Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Just want to let you know that ERWA (website and email lists) will be transitioning to a new host this week. There may be intermittent disruptions with the email lists as well as the ERWA web site, but by the time it's concluded, we hope some of the nagging problems we've experienced over the past months will be history. Thanks for your patience.
(And in just a few days, you'll be able to enjoy the summer edition of the ERWA website, and my Erotic Lure newsletter. Stay tuned!)
Sunday, June 28, 2015
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Sinful Press is looking to publish erotic novels of over 60k. Advance offered.
We are interested in well-written mainstream romance, dark or paranormal erotica with strong characters and a good plotline. Sex scenes must be believable, explicit and in keeping with the chosen sub-genre.
We do have a preference for female protagonists but could be persuaded to accept male protagonists if the story is strong enough.
While we don’t expect you to have professionally edited your novel, we do expect to see minimal spelling/grammatical mistakes. In other words, we want to see a final draft not a first draft.
We will also consider novellas of 20-60k. At present we are only looking for romance, BDSM, and paranormal erotica. These will be on a royalty only basis, no advance, and while they will have the same amount of care and attention as our novels, they will only be available in ebook format.
More information can be found on our submission page at:
Friday, June 26, 2015
by Jean Roberta
Do you think about your characters’ clothing when you write erotic stories or poetry? As a girl who spent her formative years cutting out pattern pieces and sewing them together to make (hopefully) chic ensembles for myself, I am often disappointed by descriptions of clothing in the erotica I read. Either there is just enough information to emphasize the body underneath (cleavage-revealing tops and short or slit skirts on the heroine, trousers on the hero that bulge noticeably at the crotch), or there is a detailed description of clothing with no indication of what it actually signifies to the contemporary viewer. (A swimsuit at the beach is expected. A swimsuit in an office would probably be considered scandalous, and the wearer would be expected to explain his/her relative nudity. In historical fiction, a maid and a duchess –or a stableboy and a duke -- would not be dressed alike, unless one were trying to pass for the other.)
I’ve been thinking about clothing ever since I agreed to review a fascinating book, Sex and Unisex: Fashion, Feminism, and the Sexual Revolution by Jo B. Paoletti, a professor of American Studies at the University of Maryland. The author has written several books on the sociological significance of fashion, including Changes in the Masculine Image in the United States, 1880-1910(her Ph.D. thesis, 1980) and Pink and Blue: Telling the Boys from the Girls in America (2012).
The current book, Sex and Unisex, is about the drastic changes of fashion that took place in the 1960s and early 1970s, led by innovative designers, who were mostly gay men (although this was never openly mentioned at the time), and the hordes of teenagers and young adults who had been born just after the Second World War, and who wanted to look different from their parents.
As a member of that generation, who shopped for clothing patterns the way my classmates shopped for 45-rpm vinyl records of the latest Top Tunes, I am so glad that a scholar has analyzed trends which, at the time, were routinely dismissed as trivial, but which often produced over-the-top reactions from those in authority.
One current myth about the 1960s that Paoletti debunks is that girls and women were not allowed to wear pants (trousers) until some brave individuals (feminists and/or lesbians) paved the way for the rest of us. Contemporary images from mail-order and pattern catalogues show “play clothes” for boys and girls under the age of puberty that look identical. Little girls, especially in the U.S., could wear Western-style shirts with jeans and even add a holster with a toy gun, and this look was socially acceptable all through the 1950s and 1960s. There was a practical reason for advertising unisex clothing for the under-12 set: families of the Baby Boom tended to be large, so parents appreciated sturdy clothes that could be passed down to a sister from a brother, or vice versa.
Pants for adult women were also widely accepted – in the right social context. Images of Marilyn Monroe and other Hollywood bombshells from the 1950s and early 1960s in snug “pedal pushers” were titillating, but not really considered obscene. At the time, these photos presumably showed what the stars looked like in the privacy of their homes, in “casual dress.”
Puberty was a dividing-line, and so were school and church, as distinct from the playground, the campground, and the suburban neighborhood. Girls who had developed womanly curves were expected to wear skirts and dresses much more than formerly, and most schools (public and private) had a dress code that demanded skirts on girls from kindergarten on. The rationale was that pants on girls (and denim pants on anyone) were “casual dress,” and students of both genders were supposed to take the educational process seriously. (Note that denim pants were originally sold to men with strenuous physical jobs, so the widespread adoption of jeans as a middle-class teenage uniform could be seen as a shocking rejection of white-collar respectability as well as a refusal to grow up.)
Needless to say, religion was also taken seriously, so attendance at church or temple required gender-specific attire: suits for little gentlemen, dresses for little ladies. Special events (first communion, weddings, high-school proms, even extended-family dinners at home on holidays) required formal, gender-specific clothing on everyone, from the youngest to the oldest.
The spread of jeans and mini-skirts, feminist rebellion against traditional gender roles, and the “sexual revolution,” which accelerated after the invention of the birth-control pill in 1969, all progressed at approximately the same time. This is probably why minor variations in style (the length/shortness of girls’ skirts, the length/shortness of boys’ hair) were thought to represent philosophical positions that the Establishment was not willing to accept.
I’ll never forget my father’s explosion over my secretary outfit (as I thought of it) in the mid-1960s, when I was fourteen. I wanted to look like an independent woman working in an office. (My unmarried aunt was a secretary, and I imagined that this job involved a high salary and considerable decision-making power.) I made myself a straight skirt that ended just above my knees, with a back zipper and a kick-pleat for easy walking. It was made of pink wool, fully lined in acetate satin. (I knew the names of several famous designers, and I wanted to be Mary Quant when I grew up.) The skirt went with a long-sleeved blouse in a paisley-print polyester which I thought could pass for silk. The blouse had a notched collar and cuffs. Nothing about this ensemble violated the school dress code, so I couldn’t imagine why my parents would try to prevent me from wearing it to school.
I put on my new clothes to show my parents. My mother chewed her bottom lip while my father yelled loudly enough to be heard from the street. Neither parent seemed at all impressed with my dressmaking talent. The gist of my father’s sermon was that I was still a child, and therefore my outfit was inappropriate as well as indecent. He announced that I would never be allowed to wear it anywhere. (Later on, he seemed oblivious when I left the house in my new clothes.) Apparently, when my father saw me dressed like my idea of a secretary, he saw “Sex” written across my girlish bust, or my pink-wool-covered hips. He might also have seen “Pregnancy,” “Drugs” and “Bad Company.”
If possible, the boys who joined the “peacock revolution” in men’s clothing faced even more opposition. The threat of homosexuality was the elephant in the room which terrified fathers in grey flannel suits when their sons wore flashy shirts, open to the waist, with tight hiphugging pants and “long” hairstyles that included bangs and sideburns. Paoletti devotes a whole chapter to court cases in which young men fought a variety of institutions for the right to wear their hair any way they chose. For many employers, most school administrators, and virtually the whole top brass of every branch of the military, “long hair” on males represented everything that was likely to destroy civilization. The clothes that usually went with the hair just seemed to confirm the opinion of strait-laced elders that a whole generation of young men was refusing to accept adult responsibility, including the patriotic requirement to become warriors.
On the subject of length, I need to end this post before it becomes unreadably long. Suffice it to say that styles of presentation (including clothing, body types, hairstyles and facial appearance) in every era carry enormous symbolic baggage. Clothes are never just arrangements of fabric (or leather, metal, wood, or plastic). Wearers of controversial fashions can be accused of transmitting messages they never intended. Clothing styles of the past can be misunderstood as being either more or less radical than they were at the time.
When writing an erotic story, I am tempted to give too much information about what the characters are wearing, and I have to remind myself that a fashion show in words would probably be read as a digression from the action. Certain styles of face, hair and body display might also mean something different to the reader than they do to me. (My secretary outfit carried a horrifying message for my father than I didn’t even foresee at the time.)
Do you pay attention to the way characters display themselves in your reading-matter? As a writer, how do you approach this subject? Responses welcome.
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
by Kathleen Bradean
There seems to be two types of erotica (actually many more than that, but let's pretend the world is simplistic). There's the sort that's about sex. Then there's the kind of story that's about something else but that something else is revealed through sex.
I have nothing against stories that are just about sex. There's something rare about that honesty. But I'm thinking lately a lot about the other kind because that's what I tend to write. Often times, especially when the sex is BDSM, the story is about an inner journey, which when you think about it is empowering and positive for the reader.Sometimes the story is about revenge, which can be fun to read. it's two self-indulgent fantasies wrapped into one.
Less often, I see stories about alienation, guilt, or depression. In the hands of a skilled writer, those emotions can lead to shattering works. I'd like to see more of them.
The one emotion I can't recall ever seeing is anger. More specifically, female anger. In her novella Beautiful Losers, Remittance Girl touches on it, but it's coupled with shame. I fully understand why. That's the way women are socialized to experience it. We get angry then immediately try to deny it and turn it against ourselves. I don't see female rage expressed in non-erotic works either, unless it's an extremely negative portrayal of a woman being unreasonably bitchy just for the hell of it Or because she's mentally unstable due to hormones. It's always an insulting portrayal.
Why is that? Can't we ever just be angry because the situation is enough to make any reasonable person mad? And can women ever express anger without it being a negative portrayal? What is this huge taboo against female anger?
I don't know. I wish I had answers. Have you ever written a story where a female character had every right to be angry and she expressed it in a healthy, mature manner that didn't make the reader think she was in the wrong for feeling that emotion?
Posted by Kathleen Bradean at 1:00 AM
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
I’d really love your opinion on this. I’m asking because there seems to be no standard in the publishing industry. I “know” lots of authors because of the wonder that is social media, and some of them (myself included) write lots of different things under the same pen name, whereas others create new pen names when they branch out into something new.
I wouldn’t say I write different genres, exactly, because so far I’ve only written erotica and erotic romance. Though I write in lots of subgenres; contemporary, paranormal, femdom, maledom, BDSM, etc, etc… but I do write different pairings. It’s waaay too late for me to start splitting those up now, and I wouldn’t, anyway, because it’s hard enough work maintaining various websites and social media accounts for a single author name, let alone adding more to the equation. I just make sure to emphasise genres and pairings when promoting new releases, and I always put that information on my website. I can’t control what details my publishers put on their websites and third party retailers, but wherever I can, I make the information available. So hopefully I’m providing my readers with the details they need to ensure they’re only buying books they’re interested in.
So, what are your thoughts on this? Do you wish authors would use different aliases, or doesn’t it bother you?
Also, just for the record, if I moved into something like crime fiction or mainstream romance, I would start a new pen name. But while it’s remotely smutty, I’m sticking with this one :)
Sunday, June 21, 2015
By Lisabet Sarai
Friday, June 19, 2015
Today is Friday, June 19th. TGIF, and thank goodness, it's Sexy Snippets Day!
This is your chance to share the hottest mini-excerpts you can find from your published work.
The ERWA blog is not primarily intended for author promotion. However, we've decided we should give our author/members an occasional opportunity to expose themselves (so to speak) to the reading public. Hence, we have declared the 19th of every month at the Erotica Readers and Writers Association blog Sexy Snippet Day.
On Sexy Snippet day, any author can post a tiny excerpt (200 words or less) in a comment on the day's post. Include the title from with the snippet was extracted, your name or pseudonym, and one buy link, if you'd like.
Please post excerpts only from published work (or work that is free for download), not works in progress. The goal, after all, is to titillate your readers and seduce them into buying your books!
Feel free to share this with erotic author friends. It's an open invitation!
Thursday, June 18, 2015
by Philip Larkin
Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(which was rather late for me)—
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first L.P.
Up to then there’d only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.
Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.
So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me)—
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first L.P.
Now, first let me say that although I got my undergraduate degree in English literature, I’ve never felt at home critiquing poetry, in particular determining the “quality” of a particular poem. But I do know what speaks to me, and Larkin’s poem deals with a number of issues I’ve been considering as I attempt to create characters in centuries past who have a pleasurable sex life.
I’ve been enjoying the research greatly and one thread that runs through every discussion of sex in the past is the gap between the public message about sexuality (in the last two centuries it was seen as a base instinct which men must restrain and among females only harlots enjoy) and the things people actually do in their bedrooms, or wherever else they engage in sexual activity. This gap is still in evidence today, of course. For me, Larkin’s poem suggests on one level that “sexual intercourse” is not the act itself but a public acknowledgment and discussion of that activity, bookended by two very public events of an erotic nature: the legal availability of sexually frank “pure” literature and the delirious sexual frenzy that was Beatlemania.
The setting of a date for the beginning of sexual intercourse suggests a personal answer as well: when did sexual intercourse begin for each of us? We all have our personal year or years--the actual first time, the first time it blew our minds, and so on. I know that intercourse must have existed before 1963 because I was born in 1961, my mother in 1930, my grandmother in 1890. But the perpetuation of the human species is an abstract concept. On an emotional level it does indeed seem that such a secret, private act didn’t exist before we personally experienced it.
This is true even today, long after 1963. Yes, we have titillating sex in our entertainment media, all too often served up with violence to reinforce the idea that sex has dire consequences. We have porn, which is hardly a mirror of our experience of sex in the “real” world. But for the most part—and I do appreciate there are some laudable exceptions—“ordinary” pleasurable sex experienced by people we know is not something we ever see or hear about. The thought of our parents or other family members having sex, of anyone not between the ages of 18 and 40 having sex, of any “unattractive” person having sex, of intellectuals having sex (of more or less anyone other than a movie star having sex in the way it is shown on screen) is supposed to elicit outrage and disgust or at best disdainful mockery. Many still insist that the most basic information about sexuality be withheld from the public, especially young people.
I’m sure you’ll be glad to hear my research confirms that sexual intercourse did exist before 1963. Evidence exists in the form of court records involving rape, divorce by reason of adultery and illegitimate children, that is, anti-social sexuality. Pamphlets and medical books exist, most with a repressive social agenda and inaccurate information. For example, in the nineteenth century most doctors believed a woman was most fertile during menstruation like an animal in heat. Literary depictions range from the boundary-breaking hyperactivity of erotica to rare scenes in high-minded works that rely on euphemisms like “they became one flesh.”
A few precious diaries do exist that give us a glimpse into the sex lives of couples who experienced a recognizably enjoyable erotic life. In the mid-nineteenth century, Mary Pierce Poor (as quoted in Contraception and Abortion in Nineteenth-Century America by Janet Farrell Brodie) records in her diary the timing and frequency of intercourse with her husband in code which provides a surprising amount of information—that they were intimate immediately before and after he was away on business and missed sleeping apart, that they had sex about every five days for decades (a frequency common among married couples today), continued to be together regularly during pregnancy and after menopause, and used some kind of contraception. Far more explicitly celebratory is the diary of Mabel Loomis Todd, a decade younger than Mary Poor and the lover of Emily Dickinson’s brother Austin (discussed in The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud, vol. 1 Education of the Senses by Peter Gay). Todd is forthright in her reports of sexual delight with both her husband and her lover—although, sadly, Peter Gay is unable to resist the requisite high-brow response by mocking her claim that the fifty-something Dickinson was “the handsomest man she’d ever seen.” Maybe he was?
We know, therefore, that at least two women in nineteenth-century America enjoyed sexual intercourse. Fortunately we do have a greater variety of records to verify enjoyment is occurring in our time. Yet I would argue that the voices of ”ordinary” pleasurable sex are still underrepresented. Our medical voices are more enlightened on the whole, although problematic sex is still a focus. Literary sex tends toward the angst-ridden; erotica and porn lean toward an idealized abundance of partners and orgasms. Married couples are assumed to live in bored deprivation. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of the contented feeling no reason to speak up when things are going well?
Again there are exceptions, but in the main, the sexual experience of most people, especially within marriage, remains secret. Maintaining that secrecy is still seen as a good thing. However, to silence and thereby deny such an important aspect of our humanity also denies us a rich, valuable personal and cultural history. If sexuality were a country, its history suppressed, its language silenced, its native art forms outlawed, its citizenry mocked as stupid and shameful, we would say this poor nation has been subject to a cruelly repressive colonialism. Indeed, if honest sexual expression were possible in the past and today, Philip Larkin’s poem would not be witty and poignant, it would be amusing nonsense. Alas, in spite of the optimism at the dawn of the Sexual Revolution, in its aftermath we do not all feel the same. And shame still abounds.
Sexual shame is a powerful and ancient adversary. There is certainly more freedom to speak out now, but we must keep in mind how far we have to go before the game is “unlosable” and sexual intercourse does not have to be reinvented every year. One person can only do so much, but if we talk and write about sexual experience in an honest way, perhaps we can help create an eloquent history for the future?
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
Sunday, June 14, 2015
As deadlines loom for me, I'm having a bit of a struggle carving out time to write anything. But I thought I'd point you in the direction of a few writers I've come across in the process of putting together exemplars for my PhD on new eroticism.
So I thought I'd take the opportunity to invite you into the strange, dark erotic world of a couple of erotic writers you might not have heard of.
Paula Bomer's Inside Madeleine is a collection of stories, mostly quite long coming of age stories that explore emerging female eroticism with an unflinching eye.
They are all set in the US and may resonate a little more with people who have grown up on that continent, especially in the Midwest, more than with me.
That being said, I cannot praise her highly enough for eschewing pretty much every erotica trope in order to get to the core of what it really means to be a young woman with growing sexual desire and being constantly under pressure to frame it in non-threatening, pretty and comfortable ways.
Bomer most importantly gets into the theme of desire and body image among women in a way that makes for a queasy and uncomfortable ride, and yet manages to bring the fierceness and singularity of how that desire, contorted into strange and erotic shapes emerges.
The novella, Inside Madeleine, ends the collection. I think more than story I've read, Bomer gets to grips with what it means to be a slut - a defiant, unrelenting, total slut - in the most visceral way. She unpacks the power of embracing the slur as well as the isolation that it can confer.
The writing is literary in that very post-modern, American way. Not particularly poetic. Stark and Protestant in its refusal of adornment and sentimentality. I would like to see us have the guts to be able to write about desire in perhaps a more measured way, move past this level of dispassion and yet resist the trap of insipid romanticism.
(There's a review of Inside Madeleine by Dayna Tortorici in the NTY here)
Unlike Bomer, Kemp luxuriates in language much in the way a poet does, and brings that writing skill to bear on universal themes like time, memory, abjection and the sublime. And although Kemp also acknowledges that unbridled desire has its dark side, he does, in my mind, find more exultant ways of facing down the spectre of that paradox. That's not to say that his stories aren't also intensely subjective. They are.
But, while Bomer's stories are probably not going to find much appeal to a male reader, Kemp manages to transcend the aspect of sexual-orientation specific desire in his stories onto a more universal plane. While the characters are gay, and the sex is unapologetically homosexual, most of the pieces are going to resonate with everyone. He's got a true gift for peeling away the wrapping and uncovering the kernel of the erotic - the engines that turn our wheels. Also, there is something almost redemptive in terms of the way he portrays erotic desire pulling us down into depths and up to heights of experience, and often revels in the paradox of doing both at the same time.
(Kemp has a lovely essay on the Pornography of Language Here, at Writer's Hub)
Friday, June 12, 2015
You've seen them everywhere on the web: Amazon, Netflix, the Internet Movie Database - and too many more to name. They are usually called different things depending on the site, but each and every one boils down the same thing: the chance for some ignorant yahoo to express his or her American Right of Free Speech. "Reader Reviews," "Featured Member Reviews," or "Customer Reviews," call them what you will but I always think - or even say - the same thing when I see them: Shut Up!
I've said it before and I'll say it again, creating anything is damned hard work. Movies, books, plays, music, painting - anything. It takes determination, lots of failures, facing a lot of personal demons, and a hellava lot of other icky stuff just to make something out of nothing, let alone send it out there into the world. What needlessly makes it harder is when that work is splattered by some unenlightened pinhead who feels that because they CAN say something nasty, they SHOULD.
Sour grapes? You betcha. But believe it or not, this isn't about anything I've written. Instead, this rant is about the reviews I've seen for what I thought where thoroughly excellent movies, books or what have you - demeaned if not ruined by droolers who can't wait to show off their 'smarts' by trashing something that took an author, painter, musician or movie crew years to create. Oh, yes, I've heard it all before: the sacredness of Free Speech, the Web as "the great equalizer," the chance for the "little guy" to be heard. I'm all for intelligent discussions and thoughtful criticism but if you can't be intelligent, can't manage thoughtful then keep your gob shut.
What does this have to do with writing? Well, aside from perhaps putting a dollop of empathy in those of you out there who like to post bad reader reviews, this is also about how to give good criticism.
Too often writers work in the dark, meaning they have absolutely no idea if their work is any good. They show it to mothers, fathers, boyfriends, girlfriends and so forth who obviously are not going to say anything but "fantastic, honey!" The only other option is to find a writer's group, a bunch of folks who share the same goal: to write as well as they can. The problem is, writer's groups way too often catch the same pitiful disease that infects Reader's Review posters. Straight up insults or what are thought to be 'witty' jokes fly, personal tastes get in the way, jealousy clouds respect, "old hands" turn into "old crows," and people get hurt for no good reason.
Rule of Thumb for Giving Good Criticism #1: Don't give criticism that you wouldn't like to get. Think before telling or writing anything about another writer. Put yourself in their shoes - especially if it's someone just starting out. Would you like to hear that your story "sucked?" Of course not, so don't say it.
Rule of Thumb for Giving Good Criticism #2: Don't be "funny." Make jokes on your own time, not at the expense of someone else. Criticism is not your stage; it's talking about someone else's. If you want applause, get up there on the stage yourself. Otherwise see the title of this column.
Rule of Thumb for Giving Good Criticism #3: Give as well as take. Never give a completely bad review of someone else's work. A lot of things go into a story: plot, characterizations, dialogue, descriptions, pacing, - it all can't be bad. I've very often hated a film (for example) but loved the soundtrack, one special actor, the dialogue in one scene, whatever. Leave the author something that they did well, even if it was just that the paper was clean.
Rule of Thumb for Giving Good Criticism #4: This story wasn't written for you. The fact that the story didn't turn you on is your problem, not the author's. I can't say this enough. If you hate westerns but you have to critique someone's western story don't say you hate westerns - or do I really have to be that obvious?
Rule of Thumb for Giving Good Criticism #5: Leave your baggage at home. If you don't like the 'politics' in a story, then shut up. If you don't enjoy a certain kind of food mentioned in a story, then shut up. If you don't like a kind of sex in a story, then shut up. If you don't like - you get the point.
Rule of Thumb for Giving Good Criticism #6: Be specific. No, not down to word and sentence, but rather avoid saying things like the plot was "bad," or "dumb," or "predictable." Rather, give useful information: "There was too much foreshadowing, especially on page two. I could see the ending coming from then on."
I could go on but I hope I've made my point. If I could sum all this up into a rather long fortune cookie it would be to try and remember that it's easier to criticize than create, but more important to create than criticize - or at least help create, rather than harm.
Saturday, June 6, 2015
She likes to suck my toe
I suck hers too, she thinks it’s neat
But how I wish she’d blow.
It’s time to spank again
Please bend forward and touch your toes
I’ll go and fetch the cane.