Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My New Years Non-Resolutions



I used to start thinking about all the changes I’d make for the New Year in the middle of November. My New Years Resolutions would be preceded by pages and pages in my journal of navel gazing and reflecting on the year past and on what I saw as my successes and failures before I finally got around to writing a list of resolutions longer than my arm and impossible to remember, let alone implement. Success was spotty at best. 

I don’t do resolutions any more because it’s easier not to than it is to fail. Still, it’s impossible not to view the New Year as the ideal time for new beginnings, and the best time to make changes for the good. With that in mind, I’d like to share a very short list of non-resolutions that I plan to do my best to implement this year and that I would encourage other writers and creative folk to implement as well. I’m not promising success, but I think these non-resolutions will make my life better on a lot of different levels. 

1.     I WILL BE KIND TO MYSELF! This is first and foremost, and likely most difficult on the list. Most of the creative types I know – writers among the worst – are way harder on ourselves than we would ever be on anyone else, which means, not only do we fail at that massive list of New Years Resolutions, but we thoroughly and completely beat ourselves up about it, just like we thoroughly and completely beat ourselves up about all of the many impossible goals we set for ourselves during the course of the year. 

I wish I could give advice on how to implement this first and most important non-resolution, but I fail miserably at it multiple times every year. The best advice is just to keep on trying. I’m trying to teach myself that this is not a resolution to see through March and then forget. I constantly need to make an effort to be kind to myself, to understand that I can choose to be my own worst enemy or my own best friend. I’ll never be able to do enough to satisfy myself when it comes to my writing. It’ll always be a work in progress. That being the case, I have to make being kind to myself a daily resolution – maybe even an hourly resolution, which includes forgiving myself when I fail to meet my own expectation. Each day I succeed in being kind to myself I’ll consider a huge success worth savoring!

 I     I WILL DO SOMETHING PHYSICAL. Like all writers, I live in my head. I create whole worlds in my head, I make the characters I create in my head do amazing and sometimes terrifying things, but that means my characters get their exercise while I sit on my arse in front of a computer. I won’t succeed in this non-resolution by spending two or three hours at the gym every day. That just won’t happen. I will succeed with a walk in the sunshine when that’s all I have time for, or with a half hour at the gym a couple times a week. I will succeed with walking instead of driving, gardening for a few minutes in the fresh air instead of pressing on when I’m tired and needing a break. I will breathe deep, stretch, move, sweat. These are all things I can manage without a blood sacrifice. I’m sure I’m not the first writer to discover that the more physical I am, the more creative I am, and the more productive I am! 

3.   
  I WILL READ MORE! It’s another strange paradox but, at least for me, the more time I spend reading, the more I actuallymanage to write. It isn’t just that I write more, but it’s that time spent in the imaginations of fellow writers stimulates my own imagination, making me think, making me imagine, helping me create.

I’ve heard writers say that they’re so afraid they’ll copy someone’s ideas that while they’re writing, they won’t read. I find myself much more inclined to think of every book I read ss a chance to learn, a chance to become a better writer from example – even in those cases when it’s a bad example. It’s also just a pleasure that feels guilty but isn’t. There are too few of those in life. 

4.     I WILL LOOK UP! Living in isolation is a huge risk for writers. I work at home. I live in worlds I create, and most of the time, I’m very happy to be in those worlds and often very anxious to go back to them when I’m forced to walk away. But I need to be connected. I need to talk and laugh and share and look around me and observe. Everything inspires. Everything sparks the imagination. And human interaction in the real world makes for better human interaction between characters in the worlds I create. A part of what I do is to create something new from what already is. A part of what I do is to see things through different eyes and to translate what I see in new and interesting ways.

5.     I WILL GET IT DOWN! Once I look up, then it’s essential to record what I see, even if it’s just making a mental note.
Everything is seed for a story and everything can be seen from so many different angles. The very act of taking a mental note, or even more, of scribbling something down that gets my attention, is a view from a one of those different angles, a different way of seeing and a possible story waiting to happen. 

These are my non-resolutions for 2015. What are yours? 

My wish for all of you in the New Year is that you will be gentle with yourselves. You’re worth being kind to! All the best in 2015!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Meanings

by Jean Roberta

My day job is never boring because it is constantly changing. As I plan to start teaching three new English classes in the local university in January, a project I worked on during my last holiday break (December 2013) is coming to fruition.

Last year, I worked with someone who teaches English as an Additional Language to devise a test in English fluency/comprehension to be administered to first-year students to start generating some data about their ability to function in university classes. Unfortunately, the original test took three-to-four hours to write, and therefore it wasn’t practical to use in regular classes. Over the past year, a committee in the English Department has tinkered with the test and reduced the time it takes to approximately fifty minutes, the time-span of a regular class that meets three times per week. The current department head has asked me to administer this to my first-semester class on the first day.

I am curious to find out if the hard data confirms what I have observed over a quarter-century of teaching mandatory first-year classes to a very diverse student body. The administration has been recruiting students from other countries, many of whom have had to learn English as adults, and these students often beg me on the first day of class to give them a passing grade because they need it to complete their programs. They hope I can overlook their grammatical flaws. The more desperate they are, the more they are tempted to hand in plagiarized essays, and when the students are caught, they claim they had no idea this isn’t allowed. (In all fairness, they might not have understood my warning lecture.)

Locally-grown students aren’t necessarily better-prepared or better-behaved. Even students who speak English fluently, with a local (Canadian) accent, often tell me they didn’t want to take an English class because they have never understood grammar, and they hope I will overlook any silly little mistakes they might make. When/if I question the home-grown students about their backgrounds, some of them tell me the first language they ever heard was spoken by their immigrant parents, and it was not English. In all their years of public-school education, apparently no one ever explained to them the differences between English grammar and that of their mother tongue. Some local students grew up in households where reading was treated as a waste of time. In most cases, they decided that precision in written communication just wasn’t important.

I devoutly hope that if the new placement test (as it is called) shows that more than half of all first-year students really aren’t ready to study literature in English and write essays about it, the administration (and above that, the various levels of government that fund the education system) will find some spare change for more basic language-and-composition classes. I wouldn’t even mind teaching at a pre-first-year level, especially if this would mean that I would see more progress and hear less begging.

What does all this have to do with writing? A lot. I honestly don’t know whether the mix of students in my classes is a microcosm of the public at large, but the possibility scares me. Grammatical mistakes in their writing are only part of the problem. (Here are some examples: plural subjects with singular verbs, as in “the students studies real hard,” object pronouns used as subjects, as in “Me and Joe went to the bar,” and dangling participles, as in: “Flapping in the breeze, Dee looked up at the flag.”) These glitches are bad enough, but as some students claim, grammatical mistakes are not a huge deal if the reader can guess what is really meant.

In most cases, grammatical mistakes are accompanied by a lack of logic: contradictory statements, needless repetition, the startling interjection of commands to the reader (e.g. “This novel is about racism. Stop using stereotypes!”) An example of a tautology, or circular reasoning, is this sentence from an actual student essay on literature that I graded in December: “The end of domestic violence would stop men from beating their wives.” Duh. But what unnamed force is (or was) supposed to stop domestic violence, according to the work under discussion?

I jump between piles of (largely) unclear or inaccurate writing, and writing projects of my own. I often wonder for whom I am writing. Who, in general, reads erotic fiction? Is this audience more literate than the average person, assuming the word “average” makes any sense in this context?

The word “sex,” apparently so simple and so clear, really doesn’t mean the same thing to every person who hears or uses it. Over thirty years ago, I was told by my husband at the time that he knew some women who “masturbated” each other, but “they didn’t have sex.” The apparent lack of sex meant that these women weren’t really lesbians, according to him. And like most of the men I knew at that time, my husband was convinced that unwanted sex (especially if unwanted by the female partner) was very different from “real rape.” And sex, by definition, was both consensual and natural, so after sex had occurred, none of the participants had a right to complain that it should not have happened.

So when we write about sex, we can’t afford to assume we know how our words will be understood. (I always hope that a lot of sensory description will be clearer than abstract terms.) This problem is amplified when the more advanced (beyond the basic grammar of cock-in-cunt) varieties of sex are introduced. As the public release of the movie version of Fifty Shades of Grey approaches like a speeding racecar, widespread concern about its content is, if possible, more urgent than before. Will hordes of readers and viewers assume that the movie accurately represents BDSM (itself a very general term that needs to be clarified in specific cases)?

I could mention a specifically Canadian example of the misuse of the term “rough sex” to describe the nonconsensual treatment of at least nine female complainants by the minor male celebrity who dated them, but I am running out of space. Suffice it to say that by all accounts, the women accepted invitations to the man’s house because they were willing to have “sex” with him, according to their understanding of what that meant, but what the host dished out was something else entirely. This case seems to involve more than a tragic misunderstanding, but it does show the need for negotiation in good faith whenever two or more people get naked together.

Meanwhile, I keep advocating accurate expression and large vocabularies as sexy things that can lead to wonderfully satisfying encounters between (say) a reader and an author. Am I indulging in intellectual masturbation? It’s hard to know.
--------------

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Community

by Kathleen Bradean

The past few days, as I hung out with fellow erotica writer (and editor) D.L. King, I was reminded again of what a close-knit community erotica writers are. I'm sure there are rivalries, but for the most part we're wonderfully supportive of each other. I'll admit that I get a little jealous when I read about other writers' successes, but only because I wish I'd tried to get stories in for deadlines or had worked as hard at my writing as those other writers did.

As I'm friends on FaceBook with many writers, I get glimpses into their lives. I've never met them in person, but we've been in many anthologies together and been on writer's lists, so I feel as if I know them. I've seen some folks struggle through terrible times, and I've seen other writers rush in with words of support and even personal help or funds.

I'm not sure what people think of when they envision erotica writers, but I doubt it's such sweetness and gentle care of others. Not that their opinion matters, of course.

I'm proud to know this group of people. I love how they help each other with grammar problems and news about editors as well as personal matters outside writing. You're all good people- in case you need to be reminded. But one of the things I like about you most is that you're naughty too.

Happy Holidays.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays

by Lucy Felthouse


Mine's Tinker Sugar-Socks!

Nothing whatsoever to do with writing, I know, but it's almost Christmas, so who wants to be at their computer reading a serious post? Nah!! It's silly all the way now until 2015.

2014 has been a good one for me, writing-wise, so here's to an equally (or even better!) fantastic 2015.

Happy Christmas/Holidays, and Happy New Year!
Lucy 


*****

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

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Is Diversity a Liability?

By Lisabet Sarai

If I were looking for a logo, I might choose a Pu Pu Platter.


Do any of you remember those pseudo-Polynesian appetizer assortments, complete with the fiery wrought-iron cauldron in the middle to heat up all the finger food? Do they still exist? When I went searching for images on my favorite stock photo site, I came up with zero hits. Are PuPu Platters totally passé? Have they gone the way of granny glasses and lava lights?

Modern concerns with healthy eating have probably played a role in the platter's demise. It's difficult to imagine a more fat-and-cholesterol intensive repast than the traditional fried wonton, crispy egg rolls, barbecued spareribs, battered giant shrimp, cheese-filled crab puffs, and all the other delicacies that might show up ranged around the flaming Sterno. One PuPu Platter can undo weeks of toil at the gym.

But God, how I loved them! Indeed, I recall that on my first real date, my companion (with whom I was highly enamored) ordered us one. This may explain my lingering fondness; PuPu Platters are somehow mixed up in my mind with sex. (Not that I had sex on my first date, of course, but a teenager's hormones color everything in her world). And there are some similarities, after all. A PuPu Platter is decadent, all luscious flavor with little food value. You devour the components with your fingers and lick off the juices afterward. And you can't eat one all by yourself. PuPu Platters are made to be shared.

The real attraction for me, though, is variety. (I also adore mezze plates – Middle Eastern appetizer assortments.) A taste of this, a hint of that, never enough of any one dish to be bored – that's what I love. Diversity is my ideal in life. I want to sample a wide range of different experiences, rather than being forced to choose one dish, one path, even one person – although I have been married to the same guy for more than thirty years. (He likes variety, too.)

As a reader, I also seek out diversity. Anyone who scrolls through my books on Goodreads will find plenty of erotica, true, but also romance, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, classics, historical novels, biographies, plays, poetry, a bit of almost everything. If you focus in on the erotica, you’ll see I read and review work ranging from extreme hard core BDSM to sweet vanilla. I read and enjoy gay, lesbian, bisexual and multi-partner fiction – contemporary, historical, futuristic – really, whatever I can get my hands on.

Most authors write what they like to read. Hence it's not surprising my books are all over the map. At this point I’ve published nine novels (defined as works over 50K words). Two are gay erotic romance – one paranormal, one sci fi. One is M/F and F/F erotic noir. One is M/F paranormal. One is steampunk BDSM paranormal m√©nage. My first three are even harder to classify, offering a bit of everything, from a sexual perspective – from exhibitionism to enemas – with many assortments of gender and in one case, a parallel historical subplot.

I’m proud of my books. I like the challenge of tacking new genres as well as new forms. However, lately I’ve started to believe that diversity can be a liability to an author’s career. When someone asks you what you write, “almost everything” may not be a strategic answer.

Think about the authors whose names are household words. Steven King writes horror. Anne Rice writes paranormal. P.D. James writes (or wrote) mysteries. Tom Clancy and David Balducci write political thrillers. John Grisham writes legal thrillers. Nora Roberts writes romance. J.K. Rowling writes fantasy. (Remember how nasty the critics were when she published her realistic contemporary novel, A Casual Vacancy?)

I couldn’t think of any really popular writers whose books vary as much as mine do, from one to the next.

Meanwhile, my favorite authors are the ones who can write anything – and do. M.Christian comes to mind as maybe the best example. His backlist includes science fiction, horror, and just about every sort of erotica you can think of. I’ll devour anything by Kathleen Bradean/Jay Lygon. Jonathan Lethem’s wild imagination produces something different in every offering. And though I haven’t read anything by him in a long time, John Barth used to delight me with each new novel. I never knew what to expect – and that’s the way I liked it.

Of course, in answer to the question, “what do you write?”, I could say “erotica”. That doesn’t pin things down much, though. Some erotica readers are pretty picky about the themes and topics they want to read. I know people who find anything other than BDSM fiction totally boring. Others have complained they can’t find hot vanilla M/F stories anymore. The segment of the erotica market that’s reading primarily for arousal wants stories that push their particular buttons. Someone who gets off on water sports isn’t interested in femdom. And so on.

Anyway, the “erotica” answer isn’t strictly true. I also write erotic romance, which has a different audience. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms by some erotica readers that my stories were too tainted by romance. Meanwhile, I’ve had romance readers shy away from my work as “too hot” and “too much like porn”. I’ve considered adopting a new tag line: “Too raw for romance, too sweet for smut.” (I’m only halfway joking.)

I guess I have to accept the fact that the majority of readers does not value variety to the extent I do. Instead they are seeking predictability – the antithesis of enjoyment, from my perspective!

This is a bit depressing, if I allow myself to dwell on it.

Am I willing to focus on one sub-genre in order to become popular? If I were making my living as an author, I think I’d have to. Fortunately, I have the luxury of writing what I feel like – of indulging my love of diversity. As long as I don't care if my work sells...

Now all I have to do is find readers with similar tastes.

Anyone care to share a Pu Pu Platter?



Friday, December 19, 2014

Sexy Snippets for December




May I interrupt your shopping, cooking and other holiday preparations for a moment? Just in case you've forgotten, today is the 19th of December. In other words, it's Sexy Snippets Day!

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.

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

Please 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

Thursday, December 18, 2014

“Son, Don’t Rape Anyone at College!”

by
Donna George Storey

Sexual assault is very much in the news these days from Bill Cosby and the controversy around Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus” to the Obama administration’s Title IX probe of the handling of sexual assault cases on many campuses across the country. This complex issue deserves thoughtful attention and meaningful action towards prevention, but the discussion also brings up strong emotions. Extreme opinions are easy to find on the Internet. On the one end of the spectrum are those who claim that all men are rapists waiting for their chance, on the other, those who accuse women who speak up about their experiences of assault of being liars and attention-seekers (because, really now, the kind of attention they receive is so much fun, right?)

Every commenter has her or his solution. One woman pointed the finger at parents, who should take their sons aside before they go off to college and tell them not to rape anyone.

My first reaction was to shake my head at the quaint custom of blaming individual parents rather than, say, broader cultural values, but then I got to thinking. Maybe the Internet Lady was right. Maybe if parents talked openly with their sons and daughters about sexual assault, that might change the environment enough to make a difference. Because preventing sexual assault in the first place is far better for everyone than trying to punish assault after it happens.

However, there has to be a lot more to the talk than, “Son, don’t rape anyone at college!” or “Daughter, don’t get inebriated, wear short skirts or get within groping distance of a boy!” The talk I have in mind would not only involve rape itself, but fundamental issues that nourish it and are likewise shrouded in silence. I’m talking about sexuality, status and power, and the ways group pressure can make you do things that are not in your own best interest.

Assault of any kind at any age by anyone, even say, a policeman, is a crime. But young adults (and not just college kids) are particularly vulnerable to becoming both perpetrators and victims because they are unsure about where they fit in and what good sex means to them personally versus cultural myths of what sex should be. If they have nothing else to go on but what their equally uncertain peers model as cool and fun, then they have to figure it out for themselves at great risk. What’s still happening on campuses today—and let’s not doubt that assault and date rape have always been there--is the result.

Where to start the discussion? For the sake of simplicity, I’ll speak mainly about heterosexual relationships, but the general principles apply across the range of orientations. The first myth to tackle is that being a cool stud means putting your penis in as many holes as possible. If the body you penetrate is unconscious, struggling, protesting, even ambivalent, it doesn’t matter as long as you get inside. But what if we all agreed to redefine the terms—a sexual encounter only gets you stud points if both partners willingly participate and experience pleasure? As many before me have argued, this means that men and women must be allowed to say “yes” to sex so that “no” has meaning. But we need to get the message out—if you have sex with an unconscious or unwilling body, you’re a creep and a criminal, not a player.

Another issue that struck me when I read the Rolling Stone article is that young men in fraternities face serious dehumanization as part of the pledging process. I’ve heard reliable stories about pledges being coerced into eating cat food, crickets, and vomit, of being forced to stand in a row, blindfolded, while they wait for the night’s assignment to prove their dedication to the group. This might involve running three miles to get pizza for a brother or sleeping on a hardwood floor in the frat house for several nights. I’m sure the worst parts were not shared with me. Secrecy and silence are crucial to the fraternal code and those who break it face the same consequences as victims of rape who speak out. Hazing tends to make the news when people die or are seriously injured, but the truth is, it damages and dehumanizes everyone who endures it and everyone who inflicts it on others. Colleges are condoning and enabling this behavior by ignoring it. Many of us are doing the same by romanticizing it. It’s time to shine the light on fraternity and sorority hazing and its effects on young adults before the next death from alcohol poisoning or the next party rape. Is belonging worth that price?

Finally, we must acknowledge that the taproot of this problem is shame. Not just shame about reporting incidents if you are a victim, which is certainly the cause of much tragedy, but also shame about expressing and experiencing sexual desire. Because we can’t share the truth of our sexuality, people can all too easily manipulate us through sexual shame. They can bully us for not being sexual enough or experienced enough, then turn around and call us names for being too sexual. Even in erotica, where fearless and frank sexual writing is the name of the game, many of us must seek protection behind pseudonyms--for very good reasons.

The commentator who blamed parents for sexual assault on campus was, I believe, oversimplifying the problem. But if we all could more openly discuss sexual myths, sexual shame and the ways vulnerable young adults can be manipulated by the desire for status, we could make progress toward creating an environment where nonconsensual sex is no longer business as usual on the college scene.

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

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Naughty Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the brothel
All the women complained that their tips had been awful.

The johns were all hung, but with a casual air.
When it came down to cold cash, they just wouldn’t share.

Mistresses had been fucked, smiling smug in their beds
As visions of sugar daddies danced in their heads.

Mistress Domina Gretchen, my jack booted Hessian
Had me trussed nice and tight for a long dungeon session.

When over her cussing, as she paddled my rear
There outside in the dark, I heard something draw near.

Then fell from the sky with a flirt and a flitter
A tiny red sleigh drawn by eight elfin strippers.

As naked as jaybirds his tanned Valkyries came;
He whipped them; he spanked them as he called them by name:

“Now Nixie! Now Trixie! Now Nikki! Now Vixen!
Come Dixie! Come Candy! Come Bunny! Come Bitchin!

“Mount up to the rooftop! Show them tease and pizzazz –
then let’s all party down cause I’m freezing my ass!”

Down the chimney he came, with a bounce and a bound,
He tossed down his big bag and he looked all around.

Then Saint Nick threw off his clothes, that randy old kook
And bellowed “Out of my way, you tight fisted mooks!

“I’m Santa, I’m hot, I’m hard and I’m horny –
I’ve brought my elf girls, now let’s have an orgy!”

Johns hid their faces, girls cried “I’m naughty! Do me!”
Cause that Santa Claus, man, he was hung to his knee.

Then from out of the wind, from the snow and the cold
The girls dropped down the chimney and set up their poles.

How their nipples were perky – their butt cheeks how merry!
Sixteen titties a-jiggle like bowls full of jelly.

How they lap-danced! How they dazzled! Johns emptied their pockets.
Santa ploughed through the women like a love hungry rocket.

The women squealed when they came, came hard and came thrice,
While the girls showed the men unknown levels of vice.

And when all was over, the sated saint satyr
Looked deep in his bag and ho hoed as he scattered

Loving gifts to this crowd as they gathered and grew.
“I just know that God loves you, so I love you too!”

There were dildoes for ladies, and cock rings for men.
Fur lined handcuffs for me, a bull whip for Gretchen.

Then punching my shoulder, he smiled and he winked
Said “Those ought to hold you till next year, I think.”

He put on his clothes, then to his girls gave a whistle,
Up the chimney they flew like the down of a thistle.

I heard him exclaim as he took off towards Niagara
“Good lovin’ to you all, and thank God for Viagra!”



C. Sanchez-Garcia 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Show Me Bad: The Wages of Censorship

Last week, the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014 introduced a series of restrictions on the pornography produced and sold in the UK. The acts that are now prohibited to show on video range from the edgy to the puzzling.

  • Spanking
  • Caning
  • Aggressive whipping
  • Penetration by any object "associated with violence"
  • Physical or verbal abuse (regardless of  if consensual)
  • Urolagnia (known as "water sports")
  • Role-playing as non-adults
  • Physical restraint
  • Humiliation
  • Female ejaculation
  • Strangulation
  • Facesitting
  • Fisting

The last three are included for being potentially life threatening.

Rest assured, all these restriction only apply to video remediation of the acts, but what interests me is the reasoning behind them.

Certainly breath play can be dangerous; there might, feasibly be some concern that making it seem unproblematic could lead people to try it without further education on the subject (although a reenactment your run-of-the-mill movie bar fight would be just as likely to cause severe injury). But a search of the research indicates only one death, in 1987, caused by fisting which tore the tissues so badly that the victim bled to death. There is another recorded death associated with an air embolism. Following this reasoning, as dangerous activities go, videos of showers should be banned; it's a thousand times more likely to lead to fatality. I've searched far and wide, and cannot find a single incident of death by 'facesitting'.

Then there is the puzzling ban on female ejaculation. When asked to explain their thinking on this, the group responsible for this decision argued that there was no evidence that female ejaculation actually exists and that the fluid being 'ejaculated' might contain urine, putting it in the same category as other watersports, i.e. golden showers. The fact that mainstream society's objection to golden showers stems from it being considered an act of degradation - not because it involves urine - seems to have been lost on this panel. Is there actually porn out there where women degrade men by squirting on them? Well, if there wasn't, there will be now!

The list of 'strange' goes on. Spanking is out, even though approximately 65% of all couples have tried it. Penetration by any object "associated with violence" is on pretty dicey grounds; most women who have been raped would consider a penis an object associated with violence.  Physical restraint is so broad as to be laughable. Hands up if you've ever let your lover tie you up and fuck you? The absurdity of this part of the list would be risible if it weren't so sad. How is it that a government ends up banning the remediation of what a considerable number of lovers do in their bedroom on a fairly regular basis? The subtext is that these things aren't normal. They are abusive, they are perversions, they are wrong.

But strangest of all, at least to me, are the prohibited acts that are not even physical: verbal abuse, humiliation and age-play. None of these are acceptable even when there is clear consent in the video. All of these restrictions approach the concept of 'sins of the mind'. It appears that the powers that have imposed these restrictions have completely discounted the difference between fantasy and reality. Fictionality is no longer acceptable in porn because, in their view, our society can no longer be trusted to distinguish the difference between, for instance, pretending to be a 12-year old schoolgirl and actually being one.  Ironically, it is fictionality that makes porn culturally safer.

Another defense of these restrictions is that it protects children from seeing things they shouldn't see. But think about all the sexual acts NOT on the list. Is it okay for children to see those things? I'm not going to list them. I trust your imaginations. This argument can be dismissed as ridiculous.

On a personal basis, the banning of the remediation of the acts on list offends me - not because I would want to see most of the acts, I'm not much of a porn fan - but because the prohibition makes a very grave statement about how intellectually subnormal the government assumes its adult citizens to be. More importantly, the government has once again entered into the business, as it did in most of the 20th Century, of taking on the authority to determine what normative sexuality is, and it has moved to ensure that non-normative forms are discouraged, even in fantasy.

But more ironically than all of that, in the name of stemming 'rape culture' and the depiction of violence against women, it has banned the video remediation of female ejaculation and facesitting, while still allowing the depiction of women choking on cocks and bukakke scenes.

This is not about protecting anyone from anything. This is, along with the ever-increasing surveillance of our private lives, a claiming of additional powers in the guise of concern for our safety.

Of course, the censorship of sexually explicit material and bans on pornography have never stopped people from getting their hands on it. The plethora of both written and photographic porn produced during the late Victorian period attests to this. What the legislation has done is make certain pornographic spectacle more forbidden, and therefore more alluring. If squirting was a popular meme before, its cache in the UK will go through the roof.  People will crave more violent flogging, caning and spanking material because it is prohibited. Eroticism requires transgression and this has simply made the things that have been banned all the more erotic.

And it that spirit, I offer you a little piece of social science fiction:

Show Me Bad

Having pulled on their gimp masks as they make their way down into the basement of the strip-mall Thai takeaway in Ruislip. Gina, Lotte and Rose weave their way through the occupied stacking chairs in the dank, windowless, impromptu cinema.

The others in the secret audience are also masked. Some in balaclavas, some in gas masks, some in pillowcases with holes for the eyes. People nod, murmur. All the seats are occupied, so they stand to the side, leaning against the damp brick wall, and stare at a large flatscreen TV.

Someone switches the lights off. The bluescreen menu prompt pops up and the input is set to 'video'. First the screen goes black, and then brightens again. On the screen, in what looks like an old fashioned kitchen, a small, bony man argues with what appears to be his obese wife. The wife grabs him, trips him, and pins him to the dirty linoleum floor. The camera moves in, closer, closer. She is hiking up the skirt of her faded, stained housedress. She's not wearing anything under it. The little man is struggling to free himself but he's no match for her. She inches her bared bulk up his body.

Someone in the audience whispers, "Fuck, yeah." The sound of multiple zippers being pulled down, the rustle of displaced clothes is a whisper beneath the hiss of the video. On the screen, there's a close-up of a plump, enormous cunt lowering itself onto the little man's panicked face. He screams as the huge, meaty, wet labia cover his nose and mouth. Only his bloodshot,frightened eyes are visible as the woman begins to rock her pelvis back and forth, slathering his face in viscous effluvia.

"Lick me, you motherfucker," mutters the woman. The man's hands are fluttering, clawing at her thighs but she doesn't stop.

In the dark of the room, there are moans, the quick, determined sounds of genitals being self-pleasured.

The man's legs are kicking wildly, uselessly. Muffled choking sounds are emanating from under the draped slabs of her vulva

"Oh, my god," whispers Lotte.

Gina has her hand down the front of her jeans, frigging herself, gimp mask impassive, eyes fixed on the flatscreen. The little man's face - what's visible of it - has turned a deep red. His head jerks helplessly.

"So fucking hot," whispers Rose.

On the screen, the massive woman is coming. Her body goes rigid, flesh judders, fluid floods out over the face of the little man, who now appears to be passed out, if not dead.

Half the masked audience is also coming. Moans, cries, grunts fill the dark. 

* * *

While waiting for the bus, Rose, Gina and Lotte stand in silence for a while, their gimp masks tucked safely back in their purses.

"I can't believe what we saw," says Lotte. "So this is a thing?" "They used to have face sitting in porn, on the net," says Rose. "It used to be just cunnilingus, you know. The normal kind. But then the government banned it."

Lotte looks confused. "Why did they ban it?"

Gina smiles. "They said it was too dangerous," she says. "So someone decided to make it dangerous, for real."

Rose nods. "It's way hotter now, isn't it?"

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Confessions Of A Literary Streetwalker: Peddling Your Ass


The inclination is obvious, especially considering how much pressure writers can be put under to get themselves out there. But even though I call myself a Literary Streetwalker, I want to take a few hundred words to talk about when, in my opinion, it's not a good idea to sell your creative backside.

One of the coldest rules of being an erotica author is that it's a sexist genre: women have a slightly easier time of it than do guys— unless you're penning gay stuff, of course. Straight men still remain the primary buyers of erotica, and they usually don't enjoy stuff written by men. Is this homophobic? Certainly. But them's the breaks until our society grows up. Women also don't seem to trust anything written by a man, being suspicious that a man can't write about sex. Is this wrong? Absolutely. But again, that's simply the way the world works—for the moment, at least.

In this world of literary female domination, some women authors have made the mistake of selling themselves rather than their work. The temptation, like I said, is clear: turning yourself into a desirable product makes it easy to sell just about anything you do, whether it's a book or your own underwear. Becoming a sex personality means that you carry your catalog with you; you don't have to trouble yourself with showing people what makes you a writer worthy of reading.

There are other benefits as well. Celebrity has a special allure. There's nothing like the adrenaline rush of people saying you're sexy or clapping when you walk on stage. Writing, as I've said many times before, is a spectacularly harsh mistress. With the low pay, generally poor treatment, and little artistic recognition, it's no wonder that so many women are seduced by the quick and easy fame—or at least recognition—of becoming a product or personality, rather than a writer.

Now I should qualify what I mean by "selling." I'm all for writers marketing themselves and their work. Becoming an expert on something is an established marketing technique and lots of people do it very well, but there's a huge difference between becoming an authority and actually peddling your ass: if you write articles and essays on sex and sexuality, or give advice on it, then you're an expert; talk about who you took to bed last night and you're selling yourself.

There are two good reasons for not crossing that line between publicity and soliciting. The first is more professional: if you create yourself as a sexual superstar, you're severely limiting what you can do as a writer. Your sex life might get you attention, but walk away from that spotlight and you'll find yourself in the dark: your audience having been used to you as a sex object, not as a writer, and won't respond when you're not writing about being a pro-dom, sex activist, or porn star. Flexibility, after all, is key to being a writer because it gives you a plethora of genres and venues in which to expand and play. Your erotica didn't sell? Try horror. Horror didn't work? Try romance, and so forth. Unless, that is, you turn yourself into nothing but a sex object—then that's all you can be.

If you want to turn yourself into a sexual superstar, don't let me stop you: it's your right as a free person. But I sincerely recommend that you resist the temptation to market yourself and not your work. Besides being a potential dead end career-wise, the other reason for not writing about your own sex life and putting it out there for hundreds, maybe thousands and—who knows?—millions of people to read: fans.

Not to put down the handsome and well-groomed reading world, but way too many of my female writer friends tell me that having die-hard admirers of their sexual personas, rather than their stories, is more a curse than a blessing—and really, really creepy. I'd say unwelcome advances are another reason to write stories about all kinds of things, and not about how wonderful it was jerk off the entire swim team.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Writing Exercise - the rondelet

 by Ashley Lister

 The rondelet is a French form of poetry consisting of seven lines.  The rhyme scheme is: A b A a b b A, where each capital A is a refrain line with four syllables, and every other line contains eight syllables. To illustrate:

Your cheeks are red
As though you’ve guessed my idea
Your cheeks are red
And there you lay across my bed
Holding up your cheeky rear
Shivering with shame-thrilled fear 
Your cheeks are red


I have to admit I’m a huge fan of the rondelet’s form.  Refrains are always a fun device in poetry, making your reader/audience reconsider a sentiment from a different perspective, or reiterating a point so that the weight of its importance can be stressed.  The simple rhyme and metrical pattern make it an easy form to use at the start of any writing session, just to help limber up writing muscles.  Here’s another:

It’s Christmas time 
A time when couples get to screw 
It’s Christmas time
And whilst I’m writing you this rhyme
I trust you know this much is true
I just can’t wait to be with you
It’s Christmas time



As always, I look forward to seeing your poetry in the comments box below. 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Erotica and Eucharist Moments


There are moments in my life that stand out like shiny new coins. These moments are clearer, crisper. They’re full-blown, high definition, three D, and thoroughly enhanced. Amazingly enough these vivid moments usually involve the simplest acts, and yet somehow, in their simplicity, they encompass the fullness of being in this body on this planet at this time. And for those brief few moments, I feel like I actually truly GET IT. The sun breaks through the clouds and the mysteries of the universe are revealed. Then, everything goes back to normal, I go back to my routine and life moves forward to the next shining moment.

I’ve always referred to these times as Eucharist Moments not because I’m religious, but because the original meaning of Eucharist in Greek is thankfulness, gratitude. Because those moments are so complete when I’m in them, what I feel is thankfulness, gratitude that I’m me, and that I am even MORE me than I realize.

I remember one such moment when my husband, Raymond, and I were in Philadelphia. We had driven all night to get there. It was summer, hot, humid and thick. We were there for a series of meetings, the details of which escape me now. But the Eucharist Moment is as brilliant as if it had happened only yesterday.

We’d been out in the heat most of the day playing tourist. We didn’t have a lot of time, and we wanted to see the Liberty Bell and all of the other historical sights. By the middle of the afternoon, we were parched and positively wilted. We were too tired to go out for a late lunch so we stopped in at a small local shop and bought a box of Ritz crackers, a small jar of peanut butter and some Lipton teabags. Back in our hotel, Raymond ran down the hall for ice, and I made tea in the complimentary coffee maker, tea which we then poured over the ice into the small hotel room glasses. I don’t remember where we got it, but we had a plastic picnic knife. We ate peanut butter spread thickly on Ritz crackers and wash it all down with freshly brewed iced tea while we discuss the adventures of the day.

I’ve had a lot of great meals in my life in a lot of nice restaurants and in a lot of amazing places, but I’ve never had one better than that one. The shades were drawn and the room was cool and quiet after the noisy heat of the street. The tea had that lovely crisp, bronze bite that only freshly brewed tea has, and the aroma of it filled the whole room. We sat with our bare feet kicked up on the coffee table, passing the plastic knife back and forth, spreading peanut buttery goodness on crunchy, crumbly crackers. We ate until our t-shirts were covered with crumbs. We ate until we were both replete and drowsy and happily, quietly amazed that we were actually in Philadelphia, seeing all the things we’d only ever read about in history books. Afterwards we napped sprawled across the king-sized bed, and when we woke the sun had gone down. It was the simplest of experiences, and yet it still, all these years on, shines in my memory.

The best writing is full of Eucharist Moments. Anyone who has ever read a story or a novel that is too full of the grocery lists which makes up every day life knows how boring that is, and how quickly they lose interest. Good writing, good stories and novels that stay with us long after we’ve finished them, the stories we just can’t put down, are a stringing together of those Eucharist Moments, those moments of clarity, those moments of sloppy poignant full-frontal, in-your-face humanity.

Not surprisingly those moments are as fabulous to read about as they are to write about. Eucharist Moments in a story are the next best thing to being there. They draw us into the plot in the same way they draw us into life. They are the points where the story reaches out to us, touches us and becomes a living, breathing thing. They may last only the length of a few words, and they’re seldom longer than a single page, which is just as well because the intense purity, the clarity with which those moments shine would be too much to bear for 250 pages.

The best writers, at least in my opinion, know how to string those Eucharist Moments together, leading the reader from one to the next, to the next, through to the end. Those moments are the lighthouses along the darkened,
rocky shore that is the plot of a story. They move us forward to discover what secret the writer has hidden at the end of the journey. And if it’s well done, the end of the journey is never the end because it will have been written in such a way to create in the reader her own Eucharist Moment. The power of these moments is that each time we have one, we’re changed. What writer doesn’t want to tell a story that changes her reader? What writer doesn’t want to be changed by the story she writes?

This is just as true of erotica as it is of any genre. Stringing together sex scenes is not creating a story. The story is the path between the Eucharist Moments, and sex scenes can often be the Eucharist Moments. They can be the moments of pure, unabashed joy. They can be the moments of clarity, of revelation, when the writer is able to give us a peek into the soul of a character. Sex lends itself to Eucharist Moments because of the vulnerability it demands, because of the exposure it forces. That’s apart of the reason I enjoy writing erotica. Though sex is not the story, sex affords wonderful opportunities for Eucharist Moments, places where the light shines through and the reader understands, yearns, empathizes, and experiences the character from the inside out. Then the journey of the story truly becomes intimate.

Happy belated Thanksgiving, and I wish you all many Eucharist Moments.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Basing Characters On Real People



Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page.

-----

Every writer on Facebook has seen a variation of this meme: "Be nice to me or I'll put you in my book and kill you off". Those same writers probably gave the meme a wry smile. I have based some of my characters on real people. Two professors in my Night Owl Top Pick erotic romance novel "Don't Call Me Baby" are based on two professors I had flings with in college. Neither man knows I've done this. If they read the book, they're probably recognize themselves. Why did I do this? Because I wanted to write a fictitious account of one summer during my college years, and those two men were a part of that summer. I've also based a few characters in some short stories on people I've met in real life. The depiction of one prof is not very flattering, but the other one is. I've even based my character Eric in my free "Tuesday's Tales" short stories on my husband. He likes that. Those stories are available at my web site.

With the recent news that J. K. Rowling based her Harry Potter character Dolores Umbrage on a teacher she despised, you may wonder what other characters have been based on real people. Here are a few of the more famous ones:

Tintin – The Adventures of Tintin

Based on Palle Hude, a Danish boy scout who traveled around the world in 1928 as part of a competition set up by a Danish newspaper. He had to circumnavigate the world in 44 days, unaccompanied, and not set foot on a plane. Hude's travels made newspapers all over the world, and it's likely Tintin's creator in Belgium would have read about him. 20,000 people greeted Hude at the end of his tour, not unlike the crowd that greeted TinTin at the end of his first album.

Ebenezer Scrooge – A Christmas Carol

Based on John Elwes. He was an 18th century politician who was a miser. Despite his wealth, he lived a sparse, hermit-like life. He'd eat rotting food rather than spend the money to buy fresh produce. Rather than part with his fortune, he chose to horde his money and live in squalor.

Severus Snape – Harry Potter novels

Based on John Nettleship. J. K. Rowling's former chemistry teacher. He had no idea he was the basis for the character until after the movies came out. He, his wife, and kids figured it out as they saw Alan Rickman play Snape on the big screen.

Dolores Umbrage – Harry Potter novels

Based on an unnamed teacher J. K. Rowling "disliked immensely on sight". This person had been Rowling's teacher "long ago… in a certain skill or subject." In her essay on Pottermore, Rowling wrote "The woman in question returned my antipathy with interest. Why we took against each other so instantly, heartily and (on my side, at least) irrationally, I honestly cannot say," Rowling wrote. She was also struck by the woman's "pronounced taste for twee accessories," including "a tiny little plastic bow slide, pale lemon in color," which Rowling felt was more "appropriate to a girl of three."

Dorian Gray – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Based on John Gray, one of Oscar Wilde's alleged lovers. Wilde gave the character the first name of Dorian in reference to the Dorians, an ancient Greek tribe that engaged in m/m sex. John Gray was mortified when the story came out since he could see it was based on him, and it caused a rift in his relationship with Wilde.


I interviewed several writers who based characters on people they know. They had plenty to say, including why they chose to do it.

Romance writer Jeanne Guzman: Years ago, while having lunch at my favorite lakeside restaurant, The Oasis on Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie, Texas, I said to myself “Self, this would make the perfect spot for a murder,” and so was born my novel, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

With the enthusiasm of my waitress, my main character was born. The character of Misty was a combination of several of the waitresses on staff, but the name was a gift from the original Misty who sadly moved away and found other employment. From the manager, to the cook, and even the ladies I was having lunch with are mentioned in the book.
Keep in mind, I had to change the names, but once you read the book, you’ll be able to go to The Oasis and know who everyone is. Most important, you have to meet the matriarch who not only has inspired me, but is so love by those around her that the city named a street after her. (The book is dedicated to her, and all those who put up with me while I did my research and wrote the book sitting on the outside deck.)

My inspiration came from the servers and the managers at the Oasis, it’s my favorite place to go to relax and have a good time. The ones that were working there at the time knew of my book, and the fact that I was using them as models for my characters. They allowed me to take pictures and follow them around as they did their jobs. I had originally wanted to use the name “Oasis” as my setting, but when I talked to the owner, she said she didn’t feel right gaining publicity through my book, even though she, and the employees were cast in a positive light. I told her I would change the name and the location, but I would still dedicate the book to her. And I did. As for the employees that still work at the Oasis, they all have a copy of the book and even though I combined different aspects of them into the characters, they knew who I was talking about. They loved it.

Romance writer Lindsay Klug: My male leads are almost always, without fail, based on my husband. He's everything I've ever wanted, so why not use his attributes? When he was military, the leads wore shaved heads and clean faces. Now that he's got a beard, I can't imagine a lead without one. Kind of weird, eh?

[As far as inspiration goes], [i]t just flowed naturally into my story lines. He doesn't read what I've written but he knows he's a part of it. Lol, I just couldn't and still can't picture anybody else for my leads. He always makes fun of the pictures I look at for inspiration, but he doesn't know I'm seeing his face and character with them.

Romance writer Phoenix Johnson: So my only 'based on real life' character is Bailey. She's the slightly-overweight, self-conscious, lacking self-esteem and confidence leading lady in my contemporary romance Acapello's Lady. So far, she's much like me. We're also both on a weight-loss track to be happy with ourselves. I'm hoping that writing her story week either motivate me or shame me to keep at my own. However, unlike me, Bailey is single. She doesn't feel deserving or needing of a guy right now. Until hunky escaped-con Joe shows up looking for somewhere to hide. He was doing time for someone else's crime, and couldn't stand it. Silly man. However, his heart was broken when his wife died so his actions aren't the smartest right now. His attraction to Bailey, and their growing connection, however, reminds them both that it's ok to love and that they do deserve happiness.

Writing Bailey is not just a way to try to motivate myself. I'm finding that she is freeing for me, and in writing that she deserves to be happy and to love herself, I'm frankly telling myself the same thing. Bailey, unintentionally, is my way of saying to myself "be happy, you deserve it. And love yourself; you're allowed to, and it's ok." It's actually something I want all readers to take from her when I finish Acapello's Lady and get it released. (I haven't intentionally based Joe on anyone but I think, with the lost-love, and escaped con elements, he could possibly be based on the potential I see in my fiance as well. Or he could also be a combination of the potential I see in both of us.)

[On why she chose to base her heroine on herself]: I was having a shower after a workout, and it started running through my head as a written scene. And it occurred to me that there aren't enough heavier heroines, so I thought it was my turn, and loosely basing her on myself would hopefully be like a sounding board for healthy changes. It's also therapeutic, in a way, when you've actually worn your heroines shoes.you know exactly what she's thinking or feeling because it's what you have or would think and feel.

Romance writer Jacques Gerard: Yes, I have written many short stories with one of the characters based on somebody I know. In those stories the heroine is based on a lady I use to be involved with. I don’t use the lady’s real name, but the heroine’s name begins with the same letter of that lady’s first name.  Those short stories are based on a date that lead to us making love or what could have happened between us two in a certain scenario I dream up. I have never shared with a lady I knew that they were in my one of my stories. However, one lady I know had an idea I used her as a character and was flattered.

What inspired him to base his character on that particular woman? "She was a co-worker and we had a special chemistry." He said. "She also read one of my stories and enjoyed it. We were talking at an office Christmas party and got on the subject of romantic Christmas getaways. It was funny because at the time I was thinking of writing a Christmas story for my website. I shared that with her and asked her opinion about a lounging dress for the female character in my story. She chuckled and asked if I was going to write about us. I replied that wasn’t a bad idea.  She also knew about my foot fetish and liked it as well."

Horror writer Dave Gammon: Eric A. Shelman often does this and in fact has written myself in his runaway zombie hit series Dead Hunger. I come in at part 2 and part 5 is my actual POV and continue on until part 8.

There are many reasons writers may choose to base a character on a real person. Writers may even base characters on themselves. This inspiration has lead to the creation of some fine fiction. Without Palle Hude and John Gray, we may not have had the pleasure of enjoying Tintin and Durian Gray. It's always interesting to learn who influenced certain characters. It's sometimes flattering, and that spark helps bring characters to life.

-----

You may find these authors at Amazon and other sites.





Dave Gammon: http://horrornews.net (regular contributor)


If you're interested in reading my novel "Don't Call Me Baby", you may find more information at Amazon and other outlets.

Amazon Kindle - US

Amazon Kindle - UK