Age-gap romances are a whole category of their own inside the romance genre. I can either eat them up like candy or sneak a peek and run the other way. It depends on the specific constellation in the book in question, but maybe some of it depends on my own biases, too. It’s a complicated relationship.
Next month, my 20th anniversary with my husband is coming up. As my kids like to remind us (frequently, with the judgement only teenagers muster over their parent’s life choices), we have a little age gap. All things considered, a seven-year difference isn’t the world and hardly even counts as a contender in the age-gap romance category. But given my barely legal age of 18 when we married, I get why my kids find it gross. I would blow a gasket if one of them started seeing an older person at their current age. Continue Reading
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.
In which I talk about my year 2017 in almost no detail and about the upcoming Big Book of Submission 2 in a little more detail.
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.
#Goals, goals, goals
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.
#Words, words, words
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.
My new short story, Mistress Marlene is out now. The inspiration for it was something really personal.
Sometimes, I’m wondering if the reason why I can’t let go completely during kinky sexy-times is that I know ogre is doing it to please me. He does his best to impersonate a dominant for me. It doesn’t come easy to him, and there’s always a palpable insecurity underlying his act. Continue Reading
I’m mourning the death of my last surviving Aloe polyphylla seedling. It must have been eaten by slugs while I was away. The pot is as empty as if there never was a baby aloe in there at all, and I’m frustrated. What used to be my green thumb is now a charcoal black stump, and I’ve laid more plants to rest than I managed to keep alive. In that regard, I’m very different from Poppy Baines, character in my story “The Black Orchid” which is featured in the Sinful Press anthology “Sinful Pleasures”.
Okay, not just in that regard. Continue Reading
Today, I’m thrilled to host Gail Williams, fellow author of the Sinful Pleasures Anthology (it’s out now, go grab your copy!!!). She writes about her inspiration for “Taking It” and shares a steamy excerpt with us!
Take It Where You Find It
By Gail Williams
Take inspiration where you find it, that is. There is inspiration everywhere, and sometimes it comes in the form of an open submission from a publisher. And sometimes it’s a left of field inspiration too, and for me that’s what a call for Sinful Press was.
See, erotica isn’t something I usually write. When I started writing for publication, I was a big reader of Mills & Boon and so I wrote a lot about romance. But those novels kept being rejected because – and this is an actual quote from a Mills and Boon rejection letter – they said I gave the books “too much plot.” Immediately after that, I tried removing the plot and just writing the sex. It seemed logical at the time. Had no luck there either. To be fair I think that was because I was being too ‘romantic’ about it, and I was probably too young, not experienced enough to pop my porn writing cherry at that point. Continue Reading
Apparently it’s the time of personal stories for me. This one needs some content warnings, so here’s your heads up: This essay contains mentions of suicide and drug use as well as graphic descriptions of sex. And there’s a little bit of blood.
Writing erotica is, for me, an exercise in self-exploration. It’s finding the things that push my buttons and examining them. Isabel Allende wrote that “For women, the best aphrodisiacs are words. The G-spot is in the ears. He who looks for it below there is wasting his time.” In my experience, that’s absolutely true. Sex, for me, happens mostly in my mind. My imagination is what fuels my engine. I’m not sure yet if that’s part of my problem or part of the solution. Continue Reading