Reaching Out from a Mind as Dirty as All Outdoors

If you get lucky enough, I might post adult-only material from time to time, so be 18 or over, or please be elsewhere.

I'll be discussing erotica here, the writing of it and the people who write it, as well as what we've written. I find all these aspects stimulating, but if any of them bore you, feel free to skim. You never know what you might miss, though.




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Monday, December 10, 2018

Blog Tour for BLE v. 3, featuring "Yin and Yang" by Mags Hayward




In Mags Hayward’s beautifully balanced “Yin and Yang,” a contemporary ballet dancer and her lighting-technician lover make the perfect team, while the writing, alternating between lyrical and straightforward, makes the perfect presentation of their story. Here’s what Mags tells us about the writing of her story and her own life experience that inspired it, along with a lovely excerpt to introduces the characters.


The first draft of Yin and Yang was written several years ago and I’ve revised many times, but the central theme, the Chinese notion of Yin and Yang (dark-bright, negative-positive, seemingly opposite forces interconnecting to complement each other), has remained.
Yin and Yang is a tale of love blossoming between apparently opposite characters: a confident, spotlight loving dancer; the other a shy, rather insecure technician. It’s a forgiving, developing love that nurtures both girls and, in this slender slice of their relationship, the girls seek reassurance in each other’s arms before a nerve-wracking live performance.
The setting, an Arts Centre preparing for that night’s show, comes from my own experience of both performing and working as a technician in the field of dance. I trained as a contemporary dancer in my teens before switching to a technical role. I’ve watched many a dance performance from behind a lighting desk and know about the adrenaline rush and the fear involved in getting the performance right – and the joy of watching a dancer glide across the stage. It’s a sensual experience, one that easily transforms into erotica in the protagonist’s eyes.
Here’s an extract…

Natalie. A more alluring creature never lived and I can't stop looking at her. Her lithe limbs, wrapped in a flesh-toned body stocking, appear naked, exposed. Her perky breasts jiggle as she twists and turns and, from where I'm sitting, I can see every detail of her exquisite body. All of it. As she lifts her leg in a high arabesque, I gaze longingly at the puffy outline of her labia and the indent where the thin, Lycra fabric stretches across her sex.
A fluttering of twinges stir my loins and I recall the many times that svelte body has lain in my bed, thighs spread, slender fingers beckoning. I quiver at the memory of soft moans rumbling in her throat when the tip of my tongue tastes the honey beading at the mouth of her soaking slit.
I watch her twist, turn, floating toward centre stage where she performs a slow, controlled, double pirouette.
Oh, Natalie…
I break free of my trance. I can't afford to daydream. I have a job to do. I'm the lighting designer for Natalie's dance and the light must be honed to complement her sensuous performance.

Here’s the complete Blog Tour schedule, with all the links currently available:


December 1
Sacchi Green
Introduction
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 2
Pascal Scott
The Night Shift
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 3
R. D. Miller
Perfume
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 4
T.C. Mill
Fearless
http://tc-mill.com/2018/12/04/on-loss-and-anger-and-being-unafraid-fearless-in-best-lesbian-erotica-vol-3/

December 5
Victoria Janssen
Still Marching
http://victoriajanssen.com/2018/12/still-marching-a-tale-of-our-times/

Anna Watson
Sweet of My Heart
December 6
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 7
R.G. Emanuelle
The Auction
 http://rgemanuelle.com/2018/12/07/the-auction


December 8
Scout Rhodes
Morning Fog
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 9
Emily L. Byrne
Rainbow’s End
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 10
Mags Hayward
Yin and Yang
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Valerie  Alexander
Ninjutsu
December 11
valeriealexander.org

December 12
Xan West
Trying Submission
December 13
https://xanwest.wordpress.com

M. Birds
Where There’s Smoke
www.mbirds.ca/journal

December 14
Raven Sky
Fuck Me Like a Canadian
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 15
Sommer Marsden
Hush

December 16
Lea Daley
Rules
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 17
Nan Barret
Oliver: Twisted
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 18
Nat Burns
Jani-Lyn’s Dragon
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Lesbian-Erotica-Year-3/dp/1627782869/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1543190819&sr=2



Sunday, December 9, 2018

Blog Tour for BLE Vol. 3, with Emily L. Byrne at "Rainbow's End"

Today, in her first-lust story, "Rainbow's End," Emily L. Byrne affirms the role feminist/queer book stores played for us in the past, and hopes that coming generations can  find places as welcoming and energizing as the ones we knew.  Plus an excerpt both hot and sweet.

Read on:

"Rainbow’s End” is my love song to feminist and queer bookstores as much as it is my latest erotic tale about hot women discovering each other. I’m a former feminist bookstore owner as well as a former collective member of two other bookstores, one feminist/lesbian, the other an anarchist collective, and I can still remember the first time I walked into The Women’s Eye Bookstore, circa 1985. I was a college student, on my way to discovering myself as bisexual and the store was alive with women’s energy, passion and rage.  I fell in love, not necessarily with every woman and book there, but with the feel of the place.

I have visited many a queer and/or feminist bookstore since then and have loved almost all of them. I miss each one that closes and celebrate each new one that opens. They were once central to our communities, providing a space to find each other and to organize that wasn’t at a bar. I think we still need them and I’d like to hope that the coming generations build their own version of that queer-centered space, with an atmosphere that works for them.

But enough pontificating. My story in this edition of Year’s Best Lesbian Erotica Vol. 3, “Rainbow’s End,” is about two women who fall in lust after a carload of guys assaults them on their way to a reading at a queer bookstore. Adrenaline is high and it and rage and community and camaraderie and desire are a potent cocktail, enough to make most of us drunk with longing and lust, if not love. Maybe more. Here’s an excerpt of the story to whet your appetite for more.

Excerpt from “Rainbow’s End:”

Then Alyssa went up to the podium and started reading, passionate words rolling out of her mouth to fill the small store. Her voice caressed their ears, her words like tongues on Lizzie’s skin. Despite her fears and her anxiety, she couldn’t help but respond. The stories were angry, erotic, fierce and Alyssa read each short piece perfectly. The room erupted into cheers each time she paused to drink from her water bottle.
She paused to answer a question and in that moment, Lizzie was conscious of being pressed up against A.J., of Sam on the other side of her, of Alyssa’s words licking their way up her thighs and every inch of her exposed skin. A.J. gave her a crooked grin and a slow lookover that made Lizzie flush before she grinned back.
It was warm in the store, warmer on the crowded couch, and Lizzie wanted…wanted so much. Wanted A.J.’s long fingers between her legs, wanted Alyssa’s nipples in her mouth, wanted…all of them. Every last woman and genderqueer and nonbinary person in the store. All of them. Tits, pussies, asses, any erogenous zones they wanted to share. Lizzie shivered at the idea. She’d never felt like this before. Was it just her? She was afraid to look around, afraid to wonder.
But that fear didn’t last long. A.J. nudged her shoulder, making her look up from the floor. “You doing okay?”
Lizzie fell into A.J.’s blue eyes. “Umm…yeah. I think so. Alyssa is really, really good.” She hesitated for a minute, then added, “I’m so glad that I made it here tonight. Even with those assholes and their fucking beer bottle.”
“Us too.” Sam nudged her shoulder from the other side, grinned at both of them, then turned away and kissed their date.
Lizzie looked away, aroused and embarrassed. A.J. caught her mood, like she was reading her mind, or so it felt to Lizzie. “Hey, I could use some air, but I think I’d like to pass on going out front for the time being. Misha and Lou have a little yard out back. You want to step outside with me for a couple of minutes?” A.J.’s voice was a quiet purr against her ear and Lizzie could feel herself blush.


Emily L. Byrne’s stories have appeared in such venues as Forbidden Fruit, Best Lesbian Erotica 20th Anniversary Edition, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Vol. 2 and Vol. 3, Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms and Blood in the Rain 3. She is the author of Medusa’s Touch, Knife’s Edge: Kinky Lesbian Erotica and Desire: Sensual Lesbian Erotica. http://writeremilylbyrne.blogspot.com/.

Here’s our schedule of all the posts from contributors to the anthology, and potential links, which may change, so check back here. I’ll keep the list up-to-date.


December 1
Sacchi Green
Introduction
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 2
Pascal Scott
The Night Shift
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 3
R. D. Miller
Perfume
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 4
T.C. Mill
Fearless
http://tc-mill.com/2018/12/04/on-loss-and-anger-and-being-unafraid-fearless-in-best-lesbian-erotica-vol-3/

December 5
Victoria Janssen
Still Marching
http://victoriajanssen.com/2018/12/still-marching-a-tale-of-our-times/

Anna Watson
Sweet of My Heart
December 6
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 7
R.G. Emanuelle
The Auction
 http://rgemanuelle.com/2018/12/07/the-auction


December 8
Scout Rhodes
Morning Fog
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 9
Emily L. Byrne
Rainbow’s End
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 10
Mags Hayward
Yin and Yang
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Valerie  Alexander
Ninjutsu
December 11
valeriealexander.org

December 12
Xan West
Trying Submission
https://xanwest.wordpress.com

December 13
M. Birds
Where There’s Smoke
www.mbirds.ca/journal


December 14
Raven Sky
Fuck Me Like a Canadian
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 15
Sommer Marsden
Hush

December 16
Lea Daley
Rules
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 17
Nan Barret
Oliver: Twisted
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 18
Nat Burns
Jani-Lyn’s Dragon
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Lesbian-Erotica-Year-3/dp/1627782869/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1543190819&sr=2


Saturday, December 8, 2018

BLE v. 3 Blog Tour, with Scout Rhodes and "Morning Fog"

Best Lesbian Erotica v. 3 Blog Tour: Scout Rhodes and “Morning Fog.”


The bio Scout Rhodes provided for this book is brief:

“Scout Rhodes is a middle-aged butch farmer who lives in western Massachusetts. She is a writer, an illustrator, and a book designer. Her butch paramour lives in San Francisco.”

All perfectly fine. But someone who knows her very well helped to write a more extensive description of Scout for this blog, one that gives us added insight regarding the story as well as showing how much of the author herself is embedded in it.

Here’s the special expanded version:

“Scout Rhodes is a silver fox butch who lives with her sheep and a gang of cats on an old farm in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. Scout’s first love is illustrating; however, writing is a close second. She and her long-distance paramour courted by penning kinky erotica for one another. “Morning Fog” was inspired by one of Scout’s visits to her beloved partner in the Bay Area; the tenderness and love they share shows in this early morning snippet of domesticity. The two characters in the story are older butch-identified queers who have experienced the painful variances of life and are grateful that, against all odds, they've found each other across a continent. Their relationship defies labels and norms on many levels. The romantic and mysterious fog that blankets San Francisco each night has a role to play in their story, rolling in at night to lull them to sleep and greeting them as they wake in one another's arms in predawn.”

Do you need an excerpt after that? Well, okay.

“Two gold star survivors who found each other in this crazy, neo-fascist cesspool that America has become, and we hold onto each other for dear life while living in the crosshairs. We hail from opposite coasts but managed to find each other, and we're not letting go. At this moment, we cling to each other in her bed in the heart of San Francisco. She is rousing from sleep, enfolded in my arms, her naked ass pressed against my belly, so inviting. I kiss her shoulders again and then the back of her closely shorn head, she wiggles and moans and this is how it begins.”

Now you need more, right?


Friday, December 7, 2018

BLE v. 3 Blog Tour with R.G. Emanuelle's "The Auction"


Today's stop on the tour happens over at R.G. Emanuelle's web site,  http://rgemanuelle.com/2018/12/07/the-auction

There's so much to say about her story that I'd have a hard time covering it all, and she can say it better than I can, so go on over there and read what she says. You'll not only learn about some very hot sex, but find insights into both writing erotica and female sexual desire.

Here's just a short part of it.

"What I hope I conveyed in this story is something that has been historically ignored (but that has changed with the advent of women-written erotica), which is female sexual desire. That’s what makes female-centered erotica different from male-centered pornography—the acknowledgment that women not only enjoy sex but are doing it for their own needs and not just to satisfy men’s. Older women, in particular, have been ignored in this area. There’s this notion that women lose their sexual desire after a certain age (whatever that is, pick one). On the contrary—when women enter perimenopause/menopause, hormones can rage and sexual desire can ebb and flow drastically. Many women experience a roller coaster of arousal, going from a complete deadening of the genitals one day to voracious, insatiable need for sex the next. Everyone’s different, but I’ve heard from enough women about the latter to know that it’s a real thing. A woman’s need for sex can be just as raw and just as powerful as any man’s. And that’s what I hope Gia conveys."

Ah yes. A condition that I've sometimes termed "a second adolescence."



Thursday, December 6, 2018

Sweet of My Heart: Bog Tour for Ble v. 3 with Anna Watson


Anna Watson has an amazing ability to find places to go with her stories that I never would have thought of, with characters unlike any I’ve seen before, and she makes it all work beautifully on multiple levels. This time she takes us to the Harlem of 1931 in “Sweet of My Heart,” where the Peace Mission of Father Divine offered free meals where even a dance hall girl could be fed. Here in her blog post she shares her process and reasons for writing this story, as well as describing a reading we did together in Provincetown in October. Yes, those cookies were tasty!

Now for Anna’s post:

One of the highlights of the year for me is always Women’s Week in Provincetown, and this year it was made even more wonderful by the BLE reading at Womencrafts, one of the oldest feminist bookstores in the US. It was a joy to read with our redoubtable editor, Sacchi Green, as well as fellow BLE contributors, Raven Sky, Josette Murray and Priscilla Scott Rhoades. We had a lovely audience, who certainly enjoyed the pussy-shaped shortbread cookies baked by Jody, a local dyke baker and artist extraordinaire. I love writing smut, and I especially love connecting directly with folx through readings like this.
As I say in my bio for BLE 3, I was raised to think that only fools believe in God, and I was taught to look at religion as a quaint curiosity. So of course, I’ve always been fascinated by religions, the more extreme the better. I just want to know more, more about those fools who go whole hog. Turns out they aren’t fools any more than those who subscribe to the atheism I was raised with, and what a relief that is!
Charmed Soul, for example, the butch love object in my story, is far from a fool. She knows she needs love; she knows she won’t get it from her family or from society in general, but she gets a lot of it from Father Divine and his followers – well, just as long as she does what she’s told. Enter Mimi LaRouge, a half-French femme working at a dance hall and very much in need of nourishment. All kinds of nourishment!
The idea for this story came to me as I was reading the fascinating biography of Father Divine, a real person, who has living followers still today, though he is long dead. The book, Father Divine: Holy Husband by Sara Harris with the assistance of Harriet Crittenden, was published in 1953, and gives a vivid picture of Father Divine’s world. As much as I enjoyed the book, I also am grateful that it sparked my imagination and gave me Charmed Soul and Mimi. Here, Mimi witnesses the followers of Father Divine vibrating, an indication of their passion and devotion.

From “Sweet of My Heart” by Anna Watson, BLE 3

Mimi LaRouge

Some agitation is growing at the table of Sweets. They have been singing one of their quirky, many-versed songs, the one about seeing his dear little feet and hands and the rest of it. The object of their worship pays no heed at all. Then, with no warning whatsoever, the Sweet to his right contracts upon herself, as if gut shot. She lets loose a great whoop and seems overcome with the fidgets. The flailing movements of her limbs propel her backwards in her chair, which tips over into the singing mass of Divinites behind her. She tumbles onto the floor where I can no longer see her, but I can hear her breathy yelps. Now the effect spreads, and one after another, the Sweets careen full tilt into ecstasy. They quiver, they teeter-totter. They rise or fall from their chairs, they stagger and convulse. Across from me, Nancy begins to breathe heavily and I reach over to squeeze her hand. “Oh, see their devotion!” she sighs, calming. It certainly is what Maman would call un spectacle. Unbound bosoms jiggle and sway, hips thrust forward and back, eyes are wide and staring, mouths mumble, drool, and call upon Father Divine. The God himself seems to take all this as his due, and calmly continues to wield his fork and knife.
My gaze keeps returning to Charmed Soul. I want to see how her devotion will possess her. I want to see her hair come loose from its stern braid and her slim torso dance. I want to see her feeling this passion. I want to see her control disturbed. But she alone among her sisters remains calm. Sad, defeated, she looks the very picture of a child left lonely on a playground where other, swifter children have abandoned her. Is her love of God not strong enough? The poor darling! As I am thinking this, she raises her head and our eyes meet.


Here’s the complete Blog Tour schedule, with all the links currently available:


December 1
Sacchi Green
Introduction
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 2
Pascal Scott
The Night Shift
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 3
R. D. Miller
Perfume
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 4
T.C. Mill
Fearless
http://tc-mill.com/2018/12/04/on-loss-and-anger-and-being-unafraid-fearless-in-best-lesbian-erotica-vol-3/

December 5
Victoria Janssen
Still Marching
http://victoriajanssen.com/2018/12/still-marching-a-tale-of-our-times/

Anna Watson
Sweet of My Heart
December 6
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 7
R.G. Emanuelle
The Auction
 http://rgemanuelle.com/2018/12/07/the-auction


December 8
Scout Rhodes
Morning Fog
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 9
Emily L. Byrne
Rainbow’s End
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 10
Mags Hayward
Yin and Yang
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Valerie  Alexander
Ninjutsu
December 11
valeriealexander.org

December 12
Xan West
Trying Submission
December 13
https://xanwest.wordpress.com

M. Birds
Where There’s Smoke

December 14
Raven Sky
Fuck Me Like a Canadian
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 15
Sommer Marsden
Hush

December 16
Lea Daley
Rules
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 17
Nan Barret
Oliver: Twisted
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 18
Nat Burns
Jani-Lyn’s Dragon
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Lesbian-Erotica-Year-3/dp/1627782869/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1543190819&sr=2 


Wednesday, December 5, 2018

BLE v. 3 Blog Tour with Victoria Janssen and "Still Marching After All This Time"





Today our virtual road trip takes us to Victoria Janssen's Philadelphia, via her story "Still Marching: a Tale of Our Times." It turns out that "our times" stretch over decades. Go visit her post and you'll see what I mean. Hint: "I Can't Believe I Still Have to Protest This Shit!" Another hint: Victoria  tells us about the event that inspired her story, and it turns out that I was participating in the same event, although I was in Northampton, MA while she was in Philadelphia.

http://victoriajanssen.com/2018/12/still-marching-a-tale-of-our-times/

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

On Loss and Anger and Being Unafraid: “Fearless” in Best Lesbian Erotica, Vol 3

Today T.C. Mill, author of "Fearless," takes us to her own blog at http://tc-mill.com/2018/12/04/on-loss-and-anger-and-being-unafraid-fearless-in-best-lesbian-erotica-vol-3/.

Go there. Now, if you can. Her story in the book struck me (and some reviewers) with its fearless portrayal of love that works through past emotional trauma and recent medical trauma, all the while remaining tender and, in its way, uplifting and lit by sunshine.

The blog she's written shares her feelings about how she wrote her story, as well as a great deal of profound discussion about the issues faced in it. You really don't want to miss it. Trust me.

Sacchi


Here’s our schedule of all the posts from contributors to the anthology, and potential links, which may change, so check back here. I’ll keep the list up-to-date.

December 1
Sacchi Green
Introduction
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 2
Pascal Scott
The Night Shift
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 3
R. D. Miller
Perfume
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 4
T.C. Mill
Fearless
http://tc-mill.com/2018/12/04/on-loss-and-anger-and-being-unafraid-fearless-in-best-lesbian-erotica-vol-3/

December 5
Victoria Janssen
Still Marching
http://victoriajanssen.com/2018/12/still-marching-a-tale-of-our-times/

Anna Watson
Sweet of My Heart
December 6
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 7
R.G. Emanuelle
The Auction
 http://rgemanuelle.com/2018/12/07/the-auction

December 8
Scout Rhodes
Morning Fog
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 9
Emily L. Byrne
Rainbow’s End
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 10
Mags Hayward
Yin and Yang
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Valerie  Alexander
Ninjutsu
December 11
valeriealexander.org

December 12
Xan West
Trying Submission
December 13
https://xanwest.wordpress.com

M. Birds
Where There’s Smoke

December 14
Raven Sky
Fuck Me Like a Canadian
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 15
Sommer Marsden
Hush

December 16
Lea Daley
Rules
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 17
Nan Barret
Oliver: Twisted
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 18
Nat Burns
Jani-Lyn’s Dragon
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Lesbian-Erotica-Year-3/dp/1627782869/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1543190819&sr=2

Monday, December 3, 2018

Blog Tour for BLE v. 3, “Perfume” by R.D. Miller





Today we get not only a hot excerpt, but first-time author R. D. Miller lays it all on the line when it comes to how and why she wrote her story “Perfume” as well as what the Best Lesbian Erotica series has meant to her.

Here goes!


Hello Readers!

I want to thank you for reading the Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 3. This anthology means so much to me. I’m so excited to be included in this collection, and to have my work alongside these other women. This is my first publication, and in case you can't tell I’m really excited! The editor of the anthology asked me to discuss my story “Perfume” and the inspiration behind it. She wanted to know what my creative process was like and to include anything else that influenced my writing. I’ll try to keep it playful … lol

When I learned that my story was going to be included in the Best Lesbian Erotica Anthology, I was over the moon! Over the years, the work of Cleis Press has had so much impact on my identity. Especially this Anthology, its volumes hold a special place in my heart. As a sporty baby dyke, at 23 I moved to South Korea. I didn’t speak the language and had a very light understanding of the country and its culture.

I had met a beautiful woman at a queer bar in Halifax. She was moving to Korea where she would teach English. Sparks flew! And not to be outdone by all the other U-Haul toting lesbians that came before us, it was decided that I should go too. When true love is on the line, what’s 10,000 KMs… right?!

Living in Korea opened my heart, and I was transformed by my time there. I fell completely in love with the country. Yet, I longed for queer literature with a lesbian focus. It was difficult to find lesbian writing of any kind in Korea, let alone in English. So every time that I would fly home to Canada, I would ALWAYS stock up. The BLE series from Cleis Press was my perennial favourite. Filled with searing erotica, I would carefully pack the anthologies in my carry-on for the long flights back. When I thought no one was looking, I would slowly slip the volume out of my bag. From there I would furtively read the stories. Although, after reading “Ninjutsu” by Valerie Alexander, I realize that those long flights back could have been far more interesting if I had been a bit more bold!

People who’ve read my story often ask me if I’ve been to Grasse, where my piece “Perfume” is set in France. Yes, I have been to Grasse. I’ve been so lucky to have stepped foot on some of it’s legendary flower fields and visited its long storied perfumeries. The story, however, is entirely fiction. This totally did not happen:

“My pants are unfastened now and she roughly shoves her hand down them. She pauses, just long enough for her eyes to lock with mine and check for consent. I'm nodding like a madwoman, praying she doesn't stop.
She must be satisfied with that because her hand is suddenly inside of my underwear, and I am dripping for her. She gasps. She bites my earlobe, “You are so wet! My butch likes being shoved against the bathroom stall and fucked, does she?””

So how did the story come about? One night I was hanging out with @stashingbreadcrumbs, she’s a dear friend of mine. She was enjoying a cider, while I was enjoying a beer. Somewhere in the conversation we found ourselves drunkenly discussing interesting places we’d done it. She was blown away that with all the places I had been to I had very few stories of sex in interesting public places. From the pause in our dialogue, I could tell what she was thinking. I needed to do better!

So this got me thinking – of all the places that I have visited; if I could go back, where would have been the best place to share such an intimate act in such a public setting? I considered many locations and venues, but the perfume factory was the one place that kept coming up in my imagination.
When I got home that night, I grabbed my laptop and began to write down all of the fun I wish I’d had. Writing the sexy times came really naturally to me (… that was the fun part!). I would later construct the rest of the narrative for the story after deciding I would like to submit it for publication.

So there it is, as nude as the scent one wears. That’s the inspiration behind “Perfume”. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy every sizzling hot moment of Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year volume 3.


Notice: Any commenters on any of these blog posts will be entered into a drawing for a free ebook copy of this anthology. It's come to my attention that commenting here doesn't work for many folks, so commenting on my Blog Tour posts on Facebook will count for the drawing, as well, and I'll offer two copies as prizes. https://www.facebook.com/sacchi.green

Here’s our schedule of all the posts from contributors to the anthology, and potential links, which may change, so check back here. I’ll keep the list up-to-date.

December 1
Sacchi Green
Introduction
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 2
Pascal Scott
The Night Shift
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 3
R. D. Miller
Perfume
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 4
T.C. Mill
Fearless
http://tc-mill.com/2018/12/04/on-loss-and-anger-and-being-unafraid-fearless-in-best-lesbian-erotica-vol-3/

December 5
Victoria Janssen
Still Marching
http://victoriajanssen.com/2018/12/still-marching-a-tale-of-our-times/

Anna Watson
Sweet of My Heart
December 6
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 7
R.G. Emanuelle
The Auction
 http://rgemanuelle.com/2018/12/07/the-auction

December 8
Scout Rhodes
Morning Fog
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 9
Emily L. Byrne
Rainbow’s End
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 10
Mags Hayward
Yin and Yang
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Valerie  Alexander
Ninjutsu
December 11
valeriealexander.org

December 12
Xan West
Trying Submission
December 13
https://xanwest.wordpress.com

M. Birds
Where There’s Smoke

December 14
Raven Sky
Fuck Me Like a Canadian
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 15
Sommer Marsden
Hush

December 16
Lea Daley
Rules
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 17
Nan Barret
Oliver: Twisted
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 18
Nat Burns
Jani-Lyn’s Dragon
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Lesbian-Erotica-Year-3/dp/1627782869/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1543190819&sr=2

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Blog for BLE v 3, “The Night Shift,” by Pascal Scott





You’ll laugh, you’ll wriggle in in your chair, and laugh and wriggle some more reading "Night Shift." Here’s what Pascal says about the inspiration for her story:

“For many years I was employed by a tourist destination in North Carolina. Part of that time I worked the night shift in its call center, booking adventure packages. As it happened, one of our toll-free numbers was one digit off from a popular sex line and so, on occasion, we would receive calls from confused men looking for the kind of good time we weren’t selling.

I sat in a cubicle across from a young woman from the Philippines, who was still getting a sense of the English language with its strange idioms and verbal nuances. One night she happened to answer one of those sex line callers who had misdialed. The conversation continued until our supervisor, monitoring the call from her office on her headphones, realized what was happening and came rushing out to tell my co-worker to hang up.
It turned out the caller was a woman. Because I was out as a lesbian to everyone at work, I joked that they should have let me handle the call. But it caused me to wonder, what kind of woman calls a sex line? “The Night Shift” is based on my fantasy of how that evening might have gone if I’d been in charge.”

And here’s a brief teaser of an excerpt:

“All right,” I say, making an executive decision. “I’ll play along. Let’s pretend you’ve just called a sex line—”
 “Well, I did just call a sex line, at least I meant to call a sex line—”
 “And you’ve reached the sexiest woman on the planet. Me.”
 “Hmm,” Sammy says, “That sounds interesting.”
I slip my voice into a lower register.
 “Thank you for calling Nine Hundred SLUT. My name is Roxy. What may I do for you tonight?”
 “Hey, you’re good,” Sammy tells me, surprised. “I like that voice.”
 “Thank you, baby. What’s your name? And may I call you baby?”
 “Sammy. And you may call me anything you like.”
 “Sammy,” I say, “I like your attitude. I can tell you’re a woman who knows what she wants and what Sammy wants tonight is an adventure. Sammy, I can assure you that you’ve reached the right girl.”
 “I believe I have,” Sammy replies.

Pascal Scott is the pseudonym of a lesbian writer whose short fiction has appeared in Thunder of War, Lightning of Desire: Lesbian Historical Military Erotica; Through the Hourglass: Lesbian Historical Romance; Order Up: A Menu of Lesbian Romance and Erotica; Unspeakably Erotic: Lesbian Kink; Best Lesbian Erotica, Vol. 2 (2017);Best Lesbian Erotica, Vol. 3 (2018); Harrington Lesbian Literary Quarterly; and other anthologies. She is currently trying her hand at novel writing by working on a series of lesbian mysteries. She’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’s our schedule of all the posts from contributors to the anthology, and potential links, which may change, so check back here. I’ll keep the list up-to-date.


December 1
Sacchi Green
Introduction
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 2
Pascal Scott
The Night Shift
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 3
R. D. Miller
Perfume
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 4
T.C. Mill
Fearless
http://tc-mill.com/2018/12/04/on-loss-and-anger-and-being-unafraid-fearless-in-best-lesbian-erotica-vol-3/

December 5
Victoria Janssen
Still Marching
http://victoriajanssen.com/2018/12/still-marching-a-tale-of-our-times/

Anna Watson
Sweet of My Heart
December 6
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 7
R.G. Emanuelle
The Auction
 http://rgemanuelle.com/2018/12/07/the-auction

December 8
Scout Rhodes
Morning Fog
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 9
Emily L. Byrne
Rainbow’s End
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 10
Mags Hayward
Yin and Yang
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Valerie  Alexander
Ninjutsu
December 11
valeriealexander.org

December 12
Xan West
Trying Submission
December 13
https://xanwest.wordpress.com

M. Birds
Where There’s Smoke

December 14
Raven Sky
Fuck Me Like a Canadian
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 15
Sommer Marsden
Hush

December 16
Lea Daley
Rules
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 17
Nan Barret
Oliver: Twisted
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 18
Nat Burns
Jani-Lyn’s Dragon
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Lesbian-Erotica-Year-3/dp/1627782869/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1543190819&sr=2







Saturday, December 1, 2018

Blog Tour for Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Volume 3

Time to get this tour on the road!

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Lesbian-Erotica-Year-3/dp/1627782869/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1543190819&sr=2



This is really more of a prelude to the tour, which will include posts by each contributor to the anthology. Some will post on their own web sites, while some will send me their posts to include here. There will be story-behind-the-story tales, steamy excerpts, and possibly some surprises. The schedule and links are listed way down below, although I don’t have all the final links yet, so checking back is advised.

Notice: Any commenters on any of these blog posts will be entered into a drawing for a free ebook copy of this anthology.


I edited this anthology, which is in fact the twenty-third in the iconic Best Lesbian Erotica series from Cleis Press, so of course I didn’t choose a story of my own for it. What I can offer instead is my introduction, to give you some idea of what you’ll find inside the book.

Introduction:

We open a book hoping to be taken somewhere—to faraway places, into the lives and inner thoughts of intriguing characters, into times past or even unexplored depths of ourselves. If the book is classed as erotica, we also expect to be intensely stirred both sensually and emotionally. The beauty of an anthology is that we can be taken in multiple directions, and meet an assortment of characters with a wide range of viewpoints.

The drawback is that with short stories we often wish for more time with these characters, these sensations, these adventures. But writers with a special gift for short fiction can still draw us deeply into the brief length of their work, with multidimensional characters, vivid settings, intriguing story arcs, and, of course, sex as intrinsic to the story as any setting.

I’ve been lucky enough in two previous volumes of this series to be the editor who gets to read the flood of submissions and decide which of the best, in my opinion, should be included. I could never fit all of the very best into the limited space of a single anthology, so I try for a balance, and as wide a variety of themes and styles as
possible, especially those I haven’t seen before. Originality is high on my wish list.

Here are some hints as to where the stories I chose will take you, and what you may find there. Could there be a better start than the fantasy-fulfillment story, “Jinjutsu,” set on a plane high above the Pacific en route from Tokyo to Honolulu? And what could feel more real than longtime lovers waking in the “Morning Fog” of San Francisco? How about touring the South of France in “Perfume,” or a massage in a Moroccan public bath in “Fuck Me Like a Canadian,” or a cabin “Where There’s Smoke” in the snowy North Country, or the surveillance area above the ceiling of a
Las Vegas casino where “Oliver: Twisted” begins?

New York City figures in at least three stories, playing different roles. In “The Auction,” the city is an artsy background for socialite fundraisers. In “Trying Submission,” it’s an upscale background for a decidedly non-upscale character. And the Harlem of 1931 in “Sweet of My Heart” is the home of a Peace Mission’s free meals where even a dance hall girl could be fed.

While most of the stories have contemporary settings, two more are set, at least partially, in the past. If you’re old enough to have been swept up in the rock and blues bands frenzy of the ’60s and ’70s, you may catch the significance of September, 1970, and even if you aren’t that old, you’ll find out in “Jani-Lyn’s Dragon.” And in “Still Marching,” old friends who met and parted twenty-five years ago at a march for abortion rights in Washington DC bump into each other at a present-day march in Philadelphia.

There are various themes included in the anthology. I had quite a few submissions featuring coffeehouse encounters, but “Husher” is the one I chose for its deft and evocative style. There were also several submissions involving cancer, something I hadn’t seen before, and others referring to trauma from past abuse; I went with “Fearless,” which included both, along with a beautifully uplifting conclusion. Of the several stories I received featuring differently abled or neuro-atypical characters, I settled on “Trying Submission,” with a vulnerable character who lingers vividly in
my mind.

On another tack, “The Night Shift” proves to be just the right time for accidental phone sex. Then the familiar professor/former student theme of “Rules” travels in unexpected directions and gets as steamily entertaining as they come, while the queer bookstore in “Rainbow’s End” provides an ideal place for a hesitant would-be writer to find just what she hardly dared hope for. And in the beautifully balanced “Yin and Yang,” a contemporary ballet dancer and her lighting-technician lover make the perfect team, while the writing, alternating between lyrical and straightforward, makes the perfect presentation of their story.

Yes, all of these stories include hot, intense sex, in its many-splendored manifestations. I’ll leave you to discover those, scene by scene. A word of caution: you may not get jet lag from this journey, but a suitable recovery period between stories is highly recommended. Trust me.

So, are you ready to take your own journey through these blog posts, and potentially through the seventeen stories?

Schedule of Blog Posts:

December 1
Sacchi Green
Introduction
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 2
Pascal Scott
The Night Shift
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 3
R. D. Miller
Perfume
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 4
T.C. Mill
Fearless
http://tc-mill.com/2018/12/04/on-loss-and-anger-and-being-unafraid-fearless-in-best-lesbian-erotica-vol-3/

December 5
Victoria Janssen
Still Marching
http://victoriajanssen.com/2018/12/still-marching-a-tale-of-our-times/

Anna Watson
Sweet of My Heart
December 6
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 7
R.G. Emanuelle
The Auction
 http://rgemanuelle.com/2018/12/07/the-auction

December 8
Scout Rhodes
Morning Fog
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 9
Emily L. Byrne
Rainbow’s End
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 10
Mags Hayward
Yin and Yang
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Valerie  Alexander
Ninjutsu
December 11
valeriealexander.org

December 12
Xan West
Trying Submission
December 13
https://xanwest.wordpress.com

M. Birds
Where There’s Smoke

December 14
Raven Sky
Fuck Me Like a Canadian
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 15
Sommer Marsden
Hush

December 16
Lea Daley
Rules
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 17
Nan Barret
Oliver: Twisted
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 18
Nat Burns
Jani-Lyn’s Dragon
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Friday, November 30, 2018

Time to wake this blog from its summer sleep!


 I have news, and, even better, tomorrow (December 1st) begins the blog tour for Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 3. Every day until December 18th, one at a time, the contributors will share thoughts about their stories and themselves, and often provide excerpts to whet your taste. Some will post on their own web sites, and some will send me their post to present here. I don't have all of the final links yet, but I’ll try to keep the schedule I’m posting at the end of this up to date.

Notice: Any commenters on any of these blog posts will be entered into a drawing for a free ebook copy of this anthology.


Now to get the news part out of the way tonight, here’s what I’ve been doing on the writing and editing front.

First, of course, BLE v. 3 comes out from Cleis Press on December 11th, as you might suspect from the imminent launching of the blog tour.

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Lesbian-Erotica-Year-3/dp/1627782869/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1543190819&sr=2




Next, after many years of writing short stories and editing eighteen anthologies, I finally buckled down and wrote an entire novel, Shadow Hand, featuring a heroine coping with having a superpower suddenly thrust upon her. This is from Ylva Press, part of their Superheroine series.

https://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Hand-Superheroine-Collection-Book-ebook/dp/B07KQH1VJC/ref=mt_kindle?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1543190408



 And then, early next year, a collection of my own short stories is coming out from Dirt Road Books. Wild Rides and Other Lesbian Erotic Adventures  covers much of what I’ve published since my first collection, A Ride to Remember, from Lethe Press back in 2011, plus a couple of never-before-published pieces. Look at this gorgeous cover! (And try to ignore that at this point the central image has still got the stock photo markings.)




So more about these coming attractions later. For now I’ll move along to the urgent matter of the Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 3 Blog Tour!

Schedule:

December 1
Sacchi Green
Introduction
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 2
Pascal Scott
The Night Shift
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 3
R. D. Miller
Perfume
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 4
T.C. Mill
Fearless
tc-mill.com

December 5
Victoria Janssen
Still Marching
http://victoriajanssen.com/2018/12/still-marching-a-tale-of-our-times/

Anna Watson
Sweet of My Heart
December 6
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 7
R.G. Emanuelle
The Auction

December 8
Scout Rhodes
Morning Fog
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 9
Emily L. Byrne
Rainbow’s End
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 10
Mags Hayward
Yin and Yang
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

Valerie  Alexander
Ninjutsu
December 11
valeriealexander.org

December 12
Xan West
Trying Submission
December 13
https://xanwest.wordpress.com

M. Birds
Where There’s Smoke

December 14
Raven Sky
Fuck Me Like a Canadian
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 15
Sommer Marsden
Hush

December 16
Lea Daley
Rules
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 17
Nan Barret
Oliver: Twisted
sacchi-green.blogspot.com

December 18
Nat Burns
Jani-Lyn’s Dragon
sacchi-green.blogspot.com





Sunday, July 1, 2018

December Dreaming in July



Ah, December! It seems strange to be longing for December on the first of July, even though the temperature today in Western Massachusetts has been just about 100 degrees, but that’s not the only reason to look forward about five months. The main reason is that Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 3 will come out on December 12th.

I like to share the introductions to my anthologies and the Tables of Contents well ahead of publication, but not usually this far ahead. In this case, though, as I keep rearranging the fans for maximum effect and hoping that my antiquated air conditioner doesn’t quit, the thought of December is so appealing that I’m going to pretend it’s almost here, and dive right in.



Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year, Volume 3: Introduction

We open a book hoping to be taken somewhere—to faraway places, into the lives and inner thoughts of intriguing characters, or into times past or even unexplored depths of ourselves. If the book is classed as erotica, we also expect to be intensely stirred both sensually and emotionally.

The beauty of an anthology is that we can expect to be taken in multiple directions, and meet an assortment of characters with a wide range of viewpoints. The drawback is that with short stories we often wish for more time with these characters, these sensations, these adventures. But writers with a special gift for short fiction can still draw us deeply into the brief length of their work, with multidimensional characters, vivid settings, intriguing story arcs, and, of course, sex as intrinsic to the story as any setting.

I’ve been lucky enough in two previous volumes of this series to be the editor who gets to read the flood of submissions and decide which of the best, in my opinion, should be included. I could never fit all of the very best into the limited space of a single anthology, so I try for a balance, and as wide a variety of themes and styles as possible, especially those I haven’t seen before. Originality is high on my wish list.

Here are some hints as to where the stories I chose will take you, and what you may find there. Could there be a better start than the fantasy-fulfillment story, “Ninjutsu,” set on a plane high above the Pacific en route from Tokyo to Honolulu? And what could feel more real than longtime lovers waking in the “Morning Fog” of San Francisco? How about touring the South of France in “Perfume,” a massage in a Moroccan public bath in “Fuck Me Like a Canadian,” a cabin “Where There’s Smoke” in the snowy North Country, and the surveillance area above the ceiling of a Las Vegas casino where “Oliver: Twisted” begins?

New York City figures in at least three stories, playing different roles. In “The Auction,” the city is an artsy background for socialite fundraisers. In “Trying Submission,” it’s an upscale background for a decidedly non-upscale character. And the Harlem of 1931 in “Sweet of My Heart” is the home of a Peace Mission’s free
meals where even a dance hall girl could be fed.

While most of the stories have contemporary settings, two more are set, at least partially, in the past. If you’re old enough to have been swept up in the rock and blues bands frenzy of the ’60s and ’70s, you may catch the significance of September 1970, and even if you aren’t that old, you’ll find out in “Jani-Lyn’s Dragon.” And in “Still Marching,” old friends who met and parted twentyfive years ago at a march for abortion rights in Washington, DC, bump into each other at a present-day march in Philadelphia.

There are various themes included in the anthology. I had quite a few submissions featuring coffeehouse encounters, but “Husher” is the one I chose for its deft and evocative style. There were also several submissions involving cancer, something I hadn’t seen before, and others referring to trauma from past abuse; I went with “Fearless,” which included both, along with a beautifully uplifting conclusion. Of the several stories I received featuring differently abled or neuro-atypical characters, I settled on “Trying Submission,” with a vulnerable character who lingers vividly in my mind.

On another tack, “The Night Shift” proves to be just the-right time for accidental phone sex. Then the familiar professor/former student theme of “Rules” travels in unexpected directions and gets as steamily entertaining as they come, while the queer bookstore in “Rainbow’s End” provides an ideal place for a hesitant would-be writer to find just what she hardly dared hope for. And in the beautifully balanced “Yin and Yang,” a contemporary ballet dancer and her lighting-technician lover make the perfect team, while the writing, alternating between lyrical and straightforward, makes the perfect presentation of their story.

Yes, all of these stories include hot, intense sex, in its many-splendored manifestations. I’ll leave you to discover those, scene by scene. A word of caution: you may not get jet lag from this journey, but a suitable recovery period between stories is highly recommended. Trust me.

Sacchi Green
Amherst, MA

Now for the important part, the Contents:

1 Ninjutsu • Valerie Alexander
11 Morning Fog • Scout Rhodes
16 Where There’s Smoke • M. Birds
32 Husher • Sommer Marsden
42 Fearless • T. C. Mill
56 The Night Shift • Pascal Scott
67 The Auction • R. G. Emanuelle
82 Rainbow’s End • Emily L. Byrne
94 Oliver: Twisted • Nanisi Barrett D’Arnuk
109 Fuck Me Like a Canadian • Raven Sky
118 Jani-Lyn’s Dragon • Nat Burns
126 Rules • Lea Daley
142 Perfume • R. D. Miller
151 Trying Submission • Xan West
166 Yin and Yang • Mags Hayward
179 Still Marching • Victoria Janssen
187 Sweet of My Heart • Anna Watson


Post Script

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really all that anxious for winter to come. My tomato plants are thriving, my pole beans are beginning to climb their poles, and my summer squash plants are getting frighteningly lush, although there are no blossoms yet. I want everything summer can offer. But I could do with temperatures just a bit lower than the ones this week.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Lambda Award Finalist, and New York Reading


News to share, on two fronts.

First:

Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales is a finalist for this year’s Lambda Awards! The winners will be announced at the Lambda Awards Ceremony in New York on Monday, June 4th. This is my 8th finalist over a span of thirteen years, with two of them winners, and since finalists get free tickets to the event, you can bet I’ll be there.

And:

As long as I’ll be in New York for the Lammies, I figured I might as well schedule a reading for my newest anthology while I’m there, so on Sunday June 3rd, at Bluestocking Books,  172 Allen Street, at 7 pm, here’s what will be going on:

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year: Volume 2

Readings by editor Sacchi Green and contributors to Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year: Volume 2 from Cleis Press, including M. Birds, Sarah Fonseca, Dena Hankins, Victoria Janssen, and Pascal Scott. This is the 22nd issue in the iconic Best Lesbian Erotica series, in spite of its revised title. Join Lambda award winner Sacchi Green, along with writers who can heat up your mind as well as your body.

M. Birds is a mad queer writer and musician from Vancouver, British Columbia.  Her short fiction has previously been published by Freaky Fountain Press, Cleis Press and Hot Ink Press.  You can visit her at mbirds.ca for more sordid details.

Sarah Fonseca’s essays, criticism, filthy ideas, and overlapping iterations have appeared in publications including Autostraddle, Buzzfeed, Math Magazine, Nylon Magazine, A Quiet Courage, and Sinister Wisdom. A Southern state expatriate, Fonseca also blogs and obsesses over Eartha Kitt.

Captain Dena Hankins (denahankins.net) writes aboard her boat, preferably in a quiet anchorage. Previously a sex educator, she writes erotica and romances spanning the queer alphabet. Her novels—Lysistrata Cove, Heart of the Liliko‘i, and Blue Water Dreams—are erotic romance with queer and trans leads.

Victoria Janssen’s The Duke and the Pirate Queen (2010) is set in the same universe as her first novel, The Duchess, Her Maid, The Groom, and Their Lover (2008). Find her full list of publications online at victoriajanssen.com or chat with her on twitter @victoriajanssen.

Pascal Scott’s short fiction has appeared in Thunder of War, Lightning of Desire: Lesbian Historical Military Erotica; Through the Hourglass: Lesbian Historical Romance; Order Up: A Menu of Lesbian Romance and Erotica; Unspeakably Erotic: Lesbian Kink; and Best Lesbian Erotica, Vol. 2 (2017). She lives in Decatur, GA.

Sacchi Green is a Lambda Award–winning editor and writer who lives in the five-college area of western Massachusetts and makes occasional forays into the real world. Her work appears in scores of books, and she’s edited fifteen anthologies, including Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year: 20th Anniversary Edition, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year: Volume 2, and Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales.

Come and join us if you can!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Call for Submissions: Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 3 (Repeat)

Hey, repeating this post, because this February 15th deadline is coming on fast!

Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 3
(Best Lesbian Erotica 2019)
Editor: Sacchi Green
Publisher: Cleis Press
Deadline: February 15 2018 (earlier encouraged)
Payment: $100 and 1 copy of the book within 90 days of publication

Rights: non-exclusive right to publish the story in this anthology in print, ebook and audiobook form. Authors will retain copyright to their stories.

Send me stories that only you could write, the ones burning inside you to be brought to life. Surprise me with new concepts, or startle me with prose that illuminates traditional themes in new ways. I expect to use mostly original, unpublished work, but I’ll consider stories previously published in 2016-2017.  A maximum of two submissions per author is allowed, with a preferred length of 2000-4500 words. No simultaneous submissions.

Give me a variety of themes, voices, and tones. Diversity in ages, ethnicities, cultures, and physical attributes and abilities is welcome. The central figures must be lesbians, with believable, fully developed characters. I want vividly drawn settings, and plots or story arcs that grip the reader and don’t let go. Originality is especially welcome. And, of course, I want an intensely erotic aura with sex scenes that are integral to the story as a whole. All flavors of sensuality are welcome, from vanilla to BDSM to edgy frontiers that surprise and startle the reader. A few science fiction or fantasy stories might fit in, as well as a well-researched historical setting or two.

Send your submission as an attachment in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format, double spaced, Times New Roman black font, with story title, legal name, pseudonym (if applicable) and mailing and email addresses on the first page, to sacchigreen@gmail.com
Queries are welcome.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Writing Erotica, Repeat

I posted this about a year ago, but I'm bouncing it back to the top, partly because I'll be doing a panel on the subject at the Arisia convention this weekend, and partly because I'm taking submissions for my next anthology, Best Lesbian Erotica of the Year Volume 2, up until February 15th.

This is a compendium of various article and interviews I've done on the subject. Sure, there's some repetition, but if I repeat it, it's important, right? Right?

I come to praise erotica, not to define it. Considering who’s likely to be reading here, erotica doesn’t need any cheerleading from me, but I’ll do it anyway. The erotic is such a subjective concept that I don’t need to define it, just know it when I see it, and know what I like. It also happens to be my business to know a certain amount about what other people might like. As editor of twelve anthologies categorized as lesbian erotica (two of them Lambda Award winners,) with more in the works, I get to decide which submitted stories work as erotica for that particular niche-within-a-niche. My publishers have the final say on all the stories, but they’ve never yet rejected one of my choices on the grounds of not being erotic enough. Come to think of it, I’ve very seldom rejected a submission for not being erotic enough.

My basic requirements for erotica are a high level of sexual tension, and an orgasm for at least one character. Explicit language is fine, but not required; a really good writer can make a scene intensely hot without having to make decisions about what to call various body parts, or even to list those parts. Get your characters’ feelings and sensations across well enough, and the reader’s imagination will do the rest.

For me, though, the best erotica is about more than sex. Just because a story provides enough of an erotic charge to be called erotica doesn’t limit it, or mean that it can’t do more besides. I know all too well how little respect erotica gets—“Plot? What Plot?” And there are the surprisingly numerous reviews that start out with, in essence, “I never read erotica because it’s all trash, but this book, to my astonishment, is an exception!” Clearly they’ve been reading the wrong erotic books, or more likely not reading any at all. And I know all too well the condescending attitude of “Erotica? Surely you could do better than that!”

Better than what? Than a full-frontal approach to an essential, complex facet of human existence? Besides the physical stimulation, erotic interchanges can be as revelatory of character as any other basic human activity, and more so than most, since they deal with heightened emotions and senses and, in some cases, heavily weighted baggage from past experience. They can also provide ways to slip in details not revealed in calmer moments; shyness or confidence, impulsiveness or self-control, tenderness, aggression, vulnerability, repression, or raw, unapologetic sensuality. The various flavors of BDSM are about more than sex as well, even though they’re intensely bound to sexual fulfillment. In LGBT erotica, which is most (though not all) of what I write and edit, there are the added complexities of gender presentation and cultural taboos even more deeply rooted than the general squeamishness about sex.

Fiction that deals explicitly with sex can be as well-written, thought-provoking and creative as that in any other genre (or the non-genre that likes to call itself “mainstream” or “literature.”) Settings can be as varied and vividly evoked; different periods in history can be as well-researched and essential to the plot or story arc; characters can be as multidimensional. There’s nothing wrong with short, sharp, no-frills, cut-to-the-chase-and-clinch erotica, but that too can be done with consummate skill.

My point here is that erotica can and often does go beyond its stereotypical reputation. If our wider culture weren’t so obsessed with sex as “sinful,” some of the best writers in our genre could be publishing their sexually-explicit work in venues outside the erotica ghetto. The flip side of that, of course, is that the perception of sex as sinful draws many readers to erotica, and I’d never discount the way a sense of transgression and flouting (even mooning) authority can spice up sex of any flavor.




Here’s another piece, written for writer and reviewer Ashley Lister’s blog about his book How to Write Erotic Fiction and Sex Scenes. He asked some writers and editors to contribute suggestions of their own. We were limited to five suggestions each, which was a good thing; otherwise I'd still be going on about it. Anyway, here are my suggestions.

1) Tell a story as only you can tell it. Be familiar with other writing in your genre, but don’t imitate anyone else. As an editor I look for an original approach and a distinctive voice; something to set a story apart from all the thousands I’ve seen before. Surprise me!

2) Make your characters so real that the reader can tell them apart just by the way they act and speak, even when you don’t specify who’s speaking.

3) Pay attention to the rhythm of your prose. Vary the length and structure of your sentences (unless, of course, you use short, choppy sentences or long, rambling ones to make a certain point or define a character.)

4) Don’t assume that grammatical constructions you see over and over must be correct, or should be used over and over. There’s no need for sentence after sentence, or even paragraph after paragraph, to begin with a participial phrase such as “Opening the door, she crossed the room.” Think about that. Is the room so small one could cross it while still in the process of opening the door? Even when there’s no such grammatical problem, overuse of “ing” looks amateurish (and is, obviously, one of my pet peeves.) There are other more varied ways of avoiding too many sentences that start with “she” or the character’s name.

5) And speaking of pet peeves, particularly when dealing with erotica, PLEASE be sure you know whether your character’s movements and actions are physically possible. I’m not talking about superhuman endurance, or strength; I’m just considering logistics. Remember whose various parts are where, and don’t tie the reader’s (and editor’s) mind in knots trying to figure out how what was up is suddenly down, and why what faced one direction (and was, in fact, tied that way) is suddenly available for full frontal play. This sort of thing can apply to any scenes of concentrated action, erotic or otherwise, but interrupting the flow of a sex scene is especially, well, frustrating.




This next question-and-answer piece is from an interview I did with superb editor Rachel Kramer Bussel for an article she was writing.

Rachel: Do you have any advice about the specifics of writing historical erotica and romance? Your guidelines for Thunder of War, Lighting of Desire say "research it until you know it more intimately than you remember yesterday." Can you elaborate on how an author can go about doing that? For those that do have a grasp on the time period they are writing about, is there any leeway to bend convention in terms of what probably would have happened for the sake of a good story?

Sacchi: My statement about research was a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much. When you’re into the actual writing process, part of you does need to be, in a sense, deeply submerged in the time period you write about. You can do a lot of research online, about the geographical and political and cultural aspects of the place and time you write about, but it’s also essential to read works by people who lived in those times and places, if at all possible. You want not only the facts of their history, but the idiosyncratic style and cadence of their speech as it comes through in their writing, even though you’ll need to balance the authenticity of their prose with your own sense of what your readers will find comprehensible. Memoirs are especially useful. And you need to know the small details, too; I remember a story that had a character wearing nylon stockings at least ten years before those were invented. While it’s true that very few readers would notice that, why take a chance when you could Google it? What you can’t Google as easily is the erotic component of people’s lives in different time periods, so we have to use our imaginations. They obviously had sex, or we wouldn’t be here, and despite what every generation seems to think, there’s nothing we do now that hasn’t been done before (unless it requires advanced technology.) As far as bending conventions, my preference is not to pretend they didn’t exist, but give the characters credit for managing to get what they want in spite of the obstacles.
 
Rachel: Since these calls are for 3000-5000 or 6000 word pieces, how much of the story should be focused on the erotic and romance vs. the historical aspect? Is there an ideal balance between the two, or does that depend on the story?

Sacchi: This varies, of course, according to the editors and publishers. Ideally the romance and erotica blend seamlessly with the plot and historical aspects. You don’t want an info-dump of everything you know about the history, just the parts that are necessary to your story and the atmosphere you want to construct. And you don’t want—or at least I don’t want—sex scenes that don’t flow naturally from the structure of the story and the characterization. But you can fit a lot of sexual tension between the lines, so to speak, and build up to the explicit parts so that they feel inevitable.

Rachel: This is actually an issue I had when attempting to write a story for your Lesbian Cops anthology, which I never completed: how can an author tell if their story sounds authentic if they haven't personally experienced the topic they're writing about?

Sacchi: Sometimes we just can’t tell, but we do write about plenty of things we haven’t experienced. In the case of the Lesbian Cops book, I knew that many readers would be looking for stereotypes, or even caricatures of cops, but I didn’t want to go that way. It was more important to show the human side of being a lesbian cop, a woman in a job more usually held by men, the conflicts, stresses, emotional trauma, and the way sex gets intertwined with these factors. Police procedural details could be left a bit fuzzy, but any of us who write about the emotional and sexual lives of women could extrapolate to the special intensity of being a strong woman facing crime, danger, mayhem, and crude misogyny on a daily basis.(It also wouldn’t hurt to have watched TV shows like Hill Street Blues, Homicide: Life on the Streets, NYPD Blue, and/or any of the many police procedural shows currently showing.) If you’re interested enough in a topic to want to write about it, chances are you can find ways to learn enough of the details.

Rachel: What makes a particular story stand out for you as an editor and select it for your anthologies?

Sacchi: I like work that feels original, told in a distinctive voice, without appearing to strain to be different. Writing that flows with the right pace for the moods being evoked is always a plus. Characters should have enough individuality that it’s clear in much of the dialogue which one is speaking, even without telling the reader. Sex scenes can be described at first in terms of what an observer might see, but the focus should eventually be on the sensations of the central character so that the reader can be swept along by the rising tide of passion—and the writer had better find some fresher image than “the rising tide of passion.” Stories that manage to be about more than just the sex stand out, too, and depending on the theme of an anthology, sometimes they really have to be about more than the sex. It’s also perfectly possible to ignore all these things and still write a story that startles me into loving it. One more factor to bear in mind is that the anthology as a whole needs to have the right balance of types of stories, so even an excellent piece can turn out not to fit into the shape the book ultimately develops. If it’s good, it will fit some other book, so keep on trying.

Rachel: As an anthology editor, is there anything you can share about what you'd like to see in addition to your guidelines you can share? Pet peeves or things you wish people did with their writing that you don't see enough of?

Sacchi: I usually cover quite a lot about what I want in my guidelines, but it’s true that sometimes I don’t know exactly what I want until I see it. I do have pet peeves, mostly about habits writers pick up from other writers until it seems like it must be right because everybody’s doing it—but it isn’t right. The prolific (and often incorrect) use of participial phrases is a major pain I see too often. “Knocking on the door, I strode across the room…” Really? You kept on knocking while you were striding? But even if the phrases are used correctly, piling them up two or three to a paragraph and a dozen to a page will make me cringe. I know writers are sometimes trying not to start too many sentences with “I” or “she,” but this isn’t the way to do that, at least not if you’re writing for me. Another thing I see too often is the use of terms that might have seemed fresh and original the first time you saw them, like the rather archaic “delved” applied to the actions of tongues penetrating mouths, but when you see them time after time they get to standing out like, well, sore tongues. If you absolutely must use them, don’t do it more than once in a short story.

Rachel: Any other thoughts?

Sacchi: No matter what I’ve said above, write your story the way you think it should be written. And pay attention to work by other writers that really impress you, not so you can copy them, but to remind you how many different and unexpected ways there are to write memorable fiction. I’m still startled by that “wow” factor every now and then, and sometimes the feeling is almost better than sex. Almost.




I’ll end, at last, with a chapter I contributed to Fran Walker’s Lavender Ink: Writing and Selling Lesbian Fiction from Bedazzled Ink (Chapter 10), titled, obviously, “Sex Scenes”.


Sex Scenes

What is it about sex scenes in books? Our culture’s conflicted attitudes toward sex are not only reflected, but magnified, in our reactions to the very idea of writing or reading about sex.   No other section of a book, except, possibly, the ending, inspires so much flipping through the pages. Some readers will be avid to find the “good parts” and devour them first, while others will want to make sure they know which pages to avoid. And it’s equally true that some writers can’t wait to get working on the erotic bits, while others, pressured to include them by editors or by their own assessments of the market, avoid writing them until everything else has been done and they can’t procrastinate any longer.

I won’t try to tell you, as a writer, that whatever method you use is wrong. If you can make it work, that’s great. But I will tell you what kind of reader you should write for: one who opens herself to your characters, gets drawn into their lives and emotions, and follows wherever the story leads because it’s so compelling that she can’t bear to miss a word. Not even words she might usually avoid.

Your first responsibility is to give this reader what she needs. Being true to your characters is just as essential, but you’ve seduced the reader into some degree of identification with your POV character, so it amounts to the same thing. And what she needs, besides an emotional bond that intensifies into a physical one, is a scene that flows naturally from what comes before and advances the characterization and story arc at least as much as any other element of the work.

Sex scenes serve many purposes beyond satisfying an editor who believes that they sell books. Erotic interchanges can be as revelatory of character as any other basic human activity, and more so than most, since they deal with heightened emotions and senses and, in some cases, heavily weighted baggage from past experience. If you’ve already developed your characters fully, aspects of their personalities and histories can be emphasized in sex scenes, but you may also find that these scenes provide ways to slip in details not revealed in calmer moments. Shyness or confidence, impulsiveness or self-control, tenderness, vulnerability, repression, unapologetic sensuality; these are only a few of the traits that can be surface in the heat of a sexual encounter. The characters may even surprise themselves with their own reactions.

The sex scene can also serve less complex purposes. Sometimes your characters (and the reader) just need to have a really good time, whether as a counterpoint to the stresses of whatever else is happening in your story or as a pacing device to vary the mood from scene to scene. And eventually you have to deliver the implicitly promised payoff to all the emotional and erotic tension you’ve been building.

You have been building erotic tension, haven’t you? It’s a huge mistake to think of a sex scene as a single obligatory lump of action inserted into your story with no relevance to the rest, sticking out like a sore thumb. (Yes, that’s an unforgivable cliché. Yes, I could think of several metaphors more in keeping with our topic, but I’ll leave those as an exercise for the reader.)

When it comes to building toward sex scenes, foreshadowing is like foreplay. It’s not going to be convincing for your characters to leap suddenly into a passionate clinch without ever having given hints, in thought or deed, of a growing sexual attraction. Even if your plot involves repression or denial, you need to find subtle ways of showing that something is simmering under the surface. The reader, as well as the characters, has to be ready for an eruption. In a novel that isn’t specifically erotica you don’t want to overdo the sensual foreshadowing to the point of distraction from the other essential elements, but it does need to be part of the blend.

So now your characters, setting, and emotional connection with your reader have been established. You’ve drawn on all the senses, using sight, hearing, scent, touch, and taste wherever they might be appropriate. Erotic tension has mounted, and you’ve reached the point when a sex scene is the natural next step in the progression of their relationship (and your story). Many writers, as well as readers, would prefer to leave the rest to the imagination, but if you’re reading this we’ll assume that for one reason or another—editorial pressure, personal inclination, recognition of the importance to the story as a whole--you intend to create a fully developed and explicit sexual encounter.

Just how explicit is explicit enough? I used to say, when asked, that a story crosses the line into erotica when the writer has to make decisions about what terms to use for parts of the body. It was a stupid answer. It’s quite possible (and an intriguing challenge) to write intensely arousing and satisfying scenes without naming body parts at all. Anyone reading your work is likely to be familiar with the anatomical territory, and will understand what’s going on from the context and the reactions and dialogue of the characters (assuming that “Yes, there, please, right there,” counts as dialogue).

Nevertheless, the language you use to describe sex can have nearly as much impact on the reader as the actions you’re describing. For better or for worse, sex has accumulated so much baggage in our culture that “dirty” words can carry an erotic jolt of their own, positive for some people, negative for others. You can’t predict how each reader will react. All you can do is be familiar enough with your characters to know whether they’d say “cunt” or “pussy” or “vulva”; “clit” or “clitoris”; “labia” or “lips”; “ass” or “buttocks”; or…well, you get the picture. Even the choice between “breasts” or “tits” or “boobs” says something about the character’s personality, background, and mood.  “Tits” is a perfectly good colloquial version of “teats”, a term currently more in use in animal husbandry, but these days “tits” has a certain edge to it that might or might not be what you’re looking for. “Boobs” feels to me like a more casual, flippant usage, which can have its place as well. Just be glad that in lesbian fiction we don’t have to deal with labels for male genitalia, unless in a metaphorical sense, but really, let’s not go there right now.

My advice, from the perspective of just one reader/writer/editor, is to get as much mileage as you can out of non-controversial terms, and then use the others, but sparingly. Hands, fingers, tongues, thighs; few descriptions are more erotic than getting any of the first three moving between a pair of the fourth. When the focus inevitably becomes so narrowed that you do need more specific (or “explicit”) language, keep it short and non-clinical. I know readers for whom “clitoris” triggers book-against-the-wall syndrome because it seems to them too stilted and affected. Others prefer it. Go figure.

The one time above all others when you don’t want to throw the reader out of the scene (or have the book thrown against the wall) is in the full heat of a sexual encounter. Or a good fuck, if you prefer blunt to stilted. The word choices mentioned above might have that unfortunate effect on a few readers, but an even surer way is to get carried away by a desire for originality. If you’re going to try your hand at new ways to describe, say, hardened nipples, you might come up with something creative and right to the point, but you’d better run it by an unbiased beta reader or two. (Acorns and berries and snails and pencil erasers have already been overused, just so you know.) Even a term that might be successful in the context of poetry or high fantasy could interrupt the erotic flow for a reader if she has to stop and think about it. I’m not saying that you should never be creative, but you need to be aware of the hazards. All of the other advice you’ve seen about keeping adverbs and adjectives to a minimum applies here, as well, and ellipses, especially tempting in erotica since so much reaction is non-verbal, need just as firm a hand.

Another word-choice issue, one inherent in same-sex erotica, is the problem of pronouns. Which “she” is touching which “her” with whose hand?  Maybe this is a trade-off for not needing to describe the reproductive apparatus of the opposite sex. In any case, a scene won’t work well with confusion as to these vital details. A first person point of view takes care of the problem, but deciding what kind of POV works best for a story should be based on other factors.

So what can you do? Ideally the context, the individualized personalities of the characters, and their relative positions at a given time (if one is standing and the other is sitting, we know who’s reaching down and who’s looking up), will make some of the interactions clear. When these aren’t enough, don’t be afraid to use their names, even if it seems repetitive. Don’t give in to the urge to use too many adjectives, at least not in the form of “the darker woman” or “the whimpering girl”; these distance the reader from the action at just the worst time. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get away with some physical descriptions to indicate who’s doing what—“dark hair brushed her skin”, “her large hand moved faster”—but don’t rely on them too often. When you need to use a name for clarity, do it. If you’re handling the rest of the scene well enough, the reader will be too involved to notice.

This brings us to writing the scene itself. You’re getting tired of so many warnings of what not to do; now let’s try to focus on what you should do, and how to do it. “Focus” is the key word. Focus on what your characters are feeling. You do this throughout the book, of course, but it’s especially important in scenes dealing with romance and sex.

People read for the sensations it arouses. The stimulation might be intellectual, or something along the lines of sense-of-wonder, but far more often they’re looking for an emotional and sensual charge, something that stirs the body as well as the mind. A romantic scene can do this as well as an erotic one for many readers. There’s a physical reaction; the heart seems to swell, the pulse quickens, the face may flush, there may even be a hint of tears. It’s no accident that something with emotional appeal is often termed “touching”. Taking it to the next, erotic, level should build on this physical response, extend it to more areas of the body, and intensify it.

There’s no single required structure for a sex scene. For one thing, the scene doesn’t stand alone, unless it constitutes the entirety of a short story. You may have got your characters (and the reader) so worked up that they go right at it the moment they’ve made it to a private corner, or the tone may not even be overtly erotic at the beginning, until some catalyst triggers a reaction that becomes an irresistible force. You’ve been leading up to this, building erotic tension at various strategic points, sometimes subtly, sometimes with more emphasis. You may have established a pattern this way that echoes the overall structure of the plot, with advances, retreats, and barriers to overcome, but by the time you reach the “real” sex scene the flow should be almost entirely forward. There can be exceptions; your plan for character development might call for one or another of the lovers to show hesitation, or experience painful flashbacks, or something along those lines; but your ultimate goal is an uninterrupted stretch of accelerating heat that comes to a satisfying conclusion. You don’t necessarily want to reach that point too fast, though--getting there is a whole lot of the fun.

While there’s no single approved structure, and we’ve all seen far too many scenes that seem to follow a porn-by-numbers formula, there’s one type of progression to bear in mind and to follow unless you have some clear artistic or plot-building reason to depart from it. Think of it as concentric circles of awareness, with the POV character’s focus progressing from outward to the center. The focus of the other character in the scene—or more, if you have them, but it makes my head hurt to imagine the complications then in describing which “she” is doing what to which proliferation of body parts—will be narrowing similarly, as perceived by the first character.

You begin with an awareness of the setting. This may have been already established before the scene begins, but a few details can help to set the initial mood. Distant sounds of music or voices, perhaps, or the pinging of an old radiator; the scent of hay in the loft or rain on the night breeze; whatever fits your setting. Then the focus retracts to a small space containing only the characters themselves, and then to parts of their bodies (at this point clothes probably come off, although not necessarily), and then to the POV character’s sensations as she touches individual body parts or is touched. At the ultimate point of inward focus, her consciousness is fixed on her own center, her body’s needs and the sensations that finally fulfill them.

This pattern is only one among many possible scenarios, and runs contrary to certain perceived traditions. In lesfic especially, there’s often an emphasis on paying as much attention to your partner’s pleasure as to your own, and simultaneous orgasms are portrayed rather more frequently than actual experience would indicate. That’s fine; we’re talking about fiction, after all. But my preference is for letting the reader focus most intently on entering into the POV character’s experience, and then, after a pause for breath, sharing that character’s pleasure in fulfilling her partner’s needs. The more non-simultaneous orgasms, the better.

I’m not going to go into any more explicit detail about how to make your sex scene hot. The crucial point is to make it hot for your characters, and to get their feelings across well enough to draw your reader into them.

Writing about what turns you yourself on is the best bet, but good writers share the secret superpower of imagination. If you can expand your mind to the point of understanding how someone else could find certain things arousing that you would never actually want to do, and have drawn your characters accordingly, a reader who has followed them this far will probably be primed to go the rest of the way. You must, though, be sure you know what you’re talking about, especially when it comes to BDSM and related kinky practices. Your research can involve books or observation rather than personal experimentation, but there are complex nuances to such concepts as consensual power play, and uninformed assumptions can get you into trouble.

Don’t feel that you have to include acts that you actually find distasteful. If, for instance, the thought of using teeth on tender parts makes you cringe (and assuming that cringing is not something you enjoy on any level), or anal sex squicks you out, or feather-stroking strikes you as merely annoying, don’t use them. There are plenty of other options. A scene where everyone remains fully clothed and the major friction comes from thighs pressing into crotches can be as erotic as naked slippery bodies performing complex contortions. You just have to do a good enough job of showing how intensely the participants are enjoying it to convince the reader and take her along for the ride. Focus on the feelings.

But what do editors look for? Don’t they require a certain amount of explicit language and hotter-than-life sex? Probably some do. There are anthologies, for instance, with themes like bondage or fetishes or one or another edgy practice, but if you’re aiming at those, you already know what you want to write and what audience you’re writing for. Some publishers, especially of e-books, do seem to have fun devising colorful rating systems to describe the “heat” levels of their various lines, which tends to strike me as silly. I can’t speak for editors of novel-length work at all, since all my experience is with writing and editing short fiction.

I can only speak, of course, from that experience. I’ve edited or co-edited a dozen erotica anthologies, and I’ve never consciously established any kind of quota for sexual content. Well, if it’s an erotica anthology, there should be sexual tension, and someone, at some point, should reach orgasm, but I’ve never tried to quantify any of it. An involving story, interesting characters and setting, and any other creative quality that makes a story stand out from a sea of same-old-same-old pieces does it for me more than a specific percentage of pages involving explicit sex. Sex has to be a significant part of the story, but it needs to have a good story around it, and I especially like it when even the sex is about more than sex.

Many other editors feel the same way. Time after time I see guidelines practically begging for creative, convincing, diverse work. Readers can sometimes have a comfort zone—or arousal zone—that draws them to choose the same kinds of stories over and over, but editors have to slog through so much material that it takes something different to catch their attention, even if the difference is in how well the story is written and just how intensely the reader is made to feel the emotions and experiences of the characters.

That’s really all I can tell you in general terms about writing sex scenes, and I suspect you knew it all already, on one level or another. Create characters, setting, plot, and sensory details that will draw the reader into the story, and when a sex scene is the natural next step, focus on feelings. Do it just as you would in any other part of the story, but even more so, because there is something special about sex scenes.



So that’s all I have to say about that, not that I haven’t written more such things, but there is such a thing as too much repetition. Maybe the best advice of all is to write a story as only you can write it, the way that feels right to you, and don’t bother with any advice at all.