Jul 292010

Write sex the tease by oceania
Last week Thomas Roche wrote about the tease and waiting too long for the money shot
this week i want to follow with
more on the tease!

have you ever listen to a writer tell you about the story they are writing?

Did you notice the levels of enthusiasm
that nervousness
that heady thrill that only comes from a powerful idea or really good sex!

But when it came to writing it out
You found it
staler than week old bread

Yes they hit all the plot points they told you about

Yes they described it in minute details
but it just died!

Not a pleasant experience was it

Well now imagine that the words flew off the page….

It was exciting
And It Delivered
But when it was spoken
It died
and not just died but died and was left to rot
and it smelt bad!

Words on a page
will lay flatter than a transsexual before hormone injections
but spoken words flat without emotions will kill even the best words

so here’s the skinny
the reader has to go beyond reading
they have to go to the next level
they have to be a teller

Hence the name story teller

And as a story teller
They have an active role in
and inflection
they have to keep in mind that when telling a story
reading a story out loud
regardless if it for a group or to record for distribution
is 2 parts writing
1 part performance art

I know many actors feed off an audience
I must admit it can be helpful
I mean if youre reading to an in tune group
Or just to 1 special person
It adds to the emotions you put behind the words

but what if there is no audience
what if it is just you and the microphone

that my darlings is when you read to the microphone
that inanimate object becomes your lover
and it helps that it is shaped like a large bulbous cock
just the right shape to get you in the mood

I know you’re not sure you can read your work out loud
well you better get used to it
because one form of publicity is book readings
they have been going on since the beginning of time
and they are an excellent way to build a following of the 10000 fans you should be shooting for

still not sure
talk to Beth Wydle
this past weekend i went to an authors reading organized by this author of lesbian romance
it was great fun
several authors i have been following were there
they were battle ready
in costume
books and excerpts ready

they understood that reading out loud wasn’t just reading the words on the page
they knew in order to draw you into the characters and have you really grasp the story line
they had to put themselves
wholly in ever utterance

and they did
so here’s the challenge
now it’s your turn
why don’t you send me oceania @radiodentata your excerpts
I promise to be kind but fair in my critics

Jul 222010

Remember Mulder? Remember Scully? If you were too busy reading Proust, playing with blocks, studying Calculus, leading cheers, making touchdowns at Homecoming games or getting your face dunked in the toilet by bullies to watch the first four seasons of The X-Files, you missed the Happy Days of the paranormal detective genre; way to go, Genius. You also missed an onscreen example of the most fundamental misstep a series author can make — omission of the money shot.

Why do I bring up a TV show to discuss paranormal series fiction? I mention it first and foremost because the spunky spooky investigators exerting such influence on the romance and fantasy genres, and therefore on erotica, must shake their juju sticks at X-Files protagonists Spooky Mulder and Starbuck Scully.

The X-Files debuted the same year as that other early’90s paranormal-detective icon, Anita Blake, but an army of paranormal investigators preceded both properties — Scooby Doo, Kolchak The Night Stalker, and let’s not forget Carnacki the Ghost Finder and Seabury Quinn’s Jules de Grandin. A more immediate antecedent was Tanya Huff’s Toronto-based paranormal detective series that predated The X-Files by a couple of years.

But a weekly television show exerts cultural influence that novels quite simply cannot, so in terms of short-term zeitgeist The X-Files gets the nod that even Lovecraft cannot.

It doesn’t matter that the show was never the broader cultural phenomenon that most fans remember it being. The second season had a Nielsen rating that made it the seventy-first most popular show on television. Season 3? Fiftieth. The show wouldn’t peak until Season 5, when it was eleventh.

But does that matter? No, because big screaming nerds with samurai swords on their walls and ball-and-stick caffeine molecule Tramp Stamps are not the fickle lot that television executives or your Grandma Mabel are. The influence of The X-Files on “my generation,” whatever that means, was at the time incalculable, and far more incalculable now.

Call it a “cult phenomenon.” Call it “influential.” Call it “ahead of its time.” Call it late to the alien-vampire sex orgy in the Roswell Holiday Inn; the important fact is that the Mulder-Scully tease — that is to say, the promise of a bang — became the lengthy lap dance around which the mythology of The X-Files was wrapped. These two fantastically sexy FBI agents (it’s fantasy, right?) captured the fantasies of pervy nerds.

We didn’t tune in to find out whether this week the misunderstood video store clerk would turn out to be the Loch Ness Monster or the DMV employee was secretly a Were-Bigfoot. We tuned in to find out if the obviously bubbling cauldron of Mulder and Scully’s craving for each other would overcome the fact that it wasn’t even real cream cheese it was lite cream cheese.

Sure, we gave a fuck about aliens; yeah, yeah, right, vampires, whatever, but what kept us coming back from week to week was the chemistry between the leads and the faint hint that they just might “do it” — even though we knew they wouldn’t, except maybe in a tentacle-rape leathersex five-way with Krycek and Assistant Director Skinner in the copious fanfic that littered the dialup-era Internet and probably bumped AOL’s 1994-5 fiscal year revenues by at least 10%. (By the way, what’s more, the repeated allusions to Mulder’s not-ready-for-prime-time sexual interests — girlie mags, porn videos, autoerotic asphyxiation — established what most of us knew already: us alien-hunters? We’re deviated preverts. Deal with it).

But if the erotic chemistry between the leads, as I submit, kept me and my friends — who were, to a geek, pervy as shit — watching The X-Files, how much more important must the chemistry between your lead characters be today — not just to the paranormal investigator subgenre of the romance-fantasy-horror-detective-erotica axis, but to everything that requires sexual tension to be maintained throughout a wider story? If you are writing erotic romance, paranormal erotica, or just plain sexy paranormal fiction, how much more important is it to create intense chemistry between your characters today, when readers can, with the push of a button, seek out any level of sexual explicitness in their fiction — making a dissatisfying tease an even bigger piss-off?

That’s what we in the biz call a rhetorical question; it’s damned important, obviously, or I wouldn’t mention it. I’ll tell you why I bring this up, and why the romantic missteps and erotic disasters of The X-Files should matter to the paranormal series author: There was no money shot, if you’ll forgive the rather vivid metaphor. That is to say, as fans, We never got paid.

By this, I do not mean “Mulder and Scully never slept together.” That is not the problem in and of itself, and besides, I have this vague sense that they did, though I’m not sure I gave a crap by that point; was there a baby or something? Fuck if I remember.

Early in the history of the fandom (that’s dweebspeak for “people who like something”), X-Philes split into two opposing groups: the No Ro’s and the ‘Shippers. The former wanted Mulder and Scully to keep staring at each other blankly, and the latter wanted them to mash their lips together blankly.

All right, all right, to be fair, that’s not what the ‘Shippers wanted. They wanted Mulder and Scully to get together as a couple, the same way I wanted the Professor and Ginger to get together when I was five. The No Ro’s felt that such a tryst would ruin the chemistry. Certainly the series itself came down hard in favor of the No Ro’s for most of the show’s run, to the point where I (and many others) got sick of waiting. I think some deeply-embedded human mating instinct tells us that if you haven’t gotten together with someone in the first six years you’ve been dissecting alien bodies with them, maybe the chemistry isn’t as strong as you think. We can’t all be June Carter Cash.

The Mulder-Scully tease went on too long. Like all lap-dance victims, until about Season 6 I was sure I was going to get that stripper’s phone number — sure of it! The problem was that for the chemistry to be maintained, the two leads couldn’t get together — or so the conventional wisdom said.

So what does that mean for a writer of modern series fiction, particularly erotica and paranormal romance? Even in the most mainstream, non-erotic subgenres, sexuality and romance are critical parts of the formula. Should you listen to the No Ro’s? If your leads have sex, will they end up like Maddie and David — ruining the series?

If I were one of your characters, I would come alive and slap you for even considering it. Real characters fuck. Unless your characters are asexual, celibate or otherwise sexually unengaged — or unless the plot simply doesn’t call for romance or eroticism (in which case this site is probably not the best writing guide) sex should be a part of your characters’ lives whether you’re writing erotica or not.

A certain amount of will-they-or-won’t-they is built into the narrative formula; any story with an erotic or romantic component can benefit from it; it’s called suspense.

But your characters should be your friends, or at least your acquaintances. If I was your friend, and you kept cockblocking me the way The X-Files kept cockblocking Mulder and Scully, I’d stop being your friend. If you were an acquaintance and you kept cockblocking me, I’d probably call the cops, or at least close my blinds.

When people have sex, their lives don’t end. The conventional wisdom is sex-negative bullshit. In real life, the adventure — maddening, infuriating, gorgeous and terrifying — begins when you get together.

Whether your characters are dodging alien tractor beams or trying to entice their pagan werewolf pastor into a threesome with their half-ghoul landlady, you owe them the courtesy of trying to write about real relationships. You get one, two, maybe three books to lap-dance your reader. Then you gotta go home with them…or they’ll drive one block over to the ho stroll and go home with Torchwood.

Jul 162010

Sometimes you sit down to write, and you can’t think of a thing. Or what you do think of is so obviously poor it isn’t worth pursuing. If you have a deadline, or even if you are just wanting to write something for your own amusement, this can be panic inducing. In the first case because you need the money, and in the second because being a writer (someone who is able to write) is part of your self definition. If you can’t write, you may wonder, how can you think of yourself as a writer?

The not-so technical term for this is, of course, writer’s block.

This is a phenomenon that seem to affect authors primarily, although it can also be a problem for artists of other types, particularly commercial artists working against deadlines.

It doesn’t seem to be a concern for members of the general population at all. After all, you never heard of “plumber’s block” or “soccer block” or “grocery shopping block” or even “management block”, did you?

Even the most productive writers are not immune. One of the jokes among science fiction writers in the late 1950s involved Robert Silverberg, author of mysteries, science fiction, non-fiction, erotica and much much more.  He could turn out a novel in three days and a short story in an afternoon, and turned out such a flood of copy that for a while he was more productive than Georges Simone or Isaac Asimov (look them up if you don’t know).

At one convention I overheard authors discussing his productivity (and income) enviously, particularly several suffering from writer’s block. “It’s not all fun and games for Bob,” one wit interjected. “He had writer’s block, too!” the man paused for effect. “Last Tuesday from 11 a.m. till noon!” We groaned.

Although that was a joke, Bob did suffer from writer’s block much later in his career, feeling written out. But, predictably, he recovered and turned out several dozen more books. (Worse, not only was he prodigal, he was good, winning many awards.)

I am not going to discuss here the causes of writer’s block. It has been written about  extensively by authors and by psychologists.

What I propose to offer are some suggestions for getting the words and ideas flowing again when you are all dried up creatively from writer’s block. In short, you don’t have to wait until your block mystically lifts to begin writing again. You can put an end to it yourself  and get back in the writing/word/thought-generating groove in a reasonably short time.

1) Do some routine housework, paperwork, or physical labor. Sometimes you can be trying to think of what to write so hard consciously that it blocks the words you are seeking from trying to emerge on their own from the unconscious. Doing routine tasks, even walking, that require you to put your focus on your body and something other than yourself, can clear the consicous of interfering concerns about writing, and allow the sentences and ideas you are seeking to enter your mind on their own.

2) Play music that stirs your emotions. Whether its rap, r&r, classical, show tunes, or whatever, listening to music that jazzes you helps to get your feelings flowing, and these feelings often begin to carry writing-type thoughts along with them. Such music stirrs the unconscious, the sea out of which creativity flows. It’s a right brain kind of thing.

3) Find an image, maybe a photograph in an adult magazine, that has turned you on sexually before;. Sit down at your keyboard and begin to describe the specific element that turn you on the most.  Before you are through, you will likely find that the ideas you needed for your own project are beginning to run through your head. (Hint, there are strong links in the brain between seeing and thinking.)

3b) Conversely, if you are stuck on a specific sex scene, pick an image of what people would be doing in that scene. Often, looking at a picture of people engaged in the sex act you are trying to describe will start you thinking about differences and similarities between the image and what your characters would be doing. Soon the scene will be writing itself in your head.

4) Find and read an erotic passage in a book or story that you remember as really turning you on when you read it before. Reading it can also start you thinking about similarities and differences; in this case about what you are reading versus how or what you would write. Also, reading a passage you find sexy will likely get you aroused and when one is aroused the chemicals that are released into the blood stream trigger the brain to start fantasizing about sex. All you have to do is write those fantasies down.

5) If you are having troble beginning a sentence, paragraph or scene, take a different approach, begin somewhere you would not normally begin. If you are describing a man and a woman making love. Rather than opening with a description of the couple, or a specific sex act, try thinking outside the box. Begin with a description of the sheen of her stockings, or the dimple on his butt cheeks. Ask yourself what you wouldn’t normally do, stand things on their head. That makes writing interesting again, and your brain can’t help dreaming up a few lines to go with the idea and soon you are writing easily again.

I will offer more suggestions for overcoming writers block in my next entry.

Jul 072010

Characters are the heart and soul of any fiction, erotic or otherwise. You can have a great plot, vivid descriptions, and nuances up the wazzo, but if your characters act like sock puppets – spouting endless clichés, doing stupid things for stupid reasons, and in general acting nothing like real people – the reader’s disbelief is not suspended and the story doesn’t work.

So how do you breathe life into a character? In my experience as an editor, I can tell you that stiffness instantly shows in a poorly written character. What is stiffness? Well, some of the best examples I can think of aren’t in writing, but in movies or television. You’ve seen it: an actor or actress gives a bad performance, being stilled or monotone with no inflection. On the page, that shows up when a character thinks, does, or says something wooden, lifeless, or obviously forced to get the author’s point across.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Do you know how to make a character live on the page? It’s kind of scary, which is why I suppose a lot of writers don’t do it, and it shows in their work. Are you ready? Are you REALLY ready? Honestly? Okay, here goes: look inward, my child.

Thank ewe, thank ewe; just put some money in the basket on the way out. What, you want more? Sheesh! Okay, kidding aside, my favorite way of adding depth and … well, call it character to a character is to get into yourself, your own emotional landscape, and your own history. Do you honestly look at someone and think: I would like to have sex with him or her? Nah, and if you do, I suggest immediate therapy. What really happens is much more primal and base. It’s like your subconscious takes over and snaps your head around, or you find yourself absently daydreaming, imagining what sex with them would be like. Your imagination runs wild.

Let’s say you’re straight: you don’t know what gay sex is like. Fine. But you do know what sex is like for you: the nervousness, the heady arousal, the way your mind races, your senses go rocketing, and so forth. The rest is just mechanics. The problem with this, and the main reason I feel why there are so many bad characters out there, is that it means exposing yourself on the page. Adding yourself (your feelings, emotions, and so forth) to a character is like a voodoo spell. Your fictional shade becomes connected to you. If the story gets rejected, it hits really hard. It’s like a part of you being turned down.

Still, I think it’s the way to go. But what if you’re describing someone who doesn’t share your experience? Let’s say they are in mortal danger, or in jail, or unstable; how the hell do you make that character real? What I do is close my eyes and put on that person, and walk a while in his or her shoes. Are they frightened? You know what fear is like. Angry? You know what being pissed off is like. What draws their attention? What are they looking for and why? These are not just plot points here, but perspective: how the character relates to the world and themselves. Even characters that are supposed to be disliked need this kind of thing, to make them look real as opposed to being soulless puppets there just to move the story.

Reality, of course, um, you know, er, can go a bit; no, a tad … or is it bit? Damned if I know, you know. Okay, my point is that too much reality, especially in dialogue, can be just as annoying as a wooden character. We all talk with a bunch of ums, ers, and ahs; adding that kind of thing, or vocally exact phrasing, might be real, but it also makes you want to throttle the speaker, not sympathize with them.

So, like a lot of things in writing, it’s a balancing act. On one side is having characters that act as well as Kevin Costner and on the other is having dialogue and characters whose reality makes them confusing and frustrating (think David Mamet).

As a writer, I hope that they liked this article I just wrote, M. Christian thought.

Jul 012010

By Joey W. Hill

When Sascha asked if I’d do a blog on genre blending, it gave me a grin. Ten years ago, the term was “cross-genre”, and it was a publishing dead zone. I didn’t know that then. Everything I’ve written pretty much falls in the category of “genre blending”, since erotic romance began initially as a meeting of erotica with romance, and then took on additional components from there – contemporary, paranormal, historical, etc. However, a decade ago, when I was starting my writing career, I didn’t consciously say: “Hey, I’m going to blend genres in my writing, because I deeply crave rejection from mainstream publishing.” (lol)

I started with one thing – a desire to write the story that was in my head. I wrote the story my muse wanted me to tell. Starting out as a writer is a lot like getting married when you’re young – you have optimism and you’re not entirely set in your ways. You’re not looking at the mortgage – you’re focused on your dreams. I loved romance, but I wanted much stronger sex in it. So the result was an erotic romance with light bondage, set in a mall over the course of one day (Make Her Dreams Come True). I had no idea I’d blended genres until I took it out into the world to be slapped around relentlessly by cross-genre rejection (good thing I had a masochistic streak).

Fortunately, at that time a whole collective-unconscious craft thing was happening, where a lot of aspiring authors had the bug to write cross-genre work. The universe aligned us with the burgeoning field of e-publishing, which was keenly interested in this overlooked niche and reader demand. Now, ten years down the road, blended genre stories and e-publishing are both notable parts of the book world. In fact, much of that cross-genre work has become genres in their own right: paranormal romance, urban fantasy, erotic romance, etc. So now here’s this blog, discussing how best to blend eroticism with your romance genre—whether paranormal, contemporary or otherwise—as a positive, marketable thing. There goes that grin again…

So here we go. I tend to get wordy and ramble when I think about craft process, but I’ve managed to keep it under 2500 words, a miracle for me (grin). You’re welcome to ask questions about anything I missed, however, or give a different viewpoint in the comments – the wonderful thing about this business is there are a million ways to do it well, many of them yet to be discovered. This is just my approach.

Integration of erotica with romance – erotic romance

Any story, cross-genre or otherwise, has to pull us into it, make us feel that this could happen to us, answering some yearning in our hearts for that ultimate connection. That’s one of the big reasons people read love stories, and just because they want a sexual kick from them, doesn’t mean that can be overlooked. For so many years, all women were given was “erotica”, much of it dark, depressing, adulterous or flat out disturbing. Bringing together erotica with romance means that all the elements of a great romance have to be represented – great character development, pacing, intriguing setting, full sensory involvement, etc.

Make it character-driven – I write character-driven stories, which I think is very critical for an erotic romance of any type. No matter whether it’s contemporary, vampires, mermaids, historical, etc. the erotic love story between the main characters—how it starts, grows, matures, stumbles, etc—is my central story.

Plot cannot exist without the erotic and vice-versa – Making it character-driven does not mean everything else is window dressing. This is VERY important. Let me give you a concrete example of when that no-no happens. I’m sure we’ve all read an erotic romance with one of these two scenarios:

1. Every scene with the main characters is absorbing, hot, emotional…and each time the scene changes to the “plot”, it’s like someone slammed that door, and you actively think, “Oh crap, how long do I have to put up with this boring part before I get back to them again?”

2. The plot is worthy of a suspense master, but then someone flips a switch and suddenly you’re on the set of a bad porn movie. The main characters come to a screeching halt and say, “Hey, it’s three and a half pages into Chapter Three. We’re supposed to fuck like rabbits now. Let’s get that out of the way and then we’ll get back to the real story.”

Yep, excuse my language, but it’s that blatant. In both examples, the story is not well blended. You’re baking a cake without stirring all the ingredients together into a smooth, tasty batter that tempts you to eat it all even before you stick it in the oven. It looks like a gooey autopsy. It’s extremely clear which part of the story interested the author the least. That’s my own personal sanity check when I’m writing. I love the erotic romance/deep character-driven scenes, so if I find myself getting bored or rushing plot points, I know I’m not integrating enough of that into whatever portion of the story I’m writing. The erotic romance must be integrated with the rest of the story line so that one doesn’t really exist without the other.

Plot provides ample opportunity for sexual interaction AND emotional growth in the relationship.
You’re not blending the erotica with the romance if you’re overlooking that. How often do you read the book where the heroine ends up in a sex club, goes through a lot of physical gymnastics with the hero that yes, help her deal with her sexual inhibitions, but other than that there’s really no emotional growth? Still, somehow they end up in a happily-ever-after with the 2.5 kids, golden retriever, picket fence house and a love that never ends? Many of our romance readers are women who’ve experienced committed relationships, and all of us know that they need more than sex to end up as happily-ever-after. As Sascha said so well in his June 24 blog on creating plot: “in erotica, sex is the plot…in erotic romance, sex forwards the plot.” Erotic romance uses erotic interaction to further the relationship.

Integration of erotic romance with other genres
Not because I have this huge desire to pimp my own work, but I can more comfortably dissect it without offending anyone, so let me use some of my storylines as examples of integration of plot/relationship with eroticism in various genres. It will also confirm if I’m qualified to be writing this blog (laughter):

Contemporary erotic romance – For a lot of erotic romance writers, starting in the arena of contemporary is probably your easiest blend, because you can use a BDSM club setting, or the set up of a heroine’s cherished fantasy on the Internet, etc. It gets you comfortable before you move onto trickier blends. Hence, my original Nature of Desire series has a lot of heroes/heroines already Dominant or submissive-oriented, and start inside BDSM clubs. However, it doesn’t have to be clichéd. My muse gave me twists that intrigued me – an alpha cop who is a sexual submissive, or two Doms who fall for each other, etc. Now, if you’ve got it set inside a BDSM club, or are doing the heroine’s cherished fantasy thing, you still mostly have your feet in the erotica room. If you want to blend it, take it into the field of contemporary romance, you’re going to have to get it out of the club or the fantasy and test the relationship (sexually and emotionally) in the real world. That increases the emotional component and even better, brings your characters into your readers’ contemporary world, so they can empathize with the characters.

Paranormal erotic romance – My Vampire Queen series was motivated by my interest in the vampire-servant relationship. To my way of thinking, it practically begged to be explored as a hardcore Dominant/submissive sexual relationship. In my series, vampires form their closest relationships with their servants, even as they consider them their property to use sexually and are expected to share them with other vampires as part of political maneuverings in the vampire world. So there are the emotional, sexual and paranormal conflicts, all rolled into one.

My Daughters of Arianne series was billed as a sensual, borderline erotic paranormal romance series. In the first book, Mermaid’s Kiss, Jonah, a powerful angel, is severely wounded but is hiding not only from his enemies, the Dark Ones, but also his own kind. To heal, he therefore can’t use a magic that would attract a lot of notice. So, with the help of the mermaid who rescues him, he uses earth-based sex magic (which he calls Joining Magic), that must be applied at regular intervals during the healing process. It draws the two of them together intimately, makes more sense in the storyline, and is tied up in the magical plot line as they journey to heal his heart as well as his body.

That all sounds good, and though I loved this book, I was never entirely comfortable with the initial introduction of this erotic element. It felt somewhat contrived, not as well-integrated, enough that I had the irascible seawitch Mina make a joke about it to my heroine: “He had to use Joining Magic. It was the only thing that would work,” she mimicked. “Oh, that’s rich. If I had an anemone for every time I’d heard that one…”

In the subsequent books of the series, I wasn’t so uptight about it and didn’t try so hard. As such, the eroticism evolved in the paranormal setting far more naturally, to my way of thinking. In Witch’s Beauty, to balance the light and dark inside of her, the seawitch Mina discovers a mix of pain and pleasure eases that struggle. The angel David can help her out with that, because the angels of the Dark Legion are pretty virile and often use sex to ground themselves after battle.

Contemporary/paranormal/erotic romance – In If Wishes Were Horses, my hero runs an erotic paraphernalia shop, teaches Tantric classes, and is a Wiccan priest who regularly uses the Sacred Rite (sex magic) to channel the Great Lord. He is therefore uniquely set up to initiate our heroine, the new town sheriff, into an exploration of her own sensuality as they try to get to the bottom of a killing. However, that killing also has a magical/sexual component that further adds to the erotic quotient of the story.

That’s more than enough examples to give you the gist, but I wanted to show you a variety of possibilities.

Pacing - Final note for your blending is to watch your pacing. It’s like inching a tight lid off a box, where you have to take it up a little at a time on each side, until it all comes off at the same time. As a concluding example – in my book, Beloved Vampire – the hero is a vampire who’s grieved for 300 years. He rescues a sick human woman from a tomb by making her his full servant. He already has the sexual dominance, and she’s a natural submissive, so there’s going to be that issue gnawing at them, but she’s been tortured for five years by another vampire, and he’s spent 300 years mourning the Bedouin girl he handfasted. So the trust/relaxing of shields is going to happen proportionately at the same rate as the sexual interaction increases, and the vampire plot thickens, etc.

So recap of the mechanics – keep the character/relationship central to the story, make sure the plot and the erotic romance can’t exist without each other, test the relationship in real world settings (even if it’s a paranormal world), and watch your pacing for the emotional growth/development of your characters as you integrate erotica, romance and other genre elements.

Most importantly however—and this goes back to the original point—If you want to write a blended genre story, make sure your muse has given you one. It can’t be forced – it’s not like a game of chance where you draw two slips of paper out of a hat. “Today, I’ll write an…erotic romance, that’s also a….western! I’ll mash those two things together and see what happens.” The integration has to start in your head and heart—in your creative muse—first.