Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Monday, May 25, 2015

Notice for Unspeakably Erotic: Taboo Lesbian Kink

Please note the call for Unspeakably Erotic:Taboo Lesbian Kink has been cancelled by the publisher.

Adrienne
-

Sunday, May 24, 2015

25 or 6 to 4

by Kathleen Bradean

There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t write.
– Terry Pratchett

I always say, if you can't think of anything to write, go meta and talk about not being able to write. Okay, I never say that. But I am having a difficult time writing at the moment, and I'm in California, so here I am evoking writer's block as a topic.

According to legend, the lyricist for the 70s band Chicago was up all night trying to write a song. He looked across the room at the clock and saw that it was about 25 or 26 until 4 in the morning. I've heard that song maybe a hundred times but didn't realize it was about writer's block until recently. I still don't like the song much, but at least now it makes sense.

I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.
– Erica Jong

I've been trying to write the next novel in my series. The first scene has defeated me. Maybe I expect too much from it for a first draft even though I know better. I asked other writers how they get past this sort of opening scene paralysis. Some said they skip writing the first scene or chapter until the rest of the novel is finished. This makes sense, because by then a writer should understand the bigger theme of their work, the tone, etc and how best to bring the reader to that. Others say they just write anything, knowing that they'll throw it out later. 

My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.
– Anton Chekhov

Another writer confided that many of her writer friends can not get past their first chapters. Ever. The pursuit of perfection kills their creativity. I'm not trying to be perfect. All I want is to know I've got it mostly right.

 The work never matches the dream of perfection the artist has to start with.
– William Faulkner


I'm a terribly inefficient writer. I've mentioned this before. I write to find the story and toss out the thousands of words it took to get there. I'm like Thelma from Scooby Doo, touching everything in search of my glasses. The difference is that she knows when she can see. I have sight, but have no confidence that I can create my vision. The first scene poses a question. The rest of the story answers that question. How can you even begin to ask when you've lost your voice?

From Kathy's Song by Simon and Garfunkel
....and a song I was writing is left undone/ I don't know why I spend my time/ writing songs I can't believe/ with words that tear and strain to rhyme 



How do you get past writer's block? Do you believe it's real?






Saturday, May 23, 2015

Does a Print Option Lend Credence?

by Lucy Felthouse

A while back, I posed the question on my Facebook page about whether, if I put one of my self-published titles into print via Createspace, people would want to buy it. I got various responses, most of which were favourable, so I did indeed go through the process of putting the title into print on demand.

But a comment one person made really made me think. I can't remember the exact wording they used, but it was something along the lines of, if an eBook is also available in print, it makes it appear more professional, less like a self-published title. Even if it is self-published. Apparently, it just gives the impression of more professionalism, probably something to do with that if the author has gone to the trouble of putting the book into paperback format, that they'll also have gone to the trouble of getting the book properly edited, formatted, etc. I can understand the thinking - we all know how many crappy quality books are out there, and not just self-published ones, either. We have to battle against opinions that eBooks are somehow inferior to print books, and also, that indie published stuff hasn't been professionally produced. It's infuriating, but there it is. All we can do is hope our books get into people's hands, and that those people will then leave positive reviews on Amazon. Or even negative ones, if they didn't like the story - you can win 'em all, after all - but at least if they make no comment on terrible formatting, spelling, grammar and so on, then at least other readers can rest assured that the book's been done right.

But simply selling a book in both eBook and print format - does that give it extra credence? Make you more confident you're buying a quality product? There's no right or wrong answer here, guys, I really want to know what you think. As I said, the original commenter really gave me pause for thought, as it wasn't something I'd considered before, so your opinion would be much appreciated. And please, share the post and encourage your friends to weigh in, too. It's a very interesting topic, so the more opinions, the better.

Happy Reading!
Lucy x

*****

Author Bio:


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

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Welcome, Darkness

By Lisabet Sarai


It’s early in May. I have just submitted the final manuscript for my latest Excessica book, entitled Fourth World. I’ve been planning this book, a collection of paranormal erotica, for quite a while, so I sent it off with no small sense of satisfaction.

Over the past two days I’ve been immersed in editing the seven tales that comprise this volume. As I read and re-read them, I was startled to realize that not one of them has an unambiguously happy ending. That’s very rare, for me. I generally consider myself an optimist, and I’d definitely label myself as sex-positive. So why am I suddenly publishing a whole book of stories where no character gets exactly what he or she wants? A book in which at least one character actually dies by the story’s conclusion, while others are irrevocably damaged—where the surviving protagonists live with grief, confusion, frustration or profound ennui?


You might surmise that I wrote these tales during a difficult time in my own life, that they mirror some negativity in my own soul. That’s not the case, though. The stories in Fourth World cover more than a decade of my career, a decade, as it happens, of great success and personal satisfaction.

Another theory might be that these stories represent a reaction to the relentless emphasis on happy endings in romance. There’s some truth to that notion. When I wrote “Renfield’s Lament”, about two years ago, I was feeling fed up with HEAs. I deliberately crafted the darkest tale I could imagine, just to see how far I could push the envelope while still arousing my readers (and myself). Some of the earlier stories in the book, though, come from the period before I began writing erotic romance at all, when I was blissfully innocent about the demands of market and genre.

Perhaps the ambiguity in these tales reflects my convictions about magic. Since I was a kid, I’ve loved fairy tales and fantasy, but even back then I understood that power always exacts its price. Miracles occur, but they require sacrifices. Wotan forfeits an eye in his quest for wisdom; Frodo Baggins loses a finger in fulfilling his quest. No one walks through the fires of the supernatural and emerges unscathed. Plus, one has to admit there is something seductive about the shadows, something hypnotic about evil, especially when it clothes itself in exquisite, responsive flesh.

Ultimately the why doesn’t matter. These stories are what they are. Of course, once I’d noticed the dark trend in the book, I started to worry. Should I throw in a couple of lighter tales, to balance the cruelty and violence (physical and emotional) in the ones I’d originally chosen? Would anyone actually buy this book without at least a few happy-for-nows?

I decided against that compromise. The seven stories in Fourth World make an organic whole. They represent some of the most intense erotica I’ve ever writtenscalding, twisted, nasty, no-holds-barred lust, triggered and augmented by magic. I personally find the endings satisfying, at least from a literary perspective. They have an inevitability that feels right.

There’s something freeing for me about publishing this book. Readers who want happy endings can pick up some of my erotic romance or romantic erotica, which is mostly what I write. Fourth World is aimed at those of you who are braver, or more curiouspeople who recognize that when you have blood-sucking demons, someone’s going to get hurt.

To them, I say: come explore the shadows with me. Welcome, darkness.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sexy Snippets for May




It's the 19th of May. That means it's Sexy Snippets Day! Time to share the hottest mini-excerpts you can find from your published work. 

The ERWA blog is not primarily intended for author promotion. However, we've decided we should give our author/members an occasional opportunity to expose themselves (so to speak) to the reading public. Hence, we have declared the 19th of every month at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog Sexy Snippet Day.

On Sexy Snippet day, any author can post a tiny excerpt (200 words or less) in a comment on the day's post. Include the title from with the snippet was extracted, your name or pseudonym, and one buy link, if you'd like.

Please post excerpts only from published work (or work that is free for download), not works in progress. The goal, after all, is to titillate your readers and seduce them into buying your books!

Feel free to share this with erotic author friends. It's an open invitation!

Of course I expect you to follow the rules. If your excerpt is more than 200 words or includes more than one link, I'll remove your comment and prohibit you from participating in further Sexy Snippet days. I'll say no more!

After you've posted your snippet, feel free to share the post as a whole to Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you think your readers hang out.

Have fun!

~ Lisabet

Monday, May 18, 2015

“Don’t Have Sex, It Makes You Sad”

by Donna George Storey

“Carnegie Mellon Researchers Find More Sex Doesn’t Lead to Increased Happiness.” Variations of this headline made the news a few days ago. It even got discussion time on Larry Wilmore’s Nightly Show. I had a hunch the headline was misleading—these things always are, especially when it comes to sex--but I wasn’t surprised the story was all over the Internet, because this “scientific discovery” played right into the sticky hands of our society’s erotophobia.

The Carnegie Mellon University website provides a more detailed—and perhaps unwittingly humorous—description of the study. With grant money from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Carnegie Mellon researchers recruited 64 married couples who were not having any particular difficulties in their sexual or emotional relationships. They “experimentally assigned” 32 of the couples to have sex twice as often as they usually did for a three-month period, while the control group of 32 continued to have sex whenever they desired it. The couples filled out surveys about their sex habits and happiness at the beginning and end of the study as well as shorter surveys each day.

At the end of the study, the couples who were asked to double their sexual activity were slightly less happy with their sex lives “in part because the increased frequency led to a decline in wanting for and enjoyment of sex.” This study was published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization.

Yes, let’s pause for a moment to roll our eyes and say, “Um, can the Pennsylvania Department of Health ask for its money back?”

Now, back when I was an undergraduate, I used to enjoy volunteering for studies run by the psychology department. They usually paid me a nominal fee, enough to buy a blend-in at the nearby ice cream parlor, but my real motivation was trying to figure out what the researchers were really testing. Even then, I suspected that what they told me was not the whole story, a suspicion confirmed by studies described in social psychology books, which, for better or worse, I read for fun. Unfortunately the Carnegie Mellon researchers might have been so distracted by the word “sex,” they themselves didn’t realize what they were really studying, which is what happens when you coerce people to engage in pleasurable activities rather than do so of their own volition. Is it any surprise that fun becomes a chore rather than a pleasure?

The study’s lead investigator, George Loewenstein, a professor of economics and psychology (Economics? Well, as I always say, sex does sell but not for as much as you think), stated that the findings were a surprise and a disappointment because, “We were expecting that the people who had more sex would enjoy it a lot and would be happier, and it would be good for the relationship.”

Right, I know. I’m happier when I’m having “more” rather than “less” sex myself. While I am heartened to know that the original intention was sex-positive, I am still concerned that funds for a study of sexuality, which are very difficult to find in our country, was squandered with such obvious blindness, not to say simple-mindedness. Yet this study received funding and was published. On a positive note, the professor did develop a bit more insight into the flaws of his endeavor.

"Perhaps couples changed the story they told themselves about why they were having sex, from an activity voluntarily engaged in to one that was part of a research study. If we ran the study again, and could afford to do it, we would try to encourage subjects into initiating more sex in ways that put them in a sexy frame of mind, perhaps with babysitting, hotel rooms or Egyptian sheets, rather than directing them to do so.”

Egyptian sheets? I haven’t tried those yet, but I am intrigued! And does the babysitter just watch the kids or get involved? But do remember, Professor, to think through the Egyptian sheet factor and put in a control group who does it on ordinary sheets. Otherwise you could embarrass yourself again.

Because, of course, the more significant part of this discussion is that its “findings” about sexuality have been reported all over the Internet, as, for example, the results of another article in same issue of the journal, “Dry Promotions and Community Participation: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment in Brazilian Fishing Villages” was not.

Even the Carnegie Mellon website, quoted at the beginning of this post, is misleading, but in the popular press, the anti-sex message is dialed up.

Having too much sex can make you unhappy, study finds

Um, no, it finds that when you coerce people to have twice as much sex as they’d naturally choose to, they don’t describe themselves as “happier” in a survey.”

“Can Lots of Sex Actually Make You Unhappy?”

Please define “lots” for the audience, which is twice as much as you’d normally choose for three months, which should be more accurately described as “coerced sex.”

“Sex and happiness linked but not how you thought”

Actually, they’re linked in exactly the way I thought. Quality is a more important factor for satisfaction than quantity, but my experience also convinced me that having more satisfying sex does not make me less happy.

“Study Confirms Sex Does Not Make You Happier”

The study does not confirm that all sex makes you less happy, which is implied in this headline. Some kinds of sex in certain circumstances may indeed make you less happy, such as when you’re ordered to have more sex by a CMU researcher who clearly is not a very inspiring Dom, which the study does address in a limited way.

Quantity is definitely at issue as if our journalistic guardians want to assure us that “more” sex will be dangerous to our emotional wellbeing. If you think about it, “more” means desire for sex, as in “Gee, I wish I were having more sex than I am.” But the headlines assure us if we got what we desired, we’d be less happy, so the implied “scientific” warning is to stop wishing for sex and, uh, do more work or buy more stuff or go to church instead? The history of sexuality confirms that those in power have always been concerned with keeping sexual activity under control whether through law, religion or rhetoric--and, by the way, they always fail to accomplish this to their satisfaction. But, as we see, this noble and time-honored mission continues as of May 2015.

To be fair, if you actually read the articles, the study is described and the reader can draw her own conclusions about whether the feelings of couples who are forced to have sex impacts her personal sexual decisions and desires. Even the weirdest article, “Study Confirms Sex Does Not Make You Happier,” turns from anti-sex to a more supportive tone by the end. The articles themselves aren’t as negative, but how many people read beyond the catchy warning—“Don’t have sex, it makes you sad.”

On the contrary, the general conclusion in the texts is “the quality of sex is more important than the quantity.” Why didn’t that message make the headline?

The public is clearly hungry for more information about sex including thoughtful scientific studies, honest anecdotes, and advice that respects the importance of sexuality in our lives. Sadly, because of this desire for more knowledge about a taboo subject, such misleading and sensational headlines will continue to get the attention they do not deserve.

So, again fellow erotica writers, please keep on writing about the erotic experience with intelligence and insight. Your voices will indeed bring more happiness to the world!

Donna George Storey is the author of Amorous Woman and a collection of short stories, Mammoth Presents the Best of Donna George Storey. Learn more about her work at www.DonnaGeorgeStorey.com or http://www.facebook.com/DGSauthor