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'09 Authors Insider Tips

Everything About Epublishing
by Angela James
Digital Publishing & Print
Common Myths of Epublishing
Ebook Formats and Devices


FictionCraft
by Louisa Burton
Compelling Characters
Point of View, Part I
Point of View, Part II
Learning to Love Conflict
Story Structure
Keep ‘em Guessing
Keep it Simple
Keep Your Writing Real
The Importance of Pacing


Literary Streetwalker
by M. Christian
New World of Publishing
To Blog Or Not To Blog
Meeting & Making Friends
Thinking Beyond Sex
Selling Books
Walking the Line
e-book, e-publisher, e-fun
Still More E-book Fun


Shameless Self-Promotion
by Donna George Storey
Our Journey Begins
Pitches and Bios
Websites, Blogs & Readers
Publicists, Press Kits and...
Viva the Internet
Adventures in Cyberspace
Promoting In the Flesh
Make Your Own Movie
Bigger is Better
Looking Back, Planning Ahead


Two Girls Kissing
by Amie M. Evans
Questions to Ask Yourself...
Tough All Over


The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Ideas
Practice Makes Prefect
5 Books for Fiction Authors
Poetry In Motions
Six Serving Men
Ashley Lister is Anal
Stealing Ideas
Celebrating Poetry


2009 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
Myths
Graduation


Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
A Year of Living Shamelessly
Adultery, Exhibitionism ...
John Updike Made Me Do It ...
Story Soup: Forbidden ...
Lessons from Amazon
Naked Lunches ...
Erotic Alchemy
Secrets of Seduction
Are You a “Real” Writer?
Don’t Fondle My Sentence


Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
The Passionate Taphophile
Havens on Earth
A Knight Without Armor
Jail-Baiting
Magic Carpet Rides
Getting Hammered
Keep It Quiet
Hang Around for a Spell


Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
Worked Up About Why
Worked Up About Why, Part II
All Worked Up About Porn
The Catholic Church
Purity Movement
The National Crisis
The Future
About Homosexuality
Public Indiscretions


Pondering Porn
with Ann Regentin
Premature Ejaculation
Auctioning Off What?


Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Who's Who Around the Table
Retro-Shame
Ritual Sex
Mixed Legacy
The Spectrum of Consent
Drawing the Line
Marriage without the Hype
The Distracting Smirk
Innocent Guns
Gardens of Earthly Delights


Provocative Interviews

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
Anneke Jacob
D L King
Kristina Lloyd
Lisabet Sarai
Mitzi Szereto
Portia Da Costa
Shanna Germain
Sommer Marsden
Susan DiPlacido


Guest Appearances

Marketing a Self-Published Novel
by Jeanne Ainslie

Cooking up a Storey

by Donna George Storey

Erotic Alchemy:
Fantasy Plus Reality Equals Pecan Bars

 

Cooking up a Storey by Donna George Storey My secret weapon.  That’s what I call this month’s recipe for chewy pecan bars, and these nutty little beauties do pack a powerful punch.  I always make them at Christmas as part of my mad seven-cookie baking spree and usually one or two other times during the year for a special event.  In fact, I’m just about to whip up a batch for a family reunion with relatives I haven’t seen in ten years, choosing these treats above all the others in my arsenal as most representative of my favorite culinary passion.  Pecan squares are a natural candidate because they are excellent travelers and are better still at eliciting the rolled-back eyes, the sighs of ecstasy, the “wow” and “amazing” and “can I have another one?” that I refer to as the “cookie orgasm.”

I like doing that to people.

I will admit that I’ve made pecan bars so many times, the process is more a ritual than an adventure.  Part of me would prefer to try a new recipe, but in the end I never regret returning to this much-praised classic.  Certainly some things in life are worth returning to over and over.  For example, what about that musty question “What’s the difference between erotica and porn?”  Annoying as it can be, depending on the person who asks, I’ve discovered I actually enjoy pondering the topic on a regular basis, about as often as I make the pecan cookies.  Reconsidering the issue helps me get a sense of my bearings in my work and encourages me yet again to define why I write what I write. 

I mentioned in my last column ["Naked Lunches: Picnics, Porn Stashes, and the Roots of an Obsession"] that summer vacation gets me all nostalgic about pornographic magazines, because that’s when I discovered the pictorials in my sister’s stash of Viva, Penthouse’s 1970s female-oriented counterpart.  However, my teenage summer reading also included highbrow feminist classics like Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch, Ingrid Bengis’ Combat in the Erogenous Zone and Kate Millet’s Sexual Politics.  These books often dealt with sex.  I still remember that threesome sleeping bag scene in Bengis, and Millet’s lengthy “dirty” quotes from D.H. Lawrence, Norman Mailer and Henry Miller.  Yet, all the naughty stuff was packaged in intellectual analysis, a combination that I found empowering, soothing and arousing all at the same time.  With these articulate and ballsy volumes in my hand, I could think and get off at the same time.  For me that’s always been the most enchanting combination of all.

I recently reread another brainy book that captures that powerful magic for me—Jack Morin’s The Erotic Mind: Unlocking the Inner Sources of Sexual Passion and Fulfillment.  Morin is a psychotherapist, but his definition of the difference between the erotic and mere sex is worth stealing the next time someone asks you why what you write isn’t just pure smut—although of course, if it is, that’s to celebrate, too.

Morin begins his book by bemoaning the fact that the scientific study of sexuality thus far has focused on physiology but is woefully short in examining what sex means for those involved, in other words, the pleasure over the performance.  Morin proposes that our turn-ons reveal who we are and what we’re searching for, and indeed I’d argue every erotica writer shares this belief almost by default.  Granted it is much easier to measure the strength of vaginal contractions than unravel the reason why a person’s most potent fantasy involves humiliation, but that doesn’t mean serious minds shouldn’t try.

Sex therapists who do attempt such a daunting task have tended to fall into two camps, according to Morin.  There’s the Kraft-Ebbing school that focuses on defining “normal” sex, mainly through a study of perversion, in other words a pathological approach to sex rooted in the tradition of sex-as-sin.  In this model, sexual desires can easily be labeled as “wrong,” but there is little to say about what’s going on when it’s right.

On the other side, the humanists are on the face of it more accepting of sexuality as a natural urge, but in Morin’s view their “neat-and-clean” approach also oversimplifies a complex matter.  In this model, guilt and repression are the enemies of a healthy sexuality, and if these impediments are removed, we can all enjoy sex as the beautiful act of love that it is.  (Yawn).

However, Morin argues that the erotic experience is neither “sick” nor “pure and beautiful.”  His answer is to embrace paradox, to recognize the joys of eros without denying its dark side, the risks involved.  For example, although the neat-and-clean faction would banish guilt, Morin recognizes that guilt can amplify arousal.  But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Without making this into a book review—which it sort of is, but it’s my column and I’ll review if I want to—this particular sentence jumped out at me:  “Many find it discomforting to tolerate the ambiguity of the erotic experience, to accept its mixed motivations, or to observe how the erotic mind has a habit of transforming one idea or emotion into another.”

That is, our erotic minds take material from our actual experience, such as our family or religion-induced guilt about sex, our doubt about our desirability, negative or humiliating sexual experiences, and transforms it into arousing fantasies that address or redress or overturn the limitations of the real.  In erotic fantasies, we are often freed from the restrictions that rule our behavior in real life.  Lovers are abundant, orgasms even more so.  Even in the submissive role, the dreamer is always, in some fundamental way, in control of the situation as she or he manipulates all of the characters in the sexy drama unfolding on the imaginary stage.

This all sounds like the job description of erotica writer to me.  Although, of course, we professional fantasists are more conscious of the workings of our erotic minds—at least in the editing phase.

With all this, I’ve barely covered the introductory pages of The Erotic Mind, but I wanted to mention  one more gem from the first chapters.  This is Morin’s algebraic principle of arousal which is, simply stated:  attraction plus obstacle equals excitement.  And the higher the addends, of course, the higher the pulse-pounding sum.  For sex therapists, especially of the sex-is-beautiful school, this is a revolutionary concept, because it lays out in hard mathematical terms the reason why fucking your best friend’s spouse produces more sexy sweat and shivers than a go-round in the marital bed.  Although, I would also propose, not if you know how to introduce the right elements in a long-term relationship.

But of course, as erotica writers, we’re well aware that conflict, tension and transgression make for a hotter tale.  It’s just nice to have it scientifically verified.

Morin offers much more to the reader interested in the fascinating and strange landscape of the erotic mind, but for now I’ll just thank him for giving me a fresh answer to that perennial question of what distinguishes a literary erotic story from pornography.  And that is, at our best, eroticists embrace the paradox of sexuality, both the joys and the shadow.  Like the erotic mind itself, we take the limited experiences of real sex—seldom discussed or revealed in polite company—and shed a golden, illuminating light upon this most intimate act.  What we reveal is not always beautiful, although it can be.  At our best, we replicate and reveal the magical transformations of the erotic imagination:  submission becomes power, scarcity flowers into abundance, shame turns into extravagant self-exposure.

Pretty cool what eroticists can achieve, huh?  After all that hard work, I think we deserve some pecan bars, which are in themselves an entrancing combination of a fantastic buttery shortbread cookie and a chewy topping bursting with real pecans.  Although the filling starts out syrupy and thin, it bakes up into a thick, candy-like dream reminiscent of pecan pie.  Have a taste and you’ll agree it’s a powerful weapon indeed.


Fantasy Meets Reality Pecan Bars

(Makes about 32 medium squares, 48 petit squares, depending on how guilty you want to feel about eating one or two or…)

Crust:

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) plus 1-2 Tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Topping:

1 1/4 cups packed golden brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
4 cups coarsely chopped pecans (about 14 1/2 oz)—see note
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

To make the crust:

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 13x9x2-inch baking pan with foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on all sides.  Butter foil.  Blend flour, powdered sugar, cornstarch and salt in a food processor.  Add butter and process until the mixture just begins to clump together. The dough will be somewhat crumbly.  Do not over process or it becomes greasy when baked.  Pour into the foil-lined pan and press dough evenly onto bottom.  Bake crust until set and light golden, about 25 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let stand while preparing topping.  Reduce oven temperature to 325F.

To make the topping:

Stir brown sugar, corn syrup and butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils; boil 1 minute.  Add pecans and cream; boil until mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.  Stir in vanilla.  Pour hot topping over warm crust.  Bake nut-topped crust until filling is darker and bubbles, about 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.  Transfer pan to rack.  Cool completely (overnight is fine) in pan.  The topping will harden as it cools. 

Lift foil out of the pan onto a cutting board.  Using a heavy, sharp knife, trim off about one half-inch around all four edges.  Reserve these for family snacking.  Cut the rest into four even sections, sawing through the pecan layer gently.  Divide the remaining sections into squares of the desired size. 

These cookies can be made up to one week in advance.  Store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container at room temperature.

Serve in muffin cups for fancy presentation.

Note:  The quality of the pecans does make a difference.  I recommend mail ordering from Sunnyland Farms in Georgia, which is an excellent source for premium pecans and mixed nuts.  The chocolate pecan turtles are pretty awesome, too.

Donna George Storey
August 2009


If you have comments or questions about this column, please drop by Donna's blog or send an email to donna@donnageorgestorey.com

Donna is Cooking up a Storey in ERWA 2009 Archive.

______
"Cooking up a Storey" © 2009 Donna George Storey. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written

About the Author:  Donna George Storey taught English in Japan and Japanese in the United States and has finally found the work of her dreams writing erotica. If you're really nice, she'll bake you a batch of her Venetian cookies, with layers of marzipan, jam and chocolate, that take a ridiculous amount of time to make and are (almost) better than sex. Her work has been published in dozens of journals and anthologies including Clean Sheets, Fishnet, Best American Erotica, Best Women's Erotica and Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica.
Her first novel, Amorous Woman-a semi-autobiographical tale of an American woman's love affair with Japan, Japanese food and lots of sexy men and women along the way-was published by Neon/Orion. It's currently available at Amazon and Amazon UK, and from her web site, DonnaGeorgeStorey.com.
For more of her musings on sensual pleasure and creativity stop by her blog:  Sex, Food and Writing. You can also take a quick trip to Japan with Donna's provocative Amorous Woman book trailer at: www.youtube.com



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'09 Movie Reviews

Blame It On Savanna
Review by Byrdman

Cry Wolf
Review by Spooky

Faithless
Review by Spooky

Heaven or Hell
Review by Oranje

House of Wicked
Review by Diesel

The Office: An XXX Parody
Review by Spooky

This Ain't The Partridge Family
Review by Spooky


'09 Book Reviews

Anthologies

A Slip of the Lip (ebook)
Review by Jean Roberta

Best Women's Erotica '09
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Bottoms Up
Review by Ashley Lister

Enchanted Again
Review by Victoria Blisse

Frenzy
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Girls on Top
Review by Ashley Lister

In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed
Review by Ashley Lister

Libidacoria (Poetry)
Review by Ashley Lister

Licks & Promises
Review by Ashley Lister

Like a Thorn (ebook)
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Mile High Club
Review by Ashley Lister

Nexus Confessions: Vol 5
Review by Victoria Blisse

Nexus Confessions 6
Review by Victoria Blisse

Oysters & Chocolate
Review by Kristina Wright

Playing with Fire
Review by Ashley Lister

Sexy Little Numbers Vol 1
Review by Ashley Lister

Up for Grabs
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Novels

A 21st Century Courtesan
Review by Donna G. Storey

The Ages of Lulu
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Amanda’s Young Men
Review by Kristina Wright

As She's Told
Review by Ashley Lister

Bedding Down
Review by Victoria Blisse

Broken
Review by Ashley Lister

Brushes & Painted Dolls
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Cassandras Chateau
Review by Ashley Lister

The Edge of Impropriety
Review by Kristina Wright

Exposure
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Free Pass
Review by Ashley Lister

The Gift of Shame
Review by Victoria Blisse

Kiss It Better
Review by Ashley Lister

The Melinoe Project
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Mortal Engines & The ...
Review by Ashley Lister

The New Rakes
Review by Ashley Lister

Ninety Days of Genevieve
Review by Victoria Blisse

Obsession: An Erotic Tale
Review by Kristina Wright

Sarah's Education
Review by Ashley Lister

Seduce Me
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Lesbian Cowboys
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Night's Kiss
Review by Jean Roberta

Where the Girls Are
Review by Jean Roberta

Gay Erotica

Animal Attraction 2
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Boys in Heat
Review by Vincent Diamond

Faewolf
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Low Road
Review by Jean Roberta

Personal Demons
Review by Jean Roberta

Ready to Serve
Review by Vincent Diamond

The Secret Tunnel
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Shuck
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Transgressions
Review by Vincent Diamond

Non-Fiction

Best Sex Writing '09
Review by Kristina Wright

The Big Penis Book
Review by Rob Hardy

Erotic Encounters
Review by Rob Hardy

The Forbidden Apple
Review by Rob Hardy

Hollywood’s Censor
Review by Rob Hardy

Lady in Red
Review by Rob Hardy

Licentious Gotham: Erotic...
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Elf
Review by Rob Hardy

Live Nude Girl
Review by Rob Hardy

The Other Side of Desire
Review by Rob Hardy

Scripts 4 Play
Review by Ashley Lister