Category Archives: writing life

On Dominance in Erotic Fiction: A few Questions

I spotted this over at Remittance Girl’s Blog and have been turning it over in my brain. Go look at her entry here.

For my purposes I will de-gender the questions because that is how my mind works. Okay, let’s go in.

1. As an author of erotic fiction, what assets or personality traits do you believe make the  lead in a work of erotic fiction attractive to the ‘everyday’ reader?

I think what works in this context depends on a lot of factors. For me as a reader, there aren’t standard traits that make any character work. I really like what RG said:

I need them to have agency and volition – to be agents of change rather than victims of circumstance. I enjoy writing erotic fiction that involves male characters whose erotic attraction doesn’t come from standard measures such as physical attractiveness or wealth

For me what I feel hooks myself as a reader and other readers is that agency. I personally don’t care for things to just happen, someone just happened to spank someone or want to get spanked or whatever. When I write a character I am not just making them so sex or kink can happen. I write them from the perspective of them being a being who has a need. Or I write them from their voice through who they are to what they want and how they get it.

That isn’t to say they are always fully 3d in each story. I do like to read and write stories where all you get of the lead character or narrator is a slice, a piece or a shadow. That’s one of the joys of using discretion in creation.

2.) In stories regarding a Dominant and Submissive, why do you think readers have an impulsive reaction to be attracted to either or?

I think a lot of readers of erotica are just like readers of anything else. There is something they have a desire for and something about a story speaks to them. For me, I can be hooked by a great line or idea. I think a lot of the reasons why we read what we read rely on those impulses or long standing desires.

I think readers react because that’s what humans do. Some of us are attracted to things that will make us feel warm and fuzzy in the pants. Some of us like something more challenging. I think the why is pretty simple, people like things. All different things and that is what is kind of great about humanity. Sometimes.

Personally, I like a buffet style approach to my reading. Sometimes I want mcdonalds fries and a shake, sometimes I want filet mignon. I don’t think my taste for either is mutually exclusive.

3.) a.) What is it about domination that the characters themselves find appealing? b.) And what do you think is it about the concept of domination that readers find appealing?

a.) What is it about domination that the characters themselves find appealing?

I think in my work it varies pretty widely. In one I can think of, it was mainly about the fluidity of power exchange. I personally really enjoy writing doms in ways that let them explore their own feelings in terms of why they are doing what they are doing. In others, I’m thinking of a story I have sitting in my to be edited folder. The dom in the moment does not understand why he’s doing what he’s doing. He feels a compulsion to do it and part of what I find interesting about this character is that underlying his desire he’s terrified.

b) And what do you think is it about the concept of domination that readers find appealing?

That I don’t know about. I know what I find appealing. When it’s done in a way that I find both arousing or interesting from more than an OH SPANKING perspective it’s appealing. It might not turn me on per se, but I will be interested. I will say I think a lot of people are drawn to the things that seem to be or feel like are beyond their own lives.

Isn’t that why a lot of us read fiction? To spy on other worlds and lives? Well, that’s why I read fiction. I am essentially an incredibly nosy..er let’s be nice and say curious person. I want to know what’s driving a thing.

I also enjoy a diverse range of expressions of the concepts of domination. I’m not personally into the generalized whips, chains n bitch boots. I am far more interested in things that aren’t quite so showy. I have a story in my drafts where the domination is done through under the table knee squeezes and glances. I love that.

4.) What kind of connection do the submissive and dominant characters have to have? Is it both physically and mentally?

I don’t believe there is a prescriptive “have to”.

In  my meatspace life, I have experienced connections that were both exclusively physical or mental. I believe that there is no correct way for these connections and relationships to be done or written.

Part of why I enjoy writing submissive and dominant characters is to explore the ways in which people can connect. Somewhere, probably on my dead PC at home, I have a story where the connection is lost in the present moment, but present in memory and focused on a piece of a razor blade.

There is a vast expanse of ways to explore how people connect with each other. I feel like D/S can have such a rich diversity of ways these relationships work. I am very greedy and just want to see more.

I want to see more writers explore a connection that is mental by necessity. Long distance lovers, disabled lovers etc.

D/S as it might take place in other worlds. There is so much room for conjecture and exploration.

Okay, while I was thinking about this I also was thinking about more of the reasons I’ve mainly abandoned the industry side of Erotica.

This is no shade to the asker of these questions at all, I do feel like there is a bit of a prescriptive tone and that seems to go along with a lot of what I’m seeing in the industry. Things must adhere to what I feel are fairly narrow parameters and I honestly think that’s terribly boring.

Personally most of what I’ve been writing in terms of kink is outside of these constraints. I have a deep burning desire to explore desire, dominance and submission through lenses that are not so strictly stuck in gender roles or ideas about what does and doesn’t make someone dominant or submissive.

One of the stories I have in my Etsy shop right now (the one titled Call me Lolita) is not D/S in a classical sense.

This story is hetero only in that both characters ID as cis male/female.

However.

This story at the bottom is about gender fucking and trust.

In a deeper sense it is about the depth of connection a man has with his dominant lover and how that connection and trust enables him to redefine masculinity for himself. To find the place where in more traditional kinky stories it’d be called “sub space”, what he feels is the place where he can be a girl. In this case his submission is not just submission. For him it becomes liberation from the prescriptive ideas about gender and masculinity.

So when I say that I’m interested in the wide open areas of writing kink and writing dominant characters and submissive characters this is what I’m talking about. Yes, I want folks who read it to get good and hot in the pants, but I also want to drop these things about gender roles in their ears.

This is the part of writing erotica that I missed when I wasn’t writing much of it.

I want the complications.

I want to go back to when I was 18ish and reading amazing Queer erotica that just took me places I didn’t understand and that made me uncomfortable.

I want to distill that powerful combination of discomfort and arousal I got in those early days (think old school Black books) and spread it all over everyone.

I don’t want to say I’m transcending but it feels transcendent.

This is the type of transgression that fuels me both as a writer and a reader.  This is how I think about not only the erotica I write but everything. I want to be the sort of writer who might take you someplace that makes you uncomfortable, but I want you to want to go on the ride with me and stick it out.

 


Why I am Still Going to AWP Next Year.

First, I encourage y’all to do some googling because I cannot rehash a lot of stuff, but I’ll give you one link to get started. Start here and I warn you there is a lot of ugly art involved.

While I was waiting for AWP to make the linked decision I started thinking very hard about boycotting along with a lot of other folks.

I calculated how expensive it will be, travel, hotel, books etc. And it is a lot of money. I will probably spend almost a month of my dayjob pay.

That money could do a lot of things.  New tech for my partner and I, it could go into a moving fund, it could do a lot of things.

I was very close to not going. Very, very close.

And then I saw this:

AWP must protect the efficacy of the conference subcommittee’s work. The group’s work must focus on the adjudication of the 1,800 submitted proposals, not upon the management of a controversy that has stirred strong objections and much ill-will toward AWP and the subcommittee. Perpetuating the controversy would not be fair to the many writers who have submitted the proposals.

These disrespectful mother fuckers.

As if those of us who weren’t acting out of “ill-will” but justifiable concern that someone who engages in and profits from playing with racism and using literary Blackface would be in that kind of position of power.  I will not pay to have anything to do with that person.

I got angrier.

I’m going.

I am going because I want the people in charge to see that in spite of their anti-Blackness I am still there. I will have things to sell. I will meet other authors.

I will read as much as I can.

In spite of how nervous the crowds and everything make me I will be known. I will be seen. I will not be shuttled into the shadows because AWP values freedom of speech, but not protecting their POC members who also pay to be members from racists.

I also have an idea that I might want to do some guerilla reading. I will tweet my wee heart out. I will make as much of my presence known as I can because I want them, and the writer in question to know that their actions have not scared me away.

I want to make people I KNOW have not supported or even shown a little bit of willingness to do the work of anti-racism that their lack of action hasn’t made me docile.

As I said to MCAG on twitter last week, I’ve got a heart full of gasoline and a book of matches. My boots are on this ground.

Not just because of Vanessa Place. Fuck, Vanessa Place and her ilk.

Because this is my life.

This- literature and writing means more to me than everything.

I am not a concept.

I refuse to hand over my life, my history, my pain to Whiteness, so that it can be regurgitated and fed back to Whiteness.

If I have to go to mother fucking AWP and stand in the middle of the book fair sobbing because of all this it will happen.

If I have to read EVERY single poem I’ve written about how this shit make me feel I will.

I will be seen.

I will be heard.

So fair warning.

AWP I am coming.

I will not be cowed.

I will not be silenced.

I will also probably do some dedicated fundraising to help with costs. In the meantime scroll down to your right for my new masterpost on supporting my work.

 


Updates, financial stuff and whatnot.

In the past couple of weeks the Lit world and by association a lot of people I thought were allies have been showing their ass and okay, Imma be real.

When it comes to art and lit, yes, I too like a lot of problematic things.

But right now my problem is that whether or not the art happening (no I’m not linking I can’t look at any more of that after the research I did) is that White people who are making a good chunk of cash, and who are sitting in positions of power (AWP) and who are teaching, are using what I feel is literary Blackface for shits and giggles and career advancement.

What burns my ass most about this, is not that I’m a poor struggling writer.  It burns me that (I here being used loosely/plural) can’t write my experience as a Black person in any old way and have the same doors open to me.

It burns my ass that, another White person wants to play with reclaiming “nigger” and racist imagery from America’s past without any responsibility and dead silence.

And because I refuse to remain silent about why I find this harmful and disgusting. I’m told that well they have the right, Jeeze Y SO SENSITIVE NEGRESS? I’m told that because I have a strong and loud opinion on this and these people being lauded, coddled and generally held to no accountability for their actions I am a problem.

Just this morning some woman I don’t know did “research” on me and decided nothing I have to say about it is worth anything because I am “aggressive” and “threatening”.

Layers of racism aside, in what universe does someone like me (and there are a shitload of us) have enough pull in the lit world to be threatening to the careers and wallets of these people?

So rather than doing what allies are SUPPOSED to do when POC say, hey this shit is fucking racist. Again, people who have held on to their ally badges tightly are telling me I’m the problem. Again.

To be honest. I had nightmares all week. Most of them revolved around an issue I already had combined with me running into racist, but totally not racist people in the lit world and having them ruin shit for me. That is the shit I have nightmares about because many of the people I’m annoyed with right now are people I’ve considered friends.

This is something that is causing me a level of struggle I just don’t know what to do with.

I’m just heartbroken. I keep feeling like I have all this faith in people whom I KNOW understand intersectionality and power. But, again, when it comes to POC or two Black people specifically all I hear is crickets and it hurts. The gentrification of the experiences and history of POC and specifically Black people just wrecks me.

This is not what I wanted to talk about, but out it comes. Fuck.

Shit, okay.

Now back to what I actually wanted to talk about.

In light of our rent increase and some other extra expenses I’ve redone my writing things (what I call stuff related to my writing) budget. I’ve cut out a couple of things.

I am thinking that I need to raise my Patreon monthly goal to about 125$. I’d really like to move a few of my personal household expenses to my writing related budget. Mainly small things, pens, notebooks. I’d also like to put more away for my laptop fund. Not having one I can work on at home is just painful. I also include stuff like the occasional celebratory pastry, coffee for work and big cups of ice for work as well in that budget.

Even without a fully functional tech situation, I do feel good about my output so far. The things I’m writing are what I really want to write and what feels important to me.

Longer term say between now and next March, I also have some handmade zine type things I want to create but I need to buy supplies. I want to hand make some wee stories to sell in my etsy shop. I’ve been kicking around the idea of also doing heavy card stock “art” poem cards. Hand colored (but not written because my handwriting is shit) pretty little art cards. But again, the capital thing.

I’m in a better emotional place right now than I was the other day. I’ve calmed down and I can see the way through the financial anxiety, but, I just have to wait a bit and do some balancing.

I’m also looking into doing something serialized maybe available via Amazon? I have to do some research.

What else is going on?

I’ve started what I hope to grow into a series of essays about healing myself of poverty brain and figuring out how to navigate my feelings without panic or undue stress. Shit is so hard and after talking to some friends I really believe this is an important thing for me to do. Not as something aspirational, or inspiration porn but more as an open hey, this is shit I go through and if you’re going through it too, you’re not alone.

The importance of visibility and acknowledgement has been something that a lot of my readers have talked to me about and it feels deeply fulfilling to be that for some folks.

Blablabla.

That’s going on. I have a post coming up about writing that I’ve been sitting on. A young (HI BB) writer asked me a couple of important questions and I want to give good answers. I also want to talk about navigating Double COnsciousness since a lot of non Black folks are discovering it and don’t know what to do.

So that’s all the news. I’m trying to learn a new way to hustle that won’t destroy my heart.

What are y’all up to?

Also I should do a whole hustle tag.

 

 


New work by me and some other stuff.

Okay how about some new stuff?

I made my debut over at Shotgun Honey. This one was a big swing submission. I’ve been reading over there for years and had that little story tucked away and I sent it off on a whim. Then VOILA there it is.

Next I posted something new over at Ink Node. That new poem was inspired by first finding out I’d been blocked on twitter by some white dude poet I’ve never heard of. Then reading some other ConPo things and frankly, most of the name people in that movement behave in the most appalling ways because they are concepts and I think it’s fucking gross. You can also read about what I have to say about one of the dudes as well.

Also over at Medium I posted a piece on my experiences being policed while being Black in Seattle.

On Being Policed While Black

What else is happening?

I gotta keep it real. While Patreon and my donors have made a huge difference some more things have happened and again, I’m feeling like I need to be grinding and hustling up more cash.

Our rent went up. It’s not insurmountable, but it is enough that the things I’ve already planned for have to be changed and I’m struggling not to panic entirely.

I already did writing related spending with writing related money and unfortunately, we need that money.

This is where my poverty brain is just going buck wild. I’m struggling not to bury myself in shame because I spent some money on underwear and leggings a while back, I bought hair dye that didn’t take so I wasted 18$. I bought two pairs of shoes for spring and summer to replace the ones that hurt my feet. I have that Smarty pig account. Oh, if you want to check out Smarty Pig click here, if you want to use it, please let me know so I can give you a referral link.

The things I’m struggling right now are deeply intersected and deeply rooted. Some of them:

  • Knowing how my financial situation needs to be in order for me to produce my best content.
  • Being SO SO SO close to that situation only to have shit happen.
  • Being SO SO SO close but still so fucking far away. Literally right now an extra 75$ would clear writing things through my first month of rental increase and the other monthly payable things I budgeted out. And leave me enough for like a 25$ emergency.
  • I have been working so hard on the emotional/psychological part of this. I have a lot of economic trauma and I’ve been doing SO well working this out and starting to write about it in a deep way.

So that’s where I’m at.

I am going to try and do some more Patreon promo and Etsy promo. I know how to hustle that is not the issue. I can grind until I have that money, but I won’t be writing anything good. And at this point in my career it is of absolute importance for me to be writing things that are good.

By good I mean the shit I do well and that means something to me.

The drive to grind and hustle in the more soul crushing creativity destroying way is in me. It burns and it is frequently my first instinct of what to do when shit seems even faintly dire.

I know how to what’s that stupid phrase, tighten my belt. I know austerity. I know how to budget my work lunches so I spend less than 4$ a week eating.

I know how to do grind and hustle and get shit done.

I am trying not to do that.

I’m trying to support myself emotionally and creatively so I can be the best little obscure writer I can be.

Shit is hard yo.

Shit is really fucking hard.


To Revisit the Care and Feeding of the Author.

Welcome back Caretakers,

We hope that you who have braved the care and feeding of your own personal author are feeling fine. It has come to our attention that there are still a few foibles, habits and needs that must be attended to in order to keep The Author functioning properly.

Let us begin.

  1. Please remember, do not touch The Author’s favorite pen. It probably has drool, tea or who knows what. Authors may bite or howl when their pens are touched or used without explicit permission.
  2. From this point going forward, please remember to stay out of flailing range. The Author may flail for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to: being itchy, having to pee but is on a roll so The Author will not get up, The Author is reading something terrible or excellent, The Author is warm and comfortable. Do not pressure The Author, being startled could result in urine leakage either by accident or malicious urination.
  3. Caretakers should also take care when removing objects within flailing range. Should The Author flail and spill tea, coffee, bourbon or other liquids on their keyboards, notebooks etc the possibility of a disco meltdown is heightened. Ease spillable items away from the edge of desks or tables, but do not remove them without first warning The Author.
  4. For the safety of the Caretaker, all inquiries as to what The Author is actually doing right now- please submit them in writing via the mail. Email queries will be returned unread or with expletives as the response.
  5. On occasion the Caretaker may find the playing of the book, You Have to Fucking Eat may be deployed when The Author is too Hangry to eat or do anything else.
  6. See also Go The Fuck To Sleep.  If The Author will not sleep, try Morgan Freeman. Even the most cantankerous of authors will have a hard time arguing with Mr. Freeman.
  7. Should The Author be both Hangry and Sleepy, run dear Caretaker. Throw snacks and a blanket and run for your very life.
  8. Should The Author begin a low pitched revving noise followed by escalating wails- oh Dear Caretaker. This noise is Defcon Orange. Should said wailing be accompanied by flailing, throwing of the body on the floor or tears things have gone too far. For such emergencies, the Caretaker should have a variety of snacks and other offerings. Offer the sacrifices, then dart away. Offer, dart, offer, dart. The Caretaker should take every precaution against being caught by The Author who may cling like a sloth while ugly crying, or going boneless like an angry cat and sliding to the floor.

Dearest Caretakers. If things progress beyond your control a few tips on extricating yourselves from the situation until backup arrives or The Author has passed out from their fit of temper:

  • Favorite movies or audiobooks.
  • Very adorable animals.
  • Favorite blankets.

If the emergency measures listed above don’t work, we pray for you Caretakers.

God Speed and Good Luck.


Shit I Worry about.

While I am getting back to the rhythm of writing whatever I want to and not worrying so much about making money with it, I have unearthed some new writer uh.. let’s be cool and call them neurosis that I seem to still possess.

  1. Sometimes I fully believe that after having so much nonfiction published nobody will ever want my fiction again. This is bullshit because I just got a fiction acceptance a couple of weeks ago after not submitting any for months.
  2. I will/have forgotten how to write fiction. That is just dumb.
  3. But what if I want to write more nonfiction? What if I forget how to do that too?
  4. Am I too lispy to do a reading ever again? What if nobody asks me to read again?
  5. What if when I tell other authors that I am their fangirl I am just being annoying?
  6. WHAT IF I CAN’T?

Rinse, repeat.

This is related to something I read that Warren Ellis said. I saw this on his blog and it had the ring of truthy truthiness.

I’m re-reading Samuel Beckett plays because there is no sun and no spring and permanent winter is permanent. And also I have to re-read Beckett every few years to remind myself that I am a talentless worm humping across a barren landscape and leaving nothing but a thin stream of yellow faeces on the dirt behind me while people on the other side of the horizon are building palaces. I mean, it’s like reading Cormac McCarthy’s prose, or WG Sebald. You just want to eat every painkiller in the house and wash it down with toilet cleaner.

I’ve been doing some poking my toes in SF/F/H and I’m feeling like the aforementioned yellow poop. I’m having the feelings that I should leave the genre stuff because I’m not supposed to write whatever I want. I’m supposed to pick a thing and do the thing.

Now I know rationally that is fucking bullshit and I can and should write as promiscuously as I read. I have never ascribed to the idea that once you write X things that is the only thing you can do well or should do.

Emotionally letting myself just do the shit I know how to do is proving a little difficult. It’s not insurmountable and I have been writing like the proverbial motherfucker for weeks now. My output is not only back to a volume I’m comfortable with but not so much of it is outright trash.

I am also having some trouble not pressuring myself about freelancing and money. Patreon is going wonderfully. Truly. See here (also I’m doing patron/donor exclusive content now you) and it’s all good, but I still have 300$ of a huge bill to pay off and I find myself just not quite desperate but feeling the echo of the pressure to grind it out and make that money.

Fuck my ethics and artistic desires. Make that fuckin money.

If I’m going to keep it 100, I feel like I did my last month stripping in Seattle. Like, fuck everything else I feel like I need to grabby hands all the money in case I never make money again.

This is poverty brain as it interacts with my artistic wants.

I’m writing about that, you’ll see it soonish.

The thing I’m banging my head against is that morally on a personal level, it is more important to me to get into creating the representation I want to see. As that great writing advice I saw somewhere went, write the stories only you know how. That is something I carry with me every time I write something. It is what I use for fuel. Nobody can write the exact thing I am writing.

The problem is that my Asshole Poverty Brain is like, bitch please no. You write whatever pap someone will shove money at you for and be grateful. You don’t deserve to be arty.

I’m working through it, but y’all some days it is so damn hard.

Talking about it and writing about it helps.

Also I feel like it’s important to me to be open about it because this is what I wanted to know when I was a kidlet writer. This is real shit y’all.

Next week I’m going to add a new page for my writing bucket list. I’ll get to talking about Jerry Stahl, more nerdery about myth and retelling myths through various lenses, erotica and some other stuff.

Speaking of erotica you can get yourself some brand spankin (pun intended) erotica over in my shop. Get some hot lesbian lovin’ here is a tidbit:

She took a breath and erupted into noisy joyful sobs. Amidst her tears she was laughing. Bellowing gut wrenching laughter, her eyes screwed shut, her hair a bird’s nest, her face glowing with sweat and satisfaction.

I laughed with her. Her tears did something to me whether they were tears of fear or tears of joy. Seeing this beautiful, calm, prim woman unhinged with her own orgasmic power undid me.


To answer a few random questions.

This isn’t an FAQ. I have a stash of random questions folks have asked me now and then and I have enough to answer.

Okay, let’s do the thing. Also, these are not verbatim because I’m a lazy fucker.

  1. Someone asked what my first publication was. It was 1994 and a poem. I lied about my age, I was 17 and told no one. It was an angsty love poem about an older woman with auburn colored armpit hair and how she shot me down when I asked her on a date.
  2. What am I looking forward to reading? Old Guy Dad: Weird Shit Happens When You Don’t Die Young by Jerry Stahl, both of Roxane Gay’s books, I JUST this instant found out Joe Clifford (who wrote Junkie Love) has a new book coming out called Lamentation. I’m ready for that. I really loved Junkie Love. Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine uh and a whole bunch of other stuff.
  3. HOW TO GET PUBLISHED. This is the secret. Write that shit. Rewrite that shit. Edit that shit. Edit that shit again. Submit that shit. Get that shit rejected a lot. Sometimes that shit gets accepted. Rinse, repeat forever. That is really just all.
  4. HOW DO YOU WRITE. Ass in chair, standing at the bus stop, at work, on paper, via computer. I write as much as I can as often as I can. Just write. Write anything, just writes. The muse can go get fucked. Just write. Write a recipe, write a blog post, write a poem about how much you suck, just write. If you don’t write nothing happens. Write. Sometimes writing is really fucking hard and terrible, but I do it because I have to.
  5. Do I have a degree? Nope. I barely graduated high school and have no interest in going to college.
  6. What is my opinion about MFA’s/the arguments about them. I honestly don’t give a hot fuck. I just don’t.
  7. What is my favorite horror novel? The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker.
  8. How is Patreon going? Really well. Better than I anticipated. I will write more about it later.
  9. Am I writing a novel? Uh…yes and no. I’m not at actual novel writing stage right now but it is on my mind.
  10. What am I working on? Self Care Like a Boss, a sooper seekrit for now project and more essays about my butt, fiction, and everything.
  11. What am I afraid of? Birds. Clowns (not as bad as I used to be). Mediocrity in my own eyes. Being murdered by police. Large crowds of White ppl.

Uh I think that’s all of them for right now.

Okay I’m still trying to recover from this ass destroying cold. I have SO much to write about here. Soon I’ll do my next installment of People/Things I like. They aren’t really reviews just me talking about stuff and people I like that I want you to know about.  I have to talk about my writing goals for the rest of the year and some other stuff I’ve decided I want to do with my creative life.

Next week there’ll be some new stuff and announcements.

ALSO super exciting I have saved up 10% of my laptop fund already. Check it out on Smartypig. ALSO I’m going to write about Smartypig being a big part of me breaking up with poverty brain. And do me a favor, if you want to use Smartypig for savings too let me know so I can send you an invite.

Okay later y’all.  I got work to do.


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