Archive for Sex+ Writing: Mine

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!


“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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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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May 24th, 2020

Charity Sunday: Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) #AnimalRescue #CharitySunday

Welcome to Charity Sunday, a monthly blog hop hosted by author Lisabet Sarai at Beyond Romance.

I started volunteering at Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA), a no-kill shelter for cats and dogs that is local to me, in March of 2014. Since then, barring three few-week hiatuses, I have been there almost every Sunday to walk dogs, and usually been there at least one additional day per week to do things like snuggle cats, oversee multi-dog play groups, and work with potential adopters. I’ve also done things off-site like help with fundraising and write the “Dog of the Week” and “Cat of the Week” columns for the weekly volunteer newsletter.

The onset of awareness and caution around COVID-19 threw a wrench in that, and I haven’t been to FOHA now since mid-March, which is the longest period I’ve gone without being at the shelter since I started volunteering there. It has been hard to stay away, but I have taken seriously the request from public health professionals to stay at home, and it has felt appropriate to me to do so and to let the staff at FOHA (which, as an animal shelter, is certainly an essential business) do their jobs without the extra risk of my coming on-site and into their physical workspace as a volunteer.

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May 16th, 2020

The Erotic Literary Salon 12th Anniversary Party (Online)!

Longtime readers of this blog may remember several previous appearances I have made at the remarkable Philadelphia Erotic Literary Salon founded and curated by Susana Mayer. It is indeed a venue I have truly appreciated, both on my own behalf as a place Susana has graciously offered me to promote my own work, and also as a space to offer attendees to write, read, and/or take in erotic words spoken out loud. Susana had a beautiful—and obviously accurate—notion that such a space seemed to be largely missing in our culture, as well as desired, whether overtly or on an underlying level.

And here we are twelve years later…with the Erotic Literary Salon still meeting the third Tuesday of each month and going stronger than ever! Under the current circumstances, the Salon has moved online and, as it was in April, will be held via Zoom this month. Tuesday, May 19, will mark—as well as celebrate—the twelfth anniversary of the Salon’s existence!

In addition to this celebration, I am honored that Susana has offered me the opportunity to read from my brand new short story collection, Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness. I don’t know which story I will read from yet, but I am so appreciative, as usual, to have the opportunity to do so for her audience. While the reasons for the move online are obviously sobering, the Zoom setting also offers the opportunity for attendance from those for whom travel to Philadelphia has been untenable.

Given this new online setting, Susana is only charging $5 (half the usual price of admission) to attend the Salon while the event and its audience adjust to its new virtual environment. Ticket sales will stop Monday, May 18, so this weekend is the time to procure yours!

For more information about the Salon or how to sign up to read at it, as well as a link to a basic Zoom tutorial, please visit the Salon website. Thank you, and we would love for you to virtually join us on Tuesday!


“We light it up, we won’t come down, and the walls can’t stop us now…”The Greatest Showman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “The Greatest Show”