Falling in (and out of) Love with Reading

Gregory PeckLet me start off by saying that I love reading. It’s one of my favorite pastimes and I know my life would be a much bleaker place without a good book in hand. When an author successfully transports me to a different time period, a different planet, a different point of view, a different lifestyle, or a different kink, I couldn’t be happier. Books keep me company on my commute to and from work each day and come along with me on every trip I take, both for business and pleasure. In fact, the biggest reason I decided to try my hand at writing was because of my deep and abiding love for reading.

But this wasn’t always so.

For nearly ten years, while I pursued advanced degrees in literature, reading became my career. Novels, poetry, plays, critical articles, literary theory – I read it all. I devoured, dissected, and diagrammed centuries of literary tradition and committed it to memory. Having given up reading for pleasure – there simply wasn’t enough time to read anything non-canonical – I began to fall out of love with reading. Even when I could find a spare moment to relax, the last thing I wanted to do was read. And yes, it was bleak indeed.

Sexy ReadingThankfully, once I left academia (and gave myself a good six months to recover), I rediscovered my love of reading and haven’t looked back since. Okay, okay, I admit it. There’s nothing too exciting or profound about this post. However, I did want to share that it’s nice to know that even when I lost my passion for reading, when I thought I’d never be able to stand the sight of another page, it wasn’t gone for good.

Reading was just waiting for me to find my way back. To fall in love all over again.

Sunday Night Split Personality

Split PersonalityOn weekends, I’m a writer.

Monday mornings I go back to my nine-to-fiver and keep my author alter ego under wraps for the next five days.

Now, I love my job, but being wrenched from the dreamscapes I’ve crafted and facing the “normal” work week has me feeling melancholy, conflicted, and torn.

It’s the Sunday Night Split Personality Syndrome. And until I decide to pursue one career avenue over the other – which I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do – the syndrome is here to stay.

Low Res Erotica

Pixelated KissI’m currently working through a few different writing projects. While all fall under the erotica subgenre, each piece is independent of the others and requires a unique mindset to tackle it. With a couple paragraphs here and a few edits there, I’m making my way towards The End thrice over.

Please note that this isn’t my typical approach to writing, as I generally prefer to stick to one storyline, make some lucky gal’s buns nice n’ red along the way, and see it through to the happily ever after. And I’m slowly coming the realization that by splitting my erotic creativity, for lack of a better expression, among multiple projects simultaneously I may be delving into the world of “low res erotica.” In other words, the sexual tension isn’t quite taut enough, the individual scenes aren’t quite hot enough, the emotions aren’t quite palpable enough. Long story short, it ain’t good.

I’m not a fan of low res erotica.

Confessing to My Husband, or “Hey, by the way, I write smut now!”

WhisperWell, it’s official – the cat’s out of the bag! Over an insanely decadent celebratory dinner, I finally let my husband know that he’s married to a published author of wicked erotic fantasies. And then I sent him his very own copy of said wicked erotic fantasies.

When he finally lifted his jaw off the table, I told him that my family of fellow authors (and Twitter and blog followers) were expecting a full report on his response to my confession, and he graciously distilled it down to two main points:

1. He’s so incredibly proud of me that he could burst.
2. He’s always known I had it in me and can’t wait to see what I write next.

I am indeed an incredibly fortunate woman to have such a supportive husband who couldn’t be more pleased about my goals and successes.

P.S. He also threatened to spank my ass if I ever pulled a “surprise” like this again, so I guess I’m REALLY fortunate, huh?

On Writing Sex…and Keeping It Sexy

Panties OffThere are days when I’ll go heads-down and write without surfacing for hours. I’ll grab a cup of coffee, take a quick bathroom break, and get right back into it, eager to pick up where I left off. These are usually the days when my hottest, nastiest, sexiest ideas come to the forefront of my mind and I scramble to try and collect them at their most intense and lascivious.

And then there are days when I struggle to make it through a scene without resorting to using the word “boner”. Jesus.

Whether feast or famine, I find it’s helpful to remind myself that – just as in physical sexual relations – there are ebbs and flows when it comes to writing sex. Especially when you write erotica. The tension gets stagnant. The vocabulary you once savored falls flat. Your protagonists bump up against each other, all elbows and angles.

And just as in physical sexual relations, when you ride out the wonderful moments in waves of ecstasy, sometimes there’s a lull in the action until that next wave crests. But without that awkward, uncomfortable lull, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the thrill of coasting that next wave to pure bliss.

So, now, about that boner…

Blue Terrycloth Rompers: A James Bond-esque Metaphor for Writing

terryclothAcross my multiple online profiles, I’ve made mention of the fact that I’m a huge fan of the James Bond films. I’ve seen all of them – some upwards of 200 times – and can quote them extensively. Thankfully, my husband shares my enthusiasm, or things could get a little weird around here.

As I sat down to do some writing this evening, I had every intention of knocking out at least a couple thousand words and scribbling down all that delightful naughtiness in perfect, measured prose.

Well, that didn’t happen. Sure, I started writing, but quickly realized that the fruits of my efforts were subpar at best. And for whatever reason, Goldfinger – Sean Connery’s third outing as Bond – came to mind. Specifically, the Miami Beach poolside scene in which Bond dons a baby blue terrycloth romper. Awful. Truly awful. A major low point for Bond’s wardrobe.

Then it dawned on me that that terrycloth romper could serve as a useful – albeit esoteric – metaphor for writing. Bear with me on this one. Imagine that the perfect distilled essence of your story is Bond, super spy extraordinaire. Unimpeachably cool. Sexy. Driven. Now, the words you use to communicate that perfect story can be sublimely inspired or ridiculously awful. Either way, write them down. Because while sometimes Bond ends up in the crappy terrycloth romper, more often than not, he’s suited up, sexier than hell, and taking the world by storm.

So yeah, today was a terrycloth romper kind of day. But tomorrow? Tomorrow promises to be buttoned down deliciousness…making sure the collars and cuffs match, of course.

James Bond

The Ring, or How to Keep on Keepin’ On When It Comes to Writing

triskelion ringWhether it’s blogging, finding time to scribble down that haiku that’s been gnawing at your brain all day, or penning the Great American (Erotic) Novel, unfortunately, it can be far too easy to make excuses not to write.

I’m tired. My family’s needs come first. My creative well hath run dry. I just don’t wanna write tonight. Et cetera ad infinitum (a Latin phrase meaning “excuses only satisfy those who make them”).

And, believe me, I get it. But if you’re passionate about writing – truly committed to the exercise and to your desired goal (self-fulfillment, publication, or something else entirely) – then you must make writing a daily priority. You need to hold yourself accountable to whip off that blog post, craft that sexy, witty dialogue, or choose the perfect words to round out your free verse.

In my case, I keep a reminder to write on hand at all times. Literally. Years ago, before we were married, my devastatingly wonderful husband got me a little ring as a gift. Once our wedding bands went on, though, the ring got tossed into the jewelry box and nearly forgotten. After a few miserably failed attempts at writing a novel – constantly derailing myself with excuses – I realized that I needed to hold myself to a higher standard. I required a reminder, each and every day, to sit my butt down and write. And that’s when I remembered the ring. Slipping it on my right hand, it sits there, spurring me on and encouraging to make myself and my writing a priority. Plus, it also reminds me that my husband is my biggest cheerleader – an added bonus!

My point is that whatever you have to do to make writing a part of your daily life, do it. Set a reminder in your calendar with a block of time reserved just for you. Take a few minutes during your lunch break to jot down the choice quips you want to come out of your protagonist’s mouth. Go out for a quick walk with the dog and plot out some of the key elements of your sci-fi, rom-com, mystery thriller. Wear a ring to keep yourself accountable. Whatever works for you, make it happen.

And write.