Archive for April, 2019

What’s it Worth?

April 27, 2019

I’ve been amusing myself writing erotica. If you had told me even six months ago I would be doing this, I would have laughed at you and said, “Hardly likely.” Sometimes I embarrass myself and I have to stop before I begin typing. It’s not that my imagination is that vivid. It’s that my memory is.

I think a lot of us who write in the genre have something to say aside from the fact that we know what good sex is. I know I put up with some crappy behavior from the men who provided me with good sex. But nobody wants to read about the reality of that.

Then just about everybody got a cell phone, and…

In the December 2018 issue of The Atlantic ( https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/12/the-sex-recession/573949), writer Kate Julian explored why younger people are having fewer sexual encounters and relationships than in the past. At least that’s how it is in the developed world. In the less developed world, men are still exploiting women, and women are still acquiescing. In the post-industrial countries, not just due to AIDS, but also due to how much time people are now glued to their phones and devices, people are having less physical contact.

In the late 1980’s, I read an essay written by an architect about how interaction between people was becoming more fleeting and trivialized. His solution was making housing in communities more structured in a way that your neighbors could see you if you were at home, and visit you if you were in your public rooms—like a living room. They’d see you through your windows. No privacy unless you went to some length to achieve it—like going into private rooms. His solution was architectural, not really social. In fact, the essay was written in the decades before social media was even a thought.

Fleeting social encounters? In China now, there are internet stars that do nothing other than live stream their lives doing mundane things…and they have fans. I was sort of bemused that people would watch shows like the Osbornes or Keeping up with the Kardashians. Didn’t anyone learn anything when TV cameras followed the Loud family ( Https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_American_Family ) around in the 1970s? Is your life that boring that you think watching other people do nothing that it’s better than…actually living your own life? I am also amazed that people think it’s cool to have Alexas or Siri in their homes spying on them. Well… according to the Atlantic, they aren’t having sex. I’m not sure I understand.

What got me thinking was an incident I recalled a good friend telling me about over four decades ago. Her roommate had started seeing this guy she had met (where ever…it was in a public place. She was not introduced by mutual friends). The roommate complained to my friend that she was seeing so much of this guy that she wasn’t able to get her laundry done.

My friend asked her roommate, “Doesn’t he have a laundry room in his building?” and the roommate responded, “I’m sure he must, but I don’t know him well enough to ask if I can use his washing machine.”

My friend responded to the roommate, “If he knows you well enough to have sex, then you should know him well enough to use his washing machine.”

When she relayed this story to me, I laughed and said, “Tell her to ask if she can drive his car. If he doesn’t know her well enough to let her drive his car, she doesn’t know him well enough to have sex with him.” Frankly, if she doesn’t know how to ask to use his washing maching, how is she going to be brave enough to ask for the sex she wants? It’s not like none of us hooked up with guys we barely knew into the early 1980s. Didn’t we girls all hope a romance would emerge? What per centage resulted in any kind of relationship? We all saw the movie “About Last Night.” Anyone hook up with Rob Lowe and have mind blowing sex? All that sex that wasn’t mind blowing…was it worth it?.

It’s just a fact that women still have a different expectation of sexual encounters and the vulnerability we risk. It’s way different from what most men expect or want.

This is what’s really good about the erotic romance genre: girls have great sex, and it is described, so you don’t have to guess if you’ve never had it. We tell you what the guys want, and what we want. But I digress….

I’ve written about this in my book, “Polyandress” (not published yet—but hopefully by the end of 2019). My main male character tells the polyandress (a woman with multiple sexual, economic, and/or emotional partners ) that he wanted a relationship with the woman he has sex with. Someone he could interact with regularly. He wanted that because of what he had had with the polyandress. He actually wanted what most women want. He didn’t want what his male friends wanted, to have what we’d call casual sex. He wanted a woman to take time with him, and he wanted to take time with a woman.

So, in addressing teenagers who aren’t happy with their sexual relationships because they aren’t getting the type, duration. or frequency of the sex they want, and they are not interested in the other aspects of the interactions they are having with their sex partners, I’d have to ask: if the sex isn’t worth it, why are you still thinking this is a relationship? If you can’t talk about it, or come to an understanding that you are both happy with, why bother?

As an aside, this wonderful song that Bobby Caldwell sings: What you won’t Do For Love: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8GhXtfthgk


The Coton de Tulear

April 18, 2019

3 Coton de Tulear in Specials coat.

About three years ago, I responded to a Craigslist post for a groomer to come to a home and groom five small dogs. I’m thinking Yorkies or Maltese. So, since the distance was not far from where I lieve, I responded.

The guy who placed the ad said they were Cotons. My gut reaction was, “Oh.”

For those who don’t know, Cotons are from the island of Madagascar. Off Africa—that’s right. Now, how would small, fluffy white dogs get there? Dig this: the ‘explorers’ and their crews from Spain and Portugal, where the generic (at the time—this is the ‘breed’ that all those who don’t know anything about dogs say ‘they all were at one time…and so it was…) small white dogs that later turned out to be Maltese, Bichon Frise, and white Toy Poodles, came from. The Teneriffes, and those that came from the Canary Islands. The Coton de Tulear are the ”National Dog of Madagascar ( http://caninechronicle.com/current-articles/royal-dog-of-madagascar-the-history-of-the-coton-de-tulear ).

Very cute, very smart, very sweet and outgoing. The problem is…their coats. Clearly, from the historical photos, one can see that the ‘foundation’ dogs (that is, the dogs everyone used 40 or so years ago to establish the breed in Europe and the Americas) had a coat texture that was a mix of silky and cottony . The coat draped. But the foundation breeders, for some reason (I think they really didn’t have any idea how this would play out) decided the ideal coat was a COTTONY COAT. A coat that is dry and stands off from the body.Certainly, the Cotons you see at the dog shows are magnificent as presented. They have big bushy coats. But it is not a coat you can scissor like a Bichon or a Poodle. It mats. The breed standard says that no clipping is allowed….not even ‘sanitary’ trims. You wash it, you brush it…& that’s what you get.

I know the handlers showing dogs for clients have their assistants bathe and brush the dogs out every other day. Othewise, just the static and dirt from living would cause them to mat. I know what causes matting. I’ve been grooming long haired dogs for over 50 years myself.

To their credit, these clients of mine with the Cotons do not have any carpets, and all their furniture is leather. That cuts static. But, the dogs still live. When I started working for them, they had just two dogs in specials coat, and one had an improper (meaning silky) coat. But they had a litter and kept one, and bought another bitch (she became the top winning Coton, (in terms of dogs she bested in the ring in 2018), had another litter and kept two, and are now up to seven dogs, with three in specials coat.

I am an experienced dog groomer, but I can see, now that these younger—just about one year of age—are going through the coat change, that it is overwhelming. In fact, both young dogs are AKC champions and ‘finished’ (as we say in the fancy—once the dog gets a title, it has finished) their titles in record time due to excellent structure underneath the coats, and good grooming/training/handling. There were several buyers who wanted the young male. Unfortunately, my client—the breeder—-thinks that none of these buyers who are willing to pay several thousand dollars for this dog, can handle the coat.

It’s an issue. Like I said—I’ve groomed long haired dogs for about 50 years, and these Cotons are challenge for me. My solution would be for anyone who wants the dog to come stay for a couple of days and help us groom. They then can decide if they really want to get into this. If not, no harm, no foul. After all, how are you going to get new fanciers into your breed?

This is the problem. The Coton de Tulear is one of those ‘low registration’ (AKC statistics) breeds actually in danger of dying out. Considering the low number of fanciers, and the genetic tests that those with the most integrity do, and the number of breeds anyone who might want to show a dog would consider for ‘getting into’, how are the current fanciers going to attract new fanciers to the breed?

The pragmatic thing to do—if they want to save the breed from extinction, is to either change the breed standard to allow a different kind of coat texture or allow the dogs to be shown styled like a Bichon.

Another thing that might help would be to offer grooming symposiums whenever the parent club has a specialty show. However, ther is so much arguing within the club that it is amazing they are able as a collective fancy, to maintain a gene pool. & that’s the fancy in a nutshell.

Two book Revues: Erotic Romance

April 11, 2019

This blog is a review of two books I’ve read recently: “Pretty Boy Problems,” by Michele Grant, and “Huntsman and Eve: Joining Forces Security Series Book 1” by Annette Stephenson.

These books are both of the ‘Erotic Romance’ genre. It goes without saying that both stories are contrived fantasies—but what fiction isn’t contrived? In reading drafts of my own book, the issue my early readers had was that this is fantasy. No man could be this good. That is romance: the guy meets all the heroine’s needs and desires. He’s always perfect. Rarely, if ever, does the main female character give a described blow job. She is always the receiver.

Our guys are always handsome with great smiles. We never fall in love with alcoholics, drug addicts, deadbeats, two timers, trouble makers, guys who are in debt, guys who turn out to be gay, or, of course, guys who aren’t experienced lovers.

In addition, the guys are always masculine and self-assured, have money, clean up after themselves, and will do whatever they can to please the heroine. If this is not for you, move on. However, if you’ve never had mind blowing sex, and aren’t aroused by visual pornography, but want a description of what it is…and want a good story to go with it, consider the genre.

Michele’s book is of the ‘urban erotic romance’ genre. Her main characters work in the fashion industry and are former models. Her main male character, Beau, is known as a player, and her main female character, Belle is very cautious. But Beau turns out to be a talented guy in many ways. Lots of white Americans don’t know there is a black middle class, and this is a realistic story. Beau is Cajun, and Michele includes a glossary at the back of the book.

Annette’s book is about a young widow, Eve, traveling around the country. She starts a blog, writing under the nom de plume ‘Dawn Early’, and a print magazine with a girlfriend. It turns out her blog is read widely by currently serving military personnel and is very popular. Eve sort of stumbles into Dean’s arms, and there is an interesting side plot. Women who are particularly patriotic will like this series.

I know who I want to read my book, but are they the same people who read the genre? I started doing some research, and according to Sources: Nielsen, Bookstats, PEW Research Center, RWA, Entertainment Weekly: Author Earnings’ (July 2014 Author Earnings Report, Harlequin )
Top 10 Fiction Genres.1 $1.09 billion, Thrillers 2.$1.08 billion, Romance 3.$811 million, General4.$548 million, Literary5.$442 million, Mystery & Detective6.$377 million, Fantasy7.$185 million, Comics & Graphic Novels8.$156 million, Historical 9.$143 million, Contemporary Women10.$113 million, Action & Adventure Reading.

Behavior : 29 percent of romance readers usually carry a romance novel with them. Romance readers typically begin and finish a romance novel within 7 days. On average, romance readers read more than one book: A Week —25.5 percent. Every Week —20.9 percent. Every 2-3 Weeks —17.8 percent —16.1 percentRomance Vs. All Adult-Fiction Purchases: PaperbackRomance: 51 percent Adult Fiction: 46 percentE-Book*Romance: 38 percent Adult Fiction: 30 percent: HardbackRomance: 10 percent Adult Fiction: 21 percent AudioRomance: 1 percent Adult Fiction: 3 percent
At A Glance: Age30-54; EducationCollege-educated; Average Income: $55K. Relationship Status :59 percent are coupled, 84 percent are women, 16 percent are men .

Since E.L. James published 50 shades of Grey, are more men reading romance?

The favorite sub genre is historical romance, but other genres are catching up. Who reads this stuff? According to Kristian Wilson:

Despite being pooh-poohed as lowbrow literature for middle-aged women, romance novels comprised nearly one-third — 29 percent — of the 2015 fiction market. In 2013, romance novel sales exceeded $1 billion, according to Romance Writers of America. There are even entire bookstores devoted to romance novels!

So why does romance — and the people who read it — have such a bad reputation? I’ll give you a hint: the answer starts with sex and ends with ism . Seriously, there’s a giant, gendered pock mark on books women write and read.

And believe me, romance is women’s fiction. Male authors who write romance novels are encouraged to publish under female psuedonyms to help their sales numbers — making romance the only corner of the industry that doesn’t have women writing under male names.

The whole erotic romance genre is relatively new. Not even 30 years old. Most books are self-published, at least at first, and the writers have a formula. Many start out writing fan fiction and evolve from there. They are able to succeed because they have a fan base, and they work to develo[p the base by encouraging interaction with fans via their blogs and on social media—-usually Facebook.

I want to encourage readers to check out these writers. Ask at local bookstores and , of course, they are on Amazon.

My own book is in production, and if you are interested in dogs, dog grooming and training, performance events, recent African history and development issues, that fantasy rock star (yes, that’s also a genre, as is the billionaire…), what it’s like to be ‘other’ in a dominant culture, good sex, and issues of integrity, I hope you will seek out my book (‘soon to be published’: ‘Polyandress) .


All in My Head

April 3, 2019

When I was a younger woman, full of the bullshit notions that if you played the game with enough guys,you would eventually click with one. Then, you’d live happily ever after.

All the stresses of adult life would be made better—ameliorated—if you will, by finding a reliable, stable guy who had no trouble making a living. A guy who shared my values, of course. He would be physically attractive and want a satisfying sexual relationship.

Well four out of five ain’t bad. At first, not getting five our of five really bothered me. It almost drove me crazy, but I got a grip because my other relationship, sexual in nature, was not satisfying, and I was too tired to not be myself.

I’m a cynical, tough, broad, and I had to be responsible for myself. By that I mean, prepare for retirement: invest, take care of my assets, and not obsess over anything unrealistic.

I’d known way too many women who trusted men and got left with debts and kids. Or worse, left with nothing at all! I could not afford to live in San Diego. I could not afford to breed dogs. Had I not taken a gamble on a business, I might have had a chance, but I did gamble, the economy changed drastically, and at least I didn’t lose my biggest asset: the house!

I was approaching retirement. I had taken a dog grooming job where I was making decent money, but the non-grooming staff I worked with created too much stress because they didn’t recognize a dangerous situation. I put up with this for about two years, and then was able to get a job at a better run kennel. I took a pay cut, but the tips made up for it. Way less stress and a lot more free time.

I’d been blogging my thoughts for several years, but what most recently compelled me…was the situation with my father and my brother. My sisters have asked me to NOT write about that, and I won’t for now, even though that is where the real story is. I instead chose a fantasy notion that had been swimming around in my head for several years.

In the early 1980’s, right after my divorce, I had a very intense, exciting sexual relationship with a guy who was a really great lover. I could say a lot about Tony, but what I want to say is that he was tall. He had terribly long legs and was very graceful and limber. Let’s leave it at that.

The relationship lasted about a year and he took a job across the country. I was devastated, even though I knew we were not moving towards emotional closeness. What I really missed was the sex. I did go on, in time, to have a couple of other good sexual relationships, but for all the real life reasons you can think of, no emotional intimacy developed. I guess I could have compromised, but for what? No guy had anything close to economic security, and for me that was always a deal breaker. Hell, I had a hard enough time as a woman getting credit to buy a home. It made no sense to ignore financial irresponsibility. In 1985, I decided to go to Africa, and I went to Tanzania on safari. I had a sexual encounter with a Chagga guy, and that was really good.

In 1987 I went to Kenya to work on a development project. We were the first white people the community had ever seen do physical labor, and they called us ‘Unusual Visitors.’ On that trip, I went with a bunch of other free spirits to Mombasa and Malindi, and although no sex occured, I met at least a dozen young men who were so attractive , so charming, so sweet that I would have banged any one of them in a heartbeat. They were all Indian and Arabic Swahili guys. They were friendly without being obnoxious. How rare is that?

& then…not much. I became attracted to a guy back in the US who was ambivalent. I made him miserable because, partly due to hormones, I was mentally ill. I muddled through, but looking back, from 1988 to about 1996, I don’t remember much except for school, Peace Corps, and crying a lot. I obsessed a lot and worked a lot. I was lucky Kunihiro came into my life and brought some semblance of stability. He was a stranger in a strange land.

So this is what happened. Last November (2018), I went to southern Spain and came back and saw Bohemian Rhapsody. The movie is the GP version of Freddie Mercury’s life. There is plenty online where you can learn the truth about him, but in so many words, he was a musical genius. He saw himself as a performer, and this particularly long legged guy was also—Swahili. He decided himself what he would be. I was surprised at how many Queen songs I liked that I didn’t know were Queen songs. I was also surprised at what a great musician he was, and his bandmates Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon were. You can find instrumental versions of many of their songs online because of how they recorded and produced their songs. Also, Kunihiro had told me this, but you find more evidence of this online: Queen was very popular in Japan. In fact, Freddie Mercury learned Japanese and was a collector of Japanese art. Kunihiro had a copy of Queen’s Greatest Hits, and that’s where I heard ‘Barcelona’, and all the songs Freddie Mercury wrote for Montserrat Caballe. What a body of work! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aA2IRoPFIn0

In any case, partly in the movie without explanation, but more when you go online, you see the physical evolution of a man discovering himself, from what his bandmates called a ‘dandy’ to his own idea of what a gay man would be. But what I really learned was how much music which I had enjoyed was written by Freddie Mercury, particularly Barcelona ( which he produced with Mike Moran). Music so compelling that his bandmates included it on their greatest hits album. Well, this is not top 40 format stuff, so why would we hear it in America?

I didn’t intend what I was writing to be a love story. I intended it to be an essay in integrity. I wanted to address integrity —or lack thereof—in several different areas. It was a creative outlet. I didn’t have an outline, just an idea. But who wants to read about integiryt? You write what you know. I hasten to say that I wanted it to seem plausible, so I had to do some research, but these days, it’s easy enough to do this on the internet. After all, this is not a dissertation. I don’t have to compile statistics.

Now, it so happens 1 of my sisters edits fiction for self-publishers. That’s only important because she knows something about self-publishing. Most self-published books don’t even break even. So, I knew I’d have to find a way to market to my intended audience. That’s really what I have to work on.

I’ve discovered the genre is called ‘erotic romance’. What I am finding in my research is that most ‘erotic romances’ sort of gloss over the actual sex. They describe the characters involved, so you can form a vision in your head, but the sex? What did these people actually do?

The gist of my story is the characters know each other because of family connections. The male character, as a teenager, seduces the female, an older divorcee. They have an intense sexual relationship and don’t see each other for another 20 years. Their lives could not be more different. The male character is sure he’s in love, and he’s carried this fantasy around for 20 years. He goes from studying engineering to being a musician…a ‘rock star; ‘ (& that is, apparently, a very popular genre in erotic romance books). The female character has done a number of things so she doesn’t have to get a ‘real’ job, and is skeptical. Their lives have changed so much, but the sex remains good. Can they really work out having a relationship?

Who would be interested in this? I’m thinking women over a ‘certain age’, dog groomers and trainers (most of us are women, and the female character I’ve written is a dog person), people who show dogs or compete in performance, people interested in Africa, and how things are (this is where the lovers meet), people who are always others, or outsiders (Jews, Sikhs, Asians), and, I hope, people interested in issues of integrity, because I have woven a narrative addressing integrity in all the interest areas. That was my main goal: how do we address integrity as we, particularly in the United States, have elected a political administration which has made a mission of insulting anyone who has integrity?

I believe I’ve really fleshed out the characters and made the situations plausible (though it is a fantasy). What I have to do is get people to read and review it. E.L.James, who wrote ’50 Shades of Gray’, and self-published that because of her other writing (fan fiction) was able to get momentum. I’m hoping to at least break even, but I also hope readers will enjoy this and start discussing the issues.

I’ve been in touch with other writers of erotic romance, and they all use a formula. They use a formula because they write a lot and need a fan base to sell a lot. I’m interested in other topics, but depending on how this goes, I may write something else for the characters. What I do know is that I will need at least 20, if not more, reviews on Amazon to gain momentum. I’ll write more when I know more.