Jan 262012

Only in erotica can the line “Come, Fido!” be problematic. Unlike some of the other Four Deadly Sins of erotica writing, bestiality is very hard to justify: with few exceptions, it’s not something that can be mistaken for something else, or lie in wait for anyone innocently trying to write about sex. This is unlike, for instance, discussing a first time sexual experience and have it accused of being pro- pedophilia. Bestiality is sex with anything living that’s not human: if it’s not living, then it’s a machine, and if it was once living, then it’s necrophilia.

A story that features—positively or negatively—anything to do with sex with animals is tough if not impossible to sell, though some people have accomplished it. However, there are some odd angles to the bestiality that a lot of people haven’t considered—both positive and negative.

On the negative side, I know a friend who had an erotic science fiction story soundly slammed by one editor because it featured sex with something non-human, technically bestiality—despite the fact that there is a long tradition of erotic science fiction, most recently culminating in the wonderful writing and publishing of Cecilia Tan and her Circlet Press (both very highly recommended). Erotic fantasy stories, too, sometimes get the “we don’t want bestiality” rejection, though myth and legend are packed with sexy demons, mermaids, ghosts, etc. This doesn’t even get into the more classical sexy beasts such as Leda and her famous swan, or Zeus and other randy gods and demi-gods in their various animal forms.

Alas, “someone else did it” doesn’t carry any weight with an editor and publisher, especially one that might be justifiably nervous about government prosecution or distributor rejection. Erotica, once again, gets—bad joke number three—the shaft: because erotica is up-front about the nature of its writing, alarm bells go off, unlike writing labeled scholarly or even pop-culture. Market something as erotic and the double standards start popping up all over the place.

On a positive note—as the already mentioned Cecilia Tan has proved—sex with aliens and mythological creatures has always been popular. Anthropomorphizing an animal and adding intellect or obvious will to a creature is a very safe way of touching on, or even embracing, the allure of sex with the unusual. The furry subculture is a close example of this, though they are very clear that this is not bestiality. It’s just a way of eroticizing the exotic, mixing human sexuality with animal features. As long as the critters being embraced are not real animals and can give consent, then protests and issues usually fall away. Fantasy, after all, is one thing, and there’s nothing more fantastic that dating a being from Tau Ceti V or something that looks like a raccoon crossed with Miss November, 1979.

There’s another feature of bestiality that can be explored but only until recently has been: the idea of role-playing. In this take on it, a person will behave like an animal, usually a dog, and usually submissive. In these S/M games, the “dog” (notice that they are never cats) is led around on a leash, communicates in barks or whines, drinks and eats from a bowl, and is generally treated—much to his pleasure, or as punishment—like a pooch: read it one way and it’s a unique power game, but read it another and it’s bestiality.

One thing worth mentioning, because some people have brought this up in regards to all of the sins, is the dream out. What I mean by that is simple: say you really, really want to write about doing some member of another phylum. That’s cool, but your chances of seeing it in print, or even on a Web site, are about slim to none. Science fiction doesn’t turn your crank so you say: “Got it! It’s a dream!” Well, I have news for you: a story that’s slipped under the door with that framing device, as a way of getting about the idea of a real bestiality story apparent, especially when it opens with “I went to bed” and ends with “then I woke up” is a pretty damned obvious excuse to write an un-sellable bestiality story.

With a lot of these erotic “sins,” whether or not a story comes across as being thoughtful or just exploitive and shallow depends a lot on how much you, as the writer, has put into the concept: something done cheap and easy will read just that way, versus the outcome if you invest time, thought, and—best of all—originality. Good work really does win out, and even can wash away some of the more outré’ erotic “sins.”

Jan 192012

Low and behold, writers’ work is being undervalued. What a surprise!

Unfortunately from the ads I read on Freelancers Marketplace and in Craig’s List (God knows why I am still looking for work on Craig’s List, I should be looking for killers, right?) the prices for what we do have not increased, if anything they seem to be going into the toilet. Attempting to stay humble in the SEO writing I do, trying to consider myself as well as the work as simply work and nothing to get my panties all in a twist about (and if it’s a Tuesday you probably can catch me in panties) I really don’t ever gauge anybody with the prices I ask and if anything seriously all jobs that come my way, since being a freelancer you really don’t have much of a choice.

But some of these salaries,$3 per a 500 word blog, for instance? Are we kidding? There is a fine line between selling yourself and selling yourself short. I know we all need the work, I know lots of people claim they can shoot out weekly blogs, review and renew existing SEO copy or create new, but let me assure my little droogies, not everybody can do this work and those of us who can should not be treated as if we are just like everybody else, treated like it didn’t take a while to nurture these skills we have, treated like it doesn’t much matter if we work for slave wages because, let’s face it, we’re just lowly writers.

The web is the great wasteland kids, though it might make us some money and see us manage a one-handed chat or two. Everybody comes on, every puts their band’s music up on Facebook and every thinks they can write or at the very least can hire just any ole writer to do any ole job…and pay nothing for it. You don’t have to think you are ‘all that’ to demand a decent day’s pay for your work and you certainly don’t have to accept pay that undervalues you.

Jan 122012

Hi Folks,

How has your new year started off? Have you made writer resolutions for more sales, more releases, more books to be read?  Or are you swamped like I am even though it’s only the first week of the year?  LOL!

My biggest news right now is that The Playground is released through Decadent Publishing!  The 1Night Stand series is apparently very popular and when I met Kate Richards and Valerie Mann at Erotic Authors Association Con in Vegas last year, they convinced me to write something for them.

One of the biggest factors writers need to realize when they start writing a new book is the time commitment to it . Usually I cover craft on WriteSEX but I think we should talk a little on the business side of things too for this article.  In a previous Authors Promoting Authors blog post I had talked about research and looking at things from the standpoint of ROI on TIME invested in a book.  Being efficient is key when writing because as we’ve covered before, true wealth can be had by a writer but it takes a LOT of work and so few writers actually amount massive wealth. I pointed out eh importance of education on topics such as BDSM or psychology in the APA blog so that once you sit down to write a story, you don’t have to stop and research, thus breaking your train of thought.

After all, train of thought in writing gets the words on the paper.  But if you have to stop and look up the term SAM, maybe you don’t know what it is and have no sense of which websites are reliable, so more time spent on research, which affects plotting and character development in the long run.  Everything as a writer that you do should be measured in terms of return on investment.

You are a writer, an artist yes.  but the truth of the matter is, many of you have this goal and desire to be a decently paid if not well paid author and the only way to truly meet that goal is with proper planning, self discipline and keeping your ass in the chair and pounding out the words.  Oceania, our Audio Goddess, did a post last year on deadlines and writer’s block that I think will help from time to time. Continue with your education to learn what works and what doesn’t.

So, set your goals, write them down!  Put them someplace where you’ll find them a year from now.

Sascha Illyvich