Monday, 27 May 2013

Catherine Lundoff

 Five tips (in no particular order) on how to revise from Catherine Lundoff:

1) Almost everything wrong with an early draft can be fixed with thorough revisions.

2) Revising means learning to look at your work from a critical and detached perspective. It takes practice and timing – revising a brand new story right after you finish it isn’t as effective as letting it sit for a period of time while you work on other things. Then you can go back to it with a fresher eye to find the problem areas. 

3) Learn to love revising.

4) Some things to do when revising:      · Check for spelling and grammar errors.     · Ask yourself questions about your plot and your characters’ motivation. Look for logical flaws.     · Read your work aloud to see how it sounds.     · Do you have any words or phrases you like to use? Check to see how many times you used them in your story and start rewriting those sections.

5) Quit while you’re ahead. Don’t get caught up in an endless rewriting loop. When you feel that your story is the best that it can be, submit it. Then go write something else.

Catherine Lundoff is the author of many pieces of fiction including the short story 'Twilight' in Best Fantastic EroticaMore of Catherine's work can be found by visiting:

Monday, 20 May 2013

Lisabet Sarai

 Five tips on how to write erotica from Lisabet Sarai,

1. Set goals for yourself but be willing to be swayed by inspiration
Writing is a balancing act between reasoned, disciplined work and the crazy
dictates of emotion and imagination. I have a writing plan, for at least six
months into the future, and I have a plan for my time whenever I sit down to
write (e.g. how many words I expect to produce or where I expect to end up in
terms of the plot). However, things don't always go according to my plans,
usually because I'll have some other idea that twists the story in a new
direction, or maybe an entirely new story pops into my mind. I've learned not to
be too rigid. Sometimes the wild notions that throw me off the rails are in fact
just what I need.

2. Don't compare yourself to any other author
It's easy to get discouraged about your own writing career when you look at
other authors who seem to be more prolific, more popular, more savvy about
marketing, more eloquent, more original, or whatever. When those comparisons
start to haunt you, do your best to ignore them. Remind yourself that each of us
has her own voice, her own method, her own path to success. Negative emotions
like envy, guilt or a feeling of inadequacy will not motivate you to produce
quality fiction. Negativity tends to smother inspiration.

3. Learn and focus on your personal areas of weaknessListen to your editors, your beta readers and your critique partners. They will
help you to see general areas where you can improve your craft. We all have
them! Once you've identified these areas, pay attention to them when you're at
work writing (or in the editing process, if your methods involve a rough first
draft with lots of later polishing). Never stop focusing on quality and

4. Don't dismiss grammar and spelling as superficial nicetiesSome authors appear to believe that if a story is sufficiently original and
involving, then using proper grammar and correct spelling are unimportant
frills. I strongly disagree. Grammar, like vocabulary, dialogue, and
description, is a tool for conveying nuances of meaning. An ability to quote or
explain formal grammar rules is not necessary, but an accomplished author knows
how to use the structure of sentences to express her thoughts with greater
precision. Meanwhile, in today's digital world, there is no excuse for
submitting a manuscript full of spelling errors.

Submitting clean manuscripts will endear you to your editors. Furthermore, in
this fast-paced era of e-publishing, many publishers seem to be devoting less
time and effort to editing. Don't expect your publisher to fix your mistakes. If
you're content with a slapdash manuscript full of grammar and spelling gaffes,
you really have no right to call yourself a professional author.

5. Find a writing method that works for you personallyThere are as many approaches to writing as there are authors. Some authors do
meticulous outlines and character profiles. Some simply sit down and write
whatever comes to mind. Some do three, four or more drafts, making major
revisions with each iteration. Others edit as they write, so that their first or
second draft is ready to submit for publication. Some authors can split their
time among multiple books or stories simultaneously. Others need to focus on
one WIP at a time.

You'll get advice everywhere about how you "should" write - in how-to books, on
blogs, in critique groups. Be willing to consider the proposed techniques, but
recognize that there is no one correct way to write. You need to experiment
until you find the approaches that are most satisfying and productive for you
personally. You may discover that these change over time, too, or that the best
techniques depend on what you are writing.

Lisabet Sarai is the author of countless pieces of quality erotic fiction. More of Lisabet's work can be found at: and

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Wonder of Wish-Fulfilment

by Justine Elyot

Thank you, Ashley, for kindly agreeing to give my vague ramblings a platform – I'm delighted to be here.

Why did I choose to set a series of books around an orchestra? There are all sorts of reasons. Orchestras are full of different people, all creative, many eccentric or unusual in their habits. The potential for personality clashes, deadly rivalries and intense attractions is high. They travel to interesting and glamorous locations, playing beautiful music.

Yes, all of those answer the question. But more than that, writing about musicians gives me the chance to wander down one of the paths untaken in my own life. I've been a passionate classical music lover since my dad used to play his crackly record of Beethoven's Emperor Concerto to me at the age of two or three but I never properly took up an instrument – unless you count the recorder or a shockingly bad stab at the piano. I sang all the time - in choirs and bands and operatic societies, but I often wish I'd studied the violin or perhaps the clarinet, because then I could play in an orchestra, and what a life that would be.

So, yes, playing in the Westminster Symphony Orchestra is my fantasy parallel-universe career and how I have enjoyed it. I don't particularly want to retire but, since Close Harmony is my third and final book in the series, I don't have much choice.

I've still got the memories and the music though…

How do you choose between two perfect men? It’s like choosing your favourite music—certain pieces suit certain moods. Which mood is Lydia feeling the most?
The autumn season of the Westminster Symphony Orchestra finds Lydia unable to choose between passionate Milan and dominant Karl-Heinz—so she decides to give them both a chance. She hops from one bed to the other, trying to weigh up her options. Milan has a hold on her heart, but has never been reliable. Karl-Heinz is a good man, but what is the secret behind his strange repression? Old rivalries and new jealousies are kindled while Lydia works hard at having the time of her sex life.
No trio has ever practised quite as hard as this…But there is trouble in paradise for Ben and Vanessa, too, as a face from Vanessa’s past makes an unwelcome appearance and all seems impossible to resolve.
Amid turbulent emotions and orchestra rehearsals, the musicians work hard to negotiate a path to happiness. Will music prove to be the food of love, or a poison, infecting the future?
Reader Advisory: This book contains BDSM, MMF ménage and MM, as well as references to rape and sexual assault.
The book is available now, along with the two previous instalments, from Total E-Bound:

Monday, 13 May 2013

Valentine Bonnaire

 Five tips on how to write erotica by Valentine Bonnaire:

1) Read the erotic classics. Here’s a tiny list from Goodreads:
I say this because they are the classics for a reason! A few people aren’t on here: James Joyce, for example, or the Marquis de Sade. It’s hard to get hotter than some parts of Joyce’s Ulysses. Anybody who had a banned book is probably really good. Really, really, really good!

2) Write what you know. Write your own gender. I say this because when you do this, the reader is really going to “get” what you are saying. I never write a sex scene I haven’t done or would do in real life.

3) Read erotic poetry! Neruda, Paz and “The Ink Dark Moon” are all favorites of mine. Read outside the genre as well. Sometimes the most erotic book ever will not be called an erotic book. I found Jeanette Winterson’s “The Powerbook” to be one of the most erotic books I’ve read.

4) Start small and be published in the right places. I chose and the Erotica Readers and Writers Association for that. The latter has a fantastic writer’s list. Getting your first feedback will be invaluable as a confidence builder. Trust the editors!

5) Find your niche, and if you use a nom de plume stick with it! I made the mistake of switching once and that wasn’t so good. Keep track of your publishing credits and when you have enough join things like Poets&Writers. Take in a writers' conference or two? Get your courage up by doing a reading. That’s harder than it looks. The first time I let a conference workshop leader read one of mine, she said she had to stop. The piece was called “Gardenias” and the word that stopped her in her tracks was, “wet.” Never underestimate the power of language. We work with such loaded and oftentimes sacred words.

Valentine Bonnaire’s work can be found in the archives at as Adrianna de la Rosa and Valentina Bonnaire, and at ERWA in the galleries and Treasure Chest. “Flowering” will appear this year in The Mammoth Book of Quick and Dirty Erotica edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Three chapters of “Man in the Moon” appear in “From Porn to Poetry 2” edited by Susannah Indigo.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Saskia Walker

 Five tips on writing erotica from Saskia Walker. 

1. Make time: Try to make a regular routine for your writing. Even if it's only fifteen minutes a day on your lunch break, or twenty minutes before the rest of the family get up in the morning, a regular routine will help you achieve your dreams.

2. Tenacity: It's rare that a writer becomes a publishing sensation overnight. Even big name authors receive rejections. If you receive a rejection, keep writing, and resubmit! Your writing might not have been right for that editor but another editor might love your voice. Best of all, every time you write it'll teach you something new. Hang in there!

3. Be patient: There's a lot of waiting involved in being an author -- waiting to hear back about a query or submission, waiting for a story or book to reach publication -- to name just a couple. Don't wish your life away waiting on the news, move onto the next project in between times. If you work that way, you will hone your craft and your output will soon snowball.

4. Research: Before you submit work to a publisher contact some of the authors you see published there and ask about their experience. Would they recommend the publisher? Study guidelines too. Be absolutely sure you're subbing your work to the right place and in the right format.

5. Enjoy!: Have fun and enjoy your work. If you do, that will shine through on the page your readers will have fun too. You can't wish for a better reader reaction than that.

You can find out more about Saskia Walker and her writing at
THE HARLOT ~ February 2013. THE LIBERTINE ~ March 2013. THE JEZEBEL ~ April 2013.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Out of the Shadows and into the Darkness by Senta Holland

HarperCollins 2013

A literary BDSM novel
‘Out of the Shadows’ has been called the 21st century equivalent to ‘Story of O’, the ultimate classic of the genre.  It is a literary BDSM novel, written in an edgy, contemporary style and exploring the power of sex and sexual identity.

Romance readers have described ‘Out of the Shadows’ as an ‘eye opener’:  it shows the real life experience of ‘BDSM from the inside out’, with all the heartbreak and loneliness as well as the ecstatic sex and deep intimate connection between two people who walk this difficult path.

A long overdue novel that takes BDS sexuality seriously and elevates it to literature, ‘Out of the Shadows’ is also a deeply felt and superbly written love story in an exotic Asian setting, a modern take on ‘The Lover’ by Marguerite Duras.  In vividly drawn scenes from jungles to megacities with secret mango alleys, Senta explores the beautiful darkness in seven bedrooms.  Her erotic journey is explored with the same wild and raw energy. 

Senta’s journey through the seven bedrooms
Senta, a thirty something Londoner, travels around the planet looking for the man who can match her. The one she finds is her ‘Nai’, a high society American in Asia. Senta's story is both complicated and made more exciting by the fact that it unfolds in the dark world of BDSM, a world that can be quite hostile to single, independent females. Highly erotic, deeply romantic, funny, heartfelt and beautifully tragic, this book shows the BDSM experience from the inside out, as reality, not just fantasy.  Above all it is an intelligent, insightful and deeply sensitive love story that will take you to places beyond your wildest dreams and open up the most secret aspects of your erotic identity.  It will make you lust, think, feel and cry. Senta’s  message to her readers is passionate and clear:  Never give up looking for your true sexuality.

The book has been described as an ‘eye opener’ by readers who mistakenly read it as ‘Romance’ and, in spite of reading many erotic and kinky fantasies, never thought about the realities of living a BDSM sexuality. 

It is only because of the absurd division into ‘literature’ and ‘genre’ that books like OOTS are not on the main shelf in the bookshop.