18 July 2010

Random Shout-Out Sunday

Let me say, I love the online writing community - small presses, indie authors who self-pub and/or take their marketing into their own hands, fledgling lit magazines seeking to fill a gap in the market, online writing communities nurturing the creative spark, etc.  All of these people/places are trying to give voice to ideas generally swept aside by mainstream press because they won't make money/are too controversial/will be difficult to market/[insert other ridiculous excuse here], desire to change the face of publishing so that it's more representative of quality writing, and respect the author as artist instead of cash cow.  There are a lot of great people in this movement, and I'm pleased to have made the acquaintance of some of them online.  Just the other day I was exchanging Facebook comments with Diane Nelson, editor of Dancing in the Dark, and erotica anthology I plan on submitting to, chatting with Andrew Bowen, founder of Divine Dirt Quarterly (stay tuned for an interview!), and exchanging comments on some excellent published and unpublished stories on Fictionaut.  I doubt you could find this same level of vertical access and communication in the big-box publishing industry.

So I'd like to take this opportunity to start a new feature on the blog: Random Shout-Out Sunday, where I pick a group, publication, or author to highlight, without them even having to ask for it.  Because if there's anything I love more than the online writing community, it's giving my friends lots of free publicity!  (Disclaimer: due to the malleable nature of Jello World, I wouldn't necessarily count on this feature showing up every week. :-P And it may occasionally pop up on days other than Sunday.  Just sayin'....)

Today's spotlight is on Dragon International Independent Arts.

From the About Us section of the Diiarts website:

For the reader, we believe we are giving you books which represent a break from the mainstream, not in direct competition, but as a parallel alternative. Through our forum here, we encourage our readers to interact with the authors, presenting as few barriers between the writer and the reader as possible and actively encouraging participation in the reading/writing process.

For the author, we believe firmly that you own your writing, and that you should retain all publication rights and final editorial control for your work. Our editors work closely with each author to help the author achieve what he/she wants for his/her work, and to make the manuscript as good as it possibly can be. We will also use what technological resources are available to employ innovative and effective means of promoting our authors’ writing.
What more could a reader or writer ask for?  Here are the books Diiarts has published so far, in no particular order:

In the war against Napoleon, there are no easy victories.

English gentleman seeks easy life featuring exquisite tailoring and fine women.
Tiresome encumbrances such as political intrigue, murder or Mafiosi need not apply.

Harbour by Paul House
Three cultures collide—the end of an Empire.

When Leah Elisabeth Browne accompanies her mother to southern France to visit her brother, Harry, she is unaware that the events and people she encounters there will puncture forever the facade of her staid suburban existence, and expose the many tragic follies hidden behind the prim respectability she has always known.
Wes Pennington finally has a mystery manuscript worth selling, but the price might be his life!

Die a Dry Death by Greta van der Rol
June 1629. Laden with treasure and the riches of Europe, the merchantman Batavia, flagship of the Dutch East India Company, sails on her maiden voyage from Amsterdam bound for the East Indies. But thirty miles off the coast of Terra Incognita Australis—the unknown south land—she smashes into an uncharted reef.

World War II has given Jack McGuire the chance to escape the confines of the Midwest and the family farm. An ace U.S. Marine fighter pilot, he risks his life each day with his squadron in the South Pacific theatre. For him, there’s calm and camaraderie up there in the cockpit. But when the war ends, Jack struggles to find his place in civilian society.

So, devoted Jello World followers, take a look at the Diiarts site, purchase a book or two or seven, and support your fellow authors!

I do hope the folks at Diiarts and the listed authors don't mind me using the graphics because it took me a very long to get everything formatted, linked, and aligned!  :-)  Plus, it just looks prettier than a big ol' block of text.

03 July 2010

The Erotica Writer's Manifesto

So I covered a bit of this in miniature on Facebook already (what?? You're not following me on Facebook yet?  Well why on Earth not??) but thought it deserved a more detailed post here.  Now that I've taken the leap and changed jobs with the intention of focusing on writing as more of a full-time occupation, it's time to come right out and say it:  I write erotica.  I've never been afraid to say so, but this is bigger than that.  I don't mean "I occasionally write an erotic story", I really mean I. Write. Erotica.

It's where I plan to focus much of my writing time and energy.  It's where the stories in my head naturally lead.  It's the type of writing I'm good at, and that I enjoy writing.

You may not think it's a big deal to stand up and say I write erotica, but you'd be surprised at some of the reactions.  Sometimes I think people want to ask me why I write erotica (as if the answer would be anything different than one they'd get from someone who writes in another genre).  Sometimes I get the feeling they want to ask how I got into something like that, like I've just admitted to a shoplifting addiction or secret life as a porn star or something else considered equally deviant.  I'm sure when I tell some people I write erotica it conjures images of all the really bad sex writing out there, which is NOT what I write.  It elicits giggles and blushes as much as blank stares and brows furrowed in confusion.

I want to let you in on a little secret.  Lean a little closer so I can whisper it...  A little closer...


Sshhh! Don't go spreading that around now, y'hear

Seriously, though.  People have sex.  It's been known to happen.  A lot of what's communicated - or not communicated - during sex is emotionally loaded, rich with meaning.  People relate to each other through sex.  People create and resolve issues with sex.  They learn about themselves and each other.  And aside from all that, sex is just plain sexy and fun, and there's absolutely nothing writing with reading or writing about it!

So I'm putting it out there for any reader, agent, publisher, editor, etc. who might want to take notice:  I write erotica, and if I may say so, I'm pretty decent at it.

I'm an erotica writer, and here is my manifesto:
  • I will not use ridiculous euphemisms for body parts or actions unless I intend them to be ridiculous.
  • I will portray realistic bodies and body images without being condescending, patronizing, insulting, sexist, or demeaning.
  • I will write characters who are realistic and easy to relate to.  I will write characters you care about, who will stick with you after their stories have ended.
  • I will write sex scenes that arouse and excite.
  • I will write sex scenes that are thought-provoking and touching.
  • I will make the sexually explicit scenes relevant to the story.  Even in erotica, I believe gratuitous sex is unnecessary and boring.
  • I will not write trash.
  • I will portray realistic sexual actions - including, but not limited to, mutual and solo masturbation, oral sex and all the hang-ups that may come with it, sexual dysfunctions, safer sex practices, birth control, sex aids, and much, much more.  Furthermore, I will handle these issues with humor, tenderness, valid medical/scientific research when necessary, honesty, and passion.
This manifesto may grow and change as my writing journey progresses, but these are my basic promises to my readers.  When you see my name on an erotic story, you can be sure I won't disappoint!