August 24th, 2012 | 10 Comments »

OMG! you’re thinking. That’s why Shar hasn’t written a blog post since the last presidential administration! She’s been lying there dying!

No, no, no. I don’t mean “as I lay dying.” I mean, As I Lay Dying. The book. By William Faulkner. I have been thinking about it recently, and about books and writing and popularity and marketing, and this is why.

I took my 17-year old son out for a meal and talk, as I sometimes do, and because he was about to take a trip, I handed him a paperback I’d picked up for him, Bonfire of the Vanities, and told him it was one of my favorite books. He thanked me, and then we had the following conversation:

Son: You know what my favorite book is?

Shar: I hope you’re not going to say a gaming guide.

Son: No, Mom, of course not. It’s As I Lay Dying.

Shar: Um… what? You told me you hated Faulkner.

Son: Oh, I do. Most of his stuff. I’m pretty sure. But not that book. It’s great — you should read it.

Shar: Excuse me, but I specifically remember you saying you hated that book. You complained about it every night!

Son: Well, I hated it at first. For maybe the first half of the book. You just have to get into it. You gotta read it, Mom.

Shar: You want me to read a book that I might hate the first half of?

Son: Well, if you do, then when you’re done, go back and read the first part again, and then you’ll like it. That’s what I did. I’ll make a deal. I’ll read your book, but you have to promise to read mine.

OK… my memory is not faulty here. The kid complained about this book, and his literature teacher for assigning the book, and his lit class for existing, and the AP Lit exam for causing the lit class to exist, for no small number of nights. And now he’s telling me that it’s his favorite book (and despite my crack about gaming guides, he does read a lot).

It got me thinking about what I hear “out there” about writing and publishing these days. You have to catch the reader’s attention in the first chapter. No, in the first three pages! No, the first page! The first paragraph! The blurb before the first paragraph! If readers aren’t totally hooked by, oh, the first three words, they will never buy your book. Not that any agent or publisher would touch it in the first place.

That’s kind of harsh, isn’t it?

Now, I don’t know if serious literary authors are listening to this too; or even if the majority of first-time indie writers are considering it. But I sure do hear it a lot. And that makes me sad. That we no longer think readers have the stamina or interest to read more than a few pages without adrenalin coursing through their veins. Must all books thrill and chill from the opening lines? Is there no room for novels that sit quietly inside you for a while? Or plots that meander? Or books that force you to think? For books that are challenging to read?

I say, if a book can win the heart of a busy teen with other interests who only read the thing because he was required to, can win his heart even though he actively disliked the book for the first half of it, can win his heart to the point that he now declares it his favorite book and presses others to read it… there’s still tremendous value to the slow burn.

I don’t know for sure if anyone is still out there reading this blog, which languished while I worked all summer (it happens, people!), but if there are, here are the questions I want to pose:

Readers, must you be gripped from the first page? How much of a chance do you give a book? Have you ever started a book without liking it overly, and then come to love it as you progressed?

Writers, does this notion of a ‘fast beginning’ influence your writing at all? Or do you have works that might take someone longer to get into? Is this something that’s a conscious decision, or is it more a matter of writing as you please?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the son is halfway through Bonfire of the Vanities. So I must head off to the library for my Faulkner …

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Posted in • As I Lay Dying
May 17th, 2012 | 12 Comments »


I know sometimes people wonder how erotica writers do what they do — how exactly they turn out all that achingly poetic and arousing language that touches the cores of our human souls.

Frankly, some days we wonder how we do it too.

I asked fellow erotica writer André Santhomas to give us a look into her writing process, to show us how the magic happens to create her popular Realm of Janos novels and other masterpieces of erotic domination and submission. Let us part the curtain and watch her day:


Fifty Shades of Grey Hair


Me: Go in the living room. I have work I need to do.

Them: OK.

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly.

Kid 1: Mom, do you want something to drink?
Me: Nothing you can bring me.
Kid 1: What?
Me: Nothing. No thank you.

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly. She

Kid 1: OK.

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly. She thinks

Kid 2: Mommy, I love you.
Me: I love you too baby. Go play.
Kid 2: OK.

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly. She wonders

Kid 1: Mommy, do you have a pencil?
Me: Look in the homework supplies box.
Kid 1: OK.

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly. She wonders what

Kid 1: Where is the box?
Me: Where did you leave it?
Kid 1: I didn’t touch it.
Me: Here it is. Take this, and go!
Kid 1: OK, OK, I’m just trying to do my homework.

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly. She wonders what. What? What does she wonder? Oh, yeah. She wonders

Kid 2: I want a pencil too.
Me: Fine, take it. Just go.
Kid 2: I need some paper.
Me: Fine, whatever, here’s a stack.

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly. She wonders what he’s thinking

Kid 1: MOMMY! She — Ow!
Me: What?
Kid 2: Never mind.

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly. She wonders what he’s thinking about

Kid 2: Mommy, if Nicole tells you that I was in Daddy’s office and got into something, you should tell her to go in the living room because I didn’t, really.
Me: You didn’t what?
Kid 2: I didn’t get into Daddy’s printer paper.
Me: I gave you paper.
Kid 2: I needed some more. But I didn’t, really. I swear with all my heart.
Me: Living room!

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly. She wonders what he’s thinking about

Me: Let the dog out.
Kid 1: What?
Me: LET THE DOG OUT! Can’t you hear him barking? You’re two feet from him.
Kid 1: What?
Kid 1: OK, OK, sheesh.

Garrett ties Botany up and fucks her silly. She wonders how he’s going to use that riding crop

Kid 1: I just have to tell you —
Me: Is someone spurting blood? No? Then go.
Kid 1: Sheesh, all I wanted to do was say I love you.
Me: [insert mommy guilt here]

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André SanThomas is the mother of two delightful girls, ages 8 and 6, and the keeper of a 120-pound lab. She’s also the author of the Realm of Janos series and Sensual Submission: Driven. Sensual Submission: Pursuit is due out… well, it might be a while. Her author page on Amazon, from where her books can be purchased, can be found here.

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April 22nd, 2012 | 4 Comments »


Erotica writers —  and those who’d like to be erotica writers — and erotica readers — check out this announcement of a sexy seaside get-together, and also the call for submissions for an erotic anthology. (I vouch for these people.)

Note that the conference is in England. Scarborough, to be exact, and no, I don’t know if that’s the parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme one or some different one. But it sounds lovely.

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Scarborough, UK to Host Saucy Seaside Smut Convention

April 2012, The North, United Kingdom.

Convention for erotica readers and writers to be held in the

seaside town of Scarborough on June 22nd, 2013.

Do you like to be beside the seaside? Or more specifically, do you like to be smutty beside the seaside? If so, then the Smut by the Sea Convention and Erotic Marketplace is for you!

The brainchild of Victoria Blisse and Kevin Mitnik, with help from their glamorous assistant, Lucy Felthouse, Smut by the Sea promises to be a smut-filled extravaganza in the beautiful seaside setting of Victorian Scarborough. The town’s library will be hosting the event.

Forget fish and chips, candy floss and ice cream – visit the dedicated Erotic Marketplace, including exhibitors Xcite Books and House of Erotica, with many more yet to be confirmed. Buy toys and books and all manner of saucy things. And don’t forget to get those books signed by the authors in attendance!

You’ll be wriggling in your seat when you attend a range of sexy readings from erotic authors including Victoria Blisse, Lucy Felthouse, K D Grace and Lexie Bay.

Or perhaps you’d like to attend informative panels on getting published, marketing your work and other smut related activities? It’s all covered, so you can check out whatever tickles your fancy!

It’s certainly going to be a fun-filled day, with readings from the authors, and some seriously saucy swag bags with gifts from sponsors Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, Total-E-Bound and Lovehoney, to name but a few.

Just as you’re settling down from hearing all those fabulously naughty stories, your heart rate will be rising once more as the result of an intermission with burlesque dancers!

Finally, there will be a Q&A panel with a range of authors, book signings and some good old fashioned networking and socialising.

It’s still early days so there will be lots more authors, sponsors, exhibitors and attendees coming on board as the conference draws closer, but hopefully this has given you an idea of what to expect from Smut by the Sea.

So, what are you waiting for? Mark your diaries for Smut by the Sea, 22nd June 2013. Early Bird tickets have been released, and there are less than 200 available at this bargain price, so make sure to grab yours quick, before it’s too late!

Keep your eyes on the following links for further information on sponsors, attending authors, exhibitors and more:




Also, just for a bit of fun, you can share your seaside themed photos on the Pinterest page:

The event is still taking on more exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and readers, so if you’d like to get involved, please

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About Smut by the Sea

 The brainchild of Victoria Blisse and Kevin Mitnik, the Smut by the Sea Erotic Readers & Authors Convention & Erotic Marketplace takes place in Scarborough in June 2013. It will be a smut filled extravaganza with readings, burlesque, panels, Q&As, workshops, erotica and more. See for more details.

About Blisse UK

Blisse UK is the team of Victoria Blisse and Kevin Mitnik. Specialising in bespoke creations, working together they strive to bring originality and excellence into all that they do. Victoria is an award-winning author & Kevin is a twice Webbie winning web designer. They have over 15 years experience of creating successful websites with a portfolio of recent works available on Smut by the Sea is a new venture as they combine their love of the seaside with a love of erotica.

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March 25th, 2012 | 4 Comments »

If you’re ever in Philadelphia, at any time near the 3rd Tuesday of the month… I’d highly recommend arranging your travel plans to include a visit to the Erotic Literary Salon’s monthly Salon event.

Hosted by sexologist Dr. Susana Mayer, the Salon features one erotica reader and holds a sort of open mic (through reservation, though — and spots fill up fast!) for other attendees. The featured reader gets 10 minutes, and other readers get 5.

I’m very pleased I was a featured reader if only to get those 10 minutes! Honestly, I find choosing a 10-minute excerpt to be very challenging, and 5 minutes would throw me into a complete panic. That’s as a reader, though. As a listener, I can assure you that 5 minutes can pack quite a punch, and the readings I heard were fantastic.

I got lucky — I’d chosen a humorous excerpt from “Sales Pitch,” one of my favorites from Transported: Erotic Travel Tales. It’s not the one that usually gets special mention from reviewers, but … well, I like it, and I get to make the choice. Quite a few other people also chose to do humorous pieces (like Rochelle Lewis and her hilarious “Skanky Ho”), and the audience was very responsive and engaged. I had a blast.

It’s a nice space, too: the upper floor of a restaurant (The Bohemian Absinthe Lounge), which features a bar and food service as well. The event ran about two and a half hours, with a 15-minute intermission, and unfortunately not everyone who was on the waitlist to read got a chance (though of course they could still read next month. That’s why I said, be sure to sign up early if you’re interested in reading!). I’d guess there were about 100 people there; standing room only by the end, but not uncomfortably crowded.

I was particularly pleased to meet in person some erotica writers I’d met and known only online, such as erobintica and Riccardo Berra, who happened to be in town that Tuesday for the Salon.

For more information about attending the Salon, the direct link is here. Again — I highly recommend it! But even if you can’t make it ever, it’s worth checking out the Salon homepage for daily news on issues of sex, sexuality, and erotica.

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March 17th, 2012 | Comments Off on Guest Blogging at Oh Get a Grip

Like the title says, I’m over at the Oh Get a Grip site. This week’s theme (on which my post is the final one) is “masks.”

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