Boo! Booooooooo!

Ideally, the subject line should be said just like the old woman says it in the Princess Bride, when she’s yelling at Buttercup for giving up on her true love.*

While my own sense of shame is pretty small, there are some things that I regret during the course of writing erotica. I don’t know if other erotica writers or artists feel the same way or if I’m all alone on a limb out here, but I thought I’d list them because, wow, do I love lists.

Barbie Dolls
You know that game where you have two naked Barbies and you smash them together like they’re having sex? Yeah, I’ve written stories like that and I don’t want to do it again. Plastic characterization, no plots, and there’s a surprisingly lot of noisy banging.

Defaulting to White
I’m not Caucasian, I don’t live in a particularly Caucasian city, and I have a love of history that spans most of the eastern hemisphere, so why did I write so many Caucasian characters? It’s not like I don’t know that there are people of other races out there. The vast majority of the characters in my erotica are white, and I am in the process of working on that.

Word Choice
Two words, actually: “sex lips.” I think I wrote that one when I was sleep deprived and when I went back over it later, sitting in a living room surrounded by other people, I muttered the words “sex lips” in confusion and disbelief. I mutter pretty loud, and my friends have long memories. Enough said.

Bad Housekeeping***
It’s like I can work on writing sexy stories or cleaning my apartment, but not both at the same time. I am not habitually a tidy person, and when deadlines loom, sweeping, cooking and scrubbing get dumped outside the door. Again, working on improving this one.

Lack of Character Description
Okay, confession time. In many cases, I have no idea what my characters look like. I have a list of attributes and a general attractiveness rating, I know where the scars go, and whether they’ve got data ports embedded in their bodies. However, I could probably walk past my characters on the street without noticing them.**** Hanging around with visual people has helped.

So do you have any bad writing habits? I know mine aren’t universal, and I am fascinated by what haunts other people.
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Coming Soon:
Visual Pornography and Me
The Sexiest Cities
Sex Words That Lose All Meaning If You Say Them Too Often.
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*You know, it would have be a difficult thing to do right, but I have always been pissed that they cut Buttercup’s Crowning Moment of Awesome at the end of the movie, when she shouts down the guardsmen and everyone gets away. **
**You can’t yell at me for spoilers on the Princess Bride. The novel came out in 1973 and the movie came out in 1987.
***If this were a magazine, I would totally subscribe.
****Except Verity. Everyone notices Verity.

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Resurrecting the Dead (Projects)

Completely Unrelated to the Post At Hand:
For anyone who enjoyed my What Safeword? or Why I Write Asshole Characters post, go check out
Miss Rat Expresses Discontent: Rape and Misogyny. She’s got a lot of important things to say about yaoi and the responsibility of carrying through on your premise.

If you’re going to be a writer, you need to finish things. Things need to get finished, edited, and sent off to the editor. This is one of the Great Truths of getting published.

However, this doesn’t mean that writers don’t accumulate unfinished projects the way that ships pick up barnacles.* Knitters call them UFOs, or UnFinished Objects, and around my place, they’re a fact of life.

The key is not to let the UFOs take over. Sometimes, I have to grit my teeth and finish something, even if it’s just a 100 word story. Someone needs to orgasm, someone needs to go to jail, someone needs to realize that their life is over and sail away on a unicorn spaceship.**

Abandoned projects aren’t always dead projects and just because you are not working on it now, doesn’t mean that you will never work on it again. Knitters have Finishing Month, where they just end the projects that they have started, no matter what annoying stage they are in. I have resurrected projects that I never thought would see the light of day again.

So just to see how bad the UFO files look, check out some old abandoned projects that I fished out just for this occasion.

Kairth’s Dog
It was the same word, but with fear and alarm behind it, and it sent Ferr straight to the floor. The force of the Curse was such that Ferr didn’t even catch himself on his hands. This time, he couldn’t stifle the howl that was wrenched from between his clenched teeth.

Second world fantasy with a vampire and a professional exorcist. I like the characters, I like the world, and it’s been stagnating since early 2009.

Untitled Egyptologist Smut
Killian’s golden hair was dark with water and there was something on his face that was both blank and resolute. He had bathed and barefoot on the splintery floor, and Imyrr could see that the buttons on his shirt weren’t fastened correctly.

This was a proposal for a graphic novel that never went anywhere. It was about Killian, who is an Egyptologist looking for a lost tomb, and Imyrr, whose primary motivation was having sex with Killian. Imyrr ended up transferring nicely to my “I want to be H. P. Lovecraft” series about January Martel, hell librarian.

With Gently Smiling Jaws
“Do I look like an Alice to you?” he snapped, and the man in the water only smiled, showing sharp white teeth.

“You’ve the blush of fair Albion on your cheek, you wear neither the livery of the Heartless Queen nor Duchess Impatrice, and you come to drink at my river with no fear whatsoever. Yes, you seem quite like an Alice to me.”

I started writing it for a Circlet anthology, but I got distracted by something else. I can’t remember what, but I liked the characters well enough.

That’s the tip of the iceberg in the wilds that are my Fiction and Pornography folders. There’s more down there, but if I dig down deeply enough, I’m going to find something primordial and it might eat me.
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Coming Soon:
Filing the Serial Numbers: Fanfiction Into Fiction
Rugs on the Floor, Plants on the Windowsill, Sales on My Mind: Becoming My Mother
Toast!***
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*Don’t worry, that metaphor isn’t carried on.
**In the interest of honesty, I did start that, but I am decidedly not finishing it. That’s okay, too.
***New toaster = happy, toast-eating erotica writer

Why Can’t I Have a Sexy Male Siren?

For someone who writes a fair amount of paranormal erotica I don’t run into a lot that I really like or that really grabs me. I think one of the problems is that a lot of the monsters and paranormal figures that are currently out there aren’t all that interesting to me.

I’m a cat or snake person, not a dog person, so werewolves are mostly right out. Unless you can top the Louis and Armand near-kiss scene in the Interview With the Vampire,* vampires don’t do it either.

With that in mind, I’ve been formulating a list of creatures whose sexy appeal I think is being overlooked. The list started out being tongue in cheek, and then as these things happen, I started actually wanting to see these stories.

Valravne
Valravne apparently happen when ravens eat the body of a king or warrior. These Danish ravens turn into valravne and can take on the form of a knight, have supernatural powers and are known to lead people astray. You probably want to forget the part where they eat the hearts of children, but no one talks about identifying vampires by their hairy knuckles either.

Kitsune
Thanks to anime and manga, kitsune show up quite a lot but try reading some of the original stories that feature these fox spirits. They have a lot of sex. Some of them live with humans for years. They’re shapechangers who can devour the life-force out of you just by hanging around. If you’re into the love them and leave them type, these guys would be perfect.

Sirens
Most sirens seem to be female, but this is one of those things that always made me wonder why. In my head, they either have pretty male companions that just hang around elsewhere, or they can swap sexes like some reef fish can. Either way, I would read it.

Fairies
Kidnapping, bondage, dominance games and trials by ordeal. Sounds like a good sex story to me.

Kappas
These are turtle-like monsters that keep a bowl of liquid wisdom on their heads.** I’ll be honest, they’re on here because I just think they’re funny. If you wrote a story about kappa sex, though, I would totally read it.
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Coming Soon:
Cover Art for Lord of Misrule
Romance, Cannibalism, and Other Things I Find Hard To Write
Sex In World of Warcraft: Things I Didn’t See Coming Until I Played
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* I was about 12 or 13 when I saw Interview with the Vampire. I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but Little Kannan was interested in the information and wanted to subscribe to the newsletter.

**If you run into one, remember to bow. It’ll bow back, and the water falls out. Then it forgets what it was doing and wanders back to its pond instead of strangling you.

My Stream of Consciousness Has Ugly Trout

So there’s an anthology coming up that I want to write for. It’s a steampunk erotica anthology, and I like sex, and I like air pirates, so it’s a good fit.

Then comes the period where I want to submit to an anthology but I don’t quite know what to write for it. This period is often marked by random word association, disjointed musings, and staring at the sex toy sites.*

Finally an idea hits, and I finally have something to say when someone asks me what the story is about.

“There’s a shy airship engineer and a female gunner! And they have sex!”

Then I realize that the anthology seems to call for steampunk machinery. Okay.

“There’s a shy airship enginner and a female gunner! And they have sex next to a vibrating engine!”

So I start writing the story, by which I mean I stare at an open word document and occasionally type random words.**

One opening paragraph later, I realize that the story is not, in fact, about engineers or gunners.

“There’s a shy military official and a stowaway courtesan! They have sex in a grounded airship!”

I get up, get a snack, and water my plants.

“Okay, now there’s a voyeuristic military official, a courtesan and….um, a fainting couch. A steampunk fainting couch.”

I watch an episode of Gintama, feed the pigeons and poke at some other projects.

“There’s a Cthuloid-horror dog fight, and there are two federal agents who are trying to break it up!”

Wrong project. I pull open the right file.

“Why’s there a very nice secretary involved in this? I like him. What’s he doing here?”

Man, I want some cheddar cheese. Do I have cheddar cheese?

“Huh, does the military official even show up in this story?”

I look up, and realize that it’s past midnight. I don’t have anything like what I was planning to write, but I do have 1200 words of a short story that sounds pretty good

So now I’ve got a pretty promising short story beginning, and it’s time to go sleep.***

I’ve still got about 2000 words to write. I’m looking forward to seeing what this story might actually be about, because, well, it’s sure not about an airship engineer and a gunner anymore.
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Coming Soon:
Kannan Feng Writes M/F? I Didn’t Know That!
Top/Bottom, Sub/Dom, Mayo/Mustard
Kannan Feng’s Readers Buy Her Sushi (hint, hint)
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*Theoretically, it’s to get inspiration, but practically, it turns out to be an excuse to stare at the pretty toys that are too expensive for me.

** I never type “all work and no play makes Kannan a dull girl.” There’s riffing on a theme, and then there’s tempting fate.

***I’ve learned not to write when too sleepy. Otherwise, the next entry would likely be something like, “There’s a graverobber and a matador. They have sex in a hot air balloon!”

The Portable Erotica Writer

I never thought I would be one of those writers who needed to have notebook on hand at all times. In college, I carried around plenty of notebooks filled with notes, schedules lists and on one memorable occasion, escape plans on how to get out of Lincoln Hall’s auditorium.*

These days, I’m making use of a package of small notebooks that tuck very nicely into my laptop bag. They’re also perfect for putting on my windowsill, close to my bed, because that whole thing about getting ideas in the middle of the night? That really happens, and it’s a pain when you need to stumble through the dark to find where you thought you left your notebook and pen.**

So with notebook in hand, and with laptop bag affixed to my shoulder like some sort of strange, high tech tumor, I’m a pretty mobile writer. Three days out of five, I’m writing at Miss Rat’s, which is about four blocks from my place.

That’s far from the only place I write, though. Things happen, there are people to see, bookstores to explore and parents to visit, and sometimes writing needs to get done for a deadline.

So four places I have written erotica, in no particular order:

On the Train
I love Amtrak, and the five-something hours between Milwaukee, Wisconsin and where my parents live is a great time to get some work done. However, I need to remember to keep up the frowning, don’t-sit-next-to-me face, or I inevitably end up talking the trip away. For better or worse, something about chubby Asian women seems to scream “good listener.”

Chicago’s Union Station

I love Amtrak, but I hate Chicago’s Union Station. I don’t know what it is about it. I like airports just fine, but something about the crowding and the hallways at Chicago’s Union Station make me ever-so-slightly psychotic. One good way to pass the time is to sit down and write a long, involved anal sex scene in the North lounge. It made me feel better, anyway.

Libraries
I used to work in a library, and before I get Internet at new apartments, I usually sponge off the free Wi-fi available at the city libraries. Nobody really cares what you’re doing as long as you’re not having sex or breaking the spines on books, and writing in a text file looks like homework anyway.

Third Shift at Work
Working on third shift, unless something explodes or the zombie apocalypse happens, means that you’re mostly on your own recognizance. I was a third shift lead technician for about a year and I learned that 1) it takes about 3 months before everyone who lives in daylight forgets your name, and 2) you can write a 3,500 word piece of erotica in about 2 nights.

Hmm, so I’ve apparently been doing this for a little while now, and though I’ve not run out of topics yet by a long shot, feel free to let me know if there are things that you would like to hear me rant about. I am open to suggestions!
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Coming Soon:
Why Can’t We Have Sexy Male Sirens?
Love Me, Adore Me, Pay Me
Everything I Learned About Alpha Males, I Learned From Watching Male Rats
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*Through the back stage door and hope the monkeys haven’t cut you off at the pass.

**Then you get up in the morning and realize that you wrote the note with your basil plant. Damnnit.

It Sounded Like a Good Idea At the Time, and Other Excuses

The only person who has ever asked me where I get my ideas from is my mother.*

Everyone who normally hangs around with me is an artist of some variety or other, and they tend to figure the answer is wherever they get their ideas from.**

While I figure if I ever get famous enough that this gets asked routinely, I’ll come up with something clever, it is worth stating for the record that I get my ideas from everywhere, both for erotic fiction and for regular fiction. Ideas happen when two or three previously unconnected things connect for some reason and start to, um, bud, I guess. Budding works, as long as you understand that budding can produce tentacles, dystopias and redcap street slang.****

So what kinds of things get banged together to produce ideas?

Fanfiction
I love fanfiction. I read it, I write it, and I can honestly say that some of the fanfiction that I’ve read is better that some of the published work that I’ve read. You know that saying, take an idea and run with it? Sometimes when writing fanfiction, I take an idea, run with it and end up in somewhere completely other. When you’re writing fanfiction about original characters that are tangentially related to minor characters in an alternate universe setting, you’re probably not writing fanfiction any more.

Bad Movies
I like to watch movies from time to time, and it occasionally seems as if I have watched more bad movies than my share. Sometimes, good ideas for fiction come from saying, “Wow, that’s problematic. How do I fix that?”

Random Object Selection
Okay, this came from my sleep deprived days when I was writing a 3,500 word erotic story every month in addition to other writing. When it got close to the end of the month and I hadn’t figured anything out yet, I would pick a random object in my apartment and start writing a sexy story that used that object. For clarification, it wasn’t necessarily used in the sex act just… near it, I guess.

Break Society
I like writing sexy stories set in fantasy or science fiction settings, and one way to get there is to break something in in the place where the characters live. I might take something away, turn something normal into a taboo, or in the case of the story Virgin, give almost everyone cybernetic augmentation.

Whine
My friends are a very tolerant group. When I’m stretched out flat on someone’s floor, whining about what to write about, they tend to remind me of things that I was talking about a few days ago but just forgot. Or they feed me. It’s a pretty sweet deal for me, frankly.
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Coming Soon:
Themes in Erotic Urban Fantasy, or Sex with Elves
My Problem with Wingfic
Feeding Your Erotica Writer
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*She wasn’t asking about the erotica. Thank Ribbit, she was not asking about the erotica.
** I figure that the day they look at me and seriously ask “Where did you get the idea for this?” is the day that I win a pony. Or get hauled in for questioning at the local police station.
*** This process can also be accelerated through sleep deprivation ****
**** Not recommended.

Roaming the Internet With a Flashlight and a Treasure Map

I spend a ridiculous amount of time on the Internet. It’s my main method of communication*, all of my money comes from the Internet, and I’ve lost whole days to TVTropes.**

I roam the Internet like an unwise 5 year old, poking the things I shouldn’t poke, and I’m always happy when someone else has done some of the sifting for me. In the spirit of giving back to the thing that has given me so much, have some links that have some pertinence to being an erotica writer

Circlet Press
They publish me, and I love them. They also have regular contests, free fiction on Fridays, and fun things about writing and reading erotica. Did I mention that they publish me and I love them?

Cecilia Tan’s Blog
I think I first read her short story in the Marketplace collection, The Academy: Tales of the Marketplace. She writes about sex and baseball (among other things), and her blog’s a great place to find out what’s new in spec-fic erotica.

Lauren’s Tales
Lauren P. Burak has edited me twice now and she hasn’t reached through the Internet to strangle me with my own adverbs. Not only is she a lovely editor, she’s a great writer. At the moment, she’s offering up some free serial fiction, so go look at that.

Madeline Elayne
I got linked to her through Circlet, and she posts free microfiction.  She’s not afraid to write about the things that make the world turn: coffee and math. But it’s sexy math. She’s currently running a contest, so take a look around for that.

One Dirty Rat
Full disclosure: I am writing this in Miss Rat’s apartment and she fed me breakfast. That being said, she’s an awesome erotic artist, and she paints people who are non-white and who have different body shapes. She’ll draw pretty pictures for you if you pay her.
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Coming Soon:
You Put It Where? Or Things Not to Be Used in Sex Scenes
Kannan Feng and Miss Rat Go to the Store

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*My mom got email, instant messaging and Skype all in very short order. Then she learned the trick of setting herself as “offline” most of the time and surprising me when I’m working.

**Oh god.

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