Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Circlet Press Interview

My interview with Circlet Press is up. I talk about science fiction/fantasy and erotica.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

San Francisco people!

Have you ever been tempted to try your hand at erotic writing for yourself, a lover, or publication?

M. Christian is teaching an erotic writing class in San Francisco. (Information below) If I lived there, I'd go. If you live there - come on, try it! I can almost guarantee you'll have fun. Tell him I sent you.

M. Christian is a successful, and acclaimed, erotica writer. Plus he's a hell of a nice guy. He and partner Sage Vivant were my editors for Garden of the Perverse and Amazons: Tall Tales of Strong Womes, and I'd work with them again in a heartbeat.

(reposted with permission)
Come one, come all*
to the definitive class in erotica writing, taught by a master of the genre
Sex Sells: How to Write & Sell Erotica
With M.Christian

Sunday, October 12th, 1pm - 4pm
$40 before Sept 30
$50 after Sept 30
Downtown San Francisco (location revealed after registering)
Register Via PayPal: Zobop@aol.com

The market for erotic fiction and nonfiction is booming! There actually is a secret to writing great erotica - and you'll discover just what that is in this fun, hands-on workshop with well-known erotica writer and teacher M. Christian.

For the beginning writer, erotica can be the ideal place to begin writing, getting published, and -- best of all -- earning money. And for the experienced writer, erotica can be an excellent way to beef up your resume and hone your writing skills. M. Christian will review the varieties of personal and literary expression possible in this exciting and expanding field. He'll also teach you techniques for creating love and sex scenes that sizzle.

Learn how to:

* Get started writing for and selling to this growing marketplace
* Free your creativity and get past inhibitions
* Avoid cliches, common mistakes, and pitfalls
* Write what editors and publishers will want to buy
* Plus: current pay rates, how to write for a wide variety of erotic genres, from magazines to websites, where and how to submit your erotic writing, and more.

Students will also receive:

* Several informative handouts including a list of top-notch markets and venues for erotica, as well as funny and educational articles and columns
* A personal invitation to contribute to a special erotica project
* 50% off a wide selections of erotica books
* A free autographed copy of M.Christian's collection Filthy: Outrageous Gay Erotica

The class is open to everyone (over the age of 21) interested in writing all kinds of erotica: gay, straight, lesbian, bisexual, fetish ... you name it!

M.Christian is an acknowledged master of erotica with more than 300 stories in such anthologies as Best American Erotica, Best Gay Erotica, Best Lesbian Erotica, Best Fetish Erotica, and many, many other anthologies, magazines, and Web sites. He is the editor of 20 anthologies including the Best S/M Erotica series, The Burning Pen, Guilty Pleasures, and many others. He is the author of the collections Dirty Words, Speaking Parts, The Bachelor Machine, and Filthy; and the novels Running Dry, The Very Bloody Marys, Me2, Brushes, and Painted Doll. His site is www.mchristian.com.

For more information write M.Christian at zobop@aol.com.

*no guarantees

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Six Word Summery

Can you summarize yourself in six words?

This challenge has been making the rounds in my writer's groups.

My first inclination was to go wit:

Inject the absurd; smoke the surreal.

But now I think this better summarizes me:

I'd bring popcorn to the Apocalypse.

What about you?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Writer's Resources

Since I was talking about the sad fact that not every piece of information is on the Internet, even when it seems as if it is, I thought I would talk about some of the other reference materials I use.

have many reference books. The ones that are titled "How to Write..." are generally of no use. They sell well, but they don't teach anyone how to write. The ability to write is a creative talent. Writing well comes from learning the craft. The only way to learn the craft is to write, take criticism, learn from it, and write some more. Reading many well-written books from a writer's perspective will teach you a lot.
There. I just saved you twenty bucks. The books I feel are worth keeping on hand are Browne & King's Self Editing for Fiction Writers, a good world atlas, and Mary Varchavers and Frank Moore's The Browsers Dictionary of Foreign Words and Phrases. Sure, I have a lot more, but those are the ones I use a lot.

Just as important are writer's groups, especially ones on the Internet. Some people like getting together with a group that meets face to face, but even if you can find such a group, they're writing at the same level as you, you have the time to meet, and the energy of the group keeps it going, you'll still want online groups too. Why?

1) Sheer numbers. An online group can have hundreds of members. That's great when you need information quick. Setting your story in a city you don't know well? Need to know something about motorcycles? Thinking of submitting to a publisher and want the scoop on them? Someone in a big group will know, or they'll put you in touch with someone who does.

2)Time management. With a list, people can respond when they have time, which helps keep an active core alive. It also means that you can post your questions as they arise instead of waiting a week and a half for your group to meet, only to have the time absorbed by the diva who delivers a tiradeagainst someone who Just Doesn't Get Her Magnum Opus and wouldn't know art if it bit him in the ass. Oh sure, online groups have members who dominate with their personal issues, but flouncing off
an electronic listdoesn't have the same dramatic flair as gathering your things and stomping out of the coffee shop in a huff.

3) Fit. If you're in a critique group, you want the other writers in it to be slightly better than you. It will help raise the level of your work. If you write genre, you want to be with people who already understand that genre. There are hundreds ofcritique communities online. One will be right for your level of writing and your genre. While you're at it, you might as well join a few other groups that focus on other things thancritique . Some groups talk about the business aspect of writing, so you can get a lot of advice about publishers, submissions, etc. If you write (for example) paranormal erotic romance, join a romance writer's group, an erotica writer's group, and a paranormal writer's group. It'sgoing to be easier to find groups that fit your needs online than it will be in physical space.

4) Promotion. Especially if you write romance, erotic romance, paranormal romance, etc. (but this holds true of any writer in any genre) you're going to want to hit the ground running with promotion ideas when you get published. Many of these groups offer chances to reach readers. Spending a weekend in chat is a lot easier and cheaper than doing aphysical book promotion tour. Some groups don't hook you up with readers, but offer solid advice about cheap and efficient ways to get your name out there.

Even though the Internet doesn't have everything, it sure has a lot to offer a writer beyond research. (I hope that mollifies the Internet Gods, because I'm still looking for that information on riverboat barges)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Internet Gods Have Abandonded Me!

What would life be like for writers if we had to go back to doing research at libraries? Don't get me wrong - libraries are wonderful, but it's so nice to be able to find out in a matter of seconds what year Mission Santa Barbara was built and who was on the throne of England at that same time(This question made sense when I thought teh missions were built 50 years before they were) instead of schlepping down the the library, spending an hour finding the two books I need, and then scanning the contents to get the tiny piece of info I want.

But despite my mad search skills, the Internet has failed me. I can not find out what the daily duties of a deck hand on a riverboat barge are. Nor can I find what the various parts of a barge are called. I found job listings for deck hands, but the were short on details. (I did find out they tend to work 28 days on/ 14 off, and the
pay is kind of lousy considering how dangerous and physical it is) So please, if you've ever worked on a barge on the Mississippi, email me. I have questions. So many questions. The person who can answer them will be conferred god status for at least a week.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

This is Driving Me Nuts

My story output the past couple weeks has been great. A big part of that success is what most writers would call their idea folder. I call mine my memory, but some people are organized enough to write down their story ideas. I'm impressed by their energy, but I'm never going to do that.

Stories don't really come from nowhere. They come from the imagination. I think storytellers have strange connections in their brains that link up unrelated events and experiences and blend them like a frappichino until viola, story! When I read a call for submissions, those synaptic nerves fire up, grab whatever weird bits it can from my memory, dashes into my kink fantasy vault for a little flavor, gives 'em a whirl, and slaps a venti bisexual erotic mystery frappe on the counter before me.

Lucky for me, my brain is as full of esoteric facts as a Jeopardy contestant's. I read everything from news items about Big Foot to scientific articles about catalytic crackers, and I retain an astonishing amount of what I read. It's hard to find a subject that doesn't fascinate me. Add to that the amazing sites that happen right in front of me - a jazz funeral in New Orleans, a twenty-foot long gay pride parade in Milan, a drum major practicing his strut and mace twirling as he walked down Lincoln Blvd. - and I have a lot of material to draw from. That's been important these past couple weeks as I've been working on so many stories.

Except that it's failing me for one call, and that's driving me nuts. No matter how hard I try, I can not come up with a story for Jolie du Pre's next anthology. I really want to get something in to her, and I have a week or so left to do it, but that's cutting it very close even if I had a story to write. Which I don't. Nothing. Every little inkling I get fades to nothing just as I try to get interested in it. I've never been able to force a story. It either comes to me or it doesn't. Right now, I'm tapping my fingers on the counter and wondering just what's taking so long for my hot tall swinger fantasy to go.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

HorrorWorld Reviews Haunted Hearths

Alicia Verlager of HorrorWorld reviewed Haunted Hearths and Sapphic Shades. (You have to scroll down almost to the end of the page to see it.) She called my story disturbing. Bwahahaha. This step outside erotica has been a blast for me. I doubt the reviewers are familiar with my (pen) name, so it's basically a start from scratch on my reputation. That they're mentioning my story at all is a good sign. Calling it disturbing is just icing on the cake.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Never Again

Never again will I have a day like today.

My single sip menage story Georgie Cracks the Case (The raunchy love child of The Thin Man and 1940s screwball comedies) went on sale today at Torquere. But what really has me dancing - I got word today that two of my novels were accepted for publication. One is Personal Demons (under my Jay Lygon pen name) the other is a YA novel that I won't name here. Of course, now this means I need a third pen name. Hmmm.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

An Evening With Eddie Izzard

I was fortunate enough to go see Eddie Izzard perform Thursday night at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. He is simply brilliant. I love how he makes my mind kick into high gear to keep up. I've been a fan for a long time, as much as I'm a fan of anyone, which means that I put zero effort into knowing anything about his personal life or following his career, but I'm always happy for him when I see him in a movie or TV show. I'm not much of a TV viewer (I've just now almost managed to see the entire first season of Torchwood.), but everyone else in this house is a huge fan of The Riches.

The best part of the evening was listening to my friend J laugh and giggle as she sat next to me. Her husband is terminally ill and just went back into the hospital a couple days ago. He insisted that she go with us instead of hanging around the hospital with him. For two hours (straight through, I don't know how he does it), J was transported out of her worries and into joy. And for that alone, Mr.Izzard, I can't thank you enough.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Busy Summer

Every time I think it'll slow down, I realize I have more deadlines looming like great looming things. (Thank you Mssers Curtis and Elton)

I barely squeaked in under the wire on my Where the Girls Are submission. Oh man did I have fun with that one. The title is Don't Fuck With Country Girls. It's a little slice of revenge fantasy with a lot of hot sex. The only thing that makes me pause a bit is that I wrote it present tense. I rarely do that. The only other present tense story I have published is Red By Any Other Name, and now when I look back at
it, I wonder what ever possessed me to write it in the present tense, but I do remember making that choice deliberately at the time. This one just sort of worked out that way. When I edited it, I thought about making it past tense, but the opening paragraph is:

"My clit is fat and sassy. She peeks out between my lips to lick my panties as I
walk up the stairs to the metro station. She knows I’m taking her to you."

I don't see that working as well in past tense.

Last weekend, I saw that the theme this weekend on ERWA's Story Time is mysteries. I haven't subbed a story there in ages. I've only just eased back into critiquing. But who can resist a mystery theme? The theme used to always be noir. I love noir, but I'm glad they expanded it, because so few people write noir well. So I have a caper in mind, and I'm plugging away at it. It's (as I said about my other piece with these same characters) so frothy it's almost foam. The caper isalmost an afterthought. But man, it's a lot harder to write 1940's style overlapping dialog and banter than it
would seem. The words really hold up the structure of the piece, so if I have to change a phrase, every supporting and following piece of dialog is affected. Plus it's hard to make it sound natural and not forced when it's not natural at all, and it is very manipulated. It has to be done in two days. Yipes. But I think these tight deadlines are good practice.

After this, there's another call from Jolie du Pre that I want to try to submit something to, I don't even have an idea yet. I only have three weeks to get it to her. But after that? Yes, dare I hope, I think I'm in the clear. except the novel I'm writing. And lord help me if I glance at the calls for submission, because I'll probably find something there that interests me

BTW - for the past two weeks, my Earthlink has been extremely wonky, so I've had little internet connection. Hopefully they'll solve this soon. But I doubt it. They suck.