Tuesday, August 2, 2016

It's Give Out Day!

Today's the day to give to one or more of your favorite LGBTQ+ nonprofits! Check out the website for some great options and help queer nonprofits grow and better serve their communities. https://www.giveoutday.org/c/GO/

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Erotica and Plot


 
Your plot is the engine that drives your story. It’s why your characters are there and it’s what’s motivating what they’re doing. At its most basic, a plot is about a) a character who has a goal and b) faces obstacles achieving his/her goal and either succeeds or fails to achieve it at the end. Every character and obstacle that you add to that formula complicates the plot. At the same time every story has to have at least this much of a storyline to make it a real story instead of a collection of words on the page.

When it comes to writing erotica, many people, even other writers, will tell you that erotica doesn’t require much of a plot. And it doesn’t, if you’re not writing to get published and build a larger audience for your work.  But if you are, you’ve read countless guidelines that say that the editors want to see storylines that involve more than sex. Something else needs to happen too; the characters need to grow or the situation needs to change around them. For many writers, this is one of the lines that separates erotica from pornography: erotica has a fully developed story line, including a plot. For most writers, this is also the difference between a good story and a bad story.

That said, having a plot that is geared toward erotic situations is quite helpful if you’re writing erotica. An erotic plot can be as minimal as character A meets character B, they develop a brief relationship, then part never to meet again. Or as complicated as full-length novel in which the characters become increasingly intimate over the course of time and events.

Defining your plot before you start writing can be helpful for determining what your characters are like and how the story will play out and end. Some plots are inherently erotic, such as attending a sex party, for example. Others require some effort to make the situation erotic, like having your characters meet in a laundromat.

First consider the length of the story that you want to write. Is it a short story in the 3000 to 5000 word range? A novella in the 20,000 word range? Or a full-length novel? The longer the work, the more plot it requires to keep the story afloat. Otherwise, you end up with pages and pages of filler or worse, something repetitive and dull. On the other hand, if you’re writing a shorter piece, you don’t want to end up with an overwhelmingly complicated plot. Cramming a huge plot into a short story leads to loose ends and reader confusion. Either way, it simply doesn’t do justice to your writing.

Once you’ve decided on length, look at what kind of story you are writing. Science fiction and romance erotic plots are often relatively complex, pure contemporary erotica is often less so. The readers of the former will expect to find out something about the society the characters are living in as well as what it is that brings them together. Readers of contemporary erotica are participating in some version of the same society in their daily lives and won’t require the same context to understand what is going on.

After you’ve defined your story length and genre, try outlining some of the goals that your character(s) are striving toward and the obstacles in their way. This outline can be as simple as a list of questions or as complex as multiple paragraphs of description. The important thing is to establish what the story is about for you as an author. Ask yourself the following questions: what do your character's goals tell you about the characters themselves? What kind of situations would best enable your characters to achieve their goals? What kind would make it most difficult?

You don’t have to begin your story with the plot, of course. For some writers, myself included, it can feel as if the characters themselves are running the plot. I start out with the character and the character’s voice. Once that’s fleshed out in my head, I come up with a plot that the character can become enmeshed in. The positive side of this approach is that the plot flows more naturally and I don’t have to do as much tweaking of the character(s) to make it work since it’s a more or less organic whole. The downside is that if I get carried away with plot complications (at the instigation of my characters, of course!), the story balloons out of control and becomes something very different than the one I set out to write.

What I do to control this is to make lists of all the possible endings to my story and what it would take to get the characters to those ends. For example, my main character is a warrior assigned to guard a princess on a perilous trip to meet her betrothed in another land. The obstacles to reaching the objective are a warlord who wants the princess for himself; the princess, who isn’t sure that this wedding is such a great idea; and the warrior’s own internal conflicts. Possible endings include: the princess runs off with the warrior (option one); the warlord is defeated and the princess marries her intended (option two); the princess falls for both the warrior and the warlord and they all go off together (option three); or everybody dies (option four).

Generally speaking, the last option is the least viable one for erotic fiction, unless of course everyone gets laid a lot before they all die. It can be done, but generally I’d go for one of the other plots. Options one and three are good erotic setup situations, potentially fraught with sexual tension. At the same time, something needs to happen to happen to convince the princess that she wants to leave a life of luxury for option one to occur. For option three to work, she needs to have feelings for both the warrior and the warlord and something needs to motivate her to pursue those feelings. In order for the option two story arc to be interesting, something needs to happen along the way. Does she fall in love with one of the other two characters but decide to marry her intended to keep the peace? Is her betrothed just a better catch after she’s played around with one or both of the other two on the way there?

Once I’ve selected a plot that appeals to me, I start working with the characters and figuring out how they’re going to achieve their goals despite the obstacles. I usually begin with the How. All these characters have to be brought together to make any of the plots described above work. How becomes the warrior deciding to serve as the princess’ guard. How is also the warlord deciding on a plan of attack, but this can occur offstage unless he’s my point of view character.

Along with the How, is the Why. Is the warrior signing up for guard duty because he, she or they (because a warrior or a king doesn't necessarily need to be a dude) is  broke? Because she has the hots for the princess? Because the King is blackmailing them into guard duty? For that matter, why does the princess have reservations about marrying her fiancé? Is there something about him that makes the warlord or the warrior or both look good in comparison? Remember that something needs to motivate your characters to do the things that they do.

Something else to bear in mind here is that some plots have been done so often that they have become cliché. Think about the plots you’ve read in the past; if it sounds familiar and you don’t have a new spin on it, figure it’s been done before. In the story example above, for instance, having the princess fall for the warrior after being rescued from the warlord is the easy way out. It’s predictable and the reader will see it coming a mile away. As a result, it’ll need something else: strong dialogue, unusual characters and higher stake obstacles to make it stand out.

Your plot should also be coherent. One action should flow from another in a logical way. Deviations from that flow need to be explained. The key to plotting erotica is not to lose sight of your goal, namely the story that you set out to write. Your characters need to end up in a situation that makes sense in the context of the rest of your story. You have to build up to it and develop your characters along the way. Remember that your plot helps your story stand out and highlights your writing and all the effort you put into it so don’t neglect it.

Check out the writing columns and other resources at ERWA for more suggestions and thoughts:

Friday, July 1, 2016

#Prideorgs - Celebrating and Supporting LGBTQ+ Organizations Part 2

See yesterday's post for the first part of the list. As noted there, I picked three LGBTQ organizations a day to plug; it's not an exhaustive list by any means, but I tried for a broad range of topics and for organizations that are less high profile and/or which are doing good work for folks who are otherwise not in the spotlight. Hope that this proves useful!


Aging
  • #prideorgs #24 SAGE @sageusa - national organization providing support and advocacy for LGBTQ elders - http://www.sageusa.org
  •  #prideorgs #25 National Center on LGBT Aging @lgbtagingcntr - technical assistance and training for caregivers, etc. http://www.lgbtagingcenter.org 
  •  #prideorgs #26 Zami Nobla @ZAMINOBLA support and programs for black lesbians and queer women on aging - zaminobla.org
Living with Disabilities
  • #prideorgs #27 Rainbow Alliance for the Deaf - Advocacy, support, biennial conference - http://www.deafrad.org
  •  #prideorgs #28 Blind LGBT Pride @blindprideintl - Advocacy, networking, support, conference - http://blindlgbtpride.org 
  • #prideorgs #29 Disability Visibility Project @DisVisibility - oral histories, social media campaigns, #CripTheVote - https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com 
Suicide Counseling and Prevention
  • #prideorgs #30 The Trevor Project @TrevorProject - crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth http://www.thetrevorproject.org
  •  #prideorgs #31 Trans Lifeline @Translifeline - support hotline for trans folks -http://www.translifeline.org 
  •  #prideorgs #32 GLBT National Helpline @glbtNatlHelpCtr: coming out, family counseling, local resource referral, etc. http://www.glbthotline.org 
Writing While Queer
Native American Two Spirit and LGBTQ+
  • #Prideorgs #36 NativeOut @nativeout - resources for and about Native American Two Spirit people - http://nativeout.com
  •  #prideorgs #37 Dancing to the Eagle Spirit Society - Canada, healing/empowerment of Two Spirit aboriginal people - http://www.dancingtoeaglespiritsociety.org 
  •  #prideorgs #38 Transformative Media Project @tmorganizers - media organizing projects, incl. Two Spirit and LGBTQ - https://www.alliedmedia.org/tmo
Refugees
Religion and Humanism
  • #prideorgs #42 Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity @TheMASGD - support and networking - http://www.muslimalliance.org
  •   #prideorgs #43 Institute for Welcoming Resources @ShowerofStoles - welcoming Christian and Jewish congregations - http://www.welcomingresources.org 
  •    #prideorgs #44 LGBTQ Humanist Alliance @LGBTQHumanists - resources/community for LGBTQ+ humanists and allies - http://lgbthumanists.org 
Some Regional Organizations that Could Really Use a Hand
  •     #prideorgs #45 Equality Mississippi @EqualityMiss - advocacy and support - equalitymississippi.org/about/
  •    #prideorgs #46 Equality North Carolina @equalitync - lobbying, advocacy and support - equalitync.org/who/mission/
  •   #prideorgs #47 Tennessee Equality Project @tnequality - education and legal and political - advocacy tnep.nationbuilder.com
Finishing out the list with theaters, because I love live theater and everybody should get to see themselves on stage:

#Prideorgs - Celebrating and Supporting LGBTQ+ Organizations - Part 1


I'd been thinking about this project for Pride Month anyway, but Orlando made it feel a lot more necessary. As a rule, most nonprofit and/or advocacy organizations that focus on LGBTQ+ people are generally underfunded and understaffed. They don't have the resources to deal with huge demands, like the aftermath of a massacre or fighting the continuing onslaught of bathroom bills or equivalent disasters. They operate on a shoestring to support everything from suicide counseling to coming out to refugee assistance to legal aid to training the next generation of LGBTQ folks to be elected to public office. My hope is that people will donate where they can, volunteer and otherwise support these groups and others like them. I started this on June 14th and will be wrapping up on June 30th, but I thought I'd start compiling the list out here. I've been boosting 3 organizations a day which provide some sort of support to LGBTQ+ folks. Each three are more or less thematically linked, at last in my head. If you follow me on Twitter (@clundoff), you can follow along daily on the #prideorgs, but you can also see the list on a browser without logging in. It is U.S.-focused but there are some Canadian and international organizations included as well. Most site have additional resources and links to other groups.

Onsite assistance to Orlando shooting victims, their loved ones and their communities.

LGBTQ Legal Assistance (National)
Grants and Community Funding

LGBTQ Archives and Libraries

Political Advocacy
Bisexual and Trans Organizing and Advocacy
Queer Youth Homelessness Queer People of Color

Monday, June 20, 2016

GCLS Annual Conference

The Golden Crown Literary Society is having its annual lesbian fiction conference in a couple of weeks in Washington, D.C. There'll be panels, talks, readings, the Goldie Awards and other fun stuff. It's definitely worthwhile if you write romance, paranormals, lit fiction, etc. with lesbian characters. And as a two-time Goldie Award winner, my congrats to the nominees and finalists for this year!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pride Month boosting

Like a lot of folks, I'm still reeling from the horrible events in Orlando. I want to do something to help on a larger scale, so I've started a new project on Twitter to boost organizations working with LGBTQ folks in the U.S and internationally.
Details: I've started a project on Twitter that I'd been thinking about already, but which now feels a lot more urgent. Organizations that work with LGBTQ populations tend to be critically underfunded and understaffed. It shouldn't take horrible tragedies for them to get support for education, advocacy and organization they provide. So for the rest of Pride Month, I'm going to be boosting several organizations (not business at this time) a day. Hashtag is #prideorgs and my Twitter is @clundoff for those who want to boost, follow along, etc.

I hope you'll join in!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

"Planet 10" is featured on the Nobilis Erotica Podcast!

Happy news for today - my lesbian science fiction erotica story, "Planet 10" is featured on the Nobikis Erotica Podcast. "Planet 10" is about aliens and fetishes and submission and transformation and is, I hope, still pretty hot. It originally appeared in the Best Lesbian Erotica series, as well as in a collection of my earlier work. happy listening!

Monday, May 23, 2016

“The Highs and Lows of Promoting Lesbian Fiction”

I'm going to start reposting some of my blogs from other sites which I think might still be useful to folks reading this blog... Today's adventure: Promotion and writing



“The Highs and Lows of Promoting Lesbian Fiction”

If you’re an author these days, whether traditionally or indie published, finding ways to get the word out about your work is critical to the success of your book. Publishers are slashing budgets and staff for promotion, which means that even authors published by large publishers are looking for newer and more creative ways to publicize their books. At the same time, the review and other traditional publicity options for indie published books haven’t caught up with the vast number of new titles.

When you’re an author who writes for a smaller niche market, things get even tougher. I write lesbian fiction: science fiction and fantasy, erotica, and some romance. Small press lesbian fiction that isn’t primarily a romance is a challenge to promote, to put it mildly. There are few options for getting your book reviewed: fewer specialized websites, fewer book bloggers.  There can be fewer options for guest blogging or podcasting or doing bookstore readings. There is one major conference (other than publisher-specific gatherings) for lesbian fiction (the annual Golden Crown Literary Conference).

It’s considered a truism that as compared to gay fiction, lesbian fiction doesn’t sell that well (someone helpfully pointed this out on my Twitter feed just this morning). This looks particularly overwhelming when sales for m/m (written for a primarily female audience) is rolled in with other forms of gay fiction (written for a primarily male audience).  The larger the target audience, the bigger the sales, at least in theory.

That said, harder is not the same as impossible. Genre plays a big part in how easy it is to promote something: romance sells better than other genres, followed by mystery. But even that’s not a stroll in the park: big genre authors needs to find their audiences just as smaller genre or subgenre authors do. Access to more opportunities makes it easier but that’s not necessarily the same as “easy.” 

What that leaves is the need to get creative about marketing our books. We have to get our books out there to build an audience, then find ways to consistently maintain and grow that audience. I don’t have any easy answers that will apply to all books and all writers but my initial publicity efforts for my first novel are laid out in this guest blog post to give you an idea of some of the things I’ve tried. I’ve been building on my experiences with each of my books and I make a new list of things to try whenever I have a new book coming out.

Do they all work, in the sense of selling more books? Alas, no. Nor can I tell you definitively what drove someone to buy one of my books (unless they told me) after any particular promotional push. And, furthermore, I will be honest and say that the most money I’ve ever made from an individual fiction sale was from my only m/m story. But, and this is an important “but,” I’m picking up a larger audience with each book and it’s not limited by genre or sexual orientation.  People who read my novel are also reading some of my short story collections and the anthologies I’ve edited. I also have many more promotional opportunities than I had when my first short fiction collection came out in 2005.

Where did those opportunities come from? Some came from practice: I did it once and it worked so I did it again. Some came from accumulated name recognition over the course of several years and books. Some came because I pushed myself to ask and to follow up on them. This last one is important. Don’t assume that a blogger won’t review your book or that you can’t get on a writer panel or that there isn’t an email list out there where you can promote your work. Ask or create your own. Audiences are built over time and lesbian fiction writers have more of any opportunity to build those audiences than ever before.

Some tips:
1.     Look at what other writers in your genre and style are doing to promote themselves. Learn from the good and the bad, so you don’t repeat their mistakes as well as their successes.
2.     Think outside the proverbial box. What would you like to do to sell your books that you haven’t done before? What do you need to do to make it happen?
3.     Think past your current book. What’s your next book going to be? How are you planning to promote it?
4.     Build relationships with other authors, book bloggers, reviewers, bookstores and people in your social networks. Networking should involve give and take to keep it stable and make it effective.
5.     Don’t give up on writing what you want to write.

Some resources:
Author K.T. Grant, blog post – “Lesbian Fiction/Romance Does Sell Well and Here’s How I Know…”
Golden Crown Literary Society – organization for writers of lesbian fiction in all genres.
Booklife: Strategies and Survival Tips for the 21st Century Writer by Jeff VanderMeer (Tachyon Publications, 2009). Excellent resource for strategizing how and why you do publicity for your books.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Where to find me on social media

In addition to blogging here, I can be found on Twitter as @EmilyLByrne, on Facebook and on my new Favebook author page as https://www.facebook.com/Writer-Emily-L-Byrne-838988202911365/
and on Google+ as Emily Byrne+
Please feel free to link, like and so forth!

I'm also happy to host guest blogs from lesfic and f/f erotica and erotic romance writers - drop me a line at writeremilylbyrne(at)gmail.com if you're interested.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Podcast acceptance!

My reprinted story "Planet 10" will be included in the Strange Transformations series at the Nobilis Erotica Podcast!  This will be the fourth appearance for "Planet 10," though first in this media. It originally appeared in Best Lesbian Erotica 2006, got reprinted in Stripped Down: Best Lesbian Erotica, then included in my short story collection, Night's Kiss: Lesbian Erotica. It's about lesbian aliens and weird fetishes and BDSM and yes, strange transformations. Check back in for the release date and in the meantime, please check out the other Nobilis podcasts and their Patreon. Lots of good stuff out there, including a smoking hot reading of my vampire story, "El Tigre."

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Win a free book and new CFS

Or at least a chance at a free book.
My esteemed editor for Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary, Sacchi Green, is doing a giveaway on Women and Words. Leave a comment for a chance to win!

Editor D. L. King will be the editor for the next volume of Best Lesbian Erotica. Her guidelines can be found here

D.L. King is also looking for stories for Unspeakably Erotic: Lesbian Kink. Guidelines are here.

Nobilis Erotica podcast is looking for erotic SF about bizarre transformations, amongst other things.

And there's a bunch of new calls on the Erotic Readers and Writer's Association website.

Me, I'm working on stuff and trying to get things out the door. More soon, I hope!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Getting a Clue and "The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet"


Welcome to my post for the Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition Blog Tour! Our wonderful editor Sacchi Green has organized a series of these to celebrate 20 years of terrific lesbian erotica from Cleis Press. Check out the whole series here

This marks my 9th appearance in the series, which is pretty exciting for me as a writer, and hopefully for you as readers! I've had stories in Best Lesbian Erotica 1999, BLE 2001, BLE 2005, BLE 2006, BLE 2008, BLE 2011, BLE 2014 and BLE 2015 and had the opportunity to work with Kathleen Warnock, Tristan Taormino, Laura Antoniou and a host of fabulous guest editors along the way. I'm so glad that Sacchi Green liked my story enough to include it in this year's edition.

"The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet" first appeared in Cheyenne Blue's anthology Forbidden Fruit. Its genesis goes a tad further back to a cancelled lesbian noir anthology and an earlier version of the story that I didn't like as well. Truth be told, there were several versions of this story. For this one, I pared it down and reworked it from the original versions, but kept the two main characters: a notorious jewel thief (Miss Scarlet) and her obsessed foe, a police detective named Kendra McClain. Sparks fly when they get close enough to each other for a train ride that neither will forget in a hurry!

Excerpt:

     The smile widened, brilliant lipstick parting over bright white teeth. “You can call me Scarlet, Miss Scarlet, if we’re going to be formal.” She tucked the e-reader away in a small black bag that matched her heels, but she didn’t take her gaze away from Kendra’s face.

    “Are we playing Clue? I’m not sure I want to be Colonel Mustard in the library, with or without a candlestick.” Kendra grimaced. She glanced down, this time looking beyond Scarlet’s body to her accessories. James always said that you could read a lot about a woman by what kind of jewelry she wore and how she put together her outfits. Kendra usually blew that off as his one concession to metrosexuality, but she was willing to make an exception tonight.
      Everything matched, not a hair out of place, not a chipped nail or a makeup smudge. Everything this woman wore was assembled with such care and thoroughness that she might have been playing a part on stage. With one exception: one of her rings was a giant, gaudy bit of bling that didn’t match her industrial-style silver earrings, necklace and watch. The ring was a mass of ornate curlicues around a faceted glass stone that was far too large and shiny to be a real diamond.


      “Nice ring,” Kendra drawled as the station signal beeped to let them know that their train was coming in.
      “Like it?” Scarlet smiled at her upraised hand. “I--” And the noise of the onrushing train cut her off. But for one crazy moment, Kendra could have sworn that she said, “I stole two others nearly the same size in Monte Carlo last year.”
     “What?” Kendra looked at Scarlet as closely as she could as she trailed the other woman onto the train. She reached for her phone, wondering if she could do a quick search on jewel thefts in Monte Carlo without arousing too much suspicion. But they were alone in the train car and headed into a tunnel, so there would be no signal even if she tried to claim a text message.
       And they were sitting down and Scarlet was resting her hand on Kendra’s arm, caressing it, stroking it until Kendra, watching it, thought she might go up in flames. “You’re so very strong, Detective. I do like a nice strong girl.” Scarlet looked up at her through thick black lashes, her gaze an invitation.



  To be continued...

Buy the book at your favorite store or follow the link for other options.




Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Help for writer Lars Eighner

@LarsEighner has written some fine books, including the terrific guide to writing better erotica, "Elements of Arousal." Please help him w/ medical bills if you can https://www.gofundme.com/fundlars

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

"Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year: 20th Anniversary Edition" is here!


This marks my 9th appearance in this series under various names, which I'm pretty excited about. But "The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet" marks my first appearance as Emily Byrne so it's still like a first time! You can find links for buying this lovely book here. There's a Goodreads Giveaway in progress and you can sign up here. I hope you enjoy this installment of the series1


Table of Contents

Introduction by Editor Sacchi Green

Dust  Rose de Fer
Ascension  Louise Blaydon
Tomato Bondage  Teresa Noelle Roberts
The Royalty Underground  Megan McFerren
Reunion Tour  Harper Bliss
Hot Blood  D. L. King
Make Them Shine  Sossity Chiricuzio
Tears from Heaven  Jean Roberta
Luscious and Wild  Sinclair Sexsmith
Smorgasbord  R. G. Emanuelle
A Professional  Rose P. Lethe
Easy  Anna Watson
Grind House  Valerie Alexander
Give and Take  Annabeth Leong
Mirror, Mirror  Frankie Grayson
The Road to Hell  Cheyenne Blue
The Further Adventures of Miss Scarlet  Emily L. Byrne

Introduction

The Best Lesbian Erotica series has a special place in my heart. Twenty years ago, in 1996, Tristan Taormino and Cleis Press published the first volume of Best Lesbian Erotica, and in 1999, to my amazement, my own very first erotica story made it into that anthology. When Tristan Taormino called and said that she loved my piece because it was so different I was hooked on the series and the entire genre for good. (Tristan also very kindly pointed out the many improvements I needed to make, of course; I had a lot to learn.) Seven more of my stories made it into further editions of Best Lesbian Erotica, although I got a bit distracted in recent years with editing ten themed anthologies of lesbian erotica myself, eight of them for Cleis Press. Editing this one feels like the greatest honor of all.
Back in 1996 there were far fewer markets for well-written lesbian erotica than there are now, but there were many majorly talented writers with the courage and the burning desire to tell the stories demanding to be told, stories that can still stir your senses and linger in your mind. There have been some changes in erotica over the years, largely in how far we dare to go and how much we think we can get away with, but I still remember stories from those earlier years as challenging as any written today.
The main difference these days is in the quantity of lesbian erotica available, and the numbers of people writing it well. For this 2016 edition (the title, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, has changed just a bit, but it’s still the same series) there was a superabundance of excellent work, and choosing was a harrowing as well as stimulating experience. Tastes differ, of course, especially when it comes to erotic preferences, so not every story will push every reader’s buttons, but for me the writers here make this edition outstandingly worthy of Best Lesbian Erotica’s long tradition of sexy excellence.
In the limited space of a single anthology, “best” has to take into account factors beyond any single measurement of quality. An apples and oranges comparison just won’t cut it; envision instead, say, peaches…smooth, rosy, rounded peaches…and pears…and maybe the occasional heavy melon… But don’t worry. No actual fruit metaphors are abused in this book.
Like Tristan way back then, the idea of “best” for me includes “different,” whether it’s a brand-new treatment of a familiar theme, a way with language that makes the words dance to an inspired beat, or a plot I’ve never seen before. Beyond those, each story has to contribute to a balance in the work as a whole, which should include a variety of themes, settings, voices, tone, and diversity of ages, ethnicities and physical attributes. Above all, “best” should mean original ideas, vividly drawn settings, creative imagery, fully developed, believable characters (even if occasionally that requires readers to suspend disbelief for the sake of arousal), and, of course, plenty of steamy sex, with intensely erotic scenes that flow naturally from the story as a whole, ranging from vanilla to BDSM to edgy frontiers that defy classification.
Originality takes many forms. D. L. King melds the familiar tropes of werewolves and lesbian auto mechanics into a character as likable as she is sexy. Megan McFerren’s characters take refuge in a London bomb shelter during WWII. Emily L. Byrne’s brilliant incarnation of Miss Scarlet seduces a police detective in the NYC subway system. Louise Blaydon’s “nice girl” and “bad girl” strike sparks together forming a band on the gritty side of Liverpool in 1961. There are stories with touches of humor, or moments of tenderness, or immersions in the no-holds-barred depths of bondage and the keen pleasures of pain—and now and then all three at once.
What you get, in this anthology, is a seemingly infinite variety of lesbian erotic desires, in all the heat, beauty and power of both our darkness and our light. I’m immeasurably grateful to all these writers who crafted their stories as only each one of them could, and offered them to be included here.
From me, from the writers, and, I hope, from many of you readers; Happy Twentieth Birthday, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year! Birthday spankings may be in order, but be gentle with your paperbacks. With e-books—well, maybe you’d better find a surrogate spankee. Just read a few of these stories with her to warm things up.

Sacchi Green
Amherst, MA