Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Finally! I've started to write again. What a relief.

I'm getting a bit worried that I have too much story for the novel I'm working on (a constant problem for me) but at least I'm working on it! I can scale back later. Right now, the only thing that matters is getting it down.

I knew I'd get back to writing. I've been through enough of these down cycles that I don't get too worried about them anymore, but they are frustrating. It's not that I completely stop working on writing, it's just that I stop putting down words. During these breaks, I think a lot about the characters.

People talk about character driven fiction, and I believe in it, but not the way most people think about it. Yes, everything a character does has to seem natural and right for that character. Most events in the story have to be a result of their actions or their reactions to other characters. But, back up a bit. If the writer wants certain things to happen in the story, the writer first has to create a character who would believably be in that situation and act in such a way as to naturally bring about the events the writer desires. So even though I start of with characters in mind and start writing about them, I need the time when I'm not putting words down to step back and figure out if I have the right characters. If not, they have to change. So yes, I write character driven plots, but I definitely tinker with the make-up of the people doing the driving to make sure they're headed where I want them to go. Forcing characters to follow a plot that doesn't suit them is just bad writing.

The great thing about time away from putting down words is that I can get comfortable with the idea that these are the right characters. Once they're ready to go, so am I. I don't think I could get back to writing without going through that, but it sure is nice to have it flow so easily now that I am putting words down again.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

LA Times Festival of Books

The LA Times Festival of books is a huge 2-day event held on the campus of UCLA. You'd think I'd go every year, but I've only been once before. The good news is that it was still packed at 3PM on Sunday. Several areas were jammed with people.


Few people had anything in their hands. The few people who had bags with books in them were kids, but before you praise the heavens for a new generation of readers, most of those books had a toy packaged with them, and the biggest tent by far in the kids area was Target. Yes, Target. Not a tradtional book store. The longest line I saw was to get autographs from Pixar animators. And the biggest crowd was at the stage where authors of cookbooks were speaking.

I have nothing against cookbooks or their authors. Far from it. I have at least 70 cookbooks. I bought a new one two weeks ago. But flipping through them for dinner ideas isn't the same as reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

I have nothing against Target selling books, or Wal-Mart. But they heavily censor the types of books they sell and probably pick those books for cover appeal, not content, which is like serving 2,000 calorie hamburgers at a fast food joint.

I have nothing against a kid getting a toy. But that's not showing them that a book can be enjoyable itself. Chances are the book never gets read and the toy gets recalled as a choking hazard. The only way to turn kids into readers is to read to them, cuddle while you're reading, and read them a story that makes their eyes light up with anticipation.

Call me a glass half-empty kind of girl, but I wasn't heartened by what I saw today. I prefer to think of myself as seeing the glass half-full - of reality.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's Coming

(warning - very artsy-fartys entry)

After a four month drought in my writing, I can feel it coming back. It's hovering just beyond. Patience, and will come. It has the heavy feel of monsoon clouds.

While I wait, I'm exploring other erotic visions. Right now, unless they grip me in unexpected ways, I don't want to deal with words, so I'm looking at photography. I'm enjoying John Santerineross' Dream: The Exploration of the photographic image as a manifestation of dream inconography and Jeffrey Scott's Visions from Within the Mechanism.

Interesting to me, and probably only me, is that it's the black and white photography that grips me. I have almost no interest in color. Santerineross' and Scott's images are not easy to look at. Yet they are compelling. Unfortunately, I lack the vocabulary to discuss what I'm seeing. But I have that feeling that what I'm seeing in those photogrpahs isn't what's there. I have that same feeling in Catholic Churches and voodun shrines. I mean, when I visit an altar, I see a candle. But to someone who understands the faith, that candle isn't a candle. It's something else, something more. Or maybe it isn't. I don't know how much of what I see is fate or personal touch, and how much is symbolism. If there's an orange feather on an altar, is it there because orange means something, or is it there because the feather store was out of every color except orange, or maybe the offering was made by someone who just liked the color. And see - I'll never know. I'm not even sure how much of trying to understand is pointless. Which all comes around to this - art isn't always meant to be understood, deciphered, and read. Sometimes, it's just meant to be experienced on your own terms.

That's the frame of mind I want to be in when the words come back.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Ugh. I've Been Forgetful

I realized today that I haven't been updating my submissions file as I should. I could only think of three submissions I've done lately. On one hand, I hope I remembered everything. On the other hand, how sad is that? Three.

One has already been placed.

The second, well, he never likes my stuff, except the one time he did, so I try every other year in the hopes that I'll strike gold again. Chances? Not likely. But at least I'll have tried.

The third one, I have no idea. I love the publisher and what she's doing. But just because I like reading what she publishes doesn't mean I can write it. So we'll call that one a 40-60%chance of being accepted.

And oh yeah, I have one out at a contest. I guess I should add that to my submissions file too even if it's not strictly a submission. ADDED: Amazingly, last night I found out that I took first place at the Seattle Erotic Arts Festival short story competition under my Jay Lygon pen name.

I need to submit more stories. I should go through the calls for submissions to see if any spark interest. I haven't done that in a while either. I keep forgetting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Saints and Sinners is only a month away!

Saints and Sinners Literary Festival will be held May 14-17th in New Orleans. If you write, want to write, this is the best writer's conference I've ever been to. It's not to late to sign up!

I talked D.L. King (editor of Where the Girls Are: urban lesbian erotica pub. Cleis Press) into coming this year, and I know Vincent Diamond is coming, so you know I'm going to have a good time. Cheesy Ghost Tours! I can't wait!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Amazon Fail

Amazon is pulling the sales rankings on many GLBT books, including those without erotic content, and books listed as erotica. What does that mean? It means that books are quickly becoming almost impossible to find on Amazon, even though they still sell them.

The growing list of censored books

Amazon Fail the definition

Add your voice to the protest

Added: The LA Times comments on the growing Amazon protest

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This is an interactive post

I'm not going to make you sing campfire songs or scream Aloha (I can't hear you!) or any of those other group torture things that only masochists enjoy. But I do have some questions, and I'd really appreciate your opinion. Your insights will help me with a project I'm working on. Code name: 5150.

When you read erotica, is the story more important to you, or the sex?

Do you expect to get turned on by reading erotica?

Have you ever skimmed the graphic sex to get back to the story?

If you write erotica, do you feel you have to add explicit sex so that it will sell?

Where do you find literary short stories (of any genre)? Or are you having a hard time finding them?


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Feminism and Sex

I toyed with calling this Feminism and Porn, or Feminism and Erotica, but since it all comes down to sex, that title won.

Last night at In The Flesh LA was great fun. I love hearing new writers read their work. Reading for an audience is never easy, so I'm in awe of new writers who are willing to do it. Also ran into long-time friend Kate Dominic who disappeared for a while. She says she's writing again! Whoo-hoo!

Stan Kent, the wonderful host of In The Flesh (along with Jolene Hui, who was sick last night) announced a terrific line-up for next month featuring seven (Seven!) readers who will discuss feminism and erotica. So you know where I got the idea for this post.

I grew up in the age of feminism. People forget how important that movement was. They seem to dwell on the negative side. There's lingering distaste for the term feminism, and many young women flatly reject it. They have no clue that their ability to choose education and a profession is the direct result of the feminist movement.

But there has been a downside, and that's the vilification of porn. Some fringe feminists, and religious fundamentalists, share the view that porn is evil. The funny thing is that the world of erotica is dominated by female writers and editors. Women are stepping into the adult movie business. The idea seems to be that those of us who dare to produce sexual content are traitors to our gender. Come on. Was the aim of feminism repression of women's sexuality, or liberation? And if it's liberation, why is it bad to take control and say, "Yes, I like sex."

We're adults, damn it. We should have dominion over our own bodies, and our sexuality. We should be able to express healthy interest in sex and not be shamed into silence by anyone. Don't tell me you know what's best for me. Don't protect me me from images and ideas you've decided are dangerous. I can bloody well make my own decision, thank you. Wasn't that the goal of the feminist movement?

Monday, April 06, 2009

In The Flesh LA

I'll be at In The Flesh LA this Wednesday. It looks like a great line-up. Eden Bradly is smart and gorgeous, and her books have a large following. I have a feeling I'll run into a friend I haven't seen in a couple years. And I believe Jeremy Edwards is the phone sex reader this month. I've been seeing a lot of Jeremy's work lately, and it's good. I'll be talking about Erotica Revealed's reviews this month, and then engaging the audience in a conversation about one of the books. This is a fun venue, and the hosts are marvelous, so come out and talk sex with us!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

First review of Personal Demons

My thanks to Jean Roberta for this wonderful review on the Erotica Readers and Writers Association website. She covers the whole trilogy, not just Personal Demons. Yay!