May 292014
 
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By M. Christian

There’s a deep, dark secret that no writer wants to talk about. Oh, sure, in our braver moments we will talk about depression, anxiety, envy, frustration, spitefulness … the whole dark rainbow of negative emotions that come with being a professional author. And by professional author I don’t mean actually being paid for your work but, rather, being brave enough to send it out into the big, wide—and far too often cruel and uncaring—world.

This secret is lacking of mention in most books on writing—though it should have at least its own chapter, or maybe an entire volume, dedicated to it.

Okay, I won’t string you along any further. You’ve probably guessed it, anyway, by the one-word title of this article. We may not talk about it much, but luck is a powerful force in the life of a writer.

I wrote career in the last sentence before scratching it out and replacing it with life because, as I’ve said many times before, writers don’t have careers: this is not a profession—or even an unpaid pursuit—that you can plot and plan like many other occupations. You can’t, for example, say that this year you will write an award-winning story that will open the door to a major book contract, and then that book will be made into a flick starring Liam Neeson. You can dream about stuff like this all you want, but you can never, ever plan for it.

All because of luck.

Personal story time: I wrote—totally unsuccessfully—for ten years before I sold my first story (an erotic one … and so here I am). My wife at the time signed me up for a class taught by Lisa Palac, of the late-lamented FutureSex Magazine. At the end of the class, I brazenly handed her a story that I had written.  If I hadn’t taken that class, if I hadn’t handed her that story, if I hadn’t mentioned that Pat Califia and Carol Queen were pals of mine … I seriously doubt that she would have even glanced at it.

Personal story time (2): about this same time I was best friends with someone—who, sadly, I am no longer close to—who introduced me to all kinds of other writers and, more importantly, editors and publishers. Without his help, I don’t think I’d be where I am today.

I think you can see where I might be going with this.  If, if, if, if … looking back on my writing life I can see far too many branches that just happened to work out in my favor. Am I a good writer? I like to think that I am a capable writer—with a lot of learning still to do—but I’m not so arrogant as to think that my work is so absolutely brilliant that it would transcend the slush pile or get past the insecurities and nepotism of far too many editors and publishers.

In short, I am where I am today because of luck.

Dig around in any writer’s life—or the life of any creative person, for that matter—and you will see a lot of these branches that just happened to work out in their favor. Friends-of-friends, right-place-right-time … it’s pretty clear that ability is only one part of what can mean the difference between renown and obscurity.

This is just one reason why I despise arrogance in writers. Oh, I can certainly understand it: writing is damned hard—so it’s far too easy to protect a bruised and battered ego by lying to yourself, and the rest of the world, that your blistering talent got you where you are instead of admitting that it all would have been very different if the dice had landed ones instead of sixes.

But luck doesn’t just magically appear. You can’t summon it with “likes” on Facebook or by chugging bourbon.  A cosmic alignment didn’t get me from where I was to where I am now. Luck is about circumstance but it’s also about people. My wife, that one friend who helped opened doors … they were my horseshoes, my rabbit feet, my four-leaf clovers.

Not to sound too Machiavellian, but it’s very important to look at the people in your writing life and think—at least on some level—how have they helped me? …or are they a hindrance? Writing can be hard, almost miserable, but it can be a glorious way to live when you have people surrounding you who are kind, supportive, and encouraging.

Another reason I can’t stand arrogance is that it’s ultimately self-defeating. An old stage maxim says that you should be careful of who you step on while on the way up—because you’ll be meeting them on the way down. By pissing off all kinds of people you are also severing your connection to all kinds of opportunities—luck in the making. Some of these rolls might work out, some may not, but none of them have a chance if you don’t have anyone out there to hand you the dice.

Skill? Very important. Dedication? Extremely important. Flexibility? Absolutely. Luck? We might not want to talk about it but, yes, luck is a key factor … but luck can only find you through friends.

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May 272014
 
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One of the questions beginning writers ask us most often is: “How do you know if you have captured the love in your characters’ lovemaking, and aren’t just writing a run-of-the-mill sex scene?” 12 writers offer their own thoughts and advice in this unique WriteSex Author’s Roundtable. Each Monday (or Tuesday, if Monday is a holiday) a well-known romance author will discuss the difference between a sex scene and a love scene, and show us how to charge an erotic encounter with romance. Look for personal insights and how-to tips from our participants in this first ever WriteSex Authors’ Roundtable. —Ed.

***

By Clarice Clique

As a writer, I enjoy imagining vivid and hot sex scenes. I draw sketches, look at photos online, gossip with my friends, read my old diaries, and have a drawer of dolls that have been put in much more interesting positions than your average Barbie.

Overall, though, when writing I derive the most excitement from creating believable characters. Whichever fantastical world they inhabit, whatever strange activity they are engaged in, and whomsoever they are entwined with, I always want my characters to feel real.

It is when the reader is connected to the characters, and cares about their fate, that porn becomes erotic romance.

Many of my longer pieces, including my two published novels, have contemporary settings which make it simpler from a creative perspective to develop very recognisable characters. Because so many people are familiar with working in an office and having secret crushes on a special colleague, or the budding sexual tension of a first date in a fancy restaurant, the reader can immediately relate and empathise, twisting their own hopes and dreams around the fictional scene. And through a small amount of dialogue, the meeting of eyes followed by shy turns away, the accidental brush of a hand against a muscled arm…it is possible for a writer to easily covey the attraction between two people. On top of this I often borrow and sneak in little quirks and incidents from my own life, which makes the characters more three-dimensional and their relationships feel more realistic.

For example, my novel Hot Summer Nights contains lots of very graphic sex and BDSM. When dealing with bondage and domination, I think it is incredibly important that the characters have some kind of truth within them. Even when my leading lady, Vanessa, is involved in an orgy with complete strangers whose names she’s never going to know, all the emotions she experiences are based in the love and trust she has for her best friend, Penelope. Penelope acts as her Mistress, guiding and pushing Vanessa to explore her sexuality to the fullest.

Hot Summer Nights contains many couplings, but at its centre it is about friendship and support between women. I hope that alongside the obvious thrill of erotica, my readers are invested in Vanessa’s journey and, with that investment, get a different sort of satisfaction from how her story concludes.

 

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May 222014
 
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This month’s Fetish Column takes an introductory look at one of the most potentially dangerous forms of “edge play”: autoerotic asphyxiation. While the editors of WriteSex are pleased to include this information among its other fetish-related posts—we feel it will inform our readers’ writing and general knowledge—we would like to remind readers that neither this nor any of our “edge play” posts serve as endorsements for reckless behavior in real-life bedrooms or dungeons. Which is also to say: do not attempt autoerotic asphyxiation without the supervision and assistance of an experienced, highly-trained expert, and/or without having attended a class/workshop given by an experienced, highly-trained expert. At the very least, do not do it alone.

Both the writer of this post and one of our editors have lost dear friends to unassisted autoerotic asphyxiation and have no desire to see any of our readers numbered among them.   —Ed.

 

By billierosie

What is Autoerotic Asphyxiation?

Autoerotic Asphyxiation is the intentional restriction of oxygen to the brain for sexual arousal. It is also called asphyxiophilia, autoerotic asphyxia, hypoxyphilia or breath control play. Colloquially, a person engaging in the activity is sometimes called a “gasper”. The erotic interest in asphyxiation is classified as a paraphilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. Psychiatrist Joseph Merlino states that it meets the criteria for a disorder because it has the potential for death or serious injury.

The carotid arteries, on either side of the neck, carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain and the accumulation of carbon dioxide can increase feelings of giddiness, light-headedness and pleasure, all of which will heighten masturbatory sensations.

When the brain is deprived of oxygen, it can induce a lucid, semi-hallucinogenic state. Combined with orgasm, the rush is no less powerful than cocaine, and like cocaine, can be powerfully addictive.

Various methods are used to achieve the level of oxygen depletion needed, such as a hanging, suffocation with a plastic bag over the head, or gas or volatile solvents. Sometimes, complicated devices are used to produce the desired effects. The practice can be dangerous even if performed with care and has resulted in a significant number of accidental deaths in the United States, the United Kingdom and across Europe.

Death from Autoerotic Asphyxiation

Deaths often occur when the loss of consciousness caused by partial asphyxia leads to loss of control over the means of strangulation, resulting in continued asphyxia and death. While often asphyxiophilia is incorporated into sex with a partner, others enjoy this behaviour by themselves, making it potentially more difficult to get out of dangerous situations. Victims are often found to have rigged some sort of “rescue mechanism” that has not worked in the way they anticipated as they lost consciousness.

In some cases, the body of the asphyxiophilic individual is discovered naked or with genitalia in hand, with pornographic magazines nearby, with dildos or other sex toys present, or with evidence of having orgasmed prior to death. Bodies found at the scene of an accidental death often show evidence of other paraphilic activities, such as items of fetishistic clothing (e.g. corsets, harnesses, frilly underwear) and masochism. In cases involving the discovery of deceased family members, parents/siblings/spouses might disturb the scene by “sanitizing” it, removing evidence of paraphilic activity.

The great majority of known erotic asphyxial deaths are male. The typical age of accidental death is mid-20s, but deaths have been reported across a wide range of ages, from adolescence to the mid-70s. Very few individual cases of women with erotic asphyxia have been reported.

Autoerotic asphyxiation has at times been incorrectly diagnosed as murder, especially when a partner is present. Some hospitals have teaching units specifically designed to educate doctors in the correct diagnosis of the condition.

Lawyers and insurance companies have brought cases to the attention of clinicians because some life insurance claims are payable in the event of accidental death, but not suicide.

Famous and Fictional Deaths

The composer Frantisek Kotzwara died from erotic asphyxiation in 1791, which is probably the first recorded case.

Albert Decker, the stage and screen actor, was found in 1968 with his body graphitized and a noose around his neck in his bathroom. The artist Vaughn Bodé died from this cause in 1975. Stephen Milligan, a British Conservative MP for Eastleigh, died from autoerotic asphyxiation, combined with self-bondage, in 1994. Kevin Gilbert, songwriter, musician, composer and producer, died of apparent autoerotic asphyxiation in 1996. The actor David Carradine died on the 4th of June, 2009 from accidental asphyxiation, according to the medical examiner who performed his private autopsy. His body was found hanging by a rope in a closet in his room in Thailand, and there was evidence of a recent orgasm; two autopsies were conducted and concluded that his death was not caused by suicide, and the Thai forensic pathologist who examined the body stated that his death may have been due to autoerotic asphyxiation. Two of Carradine’s ex-wives, Gail Jensen and Marina Anderson, stated publicly that his sexual interests included the practice of self-bondage.

The introductory scene of the film The Ruling Class shows the death of Ralph Gurney, the 13th Earl of Gurney (portrayed by Harry Andrews), from accidental autoerotic asphyxiation. Autoerotic death was also used in the Robin Williams film World’s Greatest Dad.

A Final Word

And death by Auto Erotic Asphyxiation isn’t just the reserve of those with celebrity status. The tragedy hit close to home when my friend George found his older brother Charlie hanging from a coat hook on his bedroom door. The Coroner’s Report registered Autoerotic Asphyxiation as the cause of death. They played Don McLean’s Starry, Starry Night at Charlie’s funeral.

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May 192014
 
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One of the questions beginning writers ask us most often is: “How do you know if you have captured the love in your characters’ lovemaking, and aren’t just writing a run-of-the-mill sex scene?” 12 writers offer their own thoughts and advice in this unique WriteSex Author’s Roundtable. Each Monday a well-known romance author will discuss the difference between a sex scene and a love scene, and show us how to charge an erotic encounter with romance. Look for personal insights and how-to tips from our participants in this first ever WriteSex Authors’ Roundtable. —Ed.

***

By Blake C. Aarens

My first thought was that there isn’t any difference between a sex scene and a romantic sexual encounter.  Both describe the selfsame event with fake notions of good and bad, right and wrong, coming down to nothing but the use of language to try and tabulate and limit by judgment some forms of sexual expression. That’s my default setting these days, to try and emphasize—as often as possible in as many arenas as possible—that we humans and the animal things we do are more alike than unalike.

But that’s not an honest answer to an honest question, ‘cuz just as I say out loud, as I read the question off my phone and mutter “there is no difference”, the split screen in my head plays two scenes:

On the right-hand screen, a couple, A and B, are at each other in the dimly lit corner of a club. A has at least one body part inside at least one opening in B’s body. Tab A in slot B. Penetration and friction. That is the essence of a sex scene. But on the left-hand screen in my head, and playing at the very same time, are the same two people, in the same corner, in the same club, with the very same lighting, tab A in slot B, even. But here is where the romance comes in: in the way they strain in the darkness to see the expression on the other’s face as they move together, in the way the owner of slot B holds their breath to hear the noises coming from the owner of tab A, in the way their focus on each other makes the bouncer’s mouth water and he leaves them alone and lets them love each other up.

If you look the two words up in the dictionary—as I did—you’ll discover that both have entries as a noun and as a verb. They can both be either an action, or a person, place, or thing. But for the purposes of this roundtable discussion, I want to concentrate on several very specific dictionary entries:

romance1—n.  4. a baseless, made-up story, usually full of exaggeration or fanciful invention.
—v.i.  10. to think or talk romantically.
—v.t.  11.  Informal.  a.  to court or woo romantically; treat with ardor or chivalrousness.

sex n.  3. the instinct or attraction drawing one sex toward another, or its manifestation in life and conduct.
4. coitus.
—v.t.  8.  sex up, Informal a.  to arouse sexually

For me, it’s all about focus.  And not just the focus of the writer. If my characters are primarily about body parts and positions—and there ain’t nothing wrong with that—it’s more of a sex scene in the way I craft it and the details that it makes sense to share. But if I’m writing a romantic sexual encounter—George Carlin would hate the wordiness of that phrase—the focus is about cause and effect. This is what I’m doing to you, with you, and this is how it is making me feel, and breathe, and arch my back. The difference seems subtle, but is in fact, huge.  It is the canyon that exists between intimate physical contact, and intimacy itself.

They say you don’t fall in love with another person, but you fall in love with the person you become when you’re in the presence of your love. You fall in love with how they make you feel about yourself. Within yourself.

I wrote a story called “I Want You Back” where one of the characters is having a sex scene while another is involved in a romantic sexual encounter. The interesting thing is, they’re in the same scene. The story was published in my erotic collection Wetting the Appetite.

To quote the introduction I wrote to the story,  it “deals with the uncontrollable urges some lovers are able to arouse in us”, particularly “that lover we know isn’t a damn bit of good for our head, or heart, or self-esteem, but who does something to us that we can’t live without.”

The point-of-view character—who is never named—becomes the object of badboy Nick’s focused sexual attention the day they meet in a bowling league.

He made me nervous, made me conscious of my own body, made me ask him to come over just to get a break from all the sexual energy he was aiming at me.

The narrator is already off into a romance, inventing a connection between them and exaggerating its meaning, based on nothing more than how Nick’s attention makes him feel.

Nick, on the other hand, is just doing what he’s done with every other member of the league. He meets a bowler he hasn’t had sex with, and he does the obvious thing: he makes sex happen between them. That’s what Nick does.

The story details their first sexual encounter. An encounter completely dominated by Nick’s timetable and tastes.

When we arrived at my place, he pushed me inside.  He kept on pushing until he had me on my back on the living room floor.  His dick was in my face before I knew what was happening.  I lunged for it with my mouth, but he put his hand on my forehead and pushed my head back onto the carpet.

“Open,” he said, and I parted my lips.

He put his dick in my mouth, but he wouldn’t let me suck it on my own time.

The narrator is turned on by his own openness, his quick obedience. Nick seems to take it as his due from a sexual partner. The narrator relaxes and just lets him, focusing on the pleased murmur that comes from Nick when he registers the narrator’s surrender. He can’t get his pants down fast enough.

When they move to the narrator’s bedroom, it’s still a two-tier encounter. Nick has found the bedroom and waits on top of the comforter, stroking himself back to hardness for round two. The narrator, on the other hand, is on an expedition through his own apartment, trying to find where his newfound lover has gotten to.

I walked to the door of my bedroom and found him lying naked on the bed. He had his own fat cock in both hands and was taking long strokes up and down it.

“C’mere,” he said.

Of course I went to him.

When I got close enough, he let go of his dick and grabbed me by both wrists. He snatched me off my feet and onto the mattress, then dragged me to lie on top of him. We were belly to belly, our cocks pressed between us and just touching.

I could barely look him in the eye. He put one of his hands behind my head and the other in the small of my back and made me kiss him for a very long time.

They are having two very different experiences. The narrator’s is amorously familiar; he’s submitting to things and showing sides of himself that make him feel vulnerable. Nick is doing what he likes, when and how he likes, to get himself hard and get himself off, end of story.

And therein lies the difference between the two. Romance is about more than the interaction of genitalia. It’s more than just the act itself. Romance is about breath and eyes and feelings. It’s about the stories we tell ourselves about what the intimate physical contact means. It’s about the actions we take and the thoughts that propel us into action. And it’s those details—above and beyond and beneath what characters are doing with their naughty bits—that carve out the difference between romance and sex.

 

Live fully, keep reading, and don’t stop pressing those keys!

BCA

***

Blake C. Aarens is an author, playwright, poet, screenwriter, and former college theatre instructor. Her play, The Prince of Whiteness, was the Invited Play at the 56th Conference on World Affairs.  Her solo performance piece, My Great-Grandmother Had a Sex Life, debuted at the “Have I Got a Story for You/Solo Performance Showcase” at The Studio Theatre, College of Marin. Excerpts from her erotic poetry collection Words on Fire appeared in the Milvia Street Art and Literary Journal. Her script, Still Life with Android, won a Judy Award for Achievement in the Thriller/Horror/Sci-Fi Screenplay division.

Blake is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who writes award-winning erotic fiction.  Her work has appeared in the Herotica series; Aché: A Journal for Lesbians of African Descent; Best American Erotica 1993; Penthouse Magazine, and numerous other anthologies.

Blake has seven letters after her name and more than two decades’ experience teaching classes on everything from Principles and Theory of Acting (Laney College), to Dramatic Technique for Fiction Writers (Berkeley Story Workshop), to Writing Life’s Moments: The Craft of Personal Narrative (The Writing Parlor, SF), to How to Write and Read a Dirty Story (San Francisco Center for Sex & Culture).

Her first collection of stories, Wetting the Appetite, has been published by Sizzler Editions both as a paperback and an ebook.

She lives in the Bay Area with Kazimir, the Crown Prince of the Universe.

 

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May 152014
 
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By Colin

Not too long ago I sat down with an anthology of new horror fiction I’d picked up at the library.  The lineup included some writers who were old favorites of mine, as well as a few I’d heard good things about. One of the latter had contributed a story with a particularly intriguing title, one that really got my horror-fanboy Spidey senses tingling. So when I sat down that night in my easy chair, that was the story I turned to first, cackling in gleeful anticipation.

It wasn’t long before I realized that fifteen minutes had gone by. Normally that’s a sign that the writer has done a masterful job of pulling you into the story. Unfortunately, in this case I had spent those fifteen minutes reading the opening paragraph over and over again, trying to make sense of it.

See, the story was written in a very artful, literary style, one that made heavy use of stream of consciousness, creative misspelling to indicate dialect (not jest in dialogue, y’know, but in thuh actual story isself), and a fine contempt for its rather dimwitted redneck protagonists. It was a style I probably wouldn’t have blinked at under other circumstances, even in a book of horror yarns—today, the line between genre fiction and literary fiction is often eyelash-thin. Heck, I’ve used that style in stories of my own. The problem was that in this case I wasn’t expecting it. I was expecting a fast, dirty monster story with a good, gory payoff. When I found myself eating at McSweeney’s instead of McDonald’s, I had to shift gears…and your correspondent is a little slow these days, poor old thing.

Now, when I did shift gears and read the story on its own terms, I liked it just fine. I even wished it was longer, which is the highest praise I can think of, so this is not going to be a straightforward screed against writers Getting All Literary when they should be Getting On with the Story. But this little episode hit me harder than I would have expected, maybe because I’ve known plenty of writers who love going off on that very topic. One guy I used to pal around with would hold forth on it quite regularly. Thing was, his choice of poster-child for the Virtues of Simple Storytelling was ’50s crime writer Jim Thompson. Now, no question about it, Thompson wrote a hard, mean line, and his abilities as a pure storyteller have never been in question. But he’s remembered as much these days for his pioneering use of postmodern experimental techniques as for anything else. Holding him up as a God of No-Frills Narrative is a bit like celebrating Thelonious Monk as a champion of traditional jazz.

Nonetheless, it brings up an interesting question for writers: at what point does a “literary” approach work against the purposes of your writing? Since erotica, like horror, is based on creating a specific response in the reader, it seems very relevant here. But first, another crime-writer anecdote: once upon a time, the great French detective novelist Georges Simenon was trying to sell short stories to the great French literary author Colette, who at the time was editing at the great French paper Le Monde. The (apparently not-so-great) manuscripts kept coming back, and when Simenon finally buttonholed Colette and asked her, in effect, WTF?, she told him (apparently with some exasperation), “Look, your stories are too literary.”

In general, erotic fiction that is less focused on plot offers more room for experimentation and unconventional technique. A story focused on, let’s say, a young woman alone in her bedroom, fantasizing about past lovers seems like a good example. The opportunities for using stream-of-consciousness, fantasy, allegory and literary misdirection are endless.

But the opportunities for plot in such a story are also endless. The young woman might be presented early on in the story as having some kind of sexual hang-up—let’s say a general fear of losing control, as you often see in bondage scenarios. That hang-up becomes the focus for the “plot.” As she runs through her fantasies, the fear would be present in each one, gradually coming into sharper and sharper focus, until we understand not just what she’s afraid of, but also why she’s afraid of it. This approach makes it rather like an erotic detective story (there’s crime-fiction again…jeez) with a character’s sexuality instead of a robbery or murder as the central element. It could be every bit as satisfying as a well-constructed detective tale. You could even make it novel-length, with a bit of planning. But even if you made all these concessions to Storytelling, I suspect you’d find it a tough sell to, say, the romance markets. It’s still an inside story, whereas most romances are firmly based in a “real world,” where thoughts and fantasies don’t just segue endlessly into other thoughts and fantasies; they tend to lead to actions, which have direct consequences on the plot, even though the “real world” in question might be an alternate Victorian England or a future interstellar empire. I think you could probably still make it work, but you’d most likely need to cut a certain amount of “literary” trimmings.

Now imagine a story planned specifically as a romance, with all the trimmings: shape-shifters, a smouldering alpha-male hero, a spicy spitfire heroine, and sex, sex, sex. You would probably have a much harder time turning that story “inward,” than you would turning an inside story “outward” as in our example above. There are certain expectations in romance stories, many of which revolve around the hero and heroine interacting in (say it with me, kids) a real world. Fantasy sequences could be an effective means of spicing things up in the background, but sooner or later you’ve got to get back to that real world where things are “really” happening. And stream of consciousness passages or artfully misspelled dialogue would probably just get in the way. You’d hit the same roadblocks I did when I tried to read that horror story as a straightforward monster yarn. And your readers might or might not be willing to regroup and reread the story on its own terms (and if they’re reading it to satisfy specific sexual or emotional yearnings, the likelihood of regrouping may decrease).

None of these speculations are to be taken as hard and fast rules, of course. I’m sure a number of examples could be found of “literary romances” that worked (and sold) just fine. But in general, “literary” technique works best “inside,” and “storytelling” works best “outside.” What constitutes inside and outside and how you make your approach work in your own novels and stories, of course, is up to you.

 

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

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May 122014
 
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One of the questions beginning writers ask us most often is: “How do you know if you have captured the love in your characters’ lovemaking, and aren’t just writing a run-of-the-mill sex scene?” 12 writers offer their own thoughts and advice in this unique WriteSex Author’s Roundtable. Each Monday a well-known romance author will discuss the difference between a sex scene and a love scene, and show us how to charge an erotic encounter with romance. Look for personal insights and how-to tips from our participants in this first ever WriteSex Authors’ Roundtable. —Ed.

***

By M. Millswan

I made my first introduction to sex between the pages of a book when I accidentally discovered a dog-eared paperback during a search for my father’s secret stash of Playboys. I don’t remember the title, but I will always remember the illustration on the cover: an impossibly buxom redheaded stewardess bending over to offer a traveler a drink, along with a view down into the grand canyon of her cleavage. Upon those pulp-fiction pages ran a story of lustful abandon—fucking, sucking, groping, stroking, and cumming and cumming and cumming, with enough jizz to make even Linda Lovelace choke. Upon page after steamy page, I learned that a woman craves nothing more out of life than to give herself over in every way possible to the lustful desires of any male she encounters, anywhere and at any time. And every macho man she entices into her embrace possesses a twelve inch rod of high-carbon steel, and his impassioned thrusting makes the pounding of a jackhammer pale in comparison to power of his massive manhood.  For a young man still yearning for his first sexual encounter not involving a spinning bottle, books such as these provided a peek into what I assumed was the real-life adult world of lust and sex. And, clearly, it was all about the sex—raw and carnal, yeah, baby!

Let me finish this cigarette, Toots, or whatever your name is. Then how about you bend over, and let’s go for sloppy sevenths.”

“Oh …yes …yes …do me, Big Daddy! Give it to me! You know I want it! And baby wants it now!”

Erotica such as this (complete with rampant exclamation points so the reader knows when to be excited) had its place when sex had no choice but to hide in the shadows. And yet, just as people have evolved and learned that living in a house is much more comfortable than living in a cold, dank cave, so too have we learned that sex spiced with passion and romance is much more fulfilling than sex as no more than another excretory bodily function. Much more than heaving bosoms and thrusting cocks gushing cum, an awesome sex scene should always be about the emotions of the participants, whether experienced by real people or enjoyed vicariously through our books and stories. Sure, sex will always be a natural function of the body—but the passion and pleasure of it is all in the mind. Every successful romance or erotica writer today knows they must show the scene—and make the reader feel it—rather than simply describing its mechanics. It’s necessary for the reader to envision these scenes with such passion that the story really can be a vicarious sexual experience; that it’s their lips being kissed and their body locked in a sultry embrace. To satisfy the discriminating tastes of today’s sophisticated consumer of romance and erotica, rather than writing a wham, bam, thank you for swallowing, ma’am type of sexual encounter, it’s important to encompass both the physical and the emotional aspects of sex. As an example, here is an excerpt from “Snap Shot” which illustrates the promise of romance mixed with the anticipation of passion, setting the scene for a romantic but very sexual encounter:

It seemed she filled the room. The scent of her, the blue of her nightie, the pink of her lips, the heat of her breath, the flush in her cheeks, the way her hair shone as it moved in the afternoon sunlight, everything; she seized my every sense and so much more. When she slipped off her nightie and let it fall to the floor, it seemed a haze clouded the room, time stood still, and there was no sound at all other than my heart pounding in my ears. In my private reality, the one I’ll always cherish, there was no more outside world, only this ravishingly beautiful girl standing stark naked before me. She glided right past me, easily as alluring seen naked from behind as from the front, those legs, her hourglass hips, the way her cheeks came together below the curves of her bottom, merging into that place of dark mystery concealed between her legs. My awareness of her nudity was almost overwhelming. I just could not believe I was here with her, even while feasting my eyes upon her. When she lay down upon the bed and beckoned to me with her eyes and a come to me crook of her finger, it was almost too much to comprehend; but here she was, alone with me and entirely willing to do whatever I desired of her. Yet I wondered, would she truly do anything, anything I asked?

Of course, there are as many different tastes in sex and romance as there are readers of sex and romance, which is why there are so many genres out there—and a whole spectrum between “sweet” romance and edgy, no-holds-barred erotica. Yet whether a reader enjoys a little romance with their sex, or a little sex with their romance, it is the writer’s goal to anticipate and fulfill those desires. The one common denominator between all these genres, subgenres and combinations of romance and passion? The surefire way to satisfy as many readers as possible? Put them in the scene. Because isn’t that what we all want anyway?  Not to just read about it, but to actually be there.

***

M. Millswan is the author of over one dozen books, many of them erotica.

Millswan writes, “Isaac Asimov gave me great advice about what it takes to become an author.  Corresponding with him was always as flattering as it was educational and  inspirational.  My first best-seller, Farlight, was a science fiction novel. From the success of Farlight I have expanded into the genres of Horror and Erotica.”

From the cutting-edge socio-erotic novel Living in the State of Dreams to the softly sensual Snap Shot series of novellas and short stories, readers from around the world have expressed how much they enjoy the vivid sexuality and softly sensual emotion captured in every M. Millswan story. In ’09, Millswan’s short story, “The Best of Friends”, was singled out for critical honors as one the best of the best in the Swing! anthology. Newly released erotica titles include Tabu, Weekend at Sally’s, Damned, Lady Luck and The Best Erotic Short Stories of M. Millswan.

“It was surely destiny that I moved into the field of Erotica,” Millswan says. “While owning and operating a white water lodge in the jungles of Costa Rica, my wife and I were victims of a tropical storm. With our business destroyed, she was forced to return to the States while I stayed behind to guard our remaining property. Almost completely cut off from the world, each week I penned her a handwritten letter. After a while I had the idea to begin writing her a story expressing how much I missed her. She saved each chapter, and once we were reunited she urged me to try to get it published. The rest is history, as the historical romance I wrote for her, Rolling the Bones, helped me to become established as a professional author.”

“When people claim they are only human,” he often observes, “it’s usually because they have been making beasts of themselves.”

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May 082014
 
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By Elizabeth Coldwell

Whether you realise it or not, it’s all too easy for your writing to fall into a rut.

This might not be so much of a problem if your writing is more of a hobby or a distraction from the Evil Day Job than a career, if you submit to the odd anthology here and there, or if you’re slowly working on that first novel. However, if you’re aiming to make a living from your writing, the pressure to churn out book after book, to build up your backlist and never give readers a moment to wonder when your next novel is coming out, can lead to a certain feeling of déjà vu when you read through your work. Just as importantly, it can also make you forget that, above all, writing is something to be enjoyed. If you’re slogging through the pages, rest assured the readers will be, too.

Even if you don’t notice that you’re in a rut, your editor should. All authors have certain words they tend to overuse, usually without being aware of it, which in the aggregate can dumb down otherwise good work and give it a feeling of tiresome over-familiarity. And I’m not even talking about the dreaded ‘that’ and ‘was’ which so many editors are on a mission to eradicate from manuscripts. Use the same verb three times within a paragraph, or repeatedly refer to your heroine’s ‘wavy, dark hair’ long after this characteristic has been established, and a good editor will flag this up. Some line editors will even highlight these words, making it even more obvious how often they appear—a sure sign you need to start reaching for synonyms.

But even ruthless editing can still leave your readers feeling like you’re rehashing ideas from previous books, whether you’re aware of it or not. So what can you do to freshen up your writing? Here are a few suggestions:

1) Change your writing routine

This might not be possible if you’re one of those people who, due to work or family circumstances, can only allocate a certain part of the day to their craft—but if you’re able to write full time, then do something different for once. Don’t shut yourself away in whichever room you use as your office; get out of the house and write. OK, so the writer with their laptop in the coffee shop has become a cliché, but it can actually do you good to be surrounded by other people as you write. Maybe you’ll see or hear something that inspires a story idea, and it never hurts to be reminded of the many ways people interact in the real world. You might worry that you won’t be as productive as usual, but I can never stress often enough that meeting an arbitrary word count every day doesn’t necessarily make you a good writer.

2) Try another genre

A lot of writers are very reluctant to write in anything other than the genre for which they have become known. They are afraid that by doing so they will somehow alienate their readers, particularly if they write anything other than contemporary romance. Of course, this suggests that perhaps it’s the readers who need to more flexible, rather than the authors, but that’s a whole other topic… However, you don’t need to go so far as to start (or stop, depending on where you’re coming from) writing male/male stories for a change of pace. There are lots of genres you can explore—ménage, Rubenesque, cowboy—that are hugely popular and don’t require you to go too far out of your comfort zone. Or you could try something that will take more research than you’d usually put in, like historical fiction set in an era you’re unfamiliar with. Who knows, you might even learn something…

3) Shake up your cast of characters

If your hero is always the alpha male who has more money than he knows what to do with and women perpetually falling at his feet, try writing about a guy who has to work hard, both for a living and to get the girl of his dreams. (Lord knows it’ll spare us any more dreary Fifty Shades clones…) If you write exclusively from the submissive’s point of view, try putting yourself in the dominant’s shoes (or thigh-high boots) for once. Switching the focus helps keep your writing sharp and forces you to think about a character’s motivation in a different way, which is never a bad thing.

 

Elizabeth Coldwell is Editor-in-chief at Xcite Books, where the titles she has edited include the National Leather Award-winning anthology, Lipstick Lovers. As an author, she has 25 years’ experience in the field of erotica, having been published by Black Lace, Cleis Press, Sizzler Editions, Total-e-bound and Xcite Books among many others. She can be found blogging at The (Really) Naughty Corner – elizabethcoldwell.wordpress.com.

 

 

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May 052014
 
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One of the questions beginning writers ask us most often is: “How do you know if you have captured the love in your characters’ lovemaking, and aren’t just writing a run-of-the-mill sex scene?” 12 writers offer their own thoughts and advice in this unique WriteSex Author’s Roundtable. Each Monday a well-known romance author will discuss the difference between a sex scene and a love scene, and show us how to charge an erotic encounter with romance. Look for personal insights and how-to tips from our participants in this first ever WriteSex Authors’ Roundtable. —Ed.

***

By Sarah Bella

Ultimately, to me, the difference between a sex scene and a romantic sexual encounter is the intention of the characters. Are they just in it to get their rocks off? Nothing wrong with that, if so—some of my favorite scenes are pure erotica. On the other hand, if they’re looking to bond and grow with their partner, that bonding and growth is where I find the romance.

While the intentions of the characters in an erotic scene may define its level of romance, their overall stories may or may not. You can have a pair of strangers meet in a club and still have a romantic scene in the back hall of said club. In that same vein, a committed couple can absolutely have a sexual encounter completely devoid of romance.

So, then, what exactly do you write into your sexual encounters to define, maintain or escalate their romance? Constant declarations of love? Paragraphs of purple prose? I tend to have my characters turn inward—to focus not just on the physical experience of sex, but all the emotions that accompany it: the closeness they feel, the tenderness, that chest-bursting happiness they can’t get enough of.

In my latest book, Megan’s Desire, Megan finally drops her defenses one night, allowing herself and her maybe-boyfriend Tate to reach each other emotionally in a new and powerful way. Physically speaking, the scene below is 100% sex, but because we are kept intimately apprised of everything Megan thinks and feels, we can see how her connection to Tate grows in those moments:

Megan opened her legs, soft, warm, need, filling her—taking over.  Her fingers traced the ropes of muscle in his arms.  The very nearness of him soothed some primal need inside her.  The maleness of him, meeting some unspoken need.

“You’re so beautiful like this, just waiting for me.” He pressed inside her; Megan relished the slow burn, the ache-quenching slide of him inside her.

He slid his knees beneath her butt and gripped her hips, plowing inside her.

Megan gripped the headboard above her, locked elbows saving her from a bed-induced headache.  The new angle hit everything she needed it to.  She hooked her legs around his waist, heels forcing him in deeper with each thrust.

Tate stared down at her with lust-filled eyes.  Pure, unadulterated emotion rained down on her.  Megan soaked it up, all his adoration, his passion, his belief in her.  He wore it proudly, sharing that secret part of himself with her.

The close, the deep, the very there of him shook her.  This was so far beyond anything she was ready for….

Megan isn’t just in the moment for an orgasm—her heart is broken and she’s looking for healing, for acceptance. She finds that perfection with Tate.

 

Happy reading, ladies and gents.

♥SB

Sarah Bella is a small town Minnesota girl who calls pop by its proper name – pop. She is a multi-published author of romance and erotica who writes both novels and short stories in the romance, mystery/suspense, paranormal and erotica genres.

She loves traveling anywhere south of the equator and finds that a nice dark microbrew can help get the creative juices flowing. When she’s not writing or traveling, you can find Sarah with her nose buried in a book.

Sarah lives in the small town she grew up in with her husband, three children, her cat and her dog.

Find Sarah on Facebook, and her books and stories at her Amazon Author page.

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May 012014
 
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By Nobilis

I had a great idea today.

No, not an idea for a story, I get those all the time … this was a great idea for promotion. It was going to leverage several of my strong suits and potentially attract a whole new group of potential readers and listeners. It was—if I do say so myself—a brilliant idea, and it still seems brilliant after mulling it over with a few trusted friends. And it’s not only good, but it would be fun. Lots of fun.

And I just don’t have time for it right now.

I’ve got commitments: writing commitments, podcasting commitments, and of course family and dayjob commitments. I went over my schedule with a fine-toothed comb, I figured out how much time I needed to devote to this project, and… it simply isn’t available. It was going to require at least ten hours to prepare the project and three or four hours to execute each iteration. And right now (and by “right now”, I mean “for the next several weeks at least”), I have too much else to do.

Now, any creative person is going to tell you that you Don’t Find Time, You Make It. You make it by quitting habits (like television, video games or facebook) that aren’t serving your goals, and putting your now-freed time into habits (like writing or other creative pursuits) that are serving them.

Thing is? The operative term is serving your goals. All of them. In the interest of my professional and creative goals, I’ve already squeezed my time sources as far as I’m comfortable. The time I’ve left myself for things like TV and video games serves other equally important goals: I reward myself for accomplishments by taking a ride in the TARDIS or blowing up some mutants; I maintain connections to my friends, giving us a shared context for conversation (some of which inspires story ideas, thus serving creative goals as well). I’m also not going to spend any less time exercising. That would be stupid.

So I don’t have time. Not right now, and not for a few weeks at the very least. Possibly months, depending on how things play out—even though I know this project is going to be awesome and bring all kinds of attention to myself and lots of other authors. And besides … did I mention that it would be fun?

So I have to hold on to it.

It shouldn’t be hard, I’m used to holding on to ideas. I have the idea notebook for story and character ideas that I’ve mentioned in previous posts. So why not another notebook for this kind of idea? I’ve even got a spare one in my office. (I can’t be the only author that collects blank books and notebooks)

And we’ll see. Maybe in the fall, you’ll see a new project from me. Or maybe you won’t; maybe someone else will have a go at it, and I’ll sit back and cheer them on.

After all … it’s only an idea.

—–

Learn more about Nobilis and his work at his…

Website: www.nobiliserotica.com
Podcast: nobilis.libsyn.com
Twitter: @nobilis

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