The main reason why I like to write erotica is because I like to read it! My upbringing was filled with skimming the romance novels that my mother read and watching day and night-time soap operas. There was a lot of steamy romance in my existence from early on, and inevitably steamy love scenes. I remember placing my Ken and Barbie together naked to mimic what I saw on the television—my mother did not tell me to move them apart or to put clothes on them so it was never anything taboo to me.
I write erotic romance, because I am a romantic…most of the time. There is a difference in genres, erotica does not have to be romantic, but since I am…most of the time. Sometimes I am not a romantic in storytelling, but I always utilize sex as a means of development between characters. There is a line in The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir in which I am paraphrasing, but she implies that the only way to really learn about a man is by making love with him. I think that being in love and having sex are the ways to really learn about another person, and as a writer they are definitely tools to propel the story.
The erotic stories that I like to read the best incorporate all of the above and more. I am not opposed to exploring new tropes that I did not know that I like yet either. The books I am listing below are a smattering of books that I have loved for just that reason.
Kristina Lloyd to me is the epitome of the genre. Every novel of hers, made me feel equally comfortable and uncomfortable. Her novels are a combination erotic and psychological thrillers, and never fail to deliver. Asking for Trouble—her first—is exactly what it says as Beth follows Ilya down a dangerous rabbit hole. Lloyd is never afraid to “go there,” she makes us fearless as readers and her erotic scenes are pure fire—you will get burned. I use her tips for flash fiction for my flash fiction blog, Friday Flash.
Obsessed by Rachel Kramer Bussel
I love this trope, and always cannot wait to see what happens good or bad when obsession runs rampant! Rachel Kramer Bussel also never fails to deliver the best old and new voices in her erotic anthologies, and I always enjoy her collections like a box of the most decadent chocolates.
But this one was my weakness because this is one of my favorite type of stories to get lost in.
Little Birds by Anais Nin
Anais Nin for me is the gold standard. I read her after an artist friend of mine said I should—and I never looked back. My favorite story in this series is “Hilda and Rango,” which made me flush as I described the story to someone and realized that it revealed so much about me as I did. The story is so striking to me—the guitar, the gypsies, the oafish man who is not in the least bit an oaf and the woman who cannot stop clutching her pearls. I also love that Hilda learns so much about herself and Rango during the course of the story—isn’t that the point of a story?!
Sweet Danger by Violet Blue
This series of short stories by Violet Blue is a complex confection of taboo and deep dirty desires that you would be ashamed to tell anyone…but the couples in these stories do tell each other. Their level of trust is the first layer of erotic in these stories—to trust someone enough to play out your deepest, most shameful fantasies is incredibly sexy. The scenes that play out are even sexier, and will leave you breathless. There is one story about a woman who is waiting for her lover and meets the darkest fate…I do not want to give anything away, especially since several of the stories have O. Henryesque endings.
Putting this list together was really difficult for me, because I know I am not mentioning books that I have loved over time and it feels like I am picking favorites—typical bibliophile woes. But to give you an idea of what I love to read, and what I want in a story tells you a lot about me because your book imprint is an intimate as a fingerprint. I hope you like this sample platter than I have provided—this truly is the literary equivalent of the finest meal at the fanciest restaurant.