HAPPY NEW YEAR!
And welcome to the first Pillow Talk Secrets of 2015! As your host today, I (Tamsin) am going to grill my two Pillow Talk colleagues, Jade and Malin, about the year that’s just closed and about their hopes for the coming year. But I don’t want to hear about all the things you already know about – the stories they’ve had out and the crazy professional triumphs… No, I’m going to drill a bit deeper with a few impertinant questions, so you can find out what it’s really like to be an erotica writer! Let’s not waste anymore time but dive right in…
Pillow Talk Secrets
Tamsin: Hello ladies. How are you both doing today?
Malin: So good! How are you Tamsin? Jade?
Jade: Great! So nice to be here with you both.
T: It certainly is good to meet for the first time in 2015 – Happy New Year to you both and to all our readers!
J: Yes, Happy New Year! *Blows party whistles* *Throws confetti*
M: I love the New Year – it always feels good to start fresh. *removes confetti from hair* ;)
T: It is great to have a fresh start. Now, let’s get going on today’s business – our look back over 2014 and our look forward over 2015. I’ve got a few questions to put to you two – starting with what was the most surprising thing writing erotica taught you about yourselves last year?
M: Oh boy.. Well, I think the biggest thing it taught me was that I’m far more comfortable with myself sexually now than I’ve ever been. I don’t seem to have the hang-ups that plagued me as a younger, non-erotica writing woman.
J: It certainly does have that effect, doesn’t it? Something about writing erotic things adds to one’s erotic nature, I think.
T: I agree. And on a similar note, the more erotica I write the more comfortable I am with the fact that I’m an erotica writer. At first I didn’t want anyone to know – but now I take the opportunity to tell more people and most of them receive it very well.
J: I just love that feeling! I find the reception being positive is true, too.
M: Yes! It’s kind of funny to realize how much apprehension you can have about writing erotica when you first start playing with it. It’s nice to let that go as you develop as a writer.
J: I wrote about that acceptance of myself as an erotica writer back at the end of 2013 – and this year, having been one with it and really truly loving it, I would say the most surprising thing I learned is what a damn work horse I can be. I mean, I know I go at it sometimes, but I’ve had to pull back from working myself to exhaustion a few times. That was a shocker. I’m sure you both can relate to that, too.
T: Absolutely – that was one of my answers – I’ve surprised myself with my sheer doggedness when it comes to getting stuff done!
M: I never would have called myself a workaholic until this past year, but I’ve been surprised, like both of you, by how much it’s actually true. I guess loving your work brings that out!
J: Yes. But one of the things that’s helped is that you both have been around to “talk me down” when I’m taxing myself. I think that’s one of the greatest things we’ve done for one another (besides all the “talking up,” of course).
M: Yeah – that support really has been critical. It’s easy to push too hard, or get too low. Having two partners/friends who can offer that bit of perspective is just invaluable.
T: It is a wonderful thing, and I wouldn’t be without you two! Now, what’s the most interesting or surprising thing you’ve learned about the industry over the course of 2014?
M: For me it was a fairly general realization. I was surprised by how unstable the market has gotten recently, and yet, within that, how many other options writers have. That and how unfailingly supportive other writers are.
T: That was totally going to be my answer – just how fantastic the erotica community is. We might supposedly be competing against each other but every writer I come across is generous with their support.
J: Yes. It’s a tight-knit group – probably the most lovable and delightful group of all the writer groups I’ve worked with. Considering how much flak the genre can get, it’s wonderful to have that support.
T: If we don’t help each other, who will?
T: Now, turning to what we’ve all been writing, tell me each of you, what was your hottest sex scene of the year?
J: I don’t know if I can pick one! One? Hmm…Malin, what’s yours?
M: Hey! Look at you tossing me the ball!
J: It’s a damn hot potato!
M: Well, okay…. Let me see. I’m not sure if it’s my hottest, but one of my favorites is in a story coming out in Best Women’s Erotica 2015. The story is called “Star F*cker” and the heroine has sex with a hot actor in an elevator. I really, seriously loved writing that scene ;)
J: Oh my god, I love “Star F*cker.” I’ve read this one, people – you’re going to die it’s so good.
T: It was definitely super hot! Let’s just have a couple of sentences to give our readers a little taste…
Excerpt from “Star F*cker”:
Our fingers lace lightly, back to back, as we stare straight ahead, right into our reflection in the soft, polished brass. We look old-fashioned and lovely. You’re lovely, I think. By the time the doors open, my thighs are slick and I can barely breathe.
J: Oh yeah. That was *great*. Wow…okay, pulling it together here…so for me, I’m torn (in case that wasn’t obvious by passing the ball to Malin just now). It’s between some scenes in the book I’m getting ready to write a sequel for, and a couple of the shorts I wrote during The Calls. Do you both remember The Calls? Holy crap, that was a month.
M: I do remember The Calls. I can’t believe I cranked out that many stories in five weeks.
T: Please don’t remind me of it! I was demented!
J: Yeah, but I read a lot of the stories both of you put out that month of submission call madness – they were brilliant. It was definitely a month of creativity! All right. Let’s see…decision time. I’ll go for a scene in the book my agent is marketing right now called The Assignment. It’s a scene set in Maya’s kitchen, when she’s earned her reward for following Dean’s earlier instructions.
Excerpt from The Assignment:
He yanked the skirt of my dress up around my ass. The stainless steel of my fridge fogged with my breath, and I shuddered as he guided his hand between my thighs. Having handed over my panties, I had no barrier to stop the greedy search of his fingers. Dean slid his fingertips along my crevice and I gasped.
“Christ, you’re wet.”
T: Phew! I can vouch for it – that’s a damn hot scene!
J: Thanks, sweetheart! Now what about yours?
T: For me, there’s no doubt that the year’s hottest scenes were all stacking up in the Alchemy xii episodes I’ve written so far. But which to pick…
M: OH MY GOD YES!!! Alchemy is so hot. That scene in the prologue, when Harry spanks Olivia for the first time is insane, and I’m not even really into spanking. Good god, woman. Harry…
J: Ladies and gentlemen, you heard it here first: Alchemy, Alchemy, Alchemy!
T: Thank you, lovelies – but goodness, I hope no one heard it here first – I’ve been pimping it everywhere for months!. And, Malin, that’s an interesting choice – I was thinking of other scenes…I love their first encounter in the Silver Room… Anyway, this little excerpt is how it all kicks off…
Excerpt from Alchemy xii – New Year’s Eve:
Harry put one palm flat against her cheek, then leaned in to whisper in her opposite ear.
“I’m going to take you back to my club now and tie you up. Then I’m going to hurt you,” he said. “Is that what you want?”
When her mouth closed around his and her tongue pushed between his lips, when her kiss became ferociously deep, Harry Lomax knew his hunch about her had been spot on.
J: Yep. That was smokin’. *Wipes brow*
T: So those were our hottest scenes – now what’s the strangest sex scene you two wrote last year?
J: You know, I wouldn’t say I have a strange one, but I had one that was so dark I kind of floored myself. It’s coming out in Rose Caraway’s Dirty 30 Audiobook – it’s in a story called “The Bells,” which is an alt-history retelling of a certain noble’s fate. I wrote it, came out of my trance, and uttered, Where the fuck did that come from?
M: “The Bells” definitely appeals to my darker tastes. It’s really quite incredible.
J: Aw, thank you.
T: And what about yours, Malin?
M: Strange… let’s see. Oh! Yes! I wrote a story for an anthology of theater erotica. In it, two actors becomes so attuned to their characters that they become sort of empathetically possessed and end up having the sex their characters are desperate to experience.
T: Oh, I want to read that please…
J: Oh it’s gooooood. Now, what about you, Tamsin?
T: I have a little short, languishing in my pile, that’s set on a golf course – and it gets pretty strange…
J: Tell us more!
T: Suffice to say, a golfing mad husband finds a novel place to put his tee… *dirty snigger*
M: Okay, yes. I *definitely* want to read this!
T: I’m sure that can be arranged! My next question is – what were your biggest achievements of the year gone by?
M: The whole year has been a bit overwhelming as far as that goes. I think the two biggest for me were getting a story into Violet Blue’s Best Women’s Erotica, which was a long term goal, but even more so, it was getting picked as one of Molly Moore’s 20 of 2014 sex bloggers. I had no idea the year would take me in such a strong sex writing / nonfiction direction, but they have and I’m incredibly happy.
J: Both are fabulous successes! Your sex writing is really killing it, miss. You have so many strong, thoughtful things to say.
T: Yes, your essays have been thought provoking and moving in equal measure – I love reading a new post from you.
M: Thank you – I just want to keep going! What about you both? What are your biggest achievements?
J: For me, it’s a two parter – I think it might be expected that I’m going to say getting an agent, but really it’s the precursor to that: drafting the novel I wrote in six weeks. I’m still not entirely sure how that happened, but my former mentor said he thought I could write two books in a year, and when I thought about how much of a work horse I am, and then how loud this book was buzzing about in my head – I just went for it. It took six weeks with outlining, which sort of blew my mind. Now I can’t wait to write the second book!
T: That really was a truly amazing stint of writing you did then! And I’m so looking forward to the sequel.
M: Me too – you created a really intriguing arc, Jade. I want to see where it goes! But you said your achievement was a two-parter – what’s the second half?
J: Thank you, girls! The second half was finding the lovely Jessica Alvarez, my new agent. She’s a dream. :) I’m bouncing off the walls working with her!
M: Ah, yes! You did strike gold there! And so did she!
T: I have to say that was one of the most exciting moments of the year here at Pillow Talk Towers!
J: You both are so sweet. And sharing that with you two was also gold! I’ve never felt so supported. Like a trio of sisters around here! Okay, so, moving on…what about you, Ms. Flowers?
T: Mine’s pretty damn predictable. At the start of 2014, Alchemy was just a twinkle in my eye. Now I’m at the wheel of a bloody great juggernaut and sometimes I feel like I’m careering out of control! It’s taken most of my energy this year but as it only launched a couple of days ago, I can’t gauge the results.
M: Well, from what I’ve been privileged to read so far, that juggernaut is firmly under your control. I’m so ridiculously excited about that project!
J: It really is something. I swear, sometimes I think Tamsin says, “Look, there’s a mountain. I’m going to go scale that…barefoot. With a hand tied behind my back. And maybe a blindfold. Tally ho!”
M: Ha! Yes!
T: But the truth is, I would not have managed to get it going without you two at my back for the whole wild journey! Thanks, girls!
J: Oh. I’m going to get all mushy now. I just adore you both. I’m SO glad we formed this trio!
M: Me too. If I’m to be totally honest, the best things about the year have to include the two of you. I know it sounds maudlin, but it’s absolutely true.
T: Okay before this melts into mush – a quick-fire question. Where do you see yourselves at the end of 2015?
J: Do you want a serious answer or a true fiction writer answer?
T: That’s up to you…
M: Okay, I’m going to jump in and try to be serious, (because I’m ever-so-serious, *snort*). By the end of 2015, I want to have finished my first novel, The Briary, and be shopping it around. And on the nonfiction front, I’d like to start getting pieces into some of the larger outlets, so that I can move more firmly into sex writing and cultural criticism.
J: These are lovely plans, Malin. I expect we’ll see you there, for sure. As for me, I want to have written the second book of my series, and as I’m aiming to write more personal stuff on my site on a regular basis this year, I hope to have a bank of that up. What about you, Tamsin?
T: I think I’ll be resting! 2015 is going to be a bit of a roller coaster for me, so I just hope I get through it! And at some point, I’d like to get back to my little sexspionage novel and get that out into the world… So that just about wraps things up as far as my questions for you went. What’s coming up in the next newsletter?
M: Well, it would be hard to top our massive holiday edition, but a Spring newsletter is in the works. If you don’t already subscribe, sign up on the left!
T: I’d also love to hear from our readers about their 2014 triumphs and 2015 plans…so on that note, I’ll sign off! See you next time!
J: Yes, thanks for joining us!
M: Thanks, lovelies! See you next time!
Tamsin, Malin and Jade