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'10 Authors Insider Tips

Cooking Up A Storey
by Donna George Storey
Have More Good Sex
I Can Do Better ...
Trying to Get the Feeling
Plotting and Planning
Character Profiles
Discovery Draft
Be Bad to Be Good
E-Book Revolution
Naked for Halloween
Sex With Pilgrims

by Louisa Burton
The Music of Words
The Balancing Act
Your Fictional World
Backstory & Foreshadowing

The Fine Art of Submission
by Shanna Germain
Nailing the Query Letter
Banish the Boring Bio
Becoming a Market Master
Become a Market Master, 2
Backstory & Foreshadowing
Enticing An Editor, Part 1
Enticing An Editor, Part 2
Contracts, Money & More

Serious about Smut
by Vincent Diamond
No More Horsing Around
Short Stuff
Selling Short Stories
Editors' Pet Peeves
Settings: Beyond Time & Place
Beating Up Your Scenes
Selling Your Books in Person
Staying in the Saddle

The Write Stuff
by Ashley Lister
Broken Rainbows
Talk the Talk
10 Commandments for Writing
Plotting to Avoid
Cover Story

'10 Smutters Lounge

Ashley Lister Submits
by Ashley Lister
St Valentine's Day
Renaming Body Parts
Sex, Cigarettes & Erotic Fiction

Between the Lines
with Ashley Lister
C. Sanchez-Garcia
Kathleen Bradean
Lucy Felthouse
Neve Black
PS Haven
Tracey Shellito
Tresart L. Sioux

Cracking Foxy
with Robert Buckley
Plenty of Miles Left
Don't Worry, Be Happy
Fly the Unfriendly Skies
Coffee Time
Castrated Words
Virtual vs. Actual Romance
The View from Gallows Hill

Get All Worked Up
with J.T. Benjamin
The Fashion Industry
The Same Old Same Old
Writing Porn
About the Closet
... About Spirituality
Making Sense of Religion
Worked Up About Monogamy
What's Next
All Worked Up About Nature
Still All Worked Up...

Sex Is All Metaphors
by Jean Roberta
Holiday Ghosts
Love and Romance
An "Interracial" Epic
Trying to Make It Go Away
Sexual Etiquette
Sex and Children
People Against Bad Things
Virtual Acceptance
His Cold Eyes, His Granite Jaw
A Flash of Northern Light

Ashley Lister Submits

Diary of an Erotic Fiction Writer

Sex, Cigarettes & Erotic Fiction


Sex, cigarettes and erotic fiction: I’m seriously thinking of quitting one of those three.  I won’t bother trying to build to a big surprise.  As you’ve probably guessed, it’s the smokes that I’m trying to lose.

Speaking from experience, I know it won’t be easy.  Admittedly I’ve quit before: thousands of times, if I’m being honest.  But this time I’m hoping to quit for good.

And, as it if often does when I’m quitting smoking, my thoughts have turned to cigarettes.  Particularly, cigarettes in erotic fiction. 

I have to admit I’ve created characters who smoke.  Whether you’re writing hetero or homoerotic fiction, there’s something sexy about a character putting something between their lips and sucking.  I won’t bother trying to broaden the analogy: I suspect you’ve already made the connection. 

The intimacy of a post-coital cigarette is also a common scene in erotica.  Whether it’s a sweat-slick couple sharing a single smoke, or a macho hero lighting two and then passing the redundant cigarette to his partner, it remains a striking image that is powerful because of its familiarity in most of our personal realities. 

Then there’s the femme fatale – cigarette poised in front of her mouth, waiting for a rock-concert of lighters to erupt at the tip. 

All these images are clichés of fictional smoking.  And I’m beginning to wonder if they’re part of the mythology that makes smoking appear sexy.  Of course, we all know that the reality of smoking is far from sexy.  My teeth are yellow and my fingers are brown.  If you take into account me blue eyes and my green thumb, I swear, I only need a black ball and I’ll have a snooker set.  

And smokers tend to smell as well.  Nicotine and smoke produce a distinctive fragrance that, at its most pleasant, is best described as dirty.  I know I’m not selling this well but, trust me, I’m trying to quit and I’m desperate to see the unglamorous side of smoking.

I’ve spent some time reading Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking.  Friends recommended it to me although, I must admit, my copy has a few cigarette burns on the pages.  And it stinks of tobacco.  That said, one of the points Carr raises is that fiction (films and literature) are responsible for our perception of smoking as something glamorous.

He notes the heroic image of a soldier in front of a firing squad.  Again, it’s a scene that’s been done more times than a cut price hooker.  And he rightly points out that the scene elevates the importance of the cigarette to the most coveted experience a person can hope to enjoy.

GUARD: Any last requests?
SOLDIER: I’ll have a cigarette.

When you think about it, the soldier should have asked for sex.

GUARD: Any last requests?
SOLDIER: I’d like to have sex with a woman who’s got a really fat arse.  You know, one of those that wobbles a lot, even when she’s standing still. 

The least he should ask for is a blow-job.  Admittedly (and somewhat ironically) I know if I was in that situation the choice of the cigarette would probably make my life last longer.  But it would be nice to think I was going to my death whilst someone else had to brush their teeth to get the taste from their mouth. 

Which is my roundabout way of saying: I’m going to quit smoking.  I’m also going to ensure that all of my characters also quit smoking because I’ll be damned if I’m going to do anything further to make cigarettes appear glamorous, or desirable or vaguely sexy. 

Now, I’ve got to get on with writing the end to a war melodrama.  The villain of my story is standing in front of a firing squad and the heroic Captain has promised to honour his last request.  It’s going to be a thrilling climax…

Ashley Lister
July 2010

If you have comments or question about this column, please send them to Ashley Lister

  Read more of Ashley's Diary of an Erotic Fiction Writer in ERWA 2010 Archive.

"Ashley Lister Submits" © 2010 Ashley Lister. All rights reserved.

About the Author:  Ashley Lister is a UK author responsible for more than two-dozen erotic novels written under a variety of pseudonyms. His most recent work, Swingers: True Confessions from Today's Modern Swinging Scene (Virgin Books; ISBN: 0753511355), a non-fiction book recounting the exploits of UK swingers, is his first title published under his own name.
Ashley's non-fiction has appeared in a variety of magazines, including Forum, Chapter & Verse and The International Journal of Erotica.  Nexus, Chimera and Silver Moon have published his full-length fiction, with shorter stories appearing in anthologies edited by Maxim Jakubowski, Rachel Kramer Bussel and Mitzi Szereto.  He is very proud to be a regular contributor to ERWA.
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'10 Book Reviews


Apocalypse Sex
Review by Ashley Lister

Bare Souls
Review by Ashley Lister

Best Women's Erotica 2010
Review by Jean Roberta

canít help the way that i feel
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Coming Together...C. Sanchez-Garcia
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Coming Together...M Christian
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Coming Together...Remittance Girl
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Erotic Brits
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Fairy Tale Lust
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Like a God's Kiss
Review by Kristina Wright

Like a Sacred Desire
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Like a Veil
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Making the Hook-Up
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Review by Kristina Wright

Peep Show
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Please, Ma'am
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Spark My Moment
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Three In One Blow
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Review by Ashley Lister

Erotic Novels

Backstage Passes
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Fire in the Blood
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Freak Parade
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I Came Up Stairs
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Marianne! A Journey...
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The Marketplace
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The Memorial Garden
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On Demand
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Once Bitten
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Rock My Socks Off
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The Tower and the Tears
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Sensual Romance

Coin Operated
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Review by Lynne Connolly

I Spy a Wicked Sin
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Libertine's Kiss
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The Master & the Muses
Review by Lynne Connolly

Review by Lynne Connolly

Review by Lynne Connolly

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Tangled Web (MM Romance)
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Tucker's Sin
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Review by Harriet Klausner

Gay Erotica

Best Gay Erotica '10
Review by Vincent Diamond

Best Gay Romance 2010
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Biker Boys
Review by Jay Lygon

Necessary Madness
Review by Kathleen Bradean

Personal Demons
Review by Lisabet Sarai

The Royal Treatment
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Silver Foxes
Review by Vincent Diamond

Review by Jay Lygon

Special Forces
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A Sticky End
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Wired Hard 4
Review by Lisabet Sarai

Lesbian Erotica

Best Lesbian Roamnce 2010
Review by Jean Roberta

Fast Girls
Review by Ashley Lister

Girl Crush
Review by Jean Roberta

Sometimes She Lets Me
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Best Sex Writing 2010
Review by Ashley Lister

A Brief History of Nakedness
Review by Rob Hardy

Condom Nation
Review by Rob Hardy

Dictionary of Semenyms
Review by Donna G Storey

Doctor of Love
Review by Rob Hardy

Floridaís Purge of Gay & Lesbian...
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John Holmes
Review by Rob Hardy

How Sex Works
Review by Rob Hardy

The Orgasm Answer Guide
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Screening Sex
Review by Rob Hardy

Sex at Dawn
Review by Rob Hardy

Whip Smart
Review by Rob Hardy