Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Pastor and the Smut Writers

“First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

I’ve seen a few blog posts using Martin Niemöller’s famous quote in different variations. In case you haven’t heard, there’s a big chilling effect hitting erotica writing right now. PayPal, a payment processor with a highly dominant, almost monopolistic market position, has begun a crackdown on what type of books online retailers can sell. Bookstrand and All Romance went first as mentioned in Selena Kitt’s blog, and now Smashwords has also succumbed to the same pressure.

I’ve also seen some comments expressing outrage over mucky erotica writers using Niemöller’s warning. How dare they compare their inability to foist degenerate smut on the world with the murder of six million people. They’re not. No one’s seriously expecting erotica writers to be dragged out of their homes at midnight. Some are going to have to find another source of income, some hobbyists will lose an outlet for creative expression, and some readers will miss out on works they might enjoy. Small beans compared to one of the worst atrocities in human history, but those small beans still mean something to the people involved.

Niemöller’s “First they came…” refers to a regrettable tendency of people to stick their heads, ostrich-like, into the sand and stand by and let things happen because it’s “Not My Business”. I’ve read lots of head-in-the-sand rationalising over the past few days ranging from the classic “I don’t write that filth so it won’t affect me” to “It’s not censorship; PayPal have the freedom to choose who they do business with.”

The censorship argument is a tricky one. I’ve seen that bend back and forth. Eve McFadden provides a very good counterpoint here. A retailer is not obligated to stock items they don’t wish to sell. While I’m a little uncomfortable with the idea of a financial service company determining what their clients can sell, PayPal is also not obligated to provide services to a retailer selling items PayPal doesn’t wish to be associated with. Unfortunately, when a company has the reach and market dominance PayPal has, decisions of this nature can have a stifling effect on what items can be sold.

These books are not illegal. People are happy to write them, people are happy to sell them, and people are happy to buy them. If this is not happening then there are grounds for concern. It might not be censorship according to the classic definition of the word, but when the outcomes start to look the same we should start to get nervous.

I think it’s important to stress again these books are not illegal. While some might find themes of incest (including “pseudo-incest”), rape, barely-legal and bestiality in erotica objectionable, it’s only fiction. Contrary to what some people might think, Erotica writers don’t actually have to carry out these acts in order to write about them. We do have imaginations. And, at the end of the day, no one’s forcing anyone to read these books.

Although I write fairly explicit horror/erotica hybrids, I don’t think I’m affected by this unless PayPal shuts eXcessica down completely. Technically I could fall foul of restrictions on “Rape” and “Snuff”, but part of the nervousness about PayPal’s recent strong-arming is whole swathes of books could be taken off the shelves depending on how those are interpreted. Writing a thriller about a serial killer? No sir, someone could find that chapter where the killer strangles a prostitute during sexual intercourse titillating. This is the slippery slope Selena Kitt referred to. Is it just the nasty gang-bang stuff that’s off limits, or will someone use that as a foothold to start removing chunks of BDSM literature they don’t like?

When that paedophile manual surfaced on Amazon a while back I found myself in a conflicted position. Obviously I found the book repulsive, but I also knew it could be used as a lever to justify taking down other work. Sure enough, some of Selena’s titles featuring incest were taken down next. Now the category of objectionable material has widened to include sex between non-blood relatives and depictions of rape and violence. While the tide hasn’t reached me yet, it’s certainly lapping at my toes. I’m thinking maybe I should have spoke out sooner, even if it meant defending something I found personally objectionable.

Further behind me are the paranormal erotica writers. They don’t have anything to worry about now. It’s not bestiality if the were is in human form. It’s not necrophilia if the vampire is walking around. Then the tide moves further up until it starts lapping at their toes. New emails go around. No more of this yucky non-human erotica. All participants must be 100% human. Then the paranormal writer starts to think, Maybe I should have said something when they were banning all that icky incest and rape stuff.

Behind them is an erotic romance writer. They don’t have anything to worry about. Their stuff is strictly vanilla. Then the next round of emails arrive. There’s too much sex. Tone it down or it gets pulled. And the erotic romance writer starts to think maybe they should have said something.

And beyond them is the edgy thriller writer…

And it’s exactly what Niemöller was warning about, albeit on a considerably smaller scale. Freedoms do get eroded if people don’t speak out, even if speaking out means defending subject matter they might not agree with. Which segues nicely into the other classic quote I used in the last blog post:

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

Don’t give them an inch and don’t let them get a foothold.

PayPal is a business and is perfectly entitled to choose who they do business with and how…just as we’re perfectly entitled to choose whether or not we do business with them based on their decisions. If you don’t like the idea of PayPal policing what you can or can’t read, now would be a good time to let them know.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Big Erotica Freeze Is A-Coming...

This isn't the best of news.

In a nutshell, the morality police have deployed the banhammers and no one has the slightest idea where the line of acceptability is anymore. I don’t know where this leaves my publisher, eXcessica, or the status of my own titles. Without Paypal (someone—Google, Bitcoin, anyone not Apple—please put these jokers out of business) I’m probably not going to be able to sell directly through the store, as it won’t exist unless Selena Kitt can find another payment processor. On top of that there’s the uncertainty of not knowing what the other book retailers will accept.

Bestiality, Necrophilia and Paedophilia have always been big no-no’s for erotica. Incest was heading there, and now it looks like Pseudo-Incest (where the participants are not blood relations) and Rape are about to join them.

Personally, Incest isn’t something that appeals to me. It’s an enormously popular category on Literotica, but I’ve never felt the desire to write about or read it. Doesn’t matter. If other people want to read or write about it, that’s their business and fine by me.

As for Rape, what the hell does that cover? That can range from ugly stuff where dudes fantasize about gang-banging the uppity cheerleader with their homies, to non-consent fantasies written and enjoyed by women about pure and sexually-frustrated maidens being ravished by hunks of studliness. Where does that leave my stories? Does it count if it’s female-on-male? I have no fucking clue. Selena tried to clarify with Paypal on BDSM—a category with sometimes dubious consent—and was told to yank the lot. Last I heard, BDSM is a hefty chunk of erotica and mostly features consenting adults. How do you stay within a line when there is no fucking line?

You might think this doesn’t matter to you, that it’s only the muckiest of mucky stuff that’s affected. It does. Same for all the paranormal erotica writers that let out a sigh of relief when bestiality was clarified to not include werewolves and other shape-shifters. Don’t get too comfortable. They WILL come for you next. It’s what they do.

"I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" – Evelyn Beatrice Hall (often misattributed to Voltaire)

Maybe we should just ban the people that try to ban things.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Promotion for A Succubus for Valentine's Day

As I'm a bitter, twisted, possibly certifiable individual with a spider-infested lump of black coal for a heart, Valentine's Day is the worst day of all. All that saccharine schmaltz and pink froth—Ugh!

To help fellow warped malfeasants through this most trying of days I’m dropping the price on my A Succubus for Valentine’s Day collection (ebook) to 99 cents for this week. This was the collection I put out this time last year. If you haven’t had a chance to pick it up yet, you have until Sunday (19th) to take advantage of my irrational hostility to February the 14th and get it on the cheap.

The new price is already updated in the eXcessica store, but it usually takes a little longer (about 12 hours) for amazon, B & N and others to update.

Guaranteed to take away that sickly sweet aftertaste of too much Valentine's Day confection. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

HWA sucks in debate for Vampire Novel of the Century

The Horror Writer's Association is marking the centenary of Bram Stoker's death by adding an award for Vampire Book of the Century to this year's Bram Stoker Awards. By century they mean 1912 to 2011, not the 20th century as I discovered after making a tit of myself on the comment boards of a major British newspaper.

The nominees are:

The Soft Whisper of the Dead by Charles L. Grant
Salem's Lot by Stephen King
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
Hotel Transylvania by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

It's a selection that leaves me conflicted between the book I'd like to see win (Anno Dracula) and the book I think should win (Interview with the Vampire).

Kim Newman is probably better known today as Empire's goto man for reviewing B-movies of questionable quality. He's also a bloody good horror writer. The first thing I used to do on purchasing the latest Year's Best Horror or other similar anthology was flick straight to the Kim Newman story.

Anno Dracula takes Dracula as a starting point and plays What If! the heroes lost and Dracula won. What we get is an alternate history with a blood-bloated Count on the throne of the British Empire, Queen Victoria on a leash, and vampirism spread throughout England. It's a lot of fun and, as with all of Kim Newman's work, part of the entertainment is spotting all the references to the historical figures and fictional characters of the time.

Of the other books, I Am Legend might seem like an odd choice on a vampire novel shortlist. Isn't that a zombie apocalypse book? you might think, especially if you've only seen the film adaptations. While it might be hard to believe in these sparkly, post-Twilight days, vampires were once used as a metaphor for contagion and plague, a role which has largely been stolen by zombies in more recent times. This is also the reason, despite being an excellent book, it shouldn't win. A true thoroughbred, but someone changed the track midrace and now it’s charging down the wrong path.

As good as the other books are, I don’t think any of them come close to having the same cultural impact as Interview with the Vampire. You only have to look at the shelves clogged up with vampire fiction at your local bookstore (if it hasn’t already closed down) to see the enormous influence of Anne Rice’s work. Without Interview would we have had the vampire-craze of Twilight, or most of Urban Fantasy in general? As much as horror purists might hate how vampires have changed from badass and evil to emo and whiny, it’s really hard to argue against Interview with the Vampire being the defining vampire novel of the last century in the way Dracula was the defining vampire novel of the one before.

I’m still going to put up a link to Newman’s Anno Dracula, as he’s basically awesome and definitely worth checking out if you haven’t read his work before.

I would have liked to have seen Brian Lumley’s Necroscope on the list, but as I haven’t read either the Grant or Yarbro books I can’t legitimately argue it should be on there at their expense.

Anyway, vampires are so last century. I think it’s time for the sexy, soul-sucking succubi to claim the darkness… ;)

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Succubus Summoning 101 is out! (as a novel)

It's Friday. There have been a few minor teething problems, but Succubus Summoning 101, the novel, is now out and available to buy in both eBook and print form.

Apologies to anyone trying to buy from the eXcessica site today. It should now be available to buy instead of displaying as coming soon. You can get it here, and the print version from CreateSpace is also available here.

It's also available from the major online ebook stores such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, and in a variety of formats.

This is sort of my donation button if you enjoyed reading the series. Thanks for the support and I hope you like the little extras in the novel.

Succubus Summoning 201 should be out later this year. That's a release to get more excited about... ;)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Succubus Summoning 101: Excerpt

Succubus Summoning 101 is coming out this Friday. While I can't really hype it up to the same degree as A Succubus for Halloween, I couldn't pass the opportunity to post a little excerpt. Take flight with Rosa...

(warning: things get a little hot and steamy from here. If you're easily offended, or not 18, and got here by accident, now would be a safe time to leave :) )
Don't warn them, it takes away the surprise.

* * * *

Phil dashed for the door.

Five succubi in heat. There was no way he’d survive that. He had to get out of the castle and take his chances in the forest.

He got halfway across the courtyard before Rosa swooped down out of the sky and gathered him up in her embrace.

“Fleeing prey, my favourite,” Rosa laughed as she carried him up into the lurid pink sky.

Phil struggled, but Rosa wrapped her arms and legs tightly around him. She crushed her soft lips against his and kissed him until the fight left his body. His body went limp in her embrace.

“We’ve never fucked while flying, have we fledgling?” Rosa laughed as her broad wings held them motionless in the sky. “This is going to be fun.”

Phil’s thoughts were clouded and his limbs felt weak. Rosa’s hot kiss had drained all the resistance from him. Her powerful thighs wrapped around his waist and he shivered in pleasurable surprise as his erection slid into her moist vagina.


Hot and tight.

Rosa’s body boiled with lust. Her heat enfolded his body and overwhelmed his senses. Still flapping her wings to keep them airborne, she thrust her hips against him. Her lust was contagious. Phil pushed back against her, feeling his cock slide against the hot walls of her pussy.

Rosa laughed with wild abandon and swooped around the black stone minarets of the castle. The horizon and the sky became one dizzying blur to Phil as he span in Rosa’s embrace. Faster and faster she flew, until Phil felt the wind streaming through his hair and down the naked skin of his back. Higher she took them, until the castle became toy-sized beneath them. They were suspended in the sky, their bodies slamming together in passion.

She planted another fiery kiss on Phil’s lips as their bodies slowly turned and ascent changed into a steep dive. Rosa cried with passion as the wind whistled past them. Phil’s heart thudded in his throat as they hurtled downwards. He saw the dark stone walls of the castle rushing up to meet them.

Did Rosa know? Did she care? Her wings were folded back against her body as they continued their steep dive.

The black walls and spiky towers filled Phil’s vision now, and still Rosa showed no signs of slowing down. Too fast. She wasn’t going to be able to pull up in time. They were going to be dashed against the walls. They were going to die.

They were going to…

They didn’t hit.

Phil opened his eyes and almost wished he hadn’t as narrow stone walls whizzed by in a blur. They were plunging through some kind of chimney system inside the castle. Rosa navigated the turns and sudden forks with a speed that left Phil breathless. Mere inches separated his naked flesh from the hard stone as it zipped past.

They fell deeper through the castle until the walls opened out into a cavernous pentagonal room. Phil saw a floor covered in blood-red sheets and scattered with pastel cushions rushing up to meet them before his view changed with a lurch. Rosa had flipped him mid-air and he was now looking up at a ceiling covered in swathes of plush velvet and embedded with large mirrors.

Their descent abruptly slowed as Rosa opened her great red wings above him. Not enough, Phil thought. They were still falling too quickly. He was still going to hit the ground har—

They hit the floor with a soft whumpf. Sheets and pillows were thrown up in the air by the impact. The floor gave beneath him and he realised he’d landed on a gigantic bed, luxuriously soft and very deep. He sank into the surface with Rosa’s hot body riding on top of him, the impact driving his cock deeper into her tight pussy.

Their downward momentum was halted and then reversed as the bed sprang back. Phil was bounced upwards and into Rosa’s embrace. Her pussy squeezed around his cock and Phil groaned as he exploded within her, the head of his cock wedged deep into her hot flesh. At the same time Rosa’s vagina shuddered and shivered around his member as she too was claimed by a violent orgasm.

She rode him as the bed swayed and undulated beneath them, her hot pussy fluttering around his cock. Phil bucked and thrashed in helpless pleasure as she stretched out his orgasm until the ecstasy became almost unbearable. His balls convulsed as her dripping vagina hungrily sucked the seed from his body.

Phil thought he might expire from the pleasure, but gradually the wild pitching motions of the bed died down and his orgasm slowly petered out with it. He gasped great lungfuls of air as his jangling body recovered from the release.

“Whew, that was good,” Rosa said. Beads of sweat spilled from her forehead and formed on her full breasts.

Once Phil got his breath back, he took a look around at his surroundings. He was in a large pentagonal room with stone walls. The entire floor seemed to be taken up with this gigantic bed. Soft cushions and pillows were piled high all around him.

“Well done, Rosa. I see you’ve captured our little plaything.”

* * * *

Succubus Summoning 101. Out (finally!) as a novel this Friday.

As for the long-awaited Succubus Summoning 201, coming soon... ;)