Tag Archives: Donna George Storey

Is On Fire erotica or romance or just plain sexy?

21 Jul

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

My new Cleis Press anthology that we’ve been celebrating all week is called On Fire: Erotic Romance Stories, but what, exactly, does that mean? Is it erotica? Is it romance? Is it a little bit of both? And does that distinction matter?

On bestselling author Sylvia Day’s website, she defines erotic romance as “Erotic Romance: stories written about the development of a romantic relationship through sexual interaction. The sex is an inherent part of the story, character growth, and relationship development, and couldn’t be removed without damaging the storyline. Happily Ever After is a REQUIREMENT to be an erotic romance.”

Author Alice Gaines has also written a great article about the differences between erotic romance and erotica, noting, “In romance, the reader usually knows that by the end of the story, the main characters will be headed toward a lifelong love relationship.  That needn’t be true in erotica.”

So what rules did I apply to editing On Fire? Well, not many. For me, it was very much an I-know-it-when-I-see-it situation. I went by the same criteria I use to select short story for an anthology: which ones best suit the theme and will work well together. In this case, I wanted stories specifically about couples, but not necessarily the same types of couples. I wanted new couplings as well as long-term relationships. I wanted couples who pushed each other into new territory (consensually, of course), who brought out the most daring, lusty sides of each other.

Here’s a snippet of what I included in my call for submissions: “Stories can feature couples exploring new erotic territory, strangers who share a spark, lost lovers or exes reuniting, etc. Final book will contain a mix of storytelling styles, settings and heros/heroines. Kink, sex toys, exotic locations/scenarios welcome as long as there is an element of erotic romance as opposed to strictly erotica. Sensual and sexual should coexist. Stories should be strongly plotted, have engaging, unique characters and be hot and original.”

The final result is a mix of tales ranging from playful to emotionally intense, running the gamut from fetishes to kinks to exes reuniting to first dates and beyond. Here’s a little snippet from the opening story, “Sensitive to the Touch” by Donna George Storey, featuring a silk stocking fetish. You can hear Donna read some of the story and discuss its inspiration on our recent appearance on the podcast Sex Out Loud hosted by Tristan Taormino (audio starts when you open this link so you might want to have your headphones handy).

“Well,” I began, “I know how much you admire a fine pair of female legs.”

Jeremy murmured assent, not that I was expecting an argument there.

“So I was going to make you show me just how much you do by kneeling down and kissing my legs very slowly from my ankle to the band of the stocking. Every inch of flesh would deserve at least an hour of dedicated veneration. But then if you were a very good buy, I was going to let you kiss my naked thighs, all the way up to my pussy. Is that something you’d like to do?”

Now, this same stocking fetish could have been tackled as strictly erotica, in umpteen other ways. To me, what makes it qualify as erotic romance is that it’s about a couple learning about each other and getting closer, both physically and emotionally, by exploring a new aspect of their sexuality. It takes a lot to reveal a fetish to someone else; there’s always the risk of being judged, laughed at, or rejected. To my mind, this story tackles that aspect while also being incredibly sexy. I was thrilled that one Amazon reviewer wrote that the story inspired her to go out and buy silk stockings. Another wrote, “Donna George Storey’s ‘Sensitive To The Touch’ is a fine example of what can happen when we embrace a partner’s fetish and see where it takes us.”

While sexuality and eroticism is at the core of these stories, so is the heart, love, romance and the emotion behind the sex. In other words, whether they’re exploring a fetish, femdom, sex toys, submission, swinging or anything else, there’s genuine feelings between the characters. They may want to be ordered around or blindfolded or participate in an orgy or what have you, but none of those desires take place in a vacuum. The story isn’t so much about the specific sexual fantasy, as how someone the main character loves helped them fulfill it. To me, that’s the key difference. These stories all circle back to the core of what makes the couple tick, what keeps them together, what makes them want to enjoy whatever their given turn-on is with each other. I can’t say for sure if that falls into the strict definition of “erotic romance,” and some readers have decided it’s more one than the other. All I know is that I intended this book to be focused on couples who are daring, bold and sexy, and if you ask me, I achieved that.

Want to judge for yourself which category On Fire falls into? You can buy it now for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks or Kobo, or pre-order the print edition.

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Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) has edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 and 2, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Begging for It, Fast Girls, The Big Book of Orgasms and more. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture and teaches erotica writing classes around the country and online. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and find out more about her classes and consulting at eroticawriting101.com. You can follow Rachel on BookBub to get notified about new releases and ebook sales.

How to write erotic flash fiction and turn readers on in a few pages

17 Feb

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

I’m a sucker for a good short story. I always have been, which is perhaps why I’ve made a career out of editing short story anthologies, but I’ve come to appreciate the genre anew by compiling three books of erotic flash fiction: Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex, The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories and The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales. Yes, the number 69 is a cheeky reference, but also rounds out these collections in a beautiful way, allowing room for plenty of variety.

Before I delve into why I love these super short tales so much, I want to let all you writers out there now that I’m looking for the last few ultra hot, creative and brilliant BDSM erotica stories to include in The Big Book of Submission, Volume 2, to be published in 2018 by Cleis Press. Get all the details in the call for submissions and send your stories in by February 28, 2017. Yes, I know that’s around the corner, but at only 1,200 words or less, writing one can be done in a day.

The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales

The Big Book of Submission: 69 Kinky Tales

So what do I love about these books? As an editor, I selfishly love that I get to say yes to 69 authors, since sending rejections is the part of the job I hate the most. As a reader, I relish seeing just how playful writers can be with such a limited word count. And as a person with ADD, I love that I can read one of these stories in just a few minutes, making them perfect for our often overbooked and overly busy culture.

Some people might see the words “1,200 words or less” and think, That’s nothing more than a sex scene. Au contraire! What’s been extraordinary to me is seeing just how much passion, heart and soul these authors have imbued into their relatively small amount of words. They’ve created stories that are rich with gorgeous imagery and eroticism, the kinds of stories I reread often. One of my favorites is “Housebroken” by Laila Blake, from The Big Book of Submission, about a special kind of roleplay. Here’s a snippet:

The tiny bell on her kitten-collar chimed whenever she moved her head a little this way or that, sparkling like her pink lips with their ubiquitous honey-scented gloss. All of her seemed to glow as she lay there ivory-pink, her knees pulled up in a shallow angle, leaning against each other, her toes wriggling a little. She never did lie completely still—for that she needed ropes and cuffs, commands and punishments. For the moment, though, Imani allowed it, smiling at her kitten’s antics and the way, in her apartment, her kitten could let go completely, with no care in the world but Imani’s pleasure and her own, attaining the purest sense of freedom humans could find.

Yes, in her limited space, Blake takes readers inside an intimate, loving lesbian BDSM relationship and helps bring their roleplaying to life.

The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories

The Big Book of Orgasms: 69 Sexy Stories

One of my favorite stories I’ve ever published is the humorous yet thought-provoking gender changing tale “Remote Control” by Logan Zachary in The Big Book of Orgasms. Using the hilarious premise that the title device can change everything from the weather to one’s genitals, Zachary presents a couple who transform themselves inside and out, with fascinating results. You can listen to the whole story on The Kiss Me Quick’s Podcast—I dare you to do so and not wonder what you yourself would do with such a remote in the palm of your hand! Not only is this story sexy and funny, it also manages to slyly comment on gender and sexual orientation.

What the writers who are successful at these sexy flash fiction stories know is that economy of language can indeed be hot, because it forces you to truly say what you mean and imbue every single word with as much power as possible. You can focus on the heart of what makes a relationship or sex act or scene so arousing, cutting out all extraneous distractions. Honing in on what’s vital can help authors see what makes the story tick and force them to value each thought, each touch, each movement as it builds to something greater than the sum of its parts. For the reader, the payoff is that they can get completely sucked into a story, knowing they can fully savor it in the time it takes to enjoy a morning cup of coffee.

Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex

Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex

These tales capture the complexity of trying something new in bed, and instead of jumping straight into the screwing, they still take the time to make imbue realism into the equation. In “Anal-yzed” by Donna George Storey from Gotta Have It, she tackles the negotiation between a couple about exploring anal sex, covering a woman’s doubts, fears and uncertainties while still maintaining the heat level:

“Interesting. I have another theory, though.” As he said this, his finger dipped between my asscheeks to stroke my tender pink valley.

I shivered and arched up into his touch. “Theory?”

“Yes, that anal sex is an unnatural act, so it makes you feel like a dirty slut to do it.”

My muscles down there—belly, cunt, asshole—immediately went into spasm, prickles of shame mixed with sweet twinges of pleasure. He was right. It was a turn-on to be a naughty girl who let boys in the back door. But I suddenly realized something else too. Having him talk about fucking my ass—actually analyze it like this—was making me incredibly hot.

Yes, within the confines of her 1,200 word maximum, Storey takes a common sexual fantasy, deconstructs it and does it justice as the narrator and her partner find out just how they can make this fantasy come true. She doesn’t waste any words, but she doesn’t rush the action either.

For those who prefer watching a sex scene unfold, here’s me reading my face slapping erotica story “Manners” from Gotta Have It several years ago at erotic shop Coco De Mer in West Hollywood, a topic I enjoyed distilling into a few racy pages:

To play devil’s advocate, I know that for those who solely read and write novels, the idea of even attempting to narrow down a short story into the confines of flash fiction is anathema. The biggest complaint I get from readers is that these stories are too short, that just as they get started, they’re over. On that point, I agree; however, I see their shortness as their strength, their beauty, their brilliance, and if they leave you wanting to know more about these characters, I consider that a win. So if you’re pressed for time, have a limited attention span like me, or simply want a huge amount of variety in the palm of your hands, check out these flash fiction books, and perhaps they’ll even inspire you to write one of your own.

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) has edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Begging for It, Fast Girls, The Big Book of Orgasms and more. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture and teaches erotica writing classes around the country and online. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and find out more about her classes and consulting at eroticawriting101.com.

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