Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Erotica or Porn?

When I first began to write my work, I wondered how far to take the description of the sex act. Most of the books I was reading at the time described the foreplay, but only in general terms, and certainly not everything which can happen between two consenting adults.

I wanted to put in everything. The pearl necklace. Different positions. Sex toys. Graphic language. Light bondage.

But how much was too much? Did I really need to show someone who was determined not to lose their virginity having sex in other ways? Or did that cross the line into porn writing?

The first time I ever saw a dildo, I was appalled. Why would someone willingly have sex with a rubber penis when the REAL DEAL was so available (keep in mind, I was in my 20's and had no shortage of men in my life, lol!)?

But now I'm in my forties and can fully appreciate the use of one, thanks to the 'education' of Passion Parties and fellow authors' books. And it seems the line between porn and erotica is fragile; as long as there is romance in the act, it's acceptable.

Another issue is fidelity. The rules state that once the hero/heroine meet/attract/sleep together, there must be no intimacy with anyone else. So....does the book I wrote, tentatively titled 'Anatomy of an Affair' not count? He DOES stop sleeping with the wife, and ultimately divorces her. I'm not finished yet; this is the wip which is scarily and eerily mirroring a friend's life, minus the actual affair. I spiced it up to be a 'what-if' she crossed the line; guess some things doesn't matter if she stayes faithful or not. The bad things are still happening.

Anyway....where was I? Oh yeah...then there is the popular menage stories. Twenty years ago, threesomes were a 'hush-hush' topic. Now they are increasingly in demand. But what I want to know is, what happens if the two people of the same sex decide to swap 'roles'? You know; usually only one does the actual penetrating (from what I've read, anyway...maybe I need to read more??). What happens if one day he says to his buddy, 'Tonight, I want to make love to her; you only get her mouth.'? And there is another one where the heroine sleeps with each man, one at a time, only one is a D/s relationship, while the other's not. The non-D/s male wants to know why she seems more happy after her nights with her 'Master' and strives to be more dominant. Doesn't that count, or since the two males know about each other, it's not technically infidelity?

Maybe I need to investigate the meaning of 'erotica' vs 'erotic romance', since I came across this issue in another book two years ago?

So what do you find as 'too far over the line'?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

'I'm a Pepper, You're a Pepper, Wouldn't You Like To Be a Pepper Too?'

I'm a Frito-Lay/Pepsico brat. From the time I was fourteen until 2003, my dad worked at Frito-Lay. He brought home cases of chips every Wednesday, the day the employees were allowed to buy off the truck, and when I was in college, Dad would ask me every Sunday if my roommates and I wanted anything special.

We were among the first to try Funyuns and Wavy Lays.

Remember the Pepsi Challenge? For the record, I don't like carbonated beverages. It takes me about 90 minutes to drink a single can of Pepsi. But Coke isn't sweet enough; I once began a Cherry Coke at 8am and by 4pm still hadn't finished it.

What does this have to do with anything, you ask? I incorporate Frito-Lay/Pepsico products into my stories. Of course, once in a while a character will tell me they like Sprite instead of Sierra Mist, or Seven-Up. That's fine. I'll compensate by having them drive a Chevy. Or hating seafood.

I also like to add my favorite music into my stories. Anyone remember 'We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off' (1986) or Eddie Murphy's 'Party All The Time'? Who remembers that Don Johnson and Patrick Swayze both had hit singles; Don with "Heartbeat' in 1987 and Patrick with 'She's Like The Wind' in 1988?

If I venture into a setting other than someplace where I've been, I'll invent a restaurant. But if I've actually been to the city/state/vacation place, you can be sure of recognizing either landmarks or restaurants.

I'm not one for fashion or label-dropping. The occassional clothing line will sneak in, such as Lee Jeans or Nike/Reebox tennis shoes, but mostly the cologne scents will be named. I loved Aviance Night Musk. White Shoulders. Soft Musk (Avon). Georgio. Red. Polo. Obsession For Men. Halston (men and women's).

It's safer to be generic and vague about what a character is wearing, drinking, watching, etc. But sometimes the label throws a definite picture into the mind when you're reading. Lisa Logan does an excellend job of this in Grand Seduction.

Fortunately, my publisher doesn't need me to track down the trade marks of any labels I've thrown into my stories. But then again, if I stick with the ones I know, then there's no problem later, right?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Earth To Kenzie....

Here is my primary writing space. What you can't tell from the picture is to the left is the doorway to the living room.

Behind the chair is my daughter's bed, against the wall in a slight 'nook', next to a window seat.

To the right is the door to my bedroom and against the wall is two bookshelves filled with my youngest's toys.

When I'm by myself, I turn on the radio or a CD and write to anything from Lifehouse, Prince, Bon Jovi, Kelly Clarkson, Hinder, or whatever happens to be on the radio or whatever I pull out of the CD collection.

I used to write to Hooked On Classics while sitting alone in the living room (before computers) while my children napped. I also wrote some of my best work at the laundromat, listening to AC/DC, Duran Duran, and Don Hendley on the juke box, or whatever was playing until my selections were next.

At our old house, I had a spare bedroom where I'd hole up until the kids came home, or the dogs needed attention. Remember when internet was tied to the phone lines, and the only way people knew you were home was because of the busy signal? Thank god the dog barked if anyone came to the door; usually I had the music up so loud I didn't hear them knocking! But true friends knew where I was; they knew my dog was kind, and would just walk on in. Ah, the good old days!

Nowadays, I can be found typing at the computer with Fairly Odd Parents on the TV, or DIY, or SyFy channel. Or at my favorite coffee shop with the local radio station and conversations all around me.

I also used to write at the ball field, and once outlined an entire book while sitting in a bar, waiting for a job interview. I got the job, but didn't keep it long. I started working, only to discover I was pregnant again!

But why the title? I can successfully block out everything around me, and sometimes my family jokes the house could catch on fire and burn down around me before I'd notice. And that's only because the power would go out and I'd scream because I hadn't saved my document! 'Oh my...that's why I was coughing? I thought it was my asthma...'

Let's hope I never have to actually test that theory??

And by the way...my desk is a hell of a lot messier now! That pic was taken when we hooked up the new computer after Christmas! My desk resembles 'organized chaos'!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Plantzer Checking In

No, that is NOT a typo. I both Plot and Pantz; hence my word 'Plantz'.

When I first began writing, I'd start with a basic idea and write whatever the muse/characters whispered in my brain. My version of childhood fairy tales, English assignments, my year-long foray into Sci-Fi followed.

I soon branched into my alter-ego's series and soon discovered the issues dealing with a time-span of five years, plus the lives of six characters. Add to this confusion the fact I wrote the first four books out of order, and suddenly I had a severely mixed-up timeline. I needed a calendar of events.

On a sheet of paper (okay; four sheets!) I listed a vague, month by month outline of what issues each character was facing. Nothing specific; just a one line phrase. For example:
Aug 1985:
E: Feeling hostile about alcohol counseling
A: Matt comes home; only sees her three times in 2 week period
K: Meets Kyle
G: Nothing yet
C: Back solidly with Bryan
S: Nothing yet

I wrote Wild at Heart and my NaNo project, Teacher's Pet, off the top of my head. I let the characters lead me.

Appetite For Desire and All She Ever Wanted were inspired by a cooking muse (can you tell I was watching waaaaay too much Food Network in 2008, lol?) and started with snippets of conversations and some of my favorite recipes. I knew how each would end; what I didn't know was HOW they would get from sexual tension to HEA.

Last fall, I started six wips with nothing more than a slight character sketch. Guess what? They all stalled out on Ch 2, because I didn't have a clue where they were going and the characters refused to talk to me.

Edits and marketing for ASEW took over; writing took a back seat.

Off The Clock was a nice surprise, as was the morning a disgruntled worker demanded I write down his words. Model Behavior came to me during an insomniatic night (insomniac??), fully formed: The beginning, Chapters 2-5, and the ending. But before I could finish Ch 3, Class Reunion took over and I'm up to Ch 6. I know exactly how this will go, but the details are fuzzy and the 'outline' is in my head (unless you count the sketchy outline I sent to to person who inspired the story???). So is it considered to be 'plotted out'? I don't think so, since I don't know everything my characters will do in order to get to the HEA. I'm still writing it 'by the seat of my pants'.

Detailed outline= Plotter
Vague idea= Pantzer

Vague outline+ Vague idea= Plantzer

That's my story and I'm sticking to it:)