Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Ruffle my truffle

Welcome, friends and fellow feasters! I know you’ve travelled far.

Alas, we’re nearing the end of our progressive blog-feast. I hope everyone is suitably sated, sticky-fingered and ready to pop their buttons … although for the last course we aren’t going to need any buttons.

Please join me in the great hall of Comeagain castle, where the kind serfs have laid a roaring fire and piled pillows and sheepskin rugs over the flagstones. Yes, it’s cold outside, but I’m sure if we snuggle up close we’ll be all right.

Gents, you’ll find a kilt in culturally-appropriate tartan waiting for you in your room. Please respect local traditions by complying with the usual rule about underwear. Ladies, there are thick lambs wool blankets to wrap yourselves in. If the blankets tickle, please ask a serf to assist you with scratching your itch.

Ah, here’s the coffee. A good, strong Arabica roast. You’ll find a little dram helps to warm the parts other drinks can’t reach – either a sharp, smoky Islay malt or a smooth, honey-flavoured Balvenie from Speyside (my personal favourite)- at least 15 years old.Who’d like a dash of something inspiring in their coffee? How about a bit of poetry?

"I carefully arrange a chain of nips
in a big fairy ring; in each square glass
the tincture of a failed geography,
its dwindled burns and woodlands, whin fires, heather,
the sklent of its wind and salty rain,
the love-worn habits of its working-folk,
the waveform of their speech, and by extension
how they sing, make love, or take a joke."

From 'A private bottling', Don Paterson, God's Gift to Women

After such a vivid, sensually-drenched tour with our moveable feast, we’re going to take a little time to mellow and absorb. There’s a guitar, a harmonica, a penny whistle in the corner if anyone feels like honouring us with a song. There is no entertainment – other than ourselves. I can’t think of anything I’d like more than to spend an evening chatting with the assembled erotica clan!

As the sky is ivory black outside and the wind buffers in the chimney, it’s time to unwind and share stories.

What does the future hold for erotica? What would you like to see happen, in the genre itself and in your own work? Look into the flames and tell me what you see …

While you muse, please take a dish and help yourself to handmade truffles and some quirky little petits fours. One last little taste, bittersweet and delectable, to round off the meal.

Beware, these sweets are easy to make, but terribly messy!

Bite my cherry truffles

Fresh double cream
Chocolate – dark, good quality, finely chopped.
Cherry Brandy
Cocoa powder, to dust

Bring the cream to the boil in a pan. Add the chocolate and stir until dissolved. Scoop into a bowl and add the brandy, stirring well. Chill until quite firm. Dust your palms with cocoa powder and take little pinches of truffle mixture and roll into balls.

Sweet juicy shocks

I don’t know if this is a recipe, to be honest. Or if this is really ‘crystallising’. Anyway, I had these once at the end of a stunning meal and loved them – little brittle-shelled, bursting fruity mouthfuls that look gorgeous.

physallis/cape gooseberries/Chinese lanterns
Caster sugar

2 parts sugar to 1 part water. Bring to the boil in a pan. Pull back the papery leaves of the physallis and dip and roll in the hot sugar mix. Leave to cool on a plate.

Traditionally, petits fours (literally ‘little ovens’) were tiny cakes put in the baker’s oven at the end of the day so as not to waste the last of the heat. Often exquisitely decorated little delicacies made from sponge and marzipan, or choux pastry boats and fruit. I truly think that a good patisserie is the best place to find these. But we’re in the wilds of the Highlands*! Not a French baker in sight!

Luckily, I have a bag of marshmallows and skewers for toasting. As the guitar lulls us into the night and the sound of our voices drifts like wood smoke across the ancient stones of the hall, grab a gooey, sticky mallow and – be careful! – don’t burn your lips … let it melt on your tongue.

Lastly, please join me in another toast – this one for the inspirational and awe-inspiring Donna and Kirsten, who dreamed up this whole fabulous feast. Thank you both, it’s been a truly delicious adventure!

Dear guests, feel free to stay here by the fire all night, talking of life and lust and the future. If you’ve found something under the sheepskin rugs that you’d like to explore further, there are rooms upstairs with four-poster beds. But you may want someone to hold your hand, as it’s said these halls are haunted …

*(Okay, Dumfries. Do you need to see my poetic license, officer?)


Emerald said...

"I can’t think of anything I’d like more than to spend an evening chatting with the assembled erotica clan!"

Oh, how delightful! What a beautiful way to spend the last course. :)

I am practically swooning over that gorgeous first picture. A castle! What a fantastic setting -- I love it!

And these truffles look just delectable.

That's a really thought-provoking question you ask, and while I will give a first impression response here, I have a feeling I will take the opportunity to ponder and return later. But it struck me just now that one of the things I would like is for erotica to become simply a less marginalized thing and come to blend in with literature in general. I guess that may be threatening to our genre and thus our work somehow, but what I really mean by it is that it somewhat seems to me that erotica may be so much its own genre because society has a tendency to try to separate sex from the rest of life. So the reason I would like to see erotica simply merge with literature is because it would seem more a reflection of the actual merging of sex and life -- or really, they don't even need to merge, because they aren't and never were separate. I feel like I would like for literature (art, entertainment, etc.) to reflect the holistic nature of life in general, and sex is certainly included in this.

Like I said, that is just the response that strikes me without pondering the question yet at length, so I will go do that and be back later. :) Thank you Nikki! This all looks so gorgeous!!

Nikki Magennis said...

Emerald, honoured first guest! Thank you.

I wonder about that splitting of sex from life. I wonder how much of it is because of fear. I can understand sex being, in a kind of a way, something sacred and somehow removed a little from the quotidian - but is that related to suppression and coyness? I don't know the answers, I'm just thinking!

I read recently that biologists still can't work out the reason animals have sex. It's a very inefficient way to reproduce, apparently. But then, they probably can't explain truffles either. ; )

Craig Sorensen said...

I knew that if anyone would beat me to be first at the Nikki's party, it would be the lovely Emerald.

Nikki, your treats are perfect. Bitter and sweet and rich, and washed down with some exceptional coffee with a nice double shot of the Islay Malt Whiskey.

I've proudly donned my kilt (clan Macgregor, and yes, I have the legs for it) and I've brought a volume of one of my favorite poets of all time, Robbie Burns.

I'm not a gifted public performer, but I'll strap on the guitar and play my interpretation of the winds over the highlands. Won't you join me?

The setting is perfect to close out this feast. I could become lost in it.

And I love your topic. It is something I feel very passionate about. I'm with Emerald in that I wish erotica to become more acceptable. But, in a sense, I do not want it to become too mainstream.

I hope that erotica can maintain its edge, that it can be a bit beyond the comfort level of the everyman/everywoman. But I hope that in increasing numbers, everyman and everywoman will be tempted by the power and sensuality of erotica.

I want to explore new places as a writer, always challenge limits with the emotional depth that separates erotica from porn.

Nikki, you are a lovely hostess. What a terrific way to bring this exceptional feast to its close.

Nikki Magennis said...

Craig, I hoped you might bring your guitar! And I wish I knew how to *wolf-whistle* at the legs!

Acceptable but not too mainstream ... I think I understand what you mean. Maybe there's space for both kinds, though? Maybe sometime what will be more important than the fact of the sex in the writing will be the how and what and why?

I realise I forgot to answer my own bloody question, too!

What I hope for the future in my own work is to learn more.

Slainte, Craig, I'm so glad you're here!

Craig Sorensen said...

Ay, Nikki!

Space for both. Very well said.

And I certainly chime in with a hear, hear for the notion that the sex become a natural part of stories when appropriate.

The edge should not be the sex itself, but the exploration of motivations and emotions behind it. Erotica explores a powerful part of the human existence.

More general acceptance calls upon some maturity from society, an easing of cultural mores. I hope, and believe, that this change is coming.

Nikki Magennis said...

The Guardian carried a recent article about an anthology of erotic stories by 'mainstream' writers. (some of the comments are also interesting.)

Craig Sorensen said...

Excellent article. Very telling.

One comment that caught my eye was:

What we have here is the unfortunate normalization of hedonism. What our forebears used to call an unhealthy obsession with sex is now promoted as normal and those who criticize it are written off as prudes. Thus, extreme hedonists are seen as liberated people. The ancients knew that this was a fiction, and that pleasure may enslave as well as liberate.

Very telling about the underlying attitudes. The implication is that creatively exploring sex freely somehow places shackles on society's hands.

It is roughly equivalent to saying that alcohol is evil. No, he who drinks to the detriment of himself and others needs to refrain.

Closing off sexuality does not make it pure. In fact, it does the opposite. The grand experiment of Prohibition in the U.S. showed how effective legislating pleasure can be.

Alas, I will have to leave the party to go to my nine to five job, where they have a strict prohibition about using our internet connection for personal endeavors.

I look forward to stopping by when I can.

Nikki Magennis said...

Aw Craig, don't go! Call in sick! This is fascinating!

I find Hedonism quite interesting, and I s'pose it's appropriate for a sensual feast, eh?!

One thing that jars - the assumption that erotica is solely about pleasure. That's a pretty limited view.

Also, the idea that people involved in erotica are 24 hour fuck-a-holics.

I can't speak for the rest of you, but I'm certainly not obsessed! Look, I had time to make truffles!

: )

Craig Sorensen said...

If I wasn't already taking Friday off, I'd call in sick right now.

But I do come home at lunch time, and I will be checking in then.

It's very telling of many in our society how narrow their view of sex is. That is what "makes it dirty."

There is a joke of about a psychiatrist who shows ink blots to a patient. What do you see?

He turns card after card over, the patient says "sex" to each one.

The psychiatrist says, "you're obsessed with sex."

The patient says, "me? You're the one with all the dirty pictures."

(excerpted loosely from one of my favorite movies, "What About Bob.")

Erobintica said...

Castles! Poetry! Truffles! Kilts!


Think I'll just recline over here by the fire. I'm feeling a bit faint after looking for pictures of men in kilts for my blog to link here.

It's such hard work. ;-)

back soon (or maybe not, there's a lot of kilt pix to look through)

Nikki Magennis said...

You know, I think it's a shame the kilt isn't worn more widely. It's a wonderfully useful piece of clothing.

Stop snickering, I am being *serious*!

Really, it's warm and well ventilated and shows off the pins beautifully. And the sporran is really the precursor of the manbag - totally indispensible!

And it's only the tiniest slip from kilt to ... klit.

Erobintica said...

Ah, done. Found a pic of Liam in a kilt for Sommer (he was on her list yesterday, hahaha).

Well, I have to go have breakfast for real. I will be back later with some truffle-induced musings.

*watches Craig's legs wander off to work - what a shame*

Nikki Magennis said...

Ooh, I shall have to go and check to see Liam's put it on correctly. You know, got everything in the right place and so on ... excuse me!

(I LOVE working in this dressing room!)

Kirsten Monroe said...

Oh Nikki,

Can I just roll around in your Very Intense Truffle heaven for days?

You know I think food, cooking, etc. is very sexy. Well, the photo of that heart truffle in the palm of a chocolate covered hand....well I'm pretty sure I just gizzed in my pants. And with roaring fires and kilts and haunted castles and sweet juicy shocks!!!

As for your question....I would like to be able to tell people, "I write erotica!!!!!" in a very, very loud, excited voice and have them reply "Cool!!!!" without any hesitation and matching enthusiasm and no squirming or looking at their toes. My hope is that our words will continue to pick away at puritanical culture. I took a quick peek at the article link and I really like this: "Women and men were becoming increasingly vocal about their anger at the way sexuality - still mainly female - had been co-opted by commerce, with the values of the market turning the act itself into a competitive sport." Yes! We are the real deal, living, breathing human beings, all raw and filthy and sweet and frightening and powerful and sexy. All on our own. We're not a marketing campaign or a moral code or somebody else's vision of how sex sells. We are, I hope, the real deal. One day, perhaps, more people will understand that and appreciate it and enjoy it and lap it up and talk about it without any shame whatsoever.

(licks hand again)

This castle is absolutely incredible and I'm tingling at the thought of haunted places.

Thank you Nikki! I'm lucky enough to be a telecommuter, so my castles in the sky are never too far away. See you here later. Off to dream by the fire.

Spamword: craileho -- sounds highlandish!!

Jeremy Edwards said...

I'm so glad to be here, Nikki! But I'm having a little trouble changing clothes—I'm new at this kilt stuff, you see, and I'm not sure how I'm supposed to get the sporran over my physallis. Back as soon as I have everything sorted out!

Neve Black said...

Good Morning Nikki,
What a great way to end our feast. A beautiful and majestic castle with flagstone floors, a roaring fire, and great literary company, to include poetry! Oooh, the lamb's wool blanket is perfect and snuggly. Mmmm...the spiked coffee is glorious and look at those gorgeous petite fours! It's all so perfect and lovely. BTW: I'm using the word lovely more now that I've met you, Nikki. :-)

Hmmm...interesting topic. One of the reasons I enjoy the genre of erotica is knowing I have license to cross over into boundaries that other forms of literature still think is taboo. To me boundary crossing means delving further into a character's psychology make-up. I do like to scratch the under-belly of society, because I think that's where things that are real begin. People are made up of lots and lots of layers. Once layers are removed, you find little gems and souvenirs about a person (character) that I hope a reader will identify with, deep below all those layers.

First and foremost, I hope to continue to write, forever. I also hope to create pieces that resonate with readers - broadening their aesethetic about not only themselves, but also the world.

Thank you for inviting me. If it's okay with you, I'm going to sit here for awile and just listen to what others have to say.

Spam word: restie. Coincidink? I don't think so. :-)

Erobintica said...

Hahaha. Jeremy, I'm sure Nikki would be happy to help.

Oh, Nikki - I added a line about snuffling for truffles.

Mind if I lick the truffle bowl? I love that you made them into heart shapes. So many people think of those overdressed fancy candy truffles, but I've always preferred the wild & earthy looking ones rolled in cocoa.

Okay. Erotica.

I'm still a relative virgin at this (figuratively speaking) and have been pondering the whole societal thing as I begin the intimacies of writing in a way that is real. Sex is never neat. Not in real life.

I liked what Kirsten had to say about wanting to say "I write erotica" - I'm still at the just telling a few people stage - figure if I'm any good at it and actually start getting stuff published, I'll feel better about telling folks. But...

somewhere (can't remember where right now) I was reading something on the whole erotica/porn debate and I know that some of my friends would consider (if and when they ever read any of it - haha) what I'm writing as porn. I know that when I decided to finally take the plunge I had to have given up caring about what/any difference there is.

Besides, everyone has different tastes.

Well, I know I can ponder this some more, but I have to go shovel my driveway.

Erobintica said...

I tried to get the html to work for this link but I guess it's still too early - time to whip out the scissors and cut and paste.

okay, now I go shovel. Then come back and warm up by the fire.

Smut Girl said...

Oh, yay! It is fabulous. Few things are sexier to me than someone in the kitchen. Kneading, dusting, basting. Hands covered in flour or sugar or syrups. Truly. I think that's why so much of my pron takes place in the kitchen!

I love the fire place and a castle is my dream. Poetry makes my knees weak and fires prime the pump for me to run my mouth. Let's see. The fire place tells me...nothing. I think it's so much up in the air. Erotica has become more mainstream, but to a degree commercialized. And then there are the ones who scoff at it, shun it, and speak out about it even MORE as it becomes more accepted. Because erotica is all relative. I've read "mainstream" writers' work that I would slap the EROTICA sticker on and 'erotica' that I would put a Romance sticker on. It's so swirly and messy but nice and fun too. It basically comes down to pigeonholing work and writers. I think a lot of my stuff would never get labeled as "erotica" if I didn't say that is my genre.

Does that make sense to anyone who is not me?

I see a lot of women who write 'smut' as themselves and it's labeled "Hot Romance" (or some of them SCORCHING). Which makes me think the fire is telling me at some time in the near future, I'll just start writing as me and let the chips fall where they may.

My kids are older now and very mature. I see people like Donna and Craig and a few others and think I could and probably should. Maybe that is what the flames are whispering. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Sorry. I rambled. But I would like another cherry thingy please.

That is the only way to shut me up. If my mouth is full. Please do read that in whatever context you like.
Thx Nikki for the sweets! And to DGS and KM for planning. Off to the doctor. Maybe one more cherry truffle for the road. Okay...two. How many do you supposed would fit in my pockets?

Nikki Magennis said...

Candy truffles? What the fuck are they? Have I done it wrong?! Oh god, Donna's going to kill me!

Nikki Magennis said...

Sommer - I think I understand, yes. Sometimes I just tell people I write 'romance', sometimes I just say 'fiction', and sometimes I say 'porn'.

As for the pseudonym thing, I think I'd keep that no matter what I wrote. I like having a Cloak of Anonymity! (It's a bit like a kilt, but easier to wear).

I'm going to have to leave you lovely people chatting for a while as I have a surprise guest - I'll be back soon, and I'll bring more cherry truffles!

Nikki Magennis said...

- quickie - Erobintica, love the utili-kilts! Gorgeous.

EllaRegina said...

Finally, serfs to scratch my itch! Just what I've dreamed of.

And truffles!

I brought small hand mirrors so I could discreetly check out what lies (hangs?) beneath a kilt, but given that the two kilted men are my friends, I think I better put the mirrors away. Unless directed otherwise, of course. ;-)

I hate the pigeon-holing of erotica writers, hate that the genre is viewed by many to be "less than" "real" writing, or that it's porn and so on. I write what I write and so be it. My hope is to create stories that are not easily categorized -- no label to be slapped on. I just want readers to recognize my voice and be interested in what I have to say.

May I have a truffle and a gooey shock, please?

What is caster sugar? I've never heard of it.

Thank you for this delicious and atmospheric offering, Nikki, and thanks to Donna and Kirsten for brainstorming this moveable feast.

Kirsten Monroe said...

I went to a run last summer in Idaho. The theme was "run your kilt off." The kilt boys were sliding down snowbanks in their *lovely* outfits and I saw firsthand that it's true. There's nothing on under there, even on this side of the pond!!

Robin, I'm with you. I don't care what people call it. When a story pops into my head, I never analyze what it is exactly. It's all just magic of the mind and creativity and expression.

There will always be both the pious naysayers and commercialism mucking up the works, but those things come into play in most truly artistic endeavors. At the heart of it all, I hope, is art and rebellion and exploration. "Twelve highlanders and a bagpipe make a rebellion!"

These truffles are just so delicious. Nikki, of course you didn't do them wrong. There are all sorts of truffles! I think Robin meant candy truffles as in those little froofy kind coated in a hard chocolate candy covering. Yours are absolutely perfect.

Erobintica said...

Candy truffles? What the fuck are they? Have I done it wrong?! Oh god, Donna's going to kill me!

Those are the kind that look real pretty, but taste like not much of anything.

I am all shoveled - bring on the serfs! We'll keep them busy while you're occupied.

Do like these pysallis in a hard shell - biting through to the soft sweet insides..... I grew these the other year but never candied them - I will have to add these to my erotic vegetable garden this summer.

Jeremy Edwards said...

May I borrow your mirror, ER? The room that Nikki assigned to me and Helia (who isn't here yet), although otherwise beautifully appointed, has no looking glass—and so I'm still not sure I have this kilt on right. (It's supposed to be worn like an apron, correct? You'll notice I'm standing with my back to the fire.)

Erotica: I'd like to see the genre's acceptance grow to the point where people don't dismiss it as beyond the pale of respectable literature, or as being presumed devoid of the quality and richness that any art form is capable of embodying. I don't have a problem with things being loosely (and flexibly) categorized, so that there's a general understanding of where something falls on the map of art, without forcing overly narrow expectations on the audience or overly narrow constraints on the creator. I find categories useful: this museum has landscape paintings, that's a swing record, my friend collects patio furniture ... But the problem lies in a literary "genre" being construed as a sort of ghetto, or as something so predictable in its essentials that every specimen is deemed, sight unseen, to be just like every other. I'd like people to recognize erotica as a category of literature—a loose category, not a watertight box that leaves no room for grey areas, cross-genre straddling, etc.—that has some basic recognizable criteria (just like the category "landscape painting") but which is understood to encompass an infinite scope regarding style, technique, ideas, mood, story content, literary sensibilities, etc.

Mmmm ... I'm so warm and cozy, Nikki (despite the breezy attire). Coffee laced with liquor is the best of both worlds—I'm ready to stay up all night being energetically mellow!

Thank you Nikki! Donna! Kirsten!

Anonymous said...

Nikki-- what a wonderful final destination; truffles, candied fruit and men in kilts. The ambience couldn't be more perfect with a roaring fire, poetry, music and above all conversation. Fantastic!!!

EllaRegina--caster sugar is sold here in the states under the term "superfine" sugar. You can find it in the baking aisle of your local grocery store.

:) DeDe

Shanna Germain said...

Ok ok ok...

Oh. my. god.

I'm coming to your house Nikki. Right now. Here I am, banging on the door, my mouth open wide like a little bird. "Feed me, feed me!"

What I want for erotica? I want the world to see erotica the way Susie Bright talks about it in the first part of this video:

More chocolate castles... er finely-covered fingers... er ... just more yummies please!


Kirsten Monroe said...

Thanks for that link Shanna. Susie says it perfectly. I'll raise my liquored mug and offer a truffle drunk toast to authenticity, rebellion, and freedom!

Jeremy, I think you might have your kilt tucked in your manties. Not supposed to have anything on under there you know. I like what you said about "cross-genre straddling." Anything with straddling in it sounds like a good idea to me....and I believe that living within the confines of boxes is silly when it comes to any form of expression, whether it's writing, music, art, architecture, sex itself, or truffle making!

Yes, more, more. So happy.

EllaRegina said...

I like what Jeremy said, and said so eloquently. (Of course you can borrow my mirror, J. Uh, I think you have that thing on backwards, btw.)

Thanks, Paint & Pen. Superfine!

Erobintica said...

Watching that Susie Bright video yesterday - "elemental" is a word that struck me - sex is so elemental, to ignore it seems, well, fucked-up.

While I was out shoveling snow I was thinking about this - and realized that I'm still trying to find my voice as a writer of erotica/whateverthehellyouwanttocallit - and THAT voice will be different from my other voices - the ones that write poetry or essays or emails or shopping lists.

I like how there are so many different styles and voices and visions out there. And I've really liked this blog feast. Yeah, the food and scenery has been delicious and delightful, but it's been the engrossing conversations that have got me feeling all energized. Glad I quit listening to the little voices that said "good girls don't.."

Donna said...

Ah, Nikki, it is SO nice to be back in Scotland! My husband and I visited in 1989 and stayed in as many castle hotels as we could manage, but none is as grand, yet warm with fine company as Comeagain-andagain.

My husband is of Scottish descent and he does have a fine pair of legs--it is lovely to look around and admire the scenery. I love the way the cloth and the sporran both sway with movement (anyone up for Highland dancing?)

And the truffles, perfect. I love cherry brandy and if you need to mix up another batch, I'd love to get my hands dirty so I--and any other interested party--could help me "clean up." I hope it's okay if I take my Balvenie neat--who knew they went so well with marshmallows, the perfect inter-continental treat for our gathering.

This is truly the PERFECT ending to an amazing feast. I echo every wish already spoken about the future of erotica, but, as I lounge here so deeply contented and admiring of the creativity, humor, passion and incredible talent and courage of everyone here, I can't help but feel hopeful.

Not that I have done my share of complaining. I've had booksellers tell me to my face "we don't sell erotica here." I hope some day I can craft a fitting response under such circumstances, but the real response for all of us is to keep celebrating what we do, never give up our insistence on truth and complexity and poetry.

I like Craig's observation which doubles as a definition of erotica vs. porn: ...the edge should not be sex itself but the exploration of the motivations and emotions behind it. I've blathered on about this topic a lot, but here, both soothed by the Balvenie and jazzed on the truffles, it just seems to me that the only difference is the sensibility of the writer. No matter how "out there" or vanilla the sex, no matter if every other word is "obscene," if the writer gives us deeper insight into the human spirit, then it's erotica. And I know that when I read it :-).

The future is as bright and warm as this lovely fire as long as you all keep doing what you're doing!

Now, did I hear a call for more truffles--anyone like to join me some truffle rolling? (No vats of pudding allowed in Castle Comeagain, I'm afraid.)

Donna said...

Listen to this voice, ERobintica--

Yes, we do, we do, we do....

Donna said...

Me again. I just realized I used the Irish spelling for "whisky." Now my husband is going to kill me!

Kirsten Monroe said...

Donna said: "No matter how "out there" or vanilla the sex, no matter if every other word is "obscene," if the writer gives us deeper insight into the human spirit, then it's erotica. And I know that when I read it :-)."

I love you Donna!!!

Marina said...

Hi Nikki and all - I'm late to the party, and can't stay long - again! The setting is spectacular - the castle, the roaring fire, the coffee and the truffles - so very warm and cozy!

I, too, like what Jeremy said: "I'd like people to recognize erotica as a category of literature—a loose category, not a watertight box that leaves no room for grey areas, cross-genre straddling, etc.—" After all, variety is the spice of life, adds spice to sex, and fuels our imaginations. And, like Alison T says, "There's a reader for every story."

For erotica to continue to gain more mainstream acceptance, I think it is our goal - perhaps our obligation - to show a range of styles and content, to entice readers of all sorts to find something in the genre that speaks to them. We're generally a very repressed society, especially in the states. More freedom of expression and more acceptance and understanding of human sexuality is the key. If we, as writers, can open some doors for some people, I think that is great!

I'm with ERobintica as far as being a relative virgin, figuratively speaking. I've learned so much just from listing to all of you - this is far better than any seminar or convention. I'm not at the stage yet where my writing interests are accepted in my "real" world, so I don't yet have the courage to be very public about it. Nikki, I truly understand that "cloak of anonymity." It's more like a big security blankie for me! There are days I feel badly about that, but it's just where I am at this point.

And, the writing itself continues to be a challenge. I write stories. Some are smuttier than others. It depends on my mood and it depends on the needs of the characters and the plot. Some stories would qualify as erotica, some as porn, some as romance, depending on how you define those words. How much does it matter, as long as it speaks to the reader? A good story's a good story, eh?

OK - I'm babbling again! Sorry to ramble on. I'll go grab one more cup of coffee and a truffle before I've got to get back to work. Thanks so much, Nikki - and everybody!

Nikki Magennis said...

you're all amazing!

Jeremy, yes, absolutely, I completely agree about labels. Cause they are useful to an extent. I vote you for King of the Smutters, okay?!

PaintnPen - Superfine! Yah! Thank you!

Shanna - yes you fuckin are! xx

Donna - comeagain! You're very welcome anytime, and you're free to take your whisky with an extra 'e' if you feel like it! ; )

Kirsten - I have some highlanders ready and waiting here, just say the word, milady! I'm right behind you!

And Marina - really, there is no earthly reason to feel badly about having a fake name. Honestly. I have great respect for those wonderful writers who write under their given names, and ... everyone has different reasons and reasoning, and a rose is a rose is a rose. At the end of the day it's what you write that matters.

And I've had rather a lot of Balvenie, I think. Better go and whip some of these serfs into shape. I hope they've been looking after you all well?

It's so cool to have you all here! Let's have a proper smut conference!



Isabel Kerr said...

Writing from the best little Scottish city in Italy, where we often enjoy men in kilts, I am overwhelmed with this feast, these guests, and look forward to the day when erotica is taken as seriously as the writing that you all produce. When the sex enhances the plot and thereby we openly explore our sexuality and come to know it and ourselves.

Nikki, Kirsten, Donna, Craig, Jeremy, Helia, Neve, Emerald, Shanna, Sommer, this has been sensational...


Donna said...

Not that I ever want this to end, but I know the night is wearing on over near GMT.

It has been such a pleasure to meet new people like ERobin, Marina and Isabel, and I agree that it's better than any writing seminar I've ever taken. Although that's not to say a smut conference wouldn't be fabulous! Especially if we had some of these truffles to hand around.

Again I am so amazed and enchanted by the wonderful feasts you've all hosted, each a perfect expression of your talents and magic. Kirsten, my special thanks to you for your mouthwatering blog posts that have been making me fantasize about dinner at your place for a very long time now. How lovely my dream finally came true!

Nikki, your serfs have been most satisfactory, especially this brawny lad who's clearly been trained in massage....

Nikki Magennis said...

Ciao, Isabel!

And Donna, you know you can take that one home with you! You want a doggy bag?

Again, thanks to you and Kirsten. I can't wait for the cookery book!

Emerald said...

"I knew that if anyone would beat me to be first at the Nikki's party, it would be the lovely Emerald."

Ha -- that's funny Craig, I thought the same thing about you! :)

"Erotica: I'd like to see the genre's acceptance grow to the point where people don't dismiss it as beyond the pale of respectable literature, or as being presumed devoid of the quality and richness that any art form is capable of embodying. I don't have a problem with things being loosely (and flexibly) categorized, so that there's a general understanding of where something falls on the map of art, without forcing overly narrow expectations on the audience or overly narrow constraints on the creator. I find categories useful: this museum has landscape paintings, that's a swing record, my friend collects patio furniture ... But the problem lies in a literary "genre" being construed as a sort of ghetto, or as something so predictable in its essentials that every specimen is deemed, sight unseen, to be just like every other. I'd like people to recognize erotica as a category of literature—a loose category, not a watertight box that leaves no room for grey areas, cross-genre straddling, etc.—that has some basic recognizable criteria (just like the category "landscape painting") but which is understood to encompass an infinite scope regarding style, technique, ideas, mood, story content, literary sensibilities, etc."

Jeremy said pretty much exactly what I meant only much better. :) I did ponder the topic a bit (after I slept, lol), and I noticed that it's not that I want the "genre" label of erotica to disappear entirely. It can be helpful, just like the labels mystery, science fiction, etc. I do just wish that because something has explicit sex in it it would not be put into its own -- often denigrated, shamed, and/or underestimated -- category. That, of course, was also said by many in this discussion.

Thank you so much Nikki! And thank you to all of you -- I have had such a magnificent time at the moving blog feast.

Kirsten Monroe said...

May I have one more truffle before I dash off into the moors to howl at the moon with the highlanders?

Thank you all so much. I have so enjoyed all of these fascinating conversations and getting to know all of you better in a very special way that just gives me the happiest feeling. Donna, you are one of my heroes and I am so appreciative of the opportunity to put together this feast with you!

Nikki, I'm thinking that I'd like to have a special Scottish erotica name -- what do you think about Braveharlot?

Love you all -- thank you, thank you!!! Thanks also to the peekers out there. Thanks for peeking under the clouds and kilts, etc. and joining in this feast with us. Your spirits were felt.

Parting is such sweet sorrow. Goodbye, goodbye!

EllaRegina said...

I LOVE Braveharlot!

Donna said...

"Braveharlot" is brilliant. See what a few truffles and a wee dram can do for the creative juices?

I'll just tuck the lad in my suitcase, Nikki, no bag necessary....

Kisses and hugs all around and especially to Kirsten for the inspiration and support and fearless ways in the kitchen and on the page!

Craig Sorensen said...

I too have so enjoyed this feast.

Donna and Kirsten, you're brilliant for coming up with and organizing it. When I first heard the idea, I had high hopes for it.

And it has exceeded my expectations.

In this, Nikki's excellent last installment, we discussed our hopes for erotica, and I think we all agreed that wider acceptance of erotic writing is a key goal

The first element to make this happen is exceptional writing, the sort that commands attention.

This progressive dinner has been a showcase for just how many outstanding writers there are in our midst.

You all rock.

Helia Brookes said...

I have Scots blood in my background and went through a phase of Scottish mania, culminating in a desire to learn the bagpipes. My parents put the kibosh on that one, understandable as we lived in a city apartment. But I'm so thrilled to be invited to Comeagain Castle! Hoots! Bring on the vegetarian haggis! (I've never had it, but the real stuff is so delicious, it's worth trying at least... I'll put it on the life list).

My work life is getting in the way of my fun life--I think it's already tomorrow on your side of the pond, Nikki. Thanks for the lovely hosting; thanks so much to all of you; and as for today's questions, I simply add to my dear husband's response (see why I love him? I know you do!), "Bravo and me too!"

Sorry if this posts twice--voracious Blogger appears to have eaten the first. But I got a better spam word: hymeng! Say no more, nudge nudge!

Isabel Kerr said...

Mirrors, who needs mirrors? why do you think they invented patent leather?

ciao! It's been delightful.

Madeline Moore said...

Yes, I'm the type who shows up at the party just in time to eat up the sweets. Yummy sweets, too, Nikki.
My answers to your question are egocentric and prosaic. I want $$.

The future of erotica? I think the blending of romance and erotica will continue. I don't know how many more taboos will be portrayed in erotica, and to be honest I don't know as I'd like to see most of them in print, anyway.
Well, maybe a little breath play...

One thing that's for sure, with the folks assembled at this gathering wielding the pen and/or rhapsodising on the keyboard, the genre is in good shape.

My word verification word is: perlsh. Publirish or perlsh.

Jeremy Edwards said...

What an orgasmic suite of parties this has been! I am a lucky, lucky piper indeed to get to eat, drink, think, dream, laugh, frolic, kiss, finger-lick, slurp, bossa, howl, mixed-sex-bathe, flower and snow, fantasy fuck, pudding-wrestle, and kilt-flash with all of you!

Erobintica said...


Since I didn't find an email for you anywhere on your blog and you're obviously exhausted from the finale of the feast, I thought I'd post here. Hope it doesn't get lost under the pile of blankets.

Thank you so much for hosting this night. And you did such a good job even though we all kept you up way past your bedtime. ;-)


Nikki Magennis said...

Hi all,

Sorry I've been a bit remiss with the blogging - yes, I've been busy with the serfs tidying up in the Great Hall!

It's been wonderful and lovely to have you all here and visit everyone's amazing courses. I feel very lucky indeed to know such good-hearted, talented and fascinating people. x