An extract from Jelvia: Not Human book 1 Holding out for a Hero He parted her ass cheeks and pressed his thumb against her small hole. A small pressure, and then he let her go to cup her … Continue reading
After squealing louder than an air raid siren, this was how my daughter described my writing aspirations to anybody who would listen. Although she’s a grown woman with a family, the thought of her father even knowing about sex made her feel queasy (I guess we all feel that way about our parents). Whilst less vocal, my other two children were equally perturbed by my behaviour.
It all started when I won a competition with a short erotica story and decided that it was a good format for me. With the 2011 nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) coming up, I decided to try not only to write erotica, but to do it in a month. I had a plan. The year before, I’d drafted 25 chapter headings, each to be 2k words to hit the target. I did the same for my planned erotica, but just like reality sex, each chapter was over too quickly. I couldn’t pace myself at all.
My own definitions are that Porn is gratuitous sex, for the sake of depicting sex. It has nothing to do with relationships. Erotica is creating sexual scenarios the reader can fantasise about being in. All writers want the reader to live through their character’s eyes and erotica is creating a whole-body experience.
My attempt at full-blown erotica became a serial bonk fest in various positions. It wasn’t satisfying for me to write. Therefore, regardless of how much I tried, I knew I was failing. I shifted more towards incorporating stimulating encounters within a story. Sex provided another dimension to engage the reader. It heightened tension just as much as the creaking stair, or darkened passage.
One of the difficulties of writing sex is the vocabulary of the mechanics. Certain “real” words work, others don’t. Clitoris seems OK, shortened to clit, it’s possibly even better. Penis is awful, shortened to pen, I think that’s going places we shouldn’t. Therefore, I had to settle on my own words I felt comfortable with. I also believe there’s a US and a British syntax, but most English speakers get the gist of most euphemisms. Wang, Dang and Dong all work in their place.
An extra challenge is that I often write from a female point of view. Even though I have a lot of female friends, I swear I’ll never understand what goes on inside their heads. Of course it might just be the women I know, but their urges, hungers and impulses really don’t appear different to a man’s.
Like most men, I’ve smirked at Jack Nicholson’s advice in the film, As Good as it Gets, ‘Write it like a man, but then remove reason and accountability.’ Isn’t the truth that regardless of gender, we all want to give and receive pleasure? I try to show my characters taking this to the point of ecstatic oblivion.
Of course I’m aroused by what I write. I think if it doesn’t work for me, then I’m not hitting the spot. Of course on the tenth edit, the moves are becoming known, but it still works at some level.
A key theme for Amara’s Daughter was that sexual orientation or gender has nothing to do with being good or bad. To do this, I had to depict both predatory and consensual sex. Doing so pushed the book way out of the Disney-clean, wholesome YA category, but then who decided young adult is 13 year olds? Show me a group of over 16’s where sex isn’t an overriding part of their behaviour and thinking. As most young people now get their first impressions of sex from internet porn, I’m in agreement with a recent report suggesting YA authors should consider putting more authentic sex scenes into their literature.
Surely, it’s naïve to think that by keeping adult themes to specifically adult books we’re protecting anybody. I deliberately made the decision to make each sexual encounter more intense as the book progressed on the basis that if the attempted rape in the first chapter offended the reader, they really didn’t want to get to chapter 13 …
fantasy on speed
disappearance, her daughter, Maryan, struggles to escape her mother’s
formidable shadow. Shunned by most, her only friends are oddball characters
from the edge of society.
the nation, a pawn to play with and a pretty bauble to appease the neighbouring
king, but lurking beneath the surface, an ancient terror plots to wipe out
Daughter is a turbulent, rite of passage story tracing Maryan’s growth from
naive schoolgirl to the woman destiny needs her to be.
|E. H Howard|
come.” Fredrick rose from the chair, a silhouette against the window.
through her and she was in his arms without a thought. His mouth covered hers.
The passion of his embrace drowned all reason.
sweeping her back and forcing her onto the desk with her legs straddled wide
around his hips. One hand gripped behind her head, holding her in a kiss, the
other pressed against her breast before sliding along her body, moving lower,
prying at the folds of her garments.
her head aside to break his kiss.
pressed against her, but lifted from the kiss to study her face. “Why? Why
searching, probing, touching. “He’d never know.”
I’ve collected a lot of money over the last few months. We could work as guards
down in Baraland.”
gloom, she thought she could still see traces of the boy she’d loved. She sat
up from the desk, holding him against her. Nestled into the muscle of his
shoulder she listened to their twin hearts beating.
with his teeth, he raked his fingers across her back. The heat of his breath drew
her farther into wild imaginings. She could feel the bulge of his erection
against her, a forbidden and sensual pressure. Mere fabric was all that
prevented him from entering her. He started to fumble at his waist to loosen
him back and stood up.
have poisoned you against me, haven’t they?” He swept one hand back across his
shaggy hair. “One damned mistake.” His eyes flickered away from hers.
|Betrayed by her own body, Morgan’s memories of love and security were becoming a dream of her past.|
What inspired you to write Somewhere after Seduction?
My husband passed away, and I found myself back in the dating world in my retirement years. I found it difficult. It’s so much easier to fall in love when you’re young and naive.
Why do you say that?
When you are young, and life is roses and popcorn you believe what you want to believe, not necessarily what the facts really might be. After some age, and experience you find it harder to bypass truth, intuition and/or the bottom line with men and relationships. Not long ago, I read an article written by an elderly man thrown back into the dating world, and he said it was hard to turn “dumb” back on. It summed up what I felt.
And that’s when you started writing?
Let’s say I’m a new writer at sixty plus lol. My first experience dating after my husband’s death was with a cheating man, and I started writing. I guess it was therapy, but then I discovered the soul of my characters. Sometimes they surprised me. I found developing my characters was like getting to know a new friend. They were not a copy of anyone I knew, they became their own souls. It was great fun getting to know them, and watching them grow.
I can relate to that. Your first book at sixty! That’s very inspirational to others reaching that milestone, although it’s a shame it took a cheating man to open your creative side!
Actually, all my life I’ve been involved in some type of creative work. I taught management, and that involved creating training manuals, and I was always involved in marketing. For years as a hobby, I made high fashion dolls, and all my sons high schools friends used to gather at our place, and we created stories to go with each doll. I usually had some creative hobby going along with my work. After I started my book it the characters, story and events took on a life of their own. The cheating man was a thing of the past, out of the picture, and the characters in the book were their own people and my new-found friends.
Is Somewhere after Seduction part biography?
No, but some events were inspired by real life experiences. I found that using places I lived at one time or another made it easy to write about. The characters are all fictional, but some of the story line came from things I have experienced in life. The events were not presented exactly as they happened, so I certainly wouldn’t call it a bio. But because of my past experiences I was able to empathize, and understand the feelings of many of my characters.
Tell us more about Somewhere after Seduction.
It’s a contemporary romance with characters at retirement age. It’s a story about love, devotion, losing everything and starting over. My characters come with baggage, habits they are set in and ties they find hard to separate.
How many characters are there? In the blurb there are four names mentioned, do they all have parts? Is Morgan the main protagonist?
Yes, Morgan is the protagonist, and of course is drop dead gorgeous, even at retirement age. But then again, many women are today. She is married to Ben, and they have an exceptionally close loving relationship.
Where does Dr Calvin Kendall fit into the story?
He’s the surgeon who tries to save Ben’s life. Later, Morgan finds out that Dr. Kendall has serious legal problems, and she fights to clear his name.
Is he the rogue of the story?
No, that’ll be Drake Taylor. For years he was a player. He never committed to a woman, but he usually had one to share his bed. He has a successful business, and likes to stay in control of his life, guarding his emotions. He is also a very confident sexual lover that likes to please a woman, and he knows how to do it. Unfortunately, Drake has baggage. Three grown kids from hell. Morgan has known Drake for years she trusts Drake. She has no idea how seriously he will impact her future.
Was there a character you struggled with?
I struggled with all of them to be their own individual. I related to what they were experiencing, but I wanted them to come alive on their own. I still had fun sneaking in a “truth” here and there, and playing with fictionalizing and dramatizing it. I rewrote scenes that sugar-coated Drake’s past, but decided that would not be honest. He was his own character, his own person so I went with my first instincts.
Honest in what way?
I thought it took something away from his character. I hesitated having him with two different women, in the book, but he was a player so it just fit his character. It was difficult not to second-guess the love scenes, they were pretty explicit. After several rewrites, I went back to my original scenes and the love scenes just fell into place. Drake is a confident lover, and sure of his sexuality. The scenes sizzle.
The cover is probably more provocative then the story, although the love scenes in the story are hot and uninhibited. There is romance, attraction and a strong story line with the sex. The sex scenes are totally character driven, and they fit well.
How many unpublished books do you have lurking under your bed?
I have one more in the works. It’s another contemporary romance story, What Love Was…
A follow on from SAS, or totally different characters and storyline?
No, this is a totally different story. Two couples find out their baby girls were switched at birth. The story will actually touch three generations, and will probably be a series. We shall have to see.
It sounds like a disturbing theme. How’d you come up with that idea?
The inspiration came from a greeting card for a baby shower. On the front was a baby wrapped in swaddling, on the inside the card just had one line. It said, “You only thought you knew what love was.” As a Mom I knew exactly what those words meant. My son is the light of my life. One of the main characters in this story has to decide to save her life, or the life of her unborn baby.
How far are you into it?
I have two chapters just about completed. I have it set up so I can change the beginning. It’s a story about Isabel and Sophia who were switched at birth, but do not discover the truth until they are grown. Their lives merge, and become intertwined where they find out the true meaning of what love really is. It’s based on loving a child more then you love yourself.
How did you find your publisher?
I didn’t. My book was a three-year project. Two years into writing it, I was diagnosed with an aggressive rare type of lung cancer. So I didn’t have time to fool with publishers or rejections, because I did not know how much time I’d left. My book kept me going (along with my love of life) so I decided to self-publish. Sixteen months after being diagnosed, I am getting clear tests. I am blessed. Every day I pray for time to accomplish all the things I still want to do, and I thank God for getting me through this.
Amen to that! So you never had the heartbreak of dealing with rejection letters?
I only sent out one query, and when the rejection letter came I decided I did not have time to fool with that. I think agents basically operate like an employment service. If they get a job order for a book that matches your query you are in luck because of timing. If not you are rejected, and the next month a job order may come in to match yours. Button line is you are a day late, or should I say early. Besides, I was not sure I had the time left in this wonderful world to deal with rejections. I think every writer needs to keep in mind that whoever is reading your book, an agent, editor or publisher, that is only one person and it might not be their cup of tea. That doesn’t mean you don’t have a darn good book that others will love. One person’s opinion does not make a majority.
So, who did you self-publish with?
I used Createspace which is owned by Amazon who in turn owns Kindle. Create Space will let you publish on Kindle or a paperback free on the condition you do your own formatting.
And that was the downside?
No, the formatting for the paperback is relatively easy. There is a program you can get for $32 that is an add-on to Microsoft Word that will format to their specifications.
Kindle and the eBooks was another story. The formatting was confusing. But you can get an account with Smashwords for free, and they will publish your book with Sony and the other eReaders. There are about five or six formats that must be done. Each eReader is different including Kindle.
Luckily, I found a guy through Smashwords that would format my book for me for $60. It was well worth it and only took about a week. Once he completed the formatting you submit them to Kindle and Smashwords yourself.
I needed a glass of wine when that was complete!
What about pricing?
With Createspace you set your sale price, and they do print-on-demand with the paperback. You are allowed to buy your own books at cost, which is a nice benefit. They have a very easy outline to follow to complete the process. Your profit is determined by the size of the book, and where you want it sold. If you elect to let it go on the standard bookstore special order lists then your profit drops considerably. In fact, mine would have been 29 cents a sold book. With this option your book is not put in a book store, it is merely available on a special order list. Heck, a customer can do that on Amazon! The negative with Amazon is your book is so buried it is hard to get an audience, unless you do it yourself. As we know, we are not allowed to talk to the customers, not even answer a question if asked directly. The other negative I found with Createspace is some print errors in the final book that were not in the proof. They weren’t a “deal killer”, but they were there.
Your cover is amazing, how did you arrange for that to be done?
Oh yes, the cover, what fun. I did it myself for a total cost of $10.00. That was like putting frosting on your cake that baked beautifully, and smells delicious. I purchased the picture on a royalty free site, and then produced the copy in Microsoft Publisher. It took me about five evenings of searching for the right picture. I knew instantly it was the right one. I saved it in a little lesser resolution then Create Space suggested because I wanted the faded illusion, and it worked.
How do your juggle a writing schedule?
I am retired, so I am fortunate to make my own schedule. I had my ups and downs with time during surgery and feeling bad, but I spend more time at it now then I probably should.
Have you never written before now? Or has it always been a dream that you never thought you’d accomplish?
I was in an executive position prior to retiring, and everyone used to ask me to write their letters. I dabbled with journals over the years, and then as my career expanded I was working Washington DC, Virginia, and Maryland and had properties all over Israel. Most of them were in Jerusalem. So I wrote a book about the experience. It was not a book to publish, just a book to pass down to my grandchildren about my experience. After I retired, I got the bug and played with it. I bought every book I could find on the subject, and watched every video on the Internet. I was fascinated.
What’s the best/worst part of being a writer?
Two things are bad, or at least frustrating, comas and the critics.
The two Cs! Comas are my downfall. I use White Smoke, which is a grammar check and heaven sent. It’s cheap too! http://www.whitesmoke.com/
And the critics? Have you have many?
Writers take far too much abuse. When you think of the time, and creativity they put into a story it is mind-boggling. They deserve so much more credit than they get. Many people that review books have never written a paragraph in their life. That might be a slight exaggeration, but people should think twice before giving their critical views. One person’s junk is another’s treasure.
Every story isn’t right for every person, so just admit it’s a personal preference. Don’t take the author apart.
My son said, “Mom, it’s your story if they don’t like it, they can write their own.” He’s such a sweetheart. I always taught him there were critics in the world and then there were people that did things. Be the doer, not the talker. The best thing is looking at the finished product, and knowing you did the entire creation yourself. The characters and players will always own a piece of your heart.
Fantastic advice there. And on a lighter note, what is the most productive time of the day for you to write?
I like late evening when it’s too late to do what I should have done during the day.
Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer.
Do you set yourself goals when you sit down to write such as word count?
No, I just follow my characters and go with the story. Sometimes I have no idea what they are up to until I finish the chapter. Did you know that Margaret Mitchell who wrote, Gone With the Wind, actually wrote the ending first. I think you have to follow the story and follow your heart.
Do you have a critique partner?
I hired a person from a book club that professed to be an excellent editor. Then I hire a guy from Australia that promised to stand side by side with me until my book was published. That was a joke. All of a sudden he had an assistant and auto-answer. That was an expensive lesson on a widow’s pay.
With the editor, I am not sure who was worse, her or me. I had a few friends review it, but with them I got more feedback on the storyline than the grammar/editing. This time around I will search out to someone who knows what they are doing.
We should try to turn out the best product possible, but we take ourselves much more seriously then we should sometimes. Don’t beat yourself up too bad. You can go through most bestsellers and find an error here or there.
Anything else you want to tell us?
When you have walked in the shoes of your characters, you understand what they feel.
I want to contribute something to the world while I am here. I love creating. Since my retirement, I have learned heirloom sewing, machine embroidery, quilting, dabbled in painting, spend hours with “how to” books and lots of time writing. They all inspire me to want to do more. And of course, I want to beat cancer. I have had three primaries in my lifetime. I am now sixty-seven, and have been fighting this horrible disease since I was twenty-nine. I want to live. If I keep creating, I have a reason to be here, and maybe God will let me stay. Besides, I cannot sing or play a harp, so I am hoping he thinks I would be more productive on earth.
I haven’t read this novel yet, so if anyone has read it or is reading it, please drop a line to say how much you’ve/are enjoying it.
“better” myself can I add that I’m talking about writing sex scenes?
very hard to write a sex scene and almost always have my characters kissing one
minute then lighting a cigarette the next!
My scenes seem silly when I read them back, and I end up giggling hysterically at them. When I’ve recovered enough I
reread only, this time, I’m cringing with embarrassment!
I stink at writing sex scenes.
sex scene in A Proper
Charlie but I wrote that mainly for laughs not just for romance. Romance and sex
is so hard to get right.
Eden is more romantic, and I admit I cut the sex scenes
because they just didn’t seem right. There are only so many ways you can write
about kissing, caressing and getting naked!
names for body parts (cue a list of inappropriate names for parts of the body):
- Special flower
- Love cave
- Front bottom
- Lady garden
- Silken/velvet nest/folds
- Bearded clam
- C*** (can’t even bring myself to type it!)
But that’s my opinion as a reader, as a writer of erotic fiction I’m certainly no expert!
is, I want to include a bit of how’s-your-father in my books. I want to learn
how to write sexy novels! And I’m jealous of those who can!