Thursday, August 30, 2012
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Erotic Fantasy Live Chat with the Pros
Featuring Janine Ashbless
WHEN: Saturday, September 15th, at 3:00pm EST, (12 noon PST; 8:00pm GMT)
WHERE: ERWA chats are held on the ShadowWorld chat server, channel, #erachat.
DIRECTIONS: Go to ShadowWorld chat server. On screen you'll see 'Connect o ShadowWorld IRC'. In the Nickname box, key in your name. Leave the channels box at #ERAChat, and click 'Connect'. A chat text box will appear at the bottom of your screen. Those who prefer a modern interface with way-cool functions, follow the directions at ERWA Chat Access.
Janine Ashbless has a reputation for writing erotic fantasy and paranormal stories and novels, and for putting her own twist on fairy tales, mythology and folklore. She is published by Black Lace, Cleis Press, Ellora's Cave, Samhain Publishing, Mischief Books and Sweetmeats Press. Recent publications include a story in the much anticipated Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire edited by Mitzi Szereto, with a Foreword by Piers Anthony (Cleis Press, September 2012; ISBN: 157344815X). If you read and/or write within the Fantasy genre Janine is the lady to talk to.
Read about Janine Ashbless at: www.janineashbless.com
Mark your calendars and be there for ERWA's Live Chat with Janine Ashbless!
Send questions to Adrienne
Monday, August 27, 2012
by Jean Roberta
Please excuse me if I seem a little distracted. (For one thing, I’m posting this a day late. I hope I’m not intruding.) I’ve spent much of the last few weeks in the 1860s.
Historical fiction fascinates me, especially when it includes more explicit sex than the “serious” literary works of the time generally did. At about the same time I joined the Erotic Readers Association (as it was called) in 1998, I read The Mammoth Book of Historical Erotica, edited by Maxim Jakubowski. The table of contents (and authors) was like a who’s-who of noteworthy erotic writers of the time, and several of the characters were famous people from the past. Most of the stories seemed to answer questions about history and the game-changers in it that most readers had been afraid to ask (e.g. What did Personage X really do in bed? How Freudian was Freud?).
Like several recent Hollywood movies, historical erotica shows the past more clearly and apparently more accurately than it could have been shown at the time.
Among movies that show a kind of photoshopped version of the past is Goya in Bordeaux, a 1999 biopic about the Spanish painter Francisco Goya (1746-1828) which uses the same colour palette and chiaroscuro (dramatic contrast between light and shade) that Goya used in his paintings, suggesting that Goya might have made a film like this if the technology had existed in his time. There is also Schindler’s List, a heartbreaking 1993 movie about the Holocaust which was shot in black-and-white to give it the flavour of the 1940s. Although actual films from that era still exist, they don’t look nearly as good.
There seems to be a bottomless appetite for books, films, plays, musicals and even roleplay set in an interesting era in the past which is shown with attractive clarity, and often with some degree of historical accuracy, but without certain disappointing restrictions. (For example, the four-course “medieval feast” which was put on by the local Society for Creative Anachronism several years ago was delicious because all the food was fresh. How likely is it that even royalty in the centuries between 600 and 1600 ate that well?)
Quite a few works of historical fiction with explicit sex scenes have appeared since Maxim Jakubowski’s “mammoth” tome (part of a series of “mammoth” erotic anthologies). British author “James Lear” has written a series of “Mitch Mitchell mysteries” about a crime-solving American medical doctor living in Edinburgh in the 1920s. While investigating murders on the side, as it were, “Mitch” has an amazing number of sexual encounters with other men, even though male-on-male sex was strictly illegal in Britain at the time. These books, published by U.S.-based Cleis Press, have acquired a cult following. Several of these novels seem to be based on older books that are thought of as “classics” (Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie, Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson). The allusions to the “classics” are part of the author’s game (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).
In 2011, Cleis Press published Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto, a good-natured romp through Jane Austen’s most popular romance novel. The frequent and varied sex scenes in Szereto’s version actually seem to suit the characters and the plot, and the sex exaggerates the social satire which is present in the original novel. Mitzi Szereto’s version was not the first rewriting of Pride and Prejudice since 2000.
Therefore I was not surprised to read that British publisher Total E-Bound has launched an erotic imprint, “Clandestine Classics.” Here is the publisher’s description:
“There is no doubting the fact that the classics remain an inspiration to writers, even today, with many complex and thought-provoking storylines. But if we are honest with ourselves haven’t we heard the same reserved tale told time and time again?
Our collection of Clandestine Classics is about to change that. This is a collection of classics as they have never been seen before.
The old fashioned pleasantries and timidity have all been stripped away, quite literally. You didn’t really think that these much loved characters only held hands and pecked cheeks did you? Come with us, as we embark on a breathtaking experience—behind the closed bedroom doors of our favourite, most-beloved British characters. Learn what Sherlock really thought of Watson, what Mr Darcy really wanted to do to Miss Elizabeth Bennet, and unveil the sexy escapades of Mr Rochester and Jane Eyre. We’ll show you the scenes that you always wanted to see but were never allowed. Come on, you know you can’t resist...open the pages and delve inside.”
Of course, this imprint is controversial. Some readers are uncomfortable with fanfic (the rewriting of someone else’s work) even when it does not include vivid descriptions of sex or desire. However, I think there is some truth in the line “the scenes that you always wanted to see but were never allowed.” Explicitly sexual novels were written in English in past centuries (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure, better known as “Fanny Hill,” was first published in 1749), but these publications were so plagued by legal and social persecution that writers (especially “lady writers”) who wanted to avoid trouble generally avoided describing physical expressions of lust. I think it’s fair to speculate on what certain dead writers would have written if they could have been assured that they would get away with it.
Personally, I would feel uncomfortable writing a sexually-explicit version of an actual novel which is still popular in its original form, but so far, I’ve enjoyed reading such books.
So why have I spent several weeks in the 1860s? Because I’ve had two months away from my classroom job, and therefore I’ve been able to finish writing my raunchy pirate novella, The Flight of the Black Swan, in which a rag-tag crew of gay-male exiles from Her Majesty’s Navy (plus one lesbian and one transman) cross the Atlantic in a stolen sailing ship to intercept a blockade-runner carrying precious tobacco and bales of cotton during the American Civil War. Emily, the heroine, feels at first like a mermaid on the ship, a member of an alien species, but as things turn out, she finds the perfect woman to share her life with—along with the lives of her husband and his lover.
Even though I was inspired by the comic tone of Gilbert & Sullivan’s unbelievable Victorian operettas about sailors and pirates, I’ve tried to keep historical inaccuracies down to a minimum. Google is definitely my friend, and I’ve actually learned more than I needed to about the technology of the 1860s.
Would a journalist of the time have ink-stained fingers? Yes. Commercially-available typewriters were not available until E. Remington & Sons sold the first model in 1873. Could news of the Union victory in 1865 be sent to England by Morse telegraph? Yes, but not right away. The first transatlantic message went through in July 1866. Would the British Navy really be willing to retire a wooden sailing ship in the 1860s? Definitely. The ironclad HMS Warrior of 1861 marked the end of the Age of Sail. Luckily, sex itself (as distinct from culturally-specific words) is fairly timeless, and that includes the same-gender varieties.
My novella is currently in the hands of the publisher. Time will tell whether readers will find its version of realism to be magical enough.
Posted by Jean Roberta at 6:32 PM
Tuesday, August 21, 2012
By Lisabet Sarai
I am not holding my own writing up as a model here. I'm merely trying to illustrate what I mean by "mirroring". There's very little direct description of sensation in this passage but I hope that it evokes the intensity of this experience for my heroine.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Talent. Luck. Hard work. If you have all three, you will definitely be published. With only two, you have a good chance of seeing your work in print. With just one, your chances fall considerably, although it’s still possible, especially if you’re blessed with luck. I’ve forgotten exactly where I read this advice when I was a novice writer, but it’s stayed with me for over a decade (my apologies to the veteran who wrote this—I hope the sharing of your wisdom will partially make up for the lack of attribution!)
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Chances are, if you ever drank to get drunk, once or twice you've drank to the point of regret. I certainly have. It's a terrible feeling to awaken to the knowledge that you're not where you usually expect to be, then wonder what transpired.
The little story that follows tells of such a situation, and a surprising outcome, and through it all, a change in a life, or at least the possibility of one.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Last month, fate and a friend gave me an ultimatum: finish my novel, Beautiful Losers, or lose the opportunity to see it published by a prestigious press.
As much as I say I don’t care about being published, the confrontation was a reality check. Was I going grab opportunity by the balls and get this book out there, or let it wallow in the digital swamp forever? Was I a competent writer or just a pretender? It seems, to my surprise, that a deadline is my friend.
So I finished it: the four final chapters in two weeks. Admittedly, I had known how the book would end for over a year (come on, you KNOW how it ends), but the motivation to sit my butt down and write it had eluded me.
I suspect I’m not alone in this strange hesitation to close what’s been opened. Some writers fervently create and cling to outlines as a way of making sure they push themselves to the last period. I sequentially put my inability to finish down to a lack of planning, a fear of saying goodbye to the characters, a lack of discipline as a writer, etc.
It turns out that none of these were the problem at all. My problem was a fear to revisit a level of writing that I believed I had surpassed. I didn’t want to spend time in the pool of my own earlier inadequacies.
But when the two-week deadline forced me to get my head back into the work, I found a vibrant, optimistic, and charming voice there. Perhaps a little over-exuberant, perhaps a little addicted to adverbs, but nothing that a stiff bout of editing could not cure. I made peace with the fact that this was a younger writer.
So here, for what it is worth, is the recipe to how I edited and finished the book:
- Chapterize the objectives
I knew how the story would end, but I knew I would lose interest in doing the job if I thought about it to much. So I didn’t really outline the ending. I simply typed sentences of WHERE the story needed to be at that point. That would allow me to be creative about how the characters got there, but still forced me to get there.
- Revise and Edit.
I knew one of the challenges was going to be getting back into the headspace, storyspace and the voice of the story. I spent one whole week revising and editing the first 50,000 words. When I say ‘one week’, I don’t mean a 40 hour week. I figure this phase took me about 70 hours.
a. First read through with a pen in hand, noting every time I winced or shuddered and why.
b. First edit to fix discontinuities or plot issues that needed earlier strengthening. I used my notes from the first read-through and would jump back to shore up character traits, reactions, settings. I fixed any discontinuity issues, and sometimes I added nuance. Dialed down foreshadowing in places, strengthened it in others.
c. The second edit was all about language: grammar, punctuation and style. I have a propensity to over-use certain words, phrases and sentence structures. I used http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp to identify repetitions. Then I’d search for the word and fascistically decide if it really needed to be there at all, or if a synonym might do (‘very’ and ‘really’ are two of my sick addictions). I also searched the whole document for *ly . I looked at every adverb. Did it need to be there? Was there a better verb?
d. Read-through again for fluidity. I work on a mac, so I use the read-aloud function, but you could easily just force yourself to read aloud. I listened for jarring rhythm, overly long sentences, and anything that interfered with smooth reading. It also is good for listening critically to dialogue. I corrected as I went along.
- Write the final chapters.
By then, I was deeply into the zone. I felt comfortable about the tone of the writing and wasn’t so worried that the last chapters would sound too different, writing-wise.
- Repeat step 2 a, b, c and d with the new writing.
- Last read-through.
At this point, I knew I wouldn’t recognize a good novel if it crawled up my nose and took a bite out of my brain. All I was concerned with was ensuring it held together fairly well.
- Other eyes.
I sent out a call for beta-readers. Luckily, because I had serialized Beautiful Losers on my blog, there were many people willing to read the draft, because they wanted to know the ending. In exchange, I asked them to note down any typos, grammatical errors, and anything else that really jarred them storywise.
- Went through all the crits, reader by reader, and corrected any errors they found. Thanked the readers profusely.
This did not make the perfect novel. And, had I had the time, there were some plot structure things I would have liked to change, but my two weeks were up and my deadline loomed. I sent the MS in to the publisher.
In an even midly sane world, I would have really liked a professional editor, but I knew I didn’t have the time to work with one. I would have received great feedback and been unable to incorporate it. And I knew that would make me feel like shit.
I’m pretty sure there is a better way to finish a novel. But this was the way I did it. I hope there is something of value in my experience for other writers.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Monday, August 6, 2012
Thursday, August 2, 2012
From the Erotica Readers & Writers Association
By Lisabet Sarai
Dear Erotica Addicts,
Don't go to the Erotica Readers & Writers Association website this month! Unless you're on vacation, that is! The August edition includes so much fabulous content that, I'm warning you, you'll get sucked right in and not be able to escape. On the other hand, if that sounds like something you might enjoy - well, then, read on.
The August Erotica Galleries are perhaps the biggest, stickiest trap of all. Headlining a stellar line-up is our featured guest, feisty author/editor Delilah Devlin. Delihah serves up a tasty trio of erotic tales ranging from sizzling sapphic explorations to marital power games. Our prolific Storytime members add a half-dozen never-before-published stories that run the gamut from noir to desperately kinky, including a bawdy historical novella set during the American War of Independence. Then there are some fabulous flashers, complete erotic tales in two hundred words or less - some more tongue in cheek than others. Finally, don't miss the poetry section: a generous portion of hilariously raunchy limericks plus a page of more serious poems that drip with desire.
I'm incredibly impressed - and let me tell you, that's not easy to accomplish!
Get lost in literary lust:
If, like me, you're a willing slave to the written word, our Books for Sensual Readers section should be your next stop. In the short story category, let me recommend PICTURE PERFECT: THE BEST OF DONNA GEORGE STOREY (published by the Mammoth Books people) or Rachel Kramer Bussel's latest anthology ANYTHING FOR YOU: EROTICA FOR KINKY COUPLES (which includes a story by yours truly). Then there's STRETCHED: EROTIC FICTION THAT FONDLES THE IMAGINATION, edited by Tinder James and featuring contributions from several ERWAers.
Fairy tales seem all the rage these days. NAMED AND SHAMED by Janine Ashbless is a lavishly imagined and beautifully illustrated foray into a dark fairy tale world of the flesh. Jason Robert Macumber gives us NEVER AFTER, a revisionist version of Snow White in which the brutalized princess turns assassin for hire, wielding a dagger carved from the famous magic mirror.
Lily Harlem, writing from the male POV for the new Ellora's Cave for Men erotica imprint, presents the transgressive, orally-focused DESSERT. If you're looking for pure erotic romance (though not "pure" in the sense of "chaste"!), pick up Lynne Connolly's latest foray into the world of music, IN THE MOOD.
I was thrilled to see that gay erotica legend Simon Sheppard has finally published a novel. THE DIRTY BOYS CLUB: THE SOAP OPERA MURDERS is going near the top of my TBR list. And if you're craving some hot woman-on-woman fiction - and don't object to spankings or bondage - check out Miranda Forbe's new lesbian anthology KINKY GIRLS.
As you all know (unless you're new to the Erotic Lure or have been living under a rock) all the erotic goodness that is ERWA is supported by commissions from our affiliates. So if you're going to buy any of the hundreds of books we feature (and, really, how can you resist?), please use the convenient links to our partners Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Gutenberg had no idea what he started:
And where do all these wonderful erotic works come from? In many cases, from members of the ERWA community. Our Authors Resources pages are designed to help you (yes, YOU!) write and publish your sexy masterpieces. Month after month, we provide guidance, inspiration and information for authors both new and seasoned. This month, my ErotoGeek series on technological aspects of modern authorship continues with "I Want to Be Alone" - suggestions to help you protect your identity and your privacy on-line as you promote. Check out Cindi Meyers' market news for the latest on new publishers as well as inside dope on what different editors are seeking. The Writers' Resources link leads to a full page of links to other blogs and websites, including review sites, craft-related sites, and on-line reference sites.
The ERWA Submissions and Guidelines page is THE place erotica authors go to look for publishing opportunities. Updated throughout the month, our listings include print and epublishing venues in every sub-genre of erotica. We can help you find a market for your work, whether it's BDSM (e.g. Blushing Books), GLBTQ (e.g. Dreamspinner, Toquere, JMS Press), taboo erotica (e.g. ForbiddenFiction), speculative erotica (e.g. Circlet Press), literary erotica (e.g. OC Press), or erotic romance (too many to list!). We can even help you give it away to charity. (Check out Coming Together altruistic erotica if you want to "do good while being bad"!)
This month, our new calls include ebook anthologies being assembled by the new Mischief imprint, under editorship of Adam Nevill. There's also a call for GLBTQ stories from newcomer Riptide Publishing, offering starting royalty levels of 50%. Circlet Press is assembling an anthology, "Under Cover of Darkness", focused on villains. Shane Allison has a gay call out with the title "He Looks Like Trouble". These are just a few of the possibilities we list.
You deserve to be published:
Although our name focuses on "reading" and "writing", here at ERWA we're just as keen on action as on words. In the Sex Toy Playground this month, the folks from Good Vibrations present the "Top Ten Anal Sex Facts". (One or two surprised even me.) Mr. and Mrs. Toy join in the backdoor enthusiasm with their review of the Aneros Vice vibrating anal toy. Our regular Sex Toy Scuttlebutt column keeps you informed about the many popular and innovative amorous implements available. (As my Master would point out, knowledge is power.) And should you feel the urge to acquire any of these masterpieces of modern erotic technology, ERWA has arranged discounts for you from Adam & Eve, Adult DVD Empire, Good Vibrations and Babeland. Just include our special promotional code when you order.
Explore every erotic artifact you can imagine - and more;
Of course sex toys and adult movies go together like - oh, like blindfolds and hand cuffs. Our Adult Movies pages offer everything from tasteful, tender couples porn to total filth unredeemed by the slightest shred of plot. My top pick this month is the sex-drenched adult comedy "Love, Marriage and Other Bad Ideas", about a marriage counselor who is wholly opposed to the institution. In the dirty smutty porn category, check out "The Pill", in which voluptuous Bibi Jones offers up her body to medical research, testing the effects of a new aphrodisiac. Yes, I know that premise sounds flimsy, but that's not the point, is it? In searching the classic porn category, I was distressed to see some of the listings were films I consider recent releases... how time flies! I honed in on "Two at Once", a French erotic flick released in 1978. Now that's what I call classic.
These are just samples of the fabulous films you can browse at ERWA. Dig deeper and you'll find AVN award winners, sexy how-to flicks, porn parodies, and lots more.
Inside the Erotic Mind this month, ERWA visitors discuss the thorny question of finding love online. We have three fascinating pages of frank confessions on the topic. Want to share your own thoughts or experiences? Just click on the Participate link.
Dare to venture inside the erotic mind:
Our August Web Gem is Eden Fantasys online adult emporium. Whether you're looking for your first sex toy or your twentieth, something vanilla or kinky, a product large or small, Eden Fantasys has choices for you. Enjoy a secure shopping experience and a wealth of inspiring resources that include forums, advice, reviews, and product videos for the web-savvy shopper. Stop by to shop, and enjoy the welcoming community at Eden Fantasys. They even have an erotic book club!
So, are you still with me? Or did you get hung up, leafing through our book reviews or drooling over something outrageous in the Playground? Don't say I didn't warn you!
Hard to believe that it will be September next month, with the first day of autumn and the first day of school. Time to dust off the desks, get out the ruler and the cane, and make sure I have a fresh supply of white cotton panties...
But I digress. May the remainder of your summer be sizzling and satisfying! (If you follow my recommendations, I'll almost guarantee it.)
Visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory
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Posted by Adrienne at 4:16 PM