Erotica Readers & Writers Association Blog

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tasty Inspiration: My Pilgrimage to the ButterCooky Bakery

Today I want to talk about bakeries. Well one bakery in particular. Today I want to talk about the ButterCooky Bakery in Floral Park, New York because it’s not only a feast for the taste-buds, but it’s a total feast for the eyes as well. Sadly these days there are fewer and fewer real bakeries and more and more groceries with a bakery-ish that makes pastries and breads-ish. But real bakeries, aw, now those are a true national treasure!

To me, Bakeries are like art galleries in which you get to eat the art. I’ve always loved to look at the way the displays, but I’ve never actually seen a display quite so eye-popping as the one in the ButterCooky Bakery. In fact the ButterCooky is so stunning, that it’s become a place of pilgrimage for me. OK, so it’s only my second trip to NYC, and the ButterCooky is not actually in NYC, but it doesn’t matter, it’s still a very inspiring must-see.

This year I made the trip on my last day in New York. I had a 9:30 PM flight back to the UK, so plenty of time to hang out and write locally. We’ve stayed the last two visits to New York in Floral Park because Raymond has gone for martial arts training and the dojo where he trains is in Floral Park – an easy ride on the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station and Midtown Manhattan. The best of all worlds – he trains, I play tourist! But I digress. The ButterCooky Bakery has the distinction of being right across from the dojo. That was originally how I discovered it, and I have it on good authority from Raymond’s sensei that more than a few of his students are frequent visitors after workouts. Apparently the ButterCooky is quite famous in the area.

After several hours of writing, I made my move Mid-morning. I loaded up my backpack with my laptop and my
camera and headed off at a very slow trudge toward the ButterCooky. The TV in the breakfast room of the hotel had promised another scorcher with heat index of over 100 and, by 10:00, it already felt pretty close. It’s about a twenty minute walk from my hotel to the bakery and I arrived wilted and glowing, very much in-need of the cool breath of air conditioning wafting from the front entrance by the cake display.

I’ve never seen so many beautiful baked goods to choose from – dozens of kinds of cookies, whole display cases full of pastries and breads, a display case higher than my head full of cupcakes along with biscuits, buns, pies and croissants and probably a dozen other delectable I missed in the total overload of visual gluttony.  I’m sure I would have been overwhelmed by it all and completely unable to make a choice if I hadn’t gone with one special treat in mind. The real reason for my perilous journey through the heat was a great big fat cream-filled chocolate éclairs. Even knowing exactly what I wanted and wanting it with a passion, I still stood stunned for the first five minutes, taking it all in, letting my eyes enjoy the calorie-free feast before my taste buds tackled the delectable calories. When it came my turn at the counter, I ordered one beautiful
éclair and a much-needed iced coffee and asked if I could take pictures. Apparently I’m not the only person to make that request. The manager only smiled knowingly and said go ahead.

But first things first. I found a quiet, marble-topped table with a view of the whole bakery and the street outside, then I sat down to write, enjoy my éclair, and gird my loins for the task of photographing so much yumminess.

Cakes! Beautiful cakes! Round, voluptuous layer cakes, frosted, piled high with fruit, latticed with butter cream frosting, covered with coconut and almonds and all manner of scrumptiousness. I watched several people
come in for special birthday cakes, often more sculpted than decorated. They all nodded their approval and then the cakes were lovingly boxed up and taken away. Oh, and cupcakes – everything from Big Bird to fluffy kittens, from French poodles to flower gardens. I watched one couple pick out a dozen and a half of these little masterpieces for their son’s birthday party. I’m pretty sure they walked out with a whole zoo of cupcakes. I wonder how much you can learn about someone’s personality by the kinds of cupcakes they choose – by the kinds of pastries they delight in. Now that would be an interesting study.

Oh, and the éclair! A total orgasm for the taste buds. I savored it, I made it last, I totally delighted in every chocolaty, cream-filled nibble. Now you might ask just how inspiring is a chocolate éclair? Well, I managed a thousand words sitting there in the yummy surrounds of the ButterCooky relishing my éclair and iced coffee. It’s especially nice when inspiration tastes so good, and how could I not be inspired by something so totally cream-filled?

Once the éclair was gone and I’d licked the last of the sticky, bitter-sweet chocolate off my fingers, I got about the
serious business of taking piccies. Then I thanked the clerk and headed back out into the heat.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m a food Philistine. If it takes more than thirty minutes, I’m not likely to cook it. I baking repertoire consists of oatmeal cake, snicker doodles and coconut cream pie – all simple, all family recipes I learned by doing from the time I was a little girl. These days they only happen once a year if that. But even though I’m no foodie, the magic of cooking and baking and creating beautiful food isn’t lost on me, and there’s a very real magic involved in taking something into myself that’s as beautiful as it is tasty. As I walked back to my hotel room, a thousand words more done on my WIP, thinking about my ButterCooky pilgrimage, 2015, I could completely understand why food inspires in so many more ways than simply taste and nutrition.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Space To Write – Having A Room Of One's Own


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 three cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page.

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Virginia Woolf famously wrote in her essay "A Room Of One's Own" that "a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction". While that premise has been criticized most notably by Alice Walker for not recognizing class and women of color, it does provide much insight into the conditions that may be necessary for a woman to have the peace of mind to write in her own space.

When I was 24, I looked for my first apartment and I found one in Laurel, Maryland, equidistant between Baltimore and Washington, D. C. The layout of the apartment as well as the grounds in which it was situated were important to me. I ended up getting a third floor apartment with one bedroom and a den, which was not common in this complex. My balcony faced a lovely courtyard full of trees. I was also directly across from the swimming pool. After I moved in, I used to sit on the balcony after getting home from work at dusk to watch the bats fly around the courtyard. It was a great way to enjoy a glass of wine after a long day and relax in my surroundings.

That den was of vital importance to me because it became my writing room. It also faced the courtyard so I could see the trees from my window. Most mornings and at least for an hour every evening, I sat down at my Brother typewriter and retreated into my own world. I was in a writer's group so I always had something to prepare. I was the sole horror writer in a sea of romance writers, which is ironic considering today I write romances and erotic fiction as well as horror and dark fiction. I never published anything mainly since I had no idea where to send my stories. I merely enjoyed the art of writing and sharing with the group.

I took the lessons I learned from having my own room and money and applied them since. Today, I don't have a writing room but I do have space of my own and the means to write unencumbered because my husband is the primary breadwinner in our household. I'm aware many women do not have that luxury. I'm grateful that I do. Woolf might have underestimated the amount of money a woman needed to have the freedom to write, but I recognize that she's talking about having the freedom to write without having to endlessly worry about day to day troubles such as putting food on the table or paying the electric bill. It's hard to write when your children are going hungry. I’m also aware many women write under such conditions and do a wonderful job at it. I don't earn enough to support myself on my writing. I don't know many writers who do. They need to either have financial support from elsewhere like parents or a spouse or they hold day jobs.

My point is that women somehow need some sort of space where they can go to get in "the zone" to write. We're in the process of moving, and the apartments we're looking at will continue to give me the freedom to write. We live in Rockport, Massachusetts, which is on the Massachusetts coast. I'm a five minute drive to the beach. It's fairly expensive to live here, and I've been looking for a reasonably-priced place that isn't a summer rental that also accepts cats. We did find a gem that would be perfect for us, but it's in a city nearly a half hour away from here. The price and space were very hard to turn down, but we realized we'd give up far too much to move out of the small town we've lived in for 17 years. I'd have to give up my daily walks on the beach with my first mug of coffee for the day. I'd give up drives along the coast. My favorite beach chocolate and ice cream shop. Our favorite family-run eateries. The Fourth of July bonfire on the beach. The lighting of the Christmas tree downtown complete with free cups of hot cocoa. Santa Claus arriving in Rockport harbor on a lobster boat to greet the town for the holiday season. I might have had a room of my own in the house out of town, but I'd have been miserable. I can't write when I'm miserable.


I don't like where we now live. The entire apartment complex is run down and the apartment itself is in dire need of repair. This new place gives us hope. An example of it is pictured above. The grounds are lovely. I need a beautiful view. I would have difficulty feeling inspired with a view of a parking lot to the local supermarket. I can have an outdoor garden to grow my herbs, peppers, and flowers. We might even be able to have a smoker outside. During the warmer months, the patio or deck (depending on whether we get a ground or second floor apartment) will become another room where we will enjoy meals and drinks on lazy days. I can even get a laptop and write outside if I wish.


Having the peace of mind to write is as important as the stories I write. Although I hate where we live now, I am fortunate enough to be in a position to write without disturbance. While I don't have a room of my own, I do have headphones I put on to listen to music while writing. I go inside my head to find the inspiration I need. Once we move to a much nicer place, I will have more freedom and more ease to write. I need that since I've had a bad case of writer's block since January, when my mother and one of my cats died one day apart from each other. I can occasionally write, but not as frequently as I had before January. In fact, I just finished and handed in an erotic romance fantasy story for an anthology. So the drive is still there. It's just hard to come by.

Virginia Woolf was on the right track when she said women need money and a room of their own to write. I've found that room doesn't have to be a physically space for her alone. It can be a state of mind. Many women write while living in dire circumstances such as poverty or a bad marriage, but it is much more difficult for them than it is for a woman with enough money to live comfortably and with support from friends and family. I'm fortunate to have both, and I know that.


Saturday, July 25, 2015

In Search of That Golden Feeling

by Jean Roberta



I learned a new word recently, and that’s always a good thing for a writer.

While reading a list of available books for review that was sent to me by Dr. RS, long-term editor of The Gay & Lesbian Review (Massachusetts, formerly produced at Harvard University), I noticed this title:
Love’s Refraction: Jealousy and Compersion in Queer Women’s Polyamorous Relationships by Jillian Deri (University of Toronto Press, 2015).

I asked RS if I could have it for review. He said I could, but he suggested that a shorter review might be better than a longer one, even though another member of his posse of reviewers had advised him to devote a theme issue to polyamory. He suggested to me that any book with the word “compersion” in the title is probably too abstract and obscure for readers of a scholarly queer magazine.

He sent me the book anyway, and I soon learned that “compersion” means the opposite of jealousy: a feeling of shared joy that results when one’s lover acquires a new playmate or friend-with-benefits. The fact that “compersion” is less-well known than “jealousy” is a clear sign that in Western society, only monogamous couples are considered normal, and that jealousy (even when it inspires murder) is assumed to be the normal reaction to any violation of the monogamous bond.

Even for those who have been “out” as gay men, lesbians, bisexuals or transpeople for many years, the dominant model of sexual/romantic commitment has enormous gravitational pull. RS’s comments about the large, fascinating concept of polyamory showed what looks to me like a queer (inconsistent) streak of conservatism. Although we have been exchanging emails for years about books which may or may not have relevance for an educated LGBT audience, we haven’t had any direct philosophical debates about our personal moral codes for engaging in sexual/romantic relationships.

RS did tell me that he considers polyamory to be a largely imaginary condition, i.e. many more people think about it than put it into practise. This seemed to be his main quibble about running a theme issue: is there an actual polyamorous community? If so, where are these people? (When I mentioned the above book to a friend and colleague who grew up on the West Coast of Canada, he suggested that all the women who were interviewed for the book probably live on Commercial Drive in Vancouver.)

When I mentioned RS’s quibble to the local director of the campus LGBT center, s/he (born female, now identifying as male) laughed and said he could put me in touch with quite a few folks who identify as polyamorous, if I want to interview them for a theme issue of The Gay & Lesbian Review. Egad – I already have enough writing to do, even during my summer break from teaching, but what an intriguing research project. The journalist/researcher side of me wants to meet as many polyamorists as possible, and hear more about how compersion actually feels, since I’m fairly sure I haven’t felt it myself.

If there is a thriving community of practising polyamorists in the small city/large town where I live (population about 200,000, government seat of a Canadian prairie province and home of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), there is probably a bigger tribe of them under RS’s nose in Massachusetts. Their reasons for keeping a low profile seem painfully obvious to me. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that divorce, the sex trade, and homosexuality couldn’t be mentioned on television.

One of the reasons suggested itself when my spouse (the woman with whom I’ve lived for 26 years) asked why I was reading that book, and why the topic interests me. Her anxiety was clear: was I suddenly planning to hook up with women, or men, or both? If so, was I simply going through a kind of post-menopausal frenzy, or was I planning to embrace a new lifestyle? If I was standing on the edge of a cliff, contemplating a leap onto a dozen mattresses already occupied by welcoming bodies, was I planning to discard her as an outworn First Wife?

I assured her that my interest is scholarly, more or less: as an erotic writer, I have already described polyamorous relationships that are intended to last for a lifetime, but I need more information about how such complex connections actually work, and why/when they don’t.

Lest my spouse sound more suspicious or insecure than I am, reading this book has reminded me of painful experiences in my dating past, when “I’d like to see other people” generally meant “We’re done, so get lost.” Women, in particular, are raised in most cultures to be polite and avoid scenes, which might be good training for humans in general, except when it prevents honest communication. The women I dated before the beginning of my current relationship in 1989 often tried to leave me behind by dropping hints and pulling away rather than by rejecting me directly. Their ambiguous behavior included “friends” who suddenly seemed to occupy so much of their time that they hardly had any left for me – but when I asked, they would assure me that we were still an item, and they certainly weren’t breaking up with me. I would rather march through a field of stinging nettles than go back into that swamp of doubt, dread, humiliation, and resentment.

Re the possibility of my spouse jumping off a cliff onto the mattresses below, I’m sure she could find welcoming bodies down there. In her sixties, she is still attractive, engaging, and a long-term community organizer who seems known to half the town. Years ago, when she made an unusual visit to the local queer bar by herself, she was apparently enticed by a male/female couple who regularly trolled the bar for individuals (usually female) to join them for threesomes. Apparently they assured Spouse that they would treat her well and that she had nothing to fear, but (according to her account the next day), she was turned off by their unvarnished lust, and said no. When I heard this story, my feelings were more mixed. Of course they found her appealing, which validated my taste. I knew who they were, and they had never approached me that way – was I less of a babe? What if she had said yes, and what if the couple had wanted to see her regularly, without me? Hookups that turn out to be peak experiences are not guaranteed to stay casual. I was relieved by her ironclad refusal to even consider it.

Reading a book seems safe enough. And I’m committed to the belief that knowledge, even when it’s painful, is usually better than ignorance, even when it's comforting. For the foreseeable future, I’m willing to continue down a path of asking questions and seeking answers. Comments welcome.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Exercise: Thinking Outside of the Box

by Lucy Felthouse

I don't really post exercises here, but I used this recently at a talk I did at the Romantic Novelists' Association conference in London, and it seemed to go down really well with attendees. So here goes... I hope you're inspired ;)

I’m going to give you a theme, and I’d like you to write something down that’s outside the box. You may or may not use it in future, but I think if it sparks your imagination, it can only be a good thing!


  • Uniforms
  • Curvy men or women
  • Christmas
  • Chocolate
  • Sex at work
  • Twenty-four hours in a city


The reason I included the twenty-four hours in a city example is because I’m Managing Editor for the City Nights series from Tirgearr Publishing. These are novella length (25 – 30k) contemporary erotic romance stories that take place within a twenty-four hour time period in a city somewhere in the world. They’re all completely standalone stories, and we’re releasing one per month, with a break in December. We’ve just released the thirteenth! So if this is something you’re interested in, the full submission guidelines are on their website. I'd love to see some more submissions!

Happy Writing!
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

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summoning the Muse



Hesiod et la Muse by Gustave Moreau (1891)

By Lisabet Sarai

When I was younger, I was bound to Erato, the muse of erotic poetry —and occasionally Polyhymnia, who governs sacred verse. Producing poetry was as natural as breathing. Any powerful emotion could trigger the urge to set pen to paper and capture the moment, but most of my poems dealt with love and sex.

I didn’t think about them. I would simply sit down, and they happened. Here’s an example, from 1979:


Lemming
 
Is is tides, stars?
This wordless urge
 timed to the night,
 cyclic surge
 like circadian clocks?
Ages old,
 pure and irrational—
 whiskers twitch,
 eyes widen,
 skin quivers,
  shadow caress
  materialized
  out of telephone wires
 and strange desires
 crystallize
 over two thousand miles.
Volatile, 
visceral,
ancient, amoral,
 crazy chemicals 
 burning and blind,
 making me wild.
My mind 
 protests.
The wires whisper
 “mine”
 “no choice”
and reasons whither,
 helpless, limp
 as I hurl myself
 from the Santa Cruz cliffs.

In general, these poems didn’t follow any rules. They had no formal structure, though they chime with alliteration and internal rhyme. They were pure expressions of the need, lust, confusion and joy that swirled inside me.

After I married, the flood of poems mostly dried up. I think this was largely due to a deficit of erotic angst. I was fulfilled, happy, busy with real world adventures. I had neither the leisure nor the motivation for poetic introspection.

In the last few years, though, I’ve started creating new poems, in response to Ashley Lister’s monthly writing exercise on this blog. In case you’re not aware of this feature, on the 6th of each month, Ash explains and gives examples of a different poetic form, then challenges readers to produce their own instances. Curious to see if I still had Erato’s attention, I’ve tried my hand.

Here’s a piece from 2013, a form called a quatern.

The Line

The line between delight and pain
you're teaching me to tread. Again
your leather licks along my spine,
your fingers in my hair entwine,

your blades their bloody trails incise;
the line between delight and pain
grows blurry as you kiss my eyes
and dive for pearls between my thighs,

splayed and shackled. Now your cane
paints ruddy stripes across my flesh,
the line between delight and pain:
ecstatic, luminous, insane.

With blood and tears, with spunk and sweat
you baptize me. Appalled and wet
I teeter on the edge again,
the line between delight and pain.


Very different, indeed, though I’m still dealing with the same themes. The experience of writing these new poems is radically different as well. This verse doesn’t well up naturally. It must be coaxed, massaged, manipulated. Craft dominates inspiration. And yet, the final results still surprise me with their ability to evoke emotion.

A similar transition has occurred in my prose. I’ve written in the past about losing my innocence as I gained experience as an author. Like many first erotic novels, my Raw Silk represented an outpouring of very personal fantasies. My characters’ passions closely mirrored my own. Blissfully unaware of genre constraints, I let my imagination flow uncensored onto the page. I wrote to arouse myself, first and foremost, not for an audience. Yet that novel remains my most popular, largely, I believe, because of its authenticity.

Certainly it’s not the writing that’s responsible for its five star reviews. I cringe a bit when I reread the book, noticing the excess adverbs, the overly long sentences, the repetition and the stilted dialogue. Nevertheless, readers respond (I believe) to the erotic energy in the tale, the confessional tone and the realistic emotions (realistic because they were my own).

Over the years (sixteen now!), my work has become less naive, more conscious, and more polished. Though it’s abundantly clear that most readers couldn’t care less about style and craft, I get personal satisfaction knowing that my recent books are far better written than my early ones. I’m still wistful, though, remembering the days when I wrote without thinking about markets, reader expectations and word count—when I wrote whatever turned me on, regardless of how raw or transgressive or over-the-top it might be. These days it’s nearly impossible for me muster that electric thrill that propelled me through 80K+ words in six months.

Perhaps in compensation for lost spontaneity, however, I’ve gained a measure of control. At this point in my career, I can decide when I start how I want a story to unfold, and much of the time, the results will closely match my intentions. I’m not waiting for the muse to tap me on the shoulder. Lately, I find I can often summon her at will. I can place my order with her—a story of roughly N words, with such-and-such a tone, aimed at a specific theme, with a desired level of sexual intensity—then let her take over.

Some of my favorite stories in recent years—“Fleshpot”, “The First Stone”, and “The Last Amanuensis” in particular come to mind—so perfectly fit the images I had for them before I began that it feels like magic. They are exactly the stories I wanted to write. And despite my comments above about writing being a more conscious and deliberate process now, I’m really not sure how that happened. Of course, that’s the nature of expertise; you internalize the skills until they are more or less automatic. You set yourself a goal, then let your inner knowledge move you in that direction.

With poetry or prose, I am no longer the mad, magic-inspired oracle I used to be. Perhaps, though, I am more of an artist.

Now I’m facing a fascinating dilemma. I’ve agreed to edit and expand Raw Silk for re-release. At last I’ll be able to fix all the awkwardness in the prose, all the overwriting. But in the process of editing, will I lose the spark? I’m not the same person I was when I wrote the novel. For better or worse, I’ve changed. Can I preserve the heat and authenticity, especially in the new chapters?

I’ll summon the muse to work with me. I expect to need all the help I can get.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Call for Submissions

City Nights Series
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Ongoing series, there is no deadline

Read other books in the series to see what we're looking for. Then . . .

• Pick a city somewhere in the world that hasn't been taken. You may
wish to contact the managing editor to put a hold on your chosen city.

• Write a contemporary erotic romance that takes place within a 12-24
hour time frame.

• Novella length only (aim for 25K)

Submission details at:
http://www.erotica-readers.com/ERA/AR/City_Nights_Series.htm

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sexy Snippets for July



I know it's the weekend. You're probably busy with all sorts of summer fun. However, I want to remind you that it's also 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!


Of course I expect you to 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

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Do Men “Need” Sex More Than Women Do?

By Donna George Storey

Lube Jobs: A Woman’s Guide to Great Maintenance Sex by Don and Debra Macleod. The book had sat neglected on a shelf for years when it finally caught my attention during a recent effort to reduce the clutter in my house.

Should I keep it? Read it? I remembered that I first saw the book at The Museum of Sex in Manhattan, and I probably assumed their staff knew how to pick out a good sex book from the many on offer. I’m also pretty sure I thought the “provocative menu” of sex scenarios, bedroom-toy tips and erotica might satisfy both my amateur anthropologist’s interest in the way sexual pleasure is presented in our society and my erotica writer’s interest in new situations for my characters. The remainder mark on the bottom edge suggests I also fell prey to my weakness for a bargain.

I sat down to give it a skim.

To quickly discover that the promotional copy did a decent job of hiding the true message of Lube Jobs, at least to my eyes. I certainly had no idea I was purchasing one of the most infuriating books about sex I’ve ever read.

If only I’d scanned the introduction, I might have saved myself three bucks and a lot of teeth-gnashing.

The authors propose that a man is like an automobile. “He, too, needs full servicing on a regular basis... Lube Jobs is for those times he wants sex, but you want sleep.

Even in the healthiest and happiest of relationships, many women find that their partners crave sex more often than they do. The lube jobs in this book are a great way to provide maintenance sex. They keep your man satisfied during those times you’d prefer to pass on the passion while at the same time sustaining your sexual connection as a couple.

When it comes to performing maintenance, attitude is everything. It must never be considered a chore: your partner will catch those vibes and feel self-conscious, guilty and eventually resentful. Instead of dismissing maintenance sex as an obligation, embrace it as an opportunity to show your man how deeply you care for him and how important his pleasure is to you. By satisfying his carnal needs and desires even when you’re busy or not in the mood, you show him that his sexual contentment is a priority for you.”

Let’s pause for a moment to check the publication date. A wife cheerfully sacrificing her body for her husband’s thoroughly foreign carnal needs—it has to be a mid-nineteenth century marriage guide, right? Alas, no. Lube Jobs was copyrighted in 2007 by a publisher in the Penguin Group. Which means, as we know, a long list of professional, purportedly market-savvy gatekeepers expected a good chance of profit from contemporary book-buying wives.

Here’s what readers get for their money—a 250-page guide to sex for women who want to fake it in the bedroom. I don’t mean just faking an orgasm but everything along the way from making sure you praise the length and girth of your husband’s penis to surprising your man with a quickie outside of the bedroom whenever possible.

In all fairness, the reader also gets some truly sad stories about marital relationships that almost failed because the wife lost sight of her husband’s sexual needs. These parts of the book were poignant, in spite of the message that came along with them. The authors themselves had a long drought of physical closeness early in their marriage when their son was born prematurely and the stress of his care consumed most of the wife’s time. Finally, even though Debra really wasn’t into it, a sexual encounter pleased Don so much, she was glad she made the effort.

Another wife put sex low on her to-do list until she grew suspicious when her husband took an unusual late-night shower after she turned him down yet again. She opened the shower door and was shocked to catch him masturbating. The husband was mortified. He slammed the shower door closed and yelled at his wife to mind her own fucking business. (I am so on his side here.) The fact she had been such a bad wife that she reduced her husband to a covert self-abuse session in the shower compelled the wife to join him and give him “the best hand-job [he]’d ever had.” Obviously it was supposed to be a happy ending but the whole scene made me feel incredibly sad about our society’s shame around sexuality.

Sadder still was the woman who sheepishly admitted other wives might envy her because her boyfriend was “a very sensitive lover, very considerate, but there are times when a woman just doesn’t want to have sex no matter how good her lover is.” This woman would fake orgasms so he would stop bothering her so she could “do her part” and get it over with. One time she was trying to give her partner a hand-job and he kept pushing her hands away and trying to kiss her breasts to arouse her. She used his tie to secure his hands to the headboard to put a stop to the annoyance. He thought she was being sexy, but she was just being practical. The authors conclude: “Now that’s maintenance sex done right.”

There you have it, a philosophy to live by.

Angry as this book made me, I still feel that every person, woman and man, in these stories deserves sympathy. Sex is a complicated thing. And I realize that life throws challenges at all of us. There may indeed be times when a couple has health issues or stresses such that a woman bringing her husband to orgasm quickly with “tricks” and getting no sensual attention in return could be an acceptable choice for the couple. I have a good imagination, and this is still a stretch, but it’s possible. It’s also possible a man might have health issues and would want to bring his wife pleasure, but this scenario was not mentioned in the book.

That’s because the whole point of the book is that maintenance—or practically speaking “male-pleasure-only”--sex will strengthen a relationship because of the accepted universal truth that men need sex more than women do. The authors argue that men need sex to feel bonded to and appreciated by their partners. I know a number of women who say they want sex more than their husbands do, who crave that kind of appreciation and are unhappy without it. But in the worldview of Lube Jobs, women’s greatest sensual desire is sleep. The reasons for this supposed female lack of sexual interest go unquestioned.

In other words, this book profoundly disrespects women’s sexual desires by ignoring we have any--beyond pleasing our men and keeping them from seeking other outlets in affairs, strippers, porn or (gasp) masturbation. However, I believe that Lube Jobs also disrespects men by reducing them to simple “machines” that only require the satisfaction of an ejaculation, but who are unable to care about the complexities of their intimate relationships.

If a man is worth choosing as a significant other, he deserves better than a “lube job.”

Several male Lube Job reviewers on Amazon assert sentiments along the lines of “any man whose wife did this for him is the luckiest man in the world.” Really guys? Is this true? You’d be the happiest man on earth if your woman did all kinds of sexual tricks while you did nothing in return? Happier than if you both pleasured each other and you knew your love and attention satisfied her as much as hers satisfied you? Happier than if your partner trusted you to share what made her feel most appreciated and turned her on because you took the time to ask and care and maybe read some books to learn a few new spicy tips to make her happy? 

And, if I may ask, how would you feel if your wife asked you to please her in her favorite ways (whether we’re talking sex or, if you insist on believing women don’t care about sex, something else intimate and demanding), but requested, as a sign of your love, that she not have to do anything for you? Would the admonition to have the right generous attitude be enough to keep you from feeling resentful? Would you feel closer to your wife because you’ve been allowed to show how much the relationship means to you, even though your needs and desires were neglected without discussion or question?

Maybe your answer to all of this is “yes,” but I don’t totally believe you, especially with regard to the questions from the maintenance-providing perspective.

For I must maintain that maintenance sex does not bring a couple closer together. Lube Jobs is not self-help, although it is categorized as such on its back cover. Its unequal approach deepens the problem of marital sexual dissatisfaction by creating emotional distance, resentment and anger.

Coming of age during the Sexual Revolution, I certainly felt resentment at how few men seemed to care about my pleasure in the midst of this supposed orgy of sexual delight. I was still subject to cultural messages that men “give” a woman an orgasm, but if I didn’t receive it, preferably in a fairly short period of time, I was frigid. Or that being desired or “cuddled” and giving him pleasure is enough for a woman. Claiming my right to pleasure was difficult, scary and took hard work over a number of years. My lovers were not always as understanding as I would have liked, but for me it was very important that sexual pleasure be equal, so I didn’t stop asking. And I didn’t insist my partner figure it out without any input from me. No man can figure out what a woman wants if she doesn’t tell him. Besides, it’s much easier to say yes to sex, even if you’re tired, if you know you will be satisfied. I say all of this not to sound superior. One of the many blocks to sexual awareness is that too many people claim to be sexually sophisticated from birth, unlike the rest of us slobs who have to bumble around to figure it all out. But I do want to say it is possible, though not easy, to break free of the cliche that men need sexual release because it comes fairly easily (to most of them, male sexual difficulties were never mentioned) and women are fine with cuddling because their elusive, complicated sexuality just isn’t important to them since it’s too much trouble for everyone to figure out.

Every partner in a couple has her/his own history, her/his own psychological and physical needs. No example in Lube Jobs challenged the model that men need sex more than women, that men are visual, that men would be more than delighted with one-sided pleasure on a regular basis. These all might be true for a given person, but I need and enjoy sex. I want my partner to be happy and not just dutiful. I’m very visual. Last time I checked, I’m not a man. More to the point, no man would be happy with me if he told me my pleasure didn’t really matter to him, because I sure as fuck would not be happy with him. And I know I owe his desires the same respect I expect for my own.

Now that I’ve written this review, I can do what needs to be done. Lube Jobs doesn’t even rate the library donation box. It goes straight to the recycle bin. If only we could get rid of the outdated and toxic worldview it espouses so enthusiastically, maybe we’d all be happier.

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

Friday, July 17, 2015

Call for Submissions

NineStar Press, Ltd., an innovative, full-service publisher of LGBTQA romance, is launching in November, 2015. We are seeking submissions of LGBTQA romance fiction, literary novels, and erotica shorts.

We pay 40% royalty on list price for any books sold through our website. For third-party vendor sales, we pay 40% net—the list price minus vendor fees. For print books, we pay 12% of the actual cover price, less returns.

We ask for 2 years rights for print, ebook, and audio. If we haven't used the print right within 1 year of the ebook publication, that right automatically reverts back to the author.

Submission details at:
http://www.erotica-readers.com/ERA/AR/NineStar_Press.htm

Call for Submissions

Steam Romance, a publisher of romantic and erotic fiction is looking for writers! New to this genre, but not publishing, Steam is fresh and ready to take on select stories that are just as fresh… and sexy!

We are looking for:

Short stories that are between 15k-40k words. Novels that are between 50k-100k words. We are accepting stories in almost all genres, but will give priority to stories of the following romantic fiction or erotica categories: Contemporary, especially stories with a modern, strong lead female character; steampunk, urban fantasy, paranormal, fantasy, dystopian, and for men.

Submission details at:
http://www.erotica-readers.com/ERA/AR/Steam_Romance.htm


Monday, July 13, 2015

This Club

A fellow erotica writer I deeply respect posted a statement of Facebook to the effect that we should stop saying bad things about E.L. James and stop being nasty about the latest Fifty Shades of Grey offering.

Her point, and it is one I have seen made often by many erotica writers, is that this sour grapes stuff doesn't become us. That we should be supportive of each other and celebrate successes when they happen. These are nice people. I'm not saying that sneeringly. I mean it. These are kind, empathetic, nurturing people.

And I disagree with them.

First, I want to say that if the success of Fifty Shades of Grey has improved your book sales, I'm sincerely delighted for you. However, let me point out that it has not been good for erotica as a whole. In the wake of its success many of the notable publishers, agents and anthologers who used to offer a publication pathway for non-romance erotic works have either closed or switched their content focus.

If our genre was derided by literary critics and in the mainstream media before, it is doubly so now. And if, at one point, we could say that this derision stemmed from a hegemonic distaste with explicit written examples of female sexual desire, that is much less the case today. Today, when our culture sneers at erotica, they use the first book that comes to hand to support their criticism that erotica can hardly be considered as having any literary merit at all. And that book is FSOG.  So, although we cannot hold it wholly to blame for the chronic misrepresentation of the quality of our literary efforts, it's not exactly Caesar's Wife either.

But what about solidarity you ask? Why can't we be a more cohesive community? We are writers together trying to do something good that harms no one, that validates and narrativizes our liberation as agential sexual beings, that adds a little spice to people's lives. And if some of us are hell bent on offering five star Michelin dinners while others aim themselves at the fast food market, so what? The important thing is that we support each other, right?

Here's where - if you ever imagined I was a nice person - I will disabuse you of that notion.

My motivation in writing erotic fiction is to produce excellent work within the constraints of a very particular genre. I don't always succeed, but that is the single reason I do it. I want to contribute to a genre I believe has always offered a unique opportunity to examine the human experience at its most raw, its most vulnerable, its most honest. Erotic writing doesn't just tell the story of our erotic experiences but something far more fundamentally structural: how libidinal desire drives us. How that desire expresses itself explicitly and how it is sublimated and re-purposed in a thousand ways, how its gravitational forces curve and skew the trajectories of our lives.

I believe - perhaps fanatically - that society's disdain for our genre is one of the most obvious symptoms of its own pathological ambivalence towards the very truths we write about. And to me, that underscores and reinforces its importance, its ability to give us a greater knowledge of ourselves.

My motivation isn't to dwell in the good company of nice people. I have all the social friends I need. So if keeping your company means remaining uncritical about what I feel is doing immense damage to the genre I love, then I will eschew it. Because if our genre becomes the literary equivalent of just another line of badly prepared, quickly and superficially consumed fast food meals, then we have nothing to be a community around but the nostalgia of a once important writing movement that we have, for the sake of niceness, betrayed.

When we enumerate the writers in the erotica cannon: Bocaccio, Sade, von Masoch, Bataille, de Maupassant, Lawrence, Hall, Nin, Nabokov, Miller, Mishima, Carter, Reage, Acker, just to name a few... none of those writers would have remanined uncritical of FSOG. Not one of them. And we do them no honour by staying mute.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Confessions of a Literary Streetwalker: Location, Location By M.Christian



Even before writing about the sex in a sexy story you have to set the stage, decide where this hot and heavy action is going to take place. What a lot of merry pornographers don't realize is that the where can be just as important as the what in a smutty tale. In other words, to quote a real estate maxim: Location, location ... etc.

Way too many times writers will makes their story locales more exotic than the activities of their bump-and-grinding participants: steam rooms, elevators, beaches, hot tubs, hiking trails, space stations, sports cars, airplane bathrooms, phone booths, back alleys, fitting rooms, cabs, sail boats, intensive care wards, locker rooms, under bleachers, peep show booths, movie theaters, offices, libraries, barracks, under a restaurant table, packing lots, rest stops, basements, showrooms -- get my drift?

I know I've said in the past that sexual experience doesn't really make a better smut writer, but when it comes to choosing where your characters get to their business, it pays to know quite a bit about the setting you're getting them into.

Just like making an anatomical or sexual boo-boo in a story, putting your characters into a place that anyone with a tad of experience knows isn't going to be a fantastic time but rather something that will generate more pain than pleasure is a sure sign of an erotica amateur.

Take for instance the wonderful sexual pleasure than can come from screwing around in a car. Haven't done it? Well you should because after you do you'll never write about it -- unless you're going for giggles.

Same goes for the beach. Ever get sand between your toes? Now think about that same itchy, scratchy -- very unsexy -- feeling in your pants. Not fun. Very not fun.

Beyond the mistake of making a tryst in a back alley sound exciting (it isn't, unless you're really into rotting garbage), setting the stage in a story serves many other positive purposes. For instance, the environment of a story can tell a lot about a character -- messy meaning a scattered mind, neatness meaning controlling, etc. -- or about what you're trying to say in the story: redemption, humor, fright, hope, and so forth. Not that you should lay it on so thick that it's painfully obvious, but the stage can and should be another character, an added dimension to your story.

Simply saying where something is happening is only part of the importance of setting. You have to put the reader there. Details, folks. Details! Research, not sexual this time, is very important. Pay attention to the world, note how a room or a place FEELS -- the little things that make it unique. Shadows on the floor or walls, the smells and what they mean to your characters; all kinds of sounds, the way things feel, important minutiae, or even just interesting features.

After you've stored up some of those unique features of a place, use special and evocative descriptions to really draw people in. Though quantity is good, quality is better. A few well-chosen lines can instantly set the stage: an applause of suddenly flying pigeons, the aimless babble of a crowd, rainbow reflections in slicks of oil, twirling leaves on a tree, clouds boiling into a storm ... okay, that was a bit overdone, but you hopefully get my gist.

Once again: location is not something that's only important to real estate. If you put your characters into an interesting, well-thought-out, vividly written setting, it can not only set the stage for their erotic mischief but it can also amplify the theme or add depth to the story. After all, if you don't give your writing a viable place, then a reader won't truly understand where they are -- or care about what's going on.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Writing Exercise - The Kyrielle

By Ashley Lister

It’s almost three years since I first mentioned the kyrielle and it’s become one of my favourite poetic forms. Below is what I originally said about the poem.

You suggested we try new positions
You could tell that thought got me perplexed
You ordered some manuals from Amazon
I wonder just what we’ll do next?

The kyrielle is a French form of poetry written in quatrains. Each quatrain concludes with a repeated line or phrase that works as a refrain for the poem.

The first book we opened had pictures
It’s title was The Joy of Sex
We followed the instructions on Monday
I wonder just what we’ll do next?

The kyrielle has a meter usually composed of eight syllables per line but it can be varied. There is no limit to the number of stanzas but three is really the minimum.

On Tuesday we read marriage manuals
On Wednesday it got more complex
On Thursday and Friday you filmed us
I wonder just what we’ll do next?

The normal structure of the kyrielle is a/a/b/B, c/c/b/B, d/d/b/B. with B being the repeated line. A varied structure could be a/b/a/B, c/b/c/B, d/b/d/B. etc. or even a second line that didn’t rhyme.

Now we’ve gone through the whole the Kama Sutra
We’ve explored every page of that text
But now we must look to the future
I wonder just what we’ll do next?

As always, if you fancy writing a Kyrielle and sharing it in the comments box below, we all look forward here to reading your work.


Ash

Friday, July 3, 2015

Erotic Lure Newsletter: Summer 2015 Edition

From Erotica Readers & Writers Association
By Lisabet Sarai
_______

Dear Summer Sybarites,

What is it about summer and sex? They seem to go together like red wine and sharp cheddar, strawberries and whipped cream, whips and chains... Maybe it's because of the minimalist clothing. Nothing sets my pulse racing like a tanned, naked shoulder or a bared midriff. Perhaps it's the vacation vibe, the prospect of a holiday from the demands of the working world. A lazy afternoon in the hammock - a frolic in the surf - a balmy night on a grassy hill, under the blazing stars. Preferably with company, of course!

Whatever the reason, ERWA is here to make the season sexier than ever. Our Summer Edition is blooming with sensual delights, from incendiary fiction to uncensored films, carefully selected to enhance your personal pleasure.

In the Erotica Gallery we have a new crop of Awesome Authors, each of whom has contributed an erotic story or chapter to tantalize and arouse you. Whatever your preference for pairings, M/f, m/F, F/F or M/M, there's something to satisfy your desires. Authors from our Storytime list add to the mix, with tales in every mood: humorous, desperate, nostalgic, fantastic. You'll also find a brace of delicious poems to set you dreaming.

Send your imagination on vacation:
http://erotica-readers.com/GD/S/Erotic_Fiction.htm

If you're worried about getting sand in your mobile device (I would be), we've got lots of  Books for Sensual Readers to spice up your time at the beach. The amazing Alison Tyler has two new erotic anthologies out, JUST FOR HER and JUST FOR HIM. Torquere Press has released MYTHOLOGICALLY TORQUED VOlUME 1, a massive collection of erotic tales with mythological themes which features not just the classical Olympians but also gods from Norse, Japanese and other mythological traditions. If you're brave enough to venture closer to the edge, check out outrageous GONZO COLLECTION by Daddy X.

A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) has released another book in her classic "Beauty" BDSM series, BEAUTY'S KINGDOM. THE INHERITOR by Laura Antoniou is a new tale set in her Marketplace universe. PLAYING DIRTY by C.L. Parker offers a steamy erotic romance full of nasty business tricks. Fans of gay fiction won't want to miss James Lear's latest Dan Stagg novel, STRAIGHT UP, set in the ultra-masculine world of Marines and Special Ops forces. And I'm adding at least one new title to my multi-page TBR list: ME AND MY BOI, edited by Sacchi Green. I've never been disappointed by one of Sacchi's books.

Summer's a time to be self-indulgent. If you feel the urge to purchase any of these volumes, or the dozens of others featured in our Books for Sensual Readers pages, please remember to use the affiliate links on our site. It doesn't cost you anything, but it helps keep the Erotica Readers & Writers Association alive and writhing.

Beach reading was never hotter:
http://erotica-readers.com/ERA/EB/Erotic_Books.htm

What about those of us who are creating all those books? The erotica market is growing, and so is our list of submission calls and publisher's guides in Authors Resources. New this week in are two anthology calls from House of Erotica, a call for speculative erotic stories to be podcast (for pay) and two new imprints, Sinful Press and Pride Publishing. The latter is a just-opened outlet for all types of GLBTQI fiction, part of the Totally Entwined publishing group.

Check the authors page frequently. We update it whenever we receive information about new publishing opportunities. And while you're there, why not browse the archives of craft articles from old editions of ERWA? You'll find great advice and thought provoking commentary from veteran authors. The archives also include book reviews, sex toy reviews, and opinion pieces from the legendary Smutter's Lounge. You could spend many productive and enjoyable hours in the archives.

Grow your writing career this summer:
http://erotica-readers.com/ERA/AR/Erotica_Authors_Resources.htm

But maybe "productive" is not what you want to be this season. In that case, you might want to explore the Sex Toy Playground. This edition shines the spotlight on our partner Adam & Eve, one of the oldest and most respected adult emporia in the business. Did you know that A&E donates 20% of the profits to charity? Why not do a good deed by purchasing some of the delightful gadgets showcased in the Sex Toy Scuttlebutt column?

And while you're wandering around in the Playground, sample some of our past "how-to" articles. Anal sex? Spanking? Ben Wa balls? If you've got a question, our experts may very well have the answer.

Play with yourself - or others:
http://erotica-readers.com/ERA/ST/Sex_Toy_Playground.htm

When you're bored with the toys (if that ever happens...), make our Adult Movies section your next stop. This month's featured flicks include "Screwing Wall Street", starring real life stock-broker-turned-porn-star Veronica Vain. Stormy Daniels directs "When It Comes To You", a couples-oriented tale about a woman torn between two men. Sound like too much plot? Check out "Massive Curves" or "Threesome Fantasies Fulfilled Volume 5". (I suspect volumes 1 through 4 are also available...) And I'm drooling over the digitally remastered classic "Maraschino Cherry", directed by erotic master Henry Paris (otherwise known as Radley Metzger). As I may have mentioned in the past, I think Metzger's brilliant. Too bad my birthday is six months away!

You don't have to wait, though. Adult DVD Empire, SmutNetwork, Adam & Eve, Lesbian VOD, Gay DVD Empire - we've got links to all the best porn sources, and every purchase you make helps support the best sex-oriented site on the Web. (That would be ERWA, of course!)

Indulge in some visual stimulation:
http://erotica-readers.com/ERA/AM/Adult_Movies.htm

Inside the Erotic Mind, the topic is private masturbation when you're in a relationship. Is it okay to pleasure yourself, even when you're having plenty of great sex with your partner? I found this discussion fascinating. To share your own thoughts and experiences, just click on the Participate link.

Meet kindred spirits inside the erotic mind:
http://erotica-readers.com/ERA/ITEM/Inside_The_Erotic_Mind.htm

This edition of the Erotic Lure is sponsored by Adam & Eve. The largest provider of adult products in the United States, A&E believes that your sex life should be as limitless as your desires. Every product they offer is backed by decades of experience, superior customer service, risk free shopping, and a passion for helping their customers explore sex in a positive way.

Before I sign off, I'd like to ask a favor. I'm running a reader survey, from now until July 25th. Could you take a few minutes to complete it? Every person who finishes the questionnaire will receive a coupon for a free erotic romance book. In addition, I'm giving away a $50 bookstore gift certificate to one lucky respondent.

The survey is here:
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JGNFVY8

Alas, all good things must come to an end, including this newsletter. I hope your summer is an endless adventure filled with pleasure.

Heatedly yours,
Lisabet
_________


Visit Lisabet Sarai's Fantasy Factory
Check out Lisabet's blog
Join Lisabet's List

Write, learn, and play on ERWA. Details at:
erotica-readers.com/PRIVATE/index.html