Jan 032014

By Marissa St. James


If you’ve chosen writing as a possible career, be prepared to be constantly challenged. Some challenges will be frustrating, and try your patience, but if this is what you really want to do, then the majority of the challenges you’ll face can only help you improve your craft. There’s a great deal to be learned about this medium of communication; in fact, you should never stop learning. The best thing you can do is read as much as you can. Mysteries, romance, science fiction…the genre doesn’t really matter. The goal is to read for pleasure—and while you’re at it, you’ll be learning a great deal about writing. You’d be surprised by the things you can pick up when you least expect to.

It’s also a good idea to invest in books on writing. Most books deal with the elements of building a story: character profiles, dialogue, point of view, setting, plotting, etc. Fewer of them address the technical side of writing—grammar, spelling, and punctuation—besides the usual reminders to check for typos. I do touch briefly on a couple of elements many writers have a hard time with in my book, Doing it Write: Putting the Final Polish on Your Manuscript.

This column deals with these technical aspects of writing. While it’s meant to be a guide for a final polishing, it can also be used to avoid mistakes while you’re writing—you don’t have to wait until your story is finished. My philosophy as an editor has always been to help a writer make their work the best it can be. I’ll be the first to admit I can be a very picky editor, but in the long run it’s paid off for others. I hope this information will help you as well.


Every story is made up of sentences, each one leading into the next. Sentences convey thoughts, and to be understood, every thought should be well constructed. Sentences convey action, emotion, detail and direct/indirect thought. They can be narrative or dialogue. We can express ourselves through our characters, breathing life into them.

Sometimes we’re in a hurry to write down our thoughts before they vanish into oblivion. This is when we forget about structure—and that’s okay, because once you lose that great sentence in your head, it’s gone forever. Your first draft is meant to get down all your ideas in some sort of logical order. The second draft is for making improvements, corrections and additions. A final draft is for polishing and refining. We’re going to deal with the second and final drafts, assuming your work will be done in three versions.

If you make a habit of writing proper grammar to start, it’ll cut down on the time you need to find and correct errors and typos. Such a habit is hard to establish since we tend to write the way we speak—but once enforced, you’ll find writing comes much easier to you.

One word of caution here… When you go over your manuscript, be careful not to over-edit. Too many writers end up editing their work to death. The final product may end up nothing like what you originally started out with.

To begin with basics, sentences usually come in three forms: simple, compound and complex.


SIMPLE: contains a subject, verb and predicate.

John stared at his wife.

It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Short sentences are best used to emphasize a point.

John stared malevolently at his wife. Mary ran.

Out of context, we don’t know what’s going on or how scared Mary is, but we don’t need a lot of words to explain her fear. The previous sentence says it all.

Keep the very short sentences to a minimum. Too many will make your work sound like choppy grade-school reading, and it eventually becomes annoying. You don’t want your book to become some reader’s ‘wall banger.’ Your best bet is to vary the length throughout your work.


COMPOUND: has more than one subject and predicate.

On the other hand, try not to make your sentences too long. Overly long sentences tend to contain too much detail, and by the time the reader gets to the end of it, they’re probably staring at the sentence and thinking, “Huh?” They’ve undoubtedly missed the point you were trying to make.

John flipped through the colorful pages in the magazine, then he tossed it on the table with the others.

There are two complete sentences in the above example. It can be broken up and a little more detail added, or left as is. If you’re going to leave it as is, then you’ll want to omit the pronoun ‘he’ since it isn’t necessary, except to add to the word count. (That’s another topic to tackle with a subsequent post.)

John flipped through the colorful pages in the magazine. He tossed it on the table with the others when none of the articles caught his interest.

Now we have a pretty good idea that John is bored. If you have a long descriptive sentence, try breaking it up into two or three smaller sentences. The description will be more palatable, and the reader will get more out of it.

The worst descriptions I’ve seen written are when a character steps into a room. The writer often thinks they have to describe every stick of furniture, every color, every texture. If the room is important to the story, then a complete description may be necessary for the reader to get a feel for it. The description can also be broken up to fit the scenes as needed. Here’s an example of too much detail in long sentences:

John stepped into the small office. The thick dark brown rug was a color match to the wall paneling which covered all the walls from floor to ceiling. The old oak desk was huge and took up the space in front of one of the walls. Behind it, was a comfortable looking high-backed leather chair that sat close to the desk in front of the hidden window. Covering the single window, dark velvet curtains seemed out of place. The only light came from a small lamp sitting on a cabinet in the corner of the room.

Here’s one way it could be handled to make it more interesting.

John entered the small office. The color of the thick rug seemed to creep up the walls to the ceiling. He felt as if he’d stepped into a box. It was hard to tell where the rug ended and the paneling began. The huge oak desk looked old, compared to the new leather chair behind it. John moved closer to the desk and looked up at the window. He resisted the urge to tear down the dark velvet curtains and let in some light. A small lamp gave off a soft glow in one corner, but cast more shadows than it lit the room. A feeling of claustrophobia overcame him. He stepped back, ready to bolt, but froze when he sensed the presence behind him.

The character’s reaction to the furnishings, and the room itself, add more interest to the scene. Sentence length and type is varied.

Another point you want to minimize is the use of prepositional phrases. ‘In the house,’ ‘out the door,’ ‘after the fact,’ ‘beyond the horizon,’ When too many are written within one sentence, it can set up a sing-song pattern that quickly becomes annoying. There are better ways to express what’s going on than in a series of prepositional phrases.

All the paths in the garden were lined with colorful flowers.

The garden paths were lined with colorful flowers.

Both sentences say the same thing, but the second one is more concise and far less annoying.


COMPLEX: uses clauses to add detail. The biggest mistake writers make, beginners in particular, is starting almost every sentence with a clause.

Dismayed by Mary’s frequent absences, John began making phone calls to locate her. Playing innocent, Mary’s best friend pretended not to know where Mary was. Taking matters into his own hands, John decided to hire a private detective.

The flow of the scene is quickly broken up by too often using clauses to start off sentences.

John was fed up with Mary’s frequent absences, and began making calls to locate her. When he called her best friend, the woman answered his questions without telling him anything. John slammed down the phone in a fury. There was only one way left to handle the situation—he had to hire a private detective.

Once in a great while, it is necessary to start a sentence with a clause to keep the flow going. When you get the hang of using clauses properly, you’ll develop a sense of their place within a story.

I should make mention here about sentence fragments. Like short sentences, they should be used very sparingly. A fragment is missing the verb, and is more like a long clause with no life of its own and a purely contextual purpose.

These three types of sentences are the basis of all writing, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, office reports, or even letters. Learning these differences is half the battle.

This deal was worth a great sum of money to John’s company. He had ten minutes to get to his client’s office. When he finally arrived, the secretary glanced up at him. Too late.


From Marissa St. James’ Doing it Write: Putting the Final Polish on Your Manuscript, Copyright © 2006 PageTurner Editions, available at for Kindle, Barnes & Noble for Nook and iTunes for Mac-based devices. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

Guest columnist Marissa St James writes sweet romance. Her books include Lady in Black and Other Tales of Paranormal Romance, The Legend and the Laird, Liberty’s Belle, and many others. Find them all and keep up with Marissa’s writings and doings at and



Dec 302013

By Sherry Ziegelmeyer

The first thing most authors decide to do to generate publicity for their work is to send out a press release. However, there can be some confusion about what a press release really is, so here’s the official definition:

A press release is a prepackaged news tip distributed to the media. It is a complete news story, written by an anonymous “third party”.

Because your press release is a self-written news story, serious journalists will regard the accuracy of its information as suspect. This is especially true of mainstream media. While mainstream editors and show producers may read press releases, they won’t run a press release in its entirety—and most mainstream publications don’t run press releases at all. If an editor or producer decides your story is worth a follow-up, they will use the contact information you included in your e-mailed press release to arrange an interview with you, or a review of your book.

While, for the most part, the adult entertainment press takes the same view of press releases as their mainstream counterparts, it’s definitely worth sending a well-written press release (with supporting graphics) to most adult media outlets. Porn news sites tend to run press releases you submit “as-is”; this means the editor does not re-write much (if anything) of what’s already written in your press release. Many adult news outlets will run it just as you wrote it, on some part of their web site, just to have fresh content for their site’s readers on a daily basis.

Because all journalists understand what a press release truly is—a subtle sales tool masquerading as a news story—consider your press releases less as a media manipulation tool and more as a technical tool that can help increase visitor traffic to your own commercial websites, even if they don’t directly help you sell your books and whatever else you’re offering.

That said, one thing that can be very confusing when you first start doing your own publicity is knowing when it’s appropriate to issue a press release and when it is not.

When to Issue a Press Release

You should consider issuing a press release when the following news takes place:

You have written a new book and you have the official release date.

You sign with a new publishing company.

You have a scheduled appearance—be it a book signing, a seminar/class or an audience participation interview (every time you are interviewed, however, is not newsworthy on a press-release scale to anyone but you, so share your interviews on your own site and social media feeds, but not with press releases).

You have some very special life event occurring, such as a legal action or a serious illness.

You introduce a new author website.

You win an award.

You form, or become involved in working with, a charity or do some noteworthy work for a cause.

You have something notable take place that could be considered controversial or of broad public interest (your book being called obscene by Christianity Today, or your series being optioned into a movie script, are good examples).

However, even the above circumstances sometimes do not necessitate issuing a formal press release. The next thing you need to consider is whether what you have to say is actually newsworthy.

If you read entertainment news sites (adult or mainstream), you may think that every time a celebrity farts, there’s a publicist issuing a press release about it. Unfortunately, that is true of many publicists—and it’s something you should avoid in your own publicity activities.

While the idea behind publicity is to keep your name in front of the public—which you use the media to reach—there is a saturation factor that takes place when you overuse press releases. If you are sending a press release out on yourself and your books every week, you are abusing the press release system. After a very short time, reporters will direct all your e-mails to their spam folder. Press releases should only be distributed when you have actual news to convey to the media.

Is What I Have to Say “Newsworthy”?

Take a look at any press release you are planning to send to the media and ask yourself the following questions:

Does my press release actually say anything of merit that isn’t just grandstanding, chest thumping and making vague claims to prominence, excellence or exclusivity?

Do I have at least one verifiable and credible outside source that I can quote, to substantiate what I’m claiming?

Does my press release have a broad, general interest to the target audience of the publication I’m sending it to AND a strong news angle?

Does my press release inform the average reader of something new about my books or me?

Does my press release avoid sounding like an advertisement?

Does my press release answer all the required questions that constitute a hard news story: Who, What, When, Where, Why,  and How?

If you cannot answer all of the above questions with a resounding “yes,” then there is no reason to send out a formal press release. Post your news on your social media feeds, and wait until you have information that is more credible and newsworthy, before alerting the media.

Since the art of how to write an effective press release is rather detailed, let’s pick that up in the next WriteSex column. In the meantime, have a wonderful holiday season and a bright and shiny New Year!


Do you have specific questions concerning how to generate publicity for your books? Please email questions and comments to Sherry; answers will appear as future WriteSex blog topics.

Sherry Ziegelmeyer is a professional publicist and public relations representative, who happens to specialize in adult entertainment (in all its various forms). She resides in Chatsworth, California, affectionately known as “ground zero of the adult entertainment industry.” When not working on writing press releases, arranging interviews and putting together review kits for her clients (among dozens of other career related activities), she reads a LOT, loves cooking, appreciates beefcake eye-candy, spending time with friends, family and with her assortment of furred and feathered “kids”.

Get to know Sherry at or



Dec 272013

By Nobilis

For the past few months, I’ve been posting techniques for generating ideas. Now it’s time to talk about these ideas from a different angle, because sometimes the problem isn’t a lack of ideas, but an overwhelming number of them, or a really great one that won’t let you focus on anything else (…for example, the other great idea you had earlier), or an idea that starts out strong but threatens to evaporate as soon as you examine it more closely. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to beginning authors, getting a Great Idea can be a productivity-destroying monster—and if you’re going to be a successful author, you need to know how to tame it.

The danger of the Great Idea is insidious. It tempts you to work on it immediately. It distracts you from last week’s Great Idea that isn’t yet finished. It wants all of your attention, now, and won’t let go until you give it what it wants. And the last thing you want to do is kill it. After all, you’re a creator! Ideas are the seeds of awesomeness. Without attention, an idea dies. You forget the details, and bit by bit it fades away unless it’s fed.

So, given that you neither want to let your new Great Idea consume your entire brain just yet, nor do you want to snuff it out, what do you do? The way I tame this beast is to open a zoo. For me, it’s a classy little notebook, one of the expensive ones with the elastic to hold it closed and a ribbon for keeping my place. Other authors have files on their computers, or even a box full of slips of paper or index cards. The form is not as important as the function and the discipline in exercising it.

The discipline is this: When you get an idea, write it down. Plot ideas, setting ideas, character ideas, all of them must be written down with your chosen method. Record all the details you can think of, and then put it away and go back to working on your main project. This way, you have given your Great Idea enough attention to survive until you can come back and decide whether it’s actually worth working on.

Because that’s the other danger of the Great Idea. Sometimes, the idea just isn’t as great as it seemed when we thought it up. Maybe it’s cliché, just another brooding vampire in a world that’s got too many already. Maybe it’s all horns and no teeth, and it doesn’t lead you anywhere interesting. The important thing here is that you can’t tell what kind of idea it is until you’ve had some time away from it.

…Which brings us to the second important function of the idea zoo. With some time apart, you can come to the idea with a fresh perspective, and really have a good look at it. That’s why I don’t read through my idea notebook until I actually need an idea—which can often happen in the middle of writing something else, when I need to spice up a character, or a setting, or introduce a plot twist. The idea zoo is a great place for concentrated inspiration.

And someday, you’ll fill up that idea notebook. Well, okay, not if it’s a file on your computer, but even so the size will eventually become unwieldy. When that happens, here’s what I do: When the book is full, and I’m finished with one project and ready to start another, I get myself another notebook, and lay them open side by side. I go through the full one and look over each idea, first by just reading through the whole book, and then more carefully, considering the ideas one by one. As I pore over each one of my Great Ideas, I consider not only whether or not it belongs in the new notebook—because not all of them will be judged fit for preservation—but also whether it fits in well with other ideas. I’ll cluster them together when they seem like they might be compatible.

If there’s anything better than a story with a Great Idea, it’s a story with two or three Great Ideas. Or more.


Here’s your freebie story idea for the month:
A woman decides to get even with her cheating husband—by seducing his mistress away from him.


Twitter: @nobilis


Dec 232013

By Colin

In Jubilee Hitchhiker, his excellent biography of poet/novelist Richard Brautigan, William Hjortsberg throws out a quote from his subject that’s worth remembering: “Any success in the marketplace is luck. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

Luck is the key word here. Many people, including a great many writers, believe there’s a system of some sort which, properly followed, will yield vast and sudden sales. This attitude is based on the idea that all commercially successful fiction is the product of a formula. Anyone who can figure out the formula, the reasoning goes, can write a bestseller, just like Stephen King or Dan Brown.

Many, many writers and teachers have railed against this approach. But if you make a quick visit to any bookstore, or browse through the bestsellers on Amazon, you’ll see piles of novels that do appear to have been written from boilerplate. The writing is simplistic, the characterization laughable, the plots…well, read in the right spirit they’re pretty funny. Yet they’re selling pretty well, if not actually bestsellers. So why, the student asks, can’t I do that? It certainly doesn’t look hard.

Well, nothing’s stopping you from making the attempt. Just grab a stack of the latest thrillers/glitz-fests/romance epics and carefully make notes on common plot elements, story arcs, all that stuff. If you’re the analytical sort, you can devise spreadsheets around arcana like chapter and sentence length, alliteration versus mythic resonance in characters’ names, and suchlike. Armed with this info, you can easily produce an outline that should yield a bestseller.

Now all you have to do is sit on your butt and write the book. 110,000 words, please.

The first problem is that in all likelihood, you will be bored into a coronary before you finish the first chapter. You will not find the characters remotely sympathetic.  You’ll not just dislike writing about them, you’ll find yourself singularly unmotivated to keep track of their verbal rhythms, histories or the way they take their coffee.  My guess is you won’t get very far.

But even if you manage to connect with your inner hack long enough to produce a saleable first draft, chances are it’ll be a joyless, thoroughly forgettable affair that (to your surprise) won’t do terribly well. See, the biggest problem with the boilerplate theory is not that it assumes readers will happily read crap (which is quite true; you can look at my bookcase for several shelves’ worth of proof) but that they will pay to be bored. THAT is doubleplus untrue, baby. You may have a low opinion of those glitzy paperbacks, but the people who made them bestsellers find them, at the very least, very entertaining. Quite often, believe it or not, they love them, and the love of devoted readers is among the strongest and most enduring kinds of love.

But, you say, people DO it.  If boilerplating is automatically doomed to failure, how is it that all those books we saw are selling hand over fist?

Luck, as per Mr. Brautigan? That surely has something to do with it, if you consider a theory of “luck” slightly different from the standard stuff about rabbit-foot fetishes and four-leaf clovers. It has to do with investment and risk-taking. You’ve probably heard that people with an optimistic outlook create their own luck by putting themselves out there and trying stuff. Their failures roll off their backs and/or offer an educational experience—but sometimes they succeed. Sometimes they even get a bestseller out of it.

But another part, also per Mr. Brautigan, is love. Remember what I said about how some readers love those glitzy paperbacks? Well, guess what? Some writers love writing them. They enjoy spinning tales of virtuous cops, noble call-girls who start multi-billion-dollar corporations, and elven scions of forgotten magickal dynasties. It’s a type of storytelling that’s natural to them. Read interviews with these writers, from Richard Patterson to Joan Collins, and one thing that becomes evident is that these people are having a great time. To steal a corporate cliché, it’s what they do.

So if you want to turn your writing life around, maybe the best place to start is not with spreadsheets and a cross-section of What’s Hot, but a notebook list of what you love. Who knows? You might find some luck as well.


Colin is a fetish writer and the single most prolific professional author of tickling erotica working today, with dozens of books to his credit. and


Dec 222013

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Dec 202013

By P.M. White

Bram Stoker’s 1897 opus of Count Dracula grabbed readers by the jugular. Dracula followed close on the heels of books such as Varney the Vampire; or, the Feast of Blood (1845-47) and Carmilla (1872), which got readers’ blood pumping a generation or so earlier. Before too long, those charming, bloodthirsty creatures of the night known as vampires were a household name.

Today, vampires are as popular as ever, from Sookie Stackhouse to the brooding teen heartthrobs of Stephenie Meyer. Their appeal is as immortal as the vampires themselves.

Adding sex to their ongoing story just makes them more interesting.

But what makes a good vampire tale, let alone a sexy one? As an author, delving into such familiar territory can be a navigational nightmare, full of well-staked (no pun intended) territories and charted waters. Go too far one direction and readers will accuse you of hacking Anne Rice. Go too far in another and you’re writing “Buffy” fan fiction. Let’s not even discuss lawsuits. In this litigious era, everyone from Meyer to Rice gets tangled in legal disputes—and they’re as much, if not more, of a genuine concern for lesser-known writers as well.

On the plus side, writers seem to have no trouble making vampire fiction creative and bloody-fresh on a regular basis. As a test, I asked Facebook friends to name their favorite vampire, a query that revealed names from Nosferatu to The Count from Sesame Street. Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer also ranked high, as did Nadja from the 1994 film of the same name, and Zsadist, a character from the Black Dagger Brotherhood books by J.R. Ward. These remarkable, and original, characters are all firmly nestled in the annals of vampire lore.

Author Maya DeLeina has written a number of paranormal romance books over the years, including her book Flesh Fantasy: Ambrose Heights Vampires, and said she’s always been drawn to fanged romance.

For her, the best vampire books are those that offer a glimpse into the life of the undead.

“Being able to quickly absorb the vampire character is pivotal,” DeLeina says. “Understanding the world as seen through their eyes, and how mortals and the perpetual world around them are perceived, makes it much more interesting. Basking in the psyche of a vampire is a trip to remember.”

Eternal life, she adds, provides a distinct allure for readers.

“Sexy is not just skin deep,” DeLeina continues. “There are so many angles on how a vampire manages this perpetual existence—some regard it as a gift, some a curse. They can become numb to life itself, where they are cold-hearted, forgetting the value of life. But then there are those vampires that see how short a lifespan is and recognizes it as a true gift. If they never choose to ‘turn’ a mortal, the lust for life and appreciation of the being pours out to that mortal, making for one steamy and affecting love story.”

Author Dorothy F. Shaw is currently penning an erotic romance trilogy with author Pia Veleno that features both a vampire and a mythological maenad.

For Shaw, believable characters are a must for strong vampire stories.

“Make me believe that I could run into this being on the street,” Shaw suggests. “Make me feel his or her emotions. When it’s real, no matter what kind of character it is; it’s going to be good. If an author can reach inside my soul with their character and touch it, then I’m sold for life. Now, that’s good fiction.”

Those seeking to write their own tale of erotic vampire fiction, she added, should take the time to read up on vampire lore before getting started.

“Read a lot of it within the genre you want to write in, and then come up with the rules for your vampire world. And don’t be afraid to be different,” Shaw says. “The dark and broody, and sometimes evil vamps of the past are definitely something to respect and remember. That being said, I think what makes a vampire special is the very thing that makes him different from the vamps of our past. I happen to love vampires that hold on to their humanity, either rejecting what they’ve become or embracing both sides, managing to stay true to who they were when they were human. I love it when the line gets blurry. When an author makes me forget I’m reading a book about a vampire, then I’ve struck gold. That’s a story I won’t put down. Don’t get me wrong; it’s not that I want to forget I’m reading about vampires, not at all—I love vampires. But what I love more is the chance to see past the fangs and into the heart of the being I’m reading about.”

When it comes to advice for writing erotic, romantic vampire fiction, DeLeina recommends starting with whatever it is you love about bloodsuckers in the first place.

“Hone in on that premise to craft your fanged creature. Don’t be afraid to steer away from the conventional folklore, but always be prepared to have some explanation as to why your vampire can suddenly do things like walk in the sun, bear children, eat …you get my drift,” she says.

Shaw cites J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series and Joey W. Hill’s Vampire Queen series as sources of inspiration when it comes to pulse-pounding tales of the undead. Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series is another favorite, she adds.

“To me, what makes a vampire sexy is the threat of what he or she can do to a human, the barely restrained monster within,” Shaw says. “The ability to rip out a throat or bleed someone dry. It’s intoxicating because I know the vampire must struggle to keep it together, and not take a life, especially during sex. Heart racing, pulse pounding as two bodies engage in the primal act of passion. The hunger that hides just below the surface and then strikes out for a little taste in order to take the edge off—it’s mind-blowing, raw, and erotic. The biting, the blood, and the sex are a heady and tasty mix. Simply put, it’s downright hot!”

DeLeina cites authors Anya Bast and Bianca D’Arc as personal inspirations for her writing. She said there aren’t many vampire books she doesn’t enjoy—and that includes Twilight.

“Even with the ones that I didn’t care for, there is always the ‘takeaway’ you get from it. Take Twilight for example. I absolutely loved the fact that some of the traditional folklore was in the story, [such as] the not eating part. It was interesting to see the interaction between Edward and Bella in the restaurant, using ‘allergies’ as an explanation for not eating. Now, as most people know, I just about threw the book across the room when the sparkle crap came up. But regardless of the fact that I thought it was absurd and cheesy, the author took a leap when crafting her vamps. I hate it, but I love it. Think about it. When you hear people refer to sparkling vampires, there is no mistaking which author’s vampires they are referring to.”

While erotic bookshelves seem to be overflowing with BDSM tales, and even a blast of zombie titles, she said vampire stories offer lasting appeal.

“Here’s the thing: overdone or not, vampires are creatures that conjure up many emotions for a person,” DeLeina says. “Some like the mystery and seduction of a vampire. Some admire them for their ability to live forever. And then some embrace sorrow for them because of their eternal existence. Because of all of this, that is why there will always be a market for vampires.”

Shaw adds, “If you think about it, all things have already been done. There are very few original ideas left. It’s rather sad, really. What authors are tasked with is the challenge to do it differently—whatever ‘it’ may be. A vampire, a werewolf, a witch or a maenad. Contemporary romance, horror, suspense, erotica… The question is, how will you or I take something old and make it new and exciting? Not an easy task, but one I’m personally up for.”


More on Maya DeLeina:

Maya DeLeina is a multi-published author of paranormal erotica. She delves into sexual fantasies of the blood and fang variety and leaves readers tingling in all the right places. Born and raised on the beautiful and romantic beaches of Oahu, Maya relocated to Colorado, trading her crystal blue oceans and powdery white sands for enchanting forests, mystic mountains and golden plains of promise. Living just on the outskirts of Manitou Springs, the town’s history of spiritual healing, eclectic flare, fabled underground tunnels and rumored lore of wizardry and witchcraft has rekindled Maya’s love for the paranormal, metaphysical and most of all, vampires. One bite and she was hooked.

For more information, visit her website at


More on Dorothy F. Shaw:

Dorothy F. Shaw stumbled into a career in Corporate America and has spent the last 17 years climbing the ladder. A fan of journaling, she started an online blog in 2009, and poured her emotions out for all to see. As luck would have it, the first post came out in the form of a poem. A few authors she’d met online encouraged her to write more, and in the span of 2 years she wrote over 150 poems. The poems led to short stories, which blossomed into novels. Evident from the very beginning was her voice as an author: real and packed with wit and sarcasm. Her stories will always include complex, broken people trying to figure out how to start and keep a relationship—as well as lots of hot, steamy sex. As Dorothy sees it, the journey is the best part. When she’s not writing, she’s a wife, mother, and a friend to many. She truly lives and loves in Technicolor!

Her co-written debut novella about a former pro-bowler, Spare Hearts, is published by Grand Central. Dorothy welcomes emails at: and can also be reached at on Twitter and


Writer P.M. White has toiled on a number of sexy stories over the years, including his newest novella Volksie: A Tale of Sex, Americana and Cars from 1001 Nights Press. His previous publications include the Horror Manor trilogy from Sizzler Editions: Eyeball Man, Desire Under the Eaves, and You are a Woman. White’s short stories have appeared in Sex in San Francisco, The Love That Never Dies, Bound for Love, Pirate Booty and many others.

For more information, visit him on Tumblr at, at his Amazon author page, on Twitter @authorpmwhite and on Facebook.

Dec 182013

By Nobilis

This may come as something of a shock, but watching TV and movies, and playing cinematic video games, can be of use to an author. These kinds of media can help you generate ideas, decide which ideas are the good ones, and develop them into stories.

Some of you are shaking your heads right now. “TV is stupid,” you say. “Video games are a waste of time. I’m much better off spending that time writing.” Meanwhile, some of you are perking up. “You mean I can veg out in front of the tube without feeling guilty?” And some of you are rolling your eyes, muttering “Well, of course” under your breath (yes, thank you, mister and missus know-it-all, here’s your gold star. Now read along anyway).

So here’s why sitting and watching the screen is good for your writing: First, it will improve and maintain your cultural literacy. Second, it will introduce you to new, unforseen characters and situations. Third, it will motivate you to write better stories.

Cultural literacy is very important to an author, especially within their genre. Most authors are aware of the need to read widely, but reading is only part of our modern culture; television, movies and the internet are also very important. There are two reasons for this: One, you will be aware of currents and commonalities running through the minds of your readers—and may recognize that they’re also running through your head—and you might decide to tap into them. On the other hand, if you see a cliche that’s getting way too much attention, you’ll know to avoid it.

We can’t be everywhere, and we can’t meet everyone. And while we’re often best off using settings and characters from our own lives,
sometimes those aren’t sufficient. If you’re enjoying a wide variety of media, however, some of those characters you’ve seen walking around on your screens, and the locations in the background, will stick with you. And while you don’t want to copy them, having them tucked away in your subconscious will help keep the creative well from running dry.

Finally…some of this media is just plain stupid. The plots are formulaic, the characters wooden, and the dialogue stilted. You’ll
shake your head and shout at the screen, “Hell, *I* could have written a better story than this.”

And then you will.


Here’s your freebie story idea for the month: There’s a famous musician, who had a bunch of hits in the eighties and nineties, who invites promising new artists to his home in the country to record a web series with him. He’s a friendly dude, real laid-back, but when a disaster traps him in the house with his band, his crew, and the special guest, he becomes a good deal more agitated, and desperately seeks a way to send them home. This isn’t just because he’s reluctant to be housebound with his guests; it’s because he has a secret. Thanks to an ancient family curse, on nights of the full moon he turns into a gorgeous, sexually insatiable succubus.

Dec 162013

By Elizabeth Coldwell

It’s often been stated that good erotica should be about more than sex, even if that is the basis of the genre. Writers need to be aware of the balance to be struck between the action taking place in and out of the bedroom. If a book is just a sequence of sex scenes with no real connecting plot, the reader may get bored or find themselves wondering why the characters don’t at least have a break for a nice cup of tea—and if there’s very little sex, they’ll wonder why they didn’t just buy the latest John Grisham novel instead. In erotic romance, where there’s more emphasis on the relationship between the two main characters—especially the way it grows and evolves over the course of the book—the writer knows they are working in an arc that will eventually lead to a happy-ever-after (or happy-for-now) ending, but needs to place this relationship within the context of a larger story.

So what’s the best way to plot a work—if indeed there is one? It’s a question of outlining, something some authors are very comfortable with, while others are decidedly not. In the days before the explosion of online publishing, authors were expected to submit the first three chapters of their novel, along with a detailed synopsis; the full work didn’t have to be ready before it would be accepted. They grew used to outlining, and giving an editor a clear idea of what they were planning to offer in the rest of the novel. Some online publishers work this way, but most will ask to see the partial submission, then request the whole novel if they think it will be suitable, while others want to see the whole thing upfront. The last of these options means that many writers never see the need to plot out a novel in advance, because no one—apart possibly from a beta reader or other critiquing service—will see it before it’s complete.

So what are the advantages of outlining? Well, in its broadest terms, it’ll give you an overall sense of what’s going to happen in each chapter, of the relationships and styles of interaction between the various characters, of the conflicts they will have to overcome and how the plot will end. It provides structure and discipline to a work, and cuts out the temptation to meander or fill the story with unimportant digressions. It also means you don’t have to write in sequence—if you’re itching to describe that juicy threesome in Chapter Six and go back to the boardroom squabbling in Chapter Three later, you can. And it can even help to prevent the likelihood of getting blocked, as you’ll never be left wondering “what do I write now?”—the outline will always let you know.

Of course, some people love to meander and let the unexpected happen, and they’re likely to run a mile at the thought of outlining. They’re the “pantsers”, flying by the seat of their pants as they write. They’ll begin with a vague idea of the story, but write it without planning first. This often means their characters are inclined to take on a life of their own, and the plot moves in directions they hadn’t intended. They may even start a novel without having any idea where it will end, or have the final scene in mind but no clue as to how events will reach that point. It can lead to thrilling writing, and cut down on the feeling that the author has had to manipulate the action to fit into an intended structure, but it can also frustrate the reader if they’re left with the impression that the author really is just making it up as they go along.

As an author, you’ll instinctively know whether you’re an outliner or a pantser, and neither method is inherently better or worse than the other (though it’s probably not wise for a procrastinating pantser to submit a partial novel and commit to a deadline they might not be able to meet, as editors are only flexible up to a point). But as a fun exercise, try using the opposite method for once. If you never start writing without an outline, just open up a blank document and see what happens when you have no direction in mind for your story. Conversely, if the thought of character profiles and bullet-point-by-bullet-point plotting makes you break out in a cold sweat, determine that, this time, you will write down your beginning, middle and end before launching into the action. It probably won’t change the way you write forever, but it may add the little bit of discipline (or indiscipline) your working practices could use.

Dec 162013

Chicago African American Issues

First of all, the best thing about synthetic wigs would be that there isn’t much to maintain about them. There are various ways for a woman to cover her hair and very often, non-Jewish people who don’t know about this commandment will often not notice that Jewish ladies do it because they wear beautiful wigs or stylish hats.

These days it is fashionable for younger men to wear their hair down to their collar, though it is usually required to be straightened and molded with product into a suitably emo look, and when I say emo, I mean one of your eyes should be sort of covered and you should look as if you would be upset at life if you weren’t too damn cool to give a damn.

Iwear them to work also i get asked where i get my bras from other female workers i tell them i get some at jcpenney and some at dillards some at CheapClip In Synthetic Extensions walmart when they are open 24 hours a day get a sales person to fit you so you do not buy the wrong size i not shy anymore about asking for help on bras i get complements from other female workers on how nice they look on meso men do not be shy about wearing a bra in public or to workmy wife even helps me pick out everything also and loves me in womens cloths also.

No one wants to lose their hair, nor do most women like to talk about it. This challenge is especially physically and mentally upsetting for women who want to maintain a beautiful youthful appearance.

The drive for having luxurious and voluminous hair is something all women relate to. Society has made thick, beautiful hair a standard for feminine beauty which puts great pressure on women to achieve this trait.

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Dec 142013

By Jean Roberta

It can be hard to separate the genres of erotica and erotic romance these days. A useful definition of the essential difference is that erotica focuses on the significance of sex (not just the technical details, but what it means to the characters who engage in it) while romance focuses on a developing relationship. Good sex scenes in erotic romance indicate something about how well the characters know each other (not only in the Biblical sense) and how they feel about each other, so the sex and the relationship can never be completely disconnected.

Erotic writers who want to tackle the complexity of sex have to deal with the complexity of relationships in a broad sense. This brings me to an old tradition in romantic comedy that has found its way into erotic writing: the Dearest-Enemies scenario.

Shakespeare handled it hilariously. Jane Austen handled it movingly, especially in Pride and Prejudice. Many Hollywood rom-coms are based on this reliable formula: a man and a woman meet, and sparks fly immediately because they think they hate each other. Typically, each one thinks the other is arrogant and prejudiced. In extreme cases, at least one of them is confused about the other’s identity. The two characters exchange insults. They each tell their friends that they wouldn’t accept the other as a lover even if they were stranded together in the wilderness (and in some cases, this happens).

The emotional truth, of course, is that they are both intensely attracted to each other and unwilling to admit it. The attraction shakes up their plans and even their general worldview. Besides this, each one fears that maybe he or she is the only one who feels the attraction. The fear of feeling drawn to someone who really despises oneself is unbearable.

The secondary characters (friends, relatives, even co-workers or classmates) usually feel an obligation to play matchmaker. Sometimes the friends carry messages or arrange for each of the reluctant lovers to see the other’s best qualities. In some cases, circumstances force the protagonists to cooperate. There is a climax in the plot, in which all misunderstandings are resolved and the lovers confess how they really feel. Cue the music for the happy ending.

A plot like this can reveal certain deep truths about human nature, but only if handled well. There are groan-worthy versions of this formula. In romantic comedies from the 1950s and 1960s, the woman was often a “career girl” and the man was a crusty bachelor who disapproved of “working” women. The solution, of course, was for him to propose marriage and for her to accept on his terms, meaning that she would become a stay-at-home wife and mother—and love it.

In our own time, the dearest-enemies formula can be applied to m/m and f/f romances. The two protagonists can come from different communities based on race, ethnicity or lifestyle. A macho man in a dangerous occupation (firefighter, cop, soldier) can be surprised by his attraction to a sensitive man in the arts, the fashion industry or one of the helping professions (social worker, paramedic). And of course, at least one of them can insist loudly that he’s “normal”, meaning that he’s not gay. Not at all.

A lesbian version of the dearest-enemies plot can involve different conceptions of feminism. Can a woman who has made her own bread and her own clothes while living in an all-female collective find happiness with an urban professional who works mostly with men? Can a woman who has never wanted children learn to live with a single mother and her dependents? Can a transgender woman find happiness with a cisgender woman who, up to now, has defined womanhood only in terms of body parts?

The challenge in writing a dearest-enemies plot is to make the transition as convincing as possible, and not just by forcing one character to give in completely (even in a BDSM plot, a complete change of personality just doesn’t seem sustainable). The seeds of future compatibility have to be there from the beginning of the relationship, and negotiation scenes need to show a certain amount of flexibility on both sides.

At best, a dearest-enemies romance gives us a dazzling glimpse of potential peace on earth and general good will—and at worst, a string of unbelievable clichés.