writing life

An Insane Plan

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

My husband always tells me that I need to learn not to over-commit. After forty years together with me, he knows very well how hard it is for me to dial back my goals to realistic levels. For example, I can’t seem to resist volunteering for a task when it’s needed, especially when I know I can do a better job than most people. I try to keep my promises realistic, but I’m fundamentally an optimist. Even when I have a long to-do list, I figure I can slip in another task or two without any negative effects.

So, during January, I’ve promised my readers to release four books, all paranormal, all at the intro price of 99 cents. This is a total of about 150K words.

Just to be clear, I don’t have to write these books. They’re all titles that have become unavailable, either because of a publisher’s closing or my deliberately reclaiming the rights. Still, self-publishing isn’t an instant process. I have to reformat each manuscript to the style template I use, and of course I do editing on the way. For books that were previously with my British publisher, I often need to change the dialect from UK to US English. In many cases, I need to replace the blurb and excerpt at the end (“If you liked X, you might also enjoy Y”) to use a more recent book, or one that is in fact still available.

Next, I have to consider the question of covers. In two of the four cases, I like the old covers too much to change them, even though that might help sales. For one book, I’ve bought a pre-made cover. The longest and most challenging volume, though, a 50K paranormal erotic romance novel, has a new title, and I wanted a new look. So I’ve spent hours futzing around with Gimp and CorelDraw, trying to create something that looks half-decent. It was really depressing when one of my cover artist friends told me my cover was a mess and that the font which I loved so much “sort of says 50’s tiki bar flier” to him. I didn’t agree, and kept the font, but I spent more hours trying to clean up the worst flaws in the images. (In all fairness, it’s the most complex cover I’ve ever attempted, a combination of three different images.)

Then there’s writing the blurb, picking out the keywords, creating a media kit with excerpts and so on, tracking down the buy links as they appear and saving them in the media kit, sending the kit out to bloggers, announcing the release on my own blog and to my email list… assuming Amazon doesn’t kick my book to the curb for keyword violations or some other such silliness!

Meanwhile, I’m working full time. I am still adapting to the new job I started last October, which may well be the most demanding position I’ve ever had – especially since I’m at least twenty years older than most of my colleagues. Some days I don’t even have time to check my Lisabet email.

Am I insane? Probably – but in fact, I’ve managed to put three of the four books out there (the latest hitting the virtual shelves next Wednesday) and probably will do the final one, a 15K short with the pre-made cover, this weekend. So maybe I’ll succeed after all.

Hubby will say this is just going to encourage more insanity. I’m sure he’s right.

I’m a strong believer in keeping all of my work “in print” if I can. Given how long it takes me to write something, there’s no way I want to let it languish unread (and unpurchased). Alas, I still have a significant backlog of books that are temporarily not for sale, including a couple of my best sellers.

Looks like next month is going to be packed with releases, too.

Yeah, crazy, I know. But I do so love to see my books, my babies, out where people can get at them.


Spring is coming, and I’m looking forward to it. Combining Covid with cold weather has not been fun. I look forward to reading outdoors in my Adirondack chair. Glass of iced tea in hand, I’ll devour books by the dozen. I’ll also begin my gardening routine. I plant the fertilizer spikes beneath the azaleas on the first day of Spring. My herbs have survived the winter indoors so far for the first time, ever. I think they’re going to make it to spring. I’ll repot them, feed them, and set the pots outside. I also have bird feeders galore. Now to keep the squirrels away from the bird seed.

My birthday is in two weeks. I’m in my prime, so to speak. I got a bit of a late start when it comes to writing. I didn’t start professionally until I was in my late 40s. So now that I’m a bit older than that, I feel the pressure that comes with some birthdays to hit my literary bucket list. There are things I’d like to do with in the next ten years. Here are a few of them.

  1. Joint a local writer’s group.
  2. Get an agent.
  3. Finish my horror novel.
  4. Write a sequel to “Happily Ever After: Twisted Versions of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”, my erotic fairy tales book.
  5. Join a professional writers organization like Romance Writers of America.
  6. Aim for some awards.

I’ve never thought I was too old to begin a writing career. Neither do I think I should throw in the towel because I’m older now. Not a chance. Here are some writers who got a late start in life when it comes to careers:

Toni Morrison – 40

J. R. R. Tolkein – 45

Laura Ingalls Wilder – 65

Annie Proulx – 57

Raymond Chandler – 51

Henry Miller – 44

I’m starting a new writing gig in a few weeks. This is unlike anything else I’ve ever done, but I can’t talk much about it since I signed an NDA. But I can say I have a new project ahead of me that I’m very excited about. It may open up new vistas for me, and I am looking forward to it. I may be a mature woman, so to speak, but my career is just starting to take off. I don’t think age should hold you back.


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 two cats. Her LGBTQ paranormal erotic shifter romance novel “Full Moon Fever” is now available for purchase at Amazon and other book distributors. Her collection of erotic fairy tales, “Happily Ever After: Twisted Versions of Your Favorite Fairy Tales”, is also available at Amazon.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

Things To Not Say To A Writer

It may be true that many writers suffer from Imposter Syndrome. If that’s the case, life is hard enough for a writer. Don’t make it worse by making the following statements.

I wish I had time to write.

Such a comment makes it sound like you the writer are wasting time honing your craft.

I’d write, but I have a real job.

Same as above. This comment discounts the time and energy it takes to write a book. Many writers don’t make much money from their craft, but it’s a job nonetheless. The image of writer as dilettante must cease.

How much money do you make?

Since so many writers don’t make much money, this question puts them on the spot. It’s embarrassing. You wouldn’t ask other professionals how much money they make. It’s considered rude. Also, not everyone writes to make money. It’s a passion. By insisting writers earn lots of dough, you are insinuating that without said dough, they aren’t “real” writers. You are saying that those who don’t earn oodles of cash are wasting their time and are probably not good at their craft anyway. If they were, they’d be making millions of dollars like Stephen King, right?

I have a great idea for a book. How about I tell you my ideas, you write them down, and we split the profits 50/50?

This comes from people who don’t realize or care how much work goes into writing a book. They think a vague idea has as much clout as a finished product you’ve spent months (often years) and energy on.

I have a great idea for a book, and then go into great detail to describe a book that I’ve yet to actually write.

The notion here is that anyone can write a book. It apparently doesn’t take much effort.

I want to write a book someday.

See above. The insinuation behind this statement is that any idiot can write a book. This statement discounts the author’s efforts in writing and finishing a book. It’s insulting.

Your books are very sexy. Do you do a lot of the things you write in your books?

This statement is sometimes said by men who assume women who write erotica and erotic romance will screw anything that moves. Some want vivid details. The unspoken question is, “will you do those things to me?” This is not a good thing to say.

Can you read my book and give me a free critique?

Would you ask your dentist to clean your teeth for free? Would you ask your doctor to do you annual physical for free? Of course not. So why do so many people think artists, including writers, shouldn’t be paid for their hard work? A good editor can cost hundreds of dollars. Google Harlan Ellison and “pay the writer”. Read what he had to say about it. Now, if you are offering to do a critique exchange, that’s different. You’d be offering something of value in exchange for the critique. That is perfectly okay.

My life has been fascinating. You should write about me.

That’s what autobiographies are for. Write it yourself.

I don’t read.

This is the saddest admission of all.


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 new LGBTQ paranormal erotic shifter romance novel “Full Moon Fever” is now available for purchase at Amazon and other book distributors. Her collection of erotic fairy tales, “Happily Ever After: Twisted Versions of Your Favorite Fairy Tales” is also available at Amazon.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD



Accusations of Plagiarism and Other Grade School Ills

I stumbled upon interesting discussions about plagiarism and gifted classes recently on Facebook. A Facebook friend asked if her readers had ever been accused of plagiarism when they were children. A large number of women said they had been. In many cases, the teachers assumed these students were lying about their abilities, and that they couldn’t possibly really be that smart. This was worse if the girl was a person of color. Teachers assumed their gifted students had actually copied their work rather than having written it themselves. In one case, a teacher had encircled a sentence and scrawled “Your words?” next to it as if she couldn’t believe her student could possibly string together 25 cent words. I was not surprised at the number of stories I read. Girls saw their aspirations doubted because some teachers couldn’t believe in their own student’s abilities.

I had never been outright accused of plagiarism, but I had been accused of forgery when I was in grade school. I went to a very strict Catholic school. When I was in fourth grade, the nuns regularly accused me of forging my mother’s signature on my homework. All students were required to have one of their parents sign their homework to prove they had done it on their own without resorting to cheating, plagiarism, etc. My signature looked a bit like my mother’s, but I did not forge it. My mom came in and gave the nuns the third degree. One nun in particular absolutely hated me, and she gave me one hell of a hard time. She used to pull me out of my seat and humiliate me in front of the class. This woman should not have been around kids. She continued to accuse me of forgery, but another talking-to by my mother cooled her jets. I transferred out of that school a year later due to severe stress and anxiety. I was only eight years old. I started fifth grade at the local public school.

Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire.

While I got along great with the students in Catholic school, I couldn’t relate to the kids in public school at all. I did not wear the latest fashions. I had frizzy hair. I carried a book bag – no one else did. That was a relic from Catholic school that I ditched soon after arriving at public school. My Catholic school did not participate in any gifted and talented programs. To my knowledge, parochial schools in general don’t do that. By the time I was in fifth grade, I had a tenth grade reading level. Talk about ostracism and feeling out of place!

While I couldn’t get along with the kids in elementary school, I got along great with the teachers which was a far cry from Catholic school. This same Facebook discussion continued with readers talking about their experiences in gifted classes. By the time I reached middle school, I was tested and the teachers recommended the gifted and talented program for me. I had a choice between creative writing and social work.

Guess which one I chose? 🙂

The creative writing classes were college level, and they were held at Johns Hopkins University every Saturday morning. They continued for several years. I finally met kids who were similar to me. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. I made some very good friends.

I had never met a college professor before, and when the guy with the tattered shirt, jeans, and long hair walked in and grabbed a full trash can to empty it, I thought he was the janitor. LOL He was the professor! While I did make new friends from schools all around the district, I continued to have difficulty getting along with my classmates. Sadly, I quickly learned to dumb down so I could fit in. It didn’t work, but the harassment wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Contrary to what these students told me, I wasn’t stuck-up and I didn’t think I was better than everyone else. In fact, quite the opposite. After hearing I’m not worth anything by kids who were supposed to be my peers, I thought I was useless, but I wanted to fit in. It’s a shame I felt it necessary to dumb myself down in order to survive. I did pick up one excellent survival mechanism – I developed a very good sense of humor and was quick with a funny come-back. The other kids finally started laughing with me rather than at me.

These were fascinating and eye-opening discussions. I wonder how many writers have experienced this same sort of loneliness? How many other writers were grade school class misfits especially if they were gifted? One person who is an educator pointed out that gifted does not necessarily mean high performance. Gifted kids put a lot of pressure on themselves. I was terrified of failing or getting even a B. I can trace back some of my Imposter Syndrome back to grade school and those nuns who didn’t believe I could possibly have written my own homework. I wonder if this kind of lack of faith and suspicion on teacher’s parts regarding gifted students could lead to Imposter Syndrome? It’s easy when you’re young to internalize severe criticism whether it’s right or wrong.

I’m thankful I had supportive teachers in public school who encouraged me in my creative writing, art, music, and theater interests. I thrived. In particular, I am indebted to my high school advanced English teacher and my drama teacher. They were the best teachers I’d ever had. I hope that gifted students today find supportive teachers and friends. Even one close friend who understands you makes a huge difference in your personal outlook on life.


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 new LGBTQ paranormal erotic shifter romance novel “Full Moon Fever” is now available for purchase at Amazon and other book distributors. Her collection of erotic fairy tales, “Happily Ever After”, will be released soon..

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD




Assessing 2019 – My Year In Review

As 2019 closes, I’ve assessed my year to date. I’d say “as the decade closes” but it doesn’t officially do that until 2021. How did I do in 2019? Better than I had originally thought.

It’s easy for me to lose track of my acceptances throughout the year. Sometimes the rejections seem overwhelming, especially when they arrive a dozen at a time. It’s either feast or famine when it comes to fiction acceptances. I keep a word file of all my submissions and their statuses throughout the year. I include all acceptances in a different colored font at the top of the list.

As my readers know, I write in several genres – romance, erotica, dark fiction and horror. I published a lot of horror this year. I also saw one paranormal romance accepted and the novel will be published in 2020. Here’s what went on in 2019 for me:

“We’re All Mad Here” – short horror story reprint for Sirens Call Magazine. This is my crazy cat lady story.

“The Beautiful Move In Curves” – short erotic story for Dangerous Curves Ahead anthology. This book is full of stories of plus-sized women enjoying their sexuality.

“Can You See It?” – short horror story for The Horror Zine magazine summer issue.

“The Storm” – The Horror Zine’s Book of Ghost Stories. Coming out in 2020 as far as I know. I’ll update as I get news and permission to update.

Interviews with the following horror authors for The Horror Zine – Jonathan Maberry, Ramsey Campbell, Ray Garton, and Paul Tremblay. I have another interview (surprise guest) coming in 2020. Tremblay’s interview should go live in February if my calendar is correct.

Article about writer’s groups for The Horror Zine. I’m in a writer’s group that meets on Wednesdays, and it’s been a Godsend to me. I’ve made some close friends in addition to gained some valuable insight into my writing.

“Full Moon Fever” – a paranormal romance accepted by eXtasy Books. Coming out in 2020. My two main characters are gay werewolves named Sam Hightower and Grant Newsome. They work lighting (gaffers) with a traveling theater show that has just landed in Portland, Oregon. Sam and Grant like to take a third partner for each tour, and they’ve selected a hot dancer named Luke Pearce. Luke is more than amenable to the idea, but he has a secret of his own. Add the shifter’s friendship with scenic artists Charlotte and Lina and you have a light-hearted and sexy book.

I’m proud of my accomplishments. Now to have a successful 2020. What about you? How have you assessed 2019? Tell me about your acceptances this year and what is in store for you in 2020.


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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD



Oct. 29 is National Cat Day

Tomorrow, October 29, is National Cat Day. I am owned by three cats, two of whom are blind. The 12 year old Maine Coon is a spirit cat – one that needs lots of love and care. He’s blind with FIV. His name is Mister, like Harry Dresden’s cat. His buddy, 8 year old Breena, has been blind since birth. Then there is Meriwether, the kitten. He bounces off walls and drives the other two cats crazy. We call him Meri or Merricat for short. Literature fans will recognize the name Merricat from Shirley Jackson’s “We Have Always Lived In The Castle”.

That brings me to the topic of this month’s post – Famous Cats in Literature.

  1. Crookshanks – Hermione Granger’s magical cat in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkeban by J, K. Rowling. Cats have long been associated with witches as their familiars. Crookshanks in the movies looks like a Maine Coon.
  2. Cheshire cat – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Louis Carroll. The Cheshire cat said the famous line, “We’re all mad here.”
  3. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss. I grew up reading Dr. Seuss. I’ve always liked this cat’s top hat.
  4. Puss in Boots from Jerry Pinkney. My favorite fairy tale. My erotic fantasy “Trouble In Thigh High Boots” is my smutty retelling of this story. You may find it under Kindle on Amazon.
  5. Tom Kitten from Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Tom Kitten. Tom Kitten was a very naughty boy! When my son was a child he loved Tom Kitten. I even bought Tom Kitten baby bath products from Crabtree & Evelyn. Sadly, that product line isn’t available anymore.
  6. Church from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Cats can be scary, too.
  7. Mog from Mog The Forgetful Cat by Judith Kerr. I discovered Mog in a British commercial for Sainsbury grocery store. These children’s books are very popular in U. K. households.
  8. Koko and Yum Yum from “The Cat Who…” book series by Lilian Jackson Braun. These cats owned reporter Jim Qwilleran. Koko and Yum Yum are two Siamese cats who help Qwilleran solve his cases. The whole concept is adorable.
  9. Mister is Harry Dresden’s cat in “The Dresden Files”.

Cats are wonderful writing muses. They walk across your keyboard and change the names of your files. They want to sit in your lap when you’re trying to write. They want to eat. All. The Time. They want to play as soon as you begin writing that action scene that had been pestering you for hours. They spill your coffee, hopefully not on the computer.

Halloween (aka Samhain) is in three days. Cats, especially black ones, are at the center of this day. Halloween happens to be my favorite holiday. It means decorations, candy, endless horror movies, fall baking, and honoring the dead. The religious aspect of Samhain is similar to our Memorial Day. I always have chocolate on hand for the kids who may stop by the house trick or treating. Although black cats have a reputation for being bad luck (an unfair reputation in my opinion), I have always considered them very lucky. I have been owned by three black cats – Fido, Speedy, and Mulder. Yes, I had another cat named Scully. Mulder and Scully were always together. So fitting. Black cats make wonderful companions.

So, on this National Cat Day, pick up a book that features a cat in some way. Or watch a cat-centered movie like “Bell, Book, and Candle”, which is the perfect romance for this time of year.


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.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elizabethablack

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ElizabethABlack

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD

Vanity Writing – The Mary Sue

I’m saving the 8thseason of Game of Thrones for binge-watching with my husband after the season and series finale. I have only run into two spoilers so far – the Starbucks cup on the table in front of Daenerys in episode 4 and the water bottle by Sam Tarly’s feet in the series finale. I promise – no Game of Thronesspoilers in this article. It’s not about Game of Thronesanyway. Not directly.

It’s about the Mary Sues and her male counterpart, the Gary Stu.

According to unfounded rumor, a bunch of incels (angry men who call themselves involuntary celibates because women won’t fuck them) claim that Arya Stark is a Mary Sue because she’s too perfect, too lacking in flaws, too strong, and too feminist for their taste. They don’t like her. Now, I haven’t found any posts from a single incel who actually said this. I found Twitter and Facebook comments from people who heard about it. It’s kinda like that line in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off– “My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night.”

I wanted to correct the misconception, but those on Twitter and Facebook got it wrong. Yes, Arya is not a Mary Sue, but not because she’s who she is. She’s not a Mary Sue because she’s not a thinly-veiled version of George R. R. Martin.

According to Wikipedia, a Mary Sue (or Gary Stu) “is an idealized and seemingly perfect fictional character. Often, this character is recognized as an author insert or wish fulfillment. They can usually perform better at tasks than should be possible given the amount of training or experience, and usually are able through some means to upstage the main protagonist of an established fictional setting, such as by saving the hero.” Some famous examples of Mary Sues are Star Trek’sWesley Crusher (he’s really James Roddenberry whose middle name was Wesley) and Elizabeth Bennet fromPride and Prejudice. Bennet is a thinly-disguised Jane Austen.

Other famous examples of Mary Sues:

Lily Potter and Ginny Weasley

Dorothy Gale

Bella Swan

Katniss Everdeen

Beth March

I’ve seen the most egregious examples of Mary Sue’s in fan fiction. I used to read Harry Potter fan fiction for kicks since it was so awful but it was like a train wreck. I couldn’t resist it! Women and girls wrote the fan fiction I read, and I focused on the Severus Snape stories because I thought they were the most entertaining and my favorite character in the books and movies was Snape. These women and girls injected themselves into the Harry Potter canon as a new female character who is beautiful, talented, magical, kind, sweet, loveable, so perfect she made your teeth hurt – and she becomes Snape’s love interest. They married and had children in more than one version. Most often she was an older student or another professor. Some of these stories were quite well-written and they held my interest. The writers were definitely romance fans and were in love with Snape. I recall that when J. K. Rowling heard about the women who took to Snape as a love interest she was like (paraphrased) “Oh my God, why? He’s awful!” He was but he was also a very complex, interesting character.

The main reason I wrote this post was to fix the misconception the incels have created when they tried to redefine the Mary Sue and the Gary Stu. Don’t let them change the definition! Mary Sues are when authors insert themselves into a story they’ve created or insert themselves into an existing canon. While some have pulled this off quite well, others are too damned perfect for their own good. And once and for all, Arya Stark is NOT a Mary Sue!


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 two cats.

Web site: http://elizabethablack.blogspot.com



Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/elizabethblack

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/b76GWD




Tips for Typing Terrific Tales


Looky there. It’s a flying rat.

I know you already knew it.

It was here that I knew that Colonel Plum did it in the bathroom with the pipe wrench and “WHAM!” That is how it happened.

I have some type of attention deficit disorder; however, I have not been diagnosed, but I do know…


Write over it.

Ok. Wait.

Where was I?

I ain’t got no clues present to get me back to the beginning, but I don’t want to start at the beginning because it is way too long ago and I can’t catch you up to speed.

Anyway, this was to get you to understand that holding the audience’s attention, maintaining good grammar and the story structure are the three very important parts to writing a story. The audience is your fan base and beyond. You know not to tell your audience anything unless it will not come out. Your audience is who you write for and make sure that the plot moves along. Make sure that you’re writing for your intended audience instead of trying to please everyone.

We always talk about speech tags and their overuse of speech tags like “she hissed,” “he snapped,” “she stammered,” get irritating fast. Likewise, reading a character’s name too often in dialogue can be a turn off. Avoid more than the occasional “um” or “well,” or “er,” and keep dialogue realistic, but more coherent. Also, make sure the words that are grammatically correct. IF the language that you are relaying your story in is not your first language or you’re not completely fluent, make sure to get assistance.

Your writing style, tone, character motivations, or even plot might begin one way and, unintentionally, change at some point in the book. Be especially aware of small details like names, occupations, physical descriptions of people or places, which can all fall prey to inconsistencies over the course of 300+ pages. Something to look at for writing style is “Eats Shoots & Leaves” by Lynne Truss and reading a few articles from Michael Hauge will assist in this category.

Make sure that when telling your story begin at a point that can be referenced back to in the story. Chronological stories are good, but there are some times the chronological order of the story will not bring the story to where it needs to be. If all the good stuff happens at the beginning, or if nothing exciting happens until the end, your reader will be frustrated with the rest of the book.

This is what gets me. Knowing when and where to begin your story. There are some that say that you should begin your first major plot point within the first 25% of your story or you can jar the balance of how the story arc falls. Some say that you can start your story chronologically and then work backwards to the event. Within each set of “rules” there is always time. Time is a factor in everything. If you give the audience too much too soon, then there is nothing else to read. If you make the audience wait until the last chapter to find out anything, you may lose your audience. You want to provide just enough, but no one ever knows when to say when and that is why we have editors.

I have gotten better at finding a balance in the information that I do provide my readers; however, that is after a lot of help from people in ERWA who help hone my skills for writing. There are other resources that can assist you if you have not subscribed to our Storytime List and those resources are:

“Damn Fine Story: Mastering the Tools of a Powerful Narrative” by Chuck Wendig and “The Emotional Craft of Fiction: How to Write the Story Beneath the Surface” by Donald Maass.

There is a TedX video that brings in circularity, symmetry and a few other things to light for writers. That link is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUT6GQveD0E (I do not own the rights to this video, I am just sharing it.)

All in all, in order to write something that someone else wants to read, make sure that you can capture and keep their attention, make sure your vocabulary fits your scenery, that you are aware of small detailed changes so there are no mix ups, and start at a good place in the story so that it can keep going and then finish it with something memorable.


Made you look!



Goals Not Resolutions

I read an interesting post on Facebook in which the writer asked everyone for their 2018 goals. Not resolutions. Goals. He said most people broke resolutions or never even bothered to attempt to meet them. Goals? More realistic and more likely to be attempted and fulfilled. So I asked myself, what are my goals for 2018?

Here are a few:

Finish my erotic fairy tales collection and self-publish it.

Publish my two erotic fairy tale novellas in print. These two books are Trouble In Thigh High Boots (erotic Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (erotic Rapunzel). You may find the ebooks at Amazon and Smashwords.

Finish my horror novel Hell Time.

Find an agent for my thriller novel Secrets and Lies.

Find a home for my bisexual werewolf erotic romance novel Full Moon Fever.

Send out my newsletter regularly.

Submit to a minimum of 5 submission calls in 2018. Bonus points if I publish at least 5 stories.

Join the YMCA and make an effort to swim and work out this winter and spring. My husband and I are joining the Y next week.

Head to the beach every day in late spring and summer to swim, walk, and otherwise get some fresh air and exercise especially after being cooped up in at home all winter.

Save enough money each paycheck to fund a trip to Europe most likely taken in 2019 or 2020.

Sell more books!

Make an effort to attend more book events like readings and conventions but only when money permits. Those events tend to cost more than I can afford.

Bake more. I didn’t bake enough in 2017 which is a shame since I enjoy baking very much. I didn’t bake as many cookies this year as I usually do so I shall remedy that in 2018. Here are the last two recipes I made – pumpkin bread and pizzelles. Pizzelles are anise-flavored Italian waffle cookies.

Pumpkin Bread


1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup olive oil ( can sub with canola or vegetable)

2 eggs, Beaten

1/4 cup water

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 cup walnuts (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.
  3. In a separate bowl combined pumpkin, oil, eggs, water, and spices.
  4. Then, combined with dry ingredients but, do not mix too thoroughly. Stir in walnuts.
  5. Pour into a well-buttered 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake 50-60 minutes until a thin skewer poked in the very center of the loaf comes out clean. Turn out of the pan and let cool on a rack.
  6. Makes one loaf. Can easily double the recipe.
  7. If desired, you can use them in a muffin tin as well. They come out just as moist. If you use muffin tin bake for 20-25 minute.


You need a pizzelle iron to make these cookies. I’m sure you can find one on eBay or at Amazon. I have an electric one that makes four pizzelle cookies at once. It’s over 30 years old. My mother gave it to me when she saw how much I loved those cookies. An Italian neighbor made them all the time.


3 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

3/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon anise extract

1 tablespoon anisette liqueur or Sambucca (optional)

1/4 cups anise seed

1 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) melted butter


Beat the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla until well combined.

Stir in the flour and baking powder, mixing until smooth.

Add the melted butter, again mixing until smooth; the batter will be thick and soft.

Heat your pizzelle iron. Grease it as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions. As the iron heats, the batter will stiffen.

Cook the pizzelle according to the instructions that came with your iron. In general, they’ll take between 45 seconds and 2 1/2 minutes to brown.

Remove the pizzelle from the iron, and cool on a rack. If desired, use a pair of scissors to trim any ragged edges.

Dust cooled pizzelle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Now that 2017 is drawing to a close, I’m ready for next year. 2017 was a bit of a slow and rather uneventful year for me writing-wise. I need to be more proactive. I plan on that starting Jan. 1 with my stint at Night Owl Reviews. I’m in an author chat that day at 8 PM EST. I’ll talk about my erotic romance novel No Restraint. Here’s the link to join in:


See you there, and have a fantastic 2018!

What Am I Thankful For?

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 two cats. Visit her web site, her Facebook page, and her Amazon Author Page. 

Her m/m erotic medical thriller Roughing It is a sexy cross between The X Files, The Andromeda Strain, and Outbreak. Read her short erotic story Babes in Begging For It, published by Cleis Press. You will also find her new novel No Restraint at Amazon. Enjoy a good, sexy read today.


Thursday, Nov. 23 was Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s a holiday dedicated to when the Native Americans and American colonists broke bread together. It’s a day of remembering what you are thankful for.

It’s also a day of massive, bloat-worthy Triptophan turkey dinners, insane political talk from Crazy Uncle Joe at the dinner table, greedy shopping binges, and kids flushing their underwear down the toilet so that you have to pay the exorbitant Holiday fee to have a plumber unclog it. It’s all about family get-togethers and good cheer in between two much pumpkin pie and copious amounts of cheap wine that loosens tongues.

I was hanging out on FARK, my favorite not-news social media aggregator, when I saw a post about “what are you thankful for today?” The comments included the usual snark like:

A couple hours ago my cat walked right up to my feet and immediately puked. I thanked her for missing my feet. But not the socks I left under my desk last night. Did make clean up easy.

My cat came up to me in bed and expressed displeasure of hosting 2 dogs by projectile vomiting on me. Intimacy, I am thankful for.

Health, familial stability, kindness and understanding. And all you assholes, I’m thankful y’all’re here too.

I have weed.

I woke up again today. That was good.

Living in a country where I can buy one of those enormous containers of Utz cheese balls.

Most comments were sincere though, and they reminded me of what I am thankful for.

I am thankful that I don’t have to cook Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re not American, have you ever seen a Thanksgiving dinner? There’s a picture of it next to the word “gluttony” in the dictionary.

I also have weed.

I have good health and a husband who loves me very much.

I know better than to talk about religion and especially politics at the dinner table today or any other day for that matter.

My son is doing well. He has a job he loves but he needs to find his own place. He’s working on that.

My husband is doing well. He’s retiring in about two years. He’s my soulmate. I don’t know what I’d do without him. 

My two blind cats. They love snuggles and petting and they keep me entertained.

I have the ability to write freely. I wish I were paid better but I have writing freedom lots of people don’t have. I also get support for my writing from my family which I understand lots of writers don’t have.

So on this Thanksgiving 2017, I wanted to write about what I was thankful for. I know I’m very fortunate, and I will not look a gift horse in the mouth. So now that the holiday season has started whether you live in or outside the U. S., get those lights lit and that tree up. Wrap those gifts. Enjoy the endless streams of Christmas music (or gouge your ears out with an ice pick, whichever applies). Seasonal affective disorder doesn’t start for me until January so I’m going to enjoy this good mood while I can. Happy holidays, everyone!

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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