Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Crawl Home, Slut

I can hear the swish of the flogger as he paces the room behind me. All I can see is the pillow crammed underneath my chin but I don't need to see him to know that he's cross. He's been cross ever since I walked through the door. He didn't speak to me as he cuffed me to the bed. Sometimes he'll let out this huff of irritation and that's all I've heard from him and now I am bored. I'm not in the mood for this but I'm the sub, not the sir. It's not my call.

The flogger lands on my bare ass with a thud and I flinch, but I don't respond. He has to hit me harder than that if he wants a reaction. He know this, and hits me again. I bury my face in the pillow and try not to think about why he's so annoyed. I know what this is about. A flurry of blows rain down on my thighs and back and I settle into the soothing warmth that accompanies the dull pain. It's not until he starts deliberately hitting me between my shoulder blades where he know it stings most that I even let on that it hurts.

“Bastard,” I say quietly. Ouch.

He pauses at my remark and swishes the flogger some more. A heavy blow lands on my ass and I yelp at the sudden shock.

“I can't believe you went to him.”

There it is. There is the source of the annoyance.

Swish. Thud.

“Did he treat you well?”


“I asked you a question. You will answer.” I sigh into the pillow.


“Pardon? I didn't hear you.” The anger in his voice is palpable but ineffectual. I am numb, save for the warmth of my assaulted ass and thighs.

“No sir, he didn't,” I say louder.

Swish. Thud. Yelp.

“Was he a conceited asshole, like I said?” I exhale again, breathing through my gritted teeth and drawing on the pain to try and provide feeling to my words.

“Yes, sir, he was every inch the bastard you predicted,” I say. I am impassive, no longer hurt by that knowledge. It did hurt, it hurt like fuck. But that was before. I have shut down and am no longer affected by his actions. I just left it all behind. That won't spare me the consequences though.

“And you went to him anyway.”



The flogger batters on and on relentlessly, harder and harder until I am clenching my ass to try and absorb the blows, gripping the rope with balled fists and beating my feet against the cuffs. Tears are welling up in my eyes but I shut them, determined that I will take this punishment as I should, without fuss and without tears.

“You. Deserve. Everything. You. Get.” he hisses between blows, the exertion of the beating making him pant. “You filthy whore,” he adds maliciously. I've never seen him this angry. I'm actually starting to get a little bit scared. I don't think I can take much more of this pounding but I'm too proud to use my safeword and I always have been. Today will not be the day that he bests me. Tears are streaming from my slitted eyes and I can't help but sob. I've learned my lesson.

He stops suddenly and I am stunned by the silence. It feels loud after the volume of the flogger. My body is on fire, stinging and aching and overheating. Sweat glistens on my skin. It itches but I can't get at it to wipe it away. My nose is running. My muscles slowly uncoil and I sag against the bed.

As I start to relax, I break down. I can't keep all this tension pent up inside me. It flows out of me in a rush of desperate, tired tears. I deserve everything I get, but that doesn't make it any easier to live with.

A gentle hand against my inflamed skin makes me jump. His fingers are almost painful in their softness as he massages my sore back, caresses my flushed ass, strokes my aching thighs. He draws his fingers down to my cunt, which betrays me with its wetness. He pushes two fingers inside me and draws them slowly in and out. I breathe heavily through parted lips, struggling against the pain, exhaustion and arousal. I want him. I want him to fuck me. I want him to fuck me while I'm tear-stained and broken and I will be his once more. He knows it's true. We've been here before.

Leaning down next to me, he takes his fingers out and trails them along my skin.

“You're mine,” he says. The certainty with which he says it makes me shiver. Or maybe that's the touch of his hand on my body.

He plunges his fingers back inside me roughly. I cry out.

“I fucking own you, you hear me?” He pumps my cunt a few times. “This is mine. Not yours to give to anyone else. Mine.” He grabs my hair and looks into my make up streaked face. I expect him to say something but his expression is contorted with rage. He is too angry to speak. He throws my head back onto the pillow and climbs off the bed. I hear the clink of his belt as he undoes it and pulls down his trousers. He pushes my shoulders down into the bed as he climbs on top of me once more.

“I'm glad he hurt you,” he hisses into my ear, his solid weight on my stinging flesh almost more pain than I can cope with. He is slick with sweat. It runs onto my back, cooling my skin. “Perhaps next time you'll remember who your friends are.”

Wrapping his arm under my waist, he picks me up and shoves his cock inside my sodden hole unceremoniously. He slaps my ass and I choke on a sob. This twisted tangle of pleasure and pain is my perfection. He knows that's why I do it. I do it for the thrill. He and I both knew that man would fuck me over and I would come back here desperate and beaten. But he knows that's how I want it.

“I wish he could see you now, you fucking slut.” There it is again, the anger. But he gets off on this too. He gets off on seeing me debased and berated like this.

He fucks me hard and carelessly, not interested in my enjoyment. I muffle my cries of pain. He is cementing his ownership of me, flaunting his dominance over my mind, body and emotions. I bury my head in the pillow and let him get on with it. When this is over, things will be fixed and we'll move on. Until the next time, at least...

He comes without fanfare. He's done. That's it. He strokes my hair briefly, and then he's gone. I hear the door slam as he leaves me, still cuffed to the bed. Dripping. Aching. Broken. Messy.


Tuesday, 23 August 2011

August Erotic Meet, Soho

There are now a number of write-ups of the Erotic Meet around the web, and you can find some of them here:

JoshJilly Boyd

And here's mine: It was great to see so many people, most unfamiliar but some I knew. It is a real credit to Annie that the Meet has come on such a long way since there were eight of us in a pub in May!

The new venue is fantastic, cosy but large enough, and you can actually hear yourself think. As great as everyone has said the bar staff were, I wasn't all that impressed, but that's not really important – the drinks weren't hideously expensive, so what else do you want?

Starting the evening by getting everyone to introduce themselves was an excellent idea. It's amazing to see so many different uses of erotica represented.

My most valuable conversations were with Rebecca Bond and her friend Parv, and Daniel Doherty, and were about websites. I'm still trying to work my way around hosting and HTML and how to establish a brand that truly represents me. I've been talking to a lot of people with websites - Annie built her own from scratch and Rebecca paid someone to do it for her but was very clear about she wanted. I think I'd like to build mine but know I need some help...

I would have liked to have spoken to a few more people about self-publishing and writer craft, which are my pet subjects. It is becoming apparent that the best way to get stuff out of these meets is to have some stuff you know you want to bring up but to be flexible because you never know who you're going to meet. (A particular highlight was Inky. He's a cuddly legend.) Since you're all reading this, I shall ask now: what kind of blog posts about self-publishing and writer craft are you interested in reading about? I like to talk about editing (and often lack thereof) in a general sense but I also like to use other people's work to demonstrate my opinions – is that the kind of thing that would be useful to people?

One thing did become clear – I could do with a business card. People kept asking for one. So I guess I should definitely get my website sorted out in time for the next Meet!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Review of The Sevarian Way by Justine Elyot

I was instantly caught by the cover and the blurb of this novella:

In space, no one can hear you scream, so you can spank as hard as you like.

What's not to like? The story is that of a Commander and an Ensign - who are forbidden from BDSM practises by their own culture - exploring the kinky practises of an extinct race on a deserted planet. It's a gloriously original idea, brilliantly executed.

It's refreshing to read an author that really captures the appeal of BDSM. Elyot exposes the heart of the dom/sub relationship, often leaving me with a lump in my throat as I empathised with Suka's reactions and thoughts about her experiences at the well educated and inventive hands of her Commander. There are various scenes of different kinky practises and they are realistic and engaging with a futuristic edge. I found myself getting very jealous of the characters at times – there are definitely things that go on that I'd love the chance to get a go at. I finished the story pining to be able to meet the race that the pair are exploring and experience things the way they do.

Beyond the story, what really caught me is the language. Here is an author with an extensive vocabulary, the likes of which I haven't read anywhere else in the erotic genre. Elyot proves that you can write erotica with intelligent, literary flare. I'll definitely be reading more of her work.

Conclusion: Futuristic yet realistic, with pant-moistening play, stunningly written. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Sevarian Way is available from Total E-Bound and Justine Elyot's website is here.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Wise Words from Around the Web

I recently discovered Keyboard Hussy and her wonderfully, refreshingly opinionated blog about her exploration into the world of self-publishing. One post in particular has really inspired me, and it's this one. In it, the author discusses the pros and cons of worrying about poor self-published authors, and concludes that she's just going to get on with her own writing, rest of us be damned. I agree that good writers will ultimately triumph over rubbish ones. I left a little comment thanking her for her thoughts and got a reply from someone else which I liked so much that I am posting it here. I'm not sure he's right about everything, but I do think what he says is quite insightful, and it's given me something to think about.



“You know, your point about not caring and just getting on with writing has totally made my week. Why worry about what you can’t change when you can worry about how you’re going to one-up them all by being awesome?” (This was quoted from my comment.)

Yoda to Luke:

Control, control. You must learn control!

You’ve got it. You, and only you, control you destiny. Which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t listen to other people. You should. But you should analyze what they are saying, and what it means to you.

"You're pretty heavy for a small guy."

Take my prediction that Brick and Mortar book stores will be mostly dead by the spring of 2013. To most writers this sounds pretty scary. To me it sounds like a huge opportunity.

I write odd stuff. I’m working on a non-fiction book about agriculture in the Province of Ontario. While it’s mostly about Ontario, it will be of interest to farmers, and farm equipment fans worldwide. It’s not the sort of thing that traditional publishers would publish unless a government grant was going to cover the publishing costs. Since I’m my own publisher, and I’m publishing it as an EBook, my costs are pretty low, so I should make out by going totally electronic.

Genre fiction writers will also do well. The latest Harry Dresden book just came out. We bought the EBook version, it arrived on our IPad the morning of the release, we didn’t even have to leave the house to get it.

On June 14, 2011 I ordered David Weber’s How Firm a Foundation from Amazon. It will arrive in the Kindle App in my IPad on September 13, 2011, saving me fuel to drive to the store, time, and $13.03 in cost. Oh yeah and it weighs several pounds less. I have over 500 books on my IPad including De Bello Gallico and Other Commentaries by Julius Caesar in English and Commentarii de Bello Gallico by Julius Caesar in Latin thanks to Project Gutenberg.

So keep pushing. If my predictions are right, we are on the verge of a new age for artists (with artist being used as a word defining a creator of any sort, whether of a classical sort of artwork, i.e. painting, sculpture, stained glass, mosaic, etc., of written works, i.e. poet, fiction or non-fiction writer, of music, i.e. singer, singer/songwriter, musician, of well, just about anything that requires creativity, which is a pretty wide range of endeavour.

Of course the publishers would have you believe that we are coming upon a huge disaster. What they don’t want you to know is that out of a $10.00 EBook sold by a publisher, you will get about $1.00, while out of a $2.99 EBook sold by you directly through Amazon you will make $2.09!

Think. You would only have to sell half as many EBooks through Amazon direct to make a living as through the publisher. Another way of looking at it is that you are giving the publisher $5.98 for each EBook sold if you allow them to have EBook rights.

Do the numbers add up?

They of course will tell you that this is standard with all new contracts. You should sit back and think. If they want the rights so badly, just how valuable are they to you instead, and why shouldn’t you keep them, and tell the publisher to drop dead?

Anyway, it’s two hours past bed time, and I have some heavy duty editing to do tomorrow.

Have fun, and keep on writing. YOU are in control. Show them how good you are.


The commenter's website is here, by the way, should you be interested in looking.


What do YOU think? Please let me know!

Monday, 15 August 2011

Thoughts on the Bristol Erotic Meet

This post originally on the fabulous Erotic Meet website.

So it turns out that local legend has it that there is real human skin on the door of The Hatchet. Many thanks to Lucy Felthouse for pointing out that slightly grim bit of history.

Annie has already done a fabulous job of summarising what went on at the recent Bristol Erotic Meet, so I shall point you at her rather than rehash what she's said. I’m just adding a few points about what I got out of the meet.

It was really great spending the evening with Annie, Erotic Moonbeam and Smut Muppet as we're all coming at erotica from different angles. I spend a lot of time thinking about writer craft and publishing these days and it was really good to discuss those themes. I imagine I shall ask the same questions at the London meet as I don't tire of talking about these subjects! We talked about other stuff too (such as website coding and honesty when reviewing work by other people) but these are the things that stood out to be as particularly interesting:

Fiction vs Real Life: A reader doesn't know whether what you're writing did or didn't happen. Which is quite freeing, as it means you can write whatever is in your head, real or otherwise.

Professionalism vs Enthusiasm
Lots of people write erotica simply because they want to, and other people write it because they want to make money out of it. There is nothing wrong with either camp, but the attitude that goes behind each camp is different. What bothers me is there is generally no way of telling between one and the other when you're buying fiction until you start reading.

I left feeling rather patted on the back in many ways. It's nice to bounce ideas off other people and find that you've been going in the right direction all along. Especially when the company is so attractive. ;)

It was really good of Annie to come all the way over for the meet and there had been a lot of interest so the number of people that turned up was a little disappointing. I guess it's still early days for the Bristol meet and I hope we'll have lots more fabulous people at the next one.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Six Sentence Sunday: 14/08/11

Ooh, I've never posted one of these before! Here are six sentences from an as yet unnamed story that I'm working on for an anthology submission:

The vodka burned as Claire swallowed but hit her system almost immediately, making her head spin. Perfect, she was drunk enough to do something ridiculous. She stood up and stalked slowly over to Nick, motioning for him to pull his chair out. Straddling his lap, she leaned back against the table so that she perched neatly on the end of his knees. Taking hold of his hands, she placed them on the top button of her blouse and bit her lip as she looked at him, willing him to take the hint.

“Claire,” said Tom threateningly from the other side of the table....

Check out the rest of the Six Sentence Sunday authors here:

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Rug

This is the first Wank Wednesday I've done in a while! But you know, the mood took me, and I liked the idea. The prompt this week is plum.


I’d wanted a cosy little cottage for as long as I can remember. The idyllic country lifestyle always appealed to me. When I came out to this picturesque village to visit a cousin I saw the cottage for sale and just knew I had to have it. I gave up quite a lot to move, but my work wasn't based anywhere special, so I figured I'd just go for it. Lost a boyfriend of three years in the process but at least I realised what an ass he was. So I was alone, but I was happy. Better that than with someone and unhappy, right?

Sometimes I still can't honestly believe the place is mine. It has all the period features you'd expect – visible low slung beams and a cute little kitchen and a massive fireplace. The fireplace is my favourite bit. I furnished the slightly threadbare cream carpet with a luscious fluffy plum-coloured rug I found at a local antique market. Something about that deep shape of purple just makes me feel sensual and relaxed. My evening routine fast became lazing about in front of a blazing fire, just me and a glass of wine and some Bob Dylan on the record player. I would snuggle up on the rug and gaze up at the beams and I blush to say there was a little bit of self love too.

After a few months though, I was bored. I found it difficult to meet new people and make friends. All the decent men were clearly already happily married, living their own idyllic countryside dreams with 2.4 children. I absorbed myself more in my work in order to forget how miserable I was becoming. One night after I’d worked much too hard and drunk one too many glasses of red I dozed off in front of the fire.

I woke up suddenly with that strange sense of someone else in the room that you can never quite explain. I just knew there was someone there. My eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room as I sat up and there she was, sprawled on the other end of the rug like a cat, watching me with lazy eyes.

“Who are you?” I spluttered, foggy with sleep and confused as heck as to where this stranger had suddenly appeared from.

“Ssh,” she said quietly, “just relax.” I was too stunned to reply as she raised herself up onto her arms and crawled across the floor towards me, her curvaceous ass swinging behind her. She was dark skinned with long curls which spilled around her shoulders and over her chest. Her eyes gleamed in the darkness. Her grin could only be described as seductive.

“I don't understand,” I said feebly, wondering what on earth she thought she was doing. The way that she climbed on top of me as I lay on the rug spoke volumes about her intentions. “I don't swing that way,” I added, wondering if that would make her stop. I’m not into girls, I never have been...

“Why are you so wet then?” she asked innocently as she unbuttoned my trousers and wriggled them down my hips.

“I'm not,” I began, but her fingers dipped into my pussy then and it was apparent that I was wet. Incredibly wet. Uncomfortably wet. I moaned as she thrust one, then two fingers inside my sodden hole and slowly drew them in and out. My brain tried to wonder how I could be so turned on but was distracted by the wondrous sensation of her soft fingers splaying inside me, reaching up to hit my g spot in a way my boyfriend had never quite managed. She withdrew her fingers and sucked them thoughtfully as a I pined for her touch once more.

“I still don't get it,” I said. The woman said nothing, just pulled my trousers and then my pants off as I wondered if I should do something or stop her or start screaming because there was not only a stranger in my house but one that seemed intent on fucking me, despite my not having any lesbian tendencies.

“That's okay,” she said, “because I intend to give it to you.” She pulled my legs apart and crouched down between them, trailing her damp fingers up my bare thighs and making me sigh contentedly. “Mmm, you do have a beautiful pussy,” she remarked, before thrusting her fingers back inside me as she bent down to take my clit in her mouth. I was entranced by the sight of her ass waving in the air as she sucked and nibbled at my trembling bud. Unsure what else I could do, I lay back and gave in as she worked away at me, building me up until I crashed into an orgasm so wonderful and so satisfying that tears were streaming down my face by the time I'd finished. I looked up to ask again who she was but she'd disappeared.

I woke up again then, even more confused than the first time. My cunt ached. Dream orgasms weren't so unusual but when I sat up I realised that my trousers and pants were discarded on the rug, exactly where the woman had left them. I rubbed my eyes and took myself to bed, convinced that I must have dreamed the curious incident.

She visited me twice more that week, each time when I fell asleep on the rug, never when I dozed off in the arm chair or when I collapsed into bed, exhausted by the sex workouts that she was giving me. Each time she explored my body further, taking me to the precipice of sheer bliss and disappearing when I cascaded into climax after earth-shattering climax. The second week she came I tried again to tell her that I was straight but my the time she'd done with me I had rescinded the statement. Never before had my body been treated the way she treated it. I spent my days in a bleary haze, wondering how to make her visit me again. I started to wonder if I could do the things to her that she was doing to me but she never hung around long enough to ask. After three weeks of all-consuming lust I realised I needed to find out what was going on. I took myself off to the market where I'd bought the rug, wondering if there was something I should know about

When I got to the market I realised how ridiculous the idea was. Did I think the rug was possessed or haunted or something? Could I really just come out with such a stupid question? I was still quite new here and it was a small village. Word would get around that I was crazy and nobody would talk to me. I made my way to the stall pensively, no idea what I would say when I got there. I quickly tried to come up with some excuse for coming back. Perhaps I wanted something else the stall holder had to offer.

As I weakly attempted to make conversation with the kindly older lady that had sold me the rug, I noticed an ass bent over some boxes in the corner of the stall. I would have recognised that ass anywhere; it was the one that haunted my every waking moment and dominated my dreaming ones. As the owner of the ass stood up my mouth fell open in shock. It was her. The woman that had ruined me for men with her wicked mouth and prying fingers. Long curls of hair bounced down her back and her eyes were as shiny and bright as I remembered. I stared at her dumbfounded as she handed something casually to the stall holder, barely giving me a moments notice.

“Is this it, mum?” she asked. The lady smiled and took in my expression.

“This is my daughter,” she said, introducing us. The daughter smiled and said hello. She didn't seem to have any idea who I was. I was inwardly gutted. I'd come here looking for an answer and still didn't seem to have one. I was about to turn and leave when the stall holder was called to another customer and the girl grinned at me knowingly, that wicked gleam in her eye that made me instantly wet. It was a sign. It had to be. I took the plunge.

“Would you like to go for a drink sometime?” I asked. Perhaps this was social suicide, perhaps not. It had to be worth a shot. The girl looked at me for a few moments more and then chuckled softly.

“What if I don't swing that way?” she said playfully.

“I used to think that,” I said. “But give me a try. You never know.”

“Sure,” she said with a wink, “you just never know.”

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Bathtime: An Ode to my Fishie


This is a little bit daft, but I enjoyed it. It's been ages since I wrote longhand, so I got out my favourite pen and a notepad I like and out tumbled this little story:


I’m luxuriating in the bath. The water is so hot I can only just about sit in it comfortably and full of bubbles. Steam wafts gently towards the ceiling and I am surrounded by blissful peace and quiet.

I reach for my fishie vibrator for some hard earned me-time. He looks a little bit odd – big googly eyes and orange and yellow flame motif – but to me, he's perfect. He's mine. I switch him on and watch him float. He emits a soft buzz and sends little ripples out across the surface of the water. My clit throbs slightly in anticipation.

I like being called a slut and a whore but not all the time. My fishie doesn't call me names or demand anything of me. I can think about whoever I want. I don't have to worry which name I moan. Fishie just vibrates away quietly and non-judgementally as I fantasise about two to three different guys and the odd girl, my imagination flipping easily between them, their hands and mouths and cocks all utilised for my pleasure, and mine alone.

That big googly eye presses deliciously against my clit. I tingle with warmth and delight as I massage over and around, as slowly or as quickly as I like. I pinch my nipples and think about my bloke, lapping his tongue against my hard, tingling bud. I press the long thin slat of the fishie's tail just inside my cunt and think about a guy I want to fuck, imagine him lazily stroking his cock against my entrance, at my beck and call rather than my submissive self at his. I spread my lips with my fingers to push the almost silent vibrator harder against the knot of inflamed nerves. Gratification fans out into my stomach and thighs and I press my legs against the sides of the bath, each new sensation as pleasing as the last.

Sweat is dripping down my forehead and landing on my bare chest. I feel each trickle running down my face and remember passionate, sweaty sex, the feel of sweat dripping from am exuberant lover. This is where I get to relive each moment, flicking through them at my choosing. I can take the awkward moments that I would rather forget and twist them into glorious experiences that I never want to end. My fishie doesn't ask me how I want it, he just smiles as I flip him over, the hard edge of his tail digging into my throbbing clit, urging me towards my climax. I add fingers to ease myself slowly, teasingly over the brink into a warm, decadent orgasm, taking my time to savour the waves of easy pleasure that rush over me. Only when I’m alone do I get these relaxed, lazy orgasms, which is part of what makes them so special.

I shiver despite the heat of the water and revel in the gentle throb of my pussy as I let my fishie float to the top of the bath. He bobs about, as happy as I am, ready to go again but equally pleased if I decide I’m done. I switch him off and put him back and I can just sit and wallow in my bath, no need to clean up or make small talk. I don't need to analyse my performance or his. I can just be. My fishie is an unconditional, exquisite lover. My next bath could be tomorrow, or it could be months away. But fishie will be there, patiently waiting for the next time I decide I want some me-time.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Sub Face

I'm apparently on holiday. I'm not good at taking holidays. I find it a bit difficult to slow down. I've been a very busy person for as long as I can remember. I always have to be doing something. My leisure time especially is usually spent doing something I consider "constructive." Even if I sit and watch TV I like to scrapbook or sew. If I'm talking to someone, I fidget with things. It's like there is a part of my brain which needs to be occupied constantly in order for the rest of me to function.

BDSM has been a bit of a revelation to me in some respects. Whilst I get a sexual kick out of playing, the main benefit is that of incapacitating me. The first time my husband and a playmate tied me up they went off to make dinner without me and I nearly freaked out because I couldn't do anything to help. Now, you tie me up and I realise I can't do anything and my brain just... shuts down. It's a bit miraculous. So, forgive me if this a bit of an odd holiday past time, but I spent much of yesterday like this:

"I know you've got a camera there... oh, fuck it."

Of course, two blokes and an incapacitated me leads to other things, but that's a story for another day....

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Lessons in "Oh." (A Review)

I bought “Lessons in 'O' : Deep Throating /Oral Sex / Three Some/ Lesbian” by Gemma Parkes from the Kindle store because Parkes tweeted that it is number 17 in Best Female Erotica 2011 list and I presumed this was based on sales. I realise now it was just a list by someone on Amazon. A lesson for me in more careful purchasing. There aren't any reviews for this particular piece but there are reviews of other works by same author and they're generally quite good so I presumed this would be alright.

I bought it, despite the fact that the tag words are in the title, and “threesome” is left as two words rather than combined into one. I bought it despite there being no front cover, so to speak, just a slightly odd CGI image of a pair of lips which looks like it wasn't actually rendered, it was lifted straight from a work in progress on a 3D modelling package.

My second impression was about as great as my first. The formatting was annoying – I had to turn the font size down because it was enormous. There are no proper line breaks or tabs for new paragraphs. There's a serious lack of punctuation right from the off. I was at this point feeling distinctly disappointed. I make no secret that I've not read a lot of erotica lately that I've enjoyed, but I still wilt a little when I try someone new that doesn't raise my expectations. Looking over the comments I've written already I'm wondering why I still went ahead and I bought it. I didn't want (perhaps unwisely) to judge the book by it's cover.

The premise is... bizarre (slightly creepy, I thought), but gets points for being original. Ellie's guy would like her to read his ex-girlfriend's book about oral sex in order to become better at it. Being a good girlfriend, Ellie does try it – and then invites the author/ex-girlfriend over, and lesbian antics ensue.

There's a lot of quite well written sex and it's quite light hearted, but that was about it, really. The dialogue is very clunky and made me cringe more often than relate to the characters. The ex-girlfriend is painted as intensely irritating (and a bit mentally imbalanced, if I'm honest) and I found myself wondering what Ellie was doing with her. There was no “Three Some”. Overall I felt it was confused, with the issues overshadowing the occasional glimpses of potential brilliance. Nothing that a few solid edits couldn't fix, perhaps, but not ready to be in the Kindle store yet, even at £0.86.

Conclusion: Not without merit, but not worth paying for. 2 out of 5 stars.

In the interest of constructive criticism, here are some (hopefully) helpful comments:

  • First impressions are incredibly important. It's unfortunate that many readers will judge your book by it's cover but it's the truth. Make sure that your work looks professional from the outside.
  • Please, please, PLEASE get someone with a decent grasp of grammar to check over your work before you publish it.
  • Check that your work is properly formatted for the medium you're selling it for. If you don't have a Kindle, find someone who does. Your reader will thank you.
  • I don't like to judge an author based on one piece of work, but many readers will do just that. You could be selling hundreds of other stories but work like this may well be putting off many more “come back” readers that you would otherwise be attracting. It pays to get it right all the time. This leads me to....
  • ...if you go back to a story like this and realise that it is letting your other work down, take it out of circulation and fix it. Don't just leave it there like a bad smell.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

No More Mrs Nice Reviewer

Last week I wrote a blog post about editing. I was very nice in it and only named one author that had pissed me off. I was extremely tactful even though I was so angry that I actually had to stop reading for a bit the other night because everywhere I looked I saw spelling mistakes and I could barely see the rest of the story.

Since then, I've thought a lot about how tactful I should be when reviewing others work. At first I thought I would just not mention shoddy work, as it seemed unkind to name and shame people. I wondered how to tell an author tactfully that their work isn't great. Then I read something very interesting in a book. It paraphrases to this: by putting your work up for sale, you are saying that you as the writer and editor of your writing have decided that it is fit for public consumption. This means that you aren't asking me for my critique as a writer, you are asking for my money and my opinion as a reader. I have limited time and money to spend reading, so I feel that what I'm reading should be worth it. I could point out that I also have a desire to let other readers know when something isn't worth paying for, but that is a minor part. It would be hypocritical to let you assume I'm that altruistic. I have a lot of opinions as a reader, and I'm about to start expressing them.

Oh, I am so talking to you.

Yesterday I bought a story from the Kindle store. I read it, despaired of it, and asked for a refund. I'll be damned if I'm giving any more of my money or time to poor work without expressing my opinion about it from here on in. I am done with paying for work that isn't finished.

I'm no longer afraid to say what I want to say about writing I don't enjoy. I don't owe you constructive criticism, self-published author. Since you've already published you're basically telling me you don't need it. So you'd better get used to the idea of people telling you your writing sucks, because that's what it'll come down to if it's not a polished product when you put it up for sale.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Nosce te ipsum

If I ever get a tattoo, I think it might be this one.

“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” ~ Sun Tzu

This past week I've written thousands and thousands of words. None of them have been fiction. Not all of them have been on my own page either – they have been through twitter, in comments on blogs, via MSN and text messages. I've spoken to a lot of people and written about that too.

There have been many, many words about editing (and lack thereof) and if and how that affects quality of content. I have considered where inspiration comes from – how do you write realistic erotica straight from fantasy? How do you inject fantasy into real events to make them fiction? How do you write a first draft without getting stuck? How do you do anything without getting writers block somewhere?

I have thought about the background of various prolific authors and the demographic to which they appeal. I have wondered why these authors are doing so well when I don't think their content is particularly good and I haven't enjoyed it much. By extension I have considered which demographic I am a part of, since it isn't theirs. I have begun to think about how to differentiate between “erotica” and “vapid romances with explicit sex”. I've pondered how one would set up a classification system for different themes in erotica in order to find the stuff that I'm going to enjoy, as my pot luck approach is not serving me well.

I've discussed erotica as a genre and its place in the wider world of fiction. I've thought about how it is presented to outsiders and considered that in order to be taken seriously, something has to give. I have wondered how to give erotica as a genre the stamp of professionalism which will make it comparable to other genres of writing, but which many erotica publishers don't appear to consider important.

Moving that discussion along, I've looked at self-publishing. If you can't trust a publishing house, how and why do you publish yourself? I have worried about how I am going to make a name for myself as writer when there is so much shit out there putting people off trying indie authors. Should I be concerned about them? Is there something that I can do to change the status quo?

There are so, so many opinions and suggestions about all these subjects. I have considered how to express my own opinion without burning bridges with the writers that I should be impressing in order to market my own work. Can you be really, truly honest without pissing people off? What if you're scaring off people that would read your published work if you weren't criticising other authors they really enjoyed? I have been advised to be completely honest rather than dumbing down my opinion. I have been thanked for my honesty but then removed a tweet in which I criticised somebody's work because I was concerned I'd upset the author. I've stopped myself saying a whole number of things that I feel very strongly about but which I feel aren't beneficial to express.

To return to the quote at the beginning of this post, I realise that writing is not really an enemy. I do, however think that in order to succeed at anything, it is vital to know what you are up against. I'm sorry if I haven't come across coherently as I would like. I've tried to condense a whole lot of thoughts into a much shorter space. I have barely scratched the surface of this art but I already feel I've learned a lot. I'm beginning to understand myself not only as a writer but also as a reader. (Don't ignore readers – without readers there would be no writers.) Most importantly though, I think I'm beginning to understand my place in this industry of writing. I have a plan, of sorts.

I also have a whole lot of thoughts and opinions, and you can bet your ass I'm going to share them with you. And I'd really love you to share your thoughts and opinions with me. We are, after all, all in this together, are we not?


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