erotic romance

It is Not Just Sex

Sex is exactly like magic, except for one very important difference. Both have an air of mystery about them, and practitioners who speak in hushed tones. Both have their rituals, their Words of Power, and both traffic in what some would consider to be dark secrets.

But the biggest, the most important difference between sex and magic is that the wizard who learns every conceivable spell known to man, becomes exalted. More often than not, they are elevated to the rank of grandmaster.

Nobody gets elevated for knowing everything about sex.

At least, not in the way that gets talked about at parties.

You see, while wizards are allowed to experiment, to test the bounds of human experience, the sex mage who screams, ‘I’ve mastered the reverse-cowgirl levitation technique!’ gets buried beneath Azkaban without a ceremony.

It’s not fair. It’s not even really funny, but…there you have it.

The ironic part about all of this is that sex is at its best when it is discussed openly, but even that open discussion can be twisted so easily.

I for one, have always been leery of those who speak of sex in metaphysical terms. Who talk of souls meeting, or celestial bodies, as though by speaking frankly about what they want, they might somehow sully themselves.

But equally as bad, if not worse are those who simply shrug and say ‘It’s just sex,” as though they can’t possibly understand what all the fuss is about.

Telling a devout Catholic newlywed who has to go from demure protector to wild, kinky sex-kitten in one night that it’s just sex, doesn’t do anything except undermine her faith and her identity.

For a woman who has never had a pleasurable experience in bed due to vaginismus, the words do nothing to alleviate her pain.

And for the guy who was so nervous the first several times he tried to have sex that he couldn’t perform, (unashamedly raises his hand) the phrase doesn’t eliminate the nerves. Because by that logic, sex is just a matter of ‘get up and go’ and if he can’t, then he’s left with the exact same fear as the newlywed who can’t turn on a dime, or the woman who can’t ‘just relax.’

The fear that there’s something wrong with me.

Sex, in a lot of ways, is actually better than magic, because it’s defined by the people who take part in it, which means its impact or relevancy changes depending upon the person. Whether it’s to fill a void, relieve stress or forge a connection (however celestial) sex is a pillar of any relationship. Not the most important pillar. Far from it. But neither dressing up sex, nor trivializing it will help those who dread being bad at something that society says they shouldn’t know too much about anyway.

Honest, awkward, flush-faced conversations are easy to talk about, not easy to affect.

(We can all be hypocrites, deep in our hearts. Let’s be honest here.)

But what problems these conversations come with are immediate and often fade just as quickly. The alternatives however, the shame and hushed tones and fear we’ve all lived with for far too long, those effects can last a lifetime.

And that, to me, is the real shame.

Awkward Conversations are Life

The first story I ever self-published, Carnal Theory, began as a comedic scenario where a woman, bluntly and in great detail, informs her lover that he is terrible in bed. That was it. That was all I had. I didn’t even have character names yet. I just loved the idea of a woman tearing down a man, not maliciously, but as a genuine attempt to tell him he sucked between the sheets (and not in a good way).

Slowly, and in fits and starts, details came to me, but so did many questions. Who was the woman? Who was the man? Could there be anything behind the comedy? And more importantly…could I build an entire story around awkward conversations?

It took time, which is a statement I think any writer will understand. But soon enough, the woman became Dr. Elizabeth Spencer, a brilliant behavioral researcher who’d spent years being disappointed by her lovers, until she encountered the one man who flummoxed her enough to make her fall in love.

Self-publishing was a long and arduous process, (I have all the computer savvy of a brazil nut) but in the end, it was one of my greatest achievements. I felt extremely proud, despite the fact that the story did not make a great splash. But the most interesting thing is what it taught me about awkward conversations.

For all the comedy and sex and heat, (of which there is a lot) I learned that awkward conversations are life in a way.

Think about it. What do you like? What makes you feel beautiful? What makes you feel safe? How do you like to be fucked?

Writing Carnal Theory taught me that whether you want it all the time, or never (yes, asexuality is a thing, fight me) awkward conversations about sex are going to come up at some point. We are human. We bang. It happens. But having awkward conversations is what leads us to discovering not only more about ourselves but what we can expect of other people.

I’m a mild-mannered office manager who loves to leave the windows open while we fuck.

I’m a tall, strapping man who loves to have his ass slapped while he is bent over a desk.

I’m a beautiful, self-contained woman and you know what? Sex really isn’t my thing. I just want to hold your hand. I hope that is enough.

Awkward conversations are awkward for a reason. They leave us vulnerable to another person. They make us turn red in the face. But the alternative is a kind of hell in its own right.

Now, I am by no means an expert at this. I have stuttered and ‘ummmed’ my way through several awkward conversations and I’m not going to lie and say that things always got better afterwards. All I’m saying is that the topic of spanking is unlikely to come up naturally around the dinner table and waiting around, hoping that one day your lover will just ‘get it,’ is akin to a cold day in Hell.

Talking hurts. Talking is scary. Sometimes, talking fucks things up.

But um…in the end…we um…I mean you and I should…you know, if you’re up for it…um…I think we should, um…talk?

Romance, Where Art Thou?

Recently I lunched with a blog writer friend who lives nearby. He has now decided he wants to write a book and he had a lot of questions about the publishing business. I tried my best to talk him out of it, but he’s nothing if not persistent. He is apparently including romance in his story, and hit me with a good question: what is the difference between erotica and erotic romance?

Talk about being momentarily stumped! I replied that erotic romance has to have some kind of emotional involvement or connection between the characters, whereas erotica is basically two people jumping from one hot encounter to another.

That may be oversimplifying it, but I think it was the correct response. When I reviewed romance books online, I noticed that a fair amount of them fell into the erotica category. The authors used thin plots as an excuse to bring two people together for the sole purpose of having sex. Nothing else seemed to matter. No character development, no atmosphere, no emotional bonding, no physical descriptions aside from male endowments, and sometimes not even names. Many of these stories were like an adult version of “The Love Boat”—just make up any excuse to bring the man and woman together to…well…you know!

I’m not saying that each hot encounter you include in an erotic romance needs to have all of these elements. I’ll admit that on a couple of occasions, I’ve used the nightclub or party hook-up device to get two people between the sheets. Each time, I tried to justify it, especially if it seemed to go against the character’s grain. I don’t like to include erotic scenes just for the hell of it, and all of mine happen for a reason, as a natural progression in the story or relationship.

Another good friend self-publishes on Kindle Direct. After years of going the traditional publishing route, he decided he wanted to call the shots himself, without being told what he could or could not write. He sells a lot of books, thanks to a large following he’s built up over 40 years, and he tries to follow whatever the current trend is. No disrespect to my friend, but he basically writes porn with a plot, and most of the time, not much plot at that. When I politely pointed this out once, he showed me his latest sales figures. I kept my opinions to myself after that.

My lunch friend said he was confused by the difference between happily-ever-after and happy-for-now endings. I explained that happy-for-now meant that the characters might not be together until eternity, but that their exit was more than “Thanks, I’ll call you the next time I’m in town!” Happily-ever-after is just what it implies, with more of a sense of finality. I also cautioned him that if he used that type of ending, it might be difficult to write a sequel with the same characters.

On a personal note, I’ve only used happily-ever-after a couple of times, when I felt I’d gone as far as I could with the characters, and there was nothing left for them to do. Most of my endings are more ambiguous, leaving a trail of bread crumbs for the reader to follow into the next adventure.

In closing out our meeting, he asked for my advice if he wanted to pursue his project. The best things I could come up with were for him to be comfortable with what he was writing (in other words, don’t publish something that he or his family would be embarrassed by later). The other was that if he did write blistering hot sex scenes, carefully consider if he wanted to publish under his own name.

Did I miss anything?

In Praise of Flirting

I love writing flirting scenes in my romances. There’s something sensual and erotic about two people engaging in teasing and verbal jousting when the attraction is mutual. Sometimes you can radiate more heat with a few lines of suggestive dialogue than with a paragraph of in-your-face eroticism. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

I write these encounters in all of my mystery/thrillers, even between characters where I’ve already established a relationship. Take this one, from “Warning Shot,” book three in the Nick Seven series:

Nick brought Felicia’s hand to his mouth and kissed it. “This is one of the reasons I’m glad I have you around. You always keep me focused.”

“Is that the only reason you’re glad I’m around?”

“No, but it’s a long list.”

She moved to Nick’s lap and kissed him while running her fingers through his hair. “I’ve got nothin’ but time, tough guy.”

He caressed her cheek. “You’re resourceful, self-confident, and independent.”

“You just described a Boy Scout. Can’t you do better than that?”

He kissed her. “You’re incredibly hot, passionate about everything, and waking up next to you makes all my teenaged dreams come true.” He paused. “Plus, you make a mean stir-fried shrimp.”

Felicia laughed and lightly smacked his arm. “Is that the best you’ve got? You were always better at foreplay.”

“You make me feel alive and I can’t wait to start every day all over again with you.”

She cupped his cheek and peered into his eyes. “That’s what I was gonna say. It’s kinda hard to explain, but when I first saw you, all that time ago in London, it was like a jolt of electricity went through me. When you quit the agency and I went back to Barbados, I felt this big empty inside, like somethin’ vital had been taken away.”

He traced her jaw with his fingers. “Same thing I felt.”

Then there’s this film noir-type exchange from “Lido Key,” book two in the Vic Fallon series. If this doesn’t put you in mind of films like “Double Indemnity” and “Body Heat,” you probably aren’t a fan.

When Vic locked eyes with Ariel Weston across the bar, there was no escape. He moved to the stool next to hers, drawn in like a marlin hooked by a determined fisherman.

“Excuse me, Miss, but I’m new in town. Could you please direct me to your house?”

She began with a chuckle that escalated into full-blown laughter, then she playfully smacked Vic’s forearm. “That’s so lame, it’s cute!”

“Thank you.”

Her eyes scanned him up and down. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before, have I?” she asked in a low, smoky voice.

“No. Do I need a reservation to sit here?”

She laughed again. “A smart-ass. I like that quality in a man. Where are you from, smart-ass?”

“A whole other world. Would you like me to provide references before we go any further?”

She placed her hand on his on top of the bar and locked eyes with him. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary, but since we’re going to be friends, I think I should call you something more formal than smart-ass.”

“Are we going to be friends?”

“Unless you think you already have enough of them.”

“You can never have too many friends. Why don’t you call me Blake?”

“Is that your real name?”

“No, my real name is Vic. I just use Blake to fool people. What should I call you besides totally hot?”

“I like that, but let’s go with Ariel.”

“Pretty name.”

“Thank you. I’m rather attached to it.” She massaged his hand. “I should tell you something, Vic. I’m married to a rich older man, we don’t have any kids and we’ve always had separate bedrooms. He doesn’t really notice if I’m not home, since he’s only there long enough to change clothes before he meets his latest girlfriend. He doesn’t ask me any questions and I don’t grill him about where he drops his pants. Does that bother you?”

“One man’s ignorance is another man’s bliss.”

“Ooh, a clever smart-ass. That’s another quality I like.”

“And we’re just getting started.”

And finally, this is from the romantic comedy, “The Sweet Distraction”:

“I should probably go,” George said. “I’m cutting into your tanning time.”

“Why do you have to run off?” Cookie teased.

“I’m working. Remember?”

“You know what they say about all work and no play.”

“I always make time to play.”

“Like what?”

“Poker, blackjack, the ponies once in a while…”

“Are you good at picking winners?”

“I find it depends on who’s holding the riding crop.”

“Ooh, is that a kinky side coming out of hiding?”

He winked. “I’ll never tell.”

“I like to play, too.”

“What games do you like to play, little girl?”

“Pass-out, strip dominoes, escaped convict and the Warden’s wife…”

“Those are a little out of my league.”

“Maybe you should move up from Little League to the majors. That’s where they play night games.”

“Is this where you ask me if I know how to whistle, then tell me to just put my lips together and blow?”

She raised her sunglasses and looked at him. “I can think of a much better use for your lips.”

If you liked those teasers, check out the full books for more of the same. Happy reading!


Romances didn’t appeal to me when I was in my teens. The dog-eared paperbacks that all my friends were reading seemed to insult my intelligence. Romance stories aimed at girls emphasized the importance of keeping one’s virginity until the wedding night, and surrendering to a suitor who could afford to support a family. I didn’t like the sermon, and I couldn’t believe in the happy ending.

I lost some of my scorn when I heard a contemporary romance writer explain her motivation at a writers’ conference. An African-American woman using the pen name “Anna Black” said that she needed the fantasy of a gentleman who really loves a lady and treats her well because she hadn’t seen such things in the real world. I thought that sounded reasonable.

I considered Jane Austen’s six novels, now approximately 200 years old. They are romances about heroines who speak their minds, despite needing access to a man’s wealth for survival. Many a female reader has found those books thrilling.

The erotic romances of our time have more explicit sex in them than the romances written in eras when “premarital sex” was considered a social problem, but they are primarily about relationships, in which the sex provides additional information. Most romances still have happy endings, but these can’t be too predictable. They are usually heterosexual, but the more enlightened romances show same-sex love as an option. If the hero is older and more powerful than the heroine, he can’t simply whisk her off her feet before she can show what she is capable of.

The most recent romance I’ve read is The English Professor by Rachel de Vine. It’s about a very old erotic fantasy, which is now largely forbidden in the real world.

Many a university student has had a crush on a charismatic professor, and professors often find their students tempting: so young, so full of energy, hope, and curiosity. Even if the attraction is mutual, however, university administrations usually have rules against such relationships while the course is ongoing. Students tend to be less mature than their teachers, who are their guardians in a sense. A student is likely to be distracted from schoolwork if the person who assigned the work is also a lover. In any case, the  professor is unlikely to be completely objective in evaluating the assignments.

In this novel, Eleanor is a smart young woman, no longer a teenager, and her English professor, Dan Jamieson, is still in his thirties, single, and just beginning his academic career. She is fascinated by his “rich, chocolatey voice,” and his “come-to-bed” eyes.  When she brings him a late assignment, she doesn’t expect him to show sexual interest in her, and he doesn’t plan to cross any professional boundaries. However, their shared interest in literature leads to regular meetings outside of class.

Dan, as he lets her call him, reveals that he is a novelist, and Eleanor tells him that she wants to become a writer. His mentoring moves into dangerous territory. Eleanor has been aroused by BDSM literature, beginning with The Story of O, and she admits this to Dan when he asks her about her responses to such books. He finds her irresistibly sensual. Step by step, he introduces her to activities she has only fantasized about before. 

To be specific, this is a spanking novel, and the professor doesn’t even pretend to punish his student because she has been a “bad girl.” He spanks her because she wants it, and so does he. 

The sex scenes are told in alternating sections: first Eleanor’s version, then Dan’s. The reader is led to understand how two decent-enough people could fall into a taboo relationship. 

The secret trysts only remain secret for a short time, and then, predictably, the lovers are forced apart. Luckily for Dan, he is already a successful writer in a time when print publishing is a flourishing business, so his loss of an academic career does not plunge him into poverty.

Less than halfway into the novel, the romance seems to be over. Eleanor goes home to her lower-middle-class family in Yorkshire, knowing that she can’t tell anyone what Dan means to her. She has the intelligence to make her own way in the world, and she is determined to finish her university education, even though her favourite professor has gone forever.

In Eleanor’s case, becoming upwardly mobile probably involves getting rid of her Yorkshire accent, though as I read, I was secretly hoping she could hang onto some honest northern vowels and not try to sound like a member of the Royal Family. 

Eleanor’s adventures in the overlapping fields of freelance writing, bookselling and book publishing are interesting in themselves. Her success would probably be unbelievable if set in our own time, but my guess is that most of the action is set in the 1980s. Much of this novel has the flavour of a bildungsroman (a coming-of-age novel) as Eleanor finds a job and a place to live in London. She develops new skills and meets new people, but never forgets the man who awakened her sexuality.

The reader is relieved when Eleanor crosses paths with Dan. Of course, the world of book-publishing isn’t large enough to keep two successful authors apart. Once again, however, there are complications, and both central characters must choose between their attraction to each other and their reluctance to hurt other people.

Two important secondary characters are a female literary agent in a long-term lesbian relationship, and a closeted gay man who marries a woman to avoid upsetting his wealthy, conservative family, even though this means that his long-suffering boyfriend is expected to be satisfied with secret trysts. There is a clear parallel between the shocking revelation scene in which the two men are “outed,” and the scene in the university when the same thing happened to Eleanor and Dan.

Both the central characters show that same-sex relationships don’t shock them at all, and they treat non-straight colleagues as their social equals.

A lot happens in this relatively short novel, and the plot never lags. The writing careers of Dan and Eleanor are wish-fulfillment for writers, and Eleanor is a kind of Cinderella who rises into a higher social class than the one in which she was raised. In that sense, she is a very traditional heroine.

The prolific author, who also writes under the name “Juliette Banks,” seems to write for a trans-Atlantic audience, and she includes a brief introduction for American/Canadian readers, explaining the British terms for some items which show up a lot in erotic romance, such as knickers/panties.  I noticed, however, that the term “torch” (for “electric torch”) isn’t translated into “flashlight” for North American readers, and I couldn’t help imagining how some readers would visualize the scene in which Eleanor reads a racy BDSM novel under a bedsheet by the light of a torch. I just hope the context  makes it clear why the fire department doesn’t have to be called—although sexy firemen might be a fun distraction.

I like local colour, and therefore I would rather see extensive footnotes in a novel than generic descriptions stripped of specific references to place and time, but I’m probably in a minority. This novel is a likeably updated, accessible version of a traditional plot. It has all the necessary features: sexual heat, secrecy, moral dilemmas, jealousy, and a well-earned happy ending.

It’s Time To Give Thanks

It’s Thanksgiving in the United States. This is the time of year Americans gorge on turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. It’s also the time of year we see family we haven’t seen in years or see seldom. While the Thanksgiving/Christmas season can be stressful, I don’t see it that way. What am I thankful for? Plenty!

  1. I don’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner. My husband is a gourmet cook and he takes on the entire task. He makes the green bean casserole from scratch, including the cream of mushroom soup and crispy shallots that get mixed in with the dish. It’s much better than the Campbell’s version. He brines the turkey overnight and then roasts it Thanksgiving day. I preferred to buy a pumpkin pie so he’d have less work to do. My job is to stay out of his kitchen and keep him company while sitting in a chair nearby. I am eternally grateful that I don’t have to take on the Herculean task of cooking turkey dinner.
  2. eXtasy Books has accepted my gay werewolf paranormal erotic romance for publication. It’s entitled “Full Moon Fever”, and it’s coming out in 2020. My book is about two gay werewolves who work as gaffers (lighting) for a traveling stage show. They are looking for a third partner, and they have their sights set on the lead dancer. They’re also friends with two female scenic painters who give them a run for their money. I’m planning a sequel for this book. One of my werewolves has to deal with a person from his past – his ex. I haven’t thought further on the sequel, but it’s going to be a fun ride.
  3. We don’t have a lot of debt, unlike many people. I was told that the average credit card debt in America is appx. $5,000. I owe about $500 on two cards and I plan to pay it off within two weeks. I always pay the credit cards when the bill comes in so I don’t have to worry about interest. We owe money on a used VW Beetle (love that car), but otherwise we are debt free. We worked hard to get there.
  4. Although we’re up there in years, we are blessed with good health. I have my daily prescriptions to take and so does my husband but it’s manageable.
  5. I am close to my family. My son joined us for Turkey day. I called my dad and sister. We also called my stepson and his wife. They live out of state. We don’t see them often but when we do we have a wonderful time. I’m not sure when we’re venturing down to their homes again, but we do plan to visit in 2020.
  6. We aren’t hurting for money. The bills get paid each month and there’s some left over for fun stuff.
  7. We are owned by three cats. I’m glad the apartment complex allows pets. They got turkey and giblet on Thanksgiving just like us humans.
  8. We live in a New England beach resort. For Christmas, we get to see the tree in town lit up and Santa arrives on a lobster boat. Everyone in town (this is a small town) comes out for the lighting of the tree and we drink hot cocoa. Living here is like living in a Hallmark Christmas movie.

There’s plenty to be thankful for, and I figured it was a good time to remind myself of that fact. I hope Americans reading had a very happy Thanksgiving. Here’s looking to Christmas to continue the festive joy.


Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her three cats. Her story “The Beautiful Move in Curves” appears in “Dangerous Curves Ahead”, an anthology of sexy stories about plus-sized women. Look for it at Amazon. Her new paranormal erotic shifter romance novel “Full Moon Fever” will be for sale in 2020.


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Another Scorching Case Of Writer's Block


I’ve been having a rough few weeks and a scorching case of
writer’s block has set in. My parents (both sets) have health problems. For
that to make any sense, you must understand that I have parents who raised me and
an older couple who adopted me of sorts a few years ago. I call them Mom and
Dad. That Mom is having severe vertigo problems due to a possible serious inner
ear infection. My mother who raised me died two years ago, and now my dad who
raised me is in the hospital with a heart problem aggravated by his COPD. I
know the parents labels gets confusing. It’s like Neal Gaiman’s Coraline –  I have Mother and Other Mother. Then there
are my biological parents and cousin since I’m adopted. My birth mother died
about four years ago and I’m in regular touch with a blood relative, a cousin. I’ve
turned family into a three-ring circus.

I’m not processing all this mess very well. On top of it,
my two latest books aren’t selling. That’s a severe disappointment. I don’t know what to do about it. The weather is getting colder and
winter is coming. The cats won’t stop fighting. The books not selling well is
hitting me especially hard since I see no point in writing at the moment. Why
bother when next to no one will read my books? I’m working on a horror novel at
the moment as well as a short erotic romance story, but the words simply aren’t

I know I’m not the only one feeling this way about my writing. A fellow horror writer on Facebook just said pretty much the same thing about his own aspirations since it’s harder for him to reach his goals now than when he was younger. One commenter pointed out that maybe when he was younger he set the bar for his goals too low. I wonder if that could be my problem. I used to be happy simply being published. Now, I want to be published by bigger, better houses, get lots of great reviews, get huge sales, and eventually win awards. Not only is a lot of that out of my hands, it’s harder to achieve. I have accomplished the first of those goals for the most part but not the others. Not yet. Maybe I just need time. In the meantime, I have no desire to write at all.

What to do?

I haven’t had writer’s block in awhile, but I haven’t
forgotten how I’ve dealt with it in the past. The best thing for me to do is to
not fight it. Just give in to it and find something else to do that I enjoy that
will improve my bleak mood. I know this won’t work for everyone. This is only
about what has worked for me. My point is to find what works best for you. If
writing through the block works, do it. If getting away from the keyboard for
awhile works, go for it. This is what has worked for me.

I’m still going to the beach nearly every day. Walking on
the beach is my primary form of 
exercise. I’ve lost 15 pounds since the beginning of summer. The
difference this year is that my husband and I intend to join the local YMCA to
use their exercise machines and the pool. I lost 15 pounds last summer and the
summer before that, but gained it all back and then some because I had no
exercise regime set for the fall and winter. So there’s something to be happy
about. I’ll likely reach my target weight (130 pounds) by next summer. Good.

I’m concentrating on my new radio show, Into The Abyss With Elizabeth Black. It’s about horror and dark
fiction, my other literary loves. My first guest will be Josh Malerman, who
wrote Bird Box, a scary-as-shit novel.
I loved it. He’s going to be on my show Thursday Oct. 6 at 4 PM EST. I still do
radio shows for Blog Talk Radio and that includes shows about erotic romance
and writing. My past guests include women from Broad Universe, Madeleine Shade
(who specializes in fairy tales), Cherry Wild and Sophia Soror (they also
specialize in fairy tales), and Melissa Keir. Doing these shows keeps me afloat
so that I don’t feel as if I’m floundering without direction.

I’m reading more. I like erotic romance and erotica
collections by Cleis Press and Xcite Books. I have quite a few books by these
publishers, and they inspire me when I write erotic fiction. I’m working on a
call for submissions for Cleis that isn’t due until December, so I have time to
come up with a story. I would love to be accepted by them again. I also enjoy
books that scare the crap out of me. I’m about to begin Snowblind by Christopher Golden, which takes place in Massachusetts
in the dead of winter. Perfect timing. I’ve also decided to reread a classic to
inspire me while working on my own horror novel, Hell Time. I’m rereading Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

Finally, I’ve been watching plenty of TV and movies. I’m
binge-watching Mr. Robot, and I’m on the season finale now. Rami Malek deserved
his Best Actor Emmy for playing the lead in this show. I’m also enjoying
American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare, although it’s not the best thing
I’ve seen. The new TV version of The Exorcist is very predictable but the first
episode held my attention. Nice Easter Egg with the brief glimpse of a
newspaper article about Chris MacNeil from the original movie. Lucifer is back! Love that show. My husband and I can’t get enough of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. It’s my favorite TV show.

I’ve been baking. I made lemon poppy seed quickbread, angel
kisses cookies, hobnobs (British oat tea cookies), maple candy (it is fall
after all) and lime spritzer cookies. The lime spritzers taste exactly like the
same cookies Pepperidge Farm used to make. They were sold only over the summer
and they’ve been discontinued a long time ago. I loved those cookies, and now I
can make them myself.

In a nutshell, I’ve been doing things I enjoy to take my
mind off my worries and the writer’s block. When I’m ready to write, I’ll write.
I’m not going to put undue pressure on myself since I know that will only make
the situation worse. Next week I attend a Writers Coffeehouse New England
meeting, and I intend to learn how I can get word out about Into The Abyss With Elizabeth Black, including
possibly getting it into syndication. This coffeehouse is chock full of
valuable information, and I go every chance I get. I’ve been to one before and
I learned a great deal there. After we return, I decorate the house with
Halloween gack. I have two Fargo snow
globes and a Halloween snow globe.
All three depict scenes from the movies. Those are my pride and joy, and I love
showing them off. I’m looking forward to Halloween and the fall season. I can
at least enjoy myself until this dreadful mood and block lift. Maybe my parents (all of them) will be better soon. Until then, I’ll
binge-watch more movies and TV and bake stuff. Once I begin writing, I know
I’ll be fine.

In the meantime, I will continue to watch this video, which I can’t watch and be unhappy at the same time. It’s Cab Calloway and the Nicolas Brothers doing Jumpin’ Jive. This is said to be the greatest dance number ever recorded, and I sure agree with that. Get those happy feet moving!

Book Parties and Other Fun Things

Want to come to a book party? My new contemporary erotic romance novel No Restraint was released recently, and I’m hosting a book party in its honor. I’m giving away some prizes including free Kindle erotic romance books, some fancy schmancy soaps, and a Jack Rabbit vibrator!

I haven’t decided which ebooks I’m giving away, but most likely they will be my two erotic fairy tales Trouble In Thigh High Boots
(Erotic Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (Erotic Rapunzel).

I love parties, especially where books are concerned. The most fun one I went to was for Broad Universe. I brought some of my horror books with me for a reading. Everyone brought a treat. We brought chili. There were also brownies, cookies, and soft drinks. The crowd was small but it was worthwhile. I got to practice my public speaking skills and mingle with strangers, which is no mean feat for me since I’m very introverted. I’d love to attend another public, live, in person book party soon, but for now, Facebook will do.

Here is the link for my Facebook party:

It runs from 9 AM EST until midnight PM EST on Sept. 6.

Here is some information about No Restraint, which was published by Xcite Books in the U. K.

Blurb and excerpt from No Restraint. Buy this book at Amazon.


Alex Craig accepts a new job at a high-end sex doll company called Babes. Babes’ dolls are high-end, expensive silicone love toys. Working at Babes is like working for a bacchanal. The company’s culture is all about decadence, enjoying the good life, exciting sex, and enticing food and drink. Alex meets Jackson Beale, one of the company’s vice-presidents. Jackson takes Alex on a new and exciting journey of carnal pleasure. He introduces her to new tactile and kinky pleasures, and she relishes her excitement. The world takes on an entirely new meaning and importance to Alex as she learns what she’s been missing in her life.


They walked hand in hand down the wooden pathway and across the bridge to the fine, warm sand. Hot sun beat down on her shoulders, making her sweat. The heat was a bit overpowering, and she wanted to swim to cool off from the sweltering weather as well as her own arousal.

The chill from the waves lapping at her feet made her jump; the water was colder than she expected it would be. Jackson took her by the hand and the two of them ran headfirst into the waves, splashing water all about them. With a flying leap, Alex plunged into the waist-deep water, shrieking as the chill shocked her. Once immersed in the water she felt cool and comfortable. She enjoyed the much-needed relief from the smoldering heat.

Alex smoothed her wet hair as Jackson approached her to wrap his arms around her waist. Holding her so tightly she couldn’t escape, he lowered his head and kissed her full on the mouth. Not expecting the embrace, she struggled to pull away from him but soon surrendered to her passion. She wrapped her arms around his back and sank into his kiss. His tongue slipped into her mouth and she greeted him in kind, tongues dancing a duet to music only the two of them could hear. Her head spun and sparks exploded behind her eyelids as her blood rushed through her veins.

No man had ever gotten such an excited response from her from his mere kiss.

They pulled away from each other, lips unlocking, and she stared into his eyes. She couldn’t read his expression. He gazed at her with an intensity she hadn’t seen before. It was as if he wanted to see through to her very soul and possess it.

And she would let him if he insisted.

A warm breeze brushed her skin as she and Jackson walked along the beach. Bubbling surf washed over her feet, cooling her in the hot sun. They walked hand in hand as if they had been partnered for years instead of only days. Amazed at how comfortable she felt in Jackson’s presence, she strolled by his side, not talking, but only enjoying his company and the smell of the ocean surf. Her other lovers paled when compared to Jackson. He was all she ever wanted in a man – worldly, handsome, accomplished, and drop-dead sexy. He treated her with respect and gentleness; not that she expected anything less. If he had been less kindly toward her, she never would have taken up with him in the first place. She wasn’t one to believe in soulmates, but Jackson came very close to being hers.

He squeezed her hand, bringing her back to the real world. Pulling her toward him, he wrapped his arms tightly around her and kissed her lightly on the lips. What started out as a gentle caress grew into a fevered embrace; fingers entwined in her hair, her hands massaging his back. She wanted to implant the memory of his body and his touch in her mind forever so she could easily remember him when he was away. Their romantic setting set her head spinning with delight. A handsome man on the beach. Her dream come true.

* * *

Elizabeth Black

Elizabeth Black lives a dream life in a small home on the Massachusetts coast. She tries to go to the beach every day. When in the Zone, she writes erotic fiction, romance, dark fiction, and horror. She aims for la Dolce Vita and lives every day as if it were a feast. She shared her life with her husband, son, and three cats. She is published by Xcite Books, Cleis Press, Circlet Press, Bold Strokes Books, and other publishers. You may find her on the web in the following locations:


Elizabeth Black – Blog and Web Site

Elizabeth Black – Facebook

Elizabeth Black/E. A. Black – Facebook Page (Like me please!)

Elizabeth Black – Twitter (Follow me please!)

Elizabeth Black –  Erotic Fiction Amazon Author Page


By Bob Buckley

with a person’s emotions is a dangerous thing, but we writers do it all the
time, from the moment we seek to hook our reader with an opening paragraph that
piques their curiosity as well as, we hope, tweaks their libido. Then we string
them along, leading them down a path to a conclusion where we hope they say,

maybe they’ll just say, “Huh?”

the way to one conclusion or the other, our readers begin to wonder where our
tale is going. They can’t help it. They build up expectations: Will she sleep with him? Is he going to
leave her? Will they live happily ever after?

that last expectation – guaranteed if the story has been labeled romance –
still elicits a guess about how we’re going to get there – the HEA, that is. We
all do it as readers, after we’ve come to
care one way or the other about the characters. Sure we wonder what’s going to happen next, but we also anticipate, which is different – in effect, we try to get ahead of the story, writing our own in our head and seeing if it eventually matches up with the author’s plot. Haven’t we all, at one time or another, said at the end of a story or novel, “I knew that was going to happen,” or, “I saw that coming.”

– okay, cue up Carly Simon honking away with that nasally voice of hers.

of mysteries and thrillers craft their tales around readers’ anticipation and deliberately defy their expectations. It’s
called a plot twist. It throws you off the rails if it’s successfully executed,
if not, it might annoy the hell out of you. But for readers of these types of
stories, nothing is more satisfying than a twist, particularly the
twist-at-the-end. It’s then they realize they’ve been manipulated, deceived and
perhaps even disoriented. And they love it.

what if you’re writing a romantic, erotic story and yank the rug out from under
your reader by leading them to a place they didn’t expect to go? Well, if
you’ve achieved every writer’s goal of getting your readers to believe in your
characters and invest their emotions in them – they may end up hating you.

years ago I posted a story to ERWA about a pair of what my mother would have called “poor souls.” I wanted to explore why some people, men and women, go
through life alone and lonely, through no fault of their own.

main characters included a lonely guy who couldn’t get a woman to give him the
time of day. You know the type, a guy whose romantic history involves him being
aggressively overlooked. But like the Lonesome Loser of the song, “he
still keeps on tryin’.” He’s allowed himself to be set up in a series of
blind dates – none of which have panned out – by a good-intentioned friend. On
one of these arranged meetings, he’s introduced to a girl who has as sad a
romantic history as he does. And voila, they hit it off  and have a wonderful
night together that leads to some wonderful sex.

for them, I’m telling this story, and I decided from the beginning it was not
going to end with a HEA. While he wants to continue to see her, she rejects the
notion of them in a relationship. Though she likes him, she thinks
it would be tantamount to “settling.” She fears the world will look
at them as two losers who couldn’t land anyone better and she won’t give the
world that satisfaction.

it’s a stupid reason to toss away something magical. Have you ever heard of
anyone tossing happiness away for a good

ends with her out the door and him sitting on the banks of the Charles River in
utter bewilderment.

wasn’t quite prepared for the vehement reactions to the story, even though I
allowed that folks who love a HEA were going to be disappointed. Disappointed?
They were furious! Even some critics who, themselves, were into darker
explorations of the human heart were appalled.

responders demanded that I explain what it was about the male protag that made
him repulsive to women. Well, how should I know? Why do nice guys, or for that
matter, nice girls end up alone?

few suggested ways I could give it a happy ending. (In fact, I could have added
two short lines at the end and instantly turn it into a HEA.)

my sometimes morbid sense of humor, it tickled me to no end that some people
were angry at me for being a prick to my characters. I had struck a nerve.

The furious backlash told me I had gotten under the readers’ skins, manipulated
them into caring for and hoping for all the best for my characters. I can’t
blame them for being furious, but I’m glad they were.

it gives a writer pause, does it not?

you write, you’re playing with nitroglycerin … be careful.

What Spoils It: Carelessness in Doing BDSM

I read a lot of BDSM erotica and erotic romance. While what
I write is fairly specific, I enjoy reading a wider diversity, all different
sorts of pairings and groups. I enjoy the sort that is all about building a
fantasy for the reader, from the billionaire natural alpha dom, to the corral
where you park your submissive at the club. I also enjoy the sort that is
intended to feel real, to reflect the realities of kink life. I’m not one of
those folks who do BDSM and need fiction to be realistic; I’m perfectly fine
sinking into a fantasy story about a magical mind-reading dominant, whether it
comes with a critique of kink life (e.g. Cecilia Tan’s Telepaths Don’t Need Safewords) or
is purely there to fulfill a fantasy (e.g. Cherise Sinclair’s Club Shadowlands)

What I’ve found is that there’s a particular thing that’s
pretty much guaranteed to spoil my investment in and enjoyment of a BDSM story:
carelessness in the context of a scene or D/s dynamic.

To be clear, I adore mean, cruel and even cold dominants.
I’m not talking about sadism here, or needing to go easy on bottoms in a way
that treats them as fragile. I’m not even just talking about tops. Bottoms can
definitely be careless too.

I’m not talking about stories where folks have casual play,
or play that’s not centered on emotions or caring for each other romantically.
I’m not even talking about psychological edge play scenes that center on a top seeming careless. I’m fine with that
sort of play as long as I know, as a reader, that the top is actually seeing to
the well-being of the bottom, and that the bottom knows somewhere in the back
of their mind that they can trust the top to be careful with them.

What do I mean when I talk about carelessness?

I mean carelessness in terms of leaving a bottom tied up and
unattended. I mean carelessness in terms of casual selfishness where the
character is solely focused on their own needs to the point of ignoring the basic
well-being of the folks they are doing BDSM with. I mean carelessness in terms
of launching into heavy humiliation play with a novice with no negotiation. I
mean carelessness in terms of deliberate ignoring of basic bodily needs. I mean
carelessness in terms of deliberately fucking with someone’s head when mindfuck
was not on the table. I mean carelessness in terms of a dominant giving a
submissive away to someone without ensuring that the submissive is ok in that
person’s care.

For the most part, what it often boils down to is a
character treating another character like they are not a real person, but an
object, not as part of an agreed upon D/s dynamic or humiliation scene, but in
actuality. Treating them as if they are a tool to get off with, not a human
being with, y’know, needs and vulnerabilities, who is worthy of a basic modicum
of respect and care.

Is it realistic to have characters do this? Absolutely. This
behavior abounds in kink life, just as carelessness does in many other kinds of

Do I want it in my erotica or erotic romance? Absolutely

Please do write about miscommunication, misunderstandings,
secrets, scenes that go wrong, common novice mistakes, times when people need
to safeword, accidents that happen in play, times when folks are not aware of
their feelings or not up for talking about stuff they should, and all the other
ways that people are human and have opposing needs and fuck up and things fall
apart and need to be repaired, especially if you are writing realistic stories
about BDSM. I’d love to see more of that in the kinky fiction I read. I don’t
need or even want characters to be perfect.

Carelessness is in a different zone for me.


I don’t trust the character any more as a practitioner of
BDSM. I wouldn’t recommend them as a player to a stranger, must less to someone
I care about.

I am not rooting for the couple anymore. I want the other
character to dump that asshole, not make excuses for them or sink deeper into
connection with them or ignore the problem or want to be treated that way.

I don’t want to witness them playing or falling for each
other. It’s not hot. I wouldn’t watch that scene in a public dungeon; I
definitely don’t want to read it.

I don’t want stories that support, elide, apologize for or
excuse carelessness in kink. Especially not in a main character I’m supposed to
be identifying with or desiring or rooting for. Especially not in a story that supposedly
has a HFN or a HEA ending.

Want me to love your BDSM erotica and erotic romance and
invest in your characters and story?

Show the reader moments where characters are careful with each other.

Where dominants take an extra moment to ensure they still
have consent. Where submissives consider a dominants needs. Where tops check in
after a scene. Where bottoms share information a top might need in order to
fully consent to something. Where a dominant pays attention to body language
and tone of voice and not just the words a submissive uses. Where a submissive
notices that a dominant seems off and checks in. Where a top thinks about what
a bottom might need from play. Where a bottom thinks about the shit a top had
to deal with today and treads carefully around sensitive subjects. Where
characters negotiate in a way that shows they are invested in each other’s

It’s those moments that make me fall for your characters,
root for them as a couple or triad or group or whatever they are together, want
to follow them to the end of the story. Those are the moments that make me sigh
and smile and swoon.

Hot Chilli Erotica

Hot Chilli Erotica


Babysitting the Baumgartners - The Movie
From Adam & Eve - Based on the Book by New York Times Bestselling Authors Selena Kitt



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