Feminism & The Adult Industry

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For years some of the most well-educated, scholarly individuals have dedicated a portion of their studies to a subject that could make the rest of us blush: Porn. It’s been evaluated for insight into human sexuality, relationships, culture, societal standards of beauty, and recently, it’s infiltrated the discussion of feminism.

feminismSex-positive feminist writer Wendy McElroy, wrote an educational article for Free Inquiry Magazine where she discussed feminist views on pornography. She claimed that most feminist opinions on pornography can be broken down into three basic categories. The first are those who oppose pornography, with a large portion believing that it’s misogynistic. The second category take an agnostic approach, believing a woman is entitled to do whatever she wants with her own body. Members in the third group refer to themselves as being sex-positive or believing in the idea of sexual freedom. Those in the third group are the ones most likely to also point out the potential benefits that porn can provide women with, and are believed to have formed in opposition to the anti-pornography feminists within the first category.

However, personally speaking as a feminist, I find that I most relate to Adam and Eve contributor/blogger Dr. Kat. For those unfamiliar with Dr. Kat—her doctorate is in Human Sexuality/Clinical Sexology—she frequently discusses the need for society take away the stigma of sex, make it less shameful, and embrace it for the beautiful act that it is.

Although she works to empower women by helping them have more satisfying relationships and sex lives, she’s also sympathetic to the idea of some being turned off by pornography. It’s part of the reason why she’s also quick to mention that no matter where you stand on the subject, the adult industry has been listening to all sides of the feminist argument, and it has been making changes to the types of porn being produced.

Today, more companies are choosing to make pornography that either caters towards a female audience or shows an equal share in pleasure by both parities invovled. The Guardian quoted female pornography director Anna Arrowsmith, who (although she doesn’t overtly say so) sounds like a feminist herself by saying, “I have fought long and hard for women’s right to sexual expression and consumption, as well as for freedom of speech.” Arrowsmith focuses her films far away from the overtly fantasized if not cliched “narratives” of horny school girls and nymphomaniac nannies in order to tell stories of love and passion that women can relate to. With films such as hers growing prevalent in the industry, feminists can feel comfortable in enjoying them because those involved are being treated as equals, not as objects or toys in a misogynistic fantasy.

A feminist group has even taken it upon themselves to reward those like Arrowsmith who are taking part in the movement, creating the Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards—better known simply as the Feminist Porn Awards, according to The Week.

With the wide range of pornography available, it’s likely that there will be something within the industry that you don’t prefer. But at least it’s a step in the right direction to create a portion that isn’t demeaning. Whether you enjoy watching pornography or not, the question remains: Are female porn stars or those that enjoy pornography (even slightly) performing a feminist act? Since there’s no rules on what type of feminist you have to be, you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Does feminism have a place in pornography?

3 Reasons to Stop Worrying about Book Piracy

First things first: I am in no way advocating illegal downloads. And yes, I would hope that anyone interested in my books would take the official route. I mean, seriously, it’s the price of a cup of coffee, and you have no idea how much it makes me smile when I check my sales and there was a tiny jump in numbers.

But I keep seeing a lot of anger and worry and generally negative feelings created by finding books on pirate sites, and I always feel like that might be misplaced. Especially when it coincides with worries about income from writing, as though they are really connected. And in the end, I think it’s much better to accept piracy as a reality we can try to use in our favor rather than getting upset about it every time. And here is why:

1. I am not actually losing anything.

No matter often the dvd piracy warning has flickered over our televisions, we HAVE to admit that there is a difference between stealing a material good and stealing an immaterial copy of a digital file for their own use.
Yes, to produce an ebook costs money, and a lot of time. But to replicate one doesn’t cost a thing. And the value of an ebook is freely scalable. You can sell it for $9.99 or $0.99 and both are equally valid, and depend on your business model, how many you hope to sell, the genre expectations etc. Now we all want to make a living off writing, and I think we deserve to get there, but that’s a different conversation. When we are talking about piracy, I am not losing resources, time or any other costs if someone, somewhere downloads an illegal copy of my book.

This would be different of course if someone took my intellectual property and sold it on or plagiarized it. Then yes, I am losing the income they steal from me – but I do think illegal downloads represents something of an inbetween, no matter now much big companies are trying to bully legislators into considering it theft as much as any other theft.

2. Numbers of illegal downloads do NOT represent income I might have had

Now, people download for all kinds of reasons. Some genuinely can’t afford to spend money on books because they have a family to feed. Others are data hoarders, who just generate pleasure from collecting stuff – far more stuff than they could ever read. Yet others are serial downloaders, who — for whatever reasons, some more valid some less — have decided that the current copyright laws are outmoded and they don’t feel they are doing anything wrong in downloading.
Whatever I think about any of these people: None of them are likely to have bought my book if it hadn’t been available on a pirate site. So if they hadn’t downloaded my book illegally, they would never have gotten their hands on it at all, or in many cases wouldn’t even have heard of it.
That wouldn’t do me any good. Now, I prefer being read to not being read, and yes I would like it a lot more if someone simply contacted me, and told me that they would love to read my book but can’t afford it right now, and I’d gladly send them a copy… BUT I grant that not many people are likely to do this.

I can frame it this way in my mind, though, and stop getting angry.

The goal is to create media that makes people want to spend their money on, and to be to good to those loyal readers.

3. Creative media start to become goods of emotional value

If we look at the music industry, which is always a few steps ahead of us in terms of alternative movements, indie productions and digitization, what we are seeing more and more, are sites like Bandcamp where in many cases, the customers pays what they want to pay. Many artists have their own shop on their websites that functions much the same way. I.e. instead of a fixed price, pricing becomes an open field in which the fan/listener/reader types a figure before they click pay.

And what creators are seeing is that in general, they don’t make less money.

This is one of the most interesting things about the internet and content creation. We are seeing the same thing at Patreon, Subbable, Kickstarter and many more. We WANT to attribute value to the content that makes us happy. Some people may be able to pay 2$ others 10$, and that is a model that makes a lot more sense for digitized products that have no tangible, material value of their own. Because why shouldn’t my book be cheaper for a high school kid or mother of four who gets minimum wage, than for someone with a good, steady income? That sounds totally fair to me because to that mother of four, 2$ signifies the same financial burden as 6$ for someone who has three times her net income.

And publishing is traditionally a little bit elitist isn’t it? There continues to be talk about how “special” books are and, I think most of us mystify the idea of being an author, too. But once we step away from that – like many indie musicians stepped away from the hyped and idealized rock-star ideal – what we are left with is this: we are creators of content. No better or worse than a musician, someone who paints a weekly comic strip or produces a web series on Youtube. But where all of those have embraced new ways of attributing value to content and making it profitable enough to live off being a creator, we indie authors still feel shackled to the old model of the publishing industry when we should be opening our minds to new ideas.

Now obviously, this isn’t exactly tied to piracy, but the music industry has had to deal with that a lot longer than we have. And still indie bands are thriving as much as before. And many of them have openly stated that they don’t mind it when their music is downloaded, because they know that people who fall in love with their stuff will buy the next album, if they can. And I think we should try and approach piracy with a similar state of mind.

If just because it’s better for our general happiness :) .

photo credit: Free Grunge Textures - www.freestock.ca via photopin cc

New Release: A Taste of Winter (Lakeside #2)

Hello my lovely readers and generally all-time-favorite people. It’s that time again: I’ve got a new release for you! And this one is a personal favorite of mine.

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By the Light of the Moon (Lakeside #1) was my first published book, and as you may or may not know, I couldn’t keep the promise I made, and the sequel didn’t come out later the same year as I said it would. I had problems with my publisher, then had to wait for my rights to be returned. And I didn’t want to rush it back out into publication. I wanted to make it better, edit it properly the way my publisher never did, give it a better cover than it had before.
And now finally, almost a year behind schedule, I can also release the sequel that’s been stuck on my computer for way too long.
It’s called A Taste of Winter, and it continues Moira and Owain’s story out in the wild after they ran away from Rochmond Castle. It also introduces some new characters, and of course Brock, the fae spy, is far from done spinning his plans and plots.
A Taste of Winter (Lakeside #2) Laila Blake

A Taste of Winter is out today! How exciting! And it comes with bonus excitement. To celebrate the release, By the Light of the Moon (Lakeside #1) is discounted to 99c for a few days (that’s a whopping 60% off!)

Release Date: October 28th, 2014

Genre: Romantic Fantasy / Paranormal
Length: 80k words
Tags: medieval fantasy, forbidden love, shape-shifter, were-wolves, fae, fairies, mental health, prejudice, privilege

Buy on Amazon!

Amazon US Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU Amazon DE

Goodreads | Lilt Literary

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Blurb

Picking up where BY THE LIGHT OF THE MOON left off, A TASTE OF WINTER is the second book in a romantic paranormal fantasy trilogy, set in alternate history medieval times. It follows the life of young Moira, a half fae noblewoman who fell in love with her shape-shifter guard and ran away from her ancestral home. 

Traveling the country, searching for a safe place to stay, the two of them soon realize that life is not as kind to them as they might have hoped. They feel the sting of prejudice and bigotry in each town they visit, and the reality of poverty and winter begin to erode Moira and Owain’s blossoming love. 

In the castle they left behind, darker plans are afoot. The fae spy Brody is slowly taking over, and he has no love for humans. He needs to be stopped before he can seize power and trigger another war between the races. But Moira and Owain are long gone, and Brody always seems two steps ahead.

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Excerpt

It was almost nightfall when they dared to approach the small village at the edge of the forest. It seemed mostly rural much like many in the Rochmond fief but it benefited from the proximity to the excellent hunting grounds the forest offered in the region. Owain had bidden Moira to wrap a scarf around her prominent hair and was gently leading her through the darkening streets towards the small Inn.

He had hoped they would find it all but empty, ready to accept two strangers in the night if they had the coin. When he opened the door however, a flood of chatter came wafting out of the place like a bad smell. Moira stiffened in his arm. There were so many things they had never bothered to think about before they’d run away that night. For a moment, he squeezed her tightly and then led her inside. It wasn’t as dingy as he might have expected and a good number of men were sitting by the bar over a drink sharing exaggerated hunting stories.

“A room for the night?” He asked the bar-maid, who eyed them suspiciously. It was hard not to recognize Owain for what he was. With his stature, he towered over most men and there was a certain slant to Blaidyn features, a sharpness in the cheeks; the nose was large and elegant and they simply moved differently than humans. In completely rural areas he sometimes went unrecognized because the uneducated peasants still believed Blaidyn had claws and muzzles like their dogs, but it took only one glance at the woman behind the counter to know that she knew better. Carefully, she set down the mug she had been polishing with an old rag and her eyes fell on Moira. Anger boiled in Owain’s gut when he saw the hint of disgust she couldn’t hide.

“A room?” she asked, raising her brow, “for the both’o ye?”

Owain exhaled, his arm fell from around her shoulders and he took a step forward, allowing her to fade a little into the broad shadow he cast.

“I am tasked to accompany this young woman to her relatives in the capital,” he explained quickly, in that way Moira had come to recognize as an attempt to sound more human. It cut most of the growling grumble from the tone and he even managed to hide most of the Blaidyn accent she found so attractive in him.

The innkeeper took one look at their muddy clothes and the huge pack on his shoulders and then raised a brow.

“Yer far off the path, wolf, quickest way to Lauryl is down the river. Everybody knows that.”

A growl rose in his chest but he managed to control it.

“Our travels must remain hidden from certain people,” he finally said quite smoothly, “hence the expense of my protection.”

Again her eyes swept over both of them but when he pulled out their purse, she shrugged. She had a living to make like everybody else. He pulled out two coins and pushed them over the counter, in return she gave him a key. Owain exhaled a well-concealed sigh of relief. Even Moira managed a small smile.

“Oy, wolf-whore,” a voice suddenly sounded from off to the side. It was a drunk voice, slurred and wet. Moira spun around and Owain winced. It would have been better for their cover if she hadn’t reacted but his own anger was quick to rise as well.

“I for one…” the drunk continued loudly and a moment later all eyes were on them. The chatter had died down and Owain exhaled a silent prayer to the moon.

“I for one,” the drunk repeated, “think it’s a bloody disgrace… yer a perfectly adequate maid. I bet lots of real men would have ye.”

“You think if we bring ‘er down to the stables, she’d fuck them horses, too?” another voice could be heard and one of the tables erupted in harsh, loud cackles. Almost too late, Owain took a threatening step between Moira and the men. He could feel her shivering behind him, gasping for air every now and again. Strangers, always strangers. It was hard to believe sometimes that she was genuinely happy to be alone with him in the woods for days and days but in that moment it was easier to fathom.

He pinned them down with his gaze for a few long heartbeats, and then he let his eyes flicker into the wolfish silver. Once they flinched, he turned back to Moira and led her towards the stairs. They didn’t linger to find out whether the innkeeper had changed her mind.

New Release: Girls in Love

There is something liberating in writing erotica about only women. I always hesitate to call it lesbian fiction because more often than not at least one of my protagonists is bi, questioning or curious, and I like to feature that for what it is. But no worries, I won’t go all “bi-visibility” on you, no matter how to true it is that most of the time we are in a committed relationship with a person of any gender, we end up being labeled accordingly :) .

I like how liberating it is, though. When I write m/f erotica, in the back of my mind there is always a GirlsInLove_mediumwhole catalogue of gender roles and expectations, which I don’t want to succumb to completely but still have to pay attention to because it’s hard to make a complete role reversal sexy to the mainstream erotic reader. Then there’s my penchant for power exchange stories and with a male dominant, I always take extra, special care not to give him the slightest whiff of an abuser. And I’m not saying that there’s no abuse between women, there is. But it’s less of a genre cliche and the freedom to explore the person behind the expectations exists in a way that hard to access in straight erotica.

With girls, with women, I get to choose and play with the expectations. It’s not so different in the nitty gritty, but it feels like there are more options, more ways to go. More creative options, a lot of fun to write.

Harper Bliss of Ladylit Publishing has been giving me the opportunity for that a lot lately, not just in a series of small anthologies (Sweat, A Christmas to Remember, Bossy and Cougars) but also my publishing my Breaking in Waves series. And of course when she offered to put some of my stories together in a small anthology of my own, I jumped at the chance!

Here is the blurb for Girls in Love
Childhood friends turn lovers in a snowy cabin, a student seduces her teacher in her own class room, and together two women overcome the prejudice of her family once and for all. These five lesbian erotica stories by Laila Blake are about laughter, kink and above all: about Girls in Love.

Table of contents
Bird of the Summer
House-Broken
Midnight Clear
Doll-faced Demons
The Corner Chair

And it’s available from these retailers
Direct from Ladylit
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon DE
Amazon AUS
All Romance
Smashwords
Kobo
iTunes US
iTunes UK

You can add Girls in Love to your Goodreads shelf here >>

Is it the Times that Change, or is it us?

Gilmore Girls inspired insights into our life and times

I have never been a fan of old movies. Those timeless classics everybody should have watched at least once. It’s different with classic books, but — with a small and notable number of exceptions, like The Breakfast Club – I never seem to get into movies made before I was born.

it-happened-2It took me a while to figure out why. I admit I like color, and a clear picture. I also modern acting, where the old-timey kind often feels surreal and artificial. And most of all, I like the kind of stories it takes guts to tell, and that changes. Something that took guts 50 years ago, in today’s world comes across as somewhat conservative, after all.

It doesn’t seem like that with classic novels. Look at anything from Shakespeare to Pride & Prejudice and Jane Eyre, to Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary, on to Of Human Bondage, Oscar Wilde, To Kill a Mockingbird1984 and Slaughterhouse Five. All of those are still brave, even if some of them were written centuries ago, they still pack this undeniable punch that’s hard to ignore.

I don’t get that with movies. I have a friend, a cineaste, who tries to change my mind on this constantly. From time to time, I give in and watch whatever he makes me watch. Most recently It Happened One Night (1934), which was supposed to be sweet and romantic and full of understated sexiness… and all I could find was sexism and an icky guy with a mustache. Sounds similar, but it kills every buzz before before I can say “Oh, hi there!”

I’ve always felt vaguely bad for this. Not too terribly, because I get classic novels, and so clearly fill at least one quota of sophistication, but still – it’s a bit hard to admit that you’d rather watch Love Actually, or The Incredibles or, more likely, Parks & Recreation or Community or Game of Thrones for the umpteenth time, than to try out Casablanca or whatever it is. I’m that girl who prefers the 2005 Keira Knightly Pride & Prejudice over the 1995 Colin Firth one. I tell you, they’re not pretty, the looks I get.

Now, Netflix finally came to Germany a few weeks ago (hello beautiful addiction), and now my queue is full of old Gilmore Girls episodes. Now, you have to understand… I LOVED Gilmore Girls when I was a teenager. Loved it. Everything about it. It was my #1 addiction show. Not Buffy (that came later, I still blame the German dubbing), not Charmed (close second lol), always Gilmore Girls. I even had all the seasons on DVD, and then left them at my Ex’s place before we broke up and never saw them again (lesson learned)! So naturally, this whole Gilmore Girls coming to Netflix this October business left me very, very excited.

Then I started watching.

And suddenly, Gilmore Girls is an old movie to me. Or well on its way, anyway, and it made me realize what it is about the media of the past that aggravates me so much. I had the same problem trying to watch That 70′s Show a while ago, but I thought it just wasn’t my thing (with the constant cutsiefiction of sexual harassment as a thing sweet, adorable lonely guys do).

Gilmore Girls is supposed to be about free spirits and dorky outsiders, girl-power and emancipation, liberal girls who don’t give a damn about tradition and do their own thing, and do it well: in short an extremely awesome, feminist show. At least, that’s what it felt like to me when I was that age. Yes, I still love their quippy play-by-play, but now I wish it had more substance.

And now I don’t know whether I changed, or whether we just grew as a society. I just feel like a series trying for the same idea today would be so different (see the early cancelled Bunheads, for example, a more recent product of Amy Sherman-Palladino with a lot of the same cast). Or maybe a show I would like today would have to be. Maybe more like Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman’s mother-daughter relationship in NBC’s Parenthood.

The point is… movies and TV series are informed by the times in which they were made, and I suppose I just discovered I have zero nostalgia for the past. I LIKE diversity in my series (and I mean more than one Korean best friend and using the word “gay” as a joke/punch-line/insult). I LIKE honesty in the stories we tell, rather than glossing over the hard bits, and tv series are the perfect outlet for that. Much better than movies, with their fixed and limited time-span, can be.

In the end, I think today, Gilmore Girls feels conservative, chaste and weak in its message. It’s disappointing and not nearly as much fun to watch as I thought it would be.

I am keeping this running tally of disappointing moments, like when Lorelai uses gay as an insult, or Rory is disgusted at the idea of nursing a baby in public, or the constant slut shaming and fat phobia (especially galling considering they eat exactly like people like them imagine fat people eat). Or the crazy stereotypical sexist representation of Rory’s friends in Chilton (the ultra competitive bitchy one — and I know Paris ends up more fleshed out but it takes almost two whole seasons to get there, the boy-crazy “slutty” one and the dumb, nice one). But what gets me most are those overarching themes.

The basic premise that Lorelai’s parents have a right to be disappointed she didn’t turn out their carbon copy is never actually questioned. Lorelai apologizes, she even says she’s some kind of special freak, but the idea that parents get to be this actively disappointed for 15 long years because their child chose a different path is taken for granted. No mention that children have a sense of autonomy, that they are individuals, or that parents shouldn’t even try to brainwash them into becoming just like them.

And then there is Lorelai’s insistence not to get any help from her parents. And it makes sense with her character, but in today’s world where a single income is rarely enough to support a family, it sets an impossible standard for single-parent mothers. And the whole self-made person, never-ask-for-help-from-anyone bit could have come right out of some conservative politician’s mouth (who also was born to wealthy parents, giving them an extra boost in the world not just in money, but in the expectation that it’s possible to be that self-starter, and having room to fail). What is so wrong in helping each other? Why is that such a terrible thing?

And don’t get me started on the men and boys in their lives.

Dean is presented as the “good guy” compared to Jess, but Dean has crazy anger management issues. He may not get into fights, but he threatens violence, he yells, and treats Rory like a possession no other man is allowed to look at (see Tristan, Jess). There are several points in the story where Rory looks actively afraid of him, and with good reason. He’s clingy and manipulative and abusive, but no, he’s the golden boy. The nice one, and Rory is the bad girl for falling for someone less crazy, someone who intellectually challenges her and actually makes her laugh.

Can we also talk about the fact that through the whole of the first season, it’s sooo scandalous and worrisome that a 16-year-old girl has a boyfriend? And everybody makes claims about how boys that age only think of one thing, and can’t be trusted and omg the drama. And then in the show, Rory actually doesn’t have sex until she goes to college (and even then it’s one big drama), even though she was practically never without a boyfriend all through high school, perpetuating this idea that girls are supposed to virtuous and not want it anyway or that sex isn’t a good, happy thing between two people who love each other? Aren’t we as a society ready now for women and girls who have desires and fun, and don’t have to choose between being smart/intellectual and enjoying sex?

And then there’s Lorelai. I never got the much-hyped “chemistry” between her and Luke. I always loved Max, and I still do. But I see what everybody means now. It’s exactly that “chemistry” that leads so many women who’ve read too many romance novels or see n too many romantic comedies to believe that when a guy is grumpy and quiet, that makes him mysterious or someone to save and she ends up miserable, when she could have been with a good, caring man who knows how to communicate and use his words, who actually shares her interest and matches her intellect so she doesn’t have to play dumb, or alter herself to flirt with him.

But the writers were very insistent to write out any man who actually fits with Lorelai: Max went suddenly marriage crazy, and we didn’t even get a resolution are any kind of goodbye. Christopher, who I then rooted for, gets a phone call that his ex is pregnant… and so there’s always grumpy old Luke to turn to. That’s not fate, or chemistry, that’s cruel writers ;) . And I get that, I’m a writer: torturing your characters is part of the deal, I just don’t buy the overarching love story she and Luke are supposed to have.

Sorry for the rant, I suppose I needed to get that off my chest.  And really, it’s not all bad, it’s still just as sweet and witty as it always was. It’s just not that crazy happy perfect show anymore that it was when I was young.
What I’m trying to say, though, is that no matter how bad it seems sometimes… I really like the times we live in.

We may have sexist assholes stealing naked pictures of famous women and spreading them over the internet, but we also have Jennifer Lawrence, who refuses to apologize for having made the pictures in the first place – who refuses to apologise, in short, for being a full human being with emotions and sexuality, and calls this “leak” by what it is: a sex-crime.

We may have internet trolls harassing, threatening and virtually beating up women who dare to speak out on women’s issues – but at least we’re talking about them.

And I’m not saying that all tv shows are better now, that no sexist or racist or homophobic stuff happens in movies. But I think it’s easier to find shows who go a different way, and not only am I grateful for that as a viewer, I also think it says something about us as a society. Namely, that it doesn’t always get worse at all.

Forbidden Fruit: Blog Tour and Interview

Among all the happy release news this month, this is probably the most exciting. I have been in more anthologies with Cheyenne Blue than I can name off the top of my head, and I have always adored her stories, her style and her approach to erotica. So now, not only did she chose one of mine for her fabulous anthology, as luck would have it, I also get to interview her on my blog today.

Settle in comfortably, you’re inffcb for a treat. First you get to know the awesome person that is Cheyenne Blue, you also get a glimpse at her story Out for the Count, published in her fabulous new Ladylit anthology Forbidden Fruit: Stories of Unwise Lesbian Desire.

 

Cheyenne, you’ve just made the jump from writer to editor – is this a truly new field for you? What drew you to editing an anthology?

Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire is the first erotica anthology I’ve edited, but it’s not my first editing experience, nor my first anthology.  I’ve edited for a now defunct epublisher, as well as freelance editing, both fiction and non-fiction.  A few years ago, when I was living in Ireland, I put together an anthology of local writing that was sponsored by the local Arts Council.  That was a great experience that whetted my appetite for more.  And what’s more obvious than the genre in which I’ve written and contributed to anthologies for over ten years? When the opportunity arose at Ladylit (www.ladylit.com), I jumped at it.

Forbidden Fruit has been a wonderful editing experience, and that’s due in a large part to the seventeen wonderful contributors and the lovely people at Ladylit.

What was the hardest thing about the selection process?

The rejections.  I’ve had loads of them over my erotica career and so I know firsthand that they’re not a nice thing to receive.  They’re not nice to send either.  I received many good submissions that I had to reject either because they were not the right fit for Forbidden Fruit, or because they were too thematically similar to another story.  For example, I received three stories in which the forbidden fruit was a partner’s or ex-partner’s mother. All excellent stories, and I was very sorry to reject two of them.

I’ve always really enjoyed your writing – do you have a special approach to erotica?

Thank you! *beams*

I don’t have a special approach to erotica.  As with any fiction I write, erotica has to be firstly a story, and then a story with sex in it.  If sex isn’t an integral part of the tale, then it doesn’t belong there.  I have a folder full of unfinished stories, snippets, and ideas (it’s huge) as a result.

Where do you tend to draw your inspiration from?

Most of my stories start from a somewhere.  That is, I have to have a setting in my head before I start writing.  Even if I’m writing a story set in a generic bar, in my head it will be a bar I know on Colfax in Denver, in Brunswick Street in Melbourne, or a backcountry bar in Arizona.  It has to be a real somewhere for me to write about it, even if that “somewhere” is not a noticeable part of the story.  Then the characters can spring from someone I saw somewhere, or whose conversation I overheard in a coffee shop.  Things get extrapolated from these basic starting points.

 

Can you tell my readers a bit more about your story in the collection: Out for the Count?

My story, Out for the Count, is about Linn, a casino security guard, who befriends a card counter in order to identify her and bar her from returning to the casino.

I have a relative who very successfully supplements his pension by card counting.  His tales of big wins are matched by his stories of being escorted from the premises by casino security.  I’ve always thought that scenario offers great potential for a story, and it seemed like a good match for Forbidden Fruit.  Plus I took advantage of having my very own technical advisor on hand (for the casino aspects, not the sex!)

 

Here’s an excerpt:

The keys she saw in Francesca’s purse do indeed fit a Lexus. A silver late-model one. Linn sinks into the leather seat, fakes a wide-eyed look around. “Lovely car,” she says, and leans forward to twiddle the radio dial.

Francesca slaps her hand away, and as Linn feigns hurt, Francesca picks up her hand and presses it to her lips, kissing away the red mark.

This time, Linn’s gasp is not feigned. The touch of Francesca’s mouth on the back of her hand sends a jolt of silver desire along her arm. One touch from the red lipsticked mouth pressing a kiss to her flesh, and she’s molten. Wide-eyed she stares at Francesca.

Francesca withdraws. “Did I read you wrong, darling? If I did, it’s a first. I thought you knew what you were getting into. You don’t want poker tips any more than I want to give them.” One side of her mouth lifts in a half smile, and she seems amused.

Caught off balance by the directness, Linn stammers an apology, but Francesca leans across the gearshift and presses her lips to Linn’s. She kisses her hard, her mouth firm and assured. Her hand rests on Linn’s thighs, pressed protectively together. A shaft of desire pierces Linn’s belly. She knows the parking garage is covered by CCTV, she knows that Raoul may be watching this, but right now, she doesn’t care. She wants Francesca with a fierceness, an immediateness that equals Francesca’s own post win high. It’s doubtless going to be a euphoric fuck for Francesca, but Linn is there with her, and if Raoul is watching—well, she will make her excuses to him later.

So she kisses Francesca back, pushing her tongue into Francesca’s mouth, and tasting the lust that leaks from her. But she keeps her thighs together; Francesca is probably so high she would fuck here in the parking garage, uncaring of security cameras. But Linn won’t go that far. Indeed, she thinks, she will stop this soon. But not just yet.

She breaks the kiss. “Your hotel.”

Francesca starts the Lexus. Linn lets her hand settle on Francesca’s thigh as they follow the ramps to the exit.

Outside it’s dusk, and away from the casino there are only the quiet streets of a town which reeks of desperation. Linn’s fingers explore higher, up to the juncture of Francesca’s thighs, over her skirt. And then, when that isn’t enough, she reverses direction, lets her fingers crawl down to her knee and repeats the process underneath the skirt. Francesca’s bare skin is smooth and warm. When Linn’s fingers touch the edge of her panties, they are damp.

******

 

The next stop on the Forbidden Fruit blog tour is Allison Wonderland http://aisforallison.blogspot.com  who is interviewing Ava-Ann Holland.

Leave a comment on any post in the Forbidden Fruit blog tour to be entered into a random draw to win one of these great prizes.  Prizes include a paperback copy of Girls Who Score, lesbian sports erotica edited by Ily Goyanes, Best Lesbian Romance 2011 edited by Radclyffe, Wild Girls, Wild Nights: True Lesbian Sex Stories edited by Sacchi Green, an ebook of Ladylit’s first lesbian anthology Anything She Wants, and a bundle of three mini-anthologies from Ladylit: Sweat, A Christmas to Remember and Bossy.  All of these titles contain some stories written by the fabulous contributors to Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire. You must include an email address in your comment to be entered into the draw.

 

Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire is available directly from the publisher, Ladylit or from Amazon, Smashwords, and other good retailers of ebooks.  Check out http://www.ladylit.com/books/forbidden-fruit/ for all purchasing information.

Thoughts too long for Twitter: Street Harassment

Because apparently, I can’t sit down an concentrate on anything before getting this off my chest, here’s what happened on the bus today. It’s not unusual, it’s not new, it happens all the time to me and all the other women around. And I’m still gonna write about it.

I get into the bus, and a guy gestures me to go first on the ticket machine. Afterwards, he goes:

Man: *mumbles so that I have to lean in*
Me: (in German) Excuse me?
Man: *still mumbling* Do you speak English?
Me: Yeah. Yes, I do. Do you need help with anything?

He points to the ticket machine and we have a conversation about the different rates and distances and where he has to go, until I tell him which ticket to get. After this, I walk away to find a less busy place to stand. So far so good.
He follows me and starts asking me questions.

- What’s your name?
- Do you live around here?
- Where are you going?
- Do you take this bus a lot?
- Do you have children?
- Do you have a boyfriend?

At this point, I lie and say I do, already figuring he isn’t the type to just respect my lack of desire to date him. My answers grow more and more taciturn and at the next station a few people get off the bus so I walk away again to find a place to sit.
He follows me again, standing way too close so that my face is at the height of his stomach/crotch.

Man: Hey, give me your number.
Me: No, thank you.
Man: Come on, give me your number. Your boyfriend doesn’t have to know. It’s just as friends. Just as friends, come on. It’s just a phone number. It’s totally normal.
Me: *shaking my head throughout his speech.* No thank you. Very flattering, but no.
Man: It’s just a phone number. Come on, just as friends. Everybody can use friends, right? It’s no big deal, just give me your number, come on.
Me: *Shakes head and turns away*
Man: Come on, you’re not scared of me, are you?
Me: No, I’m not scared of you. *turns away again*
Man: Here, why don’t you come sit with me. There’s plenty of room here.
Me: *ignores him*
Man: Hey, you don’t have to be scared of me. Just sit with me.
Me: I’m good here, thanks.
Man: Yeah I knew it. You’re scared of me, this is so typical…

Now, at this point I was pretty mad. Not just because I actually do have an anxiety disorder and when it gets bad it is exactly situations like that which make it really scary for me to use the bus or even leave my house. But also because he was African, and I suddenly felt like he was calling me racist for that old cliche of having to be afraid of black men. And again, I wasn’t afraid of him at all, I was just pissed off.

Me: Okay, seriously? I helped you, I was nice. I don’t want to go out with you or give you my number. Leave me alone.
Man: *stares* It’s just a damn number…

At this point I just resolutely stared out of the window until my stop came. Of course at this point, he still had the gall to ask me where his stop was and how many more stops to go. And I got off feeling like crap.

Why do these people do this? Like… I just don’t get it.