Monday, August 28, 2017

3 Things I've Learned from Writing Erotica

I started writing erotic short fiction way back in 1997, when the writing and publishing landscape looked very different. Those short stories were amongst the first fiction I ever wrote. I came to fiction when I was 33, a miserable law student in need of an outlet. Within 3 months of starting to write, I'd quit law school to make time to write even more. I wrote a lot, all of it short fiction of various lengths as well as the occasional article for local newspapers and websites. I wrote in several genres including erotica, fantasy, romance and some mixed genre stuff. But erotica was the primary genre that I published in for my first decade of being a published author and it was the first one where editors consistently asked me to write stories for their projects.

In recent years, I've moved more into horror, dark fantasy and gaming tie-ins under my other name, but still write erotica and erotic romance as Emily. Moving into the realm of gaming tie-ins is what really helped me understand what I learned in all those years of turning out erotic short fiction on tight deadlines to pretty specific guidelines. I was once asked to write a 20k word novella in 10 weeks that had to be vanilla erotica, heterosexual and have a Happy for Now ending, as well as being set in a workplace, as one example. Another was needing to come up with a story that used yaoi as a jumping off and matched yaoi formulas and conventions as closely as possible in an erotica story using a fantastical setting. This tale also had to be 20k words long, but this time, I only had 8 weeks to write it, including research time.

Gaming tie-in writing is something new to me so each project requires some research on my part as well as a clearing of the proverbial decks of other projects to make room for producing something that meets the editor's requirements within the given timeframe. It's challenging and fun to try and match a new audience's expectations in much the same way I've always tried to do with my erotica.

Here are the 3 main things that I learned from erotica that are proving very useful now in this brave new world.

  • Writing to deadline. Gaming deadlines are tight and ideas need to go through pitch sessions. I am by nature a pantser so having to come up with three different stories outlines that are within basic guidelines (with titles!) is a challenge. Then I have to accept that 2 or even 3 of them may be tossed out; for a writer who works hard to get nearly every word she writes published, this is a bit of an emotional hurdle. But there's no time to be a diva or to rest on past laurels: I have to focus on getting done on time if I want my work to appear in a given book or project.
  • Working with fairly rigid guidelines. Gaming has rules and world building and story structure. The audience for tie-ins expects stories that are set in the right world and adhere to the game timeframe and rules. It's like writing for a certain subgenre of erotica, say BDSM erotica with queer female protagonists or vanilla romantic erotica with heterosexual characters: the audience has expectations and you have to meet them or risk throwing them out of your story, perhaps never to return. Just as I sometimes have to do research for my erotica, I've had to do research for my gaming tie-ins to make sure I understand what the rules are.
  • Writing impactful short fiction. After the tie-in pitches are reviewed, and one is accepted (hopefully!), the next step is writing a first draft and...turning it in for editorial approval. This has been a big challenge for me; generally speaking, no one sees my early drafts. I play with them for awhile, write and rewrite, revise, etc. until I think they're ready. Now, I have to produce the same kind of impact writing in a first draft as on a final one so that the editors can see where I'm going with the story and determine whether or not I'm on the right track. One of the main differences is, of course, that I'm playing in someone else's world instead of my own, which is both very freeing and kind of tricky until you get used to it. But both kinds of fiction should ideally inspire play!
None of these things would be comparatively easy for me if I hadn't written erotica first. Erotic short fiction is hot and arousing (impact), may need to conform to strict guidelines and must often be written to publishing deadlines. It's been a great point from which to explore doing something new and to embrace a new kind of fictional challenge. And I look forward to continuing to write both kinds of fiction.

My first gaming tie-in story: "Incarnadine Seas" (written as Catherine Lundoff) appeared in The Cainite Conspiracies: A Vampire the Masquerade V20 Anthology edited by Monica Valentinelli. I've got something else forthcoming in another World of Darkness anthology and some possibilities in the pipeline; more news as I have it.

Some of my erotic short fiction is collected here, in Knife's Edge. More on the way soon!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

And another new acceptance!

My vampire erotica story, "She Who Waits," will be reprinted in Cwtch Press' latest smoking hot vampire erotica anthology, BLOOD IN THE RAIN 3.

So pleased! I'm also working on my next single author collection so more news coming soon!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

New story acceptance!

Excited to announce that my tale of injudicious passion, "Phone, Sex, Chocolate,"  will be reprinted in Rachel Kramer Bussel's forthcoming anthology, CANDY LOVERS: SUGAR EROTICA! More updates about cover art and release date when I have it.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

#CharitySunday - Excerpt for Scarleteen

I'm participating in Lisabet Sarai's #CharitySunday. Want to play along? Leave a comment on this post between now and next Sunday (7/16), and I'll make a donation to Scarleteen at the end of the week. And if you buy my collection Knife's Edge, on sale at Smashwords this week, I'll kick in extra. I'd love to be able to donate $50, so please help me get there!

What is Scarleteen? Only the best sex education site on the web for teens, young folks and the rest of us. Learn about consent, birth control, gender, sexual health and other incredibly useful and helpful topics. I highly recommend it!

Excerpt from "Cowgirls and Science" (Knife’s Edge; Kinky Lesbian Erotica, Queen of Swords Press):

“C’mon,” Patty volunteered. “You might as well check out Grandmaster Flash.” My eyes must’ve bulged at the corners because they both laughed. Flash had his own fan club, horse struck gals like me who thought he was the prettiest thing on four feet. He’d earned the “Grandmaster,” too, winning just about every time those dainty hooves touched an arena.
“Patty’s Flash’s trainer, you know.” Hank said in a way that suggested it was no big deal, all the while making it clear that it was.
“Really?” I squealed, done with playing it cool. Flash was one of the horses I’d been hoping to see do his thing today. Not that his rider was any slouch, just a bit too straight for even my idol worship.
“Got a crush on the rider too or just the horse?” Hank grinned, elbowing Patty.
“Just the horse. And it’s not a crush.” I growled.
Patty gave me a wry smile that twisted the scar on her chin as she steered me around the corner. “Good thing. Beatríz only likes guys so you’d be outta luck there. Well, here we are. Flash, Molly. Molly, Flash. Give my baby a carrot.” She dropped a couple of small carrots in my now outstretched palm.
Flash was just as gorgeous up close as he was far away, all pure gold hide and silver-white mane and tail. He ate the carrots out of my hand with velvety lips and I rubbed his nose in cautious adoration. There was something else on my mind, though. “So how come you think I don’t like guys, too?” I don’t know why I asked; I usually trip anybody’s gaydar that’s worth the name.
Apparently that was an invitation. Hank stepped up so close to me that her breasts pressed into my back, then leaned in to blow very gently against the bare skin of my neck. “Lucky guess,” she purred, her lips just brushing my skin. I flinched away, breathing fast like a startled horse.
A quick glance down revealed my nipples showing hard through my t-shirt. The horse caught my mood and pulled away with a snort and a vehement shake of his head. Hank backed away more slowly and I could feel her grin at the back of my head.
That got me, can’t really say why. Probably I was just horny; it’d been a while. All I know is that I turned around and grabbed her, pulling her in for a long kiss. She tasted like peppermint and Coke, with just a hint of tobacco. Her arms closed around me like wire and bound me to her, holding me fast. I could feel Patty watching us and scared myself by wanting her to go away at the same time that I wanted her to join in.
As if she could read my mind, Hank broke the kiss and spun me around in her arms to face Patty. She held me close while she ran her tongue down the back of my neck until I moaned as softly as I could. Out in the arena I could hear cheering and stomping so at least I knew I’d be drowned out.
Patty reached over and grabbed one of my tits in her hand, her thumb rubbing it through the t-shirt while she watched me like she was wondering what I’d be good for. That was when Hank shoved her leg between mine and dragged my shirt out of my pants. “Not now,” Patty said firmly, jerking her head at the arena.
“Shit! I gotta ride in the next event,” Hank snarled, looking from her watch to the arena like a hunting dog on point. “Hate to let a good thing go to waste.” She flipped me around and kissed me hard, smothering any protests I was inclined to make.
When she was done, Patty chimed in. “I got an idea.” Hank let me go and I turned around so I could see the length of rope in the trainer’s hands. I shivered all over, soaking my way through my jeans.
“Yeaaah,” Hank murmured. She reached out to stick one of her big hands under my shirt, stroking and pinching until I thought I’d scream if I didn’t get something between my legs soon. “You ever been tied up, Molly?” 


Saturday, July 1, 2017

July book sale!

Get Knife's Edge: Kinky Lesbian Erotica for $1.50 at Smashwords, this month only!
  • Read a couple of the nice reviews here.
  • Check out a reading of "Planet 10" from the Nobilis Erotica Podcast (story published in Knife's Edge)
  • Read Lisabet Sarai's Top Ten Erotica list, which includes "An Incident in Whitechapel" (published in Knife's Edge.

Friday, June 23, 2017

"Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms" Blog Tour Post

Please see my previous post for the blog tour schedule. Comment here or at one of the other posts to be entered to win a copy of this gorgeous book! (Also a buy link, because we are subtle that way).

So, my story in this lovely hot book, "Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl" is not based on what you would call a particularly titillating fairy tale. I should say that I love fairy tales, especially the ones where the female characters get to have a lot of agency. But "Toads and Diamonds" is not, in its original form,  one of them. There are two sisters, one fairy, a good deed, a rude word, a perceived blessing, a curse, and the tale is done. The good sister is beautiful--and is forced to spit out gem stones with every kindly word (ouch). The bad sister is ugly (natch) and creates a new ecosystem of toads and sundry such beasties whenever she speaks harshly. Which is often.

I wanted to make something new from this odd morality tale warning girls to always speak nicely to others, and make it something else. The two sisters become one princess and her blessing/affliction becomes...something different. And this time around, she gets a companion who sees more to her than serving as a living treasure chest or cursed harridan.

Here's an excerpt from my story "Toads, Diamonds and the Occasional Pearl"
(From shortly before things start to get a tad more steamy):
All the stories begin the same way: three princes go on a quest. Maybe they’re rivals for a throne. Or a princess. But whatever the goal, the youngest one always wins. Unless it’s the eldest. They never have sisters. Or if they do, they’re left safely at home.
            When I told my father, the King, that I wanted to go on a quest like my two brothers, he laughed. He made my request a joke, as if he had not known that I practiced all that my brothers learned from the armsmaster since we were small. Perhaps I had kept that secret too well.
            The whole Court buzzed with the news, except for my younger brother, Fenar. He longed for the peace of the library and the quiet of the monastery. And that was where I parted from him when we left our father’s castle, taking his sword, his horse and his name with his blessing.
            Our father had forbidden me all three and I intended to prove him wrong. I could win the throne, if not the princess. Princess Eliann was lovely to look at, but she’d never glanced at me. Not since I kissed her once when I was on a visit to her mother’s court and found myself barred from it until I “could learn to behave like a princess.”
            I sighed. When I saw Eliann next, we were both of marriageable age and things had changed. She was proud and cruel, no longer willing to meet my eyes, not even when I made my brothers stop teasing her. In any case, Eliann would never accept being consort to the Princess Shalene when she could be Queen to my eldest brother, Greir, so my wishes were of little significance.
            That was, of course, if Greir chose to claim her hand along with the throne when he returned. I thought it unlikely. Eliann’s...affliction had put off braver men than he. Few would choose to be married to a princess who spat out diamonds or toads with every sentence. Mother had said that true love would break the fairy curse, but I had my doubts.
            I shrugged off my thoughts, which made my horse snort at me and toss his head, eager to run. I felt the same way. Once I had seen other lands, I promised myself that I would find a princess and a throne of my own and never return here, just as my great aunt had done. The day turned brighter and my road clearer at that picture. I nudged the horse forward into a loping run and I smiled to think of leaving all I knew behind me.
            I smiled less when I reached the edge of the great forest of Adin. The sun was setting and the figure on the path in front of me was in shadow, but I could still see the outline of a bow, its string stretched taut. The arrow was pointed straight at me. I pulled my horse to an abrupt halt. “I mean you no harm,” I tried to make my voice as deep as my brother’s.
            The arrow stayed right where it was. “How do I know that?” It was odd, the quaver in that voice, almost like someone trying to sound older and larger than they were. I wondered if there were others on the road who traveled in disguise tonight. Did my brother’s light armor make me so very terrifying?
            Not that the arrow would make me less dead, terrifying or not. Something moved in the shadows at the figure’s feet, but it was too small to be threatening. I hoped. I tried again, “I seek only to pass. Will you let me by?”
            “Give me your horse.” This time, I could hear the desperation in that voice. That, and something more. Something familiar. I wondered how well they could shoot, this person in shadow who wanted to steal my horse. I wondered what I would do if they succeeded. I pictured my return to my father’s court, my quest at an end, and me the utter failure they thought me already. A boiling rage filled me then. Kicking the horse forward into a full gallop while I drew my sword was a matter of pure impulse.

Comment here to be entered and check out the next post in the blog tour:

June 26th: A.D.R. Forte-“Warrior’s Choice”