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For Your Amusement: Three Diversions to Occupy Your Impatient Mind

24 Jan
Dorothy and Lucas, from Emerald City. This ain't Kansas, and that guy's no scarecrow.

Dorothy and Lucas, from Emerald City. This ain’t Kansas, and that guy’s no scarecrow.

By Alexa Day

Three weeks until The Walking Dead comes back.

Eight months until Pitch returns.

Day 3 of the new President’s first 100.

These are hard times for an impatient woman. I found myself in search of diversions, something to take my mind off the political clusterf*ck that is social media. Something that would make time go by much, much faster.

I got lucky this week and found three.

1. Emerald City. Mixed opinions follow Emerald City, an NBC series inspired by L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. It’s a dark reimagining of the stories many of us know best through the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz. But the Oz books were darker than the film, and the series is darker still. Just within the first few episodes, the story reveals prostitution, ritual suicide, and the introduction of gun violence into a world that’s already a pretty dangerous place.

I love it.

Visually, Emerald City is quite a spectacle. The spires of the titular city rise high over the sea, and we’re treated to a variety of sweeping landscapes. Everything looks just unreal enough. It’s a big change from the Technicolor experimentation of the film.

Women dominate Emerald City’s storylines. The Wizard has forbidden magic in the realm of Oz … and magic is used primarily, if not exclusively, by women. The story traces several women’s relationships with their powers, whether their magic is stifled, latent, or on full, startling display. Morality, identity and power come together in fascinating ways, and before long, the Oz of Emerald City starts to raise questions that have troubled women for a long, long time.

Oh … and the Scarecrow’s never looked quite like this.

Give it a try. It’ll make you think.

2. Playboy. I wrote a while ago about what Playboy would be like without its nudes. I popped over there last weekend, looking for something to read, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Playboy has always upheld a somewhat proud literary tradition; its track record with short fiction is long and impressive. And then there’s the Playboy interview, whose question-and-answer format gave Alex Haley a way to use laconic jazz legend Miles Davis’s curt responses. When I read Playboy, I really was there for the articles. But I’ll confess that I haven’t read any part of it in a pretty long time.

I don’t know if the disappearance of the print pictorial has anything to do with it, but my recent visit to the website revealed a wealth of women writers, alongside their male counterparts. The lineup of articles includes coverage of the Women’s March (including the best of the signs), questions about women, jazz and La La Land, a critique of modern journalism, and my favorite — a peek at how much better sex can be with an unattractive partner.

Are there still scantily clad women on the Playboy website? Sure. But I work in a world of scantily clad men. I will not now be seen to point fingers.

3. Exhibit Unadorned. In its struggle to redeem itself this past week, Facebook introduced me to a new-to-me blog, Exhibit Unadorned. Kayla Lords, a woman I’m proud to call a Facebook friend, wrote this interview with Exhibit A, a male sex blogger from London. Exhibit A didn’t match my stereotypes of what a male sex blogger would sound like. Sure, his blog has a whole page of links to dick pics sprinkled generously through his posts. But his post about a sex party he attended with his girlfriend would be at home in any erotic romance. A his-and-hers commentary about a shabbily written list of sex don’ts is too cute for words, and all too true.

I feel bad for being surprised by this. I don’t really have a reason, other than being narrow-minded, to think that a male sex blogger can’t produce this kind of inviting, fun, sex-positive work. Perhaps Snctm left a bad taste in my mouth.

If you’re looking for a diversion for the next 98 days and beyond, I hope I’ve given you a lot to click on! We’re all in this together, after all. And if you’ve got diversions to share, hit me up in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut. The time will just fly by.

Pictures In The Eyes Of The Beholder

19 Jun

Woman Hiding Behind BookIn going through the process of getting my website completed, I’ve been thinking a lot about author photos. For writers of erotic romance, in particular, this can be a tricky decision. To have a photo, or not to have a photo. That is the question. Like many, I have a “day job” unrelated to my passion for writing, and the day job folks  . . . well, let’s just say there’s a certain image in the corporate world which may or may not look favorably upon an erotic romance writer.

So. The photo. In my quest to address this issue as it pertain to my own site, I decided – for inspiration – to go on a voyeuristic exploration of other writers’ sites and see what they’re up to, photo wise. My first stop was at the port of Ms. Misty Dietz.

Now, before I say anything about the photo Misty uses on her site, let me just say that I really love her site in general. First off, it tells me what she’s writing. I know within seconds after her homepage opens that Misty’s stories have a dark side, that she veers toward suspense/paranormal romance versus sweet or inspirational. Her tag line, “Love, Sex & Danger. Buckle Up.” gives me a pretty darn good clue about that. And she does have a picture, beautifully displayed in the bio section of the site. Good on ya, Misty.

Hmmm. OK, that was informative. But perhaps I also need to look at a writer who’s really known for her blistering hot erotic romances. I decided to check out Delilah Devlin’s site.

Like Misty, Delilah chooses not to put her photo on the homepage but instead reserves it for when readers click through to the bio page. There we can learn about her childhood, her writing awards, her loves and interests, even where she went to school. Very informative! And we also get her photo. Unlike Misty’s photo, which is so good it looks professionally done (or maybe Misty is just uber photogenic), Delilah’s picture is more like a good picture that a friend took with a smartphone. Oh, and she also has an adorable picture of her and her sister when they were kids. Love it.

Next stop, Tiffany Reisz. Author of the very sexy and extremely hot The Original Sinners series, Tiffany’s a writer we love here on Lady Smut. (see Madeline’s Q&A with Tiffany here). Tiffany also has a really cool website. It’s moody, all black, white, and grey, well organized, and let’s us learn a lot about her. Going with the theme of no photo on the home page, Tiffany’s pretty mug is revealed on her bio page. The picture, I must say, really goes along with the mood of her writing. It’s a black and white picture of her in profile but looking out at the viewer. Really cool.

In my (admittedly somewhat limited) research of romance and erotic romance writers’ websites, the majority (although not all) of writers are indeed using author pictures. Other sites I looked at include Shoshanna Evers, Erica Chilson, Joey W. Hill, Robin Schone, Ella  Quinn, and Lisa Valdez. Now, I wasn’t born yesterday and am aware that some of the pictures may not be of the authors themselves. For a variety of reasons, some of us just don’t feel comfortable having our faces out there. Hey, I get it. That was the point of this exercise, after all. To photo, or not to photo. How do you answer the question?

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