Thursday, 11 May 2017

I Gotta Be Me

In some aspects of my life I consider myself to be a bit 'left of centre', and I like that. I like doing or being the unexpected. Why then do I constantly battle to push myself into what I see to be the mould of what being a writer is?

I have a lovely office, lots of desk space, great natural light. A snazzy, comfortable office chair. A place where any dedicated writer would love to spend hours. The place where I should be putting fingers to the keyboards like a real writer. Yet I do very little writing there.

I write. Most days. I work on my stories and non-fiction projects. Social media associated with my author persona. But I feel guilty that I don't do it at my desk. That I'm not 'legit' or treating my writing seriously. I look at how all my writing friends work and think I should be doing it the same.

But I like to be comfortable when I write. I probably need an expensive ergonomic office chair that doesn't make my back hurt after two hours or make some weird nerve in my thighs twinge. But I know that if I did have such a thing t wouldn't inspire me to sit at the desk any more than I do currently. If I knew my partner didn't need to share the desk (it's two person size) ever again, I still wouldn't spend more time there.

I'm a 'lazy' writer. I like to lie back on the sofa, feet up, laptop on my lap (aren't they laptops for that reason?). I like to have the tv on because if it's quiet or there's music, my mind drifts. And all the time I'm thinking 'get off your butt and into that office'.

The time I do spend at the desk doesn't particularly increase my output, or the quality of my work (and I still have a tv on in there). It doesn't change anything, it just makes me think I'm doing the right thing.

Well I've finally decided to stop trying to be like everyone else in this aspect of my life just like I'm not in so many others. Surely as long as I'm writing, it's all good? I'm no less 'professional' in my attitude just because I'm on the sofa, or even in bed. Having the worlds most beautiful, comfortable office wouldn't get any more words out of me. That's gotta come from me, not my surroundings.

Instead of wasting energy wondering why I can't be like I think I should be I'll put it into actually writing. If I want to sit at the desk because I need somewhere to put notes or because I want to enjoy the glorious afternoon sunshine, I will. If my snuggly bed on a chilly morning is more enticing that a cold office which I have to heat up, then so be it.

I'm giving myself permission to write where the hell I want !!

Monday, 1 August 2016

Never Too Old

There is no denying that sex makes the world go around. It's a constant and intricate part of life whether people want to admit it or not. It can be a constant right through life - a fact that 'youngsters' (under 35s) often shudder at when relating it to their parents and grandparents, but a fact that perhaps they should look at in relation to themselves and their own impending ageing.

Fabulous writer Sandra Antonelli only writers heroines who are over 40 and on her blog this week she has a rant about the perceived 'ick factor' of older sex. Spread the word - sex is awesome at any age!

 The Ick Factor
Why is older sex so icky?  Read Why Here

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Secret Erotica Writers Business

For those of us who like to pen erotica and/or erotic romance, Emmanuelle De Maupassant's blog on 'Publishing's Dirty Secret : erotic fiction in the 21st century' makes for interesting reading and a reality check for those who think they might want to venture down this path.

Secret Erotica Writers Business

For those of us who like to pen erotica and/or erotic romance, Emmanuelle De Maupassant's blog on 'Publishing's Dirty Secret : erotic fiction in the 21st century' makes for interesting reading and a reality check for those who think they might want to venture down this path.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Where Are You On The Kink Scale?

Personally I don't use the word 'kinky' as I figure if whatever you're doing is with adults and with consent, it's just sex. The dictionary definition of kinky is 'unusual' but who is the judge of what is usual?

However, the BDSM community describe their lifestyle as 'kink' and this is an excellent blog post on perhaps exploring any experience you may have had a little further.

Sex For The Rest have an excellent article - You're Probably Kinkier Than You Think - for those who need a little enlightenment as to what kink is and what you may like to explore. A lot of fun to be had whatever your preferred level on the kink scale.

Friday, 22 April 2016

Having Sex With Your Readers

I love intelligent writing, and when it helps me with my own - bonus!

This is an awesome post by Anna Cowan which made me change the way I think about writing sex scenes. Worth reading just for the fabulous excerpt from her own work, but excellent writing advice as well. Enjoy!

'It took me an age to realise something obvious about sex. Sex on the page, sex between characters.
I’ve thought a lot about how to make sex hot again. God, is there a new position on the face of this green planet? We have seen it all, read it all.

We experience something new to us differently, because our brains are processing information for the first time – it’s more intense, slower, more deeply felt. So how do we make the sexual encounter between two characters feel like something new, something that has only ever happened between these two people?

My go-to method is to sink deep into the romance and write from there: write pain, hurt, disruption, vulnerability, bliss and oh shit did I just realise I’m in love. It’s a pretty good method, on a pure-id level.

But for putting your critical brain to work on making what your id gave you ten times better, here’s the obvious: the characters aren’t having the sexual experience. The reader is.

It clicked when I was reading a romance with a tense sexual premise. The hero has a sexual kink that is the source of shame and self-loathing to him. He’s tried and failed to cut it out of himself. The heroine is sunny and somewhat na├»ve. The longer they spend together the more his sexual desires reach out to her, the more he loathes himself.

About half way through the book he finally confesses everything to her – and she is a wonderful person who listens and asks questions, admits when she’s confronted but takes it in her stride. Then expresses some curiosity in exploring the kink with him.

An amazing woman, and a total buzzkill.

I had been experiencing the hero’s emotional agony (which, up front, I love) – but more than that, I’d been experiencing this building sexual tension that was all wrapped up in his shame and his raging need. The self-loathing that came from wanting what he did only fuelled the desire, because it made it that much more unattainable. He himself was aware how the shame was part of the sex, for him.
So when the heroine ‘absolved’ him, I no longer experienced/read the desire as shameful and therefore I no longer felt caught up in the sexual heat. I was no longer experiencing the kink.
It’s a good distinction to make, between character arousal and reader arousal. Oh man, is that suddenly a bit confronting to talk about actively arousing the reader? No? Ok, get on with it, Anna.
Understanding the distinction means you can write a scene like, She gave him a blowjob and he was very aroused and he came, which leaves the reader unmoved, or you can write a conversation that works on the reader like sex, because all the elements of the relationship, the kink, the arousal are there.

This is so useful! Sex shouldn’t always be arousing, and if romance is really going to hit the reader in the feelings, conversations should be. It’s easier to manipulate these effects once you understand that the reader is the one having the sexual experience.

I’ve been reading a lot of Charlotte Stein recently, because she brings the id like whoa. I love this description of an orgasm in Curveball: It’s unbelievably good. Like squeezing a stress ball or punching an asshole in the face.

A lot of the time we rely on shared physical experience to arouse the reader. We describe licked nipples and pulled hair and the erotic associations the reader has with the acts trigger arousal. What I love about Stein’s description is that she adds to base physical arousal; she creates two distinct effects in the reader’s mind and body. Squeezing a stress ball has associations of release and pressure, and punching an asshole in the face conjures pure satisfaction, violence, disruption.

Another example of how this works is dirty talk. I love the idea of dirty talk. I always get excited when a character threatens another character with dirty talk. But it rarely pays off for me when it actually happens. Unfortunately, just like sex positions/acts, dirty talk is well worn. Pretty generic, really, when you read it on the page. So it’s exciting for the character who’s experiencing it, but not for me, the reader experiencing it.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to do dirty talk in a way that really works. I considered my expectations – what makes the idea of it exciting to me? What I want is for it to shock me, for it to be a pin prick, a cut with a knife. I want it to disrupt the narrative and reveal something hidden and unsafe about the characters.

So one answer to how to do dirty talk is to achieve this effect on readers through other means. I think this is what I was reaching for in Untamed when I had Jude say shocking, exposing things to Katherine in a way that was erotically fraught.
‘You’re here,’ he said, and covered her hand with his palm. The sensation touched him – his hand like a lover taking hers from behind. He pushed his fingers between hers, and they lay like that without speaking for a couple of minutes.
Then he said, ‘I miscalculated in so many ways, when I asked to come with you to the country. I didn’t understand how dark it would be, or how quiet. But the worst of my errors was not allowing for these hands.’ His hand flexed around hers, the only movement in the room. ‘I didn’t know you’d go without gloves in the country. And you don’t have easy hands, Katherine. At first they repulsed me.’ He was ready, and didn’t let her pull away.

‘When you handed me that first plate of food, and I knew these hands had made it, I could barely swallow it down. But the more I watched you, the clearer it became that your hands cannot be separated out from who you are. The parts of the world that fascinate you pass through your hands first. I thought at first it was childlike, before I suspected what wisdom was in touch. And then I thought about touching. And then I could not stop myself from imagining the rasp of your hands on my skin – those rough, truthful things rubbing me until I was uncomfortable and tender with it. Testing and tasting me in order to understand me. I began to long for you to understand me.’
There was a long silence, and their harsh breathing, and then she said, ‘You shouldn’t talk to people like that.’
Not quite ‘I’m gonna come in your hot little hole’, but it sort of made me catch my breath, to write something so exposed.'

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Want To Be Happier?

I love sharing things that are special
or    important to me. Things about
love, lust - and life.  One side of 
Andra loves all things sensual and
erotic. Another side believes that 
the key to happiness is in each of us,
if only we choose to see it.

I love this video and its simple yet
powerful message.