The Girl in the Tree: Confession from an Erotica Podcaster by Rose Caraway

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[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have Podcaster, Narrator and Author Rose Caraway guest post on the site today. Take it away Rose!]

Reading, dreaming, and writing got me through much of my childhood. At night, during school, stories helped me feel safe during the darkest of times. I grew up afraid of my parents and lonely for friendship. Tempers flared; money was always short—it was a cold, abusive household. When I read or wrote down my dreams and fantasies, I felt in control, safe to explore who I was and who I wanted to be. I filled dozens of notebooks. I plowed through Nancy Drew’s and Sweet Valley High’s like nobody’s business. Borrowed every Stephen King and Dean Koontz novel from the public library that I could get my greedy little hands on. I read handfuls of classic literature, over and over. When I discovered Jean M. Auel, Anne Rice, and Robert Jordan, they quickly made my list of go-to authors as well.

I had the desire to become a novelist. To be a ‘world creator’ meant I could escape, break free of any prescribed constraints that held me in place, even if for just a short period of time. Stories gave me the freedom to hope that one day I wouldn’t be trapped, stagnant, singular-minded. It didn’t take long before I recognized just how taboo the enjoyment of sex was. Just as ‘the sex part’ of a novel was about to start, it never really took off. Not in the way I’d eagerly hoped for anyway. Those titillating scenes always faded to black; my favorite characters never had sufficient sexual expression. But then, I discovered my mother’s collection of romance novels and my world changed. I’d snag a few pieces of candy from the stash under my bed, climb the mulberry tree in our front yard, and crack the spines on every single one of those ‘dirty’ little books. During summer vacations, I devoured them all. To this day, my two favorite romance novels are Danielle Steele’s Palomino and Johanna Lindsey’s Once a Princess. I didn’t know of Anais Nin or Henry Miller, or Pauline Réage, until my thirties. I did come across a book on my mother’s bookshelf titled, The Joy of Sex, and it had the most wonderful sketching’s and fueled my imagination further.

(Listen to: special guest author Tamsin Flowers’ When She Dreamed, narrated by Rose Caraway)

Anyway, I grew up, got married, took care of three lovely babies at home while my husband worked full time, and I continued to write short adventure stories that were utterly erotic. I eventually showed one story, Cold Supper to my husband. It was a sex-filled western, and from there, well, my short stories became a shared experience between the two of us which helped spice things up after we put the kids to bed. My characters did things to one another that I’d never done to my husband. I wrote words down on paper that I hadn’t ever said aloud. Rather quickly, my stories tapped into something hidden deep down inside us both. For the first time, we felt safe to really communicate about sex. Once we started talking, our innermost desires no longer remained dormant, unveiling themselves left and right. Porn had never had this effect on us. It turned us on and got us off, but it never left us wanting to explore. For me, porn lacked any personal relatability. Those women weren’t me.

Pretty hip to the latest in techy trends, my husband and I discovered podcasting. We enjoyed the convenience of listening to anything we wanted to on our phones and found mutual interest in Mia Martina’s I Want Your Sex, and Dan Savage’s Savage Lovecast. These shows were smart and often hilarious. There were other podcasts my husband introduced me to, those centered around erotic storytelling. We both listened, but they just seemed ‘childish,’ terribly repetitive and too focused on selling sex toys—the opposite of enriching. Then, one day, my husband uttered the magical words, “You and I can do this so much better.”

Erotica had become a sort of liaison for our sexual negotiations, giving us permission to talk about sex and what we wanted out of it. What might be fun to try… I knew that it could do the same for others. But I didn’t know anything about publishing, and besides that, the world was changing the way it communicated—at break-neck speeds. Information was being exchanged faster and faster and suddenly, everybody’s cell phones were for far more than just texting and talking. Podcasting was easily accessible and free to listeners. Perhaps most important, podcasting was a private experience. I had some pretty good stories piling up, and my husband was interested in audio production…so, we just…dove in.

It’s funny to think that the Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast was born late one night in the back seat of our family minivan. Once the kids were in bed it would take my husband an hour to get the van ready for recording sessions. Inside our Toyota Sienna, seated in the way back, I was reminded of those days when I’d climbed up into that big mulberry tree in my parent’s front yard and felt that comfort zone once again. With the music stand between my knees, the mic stand immediately to my left, I began to narrate erotic stories for the KMQ.

(Watch: Bawdy Storytelling presents Rose Caraway – SapioSexual)

We’d never been happier. This new thing we were doing as a team felt right! And people began responding, making requests! Thanking us for the privacy that our podcast offered them while they were commuting to work. Truck drivers were especially appreciative. Mom’s out grocery shopping emailed to say that they were inspired to buy new lingerie and greet their husbands at the front door. Our Erotica was turning people on and tuning them in to themselves and to their partners.

We had no idea how the show would sustain itself but knew that we wanted to keep going. In 2013 an opportunity came our way. A fellow narrator I’d become good friends with had a gig she couldn’t fit into her schedule and so she suggested the publisher use me as their narrator. That audiobook was, Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Thirty-four audiobooks and six anthologies later, the KMQ is still going strong. I’ve narrated, written, and published more erotic stories than that little girl who’d climbed up the mulberry tree could have ever dreamed.

It’s almost been nine years now, and The Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast has become a home for Lurid Listeners—we’ve built a veritable ‘Library of Erotica,’ exemplifying what well-written erotic storytelling can bring to the table of desire for couples and individuals. Listeners get to suspend reality for a time and safely listen to any story they want, as often as they like. From erotic horror to paranormal to historical romance, from action-adventures to sci-fi and more (there’s even a Sasquatch roaming around in our library) we have stories to suit practically any mood.

Fiction fed my imagination and opened doors for me to satisfy curiosities. Fiction broadened my horizons. Erotica helped me find my voice as a woman, as a sexual partner, as a writer, and as a narrator. It is my hope that the KMQ podcast will continue to inspire others similarly, so that when the story is over, they will feel supported and smarter for having listened.

It’s different for everyone, but listeners can use the entertaining stories within the KMQ as a tool—a jumping off point for meaningful conversation so that we can all be more introspective. Our podcast is a private and safe audio playground for adults, designed to be free of judgement and meant to entertain, allow listeners to explore desire through storytelling. While on the train, in the car, or on the bus, running errands, doing chores—from their earbuds to their brains, Lurid Listeners can have an erotic adventure anywhere.

(Listen to Rose Caraway’s Carnalarium as featured in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Vol.1)

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