William S. Dean

The Dark at the Top of the Page: An Interview with Devyn Quinn

Devyn Quinn’s actual home view may be across the high plains of the New Mexico-Texas border, but her inner vision is sparked by a more eerie realm: dark gothic erotic romance. She is a recent Romantic Times Award Nominee and a Cupid And Psyche Award (CAPA) winner. On the eve of the publication of her next novella, “Personal Possession,” in the BDSM-themed anthology Dangerous Ties, I had the privilege to metaphorically sit down with her to talk about all things goth, romantic, sexy, and even the mundane chores of laundry and ferret policing.

ERWA: Goth culture—and all it implies—has kind of built-in dynamics: life and death struggles, victims, intensified emotions, and the potential for after-life passions. How do you, as an author, keep pushing those standards for your own personal enjoyment in writing a new work?

Devyn Quinn (DQ): I have an ironclad rule that I will only write what I want to read. That sometimes means that what the market is producing for sale and what I am writing are two different things. However, I have to remain true to the vision and muse that inspires my books. I am a naturally “dark” minded person and I tend to think the worst about the world. My writing reflects that point of view. Readers will find the characters in my books are struggling with the bad things in this world: self-doubt, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. My characters are as “real” as they can possibly be in the situations they find themselves placed in. Fortunately I have finally found the perfect place within the Aphrodisia imprint for my style of storytelling, and I have an editor who allows me the absolute freedom to create what inspires me.

ERWA: Most people seem to agree that monsters are still based in their human
responses, hungers, and needs amplified by supernatural means. Obviously, you feel that mortals and “other beings” are still drawn to each other, but what are, say, the five strongest appeals that an average human, male or female, have that draws in a supernatural being? What goes deeper than just the lust and the physical attributes that pulls them?

DQ: My two cents says that humans have a strong and undeniable curiosity about the existence of other unseen realms. Another would be that certain people seem to have an inborn, dare I say psychic?, sense that there is indeed more to heaven and earth than is dreamt of by people who believe that heaven and earth, God and Satan, are absolute. They don’t believe that way and are more willing to think openly about the possibilities of other intelligences, other powers, other dimensions beyond life and death as we presently know it. Such inquisitive minds question, poke, prod and explore to the fullest of their abilities—even if instinct warns them what they might find will be dangerous and devouring.

ERWA: Some geographic places—like New Orleans with its voodoo heritage or Romania with its vampire castles—are naturally set up for a goth atmosphere, but generally we don’t think of the plains of Texas as particularly spooky or eerie in that dark way. Are there places nearby where you live that inspire you for settings or local lore that can spark your thinking for a story?

DQ: I have the grave misfortune of living in the high desert farmland of Texas and New Mexico—I can say two states as I live on the border between both. It is a whole lot of nothing going nowhere for miles on end. Two of my books have been placed in New Mexico: Sins of the Night (March 08) and the novella “Personal Possessions”, which will appear in the Dangerous Ties anthology in April 09. The first because the location is so ordinary that it had to be the logical setting for the book (and is a region I know personally), and the second because the Bisti Badlands bordering the Navajo Nation in New Mexico was the perfect and only setting the novella could take place and make sense. As for local lore… If I write a western and need Billy The Kid as a character, well, I am all set.

ERWA: As a kid I used to love watching the classic old black and white horror movies on late night television. Do you think dark goth romances could be effectively translated to the big screen or is part of their appeal the fact that reading is done alone and the reader is transported, partly by their own imaginings, into the worlds and lives you create?

DQ: I believe that any of these could translate beautifully to the big and small screens (and already have!) and have done the dream casting in my head for many years for my own books, LOL. So my answer is a nice happy “Yes” to that question.

ERWA: Considering the super intensified and hotly passionate “lifestyles” of your characters, how do you keep from being completely bored with the day-to-day and mundane things of having to live in the real world like doing laundry, meeting up with social friends, cooking, and so forth?

DQ: Ah, you captured my thoughts exactly! My day-to-day life is super-duper boring and there are days when I’m sure I’m going to pull my hair out if I have to scoop another cat box or pull another ferret out of the sock drawer.

The rule here is that I don’t own a television. I do all my watching on my DVD player. After the writing is done I can go and rent new movies or a season of my favorite show, like Lost or Dexter. That’s my reward for getting through, a movie and a wine cooler. Another is that I must have music that defines the theme of the book or novella I am working on. Once I get the music set up, I turn it on and get going with the new book. I can’t write without music in the background, even if it is the same song over and over.

ERWA: In the relatively few decades that goth has gelled into a series of choices, lifestyle and fashion among them, we’ve seen it transformed a bit or expanded. There are now major goth belly dancing events, for example, and large scale gatherings like conventions. We also are as likely to see goths working at our local bookstore chain or restaurant. Do you think society as a whole is more accepting just because “time has passed” or because they just don’t seem as strange anymore to the average non-goth?

DQ: I know that a lot of people (read: hardcore conservatives) still do not approve of the alternative lifestyle, be it goth, gay or what have you. It’s mostly that Goths are here, are carving a niche and proving to people that even though they might look a bit odd, they hold jobs, pay taxes and, yes, even have an education and are every bit as intelligent as the clean cut fellow in the conservative suit and haircut. Times have changed and, slowly, values are changing, too.

ERWA: What do you personally think are some of the milestones of dark goth romance? Who are the major writers influencing others and what has made their work stand out so strongly?

DQ: To me the first and most important milestones are almost too many to mention, but I will try to lay out my own in a coherent manner. In the late 60’s and early 70’s there was an abundance of gothic themed print titles released on to the market, not to mention comic books. Tomb of Dracula, Vampirella, Morbius, etc….

On television Dark Shadows and The Night Stalker. Back then the gothic genre was alive, well and thriving. In the 80’s, it kind of rolled up with the shadows and went away—but those of us who grew up on such things and loved them dearly never forgot them. As we grew and came into our own, I believe we tried to recreate the genre.

Bigger, better, faster and stronger. Anne Rice and Stephen King then blasted through, paving the way for those who would come next. And not only did we get the blood and the gore (King), and conscience and suffering (Rice) we were handed the freedom to add a whole new element to the old tried and true formulas: sex. The gothic genre kicks into an entirely new level when the physical element is added in. And with the gothic genre, few things are forbidden or entirely taboo. It is the freedom to explore the darker side of the psyche, and adding in the supernatural or demonic elements only makes it that much more alluring.

ERWA: Do you work primarily chronologically? That is do you start a project and
then work at it until it’s completed or do you have several ideas gelling at the same time and work on one while the others wait on the shelf, so to speak?

DQ: Back twenty some odd years ago when I began to write my first series, I worked methodically one book at a time, finished it, then went to the next.

Nowadays I am thinking on the next book as I am writing the current. I have post-it notes all over my desk and bulletin boards with random notes about one book or another. When I think of something that will fit one book, I jot it on the post-it and slap it onto the current layer for that book idea.

When it’s time to write it, I go through the post-its and use what I can, discard what didn’t work. It also helps to have ideas brewing in case the chance to pitch to my editor happens. If she has an empty antho slot to fill, having something on the back burner that I can show her can lead to a sale—and has, many times over. “Thunderstruck” was a novella I originally pitched to the now defunct Venus Press years ago. It went unwritten for many years until a slot in a mythos anthology (Eros Island, now on sale) came open in 2007. When my editor needed something, I had something ready to pitch and made the sale. Same with most of the antho sales I’ve made. I had something going in the back of my mind that I knew I could write.

ERWA: Finally, I know you have “Personal Possessions” (in the anthology Dangerous Ties) coming out very soon. Are you taking a bit of a break after it or are you already working on the next story? What should we be looking for from you in the near future?

DQ: When I finish a novella or book, I take a little time away from the computer. I need a break from the screen and the pressure to write something that will wow my editor and future readers. I don’t finish one book and start the next day on the new one. Can’t do that. I need time to shake off the characters and their foibles and follies, to stop living in their world and come back to plain old reality (boring, indeed).

As for what is coming next, readers will see Sins of the Night (Kith & Kynn Book 2) out at the end of March. Then another anthology, Trio, which will feature my contemporary novella, “No Strings Attached.” Then back to the goth-erotic theme with Embracing Midnight (title tentative, Nov 08), which introduces an entirely new species of alien vampire called the Niviane Idesha—and a very conflicted heroine with a cutting and pain fetish. Dangerous Ties is scheduled for a late March 9th release. I’m also contracted for a sequel to “Flesh and the Devil,” a shape shifter story for the Sexy Beast anthos, a single title spin off of the Sexy Beast story and, finally, an entirely new goth-erotic series, Delomelanicon.

Visit Devyns website for more: www.devynquinn.com

William S. Dean
April 2008

“Getting Graphic” © 2008 by William S. Dean. All rights reserved.

Words and Pictures: What a Concept! An Interview with Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics Publishing

When the hip and savvy talk about Fantagraphics Publishing, there’s no doubting the superlatives that roll out. The NY Village Voice says, It’d be difficult to find more challenging and entertaining rabble-rousers amid the panorama of popular culture. Wired magazine proclaims, Fantagraphics publishes the best comics in the world.

Fantagraphics artists such as R. Crumb, Peter Bagge, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, Dan Clowes, Joe Sacco, Chris Ware, Jessica Abel among others continue to rule the marketplace and garner critical acclaim. Fantagraphics authors receive more favorable press attention than any publisher in the history of the medium. Their books consistently get positive coverage in TIME, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, Spin, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, The Nation, and throughout the media. To probe their secrets of success and the thinking that propels them, we sat down—metaphorically—with Eric Reynolds of Fantagraphics for a little tête à tête. Eric describes himself as Fantagraphics Official Shill & Paid Apologist, so you can see he has a great sense of humor which is never a bad thing for an editor.

ERWA: Fantagraphics is involved in so many different projects that it seems to defy our definition of what an graphic publishing house is all about. How does a project essentially go from an idea or concept into a published form?

Eric Reynolds (ER): It’s pretty organic, really. Gary and Kim and I are obviously all big comics fans, first and foremost, and the line essentially represents our tastes. We each kind of pursue projects individually and twice a year sit down and hammer out a six month schedule based on what we’re each pursuing. Some of these books are no-brainers, like a book by an author we have a longstanding relationship with.

Others are pet projects we instigated ourselves. Many books are very simply agreed upon, while others have to be considered more carefully, and any number of factors can play into the final decision. But it’s essentially just one of us saying, “We gotta do this!” and we go from there.

ERWA: The company has a solid base in re-prints of classic comic strips and materials, so what about new projects and art? In other words, most businesses figure “Well, this sells, so something like it should sell, too,” but Fantagraphics covers both the nostalgic and the radically new. How does the new material submitted get evaluated?

ER: I’d be lying if I said we didn’t take into consideration whether a book will sell when evaluating a project, but I’d also like to think that we don’t let it be an overriding principle in determining what we publish. Basically, we have a mission to publish what we consider to be the best examples of cartooning in the world, past and present, and believe that there will be a market for such work. And so we try to represent this spectrum as best we can. Our only real concern is that we not become too reliant or focused on archival material, because the contemporary work is just as important for maintaining the medium’s vitality.

ERWA: Even in the “adult materials” category, styles and content vary widely, anything from the classic R. Crumb to the latest hentai stories and even quite “abstract” sensual imagery. Is there a lot of competition among graphic book publishers to “push the envelope” so to speak and move into areas formerly considered “taboo”?

ER: I would actually argue that there’s less competition or drive to push the envelope these days. If anything, the underground cartoonists of the 1960s and ’70s were so thorough in their annihilation of societal taboos that the medium to a large degree has gotten that out of its system. Besides, nowadays, transgression has very much moved into the mainstream. From mainstream television like South Park to the ubiquity of pornography in our culture, I’m not sure there are many taboos left to tackle.

ERWA: In works such as Like A Velvet Glove Cast in Iron by Daniel Clowes, the graphic novel can explore BDSM and fetish interests, which is currently a hot topic among erotica writers. With all the explicit photographic and video materials available online, what is the special appeal, do you think, of such material in a graphic novel format? Is it a combination of storyline and illustration, artistic interpretation, or what?

ER: I’m no expert on this so I’m just speculating, but I would guess it’s some combination of the fact that you can depict just about anything in comics with no budget, and the fact that even the worst-written comics are probably more engaging than the best screenplays for adult films. And the visual nature of comics is probably a more visceral experience than prose erotica, for a lot of folks, anyway. Do adult films actually even get “written”, per se? I have no idea. But in the case of Velvet Glove, what appeals to me is the richness of Clowes’ world-building and those creepy Lynchian moments don’t make much sense of the face of them, but have an interior logic in the context of the novel that resonates with readers. It doesn’t function or satisfy as straightforward erotica, I don’t think. Though I wouldn’t argue with anyone who told me it did!

ERWA: What are some of what you consider the boldest new projects currently in development at Fantagraphics and why will they appeal to readers?

ER: With 50+ books a year it’s tough to pick favorites. There’s a few books coming out this spring that I enjoy particularly because they challenge the notion of what a graphic novel or comic is, and each is wildly entertaining in their own right. The first is Ellen Forney’s Lust, which collects all of her “Lustlab” illustrations for Seattle’s Stranger newspaper from the last three years. Every week, Ellen chooses a personal ad from the paper’s kinky section and essentially turns it into a single-image cartoon. Some are mini-comics, some are more reminiscent of psychedelic posters, etc. But they’re all great cartooning, full of life; collectively, they have the effect of humanizing or normalizing our human proclivity toward fetishistic behavior. Fetishes are perceived as some kind of aberrance in normal human behavior, and yet its quite common for someone to have a fetish. Ellen makes even the most prurient interest seem like a natural extension of human desire.

Then, there’s this book called Funeral oF the Heart by Leah Hayes, which is a collection of hand-lettered, illustrated prose short stories. She writes dark, gothic fairy tales, like a more contemporary Edward Gorey. Again, I like the hybrid of prose and imagery, working together to create something greater than the sum of its parts, in a way that both is and isn’t comics. And then there’s this book called Hall of Best Knowledge by Ray Fenwick, which is another crazy hybrid, and also completely hilarious. It’s essentially all text, but all the text is hand-crafted and ornately detailed, and is the story of an unreliable narrator that slowly unravels over the course of the book. I would call it “typographical comics” and it’s a form that Fenwick almost created out of thin air.

There’s so much more, I could list a number of things, like Dash Shaw’s Bottomless Belly Button, which might be our big graphic novel of the year—at 700-plus pages, I mean that both literally and figuratively.

ERWA: Apart from the usual dictates of strong characters and storylines, what advice can you give to new authors who might consider submitting material to Fantagraphics? Is it better, for example, to try to work with an artist from the start to develop the material together or can a successful merge be made from a completed story?

ER: Anything’s possible and there’s certainly plenty of examples of the latter, but I tend to encourage the former approach if I have to choose. But more importantly, we simply won’t pair a writer with an artist or vice-versa. About 95% of the work we publish is work where the writer and artist are the same person, and we will not facilitate collaborations, which tends to be a more corporate approach to comic-making. We publish very few collaborations, and when we have, they tend to be more organic collaborations than your standard writer/artist division-of-labor involving pre-existing relationships. Good comics are about achieving a certain harmony between words and images and you can’t really force it. It requires being a writer, director, actor, stage blocker, storyboard artist, etc. It’s difficult for a hired artist to completely and fully realize what exists in a writer’s mind, unless that artist happens to be the writer.

ERWA: Finally, although we realize there is no perfect form, what are the elements that to you, personally, make up the best possible adult graphic novels?

ER: Good writing, good drawing, in the service of each other. Good drawing or writing by themselves don’t inherently make a good comic any more than good cinematography or a good screenplay necessarily makes a good film.

Visit Fantagraphics website: www.fantagraphics.com

William S. Dean
April 2008

“Getting Graphic” © 2008 by William S. Dean. All rights reserved.

The Future in Words and Pictures

Getting Graphic with NBMIn 1976, NBM (Nantier Beall Minoustchine) became America’s first graphic novels publisher. Since the humble beginning by Terry Nantier while still a university student, NBM has racked up the most impressive record of firsts in the genre:

  • First to publish in Graphic Novels starting with Racket Rumba a European spoof of hard-boiled detective novels (months before the launch of Heavy Metal), followed by Enki Bilal’s The Call of the Stars.
  • First to publish European Graphic Novels in the United States, helping to inspire American artists onto greater personal expression.
  • First to get general bookstore distribution as early as 1980 (distribution by Caroline House).
  • First to publish library-worthy sets of hardcover reprints of classic comic strips with the very successful Terry & The Pirates reprint program of 12 quarterly volumes in 1983.
  • First to publish fully painted graphic novels with the sell-out launch of The Mercenary by Spaniard Vicente Segrelles in1985.

ERWA spoke with publisher/owner Terry Nantier as their spring lineup of books is prepared to hit the shelves …

We’re seeing that the whole realm of graphic novels, erotic art presentation books, adult comics, and even anthologies is the major “mover and shaker” in the publishing and media world. What do you think are the main strengths of this format and why now is it so hot?

Terry Nantier (TN): Graphic novels, as shown from decades of history in Europe, present a format in which artists can really expand, tell the story in the length they need and with the quality needed. It encourages creativity and personal voices, in other words a true author status which hadn’t been afforded to comics authors before. Then the only limit is the imagination of the author and his/her talent at rendering it on paper. A lot of things can be done in comics with a personal voice of 1 or 2 people in comics that can’t be done with staff heavy and budget burdened movies and such.

ERWA:  Your company is a real forerunner in publishing these kinds of varied works. Can you take us step-by-step in how you go about putting a project together, i.e. putting an artist with an author, planning the story and storyboards, and then promoting the book to the buying public?

TN: I can only do so briefly but mostly the authors come to us with their concept and we accept or reject it. With new authors I do work with them more closely on the editorial side to get them in the right direction of what they want to acomplish although less so with adult comics per se where we look for 1 or 2 of the following qualities: really very good art, Christian Zanier (Banana Games) is a good example and/or a really real, intelligent story that’s true to our sexual experience in life, such as in our Shadow & Light series or in carefully thought out fantasy as Michael Manning creates.

Promotion is going increasingly the way of the web and that’s where we’re concentrating our efforts more and more. We do come from an excellent situation in the media where our books get a much larger than fair share of attention. We’ve always been pretty aggressive at pursuing press. Of course, publishing good stuff to begin with doesn’t hurt!

ERWA: Of course there are always “the big names” in both graphic art and writing, but what about newcomers? Who are some of the newbies coming out that readers should be aware of and what projects are they putting together for you?

TN: In erotica, we recently launched—very successfully—Zanier with Banana Games, Mensink with Kristina the Vampire. We’re also excited about Brandon Graham’s work, latest is his Pillow Fight. It’s funky and lotsa fun.

ERWA: How does the company go about tracking down or recruiting artists and writers for projects? Is it a matter of sifting through the submissions until “something clicks” or do you aggressively seek out new and impressive talents?

TN: We do go through submissions mostly and have established artists come to us with their projects.

ERWA: If you could imagine the ideal erotic-content graphic novel, what
would it be like?

TN: Very erotic but most of all really exploring our every day experience and how our sexuality colors our entire life, on the surface but also underneath, affects our mood, etc. … how we interact with each other. Not enough of that exploration being done right now. Just plain fun fucking is great but something that also expresses how our libido affects us would be very engaging.

ERWA: Thank you, Terry.

Metronome by Véronique TanakaBE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR: In March, NBM introduces Metronome. Just when you thought that nobody could create something new in the comic medium, here comes Metronome – a 64-page graphic novel by Véronique Tanaka: a “silent”, erotically-charged visual poem, an experimental non-linear story using a palette of iconic ligne clair images. Symbolism, visual puns and trompe l’oeil conspire in a visual mantra that could be described as “existential manga” if it wasn’t for the fact that there is a very human and elegantly-structured tale providing a solid foundation to the cutting-edge storytelling.

Visit NBMs website: www.nbmpub.com

William S. Dean
March 2008

Passionate Fashion: An Interview with Tilly Greene

Most authors are pretty happy to have a (as in one) publisher, but mention the name Tilly Greene and a handful of eager publishers, hardcopy and e-books, raise their hands claiming first dibs on her next freshly written manuscript.

Phaze, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain, loveyoudivine.com, and the Torrid editions of Whiskey Creek Press all sport titles familiar to erotic romance readers by the prolific Tilly. Her novels range from shapeshifters and cowboys to the military, from BDSM themes to the sizzling sexuality found in the world of haute (hot!) couture. In fact, she almost became a fashion designer herself. As her latest book, The Gilded Cage (part of the Hot Couture series published by Phaze) is set for release as both an e-book and paperback in April 2008 (read excerpt at the end of this interview), ERWA caught up with Tilly after her recent European trip to spend a few minutes in intimate talk.
ERWA: You’re a prolific and awarded novelist. What do you think are the special qualities you bring to erotic romance writing that make you shine above the others?

Tilly Greene (TG): All writers have tricks up their sleeves to make a story their own and one of mine is in the details. I enjoy delving in and showing the reader why something is the way it is and not just noting a given. The questions are standard but the answers never are. Who is that woman standing off to the side and why is he so attracted to her without a word passing between them (Ride ’em, Ellora’s Cave). What does the room look like and why does it speak so clearly of him (Come, Sweet Creature, Whiskey Creek Press Torrid). Where are they when love is brought up and why doesn’t it happen where the reader expected it to happen (Zandia, Samhain Publishing). Nothing should be taken for granted in putting the reader right there with the characters, caring for them and their outcome.

ERWA: I understand you recently returned from a trip to Italy. I’m sure the settings inspired your imagination for some future writing. What were some of the most impactful sights and experiences on your trip that sparked your sensual imagination for stories?

TG: With a series based in the fashion capitals of the world visiting Milan was always going to happen, I just didn’t expect it to be so inspiring. I had no expectations which I believed allowed me to enjoy it from the minute we arrived and the sun brightened the top of the Alps through to talking with our driver on the way back to the airport about his and his wife’s last hoorah traveling around the west coast of America before their kids were born.

It’s important to me when I write a story and the location itself is real and plays a role then I would like to inspire the reader to want to see it for them self. One place that will play a part in the fourth book in Hot Couture is where I put my head down each night, the Grand Hotel Villa Torretta. This is a 15th century villa with a wealth of inspiration found around ever corner. With frescoes in ballrooms to bathrooms, a private turret overlooking the grounds and it’s own Chapel, there was plenty to stimulate my imagination. Another location I visited that pushed all my buttons was the Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte. The inside of this museum is amazing, so quiet and intimate I felt as if I was the only person there, with incredible pieces of art. Hmmm, the twists and turns to the happy ever after are bouncing around my mind, begging to be set free.

ERWA: Everyone seems to talk highly of Italian men as attentive lovers. Did you feel that in meeting the men there or is it just hype that we see in movies?

TG: Like all people from around the globe, Italian men were interesting to watch, interact with and the stereotype didn’t always apply. What I did notice is that almost every man I saw was dressed wonderfully. Being winter and cool I spent time in the cafés sipping on hot chocolate to help me warm up before heading out to see more of the sites. Let me back up a minute, I should let you know it’s a personal quest of mine to find the world’s best hot chocolate so I must visit places that sell it. Anyway, this seemed to bring out the flirtatious side to some men or maybe it was my attempting to order in stilted Italian. Either way, they smiled and were always helpful be it where I wanted to go or what they thought I should see next. In the end, I have to say the men I spent time with were all polite, thoughtful and definitely aware of being with a woman.

ERWA: Naturally, readers tend to think that authors have “lived” everything they write about. What are some of the real day-to-day experiences you have that seem to run counter to the erotic and romantic “flow” and how do you “get back on track” to feel sensually inspired again?

TG: Laundry and cleaning are my nemesis for getting work done. There are others but these two are always there, nagging at my conscious. Once the chores are finished and I’m struggling to find my way back to where I’d been playing before they reared their ugly heads I’ll often take a bubble bath to think about where the story is stalled and where I want it to go. Another thing I’ll do is to write a short short that’s all about the sex. What’s interesting about the latter choice is that it can sometimes lead to a book. After adding twenty thousand plus word and with the distance of a couple of years, OohRah! was released at Phaze and started out as a sex scene to help me get back in sync with the story I was working on.

ERWA: Your writing range is extensive and you also seem to know a number of other authors. Do you ever share ideas or just talk generally about turn-ons with other writers or do you keep your best ideas to yourself?

TG: I’m very lucky to be able to get together with other authors on a fairly regular basis. Writing has extensive solitary moments and being able to talk with someone else who knows exactly what you’re going through is key to keeping the sanity in check. When all the frustrations, concerns and life happenings have been aired it turns in to a free for all and beware any who are sitting around us listening in because more often than not the subjects are sexual. I remember there were two of us at a town coffee shop during the lunch hour talking about m/m positions. We forgot about everything around us until my friend’s lawyer came over to say hi. What a laugh!

ERWA: Are there ever any scenes you begun and had to scrap because they were just too wild, too erotic, or kinky to bring to the page successfully?

TG: No way! Is that possible? Seriously, it’s a dance and like any choreographer I tinker with the steps until the lovers and their interaction flows beautifully across the page, ending only when everyone is satisfied. I like to challenge myself to write something that will encourage the reader to step out of their comfort zone to look at something they have a preconceived notion about and try to see it in a new way. What can I say, I’m an author who enjoys coloring outside the traditional romance box by making the path to happiness full of pleasure and unpredictability.

ERWA: What are some of your upcoming projects, readers should be looking out for in the future?

TG: I’m very excited because this April Phaze will release Hot Couture, three of my passion for fashion and bondage as a collection. This will include the previously released The Leather Bride and Taming Marie Antoinette, and the debut of The Gilded Cage. Later Ellora’s Cave will release my shape-shifter erotic BDSM romance called Hamish’s Secret. I have more than a few books on my work-in-progress list and all of them are shouting at me to finish them immediately. We’ll see who has the loudest voice but let me tell you it’s difficult to choose between sexy shape-shifting brothers, the devil and an angel, and a woman who demands equality for all. Either way it should be an interesting couple of months, full of heat despite the chill outside.

Visit Tilly’s website: tillygreene.com
Tilly’s blog: tillygreene.blogspot.com


“Who is that?” Max Stephenson nodded toward a busty blonde who stood a short distance away. She was nude, relatively speaking. All she wore was a half mask covering her eyes and nose, and a pair of black tight to mid-thigh ridiculously high stiletto boots. His gaze raced over her curvy form and paused briefly on her big breasts, bare mound and pretty pink cunt. An enchanting package to say the least.

“Ahhh, that’s Cassandra.”


“No, she’s been a member for maybe two years, but she only comes two, maybe three times a year.”

“I see she’s not wearing a collar, is she free?”

“Oh yeah, very free. There’s a note on her key that says no attachments wanted.”

“You’re kidding me, sounds like a dream come true. Someone sexy and gorgeous to play with and fuck without worrying they want to take it further.” This woman sounded like he needed an introduction, and if his dick was anything to go by, it had better be quick. It’s been a long time since he’s been turned on by someone’s looks alone. He wanted a bit of feminine fluff who was intelligent, with a body made for pleasure, and had a life of their own. As far as he’s found, this is an endangered species.

“You don’t know the half of it. I’ve had her for a couple of sessions. She’s a real live wire who’s in to some seriously good kink. Trust me, she’s here strictly for the sex.”

Tonight he and Shane Carmichael, friend and partner, were sitting at a corner table, watching the crowd, as they caught up on business. He wouldn’t mind if she diverted his attention for a couple of hours. When she looked their way, Max took the opportunity to crook his finger and bid her to come to them.

“There’s nothing prettier than an eager and horny woman.” He said, never looking away from her as she made her way over to them.

“Especially one who gave me one of the best blowjob I’ve ever experienced.”

“Really?” He couldn’t get that idea out of his head as she stopped beside his chair. For the past couple of years, work made him an infrequent visitor to Succulent. As a silent partner, he knew the rules and, if she was willing, he wanted to indulge himself with her.

“Hello, are you with anyone this evening?”

“No, Sir. I’m free to play.” She lifted her hand so the key dangling from her wrist was presented for him to peruse to see if they were sexually compatible. He didn’t immediately take it in hand because he was caught up in the pull of her dark eyes. The lighting was dim, but he could still see they were pools of black ink, intriguing. After a moment, he blinked and looked down, carefully reading what sex acts she’d listed on the basic white card he held. There was no stopping his smile when he read the final notation. May come back for seconds, but no outside relationships. This statement left no doubt where she was coming from. Fine with him, his hard-on supported the physical attraction between them and from her key, it appeared they were of the same mind when it came to sex.

“The Gilded Cage” © 2008 Tilly Greene

William S. Dean
March 2008

“Erotic Hot Spots” © 2008 by William S. Dean. All rights reserved.

New Times for Readers & Writers

Welcome to 2008 and the spinning, vertigo-inducing New Age of the graphic novel. The struggle for dominance is over. Old school print-only books are not dead by any means, but peaceful co-existence is achieved. Doubt me? Then take a stroll into your local Borders or Barnes & Noble and take a gander at the shelves where the majority of today’s readers stand browsing or engrossed in glossy, larger than standard publications. And don’t be surprised if you see names familiar in any and every genre. From horror to science-fiction/fantasy, from literature and fine art to erotica, graphic novels are the medium and the message is clear: You want us.

Erotica Readers & Writers Association has lightly covered graphic novels in the past with brief reviews and overviews (Graphic Novels: Vividly explicit), but, frankly, today that’s not enough. As readers, you want to go behind the scenes and keep up with what’s coming at you. As writers, you need to know the bones and flesh, to explore the creative minds that are leading you, and the publishers who want you in their pantheon. You want it, so, we’re launching a brand spanking new section that will be your track into graphic and adult novels.

First off, let’s be clear that the very term “graphic novel” is a fluid thing. Like any genre or medium, it’s self-defining. That means it is constantly changing, morphing, altering, adapting, and expanding to embrace the concepts imaginative writers, artists, editors, and publishers are bringing to the reading and buying public. One of the all-encompassing adjectives that best applies right now is “pervasive.” That goes for content as well as promotion.

For example, once considered a small niche, graphic novels are now so prominent that for the past few years smart Hollywood producers and project creators have been plumbing the genre for big-budget screeners like Sin City, Constantine, and Hitman. Like interactive multi-player games, graphic novels are becoming the stepping stones into your big screen entertainment options. Small screen, too, as IDW Publishing, for example, promotes its own tie-in trio of books inserted in the newly released DVD of 30 Days of Night.

Interactivity and promotion are keystones for graphic novel publishers and creators. Home-printable posters of the artwork from new graphic books is just one of the innovative ways of bringing product right down to the grassroots where readers and buyers live. Podcasting, too, is becoming more and more prominent, with artist-writer interviews, video of art panels, and up-to-the-minute presentations of forthcoming works.

One of the better movers and shakers online is The Graphic Novel Archive where you can roam through over 9,000 graphic novels and collected editions and subscribe to their free newsletter.

In the spring, Harry Abrams, Inc. will be bringing out the long-awaited Erotic Comics : A Graphic History from Tijuana Bibles to Zap Comix. Considered classics in the genre, the old Tijuana bibles date from the 1920s and 1930s with sexual adventures featuring cartoon characters such as Popeye, Betty Boop, and Blondie. Zap Comix were the harbingers of today’s “adult comic books” featuring stories and art from R. Crumb and tales of The Furry Freak Brothers, Fritz the Cat, and Mr. Natural. If you’re too young to have participated live in the psychedelic, free-love generation of the 1960s, this is your chance to get a taste of the mindset and get your groove on.

Icarus Publishing, which specializes in Manga and Anime graphic books is already promoting its content in bit-torrent download format with over 100 pages of uncensored stories and art. How much more media savvy can you get when graphic novels are becoming available via bit-torrent?

It’s not merely the latest flash node either, as graphic novel courses are popping up prominently in university and college English courses. Professor Philip Nel’s English 440 is a good example of graphic novel classes.

The London Book Fair, scheduled for April, 2008, will feature over 50 graphic novel publishers, literary representatives, and trade commissions from the United States, India, Italy, the Russian federation, Germany, Australia, Canada, France, Belgium, and Spain, as well as across the UK.

All this means is that if you’re not already thinking about, reading, writing, or creating art for the graphic novel medium, you’re simply not cutting-edge. Now, there’s nothing wrong with old school, we all appreciate the traditions and quality, but to paraphrase a famous gentleman, the choice is now yours—whether to be one of the giants, or to stand on the giants’ shoulders to look into new vistas opening up in graphic novels.

See you next month…

William S. Dean
January 2008

Recommended premium online sources:

  • Adult Cartoon Zone has a stunning collection of everything in the adult graphic world.
  • Hentai DVX has an extensive library of uncensored full length hentai movies and clips, all downloadable.
  • Manga HQ features hardcore Japanese manga, yaoi, premium series, and more.
  • Adult Comics World is a cartoon lover’s heaven. Includes Bill Ward collection and much, much more.

“Getting Graphic” © 2008 by William S. Dean. All rights reserved.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie
From Adam & Eve - Based on the Book by New York Times Bestselling Authors Selena Kitt



Pin It on Pinterest