Friday, February 28, 2014
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
by Jean Roberta
Earlier this month, there was a thread in the Writers list of Erotic Readers and Writers about whether the association is “straight” in any sense.
Originally, this term seemed to mean conservative or mainstream. People who share a love for (or an addiction to) certain consciousness-altering substances refer to stone-sober outsiders as the “the straights.” People who identify as any shade of “queer” (gay-male, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, bi-curious, etc.) describe heterosexuals as “straight.” Those who are into bondage, discipline, Dominance, submission, sadism, masochism or fetishes distinguish themselves from the “vanilla” mainstream, and this means approximately the same thing as “straight,” even though a sizable section of the kinky crowd is heterosexual, and many have a sensible rule against getting high when they intend to “play.”
Considering that people join the ERWA lists because they like to read and write sexually-explicit literature, and considering that this taste is definitely not conservative, it could be argued that no one in this group is “straight” in the narrowest sense. Erotic writers have been discriminated against in various ways when they are openly identified, and this gives them something in common with all other victims of social prejudices.
By now you can probably see the problem with labels. A person who has one identity which is not universally accepted may be perfectly “straight” in another sense. From the outside, all “queers” may look similar, but I know enough transpeople to be aware that as a white lesbian married academic, I am much more privileged than someone whose sexual plumbing doesn’t match hir (his/her) outward appearance.
And then there is racial and cultural identity. Despite some very real, tangible signs of “advancement” for “the colored” (as in the name of a venerable organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), racism in various forms persists. Are those of us who look white therefore relatively “straight?” Is a kinky, polyamorous brown person who grew up in a privileged family in a Third-World country more or less “straight” than a white vanilla queer professional, raised in an urban slum, who likes crystal meth as a recreational drug and lacy lingerie as a secret indulgence? Does it make a difference if one of them is male and one is female?
In organizations that aim to be fairly diverse, there are always rumors that “they” are “taking over.” When I was on the board of a major, government-funded feminist organization, I heard from my mother, of all people, that someone who didn’t know she was related to me had warned her that the lesbians in the group were taking over. This was news to me. The past president, a married woman with much organizational experience, still seemed to be setting the tone in much the same way that the feminist movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries was influenced by Emmaline Pankhurst (in England), Elizabeth Cady Stanton (in the U.S.) and Nellie McClung (in Canada) while all three had husbands and children. Anyone who believes that votes for women were won by a perverse, male-bashing cabal of bitter dykes needs to do some reading.
Years ago, someone in “Parlor” here at ERWA complained that the BDSM crowd seemed to be changing the tone of the group – for the worse. The complainer waxed nostalgic for the “good old days” of a few years before when, presumably, everyone in ERWA shared a common view of sexuality, and it did not include leather. Several long-term members referred her to stories and posts with a kinky flavor, some of which dated back to the founding of the group in 1996.
As an old-timer here (since December 1998), I haven’t seen any sudden change of the culture due to the invasion of any particular community. If anything, the charge that the group as a whole is “too straight” seems more credible than the suggestion that a hot chili-pepper clique is quietly spiriting the vanilla beans away and keeping them bound and gagged in a cellar. “Straightness” could be defined as a default category. Anyone who is not familiar with a community or a lifestyle that doesn’t get much airtime in the media is, by default, relatively “straight.” The price of diversity is a shortage of in-group familiarity and the need for education. (Those who don’t understand need to learn, and those who aren’t understood are often called on to teach, for better or worse.)
There are times when those who are alternately ignored and singled out for attack prefer the company of their own tribe, and this is understandable. Some members of ERWA probably feel more at home somewhere else, at least occasionally. However, a diverse group that attracts new members is one that can survive over time. The greatest degree of general acceptance (short of accepting injustice) seems like the key to sustainability.
I think of ERWA as a hub for overlapping categories of writers, some of whom have added sex scenes to their romances, mysteries or literary stories, while some have learned to expand sex scenes into whole plots, or poetic meditations. This place is the Times Square or Speakers Corner of the erotic writing world. Even when I lurk, I can’t imagine dropping out entirely. There is just too much going on here, and I wouldn’t want to miss it.
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
By Robert Buckley (Guest Blogger)
About the Author
Monday, February 24, 2014
I haven't written much erotica lately. I'm generally a private person, plus I was raised in an emotionally repressive family, so admitting publicly to any weakness is extremely difficult for me. But I'll admit that personal stress is just about killing me. I know other writers who are going through much worse times now, so I feel a bit like a whiner even mentioning the death in the family, the company I worked at for so many years closing its doors, a bit of a health scare, and other family drama on top of all that.
Misery isn't a contest. We're all winners at this race to unhappiness, and at the same time, things could always be worse. That's what keeps you up late at night, tossing and turning. It's the great monster that eats up the hours of darkness and makes you watch them disappear with eyes wide open-- that things could always be worse. And you have imagined every possible variation on worse, haven't you?
Sometimes, don't you wish you could hang a sign around your neck that says, "I'm really fragile right now. Please be gentle with me." So that when you start daydreaming at a traffic light about the list of things you must do that you've never done before and start panicking a little about 'how on earth am I going to take care of this' and don't see it turn green that the person right behind you wouldn't sit on their horn. Or that you didn't feel such crushing shame for breaking into tears because some little frustration like the market carts being stuck together overwhelmed you?And wouldn't it be nice if the entire world would just pause while you deal with your troubles so that you don't have to run to catch up later?
So many things can stop your ability to write. It doesn't have to be extreme grief or one of you worst fears coming true. Things can be going great and you can still be blocked. The stories, they're always with you. The technical skills, the craft of writing, that's in your muscle memory now. But the desire to write? That's the thing that eludes us when we're blocked.
It may be worse for erotic writers because how do you write passion and desire when you don't have any? My emotions have practically flatlined from the strain at this point. I cant summon it no matter how hard I try. So if your writing portfolio is fat and sassy right now, if seduction twinkles from your fingers like rubies from a maharajah's rings, and you pass me on the street looking dispirited and unstoried, spare an ounce of desire for me, won't you? Because I'm tapped out.
Posted by Kathleen Bradean at 5:00 AM
Sunday, February 23, 2014
So far, it's been fantastic. The workload for administering the street team has been divided, and the reach of us, our books and our members has increased many fold. The street team itself is fantastic, as they read and review our books, spread the word and are also a lot of fun. There are some extremely fun conversations that go on in our private group, let me tell you!
Aside from that side of things, though, it's been fantastic having a group of like-minded women just at the other end of an email. Of course, they were always at the other end of an email, but now we have this official group, it's made us more, well, official. We don't just talk about books and the street team, but we exchange ideas - writing related and not - life news, rants, good news, bad news... the list goes on. It's a support team that totally gets it. Yes, our personal lives are different, but we all have the same struggles writing-wise that only fellow writers truly understand.
So, as we draw closer to the anniversary of The Brit Babes Street Team, I want to say what a brilliant experience it's been for me, one I've appreciated in so many different ways. Here's to many more years, ladies.
For any writers out there who have been toying with the idea of a Street Team but are worried about going it alone, I'd definitely recommend getting together a group of other writers in your genre that you trust and having a group street team. It's benefited us in so many ways.
The Brit Babes are: Lucy Felthouse, K D Grace, Kay Jaybee, Victoria Blisse, Lexie Bay, Lily Harlem, Emmy Ellis and Tabitha Rayne.
See you next month!
Friday, February 21, 2014
By Lisabet Sarai
A lithe male figure in a turtleneck brushes past me and my breath catches in my throat. Images flood my mind, images of pale, pliant flesh, offering itself to me.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
It's that time again! Time for you to post your Sexy Snippets!
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.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
NWWTHYWM? What the hell am I talking about? Allow me a few paragraphs to set the stage.
I’m sure most readers of this blog have heard of National Novel Writing Month, known fondly as NaNoWriMo. Begun in 1999, NaNoWriMo is an annual event that challenges everyone who feels they have a novel in them to write 50,000 words between November 1 and November 30 each year.
I know many writers who’ve tried this, and I did myself a decade ago. I’d been wanting to develop a recently published literary short story into a novel. NaNoWriMo got me cranking out the prose, but by December 1, I’d realized the short story didn’t have as much potential as I’d thought. Thanks to NaNoWriMo, it only took me a month to figure that out, so I’d say it was a good investment.
I haven’t done NaNoWriMo since because I also figured out that I do my best writing when I edit myself as I go. A slower, thoughtful pace is more satisfying to me. However, I do appreciate other aspects of the program, namely, that NaNoWriMo gives you permission just to write, intensively, day after day, for the sake of the writing itself. That permission to write without rules and self-imposed restrictions (content-wise anyway) is an appealing concept to me at this stage in my writing life.
Equal thanks for the conception of NWWTHYW must go to Lisabet Sarai and her January column here at ERWA, “Writing Commando.” Lisabet eloquently describes the published writer’s “education on the tyranny of genres, what sells and what doesn’t, what you can and cannot include in a book aimed at a particular market niche.” And yet, as she writes:
“I yearn for the freedom – the innocence – of my first years writing erotica. I've started to realize I'll never be a best seller (and I'm not even sure I want to be). So why should I care about pleasing a mass of readers? I know there are some people who'll appreciate my particular approach, my personal blend of romanticism and filth. I should strip off my official author's uniform and just write to please myself, and them.”
“Hear, hear,” I actually said aloud as I read this passage. Writing just to please myself and the audience who “gets” me? But... what would that even mean? Then I got to thinking--what if erotica writers, or all writers as a matter of fact, banded together to join in a Write Whatever the Hell You Want Month? (Feel free to change the “H” to an “F.”)
Yes, Fellow Writers, that’s one whole month when you can write whatever the hell you want without feeling you have to meet some external standard of worth or profitability. Your ending doesn’t have to be happy or edgy or ambivalent--it can be as many of these things as you can manage. The protagonist doesn’t have to be attractive or likeable or complex or sexy. There can be as much or as little sex as you like and the length can be “too” long or short. The taboos—and isn’t it interesting that supposedly transgressive erotic expression has more publishers’ rules than any other genre?--need not apply because publication and pleasing someone else is not the goal here.
The goal is simply to please yourself. For one whole month.
Yet, even after happily fantasizing about the idea of NWWTHYWM (or should it be “NaWriWhaTHeYouWaMo”?) for about a month, I’m still not even sure what I would write if I truly could write whatever I wanted. Which is, perhaps, the very reason I should try it.
Won't you join me?
Donna George Storey is the author of Amorous Woman (recently released as an ebook) and a new 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