Saturday, September 3, 2011

Trials and Triumphs of Erotic Writing

You know, it’s not always easy being a writer of naughty prose.  The stigma attached to it has most of us publishing under a pen name and stumbling at cocktail parties when we’re asked, “So what is it you write?”

I’m not ashamed of what I do.  And I’ll admit to a certain cruel enjoyment of seeing eyes widen, mouths drop, and the machine-gun stuttering of people who don’t know how to respond to the answer, “I write erotica.”  But then there’s The Look I get.  People stare at me as if I’m going to start waxing eloquent about huge throbbing cocks or exhort everyone to pull all their clothes off and hump their brains out to give me inspiration.

You can practically hear their thoughts.  “Oh my God.  She writes about people having SEX.  Oh no, not that!  Anything but that!”

Truly, I almost feel like I’d get the same reaction if I told people, “I steal puppies from handicapped children, cut them up in little bits, and serve them up in stew at family reunions.”  It’s absolutely hysterical.

I have to be careful in my little podunk town.  If it was just me I had to worry about, I wouldn’t care.  Anyone giving me ‘tude over my work would be setting themselves up for a big ol’ ‘shoving your nose in it’ fest (I’m bitchy like that).  But I have a small child and churchgoing grandmas to consider.  I don’t want people giving them a hard time because of what I do.

So I’m forced to keep it under wraps for the most part.  I’m like the high school teacher who tried to keep her romance writing quiet, but was recently outed by a ‘concerned parent’.  Did you see the news story on this one?  Apparently, one mother decided to take action when she discovered her son’s English teacher published erotic romances under another name.  She went to the local television news, blathering about how this woman had no business being around children.  The news station, in a frenzy of colossal stupidity, ran with the story … if you can even rate it as a ‘story’.  

One of the most disgusting things I’ve ever heard came from Mommy Dearest when she was interviewed by the news station.  She actually stated something along the lines of, “I’m afraid of what this teacher is thinking when she looks at my son.”

Okay, lady.  Who’s really got her mind in the gutter here?  I’ll tell you what this writer and most of us are thinking when we look at slackjawed teenage boys:  Pull up your damn pants, kid.  You look like a complete moron.

Fortunately hundreds if not thousands of intelligent people rallied to this writer’s cause, blasting the television station for dragging a good teacher through the mud.  No doubt sales of her books received a boost, the best revenge of all.  And she kept her job.  Sanity prevailed.

Stupid people aside, there are other reasons to keep mum about writing sexy smut.  Snobbery abounds in the literary world, and erotica is probably held with the most contempt of any genre.  It doesn’t help that any shmuck incapable of stringing two intelligent sentences together can now publish an erotic novel (and oh so many do).  The plethora of badly written stories out there only drives erotica down even further in the opinions of those who think their preferences matter.  

I have an award-winning science fiction novel as well as a historical script that has done well in major screenwriting contests.  I do not dare tell those I market these works to that I write erotica.  The PTB’s (powers that be) would never give my other writings the first glance because I am *gasp* an author of explicit fiction.  Admitting this gets doors slammed in my face faster than if I said I’d never published a thing in my life.

Lately, columnists with word counts to fill have been jumping on the ‘down with erotica’ bandwagon, probably because the genre has become such a moneymaker for publishers.  First came an article  that claimed romance and erotic stories were ruining marriages because the heroes set up unrealistic expectations of men.   The latest one I heard about railed about how these books are connected with less condom use resulting in the spread of STDs.  

Yep, I’m here to pounce on your children, wreck your marriage and give you the clap.  They found me out.  Burn me at the stake.

Then there are the men who think that just because I write erotic fiction I want to do the horizontal bop with them … even when I’ve never exchanged two words with them.  What the hell is up with that?  Complete strangers contact me, telling me how arousing I am to them, and would I consider bumping uglies?  Um … NO.  I’ve got my hands (and other body parts) full of my hubby.  The only additions I would add to my current mix would be if I could clone my better half.  Two or three of Master St. John (and ONLY Master St. John) would indeed be thrilling beyond belief.  Oh boy.  Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.

But I digress.

So why with all these irritations, do I write explicit books?  Why do I fill my works with forests of erect penises, mountains of heaving bosoms, oceans of wet pussies?  First and foremost, because it’s FUN.  I love creating these worlds and characters, sending them off to have adventures and amazing sex.  I live vicariously through my creations and enjoy every second of my fantasies.  

Writing the naughty bits also allows me to make enough money to stay at home with my son, who needs me to be available at this juncture of his life.  Yeah, I’d make more money pursuing television work or putting my old advertising/marketing skills to use, but taking care of my son is much more fulfilling. 

This career also puts me in contact with all of you who have been so kind as to read my work and talk to me about it.  I love the discussions I’ve had with you; people who are curious, nonjudgmental, and enjoy the fantasy of being ravished by strong, sometimes forceful men.  Better still are those of you who have seen the stories behind the sex.  From the woman who stood up to her church’s stance against her gay son to the woman who wonders if we’re spiraling down to a fanatical church-state as depicted in the Kalquor series, I have had amazing conversations.

And most importantly for my tenuous hold on sanity, being an author of erotica fulfills my creative need to write and write and write.  I live for this.  

So I’ll continue to receive those looks when I come clean about what it is I do.  I’ll continue to hear my genre get slammed as unintelligent and life-warping trash.  I’ll probably continue to hear from anonymous would-be Romeos who are lucky my husband can’t find them.  And I’ll continue to cackle gleefully as I type out yet another carnal encounter of sexes interlocking in delicious joining.  Because despite all the nonsense I put up with, the pros of writing erotica far outweigh the cons.

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