Monday, 31 December 2012

Happy New Years, and goals for 2013!

So much celebration this time of year! 2012 has been a pretty neat one overall. The world didn't end, I started a new degree, and then decided to embark on my career as an erotic author!

I hope all of you out there are having fun. I'm doomed to spend this Monday evening looking after myself as I fight off the annual winter sickness, but I'm sure I'll find something to have fun with all the same!
Probably writing erotica. Probably.

So! I feel like I'm at the point now where I can look back and appraise how my initial dabble into the world of erotica has kicked off. It was a shaky start in mid-August when I first started publishing on Smashwords. I was pretty slow with putting out content, a lot of it definitely wasn't my best work, and I had some pretty awful marketing/covers to boot. I'm already at the stage where I want to go back and redo a lot of my first erotic shorts. It's amazing how much you learn in such a short time when you're passionate about something!
The beginning of November was when I started really taking things seriously and published on Amazon. And boy, I wish I'd done it sooner. My sales there have been very encouraging, over a hundred in my first month, and now over two hundred in December, plus over 1500 downloads of my free title! This little blog of mine has been picking up a lot more traffic than when I first started, and I've settled in nicely with a couple of friendly indie writer communities.

As far as my recent progress goes, I'm very satisfied. I feel like I've got some traction now, and I'm not gonna slow down any time soon!

My one big goal for 2013 is to be making a living off my writing by the end of the year. To do that I'm going to have to finish sorting out my US tax exemption (the IRS steals 30% of all my US sales, grr), ideally get published on AllRomanceEbooks, and start selling 5-10 times the amount I am currently. With the kind of progress I've been seeing in November and December, I think those sorts of numbers are very, very attainable.

In other news, part six of His Darkest Desire is almost done. After editing and whipping up a cover it should be out in a couple of days!

Best of luck in the new year to everyone out there! What're your goals for 2013?

Friday, 28 December 2012

Back Home, Upcoming Plans, and Amazon Freebie!

I'm back from visiting relatives, yay! There's nothing like recharging your writing batteries than being dragged away from the keyboard for a few days. I expected to have a couple of weeks in between releases over Xmas, but with 3000 words already under my belt for the next instalment of His Darkest Desire it's looking like it might be out by the end of the weekend!

So, time for an update on my writing plans! I'm really getting into my eRom now that it's verging into juicy plot developments and lots of drama, and my current plan is to conclude it within three more parts. Depending on how it pans out there might be one or two more, but we'll see!
After that I want to get to work on my paranormal werewolf eRom idea, and I can see erotic romance becoming more of a focus for me in the future. It seems to do very well from a financial perspective, and more importantly it's more compelling for me to write. That's not to say I'm going to stop with plain smut (I still have plenty of ideas to dip into!), but I expect I'll always have at least one eRom on the go over the coming months.

But on to what's really been exciting me since last night, Amazon have price matched Tempted to Submit, and it's now free! This title's been free on Smashwords for a while, but in just a couple of days the Amazon version has already gotten hundreds of downloads and is currently sitting at #32 in the erotica category! My story's up there next to a bunch of names that inspired me to start as an erotic author in the first place!
So, I mean, I'm a little giddy. I'm not making a bazillion dollars from it (yet!), but the sheer amount of exposure my little story's getting has me over the moon.

Another blog post soon, along with another erotic short to publish!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Breaking His Trust Published, and Merry Xmas!

Part five of His Darkest Desire is finished and available to purchase now on Amazon and Smashwords! Things are starting to take a darker turn for poor Nina this time as we pass the mid-way point in the series.

Settling comfortably into her relationship with Elliot Wolf as both his girlfriend and slave, Nina finally feels like she's making progress with the withdrawn millionaire. Not everyone is as happy with the arrangement however. Manipulative Marcia is more than willing to drop a few carefully poisoned words at the right time, leading to an intense session with Elliot that pushes Nina to her limits.

And besides that, Merry Xmas everybody! Hopefully you haven't been too naughty this year and Santa will bring you everything you've ever wanted. If not, you might be in for a spanking.
But season's greetings all the same! I'll be taking a week off to tackle the relatives and stoke up some festive cheer, but after that it's straight back to erotica!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Realism in Erotica

Oh mah gawd the world is ending! There are Mayan robots EVERYWHERE!

No not really. I think we're all safe from those kinds of jokes for the time being, until the next apocalypse prediction appears.
So! On to today's blog.

Realism, whether in erotica or any other genre, is always a subject an author has to have in the back of their mind. You need to sell your story as something that makes sense to the reader, with some basic foundations they can latch on to for security and stability. Without these foundations it's very hard to engage with what's going on, as it throws our expectations and frame of reference out the window, creating a strange and uncanny experience for the reader. Even fantasy and sci-fi has to have some sort of baseline established pretty early on, some kind of internal logic to let you know whether to expect wizards and dragons or swords and beards.
The Matrix set this up with beautiful simplicity when Laurence Fishburne explained how "some rules can be bent, others can be broken". Then the terrible sequels went ahead and threw all the rules out the window by giving Keanu Reeves magical powers.

So realism's important. Not necessarily real-world realism, but some kind of internal logic that makes sense within whatever setting you're working with.
How much does this matter in erotica though? I've read plenty of stories that throw me out of the steamy action because of some minor detail, and plenty of others I've loved where anatomical limits are pushed to the point of absurdity. As with any story, I think it really depends on the tone you establish and the genre you're working in. With something like BDSM a lot of the appeal can be in the kinky details. A lot of people are familiar with the ideas of whipping or wearing latex or being tied up, but I'd venture to guess that not a lot of readers have extensive first-hand experience with those things. Describing something like the texture of a whip, the feeling of the marks it leaves on the character's back, or the sexual thrill of pain blurring over into pleasure, can add a sense of realism that enriches and adds some extra spice to a story. Even if it isn't something you as a writer have experience with yourself, a little research can heighten the sensual detail of sex scenes to a whole new level.

Conversely, if you're writing about something like, say, fantasy monster sex, it's a safe bet that you can push the boundaries of reality a little further. In my recent short Mated by the Minotaur I pretty much hand-waved the realism of the petite princess taking a monster who was described as being hung quite literally like a horse. That story wasn't focused on graphic realism and detail though. It was a simple, hammy romp all about the fantasy of a princess being taken by a powerful beast. It was more about the overall tone than the nitty-gritty. Besides which, few readers were going to be thrown out of that experience by the omission of details. Not many of us have had lots of sex with fantasy monsters for reference.

Given the choice though, my personal preference is to add in as much sensual detail as I can manage most of the time. I adore things like describing the sensations of anal or oral sex in great detail, and I sometimes get thrown out of other stories when they handle these things in an offhand or unrealistic way (if the rest of the story expects you to take it seriously). That being said though, sometimes tone is more important than realism. It doesn't always matter if your virgin college student takes to rough anal sex like a duck to water. Sometimes that's just a heck of a lot hotter than having her slap the professor in the face and ask him what the heck he thinks he's doing.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Take it for the Team Published, Free Title, and More!

Take it for the Team, my latest steamy M/M (and a few more Ms) short has hit the virtual shelves! You can find it up on Amazon and Smashwords now!

Tyler lets his eyes stray far too often during practice with the college basketball team. Fed up with Tyler's unrequited fantasies, his girlfriend decides it's time to have the team teach him a lesson once and for all. When he ends up trapped in the showers with the team captain, Tyler suddenly finds himself about to deal with a lot more than he bargained for.

In other news, Tempted to Submit, the first part of my BDSM romance is now free on Smashwords! Once other retailers update with the price change I should be able to have Amazon price match as well, but for now if you want a bit of free kinky romance make sure you head to the Smashwords link. The free price point has been very appealing to me rather than a $0.99 one, given that royalties are so low, and even a two dollar discount isn't as big an incentive to dip into a series as it could be. Fingers crossed it'll turn out to be an effective marketing technique!

In other other news, I'll be working on part five of His Darkest Desire this week. I've also had a very exciting idea for a werewolf-themed eRom knocking around in my head for the past few days. It was one of those things that just leapt into my brain one evening while I was in bed, and the premise was too much fun to ignore. So at the risk of crowding my publishing schedule even further, expect to see some sexy werewolves managing their dramatic love lives within a few weeks time.

I think that's about all for now. Another blog post in a few days!

Friday, 14 December 2012

Video Games!

Goodness, I've had a long and stressful week. What better way to unwind than with some video games?
Thankfully I've gotten this month's essay out of the way, Xmas shopping is all done and mostly delivered, so all I have to worry about for the next couple of weeks is staving off a winter cold and getting some writing done! And blog posts. Today we're going to talk about video games.

I try and keep this blog focused around writing, erotica, and sex, but another great love of my life is video games. I'm not what you'd call a hardcore gamer (I barely buy half a dozen big titles a year), but ever since studying some game design in university I've had a passionate interest in the medium.
What fascinates me most about video games is their potential as an artistic/storytelling form of media. When it comes to writing, whether it's for a book, film, or play, there are certain rules that inform the framework of any successful story. With video games however you have a completely different set of rules in play, and while the same basic tropes of storytelling still apply, the ways in which games can convey narrative and emotion are vastly different.

The obvious difference is the inclusion of the player. A good video game isn't just created as a series of events that unfold for the audience to experience, it's a series of events that involve and engage the player at every turn, making them just as much a part of the experience as the mechanics happening on-screen.
A great example I came across recently happened when I was playing The Walking Dead, a fantastic story-driven adaptation of the comic book that inspired the TV series. In this title the gameplay itself is very bare-bones. It's often reduced to pressing a single button or clicking the right spot on the screen at the appropriate time, but it uses this so effectively that it creates an experience entirely unique to anything you might find in a book or movie.
In The Walking Dead there's a sequence where you back an armed crazy woman up a flight of stairs while she holds your friend hostage. The only thing you're able to do at this point is walk slowly forward with the W key, and occasionally click on the woman to talk to her. She's unhinged, she's yelling, lightning flashes through the window, and she screams at you to stay back as she alternates between pointing the gun at you and pressing it to the head of your friend. Then the flailing arms of a zombie poke through the banister at the top of the stairs, inches behind the crazy woman. She'll be in its grasp at any moment, but a moment's all it'll take for that gun to go off.
So even though all you can do in this situation is to edge forward with the W key, that decision to move and back the woman away from you is the single most important thing in this entire scene. It's completely in your hands as the player, and you're constantly on the edge of your seat desperate not to scare your antagonist by moving too fast, hesitating to see if the zombie gets any closer, wondering how long you've got before she snaps and blows your friend's head off, and knowing that whatever happens rests squarely on your shoulders.

That right there is a storytelling experience that you just can't replicate in any other medium, and it perfectly embodies exactly the kind of emotional response that video games excel at drawing out of their audience. It's why I love them and find gameplay just as fascinating as the nuances unique to prose or cinematography.

I'll probably talk more about video games in future blogs at some point, but there's my little introduction!
Because I've been so busy my next release might be a day or two late, but for now I'm working on a steamy one-off M/M encounter in the college gym showers, the next Darkest Desire instalment, and I've gotten an idea for a paranormal erotic romance featuring werewolves into my head these last couple of nights. My plate's going to be pretty full over Xmas!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Taught Her Place Published, and Xmas Schedules!

Part four of His Darkest Desire is finished and available to buy on Amazon and Smashwords! This one turned out longer than usual, with plenty of juicy plot developments and naughty BDSM!

Waking up in Elliot's mansion for the first time, Nina prepares to begin her training as his obedient slave. But not all of her questions have been answered, and as she begins to get a glimpse into her new Master's past, Nina begins to wonder what it will mean for her present. Old flames and old faces begin to reappear, and even Elliot's intense training cannot put her fears to rest.

So! Besides this week's new release, things are starting to get hectic for Xmas. Not only do I have an essay to rush through this week (and another coming up in early January), I have shopping to do, relatives to visit, elaborate gifts to plan, schedules to work out, two birthdays at the end of December, and somewhere amongst all of that I'm going to have to get a bit of erotica written!

I'll almost certainly have a break in my publishing schedule over Xmas and new years, but I'm going to try my best to keep pushing out one story a week up till then. I'm considering alternating Darkest Desire chapters with one-off stories, so it'd be one BDSM romance instalment every fortnight interspersed with my backlog of other ideas for sexy erotic shorts.

Oh darn, and add blog posts to that list of things to do. Now I'll have to think of a fun topic to write about in the next few days. :|

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Sexual Orientation

That's a nice broad topic to cover, isn't it? I thought today's blog post could touch on the topic of sexual orientation briefly, so here are Claudia's thoughts on the subject!

As a writer I've written about all sorts of sexual encounters, and that includes several same-sex ones. I have a couple of M/M stories published at the moment, and you can bet your buns there'll be one or two F/F ones showing up at some point over the next several months. As you can imagine, I've had more than a couple of people ask me whether I'm bisexual after having read some of my work. Spoiler alert: I'm not. Not even a little. I consider myself very firmly heterosexual, I just happen to find same-sex encounters incredibly hot.

That probably sounds weird to some of you, but it's all about the difference between sexual attraction and romantic attraction. Unfortunately society doesn't often make that distinction, and sexuality gets lumped into "straight", "gay", "bi" without much consideration for its different dimensions.

I'll tentatively say that I think most adults who have a vested interest in sex beyond the norm get to grips with this concept pretty quickly. They're beyond the adolescent worries of "if I fantasise about a member of the same (or opposite) sex does that make me gay (or straight)?", and the more you get into exploring different sexual kinks the more open minded you tend to get about how and why different things turn people on.
In the two M/M stories I've published so far I actually make a point of establishing that the male leads are both heterosexual, to make the distinction between sexual and romantic attraction. They both have girlfriends, they're both in stable heterosexual relationships, but gay sex is still something that turns them on. I do this because it "fetishises" same-sex encounters for me. It makes them more accessible and naughty to a heterosexual audience. I feel like I'm going to have to put a disclaimer here that I don't intend to portray homosexuality as a fetish in and of itself - only as a straight person's fetish. I'm sure there'll be romantic same-sex encounters in my writing in the future. :)

I do like to explore the emotional subtext of sex whenever I can, and my hope is that, on top of being super-steamy reads, some of my stories can engage people in thinking about sexuality in different ways from time to time.

You don't have to be gay or lesbian to enjoy gay or lesbian sex. Sex is hot, no matter who it's with.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Mated by the Minotaur Published!

This week's quick erotic short in between Darkest Desire instalments: Mated by the Minotaur.

My latest foray into lusty fantasy monster sex is now available to purchase on Amazon and Smashwords!

Princess Cilissa's cruel father has had enough of his wayward daughter's disobedience. Sentencing her to be thrown into the Minotaur's labyrinth, Cilissa has no choice but to accept her punishment. The maze is dark and endless, and her only hope is to find a way out.
Somewhere in the darkness the beast stalks her, ravenous to claim the beautiful young princess and make her body his.

I had a lot of fun writing this one, and I'm pretty proud of the result!
I'm going to be taking a little break over the weekend to catch up with other things (essays are starting to loom again), and get some Xmas shopping sorted out with my fresh bounty of smut money. ;)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

The Power of Sex

How's that for a title huh?
Today I'm forcing myself to take a day off from work, so I figured a nice relaxing blog post might be a good way to unwind. I thought it might be fun to talk about the power of sex as a topic in fiction, how it can be treated, and what it can mean.

Over on Kindleboards there was an interesting thread I stumbled upon last night about a Christian erotic author who was having trouble reconciling their feelings of guilt with their publishing schedule, and it got me thinking about how powerful sex can be to both readers and writers alike. It's a shame it's still such a rarely used tool in a lot of mainstream fiction, because sex can be used to explore and contextualise both some of the most wonderful, and some of the most harrowing extremes of the human emotional spectrum. I'm sure for a lot of people some of the most intimate and loving moments in their lives have involved, or will involve, sex with a significant other. Equally, nonconsensual sex rates for many people as by far one of the most abhorrent and harrowing things that can happen to a person.

So we have those two extremes, and all the shades of grey in between. That's a fantastic palette for an author to work with, but also a tricky one to manage. When it comes to handling any sensitive subject matter, I think any creator of fiction has a degree of responsibility to their audience. Your audience trusts you to deliver an experience that's entertaining, thought-provoking, cathartic, or stimulating in some way. A bad author usually loses this trust before too long, and the reader along with it. But equally problematic, I find, is an author who doesn't treat their subject matter with the respect it deserves.

This was what was going through my mind when thinking back to the Christian author on Kindleboards; is there a context in which it's right to feel guilty about depicting sex in your work? Religious concerns aside, my answer was yes; if you're going to portray sex in a lazy, callous, or damaging manner, then you're doing your readers a disservice and potentially communicating some rather unsavoury sentiments about the subject in general.

To look at some examples in my own reading, there's a distinct difference between a couple of popular series' I've read in recent years regarding how they tackle sexual issues, namely George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire (or Game of Thrones, to use the far catchier popular title), and Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children. Neither series shies away from sex and sexuality, but there's a key difference in how these topics are presented. I found myself unable to get past the third Game of Thrones book in part because of the callous way it handled sex, violence, and morality in general. But looking specifically at sex here: George Martin frequently references rape, defloration, unwanted pregnancy, and the general abuse of women in his books in order to establish the brutally grim reality of his world.
Jean Auel also deals with these themes in an even more direct and harrowing manner, but her books leave the reader with a far more healthy and balanced view of sex as a result.

So why is one author's treatment of sex so different from the other? The key is that Jean Auel presents the other side of the coin. She shows the intimate and loving extreme of sex alongside the negative and disturbing one, providing contrast and context to her subject matter. George Martin by comparison overwhelmingly touches on sex in a debasing, sordid, negative light, without really going very far to explore the emotional effects it has on the individuals involved.
This was why, even though Jean Auel reaches far darker places (in my opinion) with her depictions of sex, her series has by far the more balanced, positive, and wholesome portrayal of this sensitive subject matter.
Martin uses sex as a tool to establish tone and setting, whereas Auel treats it as a critical part of the story worth exploring and understanding in and of itself.

I'd argue that these two authors demonstrate how sex can be presented and contextualised in both the right and the wrong ways, and how other writers can learn how to give sex the understanding and the respect it deserves as a core theme.

I feel like I should wrap it up here, as this has been quite the ramble!
I suppose my overall point is this: if you're going to tackle the emotional extremes of a particularly sensitive subject, take the time to flesh them out properly. Don't write kinky erotic shorts that make your readers think BDSM is a bad thing because you were careless in explaining how a master/slave relationship works, and don't write novels that portray every other male character as a rapist just because you wanted the tone to be dark.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Expected to Serve published, and future titles!

Part three of His Darkest Desire is out and available to buy on Amazon and Smashwords!

Tired of feeling used by her sometimes-employer sometimes-master Elliot, Nina agrees to meet with him one more time. She needs to know whether she really means anything to him, and if he cares about her, why is he so restrained in showing it?

Persuaded to spend the day together, Elliot shows Nina exactly what sort of relationship she can expect with him. It may not be normal, it may not be everything Nina wants, but her desire to be dominated is too strong to ignore.

As it happens, I made my first blurb typo when publishing this one. In the very first word of the blurb, too.
I hope it didn't result in too many prospective readers thinking I'm the worst person in the world and never buying any of my stories ever again. :(

So aside from that, today I'm going to talk about my upcoming release schedule a little! My current goal is still to get a minimum of one story out a week, and I ideally I want a new instalment of His Darkest Desire as often as possible. Having said that though, I'd also like to write some quick and steamy one-offs in between, just to add a little variety to my release (and writing) schedule. I'm going to try my best to pound these out in no more than a couple of days, and hopefully have them edited and published after not much longer. Right now I have a little quickie called Mated by the Minotaur half way done (my first foray into monster sex! Well, sort of), and if all goes well these titles shouldn't cut into Darkest Desire release schedules all that much.

Blog post on a less businessy topic in a few days! I'm sure I can come up with something sexy and/or writing-themed.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Erotica as Art

Here we go. Erotica as Art. I'm going to try and keep this as brief as I can, because there's a thousand essays just waiting to be written (and a thousand that probably already have been) on this topic.
So as someone who's spent a great deal of time studying the arts, the relationship between them and erotica is never far from my mind. The tip of the iceberg is: how do you define art?
To some people erotic short stories are no more "art" than a cheap porno shot in someone's college dorm. They exist purely for titillation without any kind of creative depth behind them. They're certainly not the sort of thing to ponder over and critique alongside the Mona Lisa.

But that's a snobbishly academic view of art I've never agreed with. To me art is anything creative that's designed to entertain, provoke or stimulate its audience in some way. Art takes a thousand different forms and works on a thousand different levels, some of them profound, some cheap and cheerful. And erotica most definitely takes a degree of talent on the part of the writer to pull off. Just like any form of fiction it's all about making the reader feel something - in this case, turning them on and exciting them. A good erotic author knows exactly how to do that, from sizzling descriptions and steamy settings to perfect structuring that doesn't skimp on either the sex or the set up. An even better erotic author will be able to inject fun little bits of narrative, and put an interesting new spin on tried and true concepts.

To me it's really the same as any other artistic medium; at it's worst it's bland and boring, at it's best it's creative and engaging. It's very easy to think of erotica as inartistic because of the volume of sex-based media out there that caters to the lowest common denominator. There are thousands upon thousands of porn movies that have zero creative input beyond sticking two pretty people in front of the camera and telling them to fuck. But at the same time I've seen porn (very, very rarely, and that's a great shame) that has fantastic performers who really sell what they're doing, great editing to keep the sexy pacing going, elaborate sets, sultry lighting, sometimes even a soundtrack that gets away without sounding cheesy. It's hard to look at something like that and not call it artistic just because the subject matter it's dealing with is intended to arouse.

Cheap garbage gives cheap thrills, quality erotica will leave you breathless and unable to tear your eyes away from the page.

AN: I am in no way suggesting that my own work falls into that second category. But we can all strive for something. ;)

Monday, 19 November 2012

Forced to Obey Published, and the Taboos of Sex

Phew, I've really been hard at it getting these first two instalments of His Darkest Desire up and published. Today I actually took a break from any writing/editing and realised it was the first time I'd done that in a few weeks now. Sometimes I wonder if I get into this stuff a little too much.

Anyway, Forced to Obey is now available for purchase through Amazon and Smashwords! Nina's relationship with affluent writer Elliot Wolf has gone beyond being just his typist, but where does she stand now that his true intentions have been revealed? Longing for him to punish her again, but afraid of being used, Nina returns to Mr. Wolf's mansion to confront the latest erotic game he has planned for her.

The first part of the series is now priced at a nice accessible $0.99, so take a look if you're interested!

Aside from my new release, I wanted to do a bit of a proper blog article as well, as it's been a little while. So what about the idea of sex and sexuality still being such a taboo subject in society? Obviously the standard thoughts apply - yes it'd be nice if we were all more open about sex, yes it's a silly double standard that things like violence are so much more acceptable in entertainment mediums, yes I wish I could sit down with my family and talk openly about being an erotic author this Xmas.

But despite all of that, the taboos of sex are a large part of what makes it so exciting. Sure society could go a few steps further in embracing it, but in a completely sexually open society would sex and erotica still have the same appeal they do today? I think about every time I type words like naughty or dirty or have characters say phrases like bad girl, and the reasons those choices of words elicit certain emotions from the reader. It's the idea of there being something inherently shameful and wrong about sex that makes it so deliciously naughty to embrace in the first place, and kinks like BDSM are so appealing in part because they draw on all of those emotions so strongly.
In a world with no uptight secretaries waiting to be punished, or bad girls looking for a master to discipline them, or members of the clergy suppressing sizzling homo-erotic desires, a lot of the emotions that elevate sex beyond just the physical act would be lost.

I have a feeling I might just be coming at this from the perspective of someone who's far too kinky for their own good (I'm sure there are lots of people out there enjoying good old-fashioned vanilla intercourse as much as ever), but I almost hope sex never becomes too socially acceptable. A lot of our modern understanding of it stems from a background of repression, and I think, in that regard, we've developed a heck of a lot of art from adversity.

If you consider erotica an art, that is. Oh boy, that's a whole other topic just waiting to be blogged about.
Let me just add that one to the list.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Tempted to Submit published, new BDSM series!

All aboard the Fifty Shades bandwagon, whoop!
In all seriousness though, you can now find part one of my very own romantic BDSM series titled His Darkest Desire on Amazon and Smashwords.

Aspiring journalist Nina can't believe her luck when world-renowned author Elliot Wolf offers her a job as his typist out of the blue. Unable to pass up the opportunity she begins to work for the enigmatic Mr. Wolf, but soon begins to realise that beneath the job offer lies a far darker desire.
Elliot Wolf likes to play games, and Nina is his latest toy. Is his interest in her superficial, or is there something genuine lingering beneath the surface? Whatever the case may be, Nina soon finds herself slipping into a dark sexual world beyond anything she has experienced before.

This series will be a little bit of an experiment for me, as I've only really published one-off (okay, sometimes two-off) shorts so far, primarily in the "pure smut" genre. There'll still be plenty of smut in this endeavour, but also a more fleshed out story and characters, which should run for 5-10 parts depending on how it all pans out. My schedule for publishing each instalment should remain the same at roughly one per week (though I'll try my best to get the first few parts out quickly). It might be that I throw out the odd one-off erotic short in the middle somewhere, but I want to see how having a multi-part series published works out for me in the long run.

Forced to Obey, the second instalment, should be out within a week!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Strong Female Characters (in erotica?)

I've always been interested in strong female characters in fiction, and that goes for everything from novels to stage plays to films and video games (perhaps specifically due to their sparseness in the latter two mediums). I love a good female character that's well-rounded, unique, memorable, and able to overcome the challenges presented to her in a way that seems realistic and organic to the story. On top of that, I've always been a proponent of the idea that truly strong female characters are those that deal with challenges and situations specifically related to their gender. Anyone can write a gender-neutral action hero of the type we've seen a thousand times before in hollywood and popular media and hire a female actress to play them, or change all the "he"s to "she"s in their manuscript. In fact (and perhaps I'm verging into the territory of silly personal hang-ups here) whenever I run across a female character who's portrayed as tough and butch and domineering I can't help but roll my eyes when she's described as a "strong female character" - because in my mind she's really not. She's just a generic strong character with the gender dial clicked over from option #1 to option #2. Of course, I'm generalising here (and not to say that those types of characters can't be fantastic in the right hands), but my preference what makes a strong female character is a little different.

Perhaps the quintessential example for me is the character Ayla in Jean M. Auel's novel The Clan of the Cave Bear. By and large the entire plot of the story hinges in one way or another on Ayla's status as a young woman in a male-dominated clan of Neanderthals. Most of the challenges she faces are related to her social status as a woman, themes of motherhood, and the conflicts placed before her by the male characters in the novel. Ayla is a character who simply would not work in this story if she was a man, nor does she overcome any of the hurdles the author places before her via male-associated traits of strength á la the Ellen Ripleys and Lara Crofts of fiction. That to me is the key distinction between a strong female character and a generic strong character, and precious few writers seem to make it in mainstream fiction.

So obviously I appreciate this type of characterisation, but where do you fit something like that into a quick and steamy erotic short story?
I have been trying, believe it or not.
A big thing for me when writing sex scenes is how dominant and how submissive each character is, and how much control they have over those things. A lot of the BDSM-themed stories I've written are all about a submissive protagonist, and with the small amount of wiggle room I have for characterisation I always make sure to establish that they're not submissive through some defect of their personality, or because they're totally overwhelmed by a powerful male partner; it's always because they ultimately choose to be. It's a small thing, and sometimes one I only allude to in a sentence or two. Most readers might not even pick up on it, but it's important to me to get that kind of stuff in. One of the things I had fun playing with a little in my Confessions of a Slut Puppy shorts was the idea that Fiona the protagonist was just as much of a driving force in her marriage as her husband (perhaps even slightly moreso), despite the stories revolving around her being his utterly submissive sex slave. She was always the one who made the ultimate call about what was going to happen in the bedroom (or on the couch, more often than not), while her husband maintained this gleeful, almost innocent fascination with the prospect of being her master.

I think I'll wrap this one up now as it's getting a little long, but I think there's more to talk about and chew over here, especially related to strong female characters in erotica! I'd love to hear people's thoughts on the subject.

AN: This being said, don't read any of my current stories looking for deep characterisation. They're all still predominantly about hot sex. :)

Friday, 9 November 2012

Punishing the Principal published, and Amazon!

My latest very rough, very kinky short is out! You can read all about Principal Alexandra's passionate evening with an infuriating young employee of hers over on Smashwords now, and on Amazon by some time tomorrow.

Speaking of Amazon, I finally started publishing there, yay! Three of my titles are already up, and the rest should start appearing within a few hours time. You can find a link over on that handy links bar I stuck on the right. ->
Or here. Just in case you couldn't find it.

I've been neglecting my poor blog a little this week, mostly because of essay demands, redoing almost all of my old covers, and getting everything up and running with Amazon. Rest assured I'll have more posts ready to come in the future though, I've got a few topics in mind for things to witter about, namely Emotional Context in Erotica, Strong Female Characters in Erotica, and some ideas for starting up a BDSM-themed series of shorts at some point. Mine won't feature a hunky billionaire as the love interest though. Probably.

Monday, 5 November 2012

How much is too much?

My most recent erotic short is all about rough sex - and in the process of writing it turned out to get very rough indeed. I'm not crossing any lines into weird sub-kinks or anything, but it got me thinking about the different types of erotica you can write as an author. More specifically; how kinky do you get?

The last piece I wrote was practically vanilla by comparison, and I have a feeling I could definitely get a lot naughtier and more deviant if I tried. My concern, I suppose, is that some people might read one of my lighter stories and enjoy it, then hop into Claudia King's Extreme Sex Dungeon Boogaloo (working title) and be totally put off by how filthy the story was. I know we have things like tags and descriptions for that, but it's still something that's on my mind when writing a new piece that strays into kinkier territory. Honestly I think most people are probably pretty open about mega-dirty stories if the writer pulls them off well, and I'd definitely prefer to be an author that dabbles into too many kinks than too few, but you always have those little niggles about it.
So I'm wondering, what do most people "expect" from your average erotic short? What's a standard vanilla encounter likely to include? What's a staple BDSM story? Are people upset when anal sex isn't explicitly mentioned in the book title?

I'll put it all down on my list of things to learn. And I'll get back to finishing up my rough sex extravaganza.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Finding a style (and learning lots of things!)

Writing erotica - specifically short erotica - has definitely been a learning experience over these past couple of months. Coming into it I started writing more or less the same as I would in any other genre, and looking back I'm not particularly fond of my earlier stories as a result. At least not in the context of them being "erotic shorts". The two Erica stories I started with for example would probably work better as more of an erotic romance rather than quick steamy romps. There's way too much padding and character development/minor drama, especially in the second one. Ravaged in the Stables as well is probably my least favourite of my shorts, I wrote that one straight after my first two even though it ended up getting published later. The build up is way too slow, and there's a ton of superfluous information (well, superfluous in an "anthropomorphic wolf-fucks-girl-in-stables" sense), to the extent that it reads like more of a fantasy piece than a kinky short. Also the cover is terrible. I've been thinking of redoing a few of my early ones, and Ravaged is definitely at the top of the list.

I think with stories like Confessions of a Slut Puppy and His Girlfriend's Daddy (those italics really make them seem a lot classier than the titles imply :/) I started to settle into a much more suitable erotic style. I figured out that, hey, when you're writing about hot, intense sex it's probably better to do it in the first person. A third person perspective definitely distances the reader from the action, and characterisation in such a small space is trickier when you're not inside the protagonist's head the whole time. Not that there's a ton of characterisation in 3000-5000 word erotic stories anyway, but at the very least a bit of personality spices things up a lot more than a bland empty shell. Speaking of bland empty shells, I wasn't too happy with my dabble into vampire erotica recently either. Taste Me, Take Me has gotten by far the lest attention of all my stories, and while that's another story I'm not too proud of the cover for (why did I keep thinking dark reds on black worked well?), I feel like the fact that the characters are completely devoid of personality didn't help much. I wanted to go with the idea of this kind of cute rock chick having a ton of hot sex with a pair of vampire studs after a concert, but it turned into more of a low-key thing about the sensations of having paranormal erotic blood-drinking experiences instead. If there's one thing I'm cottoning on to, it's that big emotions are better in short pieces. My natural tendency is to write things very slow-paced, setting up characters naturally and organically over time. But that's stupid when you're not going to be with them for more than twenty minutes or so. Taste Me should've been about the main character being totally pumped after a wild performance in front of thousands of people, then getting passionately fucked by a pair of vampires at the after party.

So I'm just the teeniest bit self-critical, as you can see.
Not to worry though! I've always thought a healthy dose of self-criticism always drives a writer to keep adapting and improving their techniques, and to try out new things. I think I've finally gotten my head around what makes a hot title cover, and I'm very excited about a few ideas I've got for upcoming stories that deal with lots of intense emotions, fast action, and hot sex. ;)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

And the next step is...!

Phew, let me tell you, self-publishing is one great big stack of jobs to get through. Ever since I've started it's always seemed like there's been something else I should be doing in the near future in order to help my new vocation along, and it's a lot to digest.
I found out about most of these things pretty early on during my research prior to publishing: blogging, tweeting, foruming, networking, sorting out publishing on different sites, and a whole host of other minor stuff. Needless to say it was totally daunting. I spent hours just reading through pages and pages of Smashwords documentation to make sure I got everything right before putting up my first story, and, like I promised myself, I took it nice and slowly. A couple of months down the line I'm starting to get a lot more comfortable with publication just using Smashwords (although I'm still waiting on a whole ton of financial paperwork to sort out before I can actually get paid), and I feel like it's time to start networking a little and making my work more visible online.

So what've I been up to in that regard? Well this blog's been the start of it. I'm still a complete twitter newbie so that's still on the back burner. I've been trying to get involved with a couple of forums though, specifically Kindleboards and Eroticaforum, although the latter seems to be in a bit of a hosting-limbo right now and I still haven't heard back from the admin. Hopefully a touch of socialising will integrate me a bit more with some of the online writing community and net a bit more attention for my stories. On top of that, now that I'm comfortable with Smashwords I hope to start getting published on Amazon soon.

As intimidating as all of this was when I took in the whole package a few months ago, little by little I've been working through the steps of what I can do to make this venture a success, and I'm happy to be passing the hurdles one at a time as they show up! There's a lot more looming on the horizon though, and I've definitely got a long way to go yet.
Persistence and perseverance!

Sunday, 28 October 2012


It's always a struggle trying to find a steady rhythm when you need to be self-motivated about something - heck it's hard enough finding any sort of rhythm at all. Right now I'm tackling not only a loose schedule of one ~5000 word erotic short a week, but also the weekly modules of my degree and monthly essays looming on the horizon. I feel like things would be a heck of a lot simpler if I was doing just one or the other, because right now I often feel like I'm compromising the first area of work if I spend too much time focusing on the second. Hopefully down the line I'll have more freedom to defer modules of my studies or take a month off writing when I need to knuckle down, but for the time being I can't really afford to neglect either in these early stages.

So how do you find that sweet spot of productivity on such a vague and loose schedule? I'm not a fan of setting strict guidelines and work hours for myself (even though that works out great for some people) as it tends to circumvent the whole benefit of being self-employed in the first place. Right now broader deadlines seem to be working pretty well for me. "I'll get one story done within this one week period", "I'll take two weeks here to work on this essay", "I'll need at least three days to get this chapter read".
As long as there's plenty of planning ahead, plenty of wiggle room, and plenty of time to get everything done, my sporadic schedule seems to go just fine for me.

Plus, if all else fails I know for sure I can fall back on "Just sit down and do it".
And I mean, that simplest solution is really the best one when it comes to any form of creative media. Time and again I've come across people who've been very talented in one area or another, but never get their dream off the ground because they tend to treat it as a hobby rather than work.
Spoiler alert: no job, no matter how fun, ever stops being "work". Creative pursuits can be incredibly rewarding and enjoyable, but there's still some element of an uphill battle there every time you sit down to focus on them.
So I just sit down and do it. Just do it. Just write, even when you're not feeling into it. I'm going to make this my goal in order to hit my self-imposed deadlines in the future, and I know for a fact that plenty of uninspired beginnings have turned into productive several-thousand word sessions once I get in the mood!

I don't think there's ever a point where most writers feel completely and utterly comfortable with their own productivity, but there's definitely a point where you start to become more and more comfortable with meeting the demands you set for yourself!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Beginning the Blog

As an aspiring erotic author I'm going to kick off a blog of my own, hopefully as something that'll allow me to interact with and update readers in the future, but also as a bit of a personal record of how things are progressing and what sort of developments I see over the coming months.

So how about a little bit of an introduction!
I'm a relatively young writer, currently passing the time at home working on a second degree in English Literature after having graduated a year and a half ago with some average grades and a minorly useful qualification in Creative Arts under my belt. My days are pretty quiet, pretty free, and even with my studies I have a lot of spare time on my hands. So what does that leave me to do? Sit around at home half the day? Waste money I don't have on leisure time? Get a part-time job I'm not likely to enjoy all that much? Well, that last one sounds like the most productive option. Luckily for me I stumbled upon the world of erotic adult fiction through sites like Smashwords and Delilah Fawkes' infamous thread on the SomethingAwful forums. Writing has always been my passion, the freedom to work from home and flex my creative muscles is something I'd readily do day in day out even if I wasn't making much of a living from it. The prospect of making actual real money though, well, safe to say it's a dream come true!

While I'm still a bit of a fledgling writer in terms of my talents and accomplishments, I feel like three years of study (plus an ongoing interest in my spare time) has at the very least left me equipped to hop into the world of self publishing and get to work on something productive. I've been looking into the area of short erotic fiction for around three or four months, and publishing for the last two and a half (although that second month  ended up not being very productive - end-of-module assignments have to take priority!). So far I have seven short stories published, and my goal is to get roughly one done a week, subject to the demands of my studies. It's a slow burner, but I've sold ten titles on Smashwords, most of them very recently. From everything I understand this is a business that picks up steadily over time, and already I'm starting to see the results trickling in!

Anyway, that's enough of a ramble for my first post. See you in the future for more erotica blogging and updates on how my quest to be a professional smut-writer is going!