Sometimes, as writers, we can forget to celebrate our achievements. We might strive for recognition, but when a little of it comes our way, we underplay it, or find it hard to embrace it.
Many erotica writers I know, including myself, take our writiing, our craft and our subject matter seriously. We work just as hard at it as writers from other genres. We toil into the wee hours over stories, blog posts and reviews. We attend workshops and buy books on writing craft, and agonize over the right words to describe our subject. We sacrifice parts of our social life in order to carve out a little more writing time. We engage self-awareness around our own sexual landscape, and around where sexuality sits culturally at any given time, sometimes committing to writing and revealing painful parts of our lives or our history.
I’ve been writing and publishing erotica for five years now. It turns out that it wasn’t just a quick fling with those come-hither, wanton words. I passionately believe in erotica’s role in encouraging those who read it to become more empowered in their own sexual expression. That writer-reader relationship sits right at the centre of my imperative to keep writing, and is why I value every person who takes a few minutes to comment on my work.
Yet, sometimes, I despair at the comparitively small sector of the potential reading populace that actually find their way to quality, well-crafted erotic fiction. Censorship and complex rules on certain sites around what can be shown on a cover, and what topics are taboo set up further obstacles, and these obstacles sometimes have intricate moral or political nuances. All things the writer of erotica has to negotiate. As if writing about sex wasn’t challenging enough …
So today, I am celebrating the publication of my short story “Peek Hour” with Cosmopolitan UK Magazine. The lovely editor I’ve been dealing with informed me they have 6.5 million unique users every month. It’s undoubtedly the largest number of potential eyes on my work, and that is both terrifying and super-exciting. It’s fantastic that magazines with such a large readership, encompassing diverse demographics. are looking at publishing edgier work that isn’t just about millionaires and virgins, and it’s encouraging that they want to support lesser-known authors.
Despite the background anxiety, I took myself out for coffee and cake to celebrate, and my walk definitely had more wiggle in it today. I want to take this moment to remind all you erotica writers out there: celebrate your achievements. You worked hard. You’re brave. And bold. And bad-ass. Even on days you don’t feel that way. You deserve a little decadence.
I wrote “Peek Hour” to explore a subversive little observation that popped into my head one day on the train to work. As women, we learn to deal with being on the receiving end of the male gaze every day; we of course respond to this in a diversity of ways depending on personal factors. Some of it is welcome, some of it is not. And sometimes it just depends on what kind of day we’re having, or who is doing the looking.
How would I explore a story where a woman was doing the looking?
My character, Roxy stood up in my head, and purred, “Buy me a ticket, let’s get on that train and see what happens.”
So here it is. A subversively sexy story, exploring voyeurism from a distinctly feminine perspective. For Roxy, a chance erotic encounter might just be the start of a new kind of journey.
Click on the pic (or the title) to read “Peek Hour“.