Hi! 🙂 Is it too early to ask you about your new book, Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Vol. 4? Could you tell us a bit about your story?
I have a lot of things on my mind lately concerning the struggle with my PCOS and Hashimoto’s, and I want 2019 to be the year I finally get better. My hope is that getting physically better will also help me to get better mentally and kick depression’s ass. However, I’m expecting a long and hard journey, and I’m only just at the beginning. Baby steps is what I’m telling myself.
What does this have to do with the Erotic Journal Challenge? Well, since striving for health is the most prominent thing in my life right now, it’s going to color my perspective of everything else. While I’m reminiscing about the past, my thoughts will inevitably bounce back to the present. This week’s prompt is Sex Ed, and there are some things I really wish I’d known earlier.
Maybe I wouldn’t be at this lowest point in my life health-wise if I had paid more attention in biology class in school. I was 18 when my gyn warned me about hormonal irregularities in my body for the first time. She wanted me to see an endocrinologist to check it out further. My menstrual cycle has always been irregular, which prompted her to take a closer look. But I, 18 and stupid, shrugged it off. I had other things on my mind. If I had been diagnosed with PCOS earlier, maybe I would have taken better care of my health. I got pregnant at age 20, and again at 21, with maybe 3 (irregular) periods in between, and I forgot all about hormonal imbalances amidst diapers and stubborn infants.
I should have paid more attention. But my “Sex Ed” came mostly from romance novels and concentrated more on the pleasure side than the functional side of things. At least, what was considered pleasure in 90s romance novels. The very first novel I bought myself, a Historical Gold Extra serial, contained a (in hindsight horrifying) rape scene. The heroine thinks she’s starting a position as a governess and the “hero” thinks she’s a sex worker sent to “teach” him sex. And when the heroine refuses him and “acts” like an inexperienced virgin, he takes it as an act meant to please him and proceeds regardless. Again and again. As you see, that scene left quite the impression, and I can still recall it vividly over 20 years later.
Sometimes I wonder if it’s been formative for my sexual fantasies as a pubescent girl or even till today, or if that was inside of me even before. Maybe it just gave me a nudge. Once, I had to ask my grandmother to open a belt I had fastened too tightly because I liked the pressure of it around me. I was hardly six. Ropes and games where someone would be tied up (preferably to a tree after having been caught in a round of Robber and Gendarme) fascinated me even before I could read. (It’s still a recurring theme in my writing today – just take a look at The Hunting Game. Go on, it’s free).
Sure, going to school in Germany, I knew the bolts and nuts of sex. Sex Ed is a recurring thing in school here, starting in elementary school. Plus, being a teen in the 90s, I had the BRAVO, a pop music magazine aimed at teens that also contained educational content about sexuality. Every German Millennial knows Dr. Sommer and their column in the BRAVO. However, they, too, concentrated more on the nuts and bolts and the importance of using condoms, waiting till you’re ready, making sure your partner really wants what you’re doing enthusiastically.
Maybe I had taken that first warning of my gyn more seriously if I had known more about the fundamental importance of our hormones. But I skipped the last, most in-depth Sex Ed unit in school. It coincided with a time when anything remotely sexual triggered me following an incident of sexual violence. I didn’t want to see naked bodies. I didn’t want to learn anything about those instruments of attack. I stayed away from biology class.
Ultimately, I don’t know if things would be any different today had I attended that class. I don’t know if I had learned what I should have known to realize the consequences of a little hormonal imbalance. Maybe I just should have listened more closely to my gyn. Maybe I was just young and brash and stupid, period. Still, whenever I think of the Sex Ed back in school, I think of that one phone call I made from the coin telephone underneath the stairs in the school’s auditorium, when I called off my appointment with the endocrinologist. And I wonder if my life would be different now.
Hi! Not too early at all! BWE 4 is coming out December 11 – that’s in four weeks! AAAaaaah I’m so excited!!!!
For a number of reasons, my story “Aftershock” is a very personal story, even though Tessa, the heroine, is quite different from myself (apart from the fact that we’re both German). Tessa is in a long distance relationship with Hector, a Mexican doctor, and arrives in Mexico for a visit just as the earthquake hits Mexico City in September 2017. Her flight is redirected, leaving her stranded far away from her lover in a country she doesn’t know and of which she doesn’t speak the language, and with no possibility to reach him. So what is she going to do? Take a flight home, like the airline offers, or embark on a risky journey to find Hector?
I’ve never been in a long distance relationship, and I don’t know what I would have done in Tessa’s situation. I’m too scared to board an airplane to begin with. So, why is this story so personal if pretty much everything is so different from my own life?
While I was writing Tessa’s story, my sister was living with me. She’s the most important person in my life, my person, to put it in Christina Yang’s words. She’s also a German woman married to a Mexican man, who just had her first baby in a long distance relationship. She lived with my family for three months, waiting to return to Mexico City with my baby niece. Tessa’s story was born one morning when we sat in the kitchen, remembering the fear and impotence we (both, but she more than I, of course) felt when the 2017 earthquake hit while she was an ocean away from her husband. And we laughed when she told me that he had slept through it, because his apartment building is built on different substrate and barely shook at all.
It’s weird to have personal stakes in a catastrophe happening on the other side of the world, and being unable to do ANYTHING – besides feeling guilty for also being glad you (and your person) weren’t there when it happened. But we wondered: what would my sister have done, had she arrived for the first time just as it happened? Mexico City Airport was closed and evacuated, flights were redirected. And when my sister visited her then boyfriend for the first time, she had nothing but a mobile number – and there was no cellular network directly after the earthquake, so how would she have reached him? And how would I reach my sister if another strong earthquake were to happen now, while she’s there? I hope I would be like Tessa, who finds the strength to go on a quest in search of her lover.
Tessa’s story is one of romantic love, but it’s not that different from the deep, absolute love I have for my sister. In the end, it’s love that offers us the strength to cross into the unknown, to take risks and get out to help the people who need us, and save the ones we can. “Aftershock” is such a personal story because I, too, would move heaven and earth to find my sister.
You can preorder Best Women’s Erotica of the Year Vol. 4 here:
https://www.bweoftheyear.com/bwe-of-the-year-4 (Universal buy links)
It’s Halloween, which isn’t really a thing here, but it’s an occasion for me to ponder the fears haunting my poor, little, lost soul. This rambling thing (not really a post) was brought on by this post by Rachel Woe on the Sisters in Smut page. What should have been a fortifying little pep talk to myself turned instead into a reckoning with my fear-riddled soul.
Risks and fear are inextricably related.
The greater the fear, the bigger the perceived risk we need to take to overcome the fear. Some fears are shapeless, dark monsters lurking at the edges of our vision, and we’re not exactly sure WHAT they really are. Some are neatly defined, named, labelled and put in a box to gather dust. We never take the box down from its place on the shelf to examine its contents, but it’s there, allowed to live on on the shelf space of our minds. Continue Reading
“I want your trust,” he’d said before placing the blindfold above her eyes. It was not just a shawl, but one of those thick, padded leather eye patches that blocked out even the last ray of light, and it was secured with straps making it impossible to slip. Then he took her hand and led her into the room where the others awaited her.
June didn’t know who they were, or how many. Every step on Ronald’s hand led her deeper into darkness, until at last he made her stop. Over the racing beat of her heart, she tried to pick out the number of people in the room by their breathing. Someone sucked in air against their teeth on her right side. To the left, an appreciative hum. The shuffle of feet in front off her, and the rustle of clothes. She was at the center of attention, and she could feel it on her skin like sunlight.
Ronald’s fingertips brushed up from her wrist, never quite leaving her as he reached for the bow of her neckholder dress and pulled it loose. The dress whispered to the floor, slipping off her form like a veil pulled back and revealing her to invisible eyes.
June gasped, her lower belly clenching as she was left in nothing but her knickers and high heels, a delectable treat for them to devour. Goosebumps crawled across her skin, shivers chasing over her as Ronald’s lips brushed hot against her ear. His husky voice filled her to the brim with a want too big to hold.
“Serve,” he rasped, a wet, dark command that vaporized on her skin as he stepped back and she sunk to her knees.
She wanted them all, wanted them hard in her mouth, wanted them to fill her like a cup and turn her devotion into liquid bliss for Ronald to drink up.
I haven’t written a word since December. Maybe even November. I’ve tried, but I couldn’t squeeze any words out of this brain. There was a lot going on in those last few months, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise.
Since new year, I’ve been trying to write a story for a submission call. I really wanted to submit a story, but between having guests (including my newborn niece) and never ending virus infections (my kids have been coughing their infections back and forth, all the more easily for sharing their room since before Christmas to make room for our guests), the words have been coming slow. I started a few stories and discarded them after only a few words. Same with blog posts.
The deadline for this call came closer and I ran dry on words. My desperation became so intense that, in a crazy spur of the moment decision that I already regret, I went back to waiting tables. It’s not that I have anything against earning money. I already have a list of things to do with all the money I haven’t yet earned, so long that I have to wait tables for five years to make it to the end of that list. I really need new glasses. I want to renovate my little one’s room. And the bedroom. I want to save up for a trip to Mexico. I want to buy fabric (so much fabric) to sew all the things. And so much more.
One day after I started my new side job, the deadline for the submission call ended, and all I had was one half baked story. But better try and fail than not try at all is my motto, so I put together my submission. Reading the guidelines one last time to make sure I get everything correctly, I realized that I could send in two stories.
With the deadline only a few hours away and one story short (hah), it’s like someone pulled out the stopper. I had nothing to lose, so I sat down, wrote till three in the morning, and sent the second story off to my beta (hallelujah for living in different time zones).
“You need more deadlines,“ my guest tells me, watching as my fingers hit the keyboard feverishly. She’s not wrong, but since the lack of sleep had me finally succumbing to the same virus infection my kids had been fostering for three weeks, I’m not sure it would be healthy in the long run. Because now, I’m really having a fever, and this one sadly is no metaphor.
But I also have tapped back into my writing well and discovered new inspiration. So now I’m thinking I might finally tackle some longer projects. Because one thing going back to waiting tables does is taking some of the pressure off. It allows me to give myself more time to let a story flourish.
Since going professional (sort of), I’ve always felt the pressure of having to publish frequently to generate views and an income, however small. I’ve failed spectacularly at this; I resorted to writing shorter stories in order to publish more frequently, but it took me almost as long as a longer story to write a short story in the end. Now my stories and my writing career have time to grow without the daunting shadow of existential dread looming over me.
I still hate waiting tables, but I do love it when the pressure comes off. And I’ve heard it’s sometimes even helpful to leave the house once in a while to refill the well of inspiration.
The holidays are upon us! As a little (early) gift, I have a short story for you: The Witch, a w/w fairytale retelling with a sprinkle of horror on top of it. It’s the fairytale Penelope reads in Penelope’s Choice: A retelling of Hänsel and Gretel with a twist (and adult protagonists, in case you’re wondering). But I must warn you: There’s explicit content ahead (I mean, what else do you expect from erotica, really), and a little bit of gore.
The year is coming to a close. 2017 passed in a rush of panic, and I won’t miss it one bit. I started this year with goals I hoped to achieve, but as so often, I missed them by quite the distance.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably noticed me posting a lot of pictures of yarn or knitting projects lately – not exactly what you’d expect from an erotica author, and probably not what I should be posting either. But to hell with all the should dos and the don’ts.
I’m human. I’m more than just my professional self. I write. I draw. I spin and dye and knit and crochet. And I battle depression.
The last one is more prominent lately, resulting in less writing and more binge watching of series on Netflix and Sky (OMG I love love love Babylon Berlin. German thing, so sorry to all of you elsewhere on the planet). Judging by my Twitter feed, that’s a global phenomenon. The public discourse around sexual harrassment has been everywhere; it’s necessary and it’s time for it to happen, but it’s also triggering to many of us. I retreated into silence.
My goals for this year (and every year before that) were simple: More writing, more publishing. I didn’t quite manage the “more” part, but I take consistency too, in terms of writing and publishing.
Professionally, however, I made considerable progress. I submitted stories to four submission calls this year (which is a 400% increase to last year, when I didn’t submit anything anywhere outside my bedroom.) One submission got rejected, one is still pending. Two got accepted, and that is amazing.
The first story getting accepted was The Black Orchid, a story I’m ridiculously proud of. It appeared in the Sinful Pleasures anthology published by Sinful Press. The second story that got accepted is going to appear in The Big Book of Submission 2, coming out on December 19.
I actually screamed when I opened the proof copy of this one, as my story is right next to one of the amazing Malin James (author of the sublime Roadhouse Blues collection of short stories. Remember my fangirling?).
And there are so many more cool and amazing authors in this anthology! Rachel Kramer Bussel does a brilliant job editing these anthologies. In a way, I owe my new professional journey to her, not only because “Words” was the first story I submitted this year. It all began with a podcast featuring Rachel (sadly I don’t remember which one because I listen to a lot of them. I think it was Sex Out Loud?). After listening to her talk, I looked her up. I found the submission call for BBOS2 a week or so before the deadline.
I want to say the rest is history. After all, being included in this anthology is huge for me. It literally made my year.
But the year doesn’t end there, and because I’m more than a word machine (wonky on the best of days), life caught up with me.
For a while now, my word machine has been broken. There’s a special sense of irony in the fact that a year starting with a story titled “Words” ends with a complete lack thereof. Often, I wonder why I chose this genre for my writing, if I keep struggling with it’s implications.
It comes back to this: because I love it. I love writing about sex. About people figuring out their way and themselves, about pursuing the things they want even if they seem wrong and shameful.
“Words” is exactly about that: a woman figuring out how she wants to fuck, and putting it into words for her partner. She’s making herself an object by verbalising how she wants to be fucked – but in doing so, she’s the subject in this interaction, the one making the choice. She’s at the center of her story, not as object, but as subject, as the one shaping her world.
Words are an integral part of negotiating, inside and out of the bedroom. Every relationship needs negotiating, not just the kinky ones. Sometimes it’s about things like taking the trash out, and sometimes it’s about how hard you want to be spanked and where (or if you want to spank your partner at all). Negotiation is the language of love, and loving is to listen.
I’m glad that my year started and ends with this story; it reminds me of the good things, of the gift I’m given. Even if I don’t write a lot at the moment, I’ll always find consolation and courage in words: in books, stories, in blogs and articles and podcasts.
This content is blocked. Accept cookies to view the content.