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'08 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Epublishing: A Different Way
Choosing an Epublisher
Your Milage May Vary
Understand Your Contract!
Reasonable Expectations

by Louisa Burton
The Publishing Biz
Critiquing: To Give and ...
Commerical vs. Literary...
Antiformalism for Fun &...
So You Want to Write a Novel
The Story Idea
Planning Your Novel...

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
5 Steps to Success
Opening Passages
Let's Get Critical
Writer's Block
Learning Lessons

Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Be a Finisher ...
Listen to Your Characters
Conferences: Act Now ...
Starting an Erotic Story
Exercises & Writing Prompts
Revising & Rewriting
Copy Editing
The Manuscript Critique
How to Submit Your Work
Reading as Craft

Guest Appearances

Adventures in e-Publishing
by Lisabet Sarai

For the Love of Man
by Laura Baumbach

How to...Influence Editors
by Alison Tyler

Marketing your e-Book
by Brenna Lyons

2008 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Role Play
Busy Doing Nothing
Picture of a Fish & Chip...
What I Did With My Summer

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Naughty Cookies...
Tie Me Up, Please …
The Smut-Writer’s Holiday
Never Trust the Narrator ...
Compare and Contrast
Following the Pen
Naked at the Farmers Market
Iím Easy, But Iím No Slut
Good Girl Gone Bad
Pleasures of the Dark Side
Slow, Spare and Sexy

Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Raising Daughters
Jamie Lynn
The Good Old Days
Election '08
Traditional Marriage
Campaign 2008
Free Will

Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Masturbating on SSRIs
Sex and Disability
Besides Ourselves
Adjusting our Contrast

Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Sex Is All Metaphors
Turn-ons and Squicks
Sexual Truth
Fickle Muse
Porn, Erotica & Romance

Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Alison Tyler
Ashley Lister
Debra Hyde
Donna George Storey
Jeremy Edwards
Kristina Wright
Rachel Kramer Bussel

Erotic Hot Spots
by William S. Dean
Interview with Tilly Greene
Interview with Devyn Quinn

Getting Graphic
with William S. Dean
New Times for Readers...
The Future in Words ...
Interview with Fantagraphics

On Writing Erotica

The Accidental Pornographer
by Lisabet Sarai

The End of Innocence
by Lisabet Sarai

Get Them Off in High Style
Helena Settimana

So, You Want To Write Erotica?
by Hanne Blank

Web Gems
Hot Movies For Her

Two Girls Kissing:
Writing Lesbian Literary Erotica

with Amie M. Evans

Conferences: Act Now and Benefit Later

Amie M. Evans With spring’s approach, I want to turn your attention to the upcoming two national LGBTQ writing conferences that will soon be taking place. Before I provide you with a brief break down of each conference, I want to stress how incredibly important attending literary festivals is to your development as a writer regardless of what level you are at in your career, as well as helping to maintain your mental health by providing a social environment for writers. Writing, after all, is a solitary act with few opportunities to interact with other authors who are experiencing the same frustrations, hurtles, and isolation as well as the joys, triumphs, and achievements that you are. Conferences offer you the chance to meet and socialize with a large variety of other writers. They also provide programming designed to address numerous issues of importance to the craft, business, and politics of writing. So in addition to being a wonderful opportunity to network with editors, publishers, and other authors, they provide an educational element, and a social outlet for writers of all levels. What’s more, they can be great fun!

Shaw’s Guide lists thousands of writing conferences held around the world in a variety of price ranges and addressing a vast array of topics. If you are, however, an author of lesbian literary erotica, I strongly recommend attending a conference specifically aimed at LGBTQ writers. My main reasons for this are (1) community, (2) attendees, (3) programming, and (4) motivation/inspiration.

No where except at a LGBTQ specific conference will you find as diverse a community of LGBTQ writers. You may find writers’ communities and LGBTQ communities, and these may even over lap a bit, but the combination of both is much more elusive in our regular lives. Likewise, by supporting LGBTQ writing conferences you support that very same LGBTQ writers’ community and you send a message to publishing houses about interest in LGBTQ writing. At a LGBTQ conference the writers you will meet will be LGBTQ writers. By that I mean folks, regardless of their own sexual orientation, who are specifically interested in publishing, writing, and reading LGBTQ literature.

Programming at LGBTQ conferences is designed with LGBTQ writers in mind and panel discussions on both lesbian erotica and other issues of interest to you as a writer of lesbian erotica will be offered. This doesn’t mean that conferences not geared towards a LGBTQ audience won’t have exciting, informative programming that you can learn from; it just means LGBTQ issues and topics will not be on the agenda of the panelists (for the most part). You will also learn information that is specific to the publishing of LGBTQ literature, hear stories of others who are working in the exact industry you are a part of, and be able to ask questions of folks who have already done what you are doing.

Attending any writing conference will most likely inspire and motivate you in regards to your writing. Attending a LGBTQ writing conference, I have found, not only motivated me to write and renewed my focus on writing, but it renewed my soul. There is something about being in a room with or in a hotel with or at numerous events surrounded by LGBTQ folks celebrating our craft and our lives that recharges me for the rest of the year.

So, here are the two writing conferences (that I know of) that are aimed at LGBTQ writers for your consideration. If I’ve missed one, please let me know.

In the interests of full disclosure, I have attended both conferences. I sit on Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival Board of Directors. For more information on either of these conferences or the retreat, please contact the organizers directly at the web links listed with each entry.

Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival
French Quarter, New Orleans, LA
May 8-11, 2008

Saints and Sinners is in its sixth consecutive year and is open to “the LGBTQ community, their friends, and all readers and writers.” Founded by Paul Willis, who ran Lambda Literature’s Behind Our Masks literary conferences, Saints and Sinners is a fundraiser for NO/AIDS. The three and a half day event consists of: one day of Master’s Classes ($25 each) with four time slots and one master’s class in each slot; two days of conference panel discussions, and readings ($100 for both days) with five time slots each day and three panels or two panels and a multi-author reading in each slot. There are also a number of social events in the evenings and a small vendor room that is open during the day. Social events included with the two-day pass are an opening cocktail party and closing award ceremony party. In addition, there are events on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night’s (for additional fees, roughly $10 to $50), as well as small theater event and local readings that are linked to, but not always apart of, the conference. For more details on this year’s programming see This Year’s Features below.

Special Events and Social Activities
As well as the opening and closing receptions that are included in the festival pass, there are always a number of special events offering entertaining social opportunities associated with the festival that for a small additional fee participants can attend. A new special event fundraiser will kick-off the Festival on Thursday, May 10. The evening will include a sampling of New Orleans culture with a tarot card reader, Mardi Gras beads, samples of local cuisine, and featuring writers reading from their favorite New Orleans authors. Jewelle Gomez, Dr. Kenneth Holditch, myself, and a number of others will read from their favorite New Orleans’ authors’ work including from Anne Rice. On Friday night after the opening reception, intimate dinners hosted by local New Orleans’ celebrities with featured authors take place. On Saturday, the winning play from the contest will be preformed, and, of course, since the festival is held in the heart of the French Quarter there is never a lack of fun events and nightlife going on for participants to take part in. For a complete list of events with prices see the website.

The main conference venue, the Bourbon Orleans, a Wyndham Historic Hotel, is located in the Heart of the French Quarter and features classic Southern Charm with styling reminiscent of the French Opulence of the early 1800's. All events except the dinners are in walking distance from the main venue in the French Quarter.

Many of the attendees stay at the Bourbon Orleans, but it can be a bit pricey. There are numerous bed and breakfast as well as other hotels in a variety of price ranges all within walking distance of the main venue. Many folks (including myself) stay at The Olivier House Hotel. Additional information on housing is available at the website.

Demographics of Attendees
Saints and Sinners participants represent a wide range of diversity—emerging writers to well-established authors in all age, racial and economic groups attend the festival. The festival is always encouraging more diversity and tries to reach out to those who are traditionally underrepresented at LGBTIQ events. Saints and Sinners attracts a mix of lesbian, bi, gay, and trans folks as well as a few intersex folks and heterosexuals who are interested in LGBTIQ literature. Everyone is welcome.

Awards and Contest
As part of the closing reception, the winners of “The Outstanding Mid-Career Novelists’ Prize” will be announced. This became an annual recognition initiated last year by Jim Duggins, Ph.D. There will be two annual cash awards of $5,000 given to a man and a woman to reward, recognize, and promote LGBT mid-career novelists of extraordinary talent and service to the LGBT community. The second annual playwright’s contest was also added last year. The winning play will be produced by the Marigny Theatre Corporation and will premier in conjunction the conference. Three Literary Saints awards are also presented at the closing ceremony to a publishing house and two authors who have shown an outstanding commitment to queer writing.

Strong Point
Programming is the strong point of Saints and Sinners. Willis works hard to create a balanced program with popular and cutting edge topics in the genres as well as more time-tested issues. He also constructs panels containing panelist who represent the diversity of those in attendance. Usually creating a situation where attendees have too many choices in any given slot to pick from.

This Year’s Feature
The three-and-half day event offers a wide variety of activities including a full day of focused master classes on Friday, May 11. Last year’s line-up includes: Nancy Garden on censorship and writing for young adults, William J. Mann talking about his Katherine Hepburn Biography, Amie M. Evans and Toni Amato on Reading Your Work, and Greg Herren and JM Redmann on the business aspect of publishing. In addition, master’s classes will be offered by Dorothy Allison, Jewelle Gomez, and Abda Dawesar. Check the website for updated schedule information.

The list of this year’s presenters includes authors, editors, and representatives from various presses—a regular who’s-who of queer literature. Join, among others, authors:

Dorothy Allison, Toni Amato, Cheryl B., Laura Baumbach, Andrew W.M. Beierle, Kathleen Bryson, Abha Dawesar, Abby Denson, Jolee Dupre, Cindy Emch, Amie M. Evans, Catherine Friend, Jewelle Gomez, JD Guildford, Aaron Hamburger, Victor Hawkins, Trebor Healey, Greg Herren, Thomas Keith, Jeff Mann, William J. Mann, Val McDermid, Rich Merritt, Ian Philips, Martin Pousson, JM Redman, Gary Richards, Jeffrey Round, Robert Taylor, Jim Tushinski, Greg Wharton, Elizabeth Whitney, and Kevin Winge. In addition, Author Nancy Garden will be joining us to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the controversial novel Annie On My Mind.

Participants will be updated on website as confirmed. The panel discussions will also include editors/publishers from various presses including: Alyson Books, Bywater Books, the Haworth Press/Harrington Park Press, Rebel Satori Press, Soft Skull Press, and Suspect Thoughts Press—others to be confirmed.

The 2008 schedule is not up yet, but some sample panels of particular interest to writers of lesbian erotica from past conferences: “Using Sex as Language in Romances and Erotica”; “The Final Frontier: What’s Taboo?”; and “The Lesbian and Romantic Hero and the Plot She Thrives In”. Check the website for the most recent panel topics and schedule.

The Erotica Readers & Writers Association is listed among the supports for the 2008 Saints and Sinners LGBTQ Literary Festival.

Golden Crown Literary Conference
July 31 - August 3, 2008
Phoenix, Arizona

GCLC is in its fourth consecutive year and is open to “those interested in lesbian literature.” The format has changed since I last attended and consists of three days of programming including panels and workshops with three tracks to choose from in each time slot and up to five time slots per day. A 4 day all access pass $175.00 and a 3 day pass costs $150.00. The first day consists of a meet-and-greet and the last day of programming consisting of a key note speaker and multiple author book signing session. GCLC also has a number of special social events included in the price of the conference such as Goldie Award Ceremony, desert social, dance ($95.00 for the Award event only), readings, games, and a meet-and-greet. In addition one breakfast is included in the admission price. For more details on this years programming see This Year’s Features below.

Special Events and Social Activities
There are a ton of structured social opportunities at GCLS. On Wednesday there is a meet-and-Greet opening event. Thursday through Saturday panels and workshops are offered with the Saturday is the awards program, and Celebration party/dance. Sunday has a free breakfast social, Keynote address by Katherine V. Forrest, author signing and a closing ceremony. There are also some readings scheduled during the programming through out the weekend. Check the website for complete details.

Venue and Housing
All of the GCLS conference events take place at the Sheraton Wildhorse Pass Resort. It is a top notch resort and spa eleven miles outside of Phoenix. It is a bit pricey even at the discounted conference rate. Check the website for more information.

Demographics of Attendees
I attended two years ago and it appeared that all the attendees were woman from diverse economic, geographic, racial, and age groups. Last year with the special guests speaking on trans issues, there might be a larger trans showing.

Awards and Contest
The Goldie Awards for excellence in a number of categories are awarded each year in an Oscar-like environment with multimedia presentations. What fun! While not required, I strongly suggest wearing something formal to the award program.

Strong Point
Many of the conference attendees are part of an on-line community and know each other from that venue. In addition to authors of all levels, a large number of the attendees are non-writers who read tons of lesbian literature. (Dare I say fans?) These two elements create a unique dynamic to the GCLS conference.

This Year’s Feature
The five day event includes a variety of focused and general panel discussions, readings, and workshops as well as numerous social events. This year, as always, there will be a who’s-who in lesbian literature panelist list which has not yet been released. Presenters from the past years include: Radclyff, Lori L. Lake, Ellen Hart, Jennifer Knight/Fulton, Bridget Bufford, Jane Fletcher, Therese Szymanski, Georgia Beers, Karin Kallmaker, JD Glass, Helen Boyd, Renee Bess, and many more.

Some sample panels of particular interest to writers of lesbian erotica from the 2007 conference: “Feel the Heat”; “The Erotic Panel”; and “Romance Panel”. Do check out the website for a complete listing of panel discussions and workshops for the 2008 conference.

A Final Note
What these conferences and retreat have in common is a commitment to queer writers in one form or another. This means issues surrounding writing about queerness—be it in memoir, erotica, religion, or mystery—are forefront and issues that heterosexual authors writing about heterosexual characters may not encounter—such as gender, oppression, homophobia—are included in discussions. These conferences celebrate not only writing, but also queerness.

I’m not naive enough to think authors can jet off to a conference on demand. I struggle every year to ensure I attend at least one conference, but with a little planning and, perhaps, sacrificing, anything can come to fruition. Pick a conference. Make a plan of action. Sock away some cash each pay check for a year (or two or three, if need be), and then attend a conference.

In the meantime, consider a local writing workshop. Workshops allow you to get valuable feedback, pointers, and, perhaps, make contacts with other local writers. At the vary least, they are a great way to pull yourself out of the social void that can be a writer’s workspace and expose you to what is going on in your local writers’ community.

Workshops geared to LGBTQ writers are offered by authors privately or at Adult Education Centers (AEC) in most cities and some small towns. Local workshops are a great resource for writers at all levels of development. The prices and quality of these workshops varies radically, however, many of them are top-notch and affordable. Check out coffee house, public readings, the library, and other hang outs for writers for flyers on workshops in your area. The best way to find out about the workshop is to ask the instructor for a copy of the syllabus or course outline. Workshops come in a variety of formats including manuscript review, craft skill, and in class writing. The best workshops will combine these elements. If possible talk with someone who has taken courses from the instructor before.

Many colleges and universities also offer an audit (noncredit) option for their writing classes. These can carry a bigger price tag then AEC or private workshops and you don’t always get more for your buck. They can also be offered by special guest authors so check what local colleges and universities have to offer. You may find one of your favorite authors teaching right in your local college.

If there is an issue you would like me to address in Two Girls Kissing, please email it to me with the column title as the subject line. To be added to my confidential monthly email list, please email me, Amie M. Evans, with 'subscribe' as the subject line.

NEXT TIME: Starting an Erotic Short Story

Amie M. Evans
March 2008

More of Amie M. Evans' Two Girls Kissing in ERWA 2008 Archive.

"Two Girls Kissing: Writing Lesbian Literary Erotica" © 2008 Amie M. Evans. All rights reserved.

About the Author: Amie M. Evans is a widely published creative nonfiction and literary erotica writer, experienced workshop provider, and a retired burlesque and high-femme drag performer. She is on the board of directors for Saints and Sinners GLBT literary festival and graduated Magna cum Laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a BA in Literature and is currently working on her MLA at Harvard.
Read Amie M. Evans' full bio at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association.

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