Friday, November 28, 2008

Writing that touches



Donna George Storey


It's been an exciting week for me, one where it's felt like the whole world is opening up. So it seems very appropriate that to round it off I have Donna George Storey as a guest, someone whose work is all about changing the world, 'one dirty story at a time'!




Why do you write?


Writing is a way for me to make connections: with readers who give me their valuable time, with the mysteries of my own sexuality and imagination, with the characters inside my head that take on a life of their own, with the power and magic of the English language. No act—except sex with someone I love—makes me feel more alive and engaged with the world physically, emotionally and intellectually. This may seem contradictory because writing also involves a kind of detachment from the world as well, but I guess I’ve always felt rather separate from the world, a natural voyeur. Writing stories has become a way to bridge that gap to some degree, and I think I’ve become a much more empathetic and compassionate person since I started writing seriously—about eleven years now.




Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?


Over the years as I’ve gotten in touch with my creative process, I realized I do have a goal of sorts in my work and that is to help heal the false split between the mind and the body in our culture. For the most part sexuality is still seen as separate and even hostile to the intellect. Because it arouses our “baser” instincts, writing that celebrates sex has to be crude and base itself, never smart or skillful. But human sexuality is so much more complex and our minds are a crucial part of the picture. How much time do you spend thinking about sex versus actually doing it? I can’t think of anything more interesting and important to try to understand more fully than the erotic imagination.

My stories tend to start with a question, a mystery, that is both a scholarly, nerdy girl “research” question and an uncanny feeling that is hard for me to put into words. For example, one of my most reprinted stories, “The Cunt Book,” about a man’s insatiable effort to capture the secret of female pleasure in photographs came from a true story I heard about the actor Bob Crane, of “Hogan’s Heroes” fame. Apparently Crane had an extensive collection of photographs of naked women he’d personally taken (this collection was tied to his murder as well). I got to wondering about his motivations and desires and the reasons why so many women would consent to pose for such a session. The story that resulted is just one answer to those questions, but it helped me figure some things out and put that uncanny feeling to rest. Writing has been very liberating in that regard.




What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?


Up until 2006, I’d written only short stories. As the stay-at-home mother of two, shorter projects were much more manageable. Then I had the chance to write an erotic novel based on my experiences in Japan called Amorous Woman. I’ve found the world of a short story is a nice place to dally for several weeks, but this novel took over my life completely for the six months I was writing it. My characters came alive and started telling me what they wanted to do, which was not usually what I’d planned for them, but they always turned out to be right in the end. Plus they showed me things about my relationship to Japan that I’d only vaguely been aware of before.

Finishing a novel is often compared to giving birth to a child, and I have to agree. My baby novel is of me, but more than me. I usually describe the novel as “an American woman’s love affair with Japan,” but of course, it’s about my love affair with Japan and I’m rather surprised at how nakedly my own desires have been expressed through that story. I’ve been especially gratified by the response from readers who know Japan. A few have even told me “Amorous Woman is the story of my life,” which makes me feel as if I got something right!




Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:



Like many Americans, Barack Obama’s recent victory in the presidential election has been immensely inspiring to me. I’m thrilled that a smart, eloquent person who understands complexity and nuance will be leading our country, and I’m proud of the electorate for overcoming prejudice, apathy and cynicism and choosing a new vision for the future.

Unfortunately, here in California, there was a narrow victory of prejudice against same-sex marriage with the passage of Prop. 8. This is not the last word, though. In my efforts to promote my “dirty novel,” I’ve faced a lot of entrenched prejudice against honest erotic expression, but met with some surprising open-mindedness and support as well. Obama’s victory has shown that focus, smart organization and the conviction we’re doing the right thing will eventually lead to a wider acceptance of all varieties of sexuality. It will happen. Well, I’ll get off my soapbox now and go write a story for the cause ;-)


***


Donna George Storey wants to change the world one dirty story at a time. Her erotic fiction has been published in over eighty journals and anthologies including Clean Sheets, The Erotic Woman, X: The Erotic Treasury, Best American Erotica 2006, and several volumes of Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica and Best Women’s Erotica. Her steamy novel Amorous Woman (Neon/Orion) was released in the UK in 2007 and the US in 2008. She currently writes a column “Cooking up a Storey” for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association about her favorite topics— delicious sex, well-crafted food, and mind-blowing writing and will be starting up another column there on the joys and challenges of book promotion in February 2009. Read more of her work at her website and check out her provocative book trailer.




Many, many thanks Donna! Next week, I'll be joined by the consummate Craig Sorensen.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

We have ways of making you talk ...





I'm learning shorthand, which is fascinating and kind of beautiful, so that I can avoid the long silent gaps during interviews when I struggle to scrawl notes, forget what I wanted to ask next, and generally feel like the most hopelessly inept interviewer on earth.

I find the interview process completely daunting (when I'm grilling a stranger for information, that is. Writing that touches has been a thoroughly delicious experience.)

Readers, (and writers) I'd love your input. Do you have tips on how to interview people? How can I get someone to wax expressively on a subject? When I'm researching something, how do I get past the pat answers and get people to share the stories that matter?

All help gratefully received!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mus



I'm very excited. About to move to the country. After far too many long years in the city.

But - I'm worried about our wee mouses. I've got a soft spot for the little bastards. Will the new owners look after them? What if they put down poison? And will removal men chase and capture mice so we can take them with us? They got wise to the humane traps a long time ago ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

gifts

I am impatient. I am waiting for something and I don't know what. Killing time. Sucking on a wet cloth, opening my mouth but nothing comes out.

There's something I forgot to say, or shouldn't have said, or didn't have the courage to state plainly.

At times like this, when the words are just piling up in my head but not making it to my fingers, I'm so grateful to get gifts. Tea and cigarettes from my mother. A postcard from an old friend.

Alison Tyler's wonderful new book Never Have The Same Sex Twice.



This book is a gift, without a doubt. Woven throughout with fabulous stories, snippets and scenes from favourite writers, each chapter explores ways to keep the sex fresh in a monogamous relationship. Alison 'wanted to write a guide that would turn people on while they were reading'. And it does. There are layers of sex and love and ideas here, some sweet, some shocking and some playful.

A good gift, I think, reminds you of what you have as well as sparking your dreams of what is possible. With contributions from - oh boy, so many great erotica writers, plus Alison's own sassy, sexy writing, I'm sooooo looking forward to reading (and sharing) this one with boyf.

Thank you.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A very unerotic message

"They could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized."

- George Orwell, 1984.


I've thought long and carefully about whether to sign the 'No2ID' pledge. Mostly, because I am a terrible quivering coward, and I was scared that publicly refusing to register for an ID card might put you on a government list somewhere.

This, of course, is the start of it.

'Our government has kept us in a perpetual state of fear - kept us in a continuous stampede of patriotic fervor - with the cry of grave national emergency.'

~General Douglas MacArthur (1880 - 1964)


For the moment, we still have freedom of speech, I think. So I'm going to sign the pledge. And every time I'm struck with the fear, try to remind myself we're supposed to live in a free country.

More information here, and here.





*message ends*

Friday, November 21, 2008

Writing that touches




Madeline Moore




I'm very happy to have the lovely Madeline Moore as a guest this week, not least because I feel like hell and she cheers me up quicker than a bottle of Benylin!

So, before I start coughing all over the blog, here's Madeline with a message that sounds a bit like a Beatles song...




Why do you write?


I've been a writer since I was 12 years old. As an awkward and unattractive kid, I drank in the praise my teacher gave me for my imagination and writing ability. From that time to the present, I have pursued a career as a writer. Nowadays, if I allow much time to pass without writing fiction, my mind gets muddled with imagined scenarios that add up to a lot of nothing. So in a sense I need to write to keep my sanity. Also, since my education and experience has always been geared toward writing, it is the thing I do best and the thing I do that pays best.



Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?


In truth, it's not that I have any profundities to share with the world. I just want my voice in the mix, with all the other fiction writers' voices. My message, if I have one, is something along the lines of 'Love is all there is.'



What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?


I'm hoping the novel I'm writing now, my third erotic romance for Black Lace, will be my most successful piece. It's called Sarah's Education. I think I'm a much better novelist now than I was when I wrote my first. At least, I'm not panicking this time around (not yet, anyway.)

I wrote a short story for an antho edited by Sage Vivan and M. Christian for Thunder's Mouth Press called Amazons: Sexy Tales of Strong Women. My story is called The Bearded Lady, and it was as I was writing the first few paragraphs, succinctly describing a two ring circus circa 1950, that I realized I had the chops to write short stories. It was really exciting to suddenly know that something I'd wanted to do all my life, which was write good short fiction, was at last a reality.

I'm also very proud of the short story I have in Lust At First Bite, a Black Lace antho of vampire tales, called The Oasis at Night. I think it's sexy, imaginative and unique. And told in my voice.



Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:


My own true love, Felix Baron, inspires me all the time. He's a very disciplined and imaginative writer.

The author D.M.Thomas was my tutor at the Humber School For Writers and he said I write 'great sex without metaphor', which was something he couldn't do. Since I absolutely adored his novel, The White Hotel, I was chuffed, as you Brits say, by his comments. He was the one who inspired me to write erotica and Felix, who is also a writing tutor, is the one who taught me how to do it.

Olivia Knight recently did a post for our soon to be defunct female writers of erotica blog, Lust Bites, in which she described the ways and means to be a professional writer. She talked about conserving energy so that one can write every day, not just willy nilly, writing into the wee hours one night and then sleeping for the next few days, etc.. The post looked at writing as a career from a practical point of view that I appreciated.

I'm inspired by the fiction of erotic writers like Kristina Lloyd and Portia da Costa and, really, by most of the Lust Bites writers, past and present. I'm reading Lust At First Bite right now and each story impresses me. Maybe that's another reason why I'm so proud of my piece, The Oasis at Night. It's as good as any in the antho and the stories in that anthology are very, very good.

***



Madeline Moore lives in Toronto, Canada. Her short stories have appeared in anthologies including Confessions, Admissions of Sexual Guilt, Amazons, Sexy Tales of Strong Women, Getting Even: Revenge Stories, L is for Leather and Lust At First Bite. Her first erotic novel, Wild Card, was published by Black Lace in June, 2006. Her second Black Lace novel, an erotic romance called Amanda’s Young Men, was published in July, 2008, in the UK and will be released on March 31 in the US and Canada. Amanda's Young Men will be featured in the December, 2008 issue of Scarlet Magazine. Madeline is presently working on her third erotic romance for Black Lace, Sarah’s Education, for publication in July, 2009.



Feel free to contact the author at telltale@primus.ca

or visit her blog

and at My Space




Thanks for dropping by, Madeline! Next week I'll be interviewing the delightful Donna George Storey.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Writing through the fog

... of the latest lurgy.

I find plotting a slithery beast at the best of times, and right now with the flu monster smothering my brain, I'm feeling even thicker than usual.

So the hero and heroine are currently jumping from one plot to another while I try to work out logistics, politics, motivations and you know, the meaning of life.

Time for a refreshing meditation break, I think. Here is the lovely Patrick, who will give you advice on elevating your pelvis. {And I'm not the one who called him zen totty, aright? ; ) }

Friday, November 14, 2008

Writing that touches


Michelle M. Pillow



Oh, I'm so glad it's Friday! Here is the lovely Michelle Pillow to give us a glimpse into her supernatural, otherworldly fiction.



Why do you write?


For the same reason I became a photographer. I like to create something from nothing, to capture moments—real or fake—and immortalize them. Plus, I think the world needs fiction. Real life is always there waiting and fiction helps us escape it if even for a few hours. With fiction we can go to new worlds, discover and learn, have experiences we might not have otherwise.


Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?


When I’m writing, I love to express the full range of emotions, not only love and romance, but obsession and desperation, family and societal duty vs heart’s desire. There’s nothing better than that little jump or worry you get in your stomach when you’re hooked on a character’s life. Happily-Ever-Afters are great, but it’s the getting there that’s the fun part.


What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?


Marketing, business-wise, it’s my futuristic series – Dragon Lords (4 books) and Lords of the Var (5 books). They’ve been phenomenal sellers for me and fan favorites. I love to combine historical elements and ideas into my futuristics, giving them a realistic flavor while still bringing in otherworldly and supernatural elements.


Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:


That’s easy. My sometimes writing partner, Raven Radio co-host, Raven co-owner and BFF, author Mandy Roth. When I’m lost, she helps me focus. When I’m bitchy, she bans me from my email. When I need to rant, she rants right back knowing I don’t mean half of what I say. When I’m super-bitchy, she tells me to take a Midol and rethink in a couple days. LOL. We’re a great team and we both bring writing strengths to the table. She’s great at science and technology. I’m more of a history buff. Just by talking, we trade ideas and inspire stories to take new turns they wouldn’t have taken otherwise.


***


Michelle M Pillow, Author of All Things Romance, is a multi-published, award winning author writing in many romance fiction genres including futuristic, paranormal, historical, contemporary, fantasy and dark paranormal. She was the winner of the 2006 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, nominated for the 2007 RT Award, a Brava Novella Contest Finalist and a PAN member of RWA.

She co-hosts a weekly radio talk show, Raven Radio, which was recently mentioned in Romantic Times BOOKreviews Magazine.
Readers and Listeners can contact her through her website www.michellepillow.com.

Raven website
Author newsletter




Degrees of Passion by Michelle M. Pillow, Coming from Virgin Books November 25, 2008
Pre-order here


The second college student Sasha Matthews spotted Trevor Kingston she knew it was fate. He’s everything a girl could want—handsome, charming, rich. With student loans piling up and no clear idea what she wants to do with her future, he’s the best thing she has going. But, Mr Perfect’s fa├žade begins to crumble when she sees him photographed with another woman in the newspaper’s society pages.
Breaking up with her high society boyfriend, a distraught Sasha finds comfort in the arms of moody, hard working Kevin Merchant whose cuteness is overshadowed by his know-it-all attitude. One drunken night of passion is hardly the start of a relationship and when Trevor wants her back the choice seems clear.
In order to graduate Sasha must participate in an important internship. But, she’s paired with the very guy she’s swore never to see again. Forced to work alongside Kevin, long hours in the lab turn into tempting nights of seduction. Should she deny what’s between them and await the return of her ideal boyfriend, or will life teach her lessons this professional student never expected to learn?




Thanks a million, Michelle! More next week, when I'll be quizzing the marvellous Madeline Moore.

This week's post was brought to you by the letter 'M'.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Baby it's cold outside


Yes, it's definitely winter.


But warming me up this week: a couple of great reviews.


Kathleen Bradean, for Erotica Revealed.

"what made Hurts So Good stand out was the consistent literary quality of the contributions.

Before I finished reading the second paragraph of the lead story, I turned down the corner of the page, indicating that I planned to reread it. In “The Sound of One Hand Clapping” by Nikki Magennis, a woman finds clarity in bondage and a spanking. Exquisitely crafted, this is easily one of the best short stories I’ve read this year.

So many stories in Hurts So Good were pleasant surprises that it renewed my faith in erotica anthologies ... I’d like to see this book in the hands of as many erotica fans as possible, because it shows what erotica can aspire to."



And from Ashley Lister, for ERWA.

"
Alison Tyler knows why pain and pleasure go together so well. She knows why and she’s recruited authors to help her explain the details. Hurts So Good is her latest anthology focusing on the satisfaction that comes from submitting to powerful forces.

Nikki Magennis is an incredible storyteller who has a mystical ability with words. Her descriptions are so compact yet effective that the story comes easily to life. Like the most perfect blend of pleasure and pain, “The Sound of One Hand Clapping” is hard, punishing and beautiful in its execution.

Shanna Germain with her delightfully underplayed “Rock Paper Scissors” ... shows that – as there are two sides to pleasure and pain – there are also two aspects to dominance and submission. And both those sides can be equally rewarding.

The whole collection is a joy to read – a rare example of pleasure without the pain. However, for descriptions of how good suffering can sometimes be, this anthology is one that every aficionado of passion and punishment will want on their shelf. With twenty one sizzling stories from masters of erotic writing, Hurts So Good is a book that’s needed..."



*tickled very pink*

Friday, November 07, 2008

Writing that touches



Jeremy Edwards



Gosh, what a week! After all the delirious excitement, I'm delighted to round it off by kicking off Writing that Touches. And I'm overjoyed to have Jeremy as the first in this new series of interviews. Reading his work always brings a smile to my face.

So let's go!:

Why do you write?


Writing has always been a natural--and available--way for me to be creative. And creative expression is, in turn, my favorite productive activity--the one most important to my happiness. (N.B. I said "favorite *productive* activity." Sex doesn't count as productive--at least not if one takes certain precautions.)

I'm motivated to write by this inner urge to create, and a desire to (hopefully) make something original that I'm proud of, and that I myself can enjoy. But I admit that I'm also motivated by external factors--an audience for my work, opportunities for publication, etc. I'm a bit of an extrovert, and I definitely get a thrill from having my writing out there dancing in front of strangers.

My specific creative goals in writing usually boil down to (1) trying to be comically witty, or (2) (most often, these days) trying to be artistically arousing. Engaging other people's erotico-literary appetites is a challenge I relish.



Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?


For me, writing erotica is largely about celebrating the sexuality of intelligent, charismatic, compassionate, sensuous, laughter-loving women. That's what appeals to me as a person, and that's what shows up time and again in my erotic imagination. And my goal is to make literary love to such characters (often, though not always, with the assistance of a sensitive-male character who appreciates the things I appreciate, but who is slightly taller and can hold his liquor better) using evocative, seductive language. I love words, and I love using them to arouse, to convey the details and the flavors of the sexual scenarios in my head--hopefully in fresh ways.

I'm also specifically looking to create scenarios that are joyous. I want to entangle myself in the web of relationships among beauty, pleasure, desire, laughter, camaraderie, love, and fun. Dining, drinking, and dancing. Table tennis and shuffleboard and volleyball. (Sorry, I seem to have gotten off track here. But the cruise was lovely, and you must come over and see the slides some evening.)


What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?


I could probably answer that in a couple of different ways, according to what type of "success" I focused on. But in one sense that comes to mind, I think a story of mine called "Slightly Ajar" might be what I'd consider my most successful. Readers who follow my exploits will know that I sometimes explore a kinky fascination with women who indulge in erotic forms of, um, peeing. "Slightly Ajar" (which originally appeared in F is for Fetish and is appearing again in the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 8) is perhaps the story in which I most extensively depict the psychology behind that fascination, as the protagonist couple awaken to it together. I hope that the piece succeeds in giving a vivid literary picture of the erotic obsession it seeks to celebrate.


Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:


The other day on your blog, you encouraged us to name favorite songs. I linked to K. D. Lang's "Sexuality," and in so doing I listened to the song for the first time in a while. I'd forgotten quite how powerfully, life-affirmingly, sweetly and hungrily and passionately erotic the track is--it's infused with such raw sexual oomph! I definitely felt sexier after that.

***



Jeremy Edwards is a pseudonymous, libidinous fellow whose work appears in many anthologies offered by Cleis Press, Phaze Books, and Xcite Books; and online at Clean Sheets, Oysters & Chocolate, Ruthie's Club, The Erotic Woman, and other venues. He can be found periodically in periodicals, and, as regularly as the sun sets, in bed with his wife (so try there first). You can also drop in on him unannounced (and thereby catch him in his underwear) at http://jerotic.blogspot.com . Jeremy's greatest goal in life is to be sexy and witty at the same moment--ideally in lighting that flatters his profile.



Profuse thanks, Jeremy! Join me next week, when I'll be interviewing the lovely Michelle Pillow.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The New Rakes - a teaser






WARNING: The following content is explicit and to be read by adults only.

So, now we're all sitting comfortably, let the excerpt begin:

Kara felt the champagne haze wash over her, bubbles dancing through her bloodstream and making her pleasantly dizzy. There was a low-level buzz of anticipation in the air between them. This time, though, she had a better idea of what to expect. There would be no coy uncertainty; Kara knew an encounter with Mike would be highly charged and unsettling. And she knew that she liked it.
‘I want to know everything,’ Mike said at last. ‘What turns you on, what you dream of late at night, when you’re alone in your bed with your hand jammed between your legs. I want to know the pictures that you see in your head and exactly how you feel when you’re horny.’
His voice was low but clear, and Kara huddled automatically closer, looking about warily to see who was sitting near them. It was as though she was sitting in the Waltzers and someone had just spun the seats round – she felt the delicious spark and the nervous lurch, her surroundings blurred so that she had to focus on Mike and Mike alone, as though anything else would send her spinning off into space. Her mouth opened but she didn’t know what to say.
‘This isn’t going to be some swift and sordid affair, Kara. I’m not interested in knee tremblers in the back of a car, even if it is hard to resist the urge. I said I wanted to fuck you thoroughly, and I mean it. That means I want to know you. Your body and your fantasies through and through.’
He leaned forward. ‘Am I shocking you?’
Kara bit her lip. ‘A little.’
‘Good. I like it that you’re shockable.’
‘And what about your tastes and fantasies and yada yada yada? What do you want?’ she asked.
‘I should have thought that was obvious.’ Mike took a cigarette from his breast pocket and twisted it between his fingers. He smiled. ‘I want to drive you mad with desire, of course. But first I want to find out which buttons to push.’
Kara laughed. ‘So what, I should write you a laundry list?’
Mike said nothing, twirling the cigarette between his knuckles.
‘Are you going to smoke that thing, or are you practising for the majorettes?’
‘I gave up.’
‘So why do you have one in your pocket?’
Mike gave her a thin smile.
‘Like I was trying to show you, Kara, anticipation is more than half the pleasure. If you knew that I’d booked a room here, for example, with the serious intent of taking you upstairs later and fucking you, you’d start to feel a little ... heated.’
Kara swallowed. ‘And have you?’
‘Maybe. But tell me, if I had – what would you imagine?’
‘Uh, you ripping my skirt off and fucking me senseless?’
‘Bullshit.’ Mike shifted in his seat and frowned. ‘Would I be slow and deliberate? Would I be rough? Would I kiss you before I stripped you?’
‘There are people ... ’ Kara looked urgently over Mike’s shoulder, to where a table of businessmen sat idly chatting.
‘I’m not interested in them. Start here. Start half an hour from now.’
‘I’ll be half cut by then.’
‘You’re sitting in your seat.’
Kara inhaled. ‘Okay. I’m sitting in my seat.’
‘Your breasts feel tight. Your nipples are hard. You know what we’re about to do.’
Kara swallowed. The thought of admitting her fantasies to Mike was like standing on the edge of a shark-infested sea, wondering whether they’d bite, and how hard.
She shut her eyes, took a deep breath and jumped. 


Want more? Read the whole first chapter.
- and if you haven't seen the wee film trailer for The New Rakes - here it is!





THE NEW RAKES - out now on Amazon UK (with free shipping!)

And available for preorder on at Amazon.com

Good luck, America

Yes, you can!



I've got my fingers crossed here. (But no, I'm not putting up a brighter photo. It's first thing in the morning and I look like a fat Salman Rushdie (all due respect.))

So much happening this week I don't know where to start!

Tomorrow, not only may there be a new era in world politics, but also, I'll be posting an excerpt from 'The New Rakes' to tie in with the lust bites post. And there will be fireworks too! Vive la revolution!

Soon after, I'll be launching a new series of mini-interviews: Writing that touches, in which I ask various fabulous erotically inclined writers some short, but deeply satisfying questions.

Writing that touches will be kicking off with the superlative Jeremy Edwards.

Join me on Friday to hear what the man in the fedora has to say about sex, joy and shuffleboard!



Nikki - tired, but optimistic x