I know that the mental picture everyone has of a writer's life is the basic wood paneled library in a hunting lodge in the woods. Erotica writers get more of the Cleopatra fantasy. Cleopatra of Liz Taylor ilk though, not the grittier ROME version. Muscled, nearly naked men fanning me with ostrich plumes, lunches of oysters and caviar, scantily clad women performing lusty tribal dances for my amusement, a bed draped like a sheikh's tent... The hard part is finding enough river water in LA to float my royal barge.
It's all true. Absolutely. No, really....
Okay, maybe not.
Writing erotica is no different from other writing - despite common perception that it takes no talent. Anyone who thinks erotica isn't quality isn't reading Mike Kimera, M. Christian, Alison Taylor, Lizabet Sarai, Gwen Masters, Kate Dominic, Ian Phillips, or any of the other incredible writers working in this genre today. Some of the best short stories being written now are erotic.
(Putting together a list is always painful. I could have twenty more names. Not all of Ian Phillips stories are erotic, and if I include him, how can I possibly leave off Greg Wharton, who wrote one of my all time favorite short stories? This isn't a definitive list by any means. The talent pool in erotica is deep.)
One aspect of erotica may be a little different from other writing though. The fan email. I haven't polled mystery, horror, and romance writers, so I don't know if they get this type of thing, but I do get some odd fan letters.
Most people who write to me are nice and generous with praise. I'm touched when they take time to tell me that they liked my work. Then there are the two who stand out in my mind....
The message I got two weeks ago was basically "I really liked your story Kells. Kobi was a great character, and I liked the scene up on the bridge with the two vampires. It was hot."
So far, so good.
Except that embedded was a picture of his (I presume) dick. I think I jumped back two feet from the computer when I scrolled down to that. Not that I needed the extra space to get it in focus. Whoa! I called the SO over.
ME: "What the fuck?"
SO: *laughing hysterically* "Maybe it's like a thumbs up."
ME: "But the note is so rational. No 'I'd like to meet you,' 'What are you wearing,' 'I'm stalking you.' Just a nice, normal note, and then this."
SO: "Is this the same guy who sent you the dick picture a year ago? At least the other one gave you the full frontal so that you knew what he looked like."
ME: "I didn't keep that, so no chance for comparisons." *peering closer at the screen* "Hey, he's not completely hard! What the hell? Is that some kind of editorial comment? *typing furiously*
SO: *stops laughing and looks concerned* "Um, what are you doing?"
ME: "Demanding to know why I didn't rate a full stiffy. He said he liked the story, but obviously, it didn't quite do it for him. I want to know why. I mean, if you're going to send someone a picture of your dick, have the courtesy to show it at it's best."
Everyone is a damn critic.