W00T! I’m Censored AGAIN!

W00T! I’m Censored AGAIN!

So a week after letting Juliet Takes Off back onto their playground — after we removed the shocking word “sex” from the subtitle and replaced the cover image with a picture of a fully dressed young woman — Amazon has once again informed us that they are shocked — shocked! — to find that my erotic romance is too shocking to sell. WTF?

Not sure what to do here. The Audible audio recording is still up. It’s still up on B&N, Kobo, Smashwords, and of course Stillpoint/Digital.

Oh, and I’ve got a free-for-a-review give-away going on at GoodReads — in exchange for an honest review (there, or wherever you post such things) I’ll send you a copy of the ebook (Kindle or ePub) or audiobook of “Juliet Takes Off” and its companion piece, “Juliet Takes Stage.”

You can also sign up here:

So there you are! For a limited time YOU can see  — for free — the book that Amazon was so scandalized by! (And if you can figure it out, please, tell me! I’d love to know.)

Iambic Tetrameter Smut!

Okay. You know how we all write LOL all of the time, even though there MAY have been just a chuckle, if that? This is honest-to-goodness laugh-out-loud. Really. You’ll never read Dr. Seuss the same way again.

tess mackenzie

(a poem after green eggs and ham…)

Do you lick the lady parts?

I do not because it smarts.
Each time it tingles on my tongue,
And makes it rather awfully numb.

So would you lick me over here?

I would not lick you over there,
I would not lick you anywhere.
I do not lick the lady-parts,
So stop the nagging, just don’t start.

Perhaps to lick me up and down?

I will not lick you up and down,
So don’t get started with the frown.
I will not lick you in a bed,
I do not like to give the head.
Not even just a little bit,
Not just to see how well it fits.
I will not lick you if you moan,
Not even if you really groan

Not in a bed
Not up and down,
Not if you moan,
Not if you groan
I will not…

View original post 443 more words

Banned Book Giveaway!

Banned Book Giveaway!

It’s Banned Book Week!

Now that my student-teacher erotic romance “Juliet Takes Off” has been UN-banned on Amazon (after we removed the scandalous word “sex” from the subtitle), I would love to have some reviews for it and/or its prequel, “Juliet Takes Stage.”

If you comment or email, I’ll send you a copy of either or both of these stories (about 15,000 words combined) — if you promise to leave an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever you like to review stories.

SmutTalk: Censored! (The Post Script)

SmutTalk: Censored! (The Post Script)

Thanks to all of you, both for your support, and for putting up with my frothing at the mouth.

So Wednesday and Thursday’s uproar seems to have run its course. The hammer of the Amazonian gods has been lifted. The publisher resubmitted the book, having eliminated the word “sex” from the subtitle, and it was accepted. “Juliet Takes Off” is up for sale again. In fact, as nearly as I can tell, it never went off sale. So there’s that. Yay.

Unfortunately, we still aren’t sure that that AWFUL word was the cause of the ban. I got what seems to me to be a very likely suggestion from Selena Kitt, who wrote an excellent resource post for authors whose books are banned or stamped with the Scarlet Letter (that is, they’re classified as adult): Surviving the Pornocalypse: Erotica Writers Get Armed and Ready. Her thought was that Amazon’s ever-shifting standards (“about what you’d expect,” my ass!) may have morphed to include as ban-worthy covers that showed a naked woman’s back.

Let me reiterate that: an image of a nude female back may in fact be classified as indecent by Amazon.

Wrap your head around that one.

What are they going to do with Jacqueline Carey’s books?

Kushiel's Chosen

So the publisher went back and designed a bunch of new covers.

Here they go:

I actually like these a lot. (Yes, that’s Mary Cyn again, the same model from the original cover, and the lovely narrator of the Juliet audiobooks.) I have my own thoughts, but I’d love yours.

Mostly, I’m laughing, because I don’t think any of these is any less (or more) provocative than the first cover. But maybe that’s just me!

In any case, I’d love it if you’d go vote over at Stillpoint/Eros: http://eros.stillpointdigital.com/?p=918

Personally, I think that whichever one you guys choose, we should put a big BANNED ON AMAZON!!! label on it. What do you think? 😉

SmutTalk: Censored!

I feel like such a big kid now!

I just got an email forwarded by my publisher informing them and me that Amazon is pulling Juliet Takes Off from its shelves because it’s “in violation of our content guidelines.”

Those guidelines (as they pertain in this case)?

I quote:

  • Pornography We don’t accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.
  • Offensive Content What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.

My publisher expressed bewilderment.

Me? I’m not bewildered; I’m livid.

I’ve obviously read and thought a lot about the distinction between erotica and porn. We’ve thrown around a lot of definitions, but here’s the one that’s in my head right now: sex in the service of the story or the development of the character is erotic; sex for the sake of sex (or $) is porn. Does that cover it?

“Juliet Takes Off” is certainly sexual — it contains an extended scene in which a young woman loses her virginity, and a framing sequence that’s quite explicitly sexual. But it’s absolutely nowhere near the line crossed by something like 90% of the Erotica section on Amazon. (The work of present company, obviously, excepted.) But the whole story sequence is focused on the growth of the two characters and their coming to terms with each other.

Pornographic? I don’t think so. I’d have called it literary erotica — how successful its literary pretensions I can’t say, but that’s the intent. Porn? No.

What actually bothers me even more is the “offensive” bit. Obviously, I’m mortified to have offended anyone — and I assume that someone flagged the story as such. But I have NO idea what in the name of all that is sexy could have offended anyone about this particular story. It’s a story in which two adult characters of opposite gender who happen to love each other have sex. Twice. By mutual consent. And it’s all pretty straight sex, in every sense. Oh — I guess there is a very quick hand job. Still. Offensive?

Amazon says their definition of offensive is “about what you would expect” — which means… what? Me, there’s only one thing I find truly offensive: the glorification or romanticization of non-consensual sex. What does that mean, you ask? Thank you for asking: non-consensual sex means any sex involving anyone incapable of saying yes (children, animals, the mentally retarded, coma victims, sleepers, etc.) or who has said no.

There are other things that folks find erotic that really don’t turn me on — things that when I was reading and writing fan-fiction I was astonished to find where very popular. BDSM, scat, all of that. I don’t find those things offensive; they just don’t do anything for me. Turn me off, even. But rape — statutory or vanilla — portrayed for teh sex0rs? That I find patently offensive. Also illegal in most countries including the US of A.

And the Amazon Erotica category is FULL of those. Here’s the link to a search on “rape” in the Erotica section. And here’s the search on “non-con.” How about some “forced sex“? A few of those are about rape survivors. But most? :-p

“Bestiality”? We got that.

Underage” shows up with only 17 hits. Yay!

“Chan” mostly shows Asian authors, which is a relief.

You want to know two things that really piss me off? Some of these stories outsell mine, for reasons that I can’t even begin to fathom; and these are all on Amazon but mine isn’t.

Ahem. Psst. As of this moment, Juliet Takes Off is still available on Amazon.

It also remains on sale on Stillpoint/Eros (the audiobook too!), Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and allRomanceEbooks. And the audiobook is on Audible and iTunes.

Oh, and the Goodreads page is here.

And what the heck. Here’s the trailer:


There. I’m still furious, but I’m feeling better now.

Review: Yank by Selena Kitt

Here’s another review of a favorite erotica author, Selena Kitt, for her quasi-incest coming-of-age (and also just coming) story, Yank.

I reviewed it on Goodreads here.

The difference between porn and erotica is all in the details. If a story’s generic, the characters are cardboard cutouts, and the actions (which is to say, the sexy bits) flow purely in an And then I… and then he… format, it’s porn. It’s also crap. If the story involves characters who are struggling with real problems that aren’t easily solved — even with a roll in the hay — then that’s actually a story, and if there’s sex involved then it might even be erotic.

Selena Kitt’s stories are pretty consistently erotic. Smutty fun, sometimes, but no cardboard cutouts in sight. Continue reading

Thing of Beauty – New Ebook and Audiobook Trailer

W00T! This is the mirror piece to Juliet Takes Off.

WARNING: Adult audiences only!

Narrated by Milo Churchcutt

Ken is hot for Dana, his teacher.

And Dana is more than happy to teach him something important: A thing of beauty is a joy forever. And a beautiful teacher can be the pleasure of a lifetime.

A tale of sexual initiation.

The first of the erotic tales that Ken shares with his own young lover Allison, “Thing of Beauty” is part of the forthcoming novel, A Joy Forever.

On Stillpoint/Eros: http://eros.stillpointdigital.com/?product=thing-of-beauty
On Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Erotica-Sexuality/Thing-of-Beauty-Erotic-Tales-Audiobook/B00F2N63EC/
On Amazon: http://viewBook.at/ThingofBeauty

Dear Juliet

KD West avatar

So, I’m a teacher, as you may have noticed. And the idea of a high school teacher having a sexual relationship with one of the teen children who happens to be one of his or her students is deeply troubling to me, to say the least.

So how is it that I seem to be in the midst of writing a story cycle/novel that centers around precisely such a relationship?

No idea. I’ll have to get back to you on that.

And by the way, since some of you have asked: I’m not Ken. Really. And there is no Allison. Their story flowed out of another one that I’ve been working on. Just to be clear.

I woke up before 6:00 this morning and that question was burning through my head. I’ve written about Allison’s experience of the onset of their relationship — I’ve experienced having a crush on a teacher (as many of us have), so writing stories like “Thing of Beauty” and “Juliet Takes Off” wasn’t too much of  a leap of the imagination. I could understand Allison and Young!Ken’s feelings pretty well.

But this morning as I grumbled myself awake I found myself wondering: What the hell must it have been like for Old!Ken, having this young girl fall in love with you, while you are clearly feeling very inappropriate things for her? That one was much further afield.

So I sat down and created a letter from Ken to Allison, written between “Juliet Takes Stage” and “Juliet Takes Off” — during Allison’s junior (11th grade) year. Don’t know if I’m going to use it in the finished piece, so I thought I’d share it here. (A word to the wise: this isn’t smut, though there’s a lot of sexual imagery. It’s a teacher on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Angsty, definitely.)

Dear Juliet (~1000 words) Continue reading

SmutTalk: Keeping it Fresh

SmutTalk: Keeping it Fresh

So I was talking with a friend about erotica — a real-life friend who doesn’t know I write the stuff. She was saying that her problem with the genre is that the number of possible scenarios is so limited and so stereotyped that it’s easy to get bored.

My answer to her was that she hadn’t been reading the right smut. But it got me thinking.

To a certain extent, it’s true: if you’re going to write a story with sex in it, it’s going to fall into one of a few broad categories: straight, gay, lesbian, or group sex of some sort. (Longer pieces may mix those larger categories some — though even then you don’t see it very often.) And then there are a number of sub-genres that will further define the piece: bondage, first time, dominance/submission, student-teacher, fantasy/paranormal, whatever. There are a wide number of subgenres — kinks, if you’d rather — but really? The pattern is more or less the same: desire is sparked, desire is tested, desire is satisfied.

There’s the rare story — Tess Mackenzie’s Suburbia jumps to mind — where satisfaction isn’t the point. But really, whatever the paraphernalia, most of the stories in the erotica genre follow some variation on that pattern. It’s sort of the Hero Journey of smut.

So what’s to keep us as writers — not to mention readers — from dying of boredom?

It’s the same dilemma faced by writers in every genre, I guess, including romance, mysteries, epic fantasy: you’ve got a certain pattern that the plot is expected to follow (protagonists look for love, detective seeks the perp, hero goes on a quest), and certain tropes that are standard set-dressing (ripped bodices, guns, swords).

In erotica the plot is Someone gets off. The tropes depend a lot on the subgenre: BDSM will often have whips, flogs, and ball-gags; student-teacher will have a desk (yeah: that’s me, busted); lesbian smut (whose intended audience is often not in fact lesbian women) may have a strap-on or dildo or vibrator or other pseudo-phallus.

So how do we keep our stories from going as stale as last week’s lottery numbers?

I thought about this for a bit, and thought about the stories that I enjoy, and about the writers who write them, and the best answer I can give is that what keeps smut fresh is the same thing that keeps sex alive in real life: imagination and specificity.

I mean, we’ve all read stories that lack either, right? Stories that are so generic that they could have been written by a computer. “He saw her. She had perfect tits. He wanted to fuck her. ‘Oh, baby,’ she said, ‘come fuck me.'”

(Use of the word perfect as a narrative description pisses me off. It doesn’t mean anything. But that’s a rant for another day.)

What separates any good story above that is the particulars. In a way, it is the lack of perfection. People aren’t generic. We’re each of us different, with different strengths and (especially) weaknesses. And so the more specific the story — the more it is about a specific man looking to be tied up in a very specific way by a very specific person for a very specific reason — and the less perfect the characters are — buffeted by fear and anger and jealousy and worry, but also by empathy and humor and… — the less we as readers focus on the shape of the piece, which will probably follow that spark/frustration/satisfaction journey, and the more they will be swept up in the experience that you as a writer are leading the characters through.

At least, that’s what I’m thinking today.