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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

Story Soup:
Forbidden Fodder, Mystery Spices, and Very Embarrassed Eggs

 

Cooking up a Storey by Donna George Storey When I began writing “Cooking Up a Storey,” my intention was to indulge my passions for the apparently haphazard trio of sex, food and writing.   At first it did feel as if I were reaching for connections between three disparate topics.  But I soldiered on, reassuring myself that marrying ideas and images in unexpected ways is one of the basic tricks of the writer’s craft.  Gradually, however, the link between cooking and erotic writing has come to seem natural, even obvious.

Am I starting to believe my own lies?

Over the last two installments of this column, I’ve focused on getting back in touch with the roots of my urge to write erotica.  In February I confessed my desire to sleep with your husband and the inherent voyeurism and exhibitionism at play in fiction writing ["I Want to Sleep with Your Husband: Adultery, Exhibitionism, and Other Reasons I Write"].  In March, I acknowledged the rebel-with-a-cause component to my work, that is, my wish to add to the powerful and growing chorus of women’s voices expressing our truth about female sexuality in response to the male version that took precedence until all too recently ["John Updike Made Me Do It: Taboo-Breaking Fathers, Rebel Daughters, and Porn Writers’ Pizza"].

The more I stirred the stewing pot of my own psyche, the more I realized how many different elements nourished my imagination.  Some were obvious, some secret and subtle, but the bubbling brew began to seem very much like a homemade soup, crafted without a clearly defined recipe but rich with the freshest produce at hand and piquant spices from my cupboard.

In short, when I write, I really am cooking up a story.  Who knew?

While the fresh harvest of the season will provide the tastiest inspiration for any dish, it’s also true that all writers possess some basic ingredients to impart their signature flavor.  This month, I wanted to take a peek into the pantry of my past to touch upon some fundamental building blocks of every erotica writer’s vision.

Most would agree that our childhood experiences inform our sensibility—and our sensibility, our unique vision is the main “product” an artist offers.  However, for erotica writers, exploring this obvious element of our work has more than a whiff of the forbidden.  Freud aside, contemporary American society seems to have settled on a solution to the complexities of our early sexual feelings.  We must deny they exist before the age of 18.

A majority of erotica markets won’t even allow a flashback to a 17-year-old’s sexual feeling or fantasy.  “Pure” literature will accommodate such truths, but usually only if there is some terrible or depressing consequence.  I understand that erotica publishers need to protect themselves from zealots who would use accusations of “child porn” as an excuse to crush any celebration of eros, and I honor this restriction in my own stories.  

However, it saddens me that writers who seek to speak the truth must perpetrate the lie that a tree needs no roots, and our erotic imaginations spring to life with the eighteen candles on our birthday cakes. 

Because of course, any writer’s work springs from a treasure chest of memory, fantasy and feeling as far back as we can remember.  My fascination with the erotic urge is firmly rooted in a time when sex was a complete unknown.  What happened behind my parents’ bedroom door?  What was the meaning of their secret smiles?  Why did my mother’s face take on a glow when she chatted and laughed with a handsome male friend?  Why were some movies—Deliverance, Midnight Cowboy, Carnal Knowledge—forbidden to me?

The very awareness that I wanted to know was a thrill in itself.

Even though I have many of those answers in factual terms today, whenever I start a new story, I still find myself full of questions, breathless with the mystery.  I’m still poised outside the bedroom door, my senses heightened by curiosity.  It’s as if my “self” is actually a set of nested Russian dolls, and a few layers down hides a smaller me for whom sex will always remain a compelling mystery.  Indeed, I’ve noticed that some of my erotic stories actually take the shape of a mystery story in which I reenact my own journey from perplexed innocence to discovery.

The first erotic story I ever wrote, almost twelve years ago, was such a discovery both in the flesh and on the page.  I still remember the feeling of danger and transgression, the galvanizing excitement as I transformed unspoken secrets into naked prose.  I remember the way the act of writing itself transformed my experience of “real” sex as I sought to capture it in words.  Writing a dirty story is no longer quite so exhilarating, but I realize that the more I get back in touch with that original curiosity and wonder, the more my story seems to move readers.

Of course our pasts offer us other food for our story soup:  a suggestive quip overheard at a party, the memory of a college boyfriend’s face in the dawn light, that first heart-pounding encounter with a sex scene in a book—in my case The Godfather—that left me enthralled and disgusted in equal measure.  This ingredient is another lingering legacy from my past for I’ve realized that the strange and uncanny often forms the seed of a story as well.  I often feel inspired by situations that appeal and unsettle in equal measure, as if I need a balance of sweet and sour, strange and familiar to spark my creativity.

This unlikely mix of dishes that somehow comes together for a satisfying feast leads me to this month’s recipe, another gift from the past:  the quirky and elaborate dinner my maternal grandmother prepared every Sunday afternoon.

My grandmother lived about four hours away from us in a small town near Gettysburg, at the edge of Pennsylvania Dutch country, but we made the drive from Pittsburgh several times a year, and always on Easter weekend.  Grandma’s Sunday afternoon meal was invariably the same—basically a recreation of Thanksgiving dinner no matter what the season.  The main dish was a fragrant roast capon, stuffed with a simple filling made of white bread, onions, celery, parsley and beaten eggs.  I always ladled her rich, salty gravy made from the fried drippings over everything: meat, filling, stiff hand-mashed potatoes.  The long table was always crowded with chairs brought in from every room, as some of my six aunts and uncles, their spouses and  at least a few of my twenty cousins were in attendance.  It was equally crowded with dishes of candied sweet potatoes from a can, celery sticks, green beans boiled to wrinkles in rich ham broth and thick homemade applesauce. 

I always saved a place on my plate for two of my grandmother’s signature dishes, food I only ate at her table.  The first came in a white enamel basin:  a baked pudding of dense, sweetened rice topped with a golden layer of custard.  This was not dessert.  We all knew two pies waited in the pantry—a cinnamon apple and an airy coconut cream.  Only at my grandmother’s house was rice pudding a vegetable and I always took advantage of that strange twist on ordinary culinary rules to help myself to seconds and thirds.

The other house specialty was something called “red beet eggs.”  These were whole hardboiled eggs marinated in a mixture of boiled beet juice, vinegar and sugar.  Pickled eggs were an odd food for a child to love, but I relished them, not only for striking contrast of the ruby egg white--as red as the cheeks of a blushing vixen caught in the act—with the sun-yellow yolk, but also for their alluringly adult sweet-and-sour flavor which tasted best spiced up with a shake of black pepper.

After my grandmother passed away in the late 1980s, I didn’t encounter a red beet egg for over a decade, but around the time I started writing erotica, I got the urge for that sweet-and-sour comfort food.  An internet search uncovered the following simple recipe that takes me right back to my grandmother’s table.  This is also a perfect way to use up Easter eggs, even the ones discolored with dye.  The blushing red beet juice provides the perfect cover for any slips in propriety.

I hope this taste of my past will inspire you to rediscovery some treasure of your own in this season of memory and renewal.


Pennsylvania Dutch Red Beet Eggs

(satisfies the appetite of one nostalgic former Pennsylvanian for three to four days)

1 15 oz. can sliced beets
1 small onion or 1/2 medium onion halved and sliced thin
6-8 hardboiled eggs, shelled and left whole
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup white vinegar

Drain the liquid from the beets into a small saucepan. Add sugar and vinegar and bring the mixture to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. 

Place beets, raw onions, and eggs into a large covered bowl or jar (my grandmother used a very large pickle jar).  Pour the beet juice over the eggs.  Seal the container and refrigerate for at least 1 to 3 days, turning the eggs so they are all submerged if necessary.  The longer they are allowed to sit, the better they taste.

To serve, slice in half, admire the ruby-red and baby-chick-yellow contrast, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

Donna George Storey
April 2009


If you have any comments or insights to share 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
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Faithless
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The Office: An XXX Parody
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'09 Book Reviews

Anthologies

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Best Women's Erotica '09
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Bottoms Up
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Enchanted Again
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Frenzy
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Licks & Promises
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Like a Thorn (ebook)
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The Mile High Club
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Nexus Confessions: Vol 5
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Oysters & Chocolate
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Playing with Fire
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Sexy Little Numbers Vol 1
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Up for Grabs
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Novels

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The Ages of Lulu
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Amanda’s Young Men
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As She's Told
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Bedding Down
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Broken
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Cassandras Chateau
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The Edge of Impropriety
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Exposure
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Free Pass
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The Gift of Shame
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Obsession: An Erotic Tale
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