Tag Archives: erotica

Interview with Morgan Elektra (Three Questions)

(This is part  “Three Questions With Xxxx“. If you’re interested in taking part click here and fill out the form.)

I’ve gotten to know such a great variety of talented people through social media. One of those people happens to be Morgan Elektra. I’ve read “Big Teeth” (see my review here) and I’m in the process of reading the novella that brings her to my blog. Expect a review of that soon. Enough about all of that. Let’s bring on the questions!

1) Why did you start writing romance/erotica?

The short answer is: I thought I would be good at it.

Long story longer though…

Growing up, I was incredibly dismissive of romance as a genre. I liked horror and fantasy, and like any naive person, I believed those were the best genres and everything else was crap. (Hey, I was young and stupid.)

In my early teen years, my family moved into a new house. All my books were packed away, and I was desperate for something to read. (I am old, so this was before the days of ebooks.) The house we were renting had previously been inhabited by the elderly grandmother of a friend of my brother, and there was some furniture and things left behind. On one small bookcase in the hall was a single book, Sweet Fierce Fires, by Joyce Myrus.

It was a total bodice ripper but I needed something to read, so I sucked it up. And, by the end of the book, I found myself with a new obsession.

Being a teenager, part of what kept me seeking out romance novels was the thrill of the illicit, of course. But there was far more to it than that. For instance, because most of what I read was historical, there was a lot of vocabulary and references to people and events that actually engaged me in a subject I had previously not had much interest in. And I found myself intensely emotionally engaged as well.

The stories in romance may be smaller than an epic fantasy quest, space marine battle, or sweeping dystopian horror, but I felt I could relate so deeply to the emotions the characters were experiencing. And during a time when my own emotions were so hard to quantify and give voice to, romance often did that for me. Even though it often made me cry, it also cheered me and gave me hope during a time in my life when I felt very alone and misunderstood.

All that said, when I thought of pursuing a writing career, I imagined myself writing horror. That was my first love, and my sensibility is still very dark. I’m much more Grimm than Disney. (As anyone who reads my self-pubbed short story Big Teeth: a dark fairytale will learn.)

But when I began ghostwriting, the majority of jobs being posted were for romance & erotica. I decided to go for it, since people had often commented on the sensuality of some of my darker pieces before.

I think that it’s my earthy Taurean manifesting. We’re known for being creatures of sensation, and that definitely fits my personality.

And it turns out I really enjoy writing sex and love and emotion. Like, a lot.

Sex, good sex at least, is such a personal thing. Even if you’re with a stranger and you barely speak, you reveal so much more of yourself than just your physical body. I love exploring that. And I love sharing what I find with others.

The world needs more love and great sex. Now more than ever.

2) One thing I’ve noticed in this genre is that some authors end up rehashing a lot of tropes and even reusing situations/scenes. How do you avoid being too formulaic or relying on the tropes too much while still giving fans what they want?

Does it sound terrible if I say I don’t worry about that? The way I see it, there really aren’t all that many unique stories under the sun. We’re more similar the world over than we are different. Humans has been telling stories literally since the beginning of civilization. Everything has been done at some point, in some form or another.

One of my first steps into the world of writing romance & erotica was reading a lot of fanfiction, and the fanfic community is happily and unapologetically trope-central. They have trope fests, where everyone writes ‘fake boyfriend’ or ‘accidentally bonded’ or ‘college roommate’ stories. They celebrate the tropes. But that doesn’t mean the fic community isn’t full of amazing stories. I’ve read so many that I was blown away by. It’s not the trope or cliche, it’s what you do with it.

A Single Heartbeat, for instance, could easily be tagged with the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope. And that is essentially where I started when I came up with the idea.

But I didn’t think, “Oh but there are so many enemies-to-lovers stories out there!” I feel like if I had, I would have talked myself out of ever writing it at all.

What I try to do is make my characters as real as possible. Like they’re ready to walk right off the page, sit down beside the reader, and ask for a drink. To tell you about their crappy or amazing day.

Because people may have read a ton of enemies-to-lovers stories before, they may even have read a bunch of vampire & vampire hunter romances… but they’ve never read Reese and Will’s story before.

3) Your most recent book was published by MLR Press. You’ve also self-published some works. What’s your experience in both realms been like and do you have a preference?

I am admittedly a baby in the publishing world. I self-pubbed two of my short stories (Big Teeth: a dark fairytale and Candy) just to see what the process was like and get an idea of what was involved. It was nerve-wracking, honestly. I would do it again, but it’s not my favorite thing to do. I stress about every little thing too much.

Working with MLR, on the other hand, has been amazing. Everyone has been kind and willing to answer questions for the newbie, and they’re very encouraging and supportive. I didn’t have to worry about things like formatting, which I’m not really comfortable with. And I got to have quite a lot of input in things like cover design, which was a nice surprise.

I’m definitely hoping to work with MLR more in the future. I’ve just completed a connected follow-up story to A Single Heartbeat that they are considering, and I have a few more in mind in the same universe, so I’d be thrilled to have all those at MLR.

That said, MLR only publishes M/M romance and erotica. As much as I love writing that, I don’t think I’m going to stick exclusively to that sub-genre. I have a handful of short stories already written that aren’t even romance/erotica, let alone M/M. I’m looking for homes for them in online and print publications.

While I overall prefer working with a publisher, I see myself being a hybrid author going forward. Primarily working with a publisher, but putting out something on my own every once in awhile. That seems to me to be the best route for balancing my need to be in control with my desire to just write.

I’d much rather concentrate on creating new stories and engaging with people on social media. Those things feed my soul more than formatting and cover design.

Which is my round-about way of saying everyone should follow me on my various media platforms and say hi. I’m a bit awkward and shy in person, but online I love to chat!

Thanks for taking this time to read this! You can find Morgan around the internets at these places:
Website – https://bymorganelektra.wordpress.com/
Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/MorganElektra
Twitter – www.twitter.com/MorganElektra
Facebook- www.facebook.com/ByMorganElektra
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/morgan_elektra/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13886167.Morgan_Elektra
Amazon – www.amazon.com/author/bymorganelektra
QueeRomanceInk – https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/morgan-elektra/

You can buy her newest book at these fine bookery establishments:
Direct from MLR Press: https://mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=MESNGLHB
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2iohS9b
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-single-heartbeat-morgan-elektra/1125410790?ean=2940157434557
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/a-single-heartbeat-1 

Sex And Violence

I was given an interesting compliment today. “Please write more smut! You’re good at it. ;)” This was a reaction to my story “Naughty Puss”, which you can read here. I’m not sure that I’d consider it smut/erotica, per se (and I think that Lucie was being somewhat tongue in cheek). I have written a story or two that I think would qualify. Regardless, that got me to thinking.

If there’s one genre I do enjoy writing, it’s horror. I enjoy making people scared and/or creeping them out. It’s at the core of most of the stories I tell. Are the two really that different though?

Without question both horror (and its cousin the thriller) and erotica (with its cousin romance) are about eliciting a visceral response. They’re genres named explicitly after the reactions they intend to generate. It’s not by accident that the horror genre includes so much sexuality tied up in it. There’s also no shortage of horror tropes used in today’s erotica.

The question that came up in my mind was, what makes for a good story using these elements? For my personal tastes, the answers are similar for both. I’m of the school of thought that less is more. When either genre, or perhaps any writing, doesn’t leave room for imagination on the part of the reader then it can get sloppy. Don’t get me wrong, it can still generate the desired result. I just think that a reliance on buckets of blood or any other fluid to get that result doesn’t make for a good story.

I also thought a bit about why they work so well together. Romance can be used both to break tension a bit, before ramping it up again, or to increase a different sort of tension only to be released in a more gory fashion. I’m sure there are other reasons.

So I have a couple of questions for you. What is horror? What is erotica? And what do you think makes for a good story in either of these genres or in any crossovers/mashups? Give me your favorite examples.

What is “Adult” about “Young Adult” Fiction?

After the marvelous post on Profanity in YA Fiction by JD Savage, I got to thinking about other boundaries in the YA category. When it comes to writing sexiness my brain immediately goes to Nobilis Reed. He’s one of the most prolific erotica authors I’m aware of (not a long list, but still), and is a smart cookie besides. He said yes, so here’s his post!

First, let’s get some terminology out of the way: The Young Adult Library Services (YALSA) of the American Library Association (ALA) defines a young adult as someone between the ages of twelve and eighteen.(1) This means that legally speaking, they are not actual adults, except for the eighteen-year olds. Instead, they are teenagers and adolescents.

So why is it called “Young Adult”? In my opinion, this is the reason: teenagers are in the process of becoming adults. They’re starting to think about adult things, they’re starting to look at life differently than when they were children. In some ways, they can remain remarkably childlike, but in others they can be stunningly grown up.

One of the things adolescents go through is sexual transformation and discovery, and as a result it’s a theme you find in YA novels. What I’m going to address in this essay is how I feel sexuality ought to be handled. Yes, it’s a value judgement, and I’m owning it as such.

My perspective on this issue isn’t unique but I think it bears a prefatory mention: I am a father of teenagers (my twin children are seventeen), an erotica author, and a former young adult myself. I know how ignorant teenagers can be about sex, even when they have good sex education. I know how fascinating sex can be for them, and how deeply they can hold onto ideas that fascinate them. I know the kind of messages they’re getting about sex from mainstream media, from their peers, and from porn. (Yes, from porn; teenagers look at porn, despite everything we do to try to stop them.)

The message I see kids getting is a difficult one for them to navigate. On the one hand, they’re being told they can act like adults; they can dress like adults, talk like adults, act like adults. On the other hand, they are also told that they are not real adults, they can’t be given authority or responsibility or respect. It’s a terribly frustrating time.

There’s something really special about how books are uniquely positioned to address the needs and desires of a teenage audience; for one thing, reading a book is an intensely private experience. A movie, a television show, or a video game is often something that’s done out in the open, where a teenager’s friends, parents (or worse, siblings) can see and comment on it. There is pressure to conform (or rebel) that can slant their opinions. A book, however, can be enjoyed in relative peace. It puts the author in a unique position of trust and power.

So what should an author do with that power, when it comes to sex? I don’t like telling anyone what they must do but I know what I’d like to see them do: I’d like to see them speak honestly and straightforwardly about the realities of sex. I’d like them to inject a little reality into the phantasmagoria that teenagers are subjected to in this area. Sexual fantasy is great, but I don’t think it belongs in YA literature.

Here are a few elements of sexual reality (as opposed to sexual fantasy) that are usually on my mind:

1. Sex ought to feel good. It doesn’t always. If you’re having sex and it doesn’t feel good, then something is missing, and you should stop, or change what you’re doing. Speaking up about what works and what doesn’t leads to fun sex. Fun sex is good sex. Enduring something you don’t find any pleasure in is not fun. Not-fun sex is bad sex.

2. Actions have consequences. Even if you’re using protection and pregnancy and disease isn’t a big concern, sex provokes powerful feelings, and can create a sense of relationship intimacy where there isn’t one. That can lead to a lot of pain, sometimes more than the sex was worth in the first place. Also, even for the most enlightened folks, people can work really hard to shame people who are sexual in ways that aren’t socially acceptable, and teenagers often haven’t had much opportunity to get enlightened.

3. Sex is complicated. People use it for a lot of reasons other than how it feels; they use it to prove things to themselves or to other people, to explore, to relate, and to mess with peoples’ heads. Sometimes those extra things that come with sex are good, and sometimes they’re bad, but mostly they’re both. There’s always extra baggage, and often there’s more than there ought to be.

These are the ones that are most important to me, and the ones I try to include in my own writing–for not-young adults! They go doubly so for teenagers. In my own work, though, I find that these messages can be mixed with fantasy. They don’t need to be as starkly clear. I can trust my audience to know when they’re being offered a pleasant white lie, a situation that could never happen in real life, because I can trust that they have had a real life in the first place.

As for how to go about getting these messages across, I’ll let authors decide for themselves how to do it. There are as many methods as there are authors, and I wouldn’t presume to advise.

(1) Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young-adult_fiction