Thursday, December 17, 2015

Revisions: Where Does it End?

You've written your manuscript
You've had beta readers pick it apart
You've fixed all your plot holes
Your proofreader sends your manuscript back
You conjure a cover
You publish
And then...

As a published author, I know all about revisions. You make your work as perfect as possible, hit publish, and then wait in hope for a positive response from readers. 

And then... dread. 

Since your eyes are so tired from seeing the same words for weeks or months, you don't notice the little inconsistencies: your protagonists dress was red in the beginning, so why is it suddenly black in the middle of your story? Is that supposed to be "personal" and not "person"? OMG... Tell me I didn't use "your" instead of "you're"!

It happens. Even in traditionally published work that goes through the scrutiny of multiple eyes. 

But what demands revision? How many errors in a story is too many? What's a good reason to go back and modify your already published work?

From my experience, there are really only three good reasons to modify/revise an already published manuscript:

1) You failed in the necessary steps of publication
  • Your finished story lacks the basics: organization, plot... It sucks
  • You had no beta readers or asked people with poor experience (i.e. friends who feed you the bullshit you want to hear because they're afraid the'll personally kill your dream of becoming the next great novelist) 
  • You skimped on the proofreading and editing, leaving a manuscript filled with incomplete sentences, missed words, missing words, typos, and improper grammar
2) You find a new publisher
  • Sometimes you self publish a story, have miserable sales, and then decide to see what happens if you give it to a publisher. Sometimes you publish a story with a publisher, have the rights returned to you for whatever reason, and find a second publisher. In these cases, your new publisher is going to want a say in story structure and language to fit their already established guidelines. 
3) You decide a story you've written actually belongs somewhere else
  • You write several short stories and self publish, only to decide later that what you've written actually belongs together in one publication. You squish your stories together, revamp/polish them, and hit the "publish" button again
If your work doesn't fall into one of the above three categories, leave your published work alone. Only the poorly executed story or new circumstances merits revision. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Author Spotlight: Dale Lowry

Pleased to present Dale Lowry!

About Mi Alma

Ex-Mormon Alma Larsen doesn't know the first think about alcohol, so he hires bartender Damian Banks to help out at his winter holiday party. They build a friendship that simmers with sexual tension – and possibly something much deeper. Will this Christmas bring them both a love that lasts?

Excerpt from Mi Alma:

Wanted, the ad said. Bartender for office holiday party. Should be easy-going, LGBT-friendly, and have server’s license and great references. Competitive remuneration.

Damian clicked on the show contact info link at the end of the Craigslist ad. Up came a phone number, email address and the name Alma.

“Alma,” Damian said out loud, enjoying how the Spanish consonants moved in his mouth. It had been too long since he’d spoken the language at length, but it still felt right on his tongue. He could almost hear his mother’s voice as he repeated the word: “Alma.”

“Hijo de mi alma,” she would call him when he needed it most – child of my soul. When he was small, he’d been plagued by night terrors and nightmares, often waking up in the pitch blackness to the sound of his own blood-curdling screams. His mother would pull him to her lap, whispering into his feverish scalp, “Hijo de mi alma, no te preocupes. Mami está aquí.”

Child of my soul, don’t worry. Mommy is here.

He picked up his phone and dialed the number.

“Hello, this is Alma Larsen,” a voice said on the other end of the line. Damian startled. The voice was deep, and not a womanly deep. Not Nina Simone or a grandma who’d smoked three packs a day her entire life. It was Barry White deep, the kind of voice that made a man’s balls stir and his big toe shoot up in his boot.

“Y-yes, hello,” Damian stammered. Damian never stammered. He was smooth and collected. Nothing could blow his top. That’s what made him a good bartender. “My name’s Damian Banks. I’m calling about your ad on –”

“Please leave a message and I’ll call back as soon as I can.”

Voicemail. Damian had gone all aflutter over a goddamn voicemail message.

He didn’t trust himself to sound any smoother the second time around. He hung up and sent an email.

Author Interview:

How did you become an erotic romance writer? What about this genre attracts you? Do you also write other genres?

I’ve been writing since I was a kid and wrote plenty of young adult fiction and queer literary fiction in high school and college. Back then (in the 1990s) was a rather depressing time to read and write queer fiction. The tragic queer was still the dominant archetype and what publishers preferred. I burned out. I started writing again a few years ago because I still had stories burning to get out, and fell into erotica sort of by accident. Two characters I was writing insisted that an important part of their relationship development happened in bed, so of course I was compelled to show that. And it was fun to write! I continue to enjoy writing erotic romance, though I also write sweet romance and even the occasional “literary” piece.

What inspired you to write Mi Alma?

Like the main character Damian, I spoke both English and Spanish as a kid. I also had a pretty religious upbringing. I often write about gay people coming from conservative religious backgrounds, especially Mormons. Because of my Spanish, I’ve always thought it was interesting that one of the main characters in the Book of Mormon is named Alma, which means “soul” in Spanish. It’s not a common name in Spanish, but when it is given, it’s a girl’s name. Among English-speaking Mormons, though, it’s a boy’s name. That gave me a place to start: a gay Dominican man meets an Alma over the internet and initially assumes Alma is a woman. Later, he finds out Alma’s a hot guy. Sparks fly.

Have you ever placed your own want ad? What was it for?

I post on Freecycle a lot. Does that count? Usually I’m giving stuff away, but once I asked for a bird feeder—and got one.

What's the most challenging thing about being a writer? What's the most rewarding?My biggest challenges are probably physical. I’ve had issues with wrist and elbow tendinitis since I was in college. If I write more than 2,000 words a day, my hands are bound to complain. I use dictation software as often as I can so I can pad my word count without injuring myself.

The most rewarding is creating worlds that readers can escape to or find comfort in. I love when readers tell me they connected to a story.

What types of stories do you enjoy reading most? Do you have a favorite genre/author?

I read just about anything. Currently, I’m going through a lot of European fairytales: the Grimm brothers, Hans Christian Anderson, Irish folktales, and a few Russian tales. I also read a lot of memoirs, and of course erotica and romances. I also tend to read a lot of stuff related to what I’m writing about. For example, I’m working on a story about werewolves, I’ll read as much nonfiction about wolves as I can get my hands on. I don’t have a favorite author overall (I love too many of them), but I recommend Johnny Townsend to anyone interested in gay Mormon fiction.

What are you currently writing about? What can readers expect from you in the future?

I’m always writing about gay Mormons. It’s somewhat of a compulsion. So there will be more of that for years to come. I love watching cooking reality shows, which naturally means I’ve written a piece or two about romance blossoming between fictional contestants. Fairy tales and cats show up in my stories more often than I’d like to admit. Readers can probably expect that, too.

But honestly, the muse often takes me in weird directions. For all I know, my next big piece could be about superheroes and deep sea diving. Or HVAC inspectors. Or homoerotic relationships between plants. This world is an interesting place to live, and so is my brain.

More About Dale Cameron

Dale Cameron Lowry lives in the Upper Midwest with a partner and three cats, one of whom enjoys eating dish towels, quilts, and wool socks. It’s up to you to guess whether the fabric eater is one of the cats or the partner. When not busy mending items destroyed by the aforementioned fabric eater, Dale writes and edits things for a living, and for fun enjoys wasting time on Tumblr, listening to Mormon-related podcasts, studying anatomy and neurophysiology, getting annoyed at Duolingo, and reading fairy tales.

Find Dale Online

Monday, December 7, 2015

Author Spotlight: Avery Duran

A warm welcome to Avery Duran, the creative author behind "Matzo Ball" 

About the story:

Jacob Greenberg is resigned to his quiet, single life. When his popular best friend talks him into attending a singles party, he never expects to meet his very own Prince Charming.

Excerpt from "Matzo Ball"

All of a sudden, a smooth voice said, “Excuse me.”

I turned my head toward the voice and realized it was the bartender. He was the epitome of tall, dark, and handsome, with short brown hair and chocolate-brown eyes. A tight black shirt showed off bulging biceps and a broad chest. The bottom of a tattoo was peeking out of his sleeve. The bar prevented my view of the rest of him, but considering how hot the top half was, I could only imagine how good he looked from the waist down. I licked my suddenly dry lips. “Yes?”

“I’m sorry to bother you, but I could use some help. Would you mind?”

“Of course not.” As I stood, I remembered my new friend. “Tara,” I said, “it was lovely to meet you. Have a happy new year!” She looked at me, shrugged, and turned to the guy on the other side to introduce herself. I had clearly broken her heart.

I walked toward the hot bartender, wondering exactly what he wanted from me. He gestured for me to follow him. His long legs moved quickly, but I didn’t mind walking behind him since it meant I could watch that tight ass move in his clinging pants. The rest of him was just as sexy as I had expected, broad shoulders tapering down into a small waist that emphasized his perfect rear. He was a little taller than I, which would make him just over six feet. We walked through a door marked “Employees only” and down a long, winding hallway. I suppressed the voice in my head reminding me this was a set-up for an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

Finally, some sense of self-preservation emerged and I asked him, “Where are we going?”

He turned around, smiled at me, and leaned against the wall. “Here is good.”

I looked around the barren hallway, “But...what am I helping you with?”

“It’s actually more of what I helped you with.” I was stumped. I mean, the guy was hot as hell, but I was starting to feel as if I’d fallen down the rabbit hole. I really hoped he wasn’t going to try to sell me something, or rope me into a get-rich-quick scheme. The time for me to make my escape had definitely come. Pity such hotness was going to waste. “Look, buddy, I appreciate whatever you mean to do, but I’m meeting a friend and should get going.”

He started to laugh and I froze—seriously, I could not move. When he smiled, his eyes crinkled up at the corners and his whole face lit up; I had never seen anything more mesmerizing.

He put his hand out. “Wait a minute, was I reading you wrong? Because seriously, I did NOT think you were interested in giving that woman her dream of two point five kids and a white picket fence.” He put his hand on my shoulder, “C’mon, we can go back.”

“No!” I yelled, probably a little too enthusiastically.

“L-Let’s not go back.”

“Well, I have to go back if I want to get paid, but I can get you out the back door—for a price.”

“What’s the price?”

One side of his mouth kicked up. “Your number and a kiss."

Interview With Avery Duran

What inspired you to write “Matzo Ball?"

The Matzo Ball is a Christmas Eve event for Jewish Singles. When I was single & living in NYC, I attended a few times and it was always a lot of fun. When it came time to write this story I couldn’t help but think – what if a gay man ended up at a straight matchmaking event? That's how Jacob & Ian’s story was born!

What types of stories do you enjoy reading most?

I will read anything! I do get tend to get upset when my fiction does not have a happy ending. I once threw a copy of a Nicholas Sparks book over the side of a cruise ship (not far from where the Titanic went down actually), when the ending infuriated me. Real life is tough enough; I want to escape in my books. I also love non-fiction of all kinds though, and I certainly don’t expect all those books to have happy endings!

What are you currently writing about? What can readers expect from you in the future?

I am in the midst of finishing a spin off of this story, involving Jacob’s best friend, Jason. During the course of this story, I got very attached to Jason and I wanted to know if he found his true love. I also have a short story and a full length novel to finish up. I have a job and 3 young sons, so finding the time to write is my biggest challenge. Matzo Ball was the first story I ever submitted for publishing, I am just so excited to have a chance to explore this career path.

What are you afraid of?

Clowns! They terrify me with their creepy smiles and crazy eyes. I am a huge Stephen King fan, so I blame him for some of it. My house is a clown-free zone.

What are some other interesting facts about you?

My birthday is on Christmas Day and I am Jewish. It makes for interesting cards.

I am easily distracted by shiny things.

I can’t eat Chinese, Japanese or Thai food without chopsticks. It tastes weird if I use a fork.

Diet Coke is a major food group for me, I drink way too much of the stuff.

I grew up watching the Brady Bunch; Eight is Enough & Little House on the Prairie. That may account for my love of sappy endings.

I love meeting new people! Feel free to friend me on Facebook & say, “Hi!”

Thanks so much to Angora for letting me use some of her space to introduce myself!

More About Avery Duran

Avery Duran’s first book was written with crayon at 5 years old, and ended with, “They lived happily ever after.” Although she no longer uses crayons—and her spelling has improved—every story still has a happy ending. A native New Yorker, she loves to incorporate her favorite city into what she writes. Avery lives a hectic existence with her husband, three sons, and a very fat cat. When everyone goes to sleep and the house is quiet, she writes dirty stories about hot guys finding their happily ever after.

Find Avery Duran Online

Friday, December 4, 2015

Author Spotlight: Shira Glassman

Wishing a warm welcome to my fellow author Shira Glassman. Check out what you can expect from "Eitan's Chord"

Image credit: Agaricals on tumblr

About the story:

Fairy magic requires fairy sex, so when the three Chanukah fairies—cute butch Latke, enthusiastic party girl Dreidl, and their elegant leader Menorah—decide to help an impoverished young couple, a fairy threesome is in order!

Eitan, a trans man, and his cis wife Abigail work retail and live on love in a studio apartment with broken blinds. If only Abigail’s beaded jewelry would sell online, they’d have a little more cash, but nobody’s biting. While they sleep, the fairies bring the miracle they’re looking for.

Excerpt from "Eitand's Chord"

Soon, the mezuzah's lid swung open as if it were a door, and a third of the little sprites emerged. She was shorter than the other two and wore a pale gold sparkly party dress fluffed out with tulle petticoats. As she spun in the air, her skirts twirled and the other two fairies could see the Hebrew letters that went all the way around it.

“Whee!” Dreidl finally touched down on the windowsill, and promptly deposited a kiss on both Menorah and Latke's waiting faces.

“Quickly, let's go,” said Menorah, after checking to make sure Dreidl had remembered to close the mezuzah up again so the prayer inside wouldn't fall out while she was gone.

The fairies fluttered around inspecting the apartment, filling each other in on the young couple. “He's a cashier at the co op,” said Menorah. “He also teaches guitar lessons on the side, and volunteers for the trans crisis phone line.”

“Sounds like an all around mensch, a decent man,” said Latke.

“She works retail at the mall,” said Dreidl.

“Ohh,” said the other two fairies, wincing in sympathy.

“Exactly,” said Dreidl. “They're in the middle of the Christmas rush. Just today, she was screamed at by three different customers for being low on stock!”

“Poor thing,” clucked Menorah.

Dreidl added in a shocked whisper, “One lady even told her she'd ruined Christmas.”

“I wish people like that would just shop online,” Latke groused.

“Speaking of online—that's why we're here,” Menorah reminded the others, for she was the eldest. “Eitan made a wish that Abigail's jewelry would sell.”

“Let's grant his wish!” Dreidl clapped her hands and spun around, her skirts flowering in her wake.

“Chanukah is for miracles, after all,” said Menorah.

“Where shall we play?” Dreidl darted around the room eagerly searching.

From the author:

"My two biggest motivations as a writer are happiness and frustration! That may sound contradictory, but what it means is that sometimes I write because I want to wallow in something glorious, like how much fun it is to play in an orchestra, or how beautiful our holidays are, and sometimes I write because I'm frustrated with something--like a lack of older men or trans men or chunky men in hetero romantic fiction. I write the stories I wish existed; I write to express my love of things that are, and my love for things that will only exist if I write them. I also write to get to experience things that are outside the boundaries of my own life; I'm not having any all-girl threesomes, so I wrote one so I could "experience" that on the page.

My newest story, the one in this anthology, is your typical "impoverished family is helped by supernatural creatures over the winter holidays" cheese, only from a queer, Jewish point of view because that's my point of view. As Eitan and Abigail lay sleeping, the three Chanukah fairies have sex all over their stuff to bring them luck. I guess you could say the story is a celebration of sex between women, a celebration of love between a trans man and his wife, and a celebration of Jewish observance. So, basically, it has my name smeared all over it :p"

Connect With Shira Glassman:

Facebook            Twitter            Blog            Tumblr            Goodreads

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Author Spotlight: Emjay Haze

A warm welcome to author Emjay Haze, the creative mind behind "Elfin Magic" 

About the story:

Paul is the new manager of a holiday gift shop at the mall. After placing a help wanted ad for Christmas Elves, Paul receives an email with a picture included, and he’s immediately smitten with Aaron—Paul hires him on the spot. Will working closely with the hot college co-ed prove to be Paul’s undoing, or will Elfin magic bring the two men together?

Excerpt from "Elfin Magic"

"Oh, hey Aaron. Ready to get started?" He willed his hard-on away, which was difficult with the gorgeous man standing in front of him, but he was his employee, and sexual harassment didn't look good on one's resume, so....

Aaron leaned against the door jam, smirking. "Must have been good."

"What?" Paul turned an even brighter shade of red, if that were possible.

"Whatever you were perving about." Then thankfully, he let Paul off the hook. "So, where do we start, boss?"

They spent the next few hours organizing the shelves similar to the storefront, so items would be easier to locate. Aaron was good at this. Paul liked to watch him work, his biceps flexing whenever he lifted something heavy, or reached for the top shelf. God, I'm such a creeper.

"So, it's not then?" Aaron turned around and caught Paul staring at him.

"Not what?" Paul had no idea what he was getting at. He was mesmerized by that ass.

"Against company policy."

Paul shot him a confused look.

"To date."

Paul wasn't sure when his legs started moving, but he was now directly in front of Aaron, who smelled so good, he just wanted to kiss those teasing lips. "I don't think it's ever come up," Paul said, a dream-like quality in his voice.

"Hm," and then Aaron ducked under Paul's arm, as he was leaning, arm stretched out against a shelf. "What's next boss?' And the moment was over. Paul kicked himself for not kissing Aaron right then. That boy so needed to be kissed, teasing Paul like that. It was a bad idea though, even if not against company policy. Actually, he'd need to look that one up.

They finished up for the day and Paul sent Aaron home. Aside from the fact he was simply edible and Paul was extremely attracted to him, Aaron was a great worker. He followed instructions but gave constructive input as well. Paul couldn't wait for employee training to begin and he could see what a salesperson he'd make. But, there were six other trainees as well, and they'd never be alone. Paul vowed to make his move tomorrow.

Author Interview:

How did you become an erotic romance writer? What about this genre attracts you? Do you also write other genres?

I had always wanted to write, but never had the inspiration or gumption to actually do it, until six years ago I was involved in a fandom and read my first fan-fiction story. It was hot, steamy and very gay. I fell in love. There was one particular story I followed and I began conversing with the author and ended up as her beta. She encouraged me to start writing, and I did with great encouragement from the fandom community. Then, two years ago, I decided to take the plunge from fan-fic world and try and get published writing gay romance.

I love writing gay characters and their romantic adventures. I will write other genres some day, but I'm just having too much fun right now.

What inspired you to write Elfin Magic?

I wanted to write short stories to get my name out there and holiday want-ads sounded like a lot of fun. I remember going to a holiday gift shop as a child and it was very much like the experience the little girl in this story, Sophie, has. The characters and the story-line just came together. I love writing first encounters.

Have you ever placed your own want ad? What was it for?

We rent out our garage which my husband converted into a studio apartment. I've always found renters through Craig's list. A few years ago, after my first tenant of two years moved out, I needed to quickly find another. So, I put out an ad, but I also searched ads from people looking to rent. I answered an ad from a woman looking for a dungeon.

Okay, so I had no idea at that time what that was and I ignored any warning signs that told me to question this. I just needed a renter. I had a garage, that's like a dungeon, right? I was clueless. Anyway, she came out to look at it while I wasn't home and made me an offer of way less than I wanted but she said that she wouldn't be using it that often. She then explained to me that she was a dominatrix and needed the space to bring clients. I hadn't read any BDSM at that point, and yes, I was very naïve at the time, but then it clicked; dungeon, dominatrix--uh.

I actually considered it for a couple of minutes, but I had teenagers at home and I could just see my fourteen year old son and his friends trying to peak through the windows. And I live in a family neighborhood that would not approve. So, I had to turn her down. She was a little annoyed, since I had answered her ad for a dungeon; I obviously knew what she'd be using it for. I apologized profusely for my ignorance. She was a very nice person with had a family of her own, she tried explaining to me. I'm sure it's not easy trying to rent a dungeon. I wasn't judging her at all, but yeah, just couldn’t do it.

What's the most challenging thing about being a writer? What's the most rewarding?

The most challenging thing for me is finding time to write. I have a full time job, and I'm married and have a teen still at home. Also, no one in my family really understands why I write this stuff. But they put up with it while I drag my laptop to the living room to watch a movie.

The most rewarding thing is when readers tell me they liked my story. That first contract was pretty rewarding too.

What types of stories do you enjoy reading most? Do you have a favorite genre/author?

I read m/m romance almost exclusively. I subscribe to kindle unlimited, so I've gotten to read a lot of things that I might not have purchased, but I can borrow. I really like Mercy Celeste and Aimee Nicole Walker. Not all authors have books available on unlimited but there's quite a lot.

Three of my favorite authors are Eli Easton and her sex in Seattle series, Xavier Mayne and the Brandt and Donnelly Capers, and Heidi Cullinan's Love lessons and the Special Delivery books.

I mainly read contemporary gay romance because that's what I write, but I like some of the vamp/wolf stories too.

What are you currently writing about? What can readers expect from you in the future?

I have another short story coming out in January for the Snowed-In anthology, and my first novel, Taking a Chance will be out in February. Mid-western college graduate Ethan Moore goes on a job interview at an advertising firm in San Francisco. That night, he meets a stranger in a club, and takes him back to his hotel for a night of sex. A couple of weeks later, he gets the job and flies back to start his new life and discovers that his new boss is the gorgeous man he slept with. While Evan wants prove himself a worthy employee, his boss, Chance Harlow doesn't make it easy on him as he's made his intentions known, and he's way too hard for Ethan to resist.

I am currently writing a story that will be a three-book series called After Hours. Alex is a corporate middle manager, stuck in a great wall-street job, when he meets club waiter and graduate student, Nick. Alex really wanted to be a chef, but his parents forced him to get a useful degree and give up his dream. Nick was a rich kid whose gayness was inconvenient for his family. They disowned him when he came out in college, and now he's working two jobs to put himself through grad school so he can become a teacher and help kids like him. Their meeting is fate and they will help each other get through their insecurities. Oh, and there's lots of hot sex.
Author Links:

Website       Facebook       Twitter       Blog       Goodreads Author Page

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Author Spotlight: Robin Watergrove

A warm welcome to my fellow author Robin Watergrove! 


“So tell me about this girl,” Jean rounds on me.

I sigh. If we could step back from this conversation and see ourselves from behind mirrored glass, two lonely people taking different paths out of the loneliness labyrinth, then I’d ask if she really wants to know. I’d ask if hearing about this beautiful girl who’s caught my eye is really want she needs right now. But all we can see is what’s right in front of us and it’s impossible to walk away from an unanswered question from your best friend. “She works out at my gym.”

“What does she look like?”

“Nice ass.”

“Shut up. Tell me what she looks like.”

I smile despite myself. “Long, dark hair. Long legs and long arms. Looks like a cyclist. Super lean, like she’s been training her whole life. She’s got pretty eyes but she wears a… closed off face. You know what I mean? Like nothing effects her.”

“You’ve talked to her?”

“A couple of times.”

“You flirted?”

“Sort of?” I check out of the conversation. I’m looking at plugs for my earlobes online. The pearly white ones I have in don’t feel right any more. I’ve barely stretched my lobes. I wear six-gauge jewelry so everyone thinks I’m just getting started.

I’m not ready to do this; I don’t want to dissect this crush in front of Jean. It’s sticky and I can tell, without looking too closely, that it’ll reel in a bunch of other things I won’t want to dredge up.

And since I’m sitting here, carefully keeping my thoughts cloudy and incomplete, I can tell there’s another part of my hesitation that’s harder to explain. The voice that muses in my mind talks too loud when I’m thinking about this girl. It yells and pops, like some creature rattling a cage. It’s scary.

I ask Jean about her apartment, with its five roommates and view of a brick wall.

She tells me a story about a rat in the kitchen and ruthlessly returns to the subject of searching, “We should make want ads.”

Interview With Robin Watergrove

1) What led you to write erotica/romance? Where does your inspiration come from?

Ah, great question! The truth of it is, I hadn’t read much erotica or romance until a few years ago. I stumbled into the world of erotic comics, quickly discovered erotica, and started writing my own three days later. My motivation has always been to articulate erotic experiences and share them as erotic stories to see if other people experience the world the way I do. When I write, I’m always looking for recognition in the mind of the reader, or, if the described sensation/emotion/thought isn’t a familiar one, then empathy. I want it to feel real.

2) What types of stories (themes) do you enjoy writing the most and why?

I love writing about anxiety. (Haha! What fun!) That sounds strange, but I think anxiety/worry/doubt/uncertainty are an integral part of the sexual experience for a lot of people. I love writing characters who feel real, whose concerns and doubts feel real, and how they find pleasure around, through, because of, in spite of those worries. I love writing stories where people embrace the chaos of reality and find erotic ecstasy right where they are. Sort of the opposite of escapism.

3) What's your newest publication about? (I took this to mean ‘what have you published recently besides the anthology we’re in?’)

I recently published a short story called Midnight Lunch. It’s an exploration of the stop-start game of meeting someone, of intimacy in public and private spaces, and the vulnerability of wanting to give someone pleasure. Much like Looking for a Soft Center, it follows a character as they define what they want, have new experiences, and redefine that want with new-found perspective. That process of redefinition is definitely a recurring theme for me!

4) What do you hope to inspire in your readers/what is your goal for the story?/what do you wish readers to walk away with?

Confidence! Curiosity! Courage! I just want everyone to be excited about sex. As much as I write to know I’m not alone, I think many readers read to know they aren’t alone either. Erotic experiences can be so intensely personal that I think many (maybe most!) of us end up feeling like we might be the only ones who experience something.

I do my best to write imperfect people who aspire to feel good, people who are willing to be wrong, or embarrassed, or patient, or transparent with their partners. I try to write people at all stages of their sexual journey and hope that readers at all stages of their own sexual journeys find something encouraging in the mix.

5) What are you currently writing about? Something new?

My writing calendar is *stacked* right now! I have all these exciting projects I want to work on all at once. My past few stories have focused on new relationships, so I have a few in the queue about established and growing relationships. I’m particularly interested in exploring how established couples introduce new sexual dynamics. (But ahead of all that, the piece that’s open on my desktop right now has the working title, “I won’t touch you, but I’ll tell you what I’d do to you.”)

6) What would you like to share about yourself with your readers? (actives other than writing, goals, hobbies, favorite foods, favorite authors, etc.)

Oh let’s see…

- Eat more protein for breakfast (I’m told eggs are the only way, but I’m holding out as long as I can)
- Successfully try out vests this winter (I am so skeptical that they will keep me warm)

- Swiping lines I overhear in the Whole Foods checkout line to use in stories
- Buying milk when I have plenty of milk in the fridge and forgetting to buy milk when I have none
- Collecting hotel pens

Favorite foods:
- Buffalo sauce. Hands down. I’m vegetarian, but I will eat any non-meat food with buffalo sauce on it.
- Lately it’s been a lot of greek yogurt with oats mixed in.
- I just got really into Trader Joe’s Jalapeño Hot Sauce and I’m putting it on everything that doesn’t already have buffalo sauce on it.

*Photo by Francisco Osorio, modified and used under the Creative Commons 2.0 license.

Robin Watergrove

Twitter: @robinwatergrove

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Shit You Shouldn't Do On Social Media

I hate to break it to all the asshats out there, but social media has rules. Some of these rules are hard learned, with consequences including, but not limited to: being unfriended/unfollowed, reported, blocked, cussed out, and belittled. We're all guilty of breaking some of the rules as we learn what is tolerated and how to play the social media game, but in the effort of avoiding being placed in the "asshat" category, please consider the following Top 10 things you shouldn't do on social media.

#1 Social Media is NOT a Dating Site 
"Creeping on social media only shows what a desperate looser you are"
This means: don't ask someone their location, age, sex, martial status. This is the kind of personal shit people share with those they feel comfortable with, not with random message-sending pricks

#2 DICK Pics are a No-No
"That you're even considering it means you should seriously rethink your entire fucking life."
No one cares how big it is or how you intend to use it. It's just gross. You don't see me sending out pictures of my vagina, do you? If I want to see dick I'll turn on CNN

#3 Don't SHAME Anyone
"Beauty is relative... fuck your opinion."
Nothing says "asshat" like someone who disses a total stranger... Or what's worse: a friend! 

"If you can't present your side of the argument without being a huge douchetwat, shut up."
Civil discussions are fine, but if you bring your guns to social media, someone with a better argument will shoot you the fuck down!

#5 Don't DRINK and POST
"Go get drunk like a normal person. Drunk posting is not the new drunk dial'"
Enough said.

#6 STOP the SPAM
"Be a real person, not an advertisement"
Self promotion is all well and good, but social media is about being social! So be social! Interact and be a real fucking person.

#7 Quit With the AUTO Response 
"There's no greater way to irritate"
If anyone wanted to know more about you, they'd follow those handy dandy little links posted right on your fucking page.

#8 Negativity's a Drag
"People avoid the plague for a reason"
You're sick AGAIN? You day SUCKED? Yeah, so did mine. If you need a pick-me-up from someone, go have a private conversation with your bestie, not the universe at large

"If I see one more damn sympathy post I'm gonna..."
Does your insecurity have no bounds? I don't want to fucking hug you. Don't shame people into giving you sympathy because it's pathetic. This goes for posting imagery of people with severe illness with "Share if you care, scroll if you don't" because it's total bullshit. If I want to support a cause, I will. I don't need you to throw it in my face.

#10 No Trolls Allowed
"...and I got reported for that that!"
If someone is breaking social media rules, someone in CHARGE of said social media will take care of the problem. They have enough real shit to deal with, so don't go vigilante on anyone. If you don't like what you see or read, unfriend/unfollow.

New Short: Compatible Gardens

Bella hates the bus for its lack of space, dirty seats, and crazy passengers. She plays the Stranger Game to pass the time—a game of invented names and stories for the people she encounters. When Mr. Widebottom pushes Ms. Greencoat’s body and hand into her lap, Bella finds that for the first time, she’s become part of the game. Every bump in the road is another push in the right spot, every abrupt stop of the breaks and sudden slip of a digit a seemingly deliberate caress. With her destination several minutes down the road, Bella must decide whether to play the game or not, and if winning is worth prize and judgment of the other passengers.


Ms. Greencoat is moving.

Her legs, which had shuffled a bit back toward the middle of her seat, are now pressed together, her knees angled toward me like an arrow. Her fingers flex under the corner of her bag in my lap, and the back of her hand presses down into me with deliberate force. Each bump in the heavily used city street seems to allow her hand to twist, slightly turn, or roll, until her hand is palm down, leaving it to rest like it’s natural to grasp a high inner thigh.

But it’s not natural.

Each small motion of her rotation makes my body grow more still, and shivers run down my neck and spine. My breath is loud as I inhale through my nose, and each wave of air burns inside my chest. My stomach drops a little too—a motion my jaw mimics for a moment, but as Ms. Stinkeye catches my face, I close my mouth and swallow hard thinking: pray for me Sister; wickedness knows no boundaries.

But is it the wickedness of Ms. Greencoat, or my mistake in thinking her intentions wicked?

Apparently, I’m just as wicked.

A cold sweat begins to coat my back, but it’s not enough to battle the heat that continues to grow inside my gut and fill every vein from my naval downward. It’s not enough to keep my clit from screaming a little lower, a little deeper, a little harder.

And it happens.

Is this happening?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

New Fiction by Lusty Soul

A steaming and passionate short story of a dinner party that makes you want to skip dessert. 

Lucy accepts an invitation to her friend Sabine and her boyfriend's house to celebrate the turn of the year with them. As January 1st is Lucy's birthday, she has a special treat planned for her friends. Sabine and Lucy have cooked up the recipe together, and Sabine's boyfriend arc will be the lucky guinea pig that will get the first taste... 

Lucy is Sabine's first lesbian lover. But she's in a very satisfying relationship with Marc, whom she loves to death. The only option she has to pursue her romance with Lucy while staying faithful to Marc is to bring the two together. Lucy, a succubus and master seductress, whose wanderings have brought her into the lives of many couples, knows just how to make that happen... 


A new song instigated our bodies. We started moving as one creature to the rhythm of the music, curving and swaying, swinging our heads and arms to the hammering beat, exhibiting our health and sexual dexterity with a surrender and skill only girls looking as good as Sabine and me could possibly get away with. Our touching augmented our passion to barely contained carnality, oblivious of the effect we had on the surrounding metal heads, both male and female. I was hers and she was mine. The kiss in the car had caught me by surprise, robbing me of my lead. But the seduction game - the hunt - had only now begun. I knew she had accepted that as a fact. She expressed this in the way she danced with me. Her hands roamed over my body. Hesitatingly at first, more audaciously as one song blended into another. It reassured me she wouldn’t hold back when the time would come to act on that certainty. I flexed the muscle full tension now, tried to exude as much of my surreal appeal as I could imagine I might, even though I had no idea how to control it, if that were even possible at all. I connected with her, responded to her eagerness with unabridged displays of desire and affection of my own. As she blurred the line between dance and seduction, so did I exhibit how deeply I longed to be with her by answering her touches, glances and teasing brushes of our lips. Our bodies and spirits further entwined until all senses in the club seemed focused on us. 

We danced for hours without taking even a moment to breathe. Everybody within sight was watching us, longing to join us, maybe get lucky with either or both of us. Some of the people and couples closest to us were almost invariably engaged in explicit displays of affection of their own, as if my excitement was like a shock wave pulsing through the crowd in concentric waves. We were approached several times by people who came dancing clumsily in our vicinity, once by a butch looking giantess that could have easily broken me in half to claim Sabine as her conquest. But the bodily union we had created with our mating dance repelled all attempts at rivalry. The attention we harvested, especially Sabine, only added to my excitement. I saw it had the same effect on the crowd, and on my soon-to-be lover. Her touches became even more daring, her advances more urgent. She clearly had difficulty restraining herself from going a step further. I abided a bit more, took my time seducing her, relished watching her explore this new found aspect of her appeal.

Then came the one song I had been hoping and waiting for. A powerful ballad, slow and despondent, at first. But with a tempestuous climax, embodied by one of the most agile and bone-chilling voices in all of Europe. I grabbed her by the waist, pulled her close, and we danced. I buried my face in her neck and breathed in her intoxicating perfume. The smell of her sweat-moistened hair was an aphrodisiac more potent than anything the goddess Aphrodite herself could have cooked up to seduce mere mortal men and women. My fingers traced the curve of her lower back, ran over her spine until I felt it shudder with delight. They climbed higher until my hands rested on her shoulder blades. And as the sublime vocalist audibly drew in a huge breath to drive home the climactic apotheosis of this anthem of Indifferentia, I pressed her closer to me, searched her lips with mine, and sealed both our fates with the kiss I should have given her the day she first bumped into me.

She almost went limp in my arms. I felt her hum with contentment in my mouth, a tantalizing vibration that made the hairs in my neck stand on end. She hugged my head and reciprocated the kiss with complete surrender. She had reached her breaking point; I felt tears trickle down her cheek, moistening our kiss even more with their salty fragrance. As the last notes of the song drifted away, she broke off our embrace, looked at me - indeed moved to tears - and signaled it was time to leave. She didn't hesitate one second, spun on her heels and started elbowing her way through the thick crowd that had aggregated around us.

About the Author: 

A wandering soul, lust; its sole motivation in seeking out encounters that stand out. 

Lusty soul is a pseudonym, an avatar, an interactive immersion in erotica that surpasses mere physical appeasement. Personal encounters spiced up with a dash of fantasy that aim to leave you, the reader, wanting more.
Many manifestations online all have one thing in common...LS, the initials of many personas that all amalgamate into Lusty Soul.

Find Lusty Soul's Work: 

Connect with Lusty Soul:

Friday, November 20, 2015

Reviews: Honesty Vs. Inflated Truth

Most authors go out in search of reviews for their books
Publishers often send out free copies to random reviewers
Many Indie authors ask friends (or established reader base) to review their work

This is always true, but...
What do you do about bad reviews?

Recently I was given a free copy of a book from an indie author in exchange for my honest review of the work. I opened the document, started reading, and... Oh. Well. Sorry. I can't give you my honest review because I can't read the document. Forcing myself to read unedited, unformatted, character-tag-less, description free, plot free mumbo jumbo is a waste of my time and gives me a headache. I understand that the author's done their honest-to-goodness best and it's their personal masterpiece, but the review isn't going to happen. There are no stars that I can award to broken, unpolished literature. 

I explained myself to the author and, instead of giving them a review, suggested what they could do to improve their craft. I even offered to edit their future work. I'm not a professional editor, but I'm confident in my knowledge base to say that "yes, I can help you improve." (And to be honest, I want to help other authors. The best source for learning comes from other people in your working environment, even from those who aren't equally talented.)

I didn't review, but others did. The manuscript in question has over a dozen 5 star reviews on Amazon, and yes, a recent 1 star review. The author posted their displeasure to social media and the author's supporters trashed the reviewer, going as far as picking at her chosen name and calling her dirty words. The reviewer in question was so thoroughly trashed that people have outright blocked the reviewer without question.

This isn't cool. Just... I mean... DUDE! 

Review: Definition: A critical appraisal of a book

Did you read that right? CRITICAL. This means that when a book is given to someone--anyone--for review, that the reviewer should come back with remarks that analyze the work for both its merits and its faults.

Positive reviews makes an author feel good about their craft and help them to sell more books. Negative reviews can make an author feel crappy, but even negative reviews aren't all bad. Having your shortcomings pointed out by others is part of the business of writing. Everyone experiences a poor review at some point because literary works--like art--are subjective to the reader. Not everyone is going to like a particular book. This is something that has to be accepted in order to push forward. Grow from it.

The Problem with Indie Authors and Reviews

Indie authors: please STOP asking your friends to review your books. Your friends are biased. They love you, want to support you, and are willing to lie right to your face that your book is the best thing they've read since the newest release on the New York Time's Best Seller's List. Your friends will give you 4 and 5 star reviews to placate you so you don't lash out at them and/or kill your dream of being a famous author. (Hate to break it to you: only 10% of authors worldwide make enough money off their writing to support themselves). Inflated reviews might puff up the author, but they piss off readers who go out in search of well received books only to find that what they've purchased is complete crap.

(Note: Duh, this isn't how all indie authors go about things. This blog post is simply my reaction to what I see too often)

How Traditional Publishing Gets it Right

A good publisher has a list of reviewers that they work with and who request specific types of books (by genre) for review. The author usually doesn't know the reviewer and vice versa. This is the  BEST way to get that honest review that both indie and traditionally published authors crave. Perfect strangers are far more likely to say "this was great because..." or "this didn't work in the story because..." and "this sucked because...". You can absolutely trust a stranger's first impression. 

AND SO CAN OTHERS. Honest positive reviews will send other readers your way. If someone learns your work is filled with inflated opinions, they're going to hate you and probably share their experience about you as an author with other readers. Word of mouth is a big deal. It can make you or break you. 

The point of writing is to tell a good story, be read by others, and hopefully make a little cash on the side, all of which is better accomplished by honest reviews. If you're done the hard work as an author (good story, beta readers, some editing, easy to read formatting, a little marketing), the good reviews will come.

What Do You Do About Negative Reviews?

1) Thank your reviewer! They put in their personal time and energy to have a look, and they kept up their end of the bargain. You asked for their opinion and they gave it to you.
2) Analyze why you were given poor marks. Understand that you have things to work on
3) Accept that you're not Steven King and might never be as equally successful 
4) Keep writing. Take a deep breath and move forward. 

Where To Find Reviewers Who Aren't Friends

Search engines are your honest friends. Social media platforms are your honest friends. There are entire groups on Facebook and Google+ devoted to giving reviews, and bored housewives with numerous kids are creating blogs all about their favorite genres and the books they crave. Don't be lazy. Do the research. You'll be all the better for it.