I’m currently working on not one, but two, writing collaborations, in addition to a book of my own. It’s not exactly the most tenable, and I’m not exactly sure how I got here, but I love each project and am unwilling to let any of them go, so I will keep struggling through until something is completed.
What I did want to talk about was the nature of collaborations. (This post will be one on the creative process, so if that’s not your bag, feel free to skip it. I’m trying to write more, so hopefully there will be something of more interest next week.) Right now, I’m working with Kirsten McCurran on one project, and Max Sebastian on another, and I have to tell you that the nature of the collaboration are so vastly different—neither better than the other, just…different. (more…)
There’s a subset of the subgenre of naughty wife erotica that would like to see the wife punished for her misadventures. This variant is typically called “burn the bitch,” or BTB (not to be confused with the corporate lingo), usually features a cheating wife, and is almost always not my thing.
This’ll be short, but I felt like it needed to be addressed because these story lines are so tangential to the ones that I am drawn to, and I’ve gotten a few readers asking (or suggesting) I explore a BTB. Simply put, I won’t. To me, a happy ending is pretty damn important, both from a romantic perspective, but also from a literary one. I write about couples (and wives) who explore a naughty side of themselves that they didn’t know they had. The goal is always to strengthen their relationship by understanding themselves better. To write a story that ends in revenge runs contrary to what I’m trying to do as an author.
Let me be clear about a few things. Opinions are opinions, and I’m not judging those people who enjoy this kind of literature. Our desires are crazy and inexplicable things, and sexuality is even more enigmatic. Also, real life is messier than fiction. People cheat. People get hurt. People hurt their loved ones. And a lot of times, marriages end in divorce (or worse). I strive to write stories full of characters that (hopefully) feel real, and they go through their ups and downs, and things may even get dark, but in the end, I’m writing their destinies, and I feel like writing one that ends in tragedy would be a waste of time for me.
Again, this is only my opinion, and it’s one of many. But hopefully this’ll help set your expectations about my books.
My post on “erotica for men” is still one of the most visited pages on this site, a year and a half later. I think that it’s great that there’s a burgeoning interest in saucy tales told for men. It says something about how the genre is changing. Throw in the whole 50 Shades success story and we’ve got a brand new climate.
But as I’ve gained more experience in the world of commercial erotica, I’ve started to realize that the original question, posed so long ago by Ellora’s Cave, isn’t quite the right question. It’s not, “What is erotica for men?” Erotica for men, in large part, is the same as erotica for women: realistic characters in alluring situations that lead to explosive sexual encounters. Men and women’s tastes may vary, but I don’t think those tastes split along gender lines (more…)
Some solid advice for creatives in all fields (even erotica) from Seth Godin:
If your work is filled with the hope and longing for applause, it’s no longer your work–the dependence on approval has corrupted it, turned it into a process where you are striving for ever more approval.
Who decides if your work is good? When you are at your best, you do. If the work doesn’t deliver on its purpose, if the pot you made leaks or the hammer you forged breaks, then you should learn to make a better one. But we don’t blame the nail for breaking the hammer or the water for leaking from the pot. They are part of the system, just as the market embracing your product is part of marketing.
If you don’t have someone commenting on your stories before you publish them into the wild, you need to get one (preferably more). You’re not sharing your work in a bubble, so don’t write in one. This may seem obvious to some, but I’ve seen enough examples where it doesn’t happen (I have to assume, anyway) that it’s worth repeating and re-stressing.
A beta reader (or beta, from here on out) shouldn’t be confused with an editor, or even a creative partner to brainstorm a story concept with, so let’s be clear on that point. While the grammar and editing skills are handy for a beta, their primary purpose is to give you the reader’s perspective on the story, something that’s not always obvious to the author. (more…)
Erotica is not erotic romance. This isn’t meant to be a semantics debate and I don’t want to delve too heavily into their definitions. Readers view these things as different — so much so that All Romance Ebooks has decided to split their catalog into two distinct areas: erotica and romance.
So for the moment, let’s put the erotica vs. ER on hold. I want to introduce an entirely new sub-genre — my own, self-defined sub-genre that emerged after some lengthy conversations with my friend, Jake Marlow: romantic erotica.
“I lift things up and put them down.” If you haven’t seen that commercial, watch it, you’ll laugh. That’s me, in a nutshell. Well, not physically me — substitute weights for stories and muscles for, erm, writing ability? (My analogy breaks a little, but screw it.) I lift up new stories, start them, and put them down. And most of the time, I put them down incomplete. (more…)
When writing a story, I find that I often feel like a juggler: characters, plots, twists, intricacies, I have to keep track of them all as they rise and fall. This is my process. It’s not the best process in the world, but it works for me, most of the time. It lets me stay organic while still dealing with outlines. It lets me write in a non-linear fashion if need be while still keeping things consistent.
Thing is, I can’t write like that with multiple stories going on at once, which is where I am currently. And even more to the point, I can’t write like a juggler when I feel like so much of my life is being juggled. My wife and I are moving out to the burbs (yup, the kid is just about a year, so the timeline fits, right?), my job has
gotten remained crazy. Things keep going wrong in the place we’re selling. Oh yeah, and it’s the holidays.
In order for the juggling act to be successful, you need to be focused. A lot of details are being kept in your head and as soon as something comes in to distract it, something is bound to fall. I feel like stories are falling around me all the time. I’ve got this really great angel story for the holidays, I’ve got my voyeur story for Ellora’s erotica for men line, I’ve got a nice collaborative story ready for editing from a new author-friend, and then a handful of near completed works that I want to get to. And they’re all lying around me in a sad clutter.
Well, it’s time to start picking things up again. Hopefully by the new year, things will have calmed down more and you’ll see new things from me!
There’s a little truth in every bit of fiction. When we authors share our stories, we’re sharing a little bit of ourselves. Lucy V. Morgan, whose novella Beautiful Mess is now available [Kindle link, more at the bottom], volunteers a little more in this guest post. Her insight into the craft of romance and erotica is tough, honest, sometimes hard to swallow, but always invaluable. If you enjoy this glimpse, pick up Beautiful Mess–her funny, sexy, honest tone is infused throughout the prose, and you won’t be disappointed. [Also, that’s my cover design! /cheer]
I’ve always felt there was a strong link between sex and honesty. Not the performative aspects–the moves you choose, the partners you choose–but just the very act itself. Being seen naked, submitting (or dominating); being watched for any hint of arousal or desire. I like being honest. When you’re naked, you know where you stand.
Writing is a little bit like that. In order to write something compelling, something that resonates–even in a lighthearted way–you have to find a new method of expressing a truth. You have to acknowledge the secret little things people hide within themselves and say, I know of this. I’ve felt this too. That’s the point of connection, right there. (more…)
I wrote a blog entry a couple months ago refuting the idea that characters drive the stories, not the authors. Well, I’m willing to admit when I’ve misspoke, and in this situation, I did. A little, anyway. The take-away of that entry should have been that you’re the author, you should write the story you want to tell, and if your characters are moving it in a direction you’re not keen on, then change the characters. I stand by that.