My last post was basically a quick notice that I was enjoying my summer. Even once the kids were back in school, the warm weather had me thinking it was still time to goof off. We had extended sunshine and warm days that made sitting at my desk and writing seem more like…well…work. Given that I have decided to pursue a career in writing, and not just poke at it, however, that seems all too appropriate. The IRS is going to start wondering about various deductions if I don’t start producing more ‘work.’
We had a fabulous family trip to Europe. I ate more food in three weeks than I probably had the previous three months. We saw new sites, some old familiar places, and expanded our vocabulary just a tiny bit. Just about everyone speaks English in the major cities, so we got along very easily.
The photo to the left was taken at our hotel in Berlin–sorry if the exposure is sort of sucky. I had this moment where I paused and looked at the words, my mind going to all those delicious places it seems to go so naturally. Given that this was a family trip, I didn’t see fit to drag my underage kids along with me to see what really was going on inside. Turns out it was just a bar with a name that translates into English with unintended consequences.
After our return, I spent most of the summer days hanging with the kids and doing summer kinds of stuff. I didn’t get any writing done to speak of, and sort of lost track of what it is I wanted to do anyway. Makes it easy to just sort of start over all fresh and new with a blank page. Or screen.
In August, I hit New York for a writer’s conference called “BDSM for Writers.” The three day weekend was an intensive workshop. When I signed up for it, I had originally missed the “hands-on” line in the conference description. It was…more than just a little intense– it was informative, fun, exciting and provocative. I came away with a greater understanding of my own personal kinks and proclivities as well as a much broader understanding of the Lifestyle in general.
A while ago, I wrote about research being a good replacement for lack of real life experience. It turns out that there are some real differing levels of research. Reading about something can make up for a lot, but I am glad I took my own research to the next level. As part of the conference, we spent many hours at Paddles, a public BDSM club in New York City. I went to one early evening demonstration on needle-play which included some saline inflation techniques. While this particular play doesn’t really do anything for me personally, I was able to see it from a new angle as a witness to it and appreciate it for the interaction and stimulus it provides people who do get off on it. I think I ‘get it’ way more than I possibly could from simply reading about it. I was able to flog a naked woman, turned down multiple offers to spank various men, or be spanked, and witness a multitude of interactions between players. The open nature of the club was intense even though I was mostly a voyeur. The fact that I was there with Dr. Charley and my fellow conference attendees made me feel safe in a new situation which could have been otherwise overwhelming and even dangerous.
One of our private presenters came to the club the second evening to show us more “electric play,” and I found myself on his table with my shirt off. This is not exactly something that I am particularly comfortable doing. For all my writing about voyeuristic activities, I am not particularly prone to hanging out naked in front of strangers. At least we were in a corner of the club and the wand-master’s body pretty much shielded me from view. I really wanted to experience the sensation of the violet wand first-hand. It turns out an under wire bra and an electric wand are an extremely painful combination, and I am not into receiving pain–hence the no shirt. After the initial shock of the under-wire, I had him turn the level of the wand down to almost nothing. Call me a wimp, but the experience clearly showed me I am not a masochist. I didn’t get off on the experience, but, rather found the sensation extremely ticklish. I think I laughed long and loud with the experience, but managed to eventually force myself to take lots of mental notes on the sensation. I will be fine extrapolating the rest into my writing. Expect some electric play in a story sometime in the future.
We also had a private tour of the space shared with Paddles by professional Dommes. These play rooms are set up for pay-for-play scenarios with everything from school room themes, a medieval dungeon with various wooden torture devices, to a shiny medical room with plenty of scary looking chrome implements. Taking time to consider the reality of the level of kink and the varying sorts of kink out there is something I needed and wanted to do. I don’t really know yet how it will all turn out in my future works, but I am looking forward to tucking into a fall filled with writing.
The conference was run by Dr. Charley Ferrer, author of BDSM for writers, and the following link takes you to her book.
I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of seeing a new story out. This one, however, is sort of special to me. You see, “Birthday Boy” is the first story I ever submitted to an editor for publication. (Well, the first ‘erotic’ story I ever submitted.) Looking at it now, for the first time in a year, I can see some revisions I’d like to make. Maybe when I get around putting together a single author anthology, I’ll tweak it a bit. But, for now, I think it’s still a decent and really fun story.
Check out the free excerpt here and click below to buy the whole collection!
The Perfect Dom Lucy Felthouse
Birthday Boy Cecilia Duvalle
Unwrapping Craig J. Sorensen
The Assignment Donna George Storey
A Game of Numbers Kiki DeLovely
Mermaid Teresa Noelle Roberts
Butch Girls Don’t Cry Giselle Renarde
Echo J. Sinclaire
Bitch Elizabeth Silver
The Price of Experience Kate Dominic
The Spanking Salon Elizabeth Coldwell
The Impact of Change Maggie Morton
Writer’s Block Evan Mora
Lessons Learned Jade Melisande
Invitation to a Spanking Andrea Dale
A Timely Correction Dorothy Freed
Spanking the Monkey Cynthia Rayne
Shine Shanna Germain
Papers to Grade Thomas S. Roche
Lean on Me Adele Haze
Proxy Lucy Hughes
Bad Boy Isabelle Gray
Marks Rachel Kramer Bussel
(I’m honored to be in such awesome company!)
Today is the last day of the blog tour for Voyeur Eyes Only. Here’s a link to the last stop along the tour. As I read what Jade Melisande had to say this morning, I found myself wanting to go to another conference. It’s not that I want to hit Vegas again, it’s more that I want to find myself surrounded by all these wonderful writers I met and get another jolt of that “camaraderie” I felt while there. Being in a world populated by people who share my world is…simply…wonderful. Until the next conference though, I’ll have to make do with the internet connections I’m making over Facebook and Twitter. Each day, I add new friends and connections to my erotic world.
In my every day life, I’m careful about how I share what I do. People tend to respond in one of two ways. Either they are interested and use my gentle opening as an opportunity to share their enthusiasm, or they are clearly not and change the subject. One friend, who is likely reading this post, said, “Oh, I love erotica. Read it all the time.” Another friend, without hearing the details about the explicit nature of what I write literally began to back away from me. The look on her face was a mixture of confusion, shock, and clear disgust. (And that was without me being at all specific.) This friend is rather…erm…on the uptight end of things generally and one of those feminists who think SLUT Walks are not a good idea. It was clear she did not want any details, and I wasn’t going to hand them over. We talk about other things.
However, I do, very often have people ask what my nym is. Most recently my mom’s sister asked me to share it with her. We had talked at our family reunion about writing, and I had told her rather quietly that I was writing erotica. (And, I do hope you’re reading this right now, my dear aunt–because YOU ROCK!) After posting something nebulous on Facebook like “Another story accepted–Woot!” she asked me to share my work with her. So, I sent her this basic message, just so we were clear:
So, here’s the thing. I don’t share my pen name with people unless they promise to the following rules of engagement and understanding.
1. do not share my pen name further –even if someone claims to have known it but just forgotten about it–always refer whoever is asking directly back to me.
2. That if you read my work you must understand it is FICTION and that husband and I are NOT the characters in the story
3. Just because I might write something convincingly does not mean I have actually done the thing I am writing about.
4. I write about a wide range of sexual activities in graphic detail–this is not “throbbing manhood” and “Pulsing heat” it’s “Thrusting cock into moist wet pussy” sort of writing. Sometimes it involves ropes, leather, anal sex, group sex, lesbian sex, gay sex, and the like.
So, if you are STILL thinking you will be okay with all of THAT, I’ll send you links to my website and the one book that is currently out.
I am just cautious on this because I have some fairly close personal friends who have spoken out against this kind of writing as being anti-feminist. What they don’t seem to be willing to hear is that the majority of erotica is written by women for women.
Her response was one that had me willing to send her my links and trust her with my pen name. I hate to admit this, but I could NEVER have shared what I do with my mother. Our only direct discussion about sex happened when I was ten when she handed me a pamphlet about menstration (pink) and a pamphlet about sexuality (blue). She asked me to read them and then ask if Ihad any questions. She added that she thought sex was wonderful, but it was like the icing on a cake. The cake, a loving relationship, had to be there to support the icing. At age ten, that just confused me a little bit. I was picturing something similar to the image at the top of this post. Sex on cake? What? (Oh…new story idea!) Anyway…I can hardly ever eat cake without a smile on my face because cake has forever and inextricably been connected to sex in my mind. I get what she was saying, but I also think icing is just fine on it’s own.
Did I mention my aunt is going to be seventy-eight this year? I love that she’s not judgmental, that she’s still interested in reading about sex, and just such a cool person. I miss my mom tremendously, but I feel grateful to have my dear aunt in my life.
I think every writer has heard this advice. I know when I first heard it at a young age, my response was, “I better not write because I don’t know much.” I’m not sure who came up with the phrase, but it does a a disservice when taken out of context. It’s true that angst-ridden writers seem to take their own wretched lives and turn them into “literature.” I believe that Frank McCourt’s childhood fully informed his memoir. I doubt Bret Easton Ellis is as closely linked to his protagonist, Patrick Bateman of American Psycho. (Actually, I fervently hope not.) As a writer of literary fiction (under my real name) I have no problem feeling like I can make certain things up. The characters, their thoughts and feelings, are all mine as the writer. If, however, I’m going to place the novel in New York, I sure as heck better know what New York is like before I do so. Does this mean I can’t even think about writing a novel in New York if I’ve never been there? No. It only takes research to fill in what I don’t know. When it comes to writing sex, I certainly am not going to go out and try everything I’m writing about. I know there are plenty of “real life” dommes, or “real life” sluts out there, but I am not either. (Sorry guys.) The reality is, I have a very vivid imagination and can figure out a lot by inference. Direct experience is not entirely necessary in writing believable sex. Ah…did I just say believable sex? There’s an interesting distinction. Erotica is not necessarily meant to be believable. Think about it. When was the last time you were reading something that was meant to be titillating and erotic when someone…I don’t know…farted? Or belched? Maybe in some extreme sorts of magazines that’s an on for some folks. Bodily functions like the need to brush teeth, or anything that really gets in the way of the steam is conveniently not mentioned unless it adds to the story. Believable sex, on the other hand, would be filled with stomach slaps, gurgling tummies and the occasional ill-timed hiccup. Writing what you know, when it comes to writing sex is like any other topic. If you don’t know it firsthand, do research and move on from there. And, like most other fiction work, make up what you don’t know. Read what others have written and improvise on the subject. I am female, so writing a male character will always be improvisation because my biology simply won’t even let me come close to experiencing maleness. So, I’ll talk to guys and ask them to describe things to me. Sure, I can’t really “know” what it is to be a man, but I know men who are willing to help me out by answering my questions about the male experience. My job as a writer is to translate that into a character that is believable. When it comes down to it, the notion of “writing what you know” is a call to do research and learn what you don’t already know.