Thursday, October 30, 2014
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Sunday, October 26, 2014
by Jean Roberta
In 2010, three brave sex workers went public to challenge Canada’s antique laws on sex work. These laws, which were essentially unchanged since Canada became a nation in 1867, made it illegal to:
- “solicit” customers (interpretation of what this actually meant was up to local police and courts)
- “keep a common bawdy house” (a place designated for the exchange of sex for money), or
- “live off the avails” of prostitution (to operate as a pimp or manager of a sex worker).
The legal basis of the challenge was Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, passed into law in 1982.
A sensible Supreme Court judge, Beverley McLachlan, agreed with the three challengers that the 1982 laws made the older laws on sex work unconstitutional. What to do?
Judge McLachlan gave the Canadian government a mandate to come up with a new plan for dealing with sex work. Apparently leaving it alone was not an option. In 2013, the illegality of the previous laws was finally confirmed (if you follow this). In June 2014, a new slate of laws was proposed, and it has been furiously debated since then. The new bill has to be passed into law or rejected within one year: by June 2015.
So what is this new bill? It was borrowed from Sweden, where it was devised by the feminist wing of a left-of-centre political party. Apparently this new approach has spread to other Scandinavian countries. Its aim is to “protect” women and children from sexual exploitation.
The new bill makes it illegal to buy sexual services (or to communicate for the purpose of buying them), but not to sell sexual services. It also makes it illegal to “practice” the sex trade in the vicinity of anyone under the age of majority, which is eighteen in Canada. In some parts of Canada, men who are arrested for buying sexual services are already sentenced to attend “john school,” where they are taught that what they did was exploitative and immoral.
I’ve been asked what I have against this approach, if I call myself a feminist. Sigh.
Firstly, the prohibition against selling sex within sight of children just seems ridiculous to me. In the early 1980s, I brought my two-year-old daughter with me to visit a friend in Vancouver, on the Canadian west coast. My friend lived in the West End of the city, which was known as a centre for street prostitution. When my friend, my child and I walked down the street on our way to the park or the shops, we saw what I first mistook for fashionably-dressed women waiting for buses or taxis. They didn’t bother the three of us; we weren’t their target audience. Only after my friend pointed this out to me did I notice the brisk trade between the women and the men who picked them up.
I really doubt whether my two-year-old was damaged by being exposed to this aspect of city life.
Later, as a single mother who needed money, I went to work for a local escort agency in Saskatchewan, where I live. The first escort agency in my city was apparently started in the late 1970s by two women from Winnipeg (a bigger city to the east of me), where this method of practicing the sex trade was wildly popular. The agencies are based on the legal fiction that they simply provide companionship for a limited time for a paying customer. If sex is not explicitly mentioned by a customer who calls the agency, or by the receptionist who takes the call, this fiction can be maintained. When the “escort” meets the customer at his (usually his) home or in a hotel, they can negotiate an exchange of money for sexual services. The owners of the agency can claim to be blissfully ignorant of what actually happens between their employees and their customers.
The sex trade is parallel to the magical world in the Harry Potter novels. Harry, as a person who was born to be a wizard, finds his community when he is sent to Hogwarts School for the magical arts. Harry, and the reader, learn that magical folk have their own culture, their own businesses, and even their own currency, of which the “muggles” are usually unaware.
Wherever you live, the sex trade is probably being practiced in some form near you. If you are not a buyer or a seller (like me as a tourist in Vancouver), you probably don’t notice it. The higher-paid forms of sex work (“escorting”) take place indoors where it is unlikely to be seen by anyone not directly involved.
There are already laws against the exploitation of underage children in any form of paid employment in most industrialized nations since the nineteenth century. If ten-year-olds are earning money on the street, they are being exploited by adults like the children in factories during the Industrial Revolution. The debate over this took place generations ago, and we don’t need to go there again. We have child protection laws, foster homes, and mandatory public schooling. Even if none of these things work perfectly, there is no need to create new laws to deal with the exploitation of children as workers.
There are also laws in place to deal with human trafficking: the transporting of people, without their consent, from one place to another, for various purposes, not only sex work. Domestic workers from other countries are notoriously subject to abuse. The solution to this problem, IMO, is to apply existing legal labour standards to all forms of employment.
Is the sex trade creating a commotion on a city street? Then laws against excessive noise can be applied. Are adult women being pimped against their wills? There are laws in Canada against kidnapping and forcible confinement. If police are being bribed to ignore flagrant violations of the law (and I’m not saying they are – this is a “what-if” speculation), then police corruption is the problem, not sex work per se.
What does all this have to do with the writing of erotica? More than you might think. None of us can ignore the culture in which we live, and attitudes toward sexual services as work are ultimately based on attitudes toward sex in general, paid or unpaid. As long as sex is considered shameful, and women (in particular) who engage in it are both blamed and pitied, sex work in its dazzling variety will be seen as a social problem.
Trying to legislate sex work out of existence is like trying to hold back the sea. As long as this is being done by muggles--even those with humanitarian goals--it’s safe to predict that the laws will be challenged again and again.
Friday, October 24, 2014
by Kathleen Bradean
Being a creative type, as you probably know, means having a particularly active brain. Which is all find and dandy when you find yourself stuck in traffic or in a doctor's waiting room and you have to self-amuse (in a publicly acceptable manner) for a while. That's the time to unleash the imagination and set it free. When it isn't such a great thing is when its two in the morning and you still can't fall asleep because your brain decides to run endless iterations of a bad scene you're dreading rather than shut off.
By three a.m, you realize why Morpheus was a god.
Family drama may be keeping me awake, but in those wee hours of the morning I do my usual 'thinking too much about things.' And what I mused too much about recently-- other than family drama-- is a question.
What's the point of erotica?
Saying "Well, to arouse readers, of course," seems too simplistic and possibly wrong. Possibly. Horror seems like a genre intended to scare people, but it often, especially in movies, is used to reflect upon and comment on our culture. What's the purpose of the mystery genre? Probably to reassure readers that there is order in life and there's such a thing as closure. That's a huge lie, of course, but-- to quote The Sun Also Rises-- "Isn't it pretty to think so?" Maybe the point of a mystery is to entertain the type of reader who likes a puzzle.
So maybe the point of erotica is to arouse, but I think it's more complex than that in the hands of some writers and some readers. Could it be that the genre uses sex and sexuality to explore the human condition, and that titillation is just a byproduct? Is it erotica if it only shows sex but it isn't arousing? (or is that simply literary fiction?) And does the author's intent matter? what if it was supposed to turn you on but didn't? Or what if it wasn't ever supposed to arouse but one reader got a tingle and some fevered dreams out of a scene?
You can see why such thoughts turn into little hamsters on unbalanced exercise wheels in need of lubrication. The squeaking alone is enough to stop a brain from turning off. Eventually it does, but not before a subtler thief sneaks at the edges of my thoughts. And here's the point where it turns slightly awkward, because the quote that came to me was from a children's movie. In Willie Wonka (the Johnny Depp version, not the Gene Wilder one), Charlie Bucket sagely comments that "Candy doesn't have to have a point." Maybe erotica doesn't need to have one either. But let me know what you think.
Posted by Kathleen Bradean at 1:00 AM
Thursday, October 23, 2014
Basically, it is a free promotional tool (though there are paid options you can explore) to help you get the word out about something. For the purposes of this post, I’ll use books as an example, as it’s what I deal with.
You sign up for a free account at Thunderclap.it, and follow the simple instructions to set up your campaign. Use graphics from your book if you can, as that way you’re increasing visibility of your book to those that click through to support your campaign. Spend some time crafting your message, adding some relevant hashtags if you’ve got room – bear in mind that this message will go out once and hopefully to an awful lot of people, so you want it to have punch, something to really make people want to click on the link you’ve provided. I’d also recommend only opting for 100 supporters the first time around – it sounds like a small number, especially if you have lots of social media savvy friends, but it’s tougher than you think to get people to click that link.
Once you’re happy with what you’ve done, submit your campaign and wait for Thunderclap to approve it (you can speed this process up by paying, but I’ve never done this). Then, when approval arrives, the really hard work begins. You have to get supporters.
Supporters are the whole point of Thunderclap – they’re the ones that are signing up to send out your message on the date and time you’ve selected. I think, since Thunderclap is fairly new, that people may be shying away from supporting Thunderclaps as they don’t fully understand what it means. So, in a nutshell, here goes: supporters are pledging to help you, by donating a Tweet, a Facebook status or a Tumblr post (or indeed, any combination of those three). That’s all. They’ll see the message they’re pledging to send out, hit those support buttons, and, providing you get enough supporters to “tip” the campaign, their social media account/s will automatically send out the message on the date and time you’ve selected.
The point of all this? Well, since we’re talking books – it’s to drive sales. If you have an upcoming book, you can set something up in advance to go out on your release date – then you’ve got a while to promote the Thunderclap, get your supporters and then you’ll get a big boost on social media on the day, which will hopefully get people clicking those buy buttons and pushing you up the respective retailer charts. Cool, huh?
There is more to it than just getting the supporters, though. Sorry to complicate matters :) Ideally you need supporters that Tweet/share/Tumble about books in your genre – so in turn their followers/friends/etc are more likely to be interested in your book. Also, it goes without saying that the more followers/friends/readers your supporters have, the more people are likely to see your message once it goes out. So if you can attract people with a large reach on social media, all the better.
But to keep things simple, maybe start out small, and once you’ve dipped your toe in the Thunderclap water and seen how it all works – you can be more adventurous next time.
Bottom line: make sure you’ve crafted a powerful message to go out, that will catch people’s eyes and make them want to click. Then sit back and (hopefully) watch your sales increase.
Want to see how it works from a supporter’s angle? Here are three Thunderclaps you can sign up for (and I’d be grateful of your help):
Timeless Desire – M/F erotic romance story
Little Boxes – contemporary romance novel
To Rome with Lust – erotic romance novel
I hope this has helped you. Feel free to share far and wide on the web, to help people gain an understanding of how it works. If I get lots of questions and queries, I may do another article at a later date with more specifics.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
By Lisabet Sarai
Sunday, October 19, 2014
It's that time of the month once again... Time for you to share 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.
Feel free to share this with erotic author friends. It's an open invitation!
Still, 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. So play nice!
Saturday, October 18, 2014
This month my study of stardom comes to its long-awaited conclusion. I’ve argued that celebrity culture is the media age’s expression of a deep-seated human need to create mythical figures in our mundane lives, modern-day gods and goddesses who are in the end visions of our idealized selves. Indeed fame is more about the needs of the fan than any inherent superiority of the famous—if we all can become famous for fifteen minutes, then it’s fame itself that matters more than anything else, even truth.
Accordingly, although I’ve enjoyed throwing around names like Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton (and tipping my hat to Nancy Reagan) for comic effect, I do believe the most significant aspect of celebrity culture is its function as a mirror of our society’s yearnings, fears, and values. The dramas of the famous are our hidden hang-ups and fantasies projected on the screen for all to see. And while few readers of the ERWA blog probably invest much interest in the latest doings of Angelina Jolie, I believe that the illusions of fame impact every creative artist to some degree.
Even if you yourself have never dreamed of mobs of fans winding around city blocks, waiting for you to sign their treasured copy of your novel, perhaps you’ve dealt with the annoying responses at parties when you mention you write. “Are you published? I haven’t heard of you. Has your novel been optioned for HBO?”
Too many people confuse celebrity with quality. If you aren’t famous, you aren’t good. “Success” must be measured by spots on the bestseller list, Pulitzer Prizes, major motion picture adaptations. Or perhaps your party acquaintance is satisfied with a more modest appearance in Best American Erotica. Yet we’re still playing by the rules of fame. I for one was slow to figure this out. When I first started writing, I longed for the validation of publication, then of winning a place in the best-of’s. My circle of acquaintances would ask, “How’s your writing going?” and slowly but surely I had progress to report. Ten stories in a year. Fifteen the next. A novel.
It was never enough. “What’s next?” they’d ask. “Do you have an agent yet?”
I no longer give a list of the year’s accomplishments when someone asks me how my writing is going. Because I’ve realized at long last that those measures of success are an effort to find satisfaction in others’ opinions of me. That is what fame is—the opinion of others. Sometimes it is based on a good reason. Often it is just their distorted projection with no relation to who you are or what you’ve actually done. Frankly, I’m pretty happy with what I’ve accomplished in my writing. I don’t need to prove anything to myself anymore. That is indeed enough.
Thus the most important way to say no to the insidious influence of celebrity culture even in the lower ranks of writers: Never lose sight of the pleasure and aliveness of your creative process which can never, ever be properly valued by another person. If you write, you succeed.
Not unrelated to this point is the relatively passive role fame assigns us, whether fan or celebrity. Sure, a fan can be quite active in terms of chasing down the object of her worship or collecting memorabilia or the latest gossip. But the decision about who matters is made by the vagaries of the “star-making machinery” (to quote Joni Mitchell). Is there any other rational reason why Kim Kardashian is a household name?
The other day I was reading Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and I came across an inspiring antidote to this passivity in her essay, “Woolf’s Darkness: Embracing the Inexplicable.” Solnit describes her attempt to find or make a language to describe the things in our lives that can’t be quantified or categorized, an effort that lies at the heart of the revolt against capitalism and consumerism (the engines of modern fame). In short, Solnit urges us to become producers rather than consumers of meaning.
I like that because producing meaning is what writers do every time they create a story. So of course, the best way to do this is to keep writing. At the same time, whenever we encounter assumptions about success, fame, and what constitutes “good” writing, we can interrogate those assumptions, agree or disagree, and better still make up our own new measures of value. In other words, we move from letting the market and celebrity culture define creative success to, at least sometimes, defining worth for ourselves.
It takes a lot more energy to think rather than let someone else make the decisions for us, but it’s the easiest way to become the star of our own universe.
Thanks for bearing with me through Justin Bieber and Dolly Parton. Keep writing and shine on!
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
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
jumped in the sea, performed her duty
did Lady Dainagon No Suke.
She played koto, composed Haiku
and she wooed a biwa hoshi.
Who wields the blade makes up the rules
and she packed a wakizashi.
Although her man, he let her down
Lady Dainagon No Suke
her sword was mightier than his pen
and she served up penis sushi.
does woman weep who sheds no tears?
Where no soul breathes does freedom matter?
Where no heart beats can hope be shattered?
Android Ilsa stood on the wall
Angry Ilsa had a great fall.
All the technicians and corporate men
won't put Ilsa together again.
look what a mess poor Nixie makes
of a Pentecostal preacher man
who preached the blood of Christ the Lamb
Who preached of Christ's grim crown of thorns
who called her from the unicorns
though she was dead, was now reborn.
Transformed with love for God and Man
killed by mistake her lover Dan.
Thou shalt not give hope to the damned.
(Nixie Skarsgaard appears in several erotic horror stories, most recently "The Tortoise and the Eagle)
I let them get away with murder
That I may be a litterateur.
Posted by Garceus at 12:30 AM
Saturday, October 11, 2014
Monday, October 6, 2014
Blessed with a perfect, peach-shaped assie
Your heels and stockings look so classy,
Have a guess what’s on my mind
You know I’d love to mount your chassis
And take you rudely from behind.
Friday, October 3, 2014
From Erotica Readers & Writers Association
By Lisabet Sarai
Dear Devotees of Dark Desire,
Welcome to the autumn edition of the Erotic Lure, newsletter for the Erotica Readers & Writers Association. As the smoke-scented nights grow chilly and shadows flit across the hunter's moon, it's time to hunker down at home with your honey and enjoy some erotic thrills.
Don't expect silly comments about risque Halloween costumes in this issue of the Lure. No groan-inducing puns or double entendres. This newsletter concerns itself with magick - specifically, the irresistible power of sexuality to transform the world.
The enchantment begins in the Erotica Gallery. Breaking with the usual practice, our erotic fiction this month is authored by contributors to the ERWA blog rather than members of the Storytime list. Indulge yourself with nine steamy tales that cover the full emotional gamut, from bloody sexual obsession to light-hearted fantasy, written by Donna George Storey, C. Sanchez-Garcia, Remittance Girl, M.Christian, K.D. Grace, Jean Roberta, Elizabeth Black. Ashley Lister, and yours truly. I'm sure you know many of these authors. If some of their names are unfamiliar, then a treat awaits you as you sample their considerable talent.
We're not completely discarding our ERWA traditions, though. From October 17th to October 31st, the Gallery will be augmented by tales from Storytime authors on our popular annual theme "La Petite Morte". Expect werewolves, vampires, ghosts, demons and other creatures that go bump in the night, indulging in unmentionable Halloween carnality.
Let our stories cast their spells:
Want more sexy stuff to read? Come browse the ever-changing array of options in our Books for Sensual Readers section. This month we feature COMING TOGETHER PRESENTS: AMANDA EARL, a charity anthology of hard-core stories by long time ERWA member Amanda Earl. Proceeds support AIDS research. Other bewitching anthologies on offer include Delilah Devlin's HOT HIGHLANDERS AND WILD WARRIORS (worth buying for the cover alone!) and Mitzi Szereto's Gothic-themed collection DARKER EDGE OF DESIRE. There are lots of new novels listed, many written by authors I haven't encountered previously. I was drawn to THE GIRL IN 6E by A.R. Torre, a warped thriller about a vampire who hides from society and makes her living providing explicit webcam performances. Meanwhile, erotic romance fans will enjoy Marie Harte's STEPPING OUT. Her hero and heroine share a lot: a history of cheating ex-spouses, a profound lack of trust for the opposite sex and an undeniable chemistry. Fun!
In the gay fiction category, Charlie Cochet's A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME caught my eye. This gay historical romance, set in the Roaring Twenties, pairs a street-wise performer in a gay cabaret with an emotionally-shattered ex-soldier. Teresa Wymore's dark paranormal tale ECHO OF DARKNESS gets my vote in the lesbian fiction category. I haven't seen her name in a while (she had a story in the ERWA anthology I edited, CREAM); I'm delighted to learn that she's still writing. And if you're seeking sexual enlightenment (aren't we all?), take a look at PARTNERS IN PASSION, a treatise on sex and intimacy by Mark A. Michaels and Patricia Johnson.
Of course all these books, as well as the scores more featured on our site, can be yours with a few clicks of the mouse. I'm sure you know that every penny you spend via the ERWA affiliate links helps to support ERWA and lets us continue to provide fabulous, free erotic content - just as we have for eighteen amazing years.
Glory in the written word:
Can sex toys be magic? The ones featured in this edition of Sex Toy Scuttlebutt definitely look that way. Consider the Blue Motion Remote Vibrator, which can be controlled from anywhere in the world via its WiFi connection. Sounds like some sexy sorcery to me... The carnal conjurors from Good Vibrations have penned a fantastic article entitled "What is an orgasm?" Before you dismiss this with a grunt of "I know it when I see it", read the column. It may change your perceptions about coming.
Wave your magic wand:
The Adult Movies pages provide more charmed entertainment. John Stagliano's most recent collection of "Voracious" episodes is appropriate to the season: artistic, moody, kinky tales of vampires who hunger for more than blood. Erika Lust's "XConfessions" is a bit more experimental - ten explicit short films of individuals acting out the widely varying fantasies they'd previously confessed to the director. If you crave a bit of love with your porn, I recommend college romance "Second Chances". What's a girl to do when the hunk who did her wrong as a freshman reappears in senior year?
As usual, I tried to select a "dirty smutty porn" flick to feature, but all the ones listed seemed to have an excess of plot. You'll have to choose a favorite on your own. I'm definitely intrigued by the classic "The Virgin and the Lover", the 1973 debut of the legendary Jennifer Welles.
If my picks don't suit your mood, browse through the dozens more we have listed. And if you discover some film you just can't live without - well, you know what to do!
Seeing is believing:
Inside the Erotic Mind, the featured conversation revolves around age and sex. Is sex like fine wine, better when aged? Or does the spark disappear as the years pile up? I think you'll find the responses encouraging. If you'd like to add your own comments, click on the Participate link. And if you've got a few minutes, explore the other ongoing forums on various X-rated topics.
Anything can happen inside the erotic mind:
Our last stop in our pre-Halloween tour is the Author Resources pages. If you enjoy writing erotica, and you'd like to share your visions with a larger circle, take a look at our extensive list of publishers and calls for submission. Recent calls include "Desire Behind Bars" (prison-themed lesbian erotica), "Resonator" (Lovecraftian erotica about heightened perception) and "No Safewords II" (a call for stories set in Laura Antoniou's Marketplace world). If you don't find just the right place to send your work today, check back in a week or so. We update the list regularly.
By the way, if you're not sure you're ready to publish, but want to hone your literary skills, consider joining the Storytime and/or Writers email lists. The former is an online critique group for erotica. The latter offers discussions on a wide range of craft and publishing issues. Both lists include a lively combination newbies and seasoned smutmongers. To join, see the instructions at
Bewitch your readers:
This edition of Erotic Lure is sponsored by SilkWords, the go-to source for interactive erotic fiction. We love variety in stories and publish all genres of erotica. We also offer very competitive rates to our authors, whom we consider to be our partners.
All stories and story teasers on our web site are free. With gorgeous custom covers and a clean, sophisticated design, our site offers a secure, upscale reading environment. All of our content is also available for purchase in the standard e-book formats.
SilkWords features two types of interactive stories: "pick your path" (remember the old CYOA books?) and reader-vote (where authors collaborate with readers in developing their stories).
SilkWords is woman-owned and operated by a full-time mom with a background in environmental science, and an RWA RITA-nominated sci-fi romance author for Tor/Macmillan. Our technology guy and site designer was the founder of Microsoft Xbox Live.
I think it's time for me to cut you loose to explore on your own. Enjoy this season of sorcery and spells, and don't be afraid to conjure a bit of pleasure out of the ether.
Visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory
Check out Lisabet's blog
Join Lisabet's List
Write, learn, and play on ERWA. Details at: