June 2nd, 2021

Initiative Won the Gold! #erotica #IPPYAward

At the beginning of last year, I had finished four new stories for a short story collection I had conceived several months before. There were nine other stories I had previously published in multi-author anthologies that I planned to include, and the full manuscript, minus the introduction, was finally finished.

I had decided I was going to self-publish the collection. I spent the next several weeks researching self-publication, and by the beginning of March I had established a publishing imprint, gotten it a PO box, contracted with a magnificent editor/proofreader, hired a cover artist, acquired ISBNs, and purchased and learned how to use book-formatting software. I set the publication date for May 1. (Things of course then shifted dramatically in mid-March; after extensive consideration and discussion with a few advisors, I went ahead with the planned publication date of May 1.)

I’ve just found out that this collection, which I titled Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness, has won the gold IPPY in the Erotica category of the 2021 Independent Publisher Book Awards. I am a combination of humbled, thrilled, and honored that this book was awarded such a distinction. The IPPY Awards website states the following about the origin and purpose of the awards:

The Independent Publisher Book Awards were conceived in 1996 as a broad-based, unaffiliated awards program open to all members of the independent publishing industry. The awards are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles produced each year, and reward those who exhibit the courage, innovation, and creativity to bring about change in the world of publishing.

I harbor no illusions that I am doing any such thing, but it makes it all the more humbling for a book I published to be included via association in this description.

Incidentally, any apparent vested interest aside, I have been truly grateful ever since I first learned of the IPPYs years ago that Erotica is featured as a category. Information about or even mention of sexuality seems to be anathema in so many realms of public culture, to say nothing of artistic expression relating to it (for example, I could not place a Facebook or Amazon ad for Initiative because the book is oriented toward “sexually explicit content”). The IPPYs have a Sexuality/Relationships category, too, which I also deeply appreciate; still, I find it perhaps even more heartening that they offer a category specifically to recognize not just (much needed) information about sexuality but creative expression that honors and engages it.

According to this article, cover appearance and overall design are included in the judging criteria, and I want to thank Initiatve‘s cover artist Dawne Dominique of DusktilDawn Designs, as well as my wonderful friend and colleague Ashley Lister for blurbing the book for the back cover. Last but definitely not least, I extend tremendous appreciation to my superb editor, Patricia J. Esposito.

If you have not yet and would like to, you may purchase Initiative from your preferred retailer via the links on this page (or just read more about it). Thank you and be well!

Love,
Emerald

“IPPY judging is based on content, originality, design, and production with an emphasis on innovation and social relevance.”
IPPY Judging Criteria

May 11th, 2021

Power, the Ocean, and “Changing Tides” #MFRWsteam

Welcome to the MFRW Steam Hop! While this is somehow my first time participating in it, the Steam Hop was conceived and initiated last year for MFRW (Marketing for Romance Writers) authors promoting fiction that tends to be rated, say, hard “R” and above. Since I write erotica, that definitely includes me! (Please note: That also means the below excerpt will be sexually explicit. Proceed—or not—as desired.) Led by Lisabet Sarai, the Steam Hop takes place on the second Tuesday of each month. Please check the list below to visit all the other authors participating this time around!

I’ve been recalling the ocean quite a bit lately, in part because it’s close to the time of year I’ve historically traveled with my family to southern Florida. Coronavirus precautions kept us from gathering this year, and I’ve missed getting to visit the ocean. “Changing Tides,” which is one of the four original stories from my latest collection Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness, was inspired by these annual seaside trips. Told from the point of view of Ray, an ambitious but recently disillusioned businessperson on the cusp of his fortieth birthday, “Changing Tides” details his introduction to Sabrina, a mysterious fifty-something widow, as he visits coastal Florida with his dog Jameison.

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January 7th, 2021

Reckoning

This post represents yet another delve into United States politics, so if that is not of interest to you, please feel free to click away now.

Yesterday, a friend of mine inquired on social media when the United States had become a place where what was happening at the Capitol would happen (that’s a paraphrase). This was my response:

“My serious and not the slightest bit sarcastic answer would be when the country collectively (citizens, electors, elected officials who should have understood and appreciated the risk) allowed Donald Trump to assume its presidential office. Political perspectives aside, Donald Trump repeatedly during the 2016 campaign season demonstrated a propensity for delusion, stark uncaring for and lack of knowledge about both citizenry and US governmental institutions, and an astonishingly (and disturbingly) undeveloped capacity to self-regulate, especially when triggered. He consistently continued to display all these characteristics upon assuming office, and he was repeatedly enabled by all manner of elected and government officials who appeared to feel that either political philosophy, party authority, and/or personal loyalty should take precedence over the real and clear risks these traits in an executive leader (especially the highest one in the country) posed. While horrifying, this course of events is not a surprising or unlikely result.”

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August 30th, 2020

Charity Sunday: World Wildlife Fund

I’m sneaking in under the (deadline) wire to participate in this month’s Charity Sunday, hosted by author Lisabet Sarai. Charity Sunday, which takes place on the last Sunday of each month, is a blog meme that invites authors to choose a charity to support and donate a set amount to said charity for each comment received on their respective post. I appreciate the generous nature of this meme and am grateful to Lisabet for conceiving of and hosting it, and I am glad to participate this month! Please see the link list at the bottom of this post to visit the other participants of today’s Charity Sunday.

Usually, I would be likely to choose a more local charity, but it happens that the well-being of wildlife is resonating deeply with me right now. I appreciate the World Wildlife Fund‘s (WWF) mission and work on its behalf, and I am happy to donate $3.00 per comment left on this post to their worldwide work.

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June 3rd, 2020

On Aspiring to Awareness and Having Much to Learn

Many people who haven’t known me for more than twenty years likely aren’t aware that I used to want to be a cop. So much so that for four and half years, from age sixteen to twenty-one, I was a Police Explorer in my hometown. The Police Explorer program is a branch of the Boy Scouts that allows youth to serve as limited-involvement “cadets” with police departments. I wore a uniform and helped with things like directing traffic at college football games and foot-patrolling neighborhoods on Halloween to help ensure the safety of trick-or-treaters. Explorers also attended bi-montly meetings that discussed and taught about different areas of police work and accompanied officers twice a month on ride-alongs during their shifts.

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