Monday, August 19, 2013

An epidemic of literary proportion

Okay, so I know my articles about the technical aspects of writing are nowhere near as popular as steamy excerpts of new releases or anything sex-related.

On the other hand, some of you who visit the Naughty Nights Press blog are writers looking for information on what, exactly, the publisher looks for when looking at submissions. It's one thing to read the submissions guidelines for what the publisher looks for, and another to be able to find out things like pet peeves or the exact kind of cover letter the publisher likes best.

Because, as every submitting author worth their salt knows, the more you can tailor a submission, the better your chances are of getting your manuscript accepted.

So if you're here because you're following through on your research, I commend you. More author-hopefuls should be like you.

The epidemic

Recently, submissions at NNP --from established authors and new submissions, alike-- have taken a shine to hyphenating everything, and inventing new contractions. We'll take these as two separate issues, but let's step back and look at the larger picture for a moment:

Overuse of an uncommon punctuation mark reveals three things about you:

1.) You don't know how punctuation works, which means...

2.) You've never sat down to learn it, really, and being an author you...

3.) Either don't know about or don't care about learning your craft enough to know how to use the very tools you need in order to be writing publish-quality work.

For a publisher, this is a problem that screams on the page. It's off-putting, and it says a lot about the quality of writing you're willing to accept from yourself.

Why it's a problem

If you want to be published, if you want the respect of your publisher and editor, you need to first show you're a person they'd love to work with because you know what you're doing.

Do you have to be a Grammarian Master? No. Especially with English; there are contradictory rules and complicated exceptions, and commas before incomplete clauses when there's a vague modifier and ugh! It can be a pain.

But you do have to have a firm grasp on the basics. And a good foundation for writing includes knowing your punctuation.

Even your uncommon ones.

Without your basic tools, you look sloppy. You look unprepared. You look like you're cutting corners while there are plenty of others who are sending in clean query letters, first chapters, and full manuscripts. Side by side, which piece of work do you think the publisher is going to choose to pay closer attention to, and consider accepting?

The well-written one, of course.

Now, don't get me wrong. New submissions aren't the only ones guilty of this. Sometimes established authors get lazy and start neglecting their technical writing. They think, "I'm a writer. It's all about creativity," when there is even more work that needs to happen. Whatever you learned in elementary school about grammar isn't enough.

Unless you write children's books. But since this is the blog of an erotica and romance publisher, I'm going to guess we're not here to discuss Horton Hears a Who.

No offense to Dr. Seuss.

The other problem

The other problem has been the invention of new contractions. Now, we all know contractions are a shorthand combination of words with an apostrophe indicating the missing letters.

can + not = can't
she + will = she'll
who + is = who's
I + would = I'd

That's pretty basic, yes? In fact, in some extremely casual reading, or some fancy dialogue, you might've even seen the occasional double contraction, such as "I'd've," which stands for I + would + have.

I'd recommend not using such unless you are A.) extremely comfortable with proper use of contractions, B.) know your tenses, and C.) demonstrate you know the rules of your punctuation well enough to follow them the other 99% of the time in your writing.

There's no sense to break the rules if you don't demonstrate you know them well enough to follow them. Know the rules first, and follow them with dedication. Show you're a serious writer by taking your basic tools seriously. Then you can break them in creative fashion.

Not the other way around.

"Would of" is NOT the longhand for would've. Would + have is.
It's is the contraction for it + is, not for the possessive form. (The possessive form would be "its," as in "The dog chased its tail." And no, the two are not interchangeable.)

The cure

The cure is very simple: learn the rules of the language in which you are writing. When in doubt, there are some fantastic websites out there to help you learn proper grammar and punctuation, both basic and advanced. I've put a few helpful links below.

Yes, writing is a creative endeavor. This does not mean it does not have its own rules to follow. No, your third grade teacher telling you to put a comma wherever you'd pause to take a breath is not an acceptable excuse for not knowing your basic comma usage. Doing a few sentence diagrams in sixth grade doesn't make you an expert.

Research and practice over time make you an expert.

Am I saying you have to learn to write perfect and flawless manuscripts before you can query? Not at all. All I'm saying is that the better your writing, the more knowledge you demonstrate of technical skill, grammar, and punctuation will show your level of skill, professionalism, competency, and willingness to work and learn.

Those are far more valuable to a publisher in the long run than, "I'm super creative!"

Trust me on this. Published writing is a business every bit as much as it is a labor of love. Once the fun is over, the work begins.

Isn't that why I have an editor?

And no, filling in for and fixing your lack of knowledge is not your editor's job! Your editor's job is to find those typos resulting from being up until 2am hashing out your fifth draft, when your eyes feel like bags of sand have been poured into them and your heartbeat is thready from your sixth pot of coffee.

Your editor is there to fix "becaue" into "because" when your fingers just don't seem to want to hit that 's' key. They're there to find --and repair-- continuity or logistics issues, like when a character has green eyes on page 14 and brown eyes on page 148, or if a character leaves with an entourage in chapter 9, and at the beginning of chapter 10 is walking through a door as if they never left. Your editor is there to suggest changes to make your story stronger, tighter, and a host of other things.

But never is your editor there to make up for your lack of basic writing knowledge. Your editor isn't there to pour over your first draft; the poor thing has far too much else to do and not a lot of time in which to do it. It's your job as the author to polish your writing.

And remember: the more polished your writing is, the more you present yourself as a professional and serious writer.

Purdue OWL
Hamilton College Writing Center: Seven Sins of Writing
Grammar Girl: Troublesome Contractions
Grammar Girl: How to Use a Hyphen (but don't take her "sometimes it's open to interpretation" advice to mean "I can use them how and when I want to because I'm creative and using my own interpretation." That would be lazy. When in doubt, be smart and research it. Or, at the very least, ask your editor.)


Writing is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. That inspiration can carry you through the 90%, but only by understanding the tools at your disposal. Delena knows a thing or two about writing tools and how to make the most of your writing. Want her to prove it? Visit her blog The Printed Fox and check out her series For Writers, By Writers. Delena Silverfox is a historical romance author with Naughty Nights Press.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Truth Behind The Cat As Muse

Elizabeth Black writes erotica, erotic romance, dark fiction, and horror. She is the author of the Night Owl Top Pick erotic romance novel "Don't Call Me Baby", published by Naughty Nights Press. You may find her on Facebook (elizabethablack) and at her web site. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and four cats. She visits the ocean every morning, and it starts her day off just right.


This is my cat, Lucky. He's my muse. Whether I like it or not.

Do you have pets that keep you entertained while you write? Many people believe that cats are the perfect muse. They sit by your side, purring contentedly as you create new worlds. They crawl into your lap and bask in your presence, all the time looking at you with love and inspiration in their eyes. Many famous writers have written about cats and how adorable, inspiring, and quixotic they are. 

They lie.

This has been my typical day lately. This is the exciting life of a writer. Trying to write with cats in the house is an exercise in patience.

I awaken not long after dawn. Most often it's because the rising sun wakes me up. The other reason is that one of my cats - Beowulf - begins meowing at the crack of dawn demanding his breakfast. He, Scully, and Domino get moist food every morning, and Beowulf is the breakfast bell that makes sure they get fed. Like they're going to starve. LOL Lucky, the fourth cat, doesn't like canned food so he doesn't get any.

I first make coffee. Then I set their food bowls out. They eat and it is quiet for about 15 minutes. It's the most peaceful moment of the day. Then I take about 20 minutes to water my plants. I grow my own herbs and peppers, and they need water every morning, especially in this summer heat.

I return to the kitchen to move Beowulf out of Scully's bowl and plop him back down in front of his own. I turn on the tap for Domino to drink water. There is a cat water fountain on the floor for all of them to use. She refuses to use it. She wants her water fresh and cold out of the kitchen or sink tap. Spoiled little lap fungus.

In the meantime, Beowulf has finished his food and has gone back to Scully's bowl. I move Scully's bowl to the window. Plop her in front of it.  She eats most of it and leaves. Beowulf then jumps onto the window sill and finishes her food. Domino in the meantime has finished her food and water. I turn off the tap, put the empty cat food bowls in the sink, and head for the living room. Although Lucky doesn't like canned food, he does like tuna so he'll help himself to Beowulf's food. I can't give him his own bowl of tuna because he won't eat it. It has to be his idea. Doofus.

I turn on my computer. Lucky immediately jumps on my table and sits in front of the computer screen. I have to place my keyboard on the floor every night because he sits on it, knocks it over, plays "hide the mouse", etc., etc., ad nauseum. I move Lucky onto his own table, one right behind mine. There's even a dish towel with cats on it on top of that table, just for him.

I go get coffee. Come back to my computer to find Lucky in front of it again. I sit down, blow on the cat to get him off my table, pick up my keyboard, put it on my table, and proceed to check my mail and Facebook.

Lucky jumps up again. I blow him off. Three times is the charm.

I answer my mail and update and read Facebook. By now it's about 8 am. Once I finish mail and Facebook, I head for the beach for my morning beach walk with my cup of coffee. I often forget to put my keyboard back on the floor.

An hour later I come home to sometimes find my keyboard upside-down on the floor on one side of the table and the mouse upside down on the floor on the other side. I put everything back in place, check to make sure Lucky didn't delete anything - so far he never has - and then I begin writing.

If I'm fortunate, Lucky is asleep with my son. If not, he's sometimes bored and wants attention, which means he crawls all over me and my keyboard again. I put a stop to that very quickly. I play string with him, and then I occasionally sprinkle catnip on his towel on his table. That keeps him occupied for an hour or two so I can get my work done.

I write. The cat is relaxed and happy. The other cats are napping after their fill of breakfast. If I'm lucky, I'm uninterrupted until about noon, when I quit writing for the day. I spend afternoons reading, researching, and doing promo. If the cats get underfoot during those times, it's not so bad.

So there you have it. Trying to work with cats in the house can be challenging. Such is the exciting and fun-filled life of a writer. I wonder if Hemingway ever had these kinds of problems with his polydactyl cats?

Just think... if they had thumbs, the trouble they'd get into. :)

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Tease and Please by Gemma Parkes

Hello fellow naughty people! I hope you are all enjoying the summer? I like it hot, hot hot, the hotter the better. So put on those bikini’s (no, not the men!) and pour yourself something long and cool, because I want to talk about…sex!

Macho Men:

They’re every girl’s fantasy according to most of the romantic books out there and quite a lot of the erotic ones too. But in reality many of us love a softie don’t we?
I like a romantic, a man who makes me laugh, a man I can really talk to. But between the sheets (or anywhere else for that matter) I have to confess to loving a man who takes control. I love the power of being a woman, I love bringing him to his knees with something I’m wearing or teasing him until he has no choice other than to make love to me. I want him to want me, I want him to need me and I want him to take me.

Excerpt from ‘Dancing for the Boys’:

When he slipped into the room and gathered her into his arms an hour later Tanya melted before him. She had dreamed of his body and as she helped him out of his shirt, stroking the coarse black hairs she had spied as he stood awkwardly only a few days before she felt a sense of triumph. James pulled the towelling robe she had wrapped around her from Tanya’s shoulders lowering his head to kiss her soft skin. Tanya melted into him; this enigmatic man who had filled her dreams night after night was removing his clothes as she stood watching. Her body came alive as James once again took her into his arms, his urgent cock bobbing between them. They kissed and caressed their way to his bed where Tanya lay down before him. She arched her back to greet him as James entered her, thrusting through her body with fevered passion relentless and unyielding. Tanya wrapped her legs around his back bucking up to meet every thrust until the thrill of taking James deep inside her overtook her and she tensed.


Come on ladies you know we all love to tease. It turns us on to turn them on doesn’t it? How beautiful and sexy is the female form? We are all so beautiful and we take great pleasure in thrilling our lovers until they can hardly speak…

Excerpt from ‘A Wicked Game’:

“Do you want me to take it off sir?” Lucinda pressed.
Peter rubbed his brow then tugged at his shirt collar before answering.
“Yes.” His voice was barely a whisper.
Lucinda slowly pulled the short, elasticated waistband down past her shapely hips, pausing when she reached her thighs to watch Peter’s reaction to the nakedness she was displaying just for him.
Peter loosened his tie. His mouth felt suddenly dry. His apprehension was rapidly disappearing.
Lucinda continued to ease the skirt down past her knees before stepping slowly out of it when it pooled on the floor at her feet. She gazed at Peter from beneath her lashes as she stood, semi-naked before him.
She knew exactly what she was doing.
“Take off your blouse Lucinda.” Peter breathed, trying desperately to remain in control.
One by one Lucinda flicked open the buttons to her blouse. There were four in all. Peter counted them as her breasts began to peep out from behind the flimsy material. She hadn’t bothered with a bra.
“Now what sir?” Lucinda asked him.
Peter thought hard to remember the routine he had imagined in his bed last night, but right now all he could think about was bending this girl over his desk and taking her the way she wanted, hard and fast until she screamed his name. Think man think.

So tease and please him for he is a mere mortal and we love him for it! Bring your lover to their knees so that the only thing on their minds is you. Drive you man stupid with desire but occasionally let him take control.

Excerpt from ‘A Voyeuristic Lover’:

Once inside our apartment Paul lifted the soiled dress over my head and stood back to stare at me. 
"Don't move." he said, and l watched as he removed his clothing, slowly sliding his hand along his cock to make it rigid and expectant once again. He kissed me, wrapping me in his arms, his tongue urgent and deep. He teased my nipples into sharp points and pinched them, making me groan with pleasure. Dropping to his knees Paul nestled his mouth between my legs. It was hard to keep my balance as he lapped at me, his hands spreading me wide. I pulled at his head, crazy for him. I wanted to push myself against that tongue, pull his head closer, oh God.
His tongue became sharp and he jabbed at my sex, so close, God l was so close l could hardly breathe.
Slowly Paul’s tongue travelled up my body as he began to stand. He took two large cushions off the sofa as l quivered. Taking me by the hand he bade me to kneel forwards, presenting my round ass to him. He kneeled behind me and teased me further with his incredible fingers. I spread my legs wider wanting all he could give. Two fingers entered me as his thumb pressed firmly against my tighter entrance; l whimpered as he worked through the resistance and filled both openings, building up a rhythm. I pushed my ass higher and bent my head low as he worked me deeper into a frenzied state.
"What do you want?" Paul breathed.
"Your cock," l replied, "Please, give it to me."

Oh yes we like it hot! So have fun, love one another and be safe and happy til next time


Monday, August 12, 2013

A double release...

It's been a while for me, yes - it's always something that authors pride themselves on, and it's definitely an exciting time when a book is released. I don't appear to do things by halves either, so why release just one book? Let's release two!

August has already seen the release of 'Love in an Elevator' Yes! - I love that Aerosmith song - I always seem to hum it when I step into a lift, amongst the many different stories that run through my mind as I stand there either making polite small talk or shifting from foot to foot listening to others' conversations as I wait for my floor. It was definitely my last job which gave me food for thought as I used the 'express' lifts every day to reach my office in the iconic One Canada Square in London. The journey would frequently take quite some time to reach my floor, and my mind often wandered, especially if I took the journey alone. Just what delicious deviance could well have happened a few moments earlier, just where I stood, waiting innocently to reach my place of work. Well - Love in an Elevator details a little of what happened to Isabella Cavendish when she worked in One Canada Square, I wonder if you will enjoy her recount... As for the second release of the month... If you enjoy the delicious Isabella, watch this space...

Lesbian Bisexual Domme Domination and Submission

“Ms. Triannon, I think it’s futile to pretend to not enjoy what we just did. Your whole body is screaming out for more, and in my experienced opinion, you want this.”

I studied her reactions whilst my words sunk in. Confusion and desire raced delightfully across her features as she thought, unable to look away from me as I waited patiently for an answer.

“I know you fight your feelings every day, I’m the same. Everyone assumes I’m straight, or whatever assumption they decide to make about me, but there is no shame in being bisexual. I find it makes me more attuned to others’ desires...Take you, for instance.” I stared at her in a way that left her in no doubt that I wasn’t playing with her in the slightest. A half smile crept across my lips as I let the beast within me emerge, flashing in my eyes for her to plainly see, to tempt her to succumb to me. If she had the desire to submit, this was the crucial time. She knew I was trustworthy and discreet in my job, and I was offering everything she’d ever dreamed of. Of that, I was absolutely sure.

Leaning in closer once more, I breathed in her ear. “I know many women like you, Catherine. Aching with a desire so deeply hidden within you, a desire to submit to another woman, because you know it’s not cheating on your husband if it’s a woman, is it?” I chuckled a low, teasing sound, the goosebumps that raised across her chest in response spurred me on further. I was not losing this battle of wills, not now.

“And, you’re sick of always being in control. At home. At work. Always in control. But, you need to release all of this tension somehow, safely, deniably...No one can ever know what drives you...and yes, Catherine, I am the woman that can give you this. Right now, right here.I can show you delights you’ve only ever dreamed of in your wildest fantasies,those moments when you slip your fingers inside yourself...those moments when you think no one else is watching you, and you close your eyes...”

I took her chin in my fingers, holding her steady, unable to move her head away. I looked hard into her eyes and watched with great satisfaction as the last vestiges of her defense slipped away.

She was mine now, utterly and completely. She would submit.

Friday, August 9, 2013

9 August 2013: A Bit of Fun

Thank you for stopping by to read this post, my first on the NNP blog.

To be honest I am quite in awe of the other NNP writers. I have self- confidence issues and struggled for a few days with knowing what to write here. I had thought of telling you about myself, after all I keep most of my life anonymous, as do many other writers, but decided that would only be a depressing mundane thing to blog about so in the end thought of something more light hearted that would make you smile.

So how about a little sex trivia.

1 Wyoming’s Grand Tetons mountain range literally means “Big Tits”.

2 Humans and dolphins are the only species that have sex for pleasure.

3 A man ejaculates approximately 18 quarts of semen, containing half a trillion sperm, in his lifetime. 

4 In 1899 the then President of France, Francois Faure, allegedly died while receiving oral stimulation. When his mademoiselle realized her monsieur was stiff for all the wrong reasons, she panicked, suffered trauma-induced lockjaw, and was rushed to hospital where she had to be pried from the penis of the passed-on President.

He must have died with a smile on his face …

5 Semen contains zinc and calcium, both of which are proven to prevent tooth decay.

Let's here it for blow jobs! ...

6 Other than the genitals and the breasts, the inner nose is the only other body part that routinely swells during intercourse – it is the same type of erectile tissue as the penis.

So next time you label somebody nosey

7 There is a lot more to the clitoris than meets the eye. It is shaped like a wishbone and is about 3 to 4 1/2 inches long.

Oooh! Nuff said …

8 Leonardo da Vinci discovered that blood filled an erect penis—not air, as had been previously believed.

Wonder how he did his experimenting? Hmm …

9 Contrary to popular opinion, the word “fuck” is not an acronym for the phrase “Fornication Under Command of the King.” It is a very old word that is hard to trace because the editors of the initial Oxford English Dictionary considered the word taboo in 1893. It may have a Scandinavian origin, similar to the Norwegian word fukka, meaning to “copulate,” or the Swedish foka, meaning “to copulate, strike, push,” or fock, meaning “penis.”

Well you learn something every day …

10 Sex hasn’t always been associated with sin and guilt. Pre-Christian religions often regarded sex as a celebration and as a form of worship. Sex was seen as mirroring the sensual power of the Gods.

I knew there had to be a reason for screaming Oh God …

11 The word “clitoris” is Greek for “divine and goddess like.” The clitoris is present only in female mammals. It is actually approximately 4 inches long, with 3/4 of the clitoris extending inside a female’s body.

Cool …

12 “Telephonicophilia” is the technical name of arousal derived from phone sex.

And my number is 07…  LOL
A joke to finish with J

Till next time

A girl is driving along the expressway listening to the radio when she hears a song she really, really likes. When the song is over the announcer says the title of the record was.

When she gets home, she is very excited about the new song and decides to call her local music store to see if they have the record. Hurriedly, and excitedly, she dials the store's number. However, in her excitement, she unknowingly misdialed and got an auto repair shop instead.

“Hello, can I help?” the mechanic answers.

“Oh, yes! Do you have Hot Lips and Tender Kisses?” the girl asks.

The mechanic was puzzled, but says, "Well, no, but I've got hot pants and seven inches."

“Oh, is that a record?” she says.

“No,” he says, “but it's better than average.”


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Writing Taboos

 Greetings folks! Another hot and smexy post from the wicked gal BLMorticia, talking about taboos. Well, first what does the word taboo mean? The dictionary says, something proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable. Heh, well that’s all the more reason to go for it right because as we all know society in general has a problem with anything that might seem improper and unacceptable. I don’t know about you but I enjoy pissing people off who think they’ve got the right to judge others but that’s a subject for another day.

Okay, now that we know what the word means, what are some taboos? Hmm, well many still think same sex is taboo, especially gay males. What about sex between family members, mรฉnages, any kinds of kink like BDSM, watersports, gun play, forced sexual situations, voyeurism, sex in public… the list goes on and on as to what the general population considers taboo but for an author who likes to push the envelope, this is part of writing erotica and erotica romance.

Sooo, what about you as a reader? Do you like when your favorite authors take chances? I do and what’s even more fun is when the author knows what they’re talking about. Do lots of research, actually spend time trying to find out the major details and then write about it. I know with this takes a lot of time and effort, but in order to make an accurate portrayal, you need to do the work. Okay, when you’re a woman and writing male/male not much you can do than read, maybe ask gay men, and watch porn. *laughs* However, to me, that’s no real taboo is it? Two people falling in love regardless of gender isn’t taboo.

So you say, well BLMorticia, what’s your point here? I’m getting there. Taboos. Do you as an author write them? My resounding answer is yes and so is Michael Mandrake’s… *surprised face* Michael? Gasp! You didn’t know my tightly wound brother muse writes the taboo? Well, yeah. He’s got a pretty hot series in N’awlins Exotica with vampire twins in love. Their names are Ryland and Ryder. Never would I have expected him to go there but a reader asked him to. And as you may know, he did gun play in the story, Under the Gun which is now being handed over to me to tweak and hopefully publish under my name. He did some research on sites about gun play. Not much to be found but he did take the time to read some info and find out how it’s done. I’ll delve a little further into it because I like pushing the envelope. Yeah that might bother some people but it’s up to you if you want to read it.

The thing is, as an author you’re supposed to entertain people. Not all will be willing to read it if it’s not they’re thing but writing erotica in some circles is considered taboo in itself. Just look at how many people have been outed and their lives turned upside down because of it. Me and Michael? We’re just muses but Shar isn’t afraid to tap into those smexy things that might piss some people off. Thank goodness too because otherwise, not having authors who like to tap in to the so called darker side would make the publishing world a pretty bland place!

BLMorticia is currently a published writer with Naughty Nights Press and Rebel Ink Press. She entertains her readers with hot and smexy sex, humor, and lots of swear words. She attempts to incorporate metal music or the military in most of her works. Nothin’ sexier than metalheads or military servicemen and women! She also writes a biweekly column on Blak Rayne Books and blogs on the First Thursday of the month at NNP Blog. For more info, please visit, Erotica With Snark