reorganized Adult Movies section. We’ve got the down-and-dirty on porn for women, porn for couples, porn with a plot, whatever floats your boat. I zeroed in on “The Doll Underground”, directed by Eon McKai, a wild tale of female revolutionaries. Then there’s “Compulsion”, erotic comedy featuring Randy Spears and Carmen Hart as a couple who meet at a support group for survivors of mountain lion attacks (really!). Brad Armstrong is one of my favorite directors; I’ve bookmarked his classic “Eternity”, a lavish production with fantastic costumes as well as delicious bodies. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Whatever your porn preferences, we’ve got you covered. (Or should that be uncovered?) We’ve teamed up with the very best purveyors of adult video to provide you with near-instant gratification, too. Just use our affiliate links to buy whatever films tickle your fancy.
For the voyeur in us all:
What goes better with a smutty film than a sexy toy? As usual, Sex Toy Scuttlebutt showcases the latest and greatest erotic implements, including the Wireless Vibrating Thong for men, and the We Vibe 4 Plus couples vibrator. The latter includes a mobile app (yes, you read that correctly) that allows remote control of the vibe from anywhere on earth. What a brave new world we live in!
You could live without toys. But why should you?
Inside the Erotic Mind, you’ll find a sincere and sexy discussion of relationships involving a significant age difference. Opinions vary, but many contributors to this month’s forum describe positive experiences with lovers ten to twenty years older or younger. Want to share your own thoughts? Just click on the Participate link.
There are no limits inside the erotic mind:
Speaking of limits, I have to go meet my Dom for an annual review of our contract. I’ll leave you to explore on your own–there’s lots more sexy goodness for your to discover.
Until the next edition of ERWA, in July, I remain…
By Lisabet Sarai
I’ve been working on my latest erotic romance novel for more than a year. It’s not that I’m an incredibly slow writer—my new 8.5K holiday story took me about sixteen hours to write, edit and format—but in the case of this novel (The Gazillionaire and the Virgin), life kept getting in the way. In fact, from May through October, I could scarcely work on it at all.
There’s also the fact that I didn’t really expect this to be a novel in the first place. When I came up with the premise and the characters, I figured the story would be 20K, tops. My characters did not agree, however. This is the first time I’ve tried the Character-driven Random Walk method for novel writing. I began with a moderately clear notion about the story arc, but Theo and Rachel kept taking time out from the plot to have sex. I mean, the sex wasn’t gratuitous—it developed the characters and helped define their emerging relationship—but it slowed things down, from both a productivity and a narrative perspective.
Figuring that a deadline might help me finish the thing, I reserved a publication date at Excessica and committed to completing the first draft by the end of 2015. I’ve made some excellent progress over the past few weeks (partially because some of the other demands on my time have relaxed). One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that the plot is moving faster as I approach the climax and conclusion. The characters seem less likely to dawdle in bed. That got me started thinking about the general question of pacing in a novel—how it impacts the reader’s experience and how we as writers can control it, or at least be aware of it.
What do I mean by pacing? I can define the term as the ratio of the amount of action to the number of pages it takes to express that action. (Sorry—can’t get away from my engineering background!) In other words, pacing is the speed with which the story develops.
Many novels begin at a relatively gentle pace, as the author introduces the characters, the setting and the initial situation. It’s also fairly common for the pace to pick up as you get deeper into the book.
Not all books work that way, though. Some authors begin with an intensely active scene (sort of like the intro to a James Bond film), build to a minor crescendo, then slow down in order to provide the back story. This strategy can be very effective. It yanks the reader into the book, triggering all sorts of questions, which are then answered when things settle a bit and the reader can catch her breath. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books fit this model, as do the couple of books I’ve read by Carl Hiaasen. It’s also a favored style in science fiction.
There are some risks to this approach, though. If you extend the section with frenetic action for too long, your reader may begin to feel exhausted. The tension arising from unanswered questions can be pleasurable for a while, but if you don’t resolve the mysteries eventually, you’ll have a reader who’s confused, frustrated, or both.
The rapid-fire pacing one typically finds in some genres (e.g. thrillers, mysteries, horror) is a relatively modern phenomenon. Fiction a hundred years ago tended to be more discursive and deliberate, the action interspersed with frequent description. Nineteenth and early twentieth century fiction also tends to use more consistent pacing throughout the book.
Jane Austen epitomizes, for me, the effective use of slow and relatively steady pacing. Many twenty first century readers might find her novels too sedate, but I feel that her pace fits the stories she’s trying to tell. In the world and society she describes, change occurred gradually. Relationships took years to develop, and news (and gossip!) required days to circulate.
In modern erotica and erotic romance novels, things often happen more quickly. Characters may become sexually involved in the first chapter. Things then happen to threaten their sexual and emotional connection. Typically some conflict, internal or external, appears. The opposition of forces implied by that conflict propels the story forward, further ramping up the pace. Eventually the conflict will be resolved, and the story will slow down as it concludes.
It doesn’t have to be that way, however. A book may alternate between fast and slow paced sections, cycling between action and reflection. Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife uses this pattern. In erotica, the pacing may tend to pick up during sex scenes and slow down in the bridging periods where the characters are getting on with their lives. On the other hand, as I’ve found in my current novel, the opposite can also be true. My characters get distracted by carnal activities, in some sense putting the plot on hold.
When I noticed the accelerating pace of events in Gazillionaire, I started to worry. Was I rushing the story too much, in trying to get it finished? After considering the question, I’ve concluded that more rapid pacing is what the novel requires at this point. The core relationship has been established; the conflict has been exposed and has temporarily torn my protagonists apart. It’s time to move forward in order to get them back together again.
There’s no one right way to pace your novel, of course. In fact it’s not an issue I think about much. Normally, I trust my intuitions, developed over decades of writing and more than half a century of reading. However, when something feels wrong about your novel—when you sense it’s not working the way it should, but you don’t know why—pacing could be the problem.
Earlier this year I reviewed a four hundred page BDSM erotica novel that, in some ways, I liked very much. It offered a much more realistic and nuanced treatment of power exchange than many books in the genre. It featured interesting characters and hot sex. Yet somehow it left me feeling flat. When I analyzed my reactions, I concluded that pacing was partly to blame. The novel was constructed as a series of episodes that unfolded over a fairly long period of time (at least a year). The pace of the book didn’t vary at all, over the full four hundred pages. There was no rise in tension (and consequent increase in pace). This even pacing somehow decreased my interest in the action.
Pacing is one component of each author’s individual style. You probably shouldn’t try to force your books to use a different pace than what comes naturally. Being aware of the issue, though, may give you clues as to how to make your writing even more effective.
From Erotica Readers & Writers Association
By Lisabet Sarai
Dear Denizens of the Dark Side,
Welcome to the Fall edition of the Erotica Readers & Writers Association! October’s here, Halloween’s around the corner, and we’ve got plenty of treats waiting for you (plus a trick or two).
The Erotica Gallery in this edition is so amazing, it’s practically supernatural. To start with, we have five Awesome Authors serving up their sexy stories for your personal pleasure. From the dangerous delights of an anonymous bar pickup to a holiday tryst with a horny MILF, these authors will prepare you for the traditional devilish debauchery associated with All Hallow’s Eve. Then sample some of the offerings from our ERWA contributors –stories, quickies, flashers and poems, all fantastic and totally free. Whether you like it sweet or nasty, we’ll satisfy your appetite for erotic fare. Don’t miss our traditional October feature La Petite Mort. Our authors adore sending chills up your spine while warming your other parts.
Words make magic:
The Books for Sensual Readers section is a cornucopia overflowing with the fruits of fantasy. Rachel Kramer Bussel has two new anthologies out, I WANT YOU BAD (obsessive erotic romance) and DIRTY DATES (kinky couples fiction). Some of my very favorite authors have new releases, including Charlotte Stein’s luscious sounding THE PROFESSOR, a tale of a stern professor and his very naughty student; Portia Da Costa’s Black Lace classic HOTBED, featuring a pair of sisters, one wild, one shy and virtuous–until now; Ashley Lister’s novel of passion, betrayal and gourmet food, JUST DESSERTS; and Victoria Blisse’s sizzling vampire romance THE POINT OF EVIL. Looking for a hot gay read? Check out Eli Easton’s THE TROUBLE WITH TONY, about a PI who goes undercover–way undercover–masquerading as a patient in a sex clinic. My pick for lesbian fiction is Valerie Brundage’s DEAD MAN’S CURVES, a novel about love between women friends that defies labels.
This is, as usual, just a small sampling of the fabulous books we’ve assembled for your delectation. Check out our categorized listings of anthologies, novels, erotic romance, vintage and modern classics, gay and lesbian fiction, and sexy sex ed. You’re bound to find something that tickles your tingle. And once you do, please use our affiliate links to Amazon, B&N or iTunes to buy. Every click helps support the delightfully dirty-minded demons who labor to bring you a new ERWA edition every quarter.
Join us under the covers:
Let’s see, what’s next? How about a quick tour of the Sex Toy Playground? You may not know much about history, but the folks at Adam & Eve do. They’ve got a fun, enlightening article about the history of sex toys. The regular Sex Toy Scuttlebutt column, in contrast, highlights the ultimate in modern erotic apparatus. Consider, for instance, the Kgoal Smart Kegel Exerciser. Yes, it hooks up to your smart phone, and offers you an instant reward for working on your pelvic muscle tone… You have to read about it to believe it.
Just the thing for the trick or treat bag…
Adult Movies are our natural next stop. Porn and toys go together like apple pie and ice cream. This month’s features include Brad Armstrong’s stunning opus “Aftermath”, a powerful tale of sexual awakening and forbidden love. My “dirty smutty porn” pick is “Innocence Bound”. Watch–no, drool–as four sweet, uncorrupted young women are bound, used and initiated into the mysteries of lust. My classic recommendation is the last film by Henry Paris (aka Radley Metzger), the 1970’s masterpiece “Maraschino Cherry”. And just in time to answer all those questions raised by The Book That Shall Not Be Named, we bring you “A Lover’s Guide to Erotic Submission”, a two-disc set–one disk with instructional material, one that’s simply
Amorous apparitions await you:
Inside the Erotic Mind this month, we’re recalling our favorite steamy scenes from mainstream movies. Feel free to share the films that push YOUR personal buttons. Just click on “Participate” and fill in the form.
Arousal begins in the mind:
Authors, I haven’t forgotten you. The list of publishing opportunities in our Authors Resources section gets longer every week. Yes, we do update this section frequently, whenever we get new information. We also post all new calls on the ERWA blog, http://erotica-readers.blogspot.com.
Recent calls for submission include an anthology of geeky kink tales; Coming Together: On Wheels, a motorcycle- and racecar-themed charity anthology; and a call for lesbian power exchange fiction from Harper Bliss. If these three possibilities don’t inspire you, spend a few minutes browsing the other listings. We have literally dozens of publishers on the page, and guess what? They want YOUR work!
Even if you’re a top–submit!
And speaking of the authoring process, you may be interested in the sponsor for this edition of the Lure, Bookalope. Bookalope is a new website that provides simple and interactive book conversions for electronic and print publication. Its tools grew from years of experience working with authors on their books, and now Bookalope offers these tools to everybody.
The process is easy, intuitive and saves time, while it hides most of the technical stuff. After uploading a file, Bookalope analyzes the visual styling of the text and, with some help from the user, extracts the structured book. Next, it checks the content for spelling and errors in punctuation and typography, and the user may choose to have them corrected. After that, the book is ready for conversion for Kindle, Nook, or iPad, into print-ready PDF, or InDesign or Word for continued editing and design.
Details at: https://bookalope.net
That wraps up this edition of the Erotic Lure. I certainly haven’t covered all the goodies on the site, but I’d rather let you explore on your own. Who knows what (or whom) you’ll find in some shadowy corner?
As for me, it’s less than a month before Halloween, and I still haven’t settled on a costume. I’m torn between Morticia Adams and Elvira Queen of the Dark. Black becomes me, and I do love the way a deeply plunging neckline shows off my — umm — assets…
What if the government stole your libido? What would you do to get it back?
THE ANTIDOTE – Science fiction erotica by Lisabet Sarai
Buy now! www.amazon.com/dp/B013ZS2678
Write, learn, and play on ERWA. Details at: