Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Storm Warning?

Weathering the Storm

Mandana Jones and Simone Lahbib, from the TV show "Bad Girls"

Via AbWrite

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Open Heart Publishing

To me "Open Heart" suggests either painful surgery or Jane Seymour selling her soul to Kay Jewelers.  But apparently it is also an e-publisher.  Sort of.

Trapezium Closing

Trapezium Ebooks (a distributor) is closing its doors due to software issues and a general failure to thrive.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Not *That* Adult

Whoever decided to widely announced JK Rowling's first "adult novel" clearly had a mind that never gets within spitting distance of the gutter.  But there have been plenty of raised eyebrows ever since.  As witness an outbreak of sniggering in the comments section. It kind of makes me kind of hope she is penning an erotic romance (although I very much doubt it).

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Kite Hill

Does anyone have the 411 on who is behind Kite Hill Publishing. Is it the rather inexperienced (as far as I can tell) debut authors? It seems to be a small e/POD gay fiction press depending on Smashwords and Lightning Press.  Rather underwhelming. So, the matter of who is behind it is kind of important. And the pop ups on the website, well....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Paypal Hits Smashwords Next

"Today we are modifying our Terms of Service to clarify our policies regarding erotic fiction that contains bestiality, rape and incest. If you write in any of these categories, please carefully read the instructions below and remove such content from Smashwords. If you don’t write in these categories, you can disregard this message."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

About "Barely Legal"

Nice... swimsuit
One of the issue pushed to the surface by the ARe/Bookstrand reactions to taboo erotica is 'barely legal' erotica.  I have seen reaction ranging for 'legal is legal so who cares' to 'it's basically child abuse'. Ad it seems an ambiguity/anxiety tat is playing out across many genres and media.The model on the cover of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is only 19 years old.  Miley Cyrus is redefining "age appropriate" on a daily basis. And a new biography revealed some of JFK's more sordid activities with a teen intern (a sort of thing previously swept under the rug, and which Clinton probably wishes still was).

Hugo Schwyzer at Jezebel looked at the issue in visual porn using 18-29 years old or older actresses who look that age or younger (so popular Hustler registered "Barely legal" as a trademark). His theory is that the the drive for male viewers is evolutionary (maximum fertility), nostalgia and because a young girl basically won't know if you are bad at sex, having (theoretically) little basis for comparison. Or to put it more bluntly, post-puberty and pre-aging is just something they like to look at.

Interestingly, none of this buzz seem to relate to the female viewer.  The assumption being that these materials are making sales charts based purely on a male sales demographic.  But I wonder if this is true? For a long time it was assumed that women didn't like sex, let alone erotica, and certain not stuff about gay men.  I am not entirely sure that assumption works for barely legal either.  Not only in terms of who might be buying barely legal girl material, but the potential market amongst women for twink and extreme cougar material. It's not my thing, but I suspect a few gals out there do like it--and most of them are keeping quiet right now....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

RIP Barney Rosset

Barney Rosset's, the man behind Grove Press which he acquired in 1951, was a crusader for erotic and other kinds of challenging fiction. Frequently embroiled in lawsuits, Rosset saw erotica as just one of many frontiers where the first amendment was under attack. If he liked something, he published it, and would not let oppressive obscenity laws stop him. He was the first to publish uncensored editions of Lady Chatterley's Lover and Tropic of Cancer in the United States. Grove also published The Story of O, Autobiography of Malcolm X and the first US edition of Waiting for Godot. Rosset recently passed away at the age of 89.

See also:
Champion of Erotica and the Beats

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bookstrand, Self-Publishers, and the Way the Wind is Blowing

There is much ado in the distribution of self-publishing authors these days. Bookstrand started by reigning in taboo content and got a bit of a backlash.  So now it seems they may just take their ball, so to speak, and go on home.

As witness their latest email which reads in part: "We have made a decision to no longer maintain most indie author accounts at Therefore, we are deactivating all titles associated with your account and no new uploads will be accepted."

While politely worded it feels, to me, bit like: we want to make easy money--and having to actually look at and vet content is too much trouble.  Or at least that is how I would translate: "BookStrand will focus on its core business by servicing accounts of publishers with clear submission and publishing guidelines that best serve our targeted audience."

See also their email to Jane/DearAuthor

Monday, February 20, 2012


It seems that ARe has heard some of the reactions to the front-paging of erotica that is not romance.  Their response is to put it in a separate category.  Um, okay.  It's still not romance though. But I guess AERe isn't such a nice acronym.  It also brings to mind the phrase "aere perennius" which, in the context of the medical treatment of erotic misadventure, is not generally good news.

"In order to improve discoverability for all, we’ve decided to create separate Erotic Romance and Erotica categories. The “old” Erotica category will soon be retired. All titles in that category will need to be re-shelved prior to its retirement to avoid inactivation."

Sapphire Star Publishing

Sapphire Star seems to be a new all genre press. Their website sees to address authors more than reads. The currently have a contest for romance submissions.

So now we have Sapphire Star, Sapphire Books, Sapphire Night, Sapphire Press and the late lamented Sapphire Blue.... did I miss any?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Links: the Sex and X Edition

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Paypal Prudery Strikes Bookstrand

Many self-published authors have received a notice from Bookstrand saying:

"We were informed by PayPal, without notice, and by our credit card processing company, that we are required to remove all titles at with content containing incest, pseudo incest, rape, and bestiality, effective immediately."

It will be interesting to see exactly how they interpret those categories. History suggests that the answer might be: 'broadly'.

More details here.

See also:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A compendium of unimportant things I would just like to say:

  1. "Ebook" is a perfectly good word and I am going to keep using it.
  2. If I follow you on twitter, then a few days or weeks later I unfollow you, this means I did not find your tweets interesting and/or relevant to my interests.  It does not mean I was "tricking" you into following me.
  3. Novels called "the [Whatever]'s Son/Daughter", there's been enough of them.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

There's crazy....

...and then there's batshit, wombat-up-my-ass, whirligig petticoats insane.
This is a wombat

As witness: Feminists should stop picking on Chris Brown because "on a visceral level, women enjoy violence perpetrated against them." As witness "Rape narratives appear in almost every romance novel."

I didn't read the comments because I don't want to have some kind of cerebral-aneurism-slash-spontaneous-combustion experience.

See also:

Monday, February 13, 2012


It seems that Summerhouse Publishing is winding down after just over a year in operation; they are returning book rights at end of contract and not accepting new submissions.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Promoting violence against men is apparently okay

Erotica, discrimination, bigotry/hatred, gay themes, satanic horror, themes that promote violence against women/children… they will be deleted without notice or consideration."

Yeah, so... this press is totally anti-discrimination and bigotry. Clearly.

Stephani received this "clarification":

"I do not support gay culture, but that does not make me a "bigot". I have many friends (and some family) who are "gay". But just because we don't accept gay themes is no different than not accepting chick lit or horror... or any other particular topic or theme.
If you are looking for gay themes there are many publishers out there who publish that subject specifically. Yet they may not publish say, "christian themes", is that discrimination against Christians? No, they just don't publish it.

Don't take it so personally. We simply don't print what doesn't interest us or our reader market. And gay themes do not interest us."

For those playing at home, here is the check list:
1) Gay is a culture
2) Some of my best friends are gay
3) Gay is a genre
4) Random mention of Christianity
5) Our decision to discriminate against gay persons and put them on a list with Satan and child abuse should not be taken personally by those persons or their friends/family.

FWIW I don't give a flying fig what a press does or does not publish or even why.  But this choice of phrasing (long list of "unacceptables") is not stating an interest but passing a judgement.(See tag: sin lists)

For more info see my venerable post: How to Say 'No, Thankyou' to M/M and F/F [2007], specifically: "Publishers not comfortable with gay fiction should, of course, not solicit it. But as with any matter of sexuality (as with race, religion or politics), tact is called for."

Friday, February 10, 2012

RIP Zalman King

Film producer Zalman King [IMDb, homepage] passed away last Friday. He was probably best know for bringing erotic content to the large and small screen in the form of  works like Red Shoe Diaries, Two Moon Junction and 91/2 Weeks. His style was sophisticated and often took on a female point of view.  In many ways it can be seen as part of the same movement that caused the breakthrough of erotic romance and other more mainstream forms of erotic mainstream fiction.

See Also:
Zalman King, Creator of Soft-Core Films, Dies at 70

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Friday, February 03, 2012

RWA, still Heteronormative.

I hereby award RWA the inaugural Komen Award for trying to pretend we are not doing something they are totally doing.  That is, discriminating against homosexual romance. (Second verse, same as the first).


Guest Post: Erotic Steampunk Romance: Fad Or Forever? -- Heather Massey

Is erotic steampunk romance just a fad, or does it have staying power?

Short answer: This subgenre definitely has staying power if it’s adequately nurtured.

Like many genres, erotic steampunk romance will probably cycle up and down in the coming years. Right now, it’s relatively young. In that sense, it may be too soon to predict where it’s going.

However, we can identify factors that could influence its fate either way.

As glorious as steampunk gadgets are, there’s a danger of reducing them to the sex toy of the week. Toys are fun and a mainstay of erotic steampunk romance, but without some meaty subtext to accompany the titillation, erotic steampunk romance may very well wind up as grist for the fad mill. Gadgets can be more than just toys—they can also be tools of social commentary.

In fact, one way to give erotic steampunk romance more staying power is social commentary in general. Fear not—social commentary won’t strip away all the fun. If it’s integrated seamlessly, readers can digest it while relaxing into the story at the same time. Authors of erotic steampunk romance can convey lots of interesting commentary about sexual relations, romance, and technology as viewed through the lens of a steampunk setting.

Speaking of settings, erotic steampunk romance can go beyond Victorian England. There’s a whole planet to explore (Africa! China! The American Old West! Under the sea!) and even outer space. Neither are authors limited to steam-powered technology. There are related kinds of punk with which to experiment, e.g., clockpunk and dieselpunk.

Erotic steampunk romance can also include action-adventure elements, and/or be mixed with mystery, fantasy, and horror. They can be light-hearted or dark in tone. Authors limit themselves to a narrow definition of steampunk at their own risk.

In order to endure, erotic steampunk romance would also benefit from featuring ethnic, sexual, and gender diversity. Since steampunk frequently features fantastical elements, why on earth would we want to close ourselves off (as readers and authors) to stories populated by white, heterosexual couples? What about exploring the “Other” with characters such as steampunk cyborgs, characters with prosthetics, and automatons? Couldn’t we have at least one transgender inventor or airship captain? Taking advantage of all the freedoms a niche subgenre has to offer can go a long way toward keeping stories fresh and inventive.

Small press/digital publishers have been putting out calls for erotic steampunk romance for some time now. How long will that last? Difficult to say. Reader interest in such stories will depend on not only on quality, but also on how accessible they are. The steampunk resurgence caught many by surprise, and there’s a bit of a learning curve in the mix.

But the great thing about many editors who work for small press/digital publishers is that they are lifelong fans of science fiction and fantasy. They won’t stop loving steampunk just because a bandwagon has or hasn’t rumbled by. They’ll always be on the look out for a good erotic steampunk romance. So in that sense, yes, these types of stories will have staying power.

Erotic steampunk romance sure is shiny. We risk tarnishing it by treating it as just another bauble. But, with a little spit and polish, we can keep its luster going indefinitely.

  • Heather Massey is a lifelong fan of science fiction romance. She searches for sci-fi romance adventures aboard her blog, The Galaxy Express
  • She’s also an author: Her forthcoming sci-fi romance is The Watchmaker’s Lady (Clockpunk Trilogy #1), coming April 2012 from Red Sage Publishing. To learn more about her published work, visit

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Trestle Mess(le)

What, you mean Ghostrider isn't public domain?
It was pretty clear straight out of the gate that Trestle Press was making their cover art with whatever they found on something like a Google image search, without a thought for source or legality.

Now the chickens are in the process of coming home to roost, thanks in part to the first systematic listing of sources for the covers.

Trestle's response is both ludicrous and badly spelled. "Please not that these claims do not come from any artist or copyright holder, but rather a private individual"--yeah, a private individual who directly contacted the artists involved and confirmed that their work was being used without their permission. [Original Trestle blog posted deleted, screen cap here].

Meanwhile authors that dare to even ask where their cover art came from are being shown the door.

IMHO, the sooner this press ceases to be, the better. Whether by ignorance or malice, this is not the conduct of a viable e-publisher.

On a positive note it is good to see that writers are taking copyright of visual art very seriously, even if Trestle Press isn't.

See Also: