When you write steamy fiction it can spark some interesting conversation. Once all of the flushed faces dissipate the good stuff starts flowing and soon you are either turned on, laughing so hard your stomach hurts or you're riveted at your friends political ideals. Okay, so here is a share from a stomach killer.
I was talking with some friends about naughty bit terms. There are only so many ways to describe body parts and we went through a ton of them, remarking on how we felt about their impact (if there was one) and their usage. Here is a few of my opinions on some naughty bits:
Vagina - The word is too formal for me. I want my doctor to use it, not my lover. It's not a favorite of mine, I am not even sure if I've used it.
Cunt - This one was about 60-40 in favor. I personally like it. I think it's hot and heavy. Not my first choice when writing a romantic scene though.
Cooter - I'm giggling already! And I don't know what to say other than this is a confession, take it as you like, I dig it. I like the word cooter. I don't know why, what the hell? It's going on a sticky right now. There it is. I've never used it in a book, but I like it anyway!
Love Tunnel - No. Just no.
Hot Box - Forget it.
Muff - A tad boring.
Snatch - No. You can do this to my purse not to my body.
Cum Bucket - definitely not sexy. I have no use for it, although cum slut might be fun.
Va-jay-jay - In conversation among girlfriends certainly, in description never.
Twat - I don't like and wouldn't use it, but I have no hate for it either.
Pussy - my absolute favorite. I love this word. It can be naughty or sexy.
Penis - It's formal but I do like it more than I do vagina. I have used it and it works for me (pun intended!)
Cock - My favorite word for the male side of things. It just has a rough edge to it but is still sexy.
Dick - Sure, why not? He's a nice guy.
Schlong - I just think of dildos, bright pink or purple!
Pole - Not sexy and I don't ever want to run into one with my car. I mean that would suck.
Rod - Conversation possibly, descriptive scene? No way.
Boner - Sure a guy might call it that. I'll bite. Oh I mean, no, I don't bite honest.
Dipstick - I've met plenty so no thanks
Tool - I have tons of them and they are all so different!
Chubby- How dare you!
Okay so as you can see being an romance writer has its perks, great dinner conversation! Seriously folks, next time you are rolling into a restaurant with your besties try discussing their preferred terms. I guarantee fun will follow.
The popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey catapulted the romance genre (especially erotica) into the spotlight. There were some who seemed surprised at the immense appeal. It's not a new phenomenon. Romance outsells all other genres combined.
The romance category is filled with much more than handcuffs and collars. In fact, that is a very small portion of what it offers readers. Whether it's a relationship developing on a sprawling ranch in the 1800's, another planet, in the bedroom of strangers or in the flux of danger, romance is about the human connection.
Romance readers are potentially every one of us.
Let me share something. I was sitting in a drive-thru just today and behind me I witnessed a couple who were in the middle of an argument. The woman passenger was very animated, her hands moving, her face looking flushed and upset. The man behind the wheel looked away, his lips hardly ever moving. At one point, he opened his mouth wide, blinked hard and seemed to draw in a deep breath.
Of course I couldn't hear anything that was being said, I could only see their faces. I'm sure anyone else who noticed them might feel for the man, but how do we know he doesn't always meet her with that stoic, dull reaction and she was just exasperated? She would drop her hands and gaze out the window with a faraway look in her eyes, as if she were seeing something otherworldly. Maybe she was. I don't know.
As a writer who writes about relationships that couple in the car meant more to me than pure public spectacle; it stayed with me even after I'd pulled away. We have all experienced love. The bridge that brings us together can just as quickly separate us. No one person has the ability to hurt us more than someone we've loved. I think, in that notion, lies the heart of the romance author. We pull the tiny threads from the web of human relations and sift them back together into a story.
It appeals to anyone. They may see themselves as they were, or as they want to be. Sex is a small part of our relationships. It only becomes bigger when all of the other pieces of the puzzle are placed on the board. A picture is formed, a portion of someone's life with another. It has an intensity that draws readers.
I am very glad to be a part of it. I lose myself in it when I write and it follows me even when I am far away from the desk.
So happy writing and happy reading, straight from the heart.
Avid readers are a priceless commodity for writers. I would like to share a recent conversation from some romance fans that I found particularly helpful.
The conversation turned to recent romance reads and the fact that so many of them have things in common, not all of them good. One reader pointed out that it shows a lack of originality and instead of making the book exciting, it makes the book fall flat. So, of course a writer will perk up when they hear that!
Here were some common things they found in recent romance books (some of these I've heard before and some I hadn't):
1. The women were having orgasms with no clitoral stimulation (a smoldering look won't cut it. It's not possible.)
2. The men would have an orgasm and immediately get hard again (where are these men and why haven't I met them?)
3. Every single woman is SO tight! (get to those pelvic exercises girls!)
4. The girl has never had an orgasm before, is a virgin or both (come on! this is 2017!)
5. All penises are HUGE (penises come in all shapes and sizes it's nature)
6. Women have no problems deep throating (with those huge dicks? this is not an easy thing to do, how are all these virgins pulling it off?)
7. The guy hates women, UNTIL he meets the deep throating virgin (he'll always hate women but congrats on the virgin!)
8. Women faint after sex. (I've never read that but the readers insisted they had I think it's funny! Oh my that was so good I passed out!)
9. Billionaires always meet women who don't care a thing about money, even though they have none (where all these women? My billionaire friends want to know, badly!)
10. No one ever farts in bed (I laughed so hard at this one I had to include it)
This was fun and I hope you got a laugh out of it and maybe some good information. I glean a lot of great information from readers groups and highly recommend that you join a readers group in your genre in your area (they are so much better in person). It will give you priceless information that a writer should always have: reader feedback!
I was recently asked by a co-worker how much time it takes to write a book. Of course, it varies, but I added that I generally don't count the time I prepare for a novel. They seemed perplexed. Prepare? Isn't that book about sex and relationships? Yes, some of my novels are domestic and even erotic, yet research is still required.
The assumption that domestic fiction won't require research is probably based on the perceived content: it's just about ordinary life and sex!
Well, I don't know anyone, even book characters, that have sex 24/7. Characters have careers, some have disabilities, mental illness and a slew of other issues that the author has never experienced. That correlates to research.
Let's look at my most common research elements:
The manner of research varies. Most includes internet searches leading to blogs, forums, articles and then there is the focused research that includes reading non-fiction books (which is where I get most of my information), or getting out there and asking someone! People love to talk about their work, they really do.
Admittedly, some of my novels contain graphic sex. I don't shy away from this fact and often have to explain it. The novels aren't typical 'romance', the novels aren't 'feel good' chick lit. So why all the sex?
I didn't predict that I'd write graphic sex. Who would have? The first novel I wrote when I was sixteen was a ghost story (The Lake). My second novel, some years later, was a coming-of-age story (The Butterfly and the Moonbeam), my third novel was a police procedural (Secret Lives) and the fourth was fiction (The Farther I Am).
That leads to my next four books, respectively the fifth - ninth book I've written. Each of them, is sprinkled with explicit sex.
The books are standalones, with crossover characters that are involved in some way with an escort service tailored for women and founded by a woman, Alicia Porter. Three of the books are from the point of view of the male escort.
Writing explicit sex occurred by accident. Intrigued by an article about heterosexual women utilizing male escorts, I began thinking about such an proposition. A discreet, upscale male escort business tailored for women.
What would the escorts experience? What would be asked of them? What would these women that used the service be like? How would Alicia Porter find customers? How would she recruit escorts?
I answered those questions in four standalone novels. The books aren't romance. The sex is an active part of the story, there aren't gratuitous scenes thrown in for a quick nipple twist.
*Eyes widen* Understand now how I came to write explicit sex, but not write about explicit sex?
I don't think of the novels any differently, then the others I write. Some have vampires, some have detectives and some have escorts. Capicse?
Be who you are, write what you want. That is what art is all about.
Yesterday I saw a post on Facebook from an artist/author asking for links to books that featured people of color. I thought, oh my book Broken Moon has an Hispanic hero and (one of) his love interest (s) is an African American. I could link that, I thought. Funny thing though, I'd never really thought about that being a 'thing' before; characters being people of color.
Broken Moon's hero, Mannie Romero, Jr., is Hispanic. I grew up in Arizona and I had more friends of Hispanic decent than I did caucasian. When I envisioned the girl he would become interested in I saw a beautiful, long-legged African American girl with an afro (I have a strange admiration for afro's) named, Rain. Was race a choice I made? It didn't feel like it.
In my YA novel, Butterfly and the Moonbeam, one of the heroes is Native American (Dell Kayani) and again, this occurred because of my life. Arizona is home of the Navajo reservation (among many other historical sites), I had friends who lived there. It's part of my influence. I never sat down and said, I'm going to write about characters of color.
Her request for books featuring people of color, and the array of wonderful books that followed, got me to thinking.
Should I start to think more purposefully about the race of my characters? I believe the answer is yes. I realized it is significant that the love triangle in Broken Moon takes place between 3 people of different race (Caucasian, Hispanic and African American). Even thought it happened quite organically, it is something to be valued. The whole, love is universal theme, is a beautiful one. I think romance especially should promote diversity. The world is a colorful palette after all.
Do you consider diversity when you're writing?
Authors, let's talk about expectations. As a writer, when you decide to self publish, the first thing you do is go research people who are already doing it. When you do, you are going to see: a ton of stories regarding self-published authors that bring in millions, then you're going to read about mid-listers who bring in a substantial amount of sales, (enough to have a comfortable life) and then you'll hear about those that sell enough to quit their day jobs. Story after story, blog after blog, and sooner than later, your eyes are bulging. You review their books and think, I can write that well! (or better!) Suddenly, in your future you see yourself at the computer, banging away in between cashing your checks.
The reality is, the majority of authors (traditional and otherwise) are not among those stories. Once you start digging you come across many articles like this one: Most Writers Earn Less. It makes more sense, and can seem a bit dismal. But don't be discouraged by reality. Instead, capitalize on it with a strategic business plan.
If you look at WHO and WHAT is making all those millions, it's easy to recognize there is absolutely no way to predict what will work with readers and what won't. The moment you think you have the formula you become that bitter author making scathing remarks on the latest Fifty Shades phenomenon about how poor the writing is (because, why didn't it happen to you?).
When I took my book into the office to show my co-workers, they all clapped me on the back and remarked, 'remember us when you're famous!' Of course, it's a common joke and we all laugh. However, I am fully aware that the likelihood of that happening is slim. Most likely, I will have a hard time making back what I invested to get them out there (editing, formatting, cover art is not cheap).
But I didn't do this for money. I did this for me. Just to have the opportunity to share my novels with a small circle of readers that loved them is enough. I've been writing all my life and although I've never penned a query letter or tried to go the 'submit and wait' route of traditional publishing, self publishing has given me the opportunity to not only release my art, but control it in every conceivable way (something that is important to me).
So what are my goals? This is what I feel is realistic for a brand new writer in a world that houses over 5 million kindle books:
Those don't seem very exciting, but I think there is a difference between GOALS and HOPES. Every writer hopes to be a bestseller, just like every musician hopes to be a breakout star. My hopes are much more in line with my dreams: BIG. But the failure of goals can be detrimental, so I made sure to separate them.
I think having realistic goals that include a one year, three year and five year stretch is motivating and essential. It's important we don't allow all those grand stories to bend our expectations into something that is going to hinder our confidence and work ethic. In other words, have your goals AND your dreams, but make sure they don't get mixed up.
If I don't meet my goals, I won't quit writing. I've been writing since the first grade because I love to do it. I will continue to do it until I can't. My goals strive the business side of writing (something I have less experience at), my dreams are all based on my heart and my love for my own characters and the world they live in.
What are your writing goals?
I trembled slightly and I cried. It was the first time I’d ever cried over a man. It was the first time I’d ever cared enough about someone to cry. —Kristine Platt, Losing Grip.
I've been writing short stories since first grade. Beginning in college, I wrote four full-length novels, coming-of-age, literary fiction and a police procedural among them, yet none of my writing had explicit sex. Then in 2014, I began writing four books, featuring male escorts for women. Being that each book features a different male escort and his experiences, it's fair to say they all have explicit sex, a lot in fact. Just how did I start writing about male escorts for women?
It first began with a challenge to myself, I wanted to write a book with no holds barred. I've written about relationships, of course. My police procedural focused around a married couple, but I never felt the need to get too detailed about the sex. I thought, I should explore sexual fantasies! It would be a lark! And then, I happened upon a show called, Gigolo's on Showtime.It is a reality show that follows the adventures of Cowboys For Angels , an actual male escort service for women.The guys on the show and their banter was a turn off, but it definitely raised my eyebrows.
Men are known to use escorts, but would women do that?I had no idea that there were escorts for women. We all know men use them, the old Bunny Ranch, but women? Would we do that? Why the hell not? A hot guy for the night that knows exactly how to touch a woman? Yes, please.
I furthered my research and found countless articles about women that have used these type of services. In some countries outside of the U.S., this activity doesn't have to be 'hidden'. Some hired them to be a date for the evening, deciding in the end not to 'go all the way' and some took it as far as it was intended. It has picked up a little momentum too.
After several months, I had quite a bit of information, not only on what kind of women were using these services, but why and how. I even found out that I could hire a cowboy right here in Kentucky. I thought, I could always say it was for research! Now while I didn't take it that far (yet), it was interesting to know that I could.
The research I did also helped me understand how the legality of such an activity in the United States might be circumvented. After all, the owner of Desert Pleasures, Alicia Porter, has several businesses. She wouldn't do anything that might put herself, her clients or her escorts in legal trouble.
So, I had my 'Madam' and I began my series with, Losing Grip, which focused on Kristine Platt—the 'customer' of escort Nic Adair. It also gave me the opportunity to introduce Alicia Porter and demonstrate how she might find her 'exclusive' clients. I was off and running.
It turns out that writing about explicit sex is a lot of fun.When I wrote, Good At It, about the very popular escort, James Day, I got to write sex scenes with several different women. It was fun writing about different body types, sexual preferences and motivations. I have to admit, I had so much fun, I just kept going. I decided to write about Alicia's youngest escort, Mannie Romero, Jr., in Imperfect. Then I decided to write about a dominant, after all some women have those Fifty Shades fantasies going on! Hollywood Giant opened up a totally new world to me, something that was different and running the gamut of emotion.I got to write about many different sexual encounters, not just the same couple on repeat. I dove in, I assure you.
I got to write about many different sexual encounters, not just the same couple on repeat.My next book will feature Alicia Porter's story. Just how did an intelligent, beautiful, hard-working business woman end up with her own escort service? The possibilities of the series are endless. I can create as many or as few escorts as I want. My customers can be just about anyone, motivated by anything.
At first, I didn't know where these naughty books would fall into place with my other works, so I created the pen name, Zoe Blackwood. I'm glad I did, and I'm continuing to write about my escorts. When you are having so much fun writing that you can't bear the thought of stopping, you know you're onto something. After all, we are selfish, we writers. We expect to have a damn good time!
Have you written anything you never imagined you would? What inspires your stories?
I write about: love, fantasy, hate, vampires, jealousy, lust, supernatural, murder, deceit, attraction. And sex.
I write what I like.