By Andrea Dale (Guest Blogger)
Even though, according to an interviewer, I “have so many aliases, you’d think I was a spy!”, I’ve never hidden my pen names. I use them just to delineate between the different genres I write in (erotica, romance, speculative fiction) as well as between my solo writing versus that with coauthors.
So, yeah, I’m not shy about the fact that I write erotica. Yet the question I never get—and the one I’d love to answer—is “How did you get started writing erotica?”
Well, pour yourself a shot of tequila and I’ll tell you!
Back in the mid-1980s, Penthouse Forum (the digest-sized magazine) ran an ad stating that if you they published your letter, they’d send you a t-shirt. Well, I was a starving college student, and free clothes were free clothes, right? I’d been writing and submitting fiction for several years at that point, so this wasn’t a great leap for me.
And I laughed with delight as I wrote that letter—it was so much fun!—and I got my t-shirt (“My Letter Was Printed in Penthouse Forum”), and then I discovered that Forum and its sister digest, Penthouse Variations, would pay me for these letters. Not a lot, mind you, but enough to keep me in cheap vodka (college, remember?).
At the same time, I was writing romances, and it bothered me to no end that I had to go into the seedy back room of a store to buy a magazine while romance novels were proudly displayed in bookstores—and yet they both featured the same sexual acts. Yes, different word choices can evoke a different tone, but at the very least, why couldn’t we call a spade, a spade? (Or a penis, a cock, as opposed to a throbbing shaft of love, or whatever. Come to think of it, throbbing shaft of love still sounds pretty pornographic, doesn’t it?)
So no one was more thrilled than I when romance caught up with erotica and embraced sex whole-heartedly, real words and dirty words and kinky words and all. We’ve reclaimed honest passion from the seedy back rooms and put it out there for all to see—kind of like confidently wearing a certain t-shirt. My stories and novels can be found proudly displayed in bookstores (even if it’s still fun to indulge in occasional trips to seedy back rooms).
It was a slow build over the years—like really long foreplay—but I’m thrilled we made it. I look back with fondness, and some amazement, over my own path: from Forum and Variations, to West Coast Swingers (hey, their annual contest paid really well!), to Cleis Pres and Black Lace and Cheek Books, and even Avon and Harlequin.
And, in case you were wondering: Yes, I still have the t-shirt to prove it.
Thank you, Lisabet, for letting me finally answer the question!
What about you, dear readers? What’s the question you wish everyone would ask you? Or is there another burning question you’ve been dying to ask me? If so, fire away!
I’d have to transcribe my first Forum letter (I wrote it on a—gasp!—typewriter!), so here’s a taste of a recent story “The Broken Fiddle,” in Alison’s Wonderland—my very first Harlequin sale.
Phoebe knew it was useless to deny she’d been ogling. The young man across the room who was pulling a fiddle from its case was delicious. Hair as black as coal and curling silkily to his collar, eyes as blue as twilight eve. High, sharp cheekbones that looked as though they’d been chiseled out of marble. Pale skin that would have made Snow White blanch with envy. Slender but sturdy, wearing a pair of faded jeans so snug he must have to use a shoehorn to get them on. She spooned another bite of crumble, laughing to herself. He was barely more than a boy, and at thirty-two she felt like a dirty old woman for contemplating his impressive bulge.
By the time they finished their meal the crowd was gathering for the ceilidh, and they managed to snag two chairs by the fire just in time.
The band played reels that left Phoebe breathless with melodies that leapt like cold, wild streams. Reels with boundless energy and a relentless beat that made her think of really great sex.
The fiddle player’s hands flew over the strings, made a blur of the bow. He played his instrument with passion, and she imagined that passion extended to other areas in his life.
That left her breathless for another reason altogether, and with her nipples tightening beneath her shirt. She shouldn’t, she told herself, be thinking about the young man’s lips and how they might feel on her skin. But she squirmed in her seat all the same.
Yes, Dayle A. Dermatis got her start writing for Penthouse digests, and the fact that they always changed her byline probably is what makes it so easy for her to slip in and out of pseudonyms now. As Andrea Dale and ½ of both Sophie Mouette and Sarah Dale, she writes erotica and erotic romance. Under her own name, she’s sold speculative fiction and media tie-in. As Kendra Wayne, she writes stories-by-request for Custom Erotica Source. Want to spend more time with any or all of her multiple personalities? Stop on by her website or visit her blog, Facebook, or Twitter…