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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

Cracking Foxy

by Robert Buckley

Hang Around for a Spell

 

Bewitched in Salem
What's Samantha Smiling About? - Just over
300 years ago twenty people were sent to
their deaths in one of the most famous
miscarriages of justice in American history.
This statue is located just a block away from
where those victims were convicted.

From the top of Gallows Hill in Salem you can see the Atlantic Ocean and the tops of the masts of the Friendship, a replica of the first ship to ply the East India trade, the same trade that would make Salem one of the richest and most cosmopolitan cites in a young America, light years ahead of the curve in commerce and new ideas, an incubator of colossal intellects: Hawthorne, the Peabody Sisters, the mad poet Jones Very.

I’m walking my dog in the park atop the hill as a group of women approach, almost timidly, a few of their number holding back, inspecting the tall flagpole, futilely seeking some kind of monument.

“Excuse me,” one says. “Is this where they hanged the witches?”

At least she didn’t ask if it’s where they burned the witches.

“No, ma’am. Most likely at the bottom of the hill.”

I point to a towering apartment building set upon a high crag and then a little more to the left.

“At the foot of the hill,” I say. “Right behind the Walgreens.”

I’d be happy to explain that back in 1692 the hill was densely forested and getting a cart up the top would have been a major feat, and that the sheriff only needed to take the condemned beyond the town limits, and how the scant descriptions of the topography matched with that one spot – someone’s backyard.

But she’s already waved her thank you and darted back to her friends. They’re off to make their pilgrimage to the rear of a chain drugstore. They’ll find no monument there either.

I suppose I could have corrected her too. They weren’t witches, except perhaps for one, and she was most likely a dilettante.

No matter, they had gotten what they’d come for, a tangible, albeit tenuous, brush with a brief and terrible bout of viciousness that overtook a lonely outpost of Europe in the New World, and it’s stressed-out inhabitants who lived on the cusp of superstition and enlightenment.

The present city of Salem is a major tourist draw, entertaining visitors from around the nation and the world. The Witch City, whose police cars are emblazoned not with the city seal, but with a cartoonish witch on a broomstick.

The city for much of its history tried to downplay it’s nefarious past, taking pains to point out that it had been given a bad rap. The witch hysteria did not originate in Salem, the coastal community that even then was a bit more rational for having a stronger contact with the rest of the known world. The trouble started in Salem Village, present-day Danvers, about five miles inland. Salem was merely the county seat where the courts convened and where the gaol was located.

It was only in the last decade of the 20th century that entrepreneurs tallied the visitors who came to Salem despite the city’s best efforts to ignore the witchcraft hysteria and decided to make money off them.

In other words, they could profit from a 300-year-old atrocity. As a character in one of a few stories I’ve set in Salem points out rather ruefully, it’s rather like a little town in Poland perhaps three hundred years from now, celebrating Olde Aushwitz Days. As revelers in Salem dress like witches and goblins, maybe then folks will don dirty striped pajamas.

Now, lest you take me for a grouchy old killjoy, let me say that I have no problem with having fun and getting silly; there ought to be more Carnivals and Mardi Gras. The world needs to blow off steam.

For the entire month of October, my adopted hometown indulges in Haunted Happenings. And the only difference between it and the celebrations in Rio and New Orleans is the temperature. No young woman is likely to bare her software on a New England evening in October. In fact, even with the t-shirt on, you’ll easily deduce it’s a tad chilly. But, I digress.

There is something utterly schizoid about Salem. The dichotomy between celebration and tragedy worms its way into every endeavor. The city is a magnet for modern-day Wiccans, witches and various new-agers. They see the city as hallowed ground where martyrs suffered in the name of religious freedom, and claim the hysteria victims as their own. The problem with that is all those poor victims would be appalled and horrified to have been posthumously embraced and inducted into the ranks of modern witches. Think about it, they went to their deaths denying it.

The Wiccan community here is comfortably within the mainstream. That became hilariously clear when a bunch of out-of-town vampires announced they would hold their annual ball in Salem.

Witches wrote to the local newspaper complaining that letting the vampires have their way would give Salem a bad name. Hoo boy!

There have been competing psychic fairs that have devolved into legal squabbles. Who could have predicted that!

Things can and have gotten ... well ... nuts. From the what-were-they-thinking category, we offer TV Land’s donation to the city of a statue of Samantha Stevens from the “Bewitched” sitcom. Not only was it accepted, but it sits across the street from the site of the church that excommunicated members convicted of witchcraft. No matter, the effigy of the late Elizabeth Montgomery grins maniacally at tourists exiting a restaurant that now occupies the site.

There have been suggestions and some efforts to promote the city’s literary, maritime and philosophical legacy. This is the city where Hawthorne (barely) toiled in a political patronage job while penning “The Scarlet Letter,” and where he wooed his wife Sofia Peabody, one of the trio of sisters, including Mary and Elizabeth, who made their mark on the philosophical and educational history of the nation.

It was the city where merchant mariners brought back not only rare goods and art, but also a cosmopolitan world view that spawned a healthy liberalism in the young country.

But, folks still come because of the witches. What witches? Well, okay, just one, the first one accused. Her name was Bridget Bishop, and she went through husbands like pantyhose, flaunted her sex, wore a scarlet bodice, and went out of her way to vex her uptight neighbors. She also ran a roadhouse where the kids came to drink hard cider and blow off steam ... just like today. If she used little effigies to effect minor spells, what was the harm? I expect, if there is another life, Bridget is getting quite the hoot out of Salem’s kitschy celebrations.

If you decide to visit, feel free to have your fortune told by a lissome young witch, her bodice (maybe scarlet) near bursting. Try to pay attention to the cards, or the crystal ball.

Salem ... now, its okay to hang out.

Robert Buckley
October 2009


If you have comments or question about this column, please send them to Robert Buckley

Read more of Robert Buckley's Cracking Foxy in 2009 ERWA Archive.

______
"Cracking Foxy" © 2009 Robert Buckley. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written

About the Author: Robert Buckley is senior fiction editor at ERWA. His stories have been published in various anthologies, including editions of Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica and the Coming Togther series of altruistic erotica.



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'09 Movie Reviews

Blame It On Savanna
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Cry Wolf
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Faithless
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Heaven or Hell
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House of Wicked
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The Office: An XXX Parody
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'09 Book Reviews

Anthologies

A Slip of the Lip (ebook)
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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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Girls on Top
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In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed
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Libidacoria (Poetry)
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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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Nexus Confessions 6
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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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Brushes & Painted Dolls
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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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Boys in Heat
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Faewolf
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The Low Road
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Personal Demons
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Ready to Serve
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The Secret Tunnel
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Shuck
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Transgressions
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Non-Fiction

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The Big Penis Book
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Erotic Encounters
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The Forbidden Apple
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Live Nude Elf
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The Other Side of Desire
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Scripts 4 Play
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