Tuesday, December 11th, 2012 • No Comments
Best Erotic Romance 2014
Editor: Kristina Wright
Publisher: Cleis Press
Publication Date: December 2013
Submission Deadline: April 1
Payment: $100 per story and 2 copies of the book, on publication
E-mail: [email protected]
Best Erotic Romance 2014 is the third edition in the annual series featuring erotic romance fiction by some of the best authors in the industry. The first two editions were well-reviewed in Publishers Weekly and RT Book Reviews and I am once again looking for the very best stories in the genre for this third collection.
According to Romance Writers of America, a romance must include two key elements: a central love story and an emotionally-satisfying, optimistic ending. In erotic romance, the sexual component is critical to the development of the romantic relationship. To get an idea of what I’m looking for, I strongly recommend reading Best Erotic Romance and Best Erotic Romance 2013.
The collection will be primarily heterosexual with a female audience in mind. However, stories may include bisexual or lesbian encounters as well as polyandrous relationships or group encounters. I have a preference for realistic stories with contemporary settings for this series, but any time period will be considered. No incest, nonconsensual sex, bestiality or underage characters, please.
Please be sure to follow all of the submission guidelines: I will consider up to two stories per author. Unpublished stories only, no simultaneous submissions. Please do not send me a story that is being considered elsewhere. The desired story length is 2,000-4,500 words. Double-space and indent the first line of each paragraph. Do not put extra spaces between paragraphs. Include your full contact information (legal name/pseudonym, mailing address and phone number) and a bio of 50 words or less written in the third person. Please paste your story into the body of your e-mail and attach it as a Microsoft Word .doc file. Send your submission to [email protected] with Submission: Story Title in the subject line. Please direct any questions to the same address. The deadline is April 1, but earlier submissions are very much appreciated.
Payment will be $100 per story and 2 copies of the book upon publication. Contributors retain the rights to their work and Cleis Press has final approval over the stories selected for the book. Authors will be notified upon approval of the manuscript from the publisher. If you have not received a response by September 1, please feel free to query me.
About the editor:
Described by The Romance Reader as “a budding force to be reckoned with,” Kristina Wright (kristinawright.com) is an author, editor and teacher. She has edited the Cleis Press anthologies Fairy Tale Lust: Erotic Fantasies for Women; Dream Lover: Paranormal Tales of Erotic Romance; Steamlust: Steampunk Erotic Romance, Lustfully Ever After: Fairy Tale Erotic Romance, Duty and Desire: Military Erotic Romance and the Best Erotic Romance series. She is also the author of Seduce Me Tonight from HarperCollins Mischief. Her forthcoming books for Cleis Press include XOXO: Sweet and Sexy Erotic Romance and Bedded Bliss: A Guide to Lust Ever After. Kristina’s short fiction has appeared in over one hundred print anthologies and she received the Golden Heart Award for Romantic Suspense from Romance Writers of America for her first novel Dangerous Curves. Her work has also been featured in numerous magazines and e-zines and her articles, interviews and book reviews have appeared in dozens of publications, both in print and online. She is a member of Romance Writers of America as well as the RWA special interest chapters, Passionate Ink and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal. She is a book reviewer for the Erotica Readers and Writers Association (erotica-readers.com and is a regular blogger at Oh Get a Grip! (ohgetagrip.blogspot.com). She lives in Virginia with her husband and two young sons.
Friday, June 22nd, 2012 • 8 Comments
Helloooo out there! I apologize for the silence over here, but I promise I haven’t been snoozing. Spring was busy and summer is already off to a grand start! Part of the summer festivities includes being a stop on Shanna Germain’s Bound by Lust blog tour. It’s a beautiful anthology of kinky (yet romantic) stories and includes my story “Brushstrokes.” (You can read an excerpt of my story at Erotica for All.)
Today, I’m hosting the lovely Kristina Lloyd, with whom I not only share a name but also a passion for… uh… candy. I’m going to go cool down now and will leave you in Kristina’s capable hands…
You know when you Google “Google” and the interweb explodes?
Being on Kristina’s blog feels similar. We share a first name and that’s highly confusing! In the anthology, Bound By Lust, my story, No Sleep, immediately follows Kristina’s story, Brushstrokes. So editor Shanna Germain isn’t helping here, either.
To clarify: Kristina and I have similar color and length of hair; we wear similar glasses; we’re a similar age; we write about sex; we’ve both worked in libraries; we have masters degrees; we hang out with similar people online and in anthologies. And we are both totally awesome! But other than that, we are chalk ‘n’ cheese, as far apart as Right and Left, as Right and Wrong, as Wright and Lloyd. Um, OK, this isn’t working. Check out Separated at Birth for the lowdown on who we are(n’t).
My story, No Sleep, is an unusual piece for me. I usually write about sexual submission from a first person, female POV but this story is third person subjective, dipping in and out of his (dom) and her (sub) perspectives. Writing this story began as a casual experiment – hey, what happens if I try this? Unexpectedly, the narrative distance took me closer to something precious about sex and D/S: the vulnerability of those involved. It’s easy to depict femsub as being about ‘Him, brute. Me, swoon’. He’s cool, cruel and controlled. She’s malleable and at his mercy. Sure, sometimes there’s scope for that; sometimes it’s a fantasy we want to read. But sometimes it’s valuable to show the equal emotional stakes and matched lusts within a scenario where a power imbalance is being created and eroticised for kicks.
No Sleep is the story of a couple in an ongoing, kinky, NSA relationship who have fabulously hot sex but never sleep together, the latter being too intimate and a potential threat to their ‘just sex’ deal. In her intro to the collection, Shanna describes her selected stories as showing either how love can create a safe space to explore kink, or how a shared love of kink can lead to deeper emotions. My story is very much in the latter camp. Here’s an excerpt in which my shamelessly kinky duo hook up for an afternoon in a hotel. (Yum, hotel sex!)
The night before she could barely sleep. Fifty miles away, neither could he. In the morning, she took extra care over her appearance. It had been six weeks. That deserved lipliner, at least. He selected underwear she liked, jeans his arse looked good in, the jacket she’d once admired. He shaved his head because she found it hot when he looked brutish and mean. He glared at himself in the mirror, turning his swag on. He was dom but he liked to please. She’d told him it wasn’t unusual.
She arrived first, checked in, dumped her bag of kit in the room. They met downstairs in the hotel bar, a warm but spacious area with leather sofas the color of good cigars, open fires, bare boards and red brickwork. Firelight rested on thin metal sculptures and glossed the floor with amber puddles. Behind the bar, rows of tawny-hued spirits gleamed as they might in a country pub, a dangerous enchantment of nectars. It didn’t feel like noon.
“See?” she said. “I’m a high-class hooker.”
“We’ll see about that,” he replied, grinning.
They drank brandy, smirking secretively but saying little because there was too much to say and not enough time. Before long, he said, “I want you to go up to the room, strip to your underwear and kneel. I’ll follow you in five.”
She took her brandy, feeling it was important to carry the magic of the bar to the privacy of their room. He watched her arse as she walked away, wanting to slap it. Upstairs, she drew the curtains, blocking out the rarely glimpsed underside of the city, the back ends of shabby buildings, delivery doors and fire escapes. The room, like the bar, was warmly minimalist, a cocoon of cream, browns and aubergine. She turned up the dimmer switch, stripped and knelt, pleased that the thread of ribbon in her black bra was a near-perfect match for the bruise-purple stripe on the bed linen. Not that he would notice. Not that she cared. This was a sex thing, not a matching-bra-and-bed thing.
On the dressing table, the brandy glowed like a tiny fireplace. I could be anyone, she thought.
When he entered, he glanced at her as if she were nothing but furniture before he turned to hang his jacket in the alcove-cum-wardrobe. “Clasp your hands behind your head,” he said, removing his shirt.
She did. She felt nervous and stupid, playing this game of make-believe because it aroused them. Children play games, not adults.
He removed all his clothes, aimed the TV remote then flicked through screens of information. Naked in the dimness, he was glorious, his cock erect, vulgar and shameless, his arms sculpted with light and shadow, his butt taut and lean. Colors from the TV shimmered on his chest.
She recalled him once telling her about a program he’d watched, something involving Romans and their servants, and how it had turned him on. This was months ago when they’d first started seeing each other (if you could call it “seeing”). She’d treasured the snippet because he never revealed much about his day-to-day life. Then again, neither did she. Distance.
But this was cheeky: six weeks apart and he switches on the TV first? She was aching for the warmth of his skin, the scent of him and the wild thrust of his cock, and knew he was equally hot for her. She admired him for being such a cool bastard. The more he ignored her, the more humiliated and horny she grew. She liked to claim she wasn’t ashamed of her kinks but when she was in the thick of it, compliant, needy and submissive, she felt embarrassed by the enormity of her lust. She wanted satisfaction, and didn’t like to dwell on how low she might go to achieve it. But it was a tricky business, this game-playing, because going low was part of her pleasure. She loved what she hated, hated what she loved.
He didn’t have that problem. He loved it all.
Thanks so much for visiting, Kristina! Do stop by Clarice Clique’s blog tomorrow for a peek inside the mind of Justine Elyot!
Monday, April 30th, 2012 • 1 Comment
I’m blogging this week at the Erotic Readers & Writers Association blog about being a full-time writer:
Aspiring writers don’t want to hear the harsh realities of the easy and fun job of hanging out at Starbucks all day. They want to be the next Stephen King or Suzanne Collins or E.L. James. They want to be famous. They want that Glamour Shots photo they had taken five years ago (or that photo of them on that yacht that one time in St. Thomas) to be on the back of a shiny hardcover book in the front of Barnes & Noble. They have already chosen their pseudonym, it’s a combination of their mother’s maiden name and their favorite Jane Austen character. They spent a lot of money on a shiny new MacBook Pro but so far the only thing they’ve written are Facebook status updates about their muse and how they love the writing life. Mostly, they play Solitaire and drink $4 espresso drinks and send vague query letters to agents about the book they’re going to write if the agent can get them a three-book deal. When they haven’t gotten a response (much less an offer of representation) from an agent within the week, they write Facebook status updates about how the publishing industry is a clique, a dinosaur, a closed door to talented newcomers. Then they play another round of Solitaire and tell themselves they need to self-publish like what’s-her-name who made all that money on Amazon writing those vampire stories. Except they never bother to learn the ins and outs of successful self-publishing and none of the writers they have emailed randomly will tell them the secrets of being full-time writers. They assume it’s because those writers are intimidated by someone more talented—they never assume those writers are too busy writing, editing, teaching, etc., to tell them the truth: the only way to be a full-time writer is to find a way to write full-time, even if you also have a full-time “real” job, even if you have kids and a house and a chronic illness and elderly in-laws and, and, and… The only way to be a writer is to write. That is not what they want to hear. So they write a shitty review on Amazon for a book they never read, write a Facebook status update about how author X is a hack and her book is illiterate trash, then they go back to playing Solitaire, smug in the knowledge that when they do finally get around to writing and self-publishing their book, they will have the last laugh.
Does that sound harsh? A hack smut writer in her ivory tower pooh-poohing the brilliant aspiring writers who only need a bit of advice and an introduction to my agent, editor or publisher in order to become The Next Big Thing that I can never hope to be? Yeah, you caught me. Sorry. God knows I make so much money and I’m so wildly successful that any question about how to obtain my fun and easy lifestyle is to be perceived as a threat and immediately condemned. My apologies. Let me make it up to you and buy you a coffee while you tell me about your muse. What’s her name again?
What do I tell those questioning souls who email me for advice?
Read the rest at What It Means to be a Full-Time Writer. (Spoiler: There is no “secret” to becoming a full-time writer.)