Pillow Talk News: Holiday Edition

Hi everyone! Our newest edition of Pillow Talk News went out to our subscribers today, and it’s a special Holiday Edition! We really, really appreciate people signing up, but as we want to provide you with a peek in case you’re still unsure about signing up, we’ve posted a little sampler below. If you like what you see, please consider subscribing—you can sign up by clicking right on that link in the left side bar. You can also have a look at the entire month’s newsletter by clicking here.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the Holiday Edition!

Jade, Malin and Tamsin


Hello and welcome to the sixth edition of Pillow Talk News—the special holiday bonus edition! We’ve got holiday cheer, news galore, and lots of free reads from Tamsin Flowers, Malin James, and me, Jade A. Waters, your editrix this time around! 

We are so excited as it’s practically Christmas! Fires are blazing, snow is falling, and…look up! Is that mistletoe dangling over your head? Well then pucker on up, snicker doodle, because we’ve got all sorts of holiday kisses for you!

This time of year is all about friends and family, so we want to send a very special wish to everyone to enjoy the holidays and time with loved ones. But while we’ve got you here, the three of us have warmed our spiced egg nog and are cozied up in the back of a sleigh to share all the freshest news with you!

Click HERE to view the rest of this newsletter!

Pillow Talk Secrets: Tell Me Who You Love

Hello all! Welcome to the newest session of Pillow Talk Secrets! I’m Malin, your hostess for this round. Today my lovely colleagues, Jade and Tamsin, and I, are going to talk about influences – namely the books and authors that have most influenced our work. There’s erotica in there, of course, but other genres too, so please read on to find out who has gotten under our skins and into our heads. Fair warning though – when the three of us start talking about books, gushing and wells of enthusiasm are inevitable, so be prepared. And on that note, here we go!

Pillow Talk Secrets

Malin: Hello ladies! How are you doing today?

Jade: Hi you! Just lovely. How about the two of you?

Tamsin: Hello lovelies, I’m just fine thank you!

M: Excellent! We’ve all been so busy, I’m glad we’re getting to chat today. I’ve been looking forward to this topic since we decided on it a few weeks ago. We’re talking about our writerly, and readerly, influences. Shall we jump right in?

J: I love this topic. Let’s dive in!

T: Ah – I have to say, I’ve not been so sure…you both know but the readers might not, that I actually wrote my first published erotic story before I’d really even read any! So, I can’t claim to be well read and I think I’m playing catch up with you two!

J: To be honest, I hadn’t read all that much erotica before I started, either. In fact, I wrote my first piece when I was like 16. I’d only read a handful of stories by then.

M: Same here. While I read erotica, my real influences fall outside of the genre… So, in that case, if we’re all influenced by work outside the genre, let’s start with non-erotic fiction. Without thinking too hard, which books or authors come to mind?

Owen MeaneyT: I just have one go-to writer – John Irving. Well, obviously there are others, which I’ll come on to but for me, he’s a genius. The characters he creates literally stay with you for years, and they’re all totally individual and intriguing. And he’s one of the very few writers that can have you crying with laughter on one page and then sobbing your heart out on the next. His talent is extraordinary and he has a lot in common with another of my favorites, Charles Dickens. They both write long, involved, complicated stories which you can really sink your teeth into.

M: Ahhhh! John Irving is wonderful. Which of his titles is your favorite?

T: The first Irving I read, and still one of my favorites was Son of the Circus. And then of course, A Prayer for Owen Meany – the nativity scene is my favorite all time scene in any book.

J: So, nobody smack me, but I never read John Irving. Or much Dickens, for that matter, so I’m impressed.

T: Oh, missy, get to the library now!!!

M: I’m sorry – my geek is getting activated. I’m going all single-minded! Tamsin, for Dickens, if you could only pick one Dickens ever to have read, which would it be?

T: Dickens? Bleak House. Oh, and Great Expectations!

M: I love Bleak House! I’m going to admit something here – Bleak House is actually one of the books I had in mind when I started conceiving of The Briary, (my WIP). That and a couple of Wilkie Collins novels and Dracula. Always Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

dracula-coverJ: Yes to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Wow, I loved that one. I read it in high school and couldn’t put it down.

T: God yes! And, of course, as a woman who’s written two vampire novels, Stoker is an inspiration. And Collins too!

M: Oh, I love Wilkie Collins! The Woman in White is still a big favorite! Jade what about you? What’s stayed with you?

J: See, I was all caught up in Margaret Atwood and a few too many rounds of Jane Eyre, (I read that about 12 times by age 10). Plus, I tended to read a lot of more contemporary authors – Anne Rice was one, but more Carol Goodman (LOVE that woman), and Anne Bishop on the spec fic side. Oh and V.C. Andrews. But weren’t we all influenced by V.C. Andrews?

T: No, – I read V.C. Andrews but I didn’t really care for her.

M: I read a couple of V.C. Andrews novels – Flowers in the Attic because EVERYONE read Flowers in the Attic, but I wasn’t a huge overall fan either, though I did like the gothic luridness of the books I did read. Going back to Atwood, what was it about her work that stayed with you?

Robber BrideJ: Well, I read Atwood in high school – my senior year English teacher and a couple friends of mine formed a lunch book club around The Robber Bride, since we’d already discussed The Handmaid’s Tale. Robber was more “mainstream” – but I loved the feel of it all. Atwood has this spectacular, haunting voice, and she tackles real issues in a fictional space. I love that ability to focus the reader on a serious question of how we interact under the guise of fiction.

M: I’m in complete agreement with you on everything you just said, particularly her ability to examine cultural questions through fiction. What about Goodman?

J: Goodman was a totally different influence for me – I started with The Lake of Dead Languages, this goth-lit tale centered around a liberal arts college, and I fell in love. Her writing is packed full of beautiful imagery and prose. It’s also a little haunting, now that I think about it. And for bonus points, Goodman started writing spec fic under a pseudonym a few years back – so now she’s writing with that same compelling weight but in an alternate world. Love that.

T: So, Malin, tell us what books kept you reading into the small hours?

M: I was really, really into Anne Rice – Interview with the Vampire, The Witching Hour… Later on though, came down to Angela Carter, particularly her collection, The Bloody Chamber. I still re-read it once a year.

J: Oh, The Witching Hour. Amazing. Can you tell us more about how Rice and Carter influenced you, though?

Bloody ChamberM: Anne Rice was pivotal because I had never read anything that sexually charged that had so little sex in it. I’m thinking of Interview here, and later The Vampire Lestat. There was so much latent sexuality in those books, but the effect was subtle. It got right under my skin. Plus, there were a lot a implied taboos – homosexuality, vampiric incest, (with Claudia and later Lestat and his mother) – I’ve always been drawn to characters and stories that dance along the edges of those themes. For Carter, it was her fierceness and sexual frankness. The stories in the The Bloody Chamber are unapologetic and powerful, literary, but again, intensely sexual. I think I was always looking for sexuality, especially in books that, on the surface, had little to do with sex.

T: Can I just get a bit trashy and throw in Jacqueline Suzanne? Reading Valley of the Dolls under the covers was pivotal!

M: Yes, I think Valley of the Dolls was important in a lot of ways. Plus, deliciously trashy. Actually speaking of trashy, are there any sort of guilty pleasures in your influences, (outside the fabulous Ms. Suzanne?)

J: Yes! I loved Erica Spindler for a long time, and still pick up a book by her occasionally. She writes those NY Times Bestsellers in which a female detective or the like falls for a man who happens to be the serial killer she’s investigating. Drama! My utter fave was Shocking Pink.

M: I’ve never read any Erica Spindler. I’ll have to check it out.

T: Me neither!  I have to admit to loving anything by Carl Hiaasen, as well. Because of him, I now have a desperate urge to visit the parts of Florida most holidays don’t reach!

M: I’m in the Carl Hiaasen camp too, Tamsin. He’s so clever. For me, trashy pretty much came down to… oh, god, I’m kind of embarrassed.. Harlequin Historicals. It’s just true. It was the trashy stuff I could get my hands on at 16 and it taught me a lot. Ahem.

J: See, for me, I was sneaking in a lot of horror stuff. Stephen King, and the one I loved for such a long time – Christopher Pike. That was my “trashy” until Erica Spindler, though I still read him.

M: Oh, yes. Christopher Pike! I loved Remember Me.

J: So good!

lure-of-dangerous-women2M: Let’s talk more about the erotica writers who have really stayed with us. I know Jade’s got a serious favorite.

J: Well, technically, I have two. Alison Tyler (but I think we all love Ms. Tyler) and one who is fairly quiet on the scene but so fucking brilliant – Shanna Germain. She’s just…wow. So incredibly literary and lovely with the erotica she writes.

M: I’m cherry picking my way through The Lure of Dangerous Women at your recommendation Jade. It really is incredible. “Trill” is phenomenal. How has her work influenced your writing?

J: Yes, that. Oh my god. She took a real risk with that one and it was perfect, but the whole collection is splendid, really. For me it’s all about the weight thing – there’s a depth and complexity to her writing; she makes you think. The characters aren’t just sweet people having sex – they’ve got a density, with real pasts and issues that are clear beyond the pages. One of the things I love about her is that if you removed the sex, you’d still have an amazing tale and vivid characterization. “To Be In Clover” is one of hers that blows my mind – it’s in one of the Best Erotic Romance installments, and it’s this sweet tale about a man being completely taken with a woman from their youth into their older age, but it’s got all this memory and imagery built in. I’m a sucker for imagery, I guess. And gorgeous prose.

M: I think our favorites are tonally quite similar. Remittance Girl for me is really pivotal. The first story of hers I read was “Pleasure’s Apprentice.” It was in a Best Women’s but you can find it on her site now. It literally cracked open what was possible in the genre for me. It was also the first story I’d ever read featuring D/s. I still remember the sense of control that ran through the whole story. To say it made an impression is an understatement.

J: Oh yeah. Her words are so powerful. She gets to the grit, I think. What is it about her that draws you in?

M: I think she has the same sort of appeal for me that Angela Carter does. She has a fierce, unflinching approach to her characters and sexual dynamics, but she executes everything with a fine, considered hand. Her stories are full of humanity – sometimes beautiful, sometimes profane. There’s a balance in her work that I really love and hope one day to develop myself. Tamsin, who do you love?

Venus in FursT: Anais Nin, Pauline Reage, Nabakov (well, Lolita is practically erotica) and Sacher-Masoch. Yes, God, I love Venus in Furs. That book simply transports me!

J: Oh my word, where was my head? Yes to Anais and Pauline!

M: I’m an idiot! Of course, Anais! I read the first volume of her diary four times in college! And Venus in Furs… soooo good.

J: I think we’re just so in love with everyone right now, it’s slipping our minds.

M: Tamsin, how did they influence you and your work?

T: Actually, that’s a tough one to answer, because I couldn’t begin to hope to write like any of them. So their influence is not so much stylistic as in terms of – and this must hold true of all writers – when you read something you really love, something that moves you and stays with you, it inspires in you the great desire to write and create something of your own.

M: Yes, I understand that. It makes you want to find and develop your own voice, and write with as much strength as you can…. God. I was just scanning this conversation and between the three of us, we cover A LOT of ground – both on the mainstream side and on the erotica side.

J: Definitely. There are so many amazing authors out there!

M: There really are. On that note, I’d like to invite our lovely readers to tell us some of their favorites in the comments below. Who do you love, both in erotica, as well as in other genres? Who are we missing? Tell us! We want to know!

J: My curiosity is piqued! Yes, readers, we’d love to know. Tell us more great authors to read – and thanks for joining us as we talked about our faves!

T: I know when we see the suggestions, we’ll be like *face-palm* – how did we forget that one?!? There are just too many totally brilliant books out there.

M: Too many for one lifetime, but I still love knowing they’re out there! Thanks so much for joining us again for another conversation! A new edition of our newsletter is in the works and should be out in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, we hope you’re cuddling into November with coffee, tea, wine, gin or whatever you happen to have on hand, and a lovely book of your own.


Malin, Tamsin and Jade

PS – If you haven’t signed up for our newsletter you can take a peek at the last one or sign up here!



Pillow Talk News: October Edition

Hello all! Last week, the latest edition of Pillow Talk News went out to all of our lovely subscribers. We really, really appreciate that people are signing up, but we also realize that it’s sort of a hard thing to ask people to sign up for something they’ve never seen. So, here is the October edition of our newsletter so that anyone can take a peek! If you like what you see, please consider subscribing  – you can sign up by clicking right on that link in the left side bar. You can also have a look at the whole thing by clicking here.

In the meantime, we hope you enjoy the bite-sized treat! Happy Halloween!

Jade, Malin and Tamsin



Hello and welcome to the fifth issue of Pillow Talk News – your cutting edge news source for information and updates on Tamsin Flowers, Jade A. Waters and me, Malin James, your editrix this time around!

It’s nearly Halloween and we’ve been as busy as succubi at a sleep study. Between the book tour for The Sexy Librarian’s Big Book of Erotica, guest posts, blog tours and the Pillow Talk Erotic Poetry Challenge, (which went quite well, we must say!), it’s been go-go-go.

Now, with the whirlwind that was September behind us, we’ve been settling in with projects, work-in-progress and a veritable witch’s brew of goodies that will soon be coming your way. Don’t be fooled, though – we’ve always got time for one more trick…er, treat, including an upcoming release. But before I get too far ahead of myself, read on to find out a bit more about what we’ve each been up to.

Click HERE to see the rest!

Pillow Talk Secrets: Details, Details, Details…

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the next round of Pillow Talk Secrets! Today, Malin James, Tamsin Flowers and I—your host for the day, Jade A. Waters—have some major details to discuss…physical details, that is. The question is, how much physical description is “ideal” in erotica, and is it the same for readers as it is for writers?

We are so delighted you’ve joined us—so without further ado, let’s talk about those dirty details…

Pillow Talk Secrets

Jade: Hello, ladies! So nice to be back together again! How are the both of you?

Malin: Hiya! I’m doing good—got my first cup of tea right here, so I’m feeling fine (though I’ll feel better after the third!).

Tamsin: Hello girls—hope you’re both well!

J: Good to see you both. I’m very excited for today’s session! Shall we dive right in?

T: Absolutely!

J: All right—today is all about the dirty deets. As in, how much specific physical detail do we like to read and write in our erotica? It’s a pretty broad topic. Any initial thoughts?

T: Just to explain how this topic came up—I was having a chat with Malin as she’d been beta reading something for me, and I pointed out that I’d never mentioned what colour hair the protagonist had. So I asked her if that mattered.

Eye Color Detail

Her eyes were the most amazing shade of…

M: And my response was that, for me, it definitely didn’t. I actually preferred it. I’m a “less-is-more” kind of girl whether I’m writing or reading. I like selective amounts of specific detail, and then I like to let my brain, (or the reader’s), fill in the rest.

J: I get the sense this is a common feeling for the three of us—and maybe a lot of other erotica authors as well. Sometimes, too much detail can throw things off. For example, if a character is described as having enormous breasts, or a certain color hair, or a freckle on the forearm… that paints a very specific image.

T: I find there’s nothing worse when I’m reading a story if the action breaks off for a whole paragraph of physical description, like the writer’s going down a checklist of hair, eyes, height and so on…

M: Absolutely. It feels manufactured. You basically want your reader to identify with the characters—if you lay in a ton of generic detail (large breasts, curly hair, etc), it can make it more challenging for the reader to put herself or himself in the story.

J: I don’t want to discount some detail—I think some detail orients the reader. The key is just enough, without becoming overkill.

T: Drip feeding it is the preferred way, I think. A small, specific detail here, another there, to build up a gradual picture—not all at once.

M: It’s also important to drip feed those details (I love that, by the way) in as they become relevant. Don’t give us a dossier the moment the character walks into the room…

J: Exactly. I kind of feel like it’s the same as back story, in some ways—you can’t dump it all up front, so you have to pick and choose what’s necessary. Plus, if you paint a ridiculously concrete image: this shape, this hair, these eyes, this build, this and that etc. and on and on, where do I get to imagine what this person actually looks like when I’m the reader?

T: No, I have to disagree a little. I think, drip fed, you do want very specific details. Not just blue eyes—everyone has that—you want a shade of blue, or an eye shape or something that sets your character apart from the bland, generic stud in every other book. A scar or wrinkle or a dimple—these details don’t have to be the ideal of handsome.

M: And along those lines, what’s the expression in the glacial blue eyes? Is he or she unreadable? Carnivorous? That’s the stuff that draws me in…

J: I love “carnivorous”! But I think I explained my earlier comment poorly—I do think having a sense of what the character looks like is important, but it’s got to be colorful enough to not hit me over the head with a cardboard image.

M: Agreed. I also think that a lot can be learned about a character by the way she walks into a room. Or what he has tattooed on his arm—a 1940’s pinup says something very different than a Buddhist mandala or barbed tribal ink.

Wild Flower Hair

Her hair always smelled of wild flowers…

J: There we go. Specific, but colorful. Exactly what I’m talking about!

T: But I’d love to know what readers think—do they want vague characters so they can fill in the gaps or really detailed characters so they feel they get to know them?

M: Let’s invite the readers to comment on this one. I’d be curious to hear what other people think. As with most things in erotica, I think it comes down to personal preference.

J: Totally. But before we ask the official question—I have another I’d like to discuss as well. What about the super dirty details—as in, how much detail do you like in your sex acts? (Um, in stories of course.) :)

T: That’s a tough one to answer. It varies. Too little detail and you don’t get a feel for what’s happening—but too much can also be a bit of a turn off and make the scene go on for too long. It just depends how it’s written.

M: For the most part, I agree, though I would say that by the time most people read erotica, they’re familiar with the mechanics of sex, so describing everything in mechanical detail can be a bit repetitive.

J: Right. “He put his hand here, she put her leg there, he inserted his cock into her pussy, he moved back and forth…” That’s a little much. No, that’s a lot much.

M: Exactly. What I like to read and the way I tend to write sex scenes is to focus on the details that make the sexual act specific to the two characters involved—what’s turning them on and how do they respond to the, uh, stimulus.

T: Definitely—it’s got to be about the response to each other and the feelings, not the body parts!

J: I swear we share a brain. Can I just say that? But back to our discussion…to me, this is the difference between “erotica” and “porn”—erotica needs that connection, not just the body parts.

Woman On Top of Man Looking Blissed

It’s all about the connection!

M: I would very much agree with that distinction. I also think it’s funny that we keep trying to go for fun debates and end up on the exact same page all the time. ;)

T: Yes. However, I’d definitely like to hear from the readers on this one—we three write erotica and because of that we read a hell of a lot of it, and I know sometimes I can feel a bit jaded when I get to a really long, drawn-out sex scene. But for a reader who reads it only occasionally, maybe this is what they’re after…

J: True. But before we close shop, wasn’t there something else we wanted to discuss?

T: Yes. I have to ask—how did you enjoy last time’s poetry challenge?

J: That’s what it was! Oh my goodness. As I’m sure you can guess, I loved it. What about you, Malin?

M: I have to say that I loved it too! It was a nice departure for me. Plus, the poems you both produced were such a pleasure. I was inspired and completely impressed!

T: I’ve read both of your amazing poems—and Jade’s challenge to herself, to write seven poems over seven days, was incredible.

J: But so was your poem! Geez, woman, you wrote a sexy sonnet. Wow!

T: I have to say, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, not really being a poetry sort of girl. That sonnet was the first poem I’d written since the dim and distant days of doing them for school homework—so I think it didn’t turn out too bad!

M: I have to admit that I almost felt as if I cheated with the free verse after reading your sonnet, Tamsin! The bard would have been proud—it was properly filthy!

J: I agree. And Malin, yours was gorgeous too! A big kudos all around for the effort. Hurray for erotic poetry!

T: If you missed our poems, you can find them here:

Tamsin’s Sweat Slick

Jade’s Poetry Page (includes all seven poems she wrote for the challenge)

Malin’s I Am…

J: Thanks for such a great challenge, Tamsin. Now I think it’s time to head back to our main topic—readers, what do you think about details? What do you like to read in terms of both physical character details and specific sexual details? We’d love to know! Please comment below. :)

Jade, Malin and Tamsin

PS Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter if you haven’t already! The newest edition comes out in about two weeks. Sign up is just up on the left!

Want to play with fire? Take the Heat release day

Jade A. Waters:

A new piece from Tamsin!

Originally posted on TAMSIN'S SUPEROTICA:


Another release day has crept up behind me and shouted ‘boo’ in my ear! How could I have forgotten that today’s the day that Take the Heat hits the street? This is a steamy, sizzling anthology full of bad boys, smart girls and criminal intent, all put together by the queen of dark erotica, Skye Warren – and it features a fabulous line-up of writers, including Pam Godwin, Shoshanna Evers, Trent Evans and Giselle Renarde. It’s already been garnering 5-star reviews and I’ve been really thrilled as a couple of times my own story, “Playing with Fire”, has been singled out for praise.

TakeTheHeat-500x750Take the Heat

The ultimate bad boys, criminals capture our attention and awaken our darkest desires. Celebrate the illicit in this romantic suspense anthology, where handcuffs are used for more than play. These stories are shocking, sexy, and thought-provoking.

In New York Times Bestseller Skye Warren’s…

View original 1,006 more words

Pillow Talk Secrets: She’s a One-Man Woman – But Does She Have to Be?


And welcome to another round of Pillow Talk Secrets, in which Malin James, Jade A Waters and I, Tamsin Flowers, will be dishing the dirt on a subject close to all our hearts – is it acceptable for an erotica heroine to sleep with more than one partner? So, I’ve mixed the martinis, handed out the olives and the nuts – let’s not waste any more time in getting down to business!

Pillow Talk Secrets


Tamsin: Hello, girls. Nice to see you!

Jade: You as well! How are you?

T: Great!

Malin: Hi ladies! I’m here!

T: Hello, gorgeous!

M: Ah, now this is how I want to start a day – chatting with the two of you. Nothing tops it.

J: So true! Now, who’s leading us today?

M: Our lovely, Tamsin, I believe! And I think she’s got something really interesting in mind.

J: Bring it, T!

T: Okay, I’m going to launch us straight in to today’s topic: Is it all right for the heroine of your book to sleep with more than one partner? This is a question that’s been batting around my brain for quite some time now. As you two know, I’ve just finished the first draft of my sexy spy thriller, Honeytrap, and my heroine certainly gets called upon to cosy up with the villains as well as the good guys. But I remembered reading somewhere that it’s a big no-no to readers if the heroine sleeps with multiple partners. How would you two handle this dilemma?

M: So, I have a couple of thoughts right off the top of my head. The first is that context is probably critical – how and why is she sleeping with multiple partners seems to make quite a difference in how readers respond… What do you think, Jade?

J: I agree. There are so many variations here – is she a free bird, is she cheating, is she in a negotiated polyamorous situation? Maybe we should focus on one at a time.

T: Ooh! Free bird is a new expression for me. I like that!

Why should she choose between them?

Why should she choose between them?

J: I just made that up. :)

M: I love it! Interestingly, I think the free bird scenario is the trickiest for writers. There’s still  surprising amount stigma attached to a female character who sleeps with multiple partners for no other reason than she wants to. Her own desire might be perfectly valid justification, but that doesn’t seem to settle well with readers in general. It’s a real shame, actually. There’s a lot in that restriction that doesn’t sit well with me.

J: I think that’s still, sadly, largely due to the real life cultural view on women having multiple partners – and it translates directly into people’s reading.

T: And this is where the question is interesting. Obviously, if someone buys a menage story, they’re expecting multiple partners. But there seems to be a real move in the market towards erotic romance rather than plain erotica at the moment – and with it comes a demand for the heroine to be, how shall I put it, better behaved or in lurve!

M: Yes! I think that the romance element / narrative structure, (of a couple finding their way to each other), greatly impacts reader expectation.

J: Which is a shame – I don’t think it’s impossible for a woman to find romance with multiple partners at the same time. It’s called “dating.” You know?

M: Yup. But this romance expectation is inherently limiting. What about a character being in lurve or lust with two different men but not being forced to choose? What if she just has a healthy sexuality and enjoys romance and dating with more than one guy? It should be alright to make her arc the priority, rather than focusing on her as one half of a fated couple.

T: I think, what it boils down to, is who are we writing for? And also the way we then go about promoting that story to the readers.

M: I think the “who are we writing for” question is valid and important – it always comes down to audience. Even more importantly, from a personal angle, is the question of how we approach a story – are we writing it primarily to please ourselves, or a market? I don’t think there’s an easy or right answer there. It may just depend on the story or project.

J: Or the publisher. This actually reminds me of a Facebook exchange we had with Kristina Lloyd a few weeks ago – do you both remember?

T: Yes, I do.

M: Me too. The timing was uncanny.

J: Yes – Kristina mentioned how challenging it was to write what was near and dear to her – more “controversial” topics – and yet still fit into the expectations for the market. We definitely straddle a fine line when we write for that reason. (Heh…see what I did there?) :) But seriously, there is so much that actually happens in reality – woman, aka real people, having multiple partners – that still isn’t accepted in literature. Which is so strange, as we’re okay with people hacking people to pieces…

M: And we’re generally okay with real women having slept with more than one or two men -

J: Or five?

M: Or five. :) Though that tends to open the door to slut shaming and social judgement, so maybe I should retract that.

T: However, I think in stories it has a bit more to do with our expectation of a story arc than being realistic. We can’t deny that there’s a satisfaction with the story going where it needs to go – ie the Happy-Ever-After – and that’s why a lot of readers pick up romances. But for erotica, there should be a bit more leeway.

M: Tamsin, I know this question came up for you in relation to one of your WIPs. Are you comfortable giving us a hint of what goes on with your heroine in Honeytrap? I know it’s early days yet…

It's not an either/or decision...

It’s not an either/or decision…

T: Yeah – things may change when I get it beta read! But at the moment, she only goes so far with alternative partners as in this case she’s a spy and doing it for work rather than pleasure.

J: So essentially, she’s “sleeping around” – and I’m actually saying this aloud because we’ve been avoiding the term in this discussion, which really shows how deep the stigma around this is still – but it’s all for work. Which is an entirely different reason. I feel like that could be acceptable for readers in this story, even in an erotic romance context. It opens the door for her to do that ever-desired “choosing” at some point.

T: It justifies it, in this case. But I’d like to feel free to write women characters who don’t need to justify it.

M: That need for justification ties right into my second thought on the whole issue. Women, I think, still feel a certain pressure to justify or defend their sexual behavior – not just to men, but to other women. There’s still a deep cultural need to be above reproach. When you read erotic romance, where the characters are fairly idealized, the heroine needs some sort of external justification if she’s going to sleep with multiple partners. In straight up erotica, which is less constrained by the happily-ever-after, the justification is not as strongly required because the reader’s expectations are different. It’s why I’m awful at it, by the way :)

J: At the erotic romance?

M: Yup. I always end up focusing on things other than getting that couple together. It’s something I’ve got to work on!

T: I don’t believe that.

J: Ditto on that. Crazy girl! But you know, you make a good point – I’m working on a book right now in which the woman is sleeping with a couple people, paths are crossing, etc…but she’s come from a place of having been in one relationship and is in that period we all, as humans, go through – needing to scope out the turf, if you will – and I remember thinking, “Um, I guess I just switched into erotica” the moment I introduced another partner. It was a very interesting epiphany.

T: Well, my new project is set in a club. So everyone’s having a go with everyone! Beware, easily offended readers!

M: Cue me grabbing my glasses and getting ready to settle in with it when you’re done. You’re speaking my language, lady!

J: No kidding!

T: I have to say, I’m having a lot of fun with it already and I’m only 30 pages in!

M: Hmm. You know what? Based on that, and on Jade’s new work and the epiphany she had, and on my own WIP which is much more about a threesome dynamic, I wonder if we’re not naturally drawn to erotica, rather than erotic romance per se?

J: I don’t know – my last project was definitely erotic romance, but an edgier version of it, and it felt comfortable. I think it just depends. Fluidity!

T: I like a bit of both – I would have a problem being faithful to one!

M: No, you’re absolutely right. After all, why constrain yourself to one subgenre when you can get your finger into multiple pies? In the end, I suppose it comes down to the individual project.

J: See, we like to write stories the same way we like to craft our characters’ partners – with multiple options! Hee.

T: And talking of multiple options, Jade, you’ve seem to have added yet another string to your bow! We need to congratulate you on having a poem selected in that contest over at Vanillerotica. To me that’s amazing! I’ve never actually tried to write an erotic poem, so hat’s off to you, darling!

M: I second that! I have never tried my hand at poetry, and I have to say that I’m a bit intimidated by it. Yours is so lovely though.

J: *Blushing* Oh my gosh, girls, thank you! You’re both so sweet. Yes, it was called “Awake the Nymph,” and I had fun writing it!

T: I’ve found this rather inspiring – and as I’m in charge of this session, I’m going to set us all a challenge! (Tee hee.) And that is for each of us to write a poem – erotic naturally – and put it up on our own blogs before we have our next session! Are you game, girls?

M: Yes! I can’t turn down a challenge.

J: I gladly accept this challenge. I love writing erotic poetry, honestly – quick, dirty…I don’t know, I feel like I get in this head space when I do it that just moves me in a whole different way. What are the specs?

Waiting for the muse...

Waiting for the muse…

T: No rules – whatever you want – but sexy. Okay, that’s one rule. It has to be sexy.

M: All right if it doesn’t rhyme? I’m good at rhythm (ahem), but rhyming…oh boy.

J: Yeah, rhyming…that’s a whole different ball park.

T: That’s so funny – I don’t think I could write a poem without rhyming. Probably shows that I’m at a primary school level of poetry writing!

J: No no no. It’s just a stylistic thing. I’ve been writing poems since, geez, high school? But I rarely went for rhyming. (And yes, some of those high school ones were pretty dirty, too.)

T: You see, when I was a kid, I had a rhyming dictionary. But I don’t think it would have the vocab I need for this challenge!

J: *Snort.*

M: I propose we all just tap into our inner Byrons and see what comes out… Or maybe, in my case, my inner Dorothy Parker…

T: Ooh! That sounds exciting… Mine might be a bit more my inner Dr Seuss!

M: Ha! Dr. Seuss! Tamsin, I love it!

J: Yes, and what a great challenge! Nice call! So before our next session on – oh, let’s see…October 8th – we will post a poem. Tada!

T: Wow! October 8th seems like a lifetime away, doesn’t it? But it’ll come round faster than you believe – so I’m off now to study iambic pentameters and find a word that rhymes with ‘stunt’! See you next time, girls…

M: Later ladies! I’ve got a recalcitrant protagonist to whip into shape ;) And thanks to our lovely readers for joining us again! See you next time!

J: Agreed. Till next time!

T: And just one thing, before I forget – look out for the next edition of our newsletter, which should be hitting your inboxes during the second week of August! Sign up in the left sidebar if you haven’t already done so. Bye until then!


Jade, Malin and Tamsin


Pillow Talk Secrets 2: Those Boys, Alphas and Doms, Oh My!

Hello and welcome to the second session of Pillow Talk Secrets! This is Malin, your host for this round, and all I can say is that Tamsin, Jade and I have quite a chat lined up. You see, all three of just read Those Boys, which will be coming soon from Go Deeper Press – it’s the highly anticipated sequel to Alison Tyler’s fantastic novelette, Those Girls. Of course, we wanted to discuss it right away, but instead we decided to be incredibly good and save it for this session. As you can imagine, by now, we’re dying to talk to each other about it so, rather than torture ourselves any longer, we’re going to jump right in and get this party started!

Pillow Talk Secrets 2

Malin: Hello ladies!

Tamsin: Hello Malin, hello Jade!

Jade: And hello to both of you!

M: So, I don’t know about you two, but I’m dying to talk to you both about Those Boys. Should we start there?

T: Absolutely. But before we launch in, we should tell people who might not know this is the second book in Alison Tyler’s series that started with Those Girls – both published by Go Deeper Press.

J: Yes, and that we were fortunate enough to score ourselves an early copy of Those Boys - quite possibly because the Universe is just amazing – and wow are we happy about it!

The gorgeous cover for Those Boys, by Alison Tyler. Courtesy of Go Deeper Press.

The gorgeous cover for Those Boys, by Alison Tyler. Courtesy of Go Deeper Press.

M: It was a really lovely treat. There’s a lot of food for thought in both the first book, and now the second. For those readers who haven’t read the first book yet, let’s do a really quick run-down.

T: No spoilers!

M:  I would never! Okay. Summary not spoilers: it’s told from the POV of a Dom named Sandy. This man is the real deal – a Dom’s Dom. Basically, the novelette is about how he goes about initiating the lovely, slightly stand-offish Vanessa. How’s that?

J: Good – and I want to add this little piece I once read on Alison Tyler’s blog – I can’t remember her exact verbiage, but she said she originally thought Sandy was going to be a she, and then Sandy become this beautifully bisexual Dom. But the key, or the power of Sandy, was that it didn’t matter who he had control over – only that he had that control. The magic is being in his head, because he’s such the Dom’s Dom, as Malin said.

M: And there is magic in his head. You rarely see such a nuanced, authentic portrayal of a dominant in erotica, especially a male dominant, which is a shame.

T: But, I have to admit to a little disappointment with Those Girls, (shock! horror!).

J: What?!

T: Not because it wasn’t brilliant – it was! But it was too damn short! I wanted more. Straight away!

J: Oh well then, in that case…I totally agree.

T: I think Sandy’s character really came into its own, though, in Those Boys. I really got much more of a feel for him – this is a massive development on the first story and with the addition of a new character, Rem, we really get to understand how Sandy’s mind ticks.

J: Agreed! The first novella was more about Sandy leading Vanessa out – but in the second novella, we see so much more of who he is.

M: Yes. I actually think that the second book is, if anything, even stronger than the first because it gives us a deeper perspective on Sandy’s tremendously interesting psychology. His motivations are singular and entirely his own.

T: Yes, Those Boys is definitely stronger and it’s made me hungry for more of Sandy’s story (hint, hint, Alison Tyler!).

J: You know, I heard she’s doing a prequel next! Did either of you hear that?

T: Yes, I did!

M: I heard there was going to be another book, but I didn’t know it was going to be a prequel. Now, that’s going to interesting…

J: And really damn hot. Oh, I do love Sandy’s character so…

M: Okay, so now, tell me what is it about Sandy that works for you guys? Because I feel like it might be different for every reader.

T: I love how fond he is of his subs – he’s not all about the just being bossy and in charge – he really cares for them and what their needs are. He’s interested in exploring their minds, not just in dominating their bodies. It seems like a much more balanced D/s relationship than most other fictional ones.

J: Exactly. And while we do see his need for dominance through his really rich commentary on what he’s doing, wanting, etc., it’s so clear he’s full of compassion and care – but not in a bunny foo foo weird kind of way.

M: Yes! His awareness is completely authentic – he takes his responsibility and control seriously. He is literally giving Rem and Vanessa what they need, and in doing so, he gets what he needs from them. I also love that he has a serious sense of honor. It’s not a typical moral code, but he has a hard, honest integrity.

T: The other thing I really like about Sandy is that he doesn’t constantly lecture his subs about what it means to submit. I get so fed up with these fictional Doms that are pompous and preachy all the time. And have you ever noticed how they only get brand new ‘virgin’ subs? Would that be because experienced subs avoid them like the plague? ;)

J: Right. That is so fucking annoying. It makes the Dom two dimensional and the sub so clichéd – or at least, that’s how it always reads to me.

M: I agree. It’s frustrating because the last thing I really want to read about is a Dom throwing his or her weight around in a meaningless, shallow way – obey my commands, slut! And yet, in everything they do, they’re totally unworthy of the respect they assume inherently comes with being dominant. It’s silliness, and they’re wrong.

T: And it never seems that these relationships could be sustained in real life – they’re just not that realistic when there’s no apparent empathy between Dom and sub, or no humour and fun. How does a Dom like that manage going to the store or taking out the trash?

M: It’s true. There are so many cookie-cutter portrayals in fiction that just… I don’t know. Fall flat, especially when you know that there are a lot of people enjoying rewarding, complicated authentic D/s relationships in real life.

J: Exactly. I think – since there are people just coming to understand that this dynamic is real and out there and very much lived by some couples – that we need to have more of these realistic portrayals. Otherwise, so many who aren’t aware believe it’s actually like the flat version, and that’s no good.

T: Goodness – I’m about to start writing a new Dom character. I’d better make damn sure he lives up to our high expectations!

M: It’ll be brilliant – because you write people and that’s the most important thing.

T: Well, I have to say, I started to develop him when I was on holiday and I’m already a little in love with him. Okay, a lot! But that’s all I’ll say for now.

J: You are a tease, Tamsin. For shame. Regardless, I do know you write some strong alphas. Take Etienne and Saul, for example, from The Crimson Bond – oh la la. Those are convincing alphas.

M: Saul. It’s all about Saul. Etienne’s great, but really. Saul. Now that’s a well-rounded, complicated alpha if ever I saw one… Plus, he’s fucking hot.

The Scarlet Bond, Tamsin's sexy new release

The Scarlet Bond, Tamsin’s sexy new release

J: I agree. Well, I’m kind of torn. Etienne has something that’s working for me, but Saul’s beginning to call to me more. Perhaps in the second book [The Scarlet Bond], he’ll woo me away from Etienne! Speaking of…isn’t that out, like, right now?!

T: Absolutely – and there’s a new character in this episode, Rakim Argent, the head of an opposing vampire clan, that really gives our boys Etienne and Saul a run for their money! But I have to say, these vampires are not really comparable with serious Dom portrayals – it’s all a bit of camp fun in vampire land!

M: Well, I’m looking forward to getting my paws on that sequel. The Scarlet Bond looks great. Plus, I love a good alpha. And a true to life Dom, (and sub), for that matter.

T: Now, if I can let the readers in on a little secret, I think that our own Jade has written the most brilliant Dom ever but you’ll all have to wait a while before you meet him… and I’m probably talking out of turn…

J: Oh, you’re so sweet, Tamsin! Thank you. Good ole Dean…can’t wait for everyone to meet him one day…

M: Actually, I’m curious. I think we’ve all written dominants, (though mine are mostly female). How did you both approach that? Any different from any other type of character? Or really just focusing on the individual?

T: That’s a tough question. Sometimes characters pop up fully formed and sometimes I have to drag them out kicking and screaming but I don’t really have a way of approaching different types of characters… You two?

M: I tend to come at them as individuals rather than types, though personalities do fall into certain broad categories. I just try to keep their individuality intact when I put them on paper… Does that make sense? What about you Jade?

J: It does make sense. I’ve written a few, and they’re definitely distinct from one another and not “boxed” in my head as a certain type or anything. I guess I kind of go with my mood – what type of dom would I be swayed by if I were on the other end of this…today? :) And then I just run with it…

M: Makes sense. In the end, it kind of comes down to our own relationships with the characters we create.

T: I would certainly say that for this next one, I want to create a Dom that’s as far away different from Christian Grey as is humanly possible!

J: Um, I think you’ve got that covered. Back to my 2D comment…he’s everything about the standard portrayal that I don’t like and that I don’t think accurately conveys the true emotion behind it.

M:  Uh, yeah. I’m going to save you all a rant and just say that I agree.

J: The only positive on that book was that it opened the dynamic up to the world – like, yes, this does exist in real life – so that’s good. Now it’s important that we as writers start portraying the reality. It’s far sexier, anyway.


No cardboard Doms, please.

T: You said it, girl! So now just a quick fire question to both of you – what are you currently working on?

M: I’ve got a few irons in the fire, but the focus right now is my novel. It’s a historical BDSM menage situation. I was going to say it’s like Downton, but filthier, but it’s not. It does have corsets though. And crops. For riding. Horses. You know

J: Ditto on the irons for me…I just finished the first book of a trilogy (with the previously mentioned Dom) called The Assignment, and now I’m taking a short story and novella breather before I go back in for the sequel. Back to that earlier comment about loving your Doms? Yeah. I get a little overwhelmed sometimes writing that guy… What about you, Tamsin?

T: Okay – I just this morning finished writing a story for the fabulous Rose Caraway of The Kiss Me Quick’s podcasts and this afternoon I’ve been slaving away on my sizzling sexspionage novel, Honeytrap. I need to get that finished up before diving headlong into my huge Alchemy XII project! (More on that soon but for now it’s a badly kept secret!)

M: I’m really pretty excited about all of that, I have to say. Plus, sexspionage is just such fun.

T: And so hot!

J: Yes yes yes…! Can’t wait for those. Oh! Hey, before we go, should we mention our upcoming newsletter?

M: That’s a fabulous idea – especially as we’ll have a lot more info on Tamsin’s new release, The Scarlet Bond, in there. We’re pretty excited.

T: I’m pretty excited about it myself. But what else is on the roster?

J: Well, we have a couple new releases to tell you about. And I just had the honor of having my story “Soundscapes” performed by the fabulous Rose Caraway of The Kiss Me Quick’s (*squeal!*), so there’s more about that in there, too…

M: One of my posts got a nice little editor’s prize so there will be a bit about that. Plus, Jade and I had a couple of sexy excerpts over at Unbound Magazine. And then I think there’s at least one anthology with one, (or two?), of us in it coming out in the next little bit.

J: Yes. So if you haven’t signed up yet, please be sure you do – that way you can catch all the news we don’t cover here. This month’s newsletter will be out on the 20th.

T: Can’t wait to find out what you two have been getting up to!

M: No good, I can guarantee. ;)

J: Naturally. Erotica writers talking dirty, and all. Tee-hee.

M: And on that entirely appropriate note, should we sign off?

T: I think so – and the conclusion for today – grab Those Boys when you can (literally or figuratively!). Bye!

J: What she said! So much fun!

M: Agreed on all counts! Talk to you ladies soon! And thank you readers for reading!

J: Oooh, and a huge thank you to Go Deeper Press and Alison Tyler for giving us a sneak peek of Those Boys!

Jade, Malin and Tamsin

PS – what do you look for in a fictional – or real life – dom? Let us know in the comments…