Update and Call for Submissions

October 6, 2010

Hiya!

Yes, it’s me. I’m still here. Still crazy busy. Have two books coming out with Ellora’s Cave in the near future, so working on edits for those. Just finished submitting a short story last week and will be writing a new short story for a submission call, deadline 11/1/10. And there’s still NaNo to get ready for. And, of course, working at the J.0.B. And more writing!

Speaking of a submission call. Here’s one that’s perfect for this time of year.

Red Velvet and Absinthe: Gothic Tales of Erotic Romance
Editor: Mitzi Szereto
Publisher: Cleis Press
Deadline: January 1, 2011
Payment: $50-70 (payable on publication) and 2 copies of the anthology

Author and anthology editor Mitzi Szereto is currently seeking original stories for an exciting new anthology of Gothic Erotic Romance.

What I’m looking for:

Well-developed story lines and well-crafted prose told in a unique voice and containing interesting characters and settings. Think atmosphere, passion, desire… imaginative stories that send a shiver up your spine and make your heart beat faster. Readers should be able to feel the red velvet beneath their fingertips and taste the absinthe on their tongue! Tales that contain supernatural beings such as ghosts, vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters, demons, and other entities of a paranormal nature are welcome, as are those of the Wuthering Heights variety with tormented heroes and dark secrets. Stories may be set in the past, present, or future. Stories from female and male writers are welcome, as are those written from the POV of characters of any gender and containing characters of any sexual orientation (including those that haven’t yet been created!). Take your inspiration from the pens of the Brontë sisters, Mary Shelley, Daphne du Maurier, Bram Stoker, Anne Rice, Poppy
Z. Brite, Stephenie Meyer, Laurell K. Hamilton…

Note that sexually explicit content is acceptable as well as a more subtle approach; however, no stock sex scenes or formulaic writing/terminology. Please refer to my previous anthologies to get an idea of the variety and style of content I look for. No excessive gore or violence. No reprints.

Deadline: January 1, 2011 (I’ll be selecting stories on a rolling basis, therefore earlier submissions are strongly encouraged, though I’ll still consider stories that make it in by the deadline).

Publication date: Autumn 2011

One-time payment in the range of USD $50-70 (payable on publication) and 2 copies of the anthology.

Word count preferred: 3,000 to 6,500.

Submission requirements:

Stories should be formatted as follows: double-spaced Arial 12-point black font Word or RTF document. Indent the first line of each paragraph by half an inch. Do not add extra lines between paragraphs or any other irregular spacing. American spelling and punctuation only (i.e. quote marks, etc). Include your legal name (and pseudonym if applicable), postal address, and a fifty-word maximum author bio written in the third person. Contract is for one-time, non-exclusive anthology rights with one year’s exclusivity from date of publication. (This may be waived if your story is selected for a “Best Of” collection). No simultaneous submissions please.

In the subject line of your email, please state: Red Velvet and Absinthe

Send to: submissions @ mitziszereto.com

I look forward to reading your work!

Mitzi Szereto is an author of erotic and multi-genre fiction and non-fiction, an anthology editor, blogger for her own blog “Errant Ramblings” (http://mitziszereto.com/blog), and creator/presenter for the web TV channel Mitzi TV (http://mitziszereto.com/tv), which offers a quirky take on London. Her published titles include Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts (spring 2011); In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales; Getting Even: Revenge Stories; Dying For It: Tales Of Sex & Death; Wicked: Sexy Tales Of Legendary Lovers; The New Black Lace Book Of Women’s Sexual Fantasies; the Erotic Travel Tales anthology series; The World’s Best Sex Writing 2005; and the M. S. Valentine erotic novels, which have seen several reprints and have sold more than 100,000 copies.


Writing Stuff

September 5, 2010

I received a nice review from Night Owl Review for Madison Avenue Vampire. Here’s what Angibabi4 had to say about it.

What a great book, I couldn’t get enough of it. I finished it in one sitting. I loved the characters and the story. Totally awesome… Keep up the good work. The story flowed well. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

She gave it five stars, which made it a Night Owl Top Pick!

Thanks, Angibabi4! 🙂

Well, I’m in the middle of my three day weekend. Have to keep reminding myself I don’t have to go into work tomorrow.

I finished up final round of edits for Kiss of Honor, which is my erotic fantasy novel for Ellora’s Cave. I should be getting a release date soon.

I submitted a 12,000 word erotic contemporary the last day of August to EC, which I’m waiting to hear about. It’s for a holiday series they’re doing.

For September, have lots planned. For one, I’ve set a goal to submit something every month for the rest of 2010. I also plan to do NaNoWriMo this year. So far, I’ve not had luck with NaNoWriMo. The last time I actually “won” it was 2005. I didn’t participate at all in 2006 and 07, 08 and 09 I started but didn’t finish. But I’m determined this year to do it and finish it.

Especially since my son, (yes, my son who is usually totally dismissive of my “vampire porn” as he calls it–he’s in his twenties, by the way) gave me a great idea for a werewolf story.

I was totally flabbergasted as not only did he give me this pretty awesome idea, but because he’s also usually very critical of paranormal movies and books. As a result of his criticism of the genre, he gave me ideas as to how to make it not just any old werewolf story.

So, hey, I liked the idea and my son’s critiques of the werewolf genre, so I’m going to run with it come November. I need to do some world-building this month and next based on his suggestions, but I’m pretty excited about it. So, hey. What the hey? 🙂

Of course, squeezing all this writing in while working a 40-hour week will prove verrrrrrry interesting. Especially since, once I get permission, I also plan to work some overtime at the J.O.B. We get time and a half and I desperately need a bit more money in order to catch up on some bills that accumulated while I was unemployed for so long. 😦

So, anyway, a busy, busy Fall ahead. But I love Fall. I always get more energized in the Fall. I also plan to start my walking regime. I sit ALL day at work in front of two (count ’em two!) computer monitors and then, when I’m at home, I sit when I’m writing. Not good. Not good at all!

I know I also need to lose weight (more than 20 pounds!) and all this sitting, sitting, sitting doesn’t help the situation. I do try to walk on my breaks at work (actually, it’s almost a necessity because I get so darn tired of sitting) but I’m also hoping to join a new gym that’s opening not too far from where I live. It’s going to be open 24/7 and maybe I can go to it after work (early mornings are for writing).

Ciao for now!


Elementary, My Dear Sir

September 4, 2010


Again, just a gentle (or not so gentle) reminder that this blog post is for those who are 18 years and older. If you’re 17 years or younger, leave this post immediately and go do your homework! 🙂

Spank! is an anthology of spanking stories edited by D. L. King and published by Logical-Lust. Ms. King also edited The Sweetest Kiss, an anthology of vampire erotica published by Cleis Press. My short story “The Temptation of Mlle. Marielle Doucette”, (written under my short story pen name, Anna Black) an erotic vampire story set during the French Revolution, is also in that anthology.

My story for Spank!, “Elementary, My Dear Sir”, (also written under the name Anna Black) is also set in the past. The Victorian Era to be exact. See a pattern?

I do love writing about times and places other than my own. I like writing historicals, fantasy, SF and paranormals. Most of the stories I write in these genres are erotic and I have also written stories which could be labeled simply erotica.

What’s the difference? Probably not much some would say. But that is a topic I shall have to address another time.

Suffice to say, I like writing erotica and/or erotic (fill in the genre). I like creating characters, I like fashioning the universe in which they play out their stories, and I like writing about those characters having sex. I suspect that some of you are assuming that it’s the more prurient aspects of writing erotica and/or erotic stories that I find appealing.

I won’t deny it. There is that aspect of it. Oh, yes, there’s most definitely that.

But there’s more to writing erotica and erotic stories.

No, seriously. There is. 🙂

When people have sex, a lot more is going on that just Tab A sliding into Slot B. Sex encompasses the entire being. Body, mind and soul. Sex makes you vulnerable, whether you want to be vulnerable or not. When you write about your characters having sex, you as an author expose their innermost and secret selves. The essence of who and what they truly are.

And there’s a power dynamic that goes on when characters are having sex, whether we as a society or as individuals want to accept that. In stories about spanking or BDSM, the exchange and manifestation of said power is even more pronounced. And, therefore, more intriguing and also more controversial.

But why don’t I provide you with Cassandra Parks’ Introduction to the Spank! anthology. She does a far better job of talking about it than I.

It’s a spanking – it’s supposed to hurt!

For those of us who like to spank and be spanked, this phrase will inevitably be uttered, sometimes seriously, sometimes in jest. But it does happen to be my philosophy about a good spanking: It may turn me on; it may be romantic; it may make me crazy with desire before, during or after the event — but a good spanking is supposed to hurt.

And a good spanking story, one that holds my prurient interest (why else would I pick up a book of erotic stories?) is supposed to make me believe that the spanking hurts, or, even better, to make me ride the pain or the power right along with the characters.

The protagonists should be believable. The tops should have good reasons for dishing out the spankings (even if they’re “just” sexual reasons); the bottoms should deserve the spankings, and at the end of it all they should care about each other. Oh, and an extremely hot, strong, authoritative top helps.

The stories in Spank!, edited by D.L. King, have managed to cover all those bases well, each in its own unique way, with the characters, settings and plots ranging from the sexual to the serious to the surreal.

I simply loved “Elementary, My Dear Sir,” in which a widow, recently acquitted of murdering her husband, is attracted to the inspector who had brought the charges against her. He doesn’t believe she’s innocent and attempts to get her to confess. What elevates this story is the narrative, the details of its Victorian surroundings, and the awakening of the dormant romantic feelings between the inspector and the strong-willed female protagonist. But what really slammed it home for me was the powerful way he spanked her, followed by his taking charge.

“The inspector’s hand descended upon her ass with the coppery strike of a hammer against an anvil. Pain exploded through Rowena’s body. She closed her eyes, tears stinging the lids. The fire along her rear burned then dissipated until it was a dull throb. She waited for the next blow. ‘Inspector?’ His hand descended again. … ‘Do not speak until I give you permission.’”

Because I tend to get off on mild humiliation scenes, I also liked the modern yet anachronistic “Slippering.” In this “politically incorrect” tale, a wife is punished by her husband in front of his male friend. “You’re not going to hurt her, are you?” the friend asks, to which the husband replies: “‘I’m giving her a short, sharp lesson in the error of her ways … Of course I’m going to hurt her.’”

And of course the friend must rush home and see if his wife is willing to try something similar.

I want to feel the heady rush of power that comes from taking charge; such as in “The Trumpet of Destiny”: “I began to really enjoy myself. I had never spanked anyone before: let alone someone of my own sex. … ‘You, my girl, are going to get the spanking of your life.’ … I let her have it. She squealed, writhed, wriggled, danced on her heels and begged for mercy.”

Or I want to feel the suffering that leads to sexual release, such as in “Just a Spanking”: “Pain rips me apart. The simmering tightness in my pussy comes to a sudden boil, welling up and spilling over into the emptiness.”

When a scene in a story gets me breathing heavily, I’ll return to it over and over (my copies of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty and Carrie’s Story still fall open at certain key pages), but picking up a new book, especially an anthology of short stories, is like walking into a spanking party where you haven’t met everyone yet. You may already have your favorite players and you won’t abandon them, but then you will see a stranger across the room and you simply must find out what he or she is all about.

When I bottom I know the spanking’s going to hurt. It’s supposed to hurt. I simply have to take it anyway. I simply have to dive in because at its core it’s what turns me on. You may not like every story in Spank! — such are the variegated desires of those who share this fetish — but I’m pretty sure you’ll be turned on.

Pick a story at random or start at the beginning. Dive in.

Cassandra Park
New York, 2010

Okay, I won’t lie. I’m grinning from ear to ear regarding Ms. Park’s comments about my story. Thank you! 🙂 Because that’s what I hoped to accomplish when I wrote it. I wanted to play around with the power dynamics between Inspector William Maxwell and Lady Rowena Fairchild.

Maxwell obviously possess a great deal of power. He’s an inspector, after all, for the London Metropolitan Police Force, and he tried to get Lady Fairchild hanged for the murder of her husband! He’s also a man during the Victorian era, where women still lacked the power to hold office or even vote.

But Lady Fairchild also has power, and I don’t think I’m stretching it a bit to posit the theory that if you read the story you’ll see that it’s she, not Inspector Maxwell, who’s truly in charge.

And that, I suspect, is part of the appeal of erotic stories and, most especially, stories about spanking and/or BDSM. The fact that it’s often the person who appears not to have power who actually has it.

Politically correct? No, not really, Political correctness is about being safe, about not offending people, about making sure that everyone feels comfortable, protected and secure.

I’m all for that. No one, and I mean no one, whatever their race, creed, color, gender, sexual orientation, political or religious beliefs, or whether they own a Mac or a PC , should feel unsafe.

But fiction is, well, it’s fiction. It’s fantasy. It can reflect real life, enhance it, critique it and even turn it inside out or on its head. But it’s not real life. If anything, fiction has to make more sense than real life which is, after all, often baffling, irrational and downright unjust.

Fiction oftentimes gives the reader an opportunity to go down deep into the unconscious, subconscious, or whatever you want to call it where the Shadow lurks and the Id prowls.

The writer of fiction can be seen as the psychopomp, which is another name for Hermes when he acted as the conductor of souls or spirits into the Underworld.

The author leads the reader into the darkest reaches of the collective and individual unconscious and then, after tarrying there a bit, brings them safely out again into the light of day, none the worse for wear (at least, we hope) but, perhaps, changed somewhat.

As for my having set my spanking story during the Victorian era, I’ll admit there was some major, messed-up stuff going on back then regarding sex. Heck, there’s a lot of major, messed-up stuff going on in the twenty-first century regarding sex. Actually, when has there not been messed-up stuff going on about sex?

However. I won’t go into any of that in this post. Down below I list some websites you can check out if you want to read more about Victorian sexuality. But I will say that the inspiration for the character of Inspector Maxwell is a television series set during the Victorian Era.

It’s called The Murdoch Mysteries. Produced in Canada, the show was broadcast on my local PBS station. I believe the first two seasons are available on DVD. I’ve only seen the first season. They’ve got three seasons in the can, and I read somewhere that the show’s been green lighted for a fourth season. Yay!

Inspector William Murdoch (Yes, I gave my inspector the same first name. Couldn’t help it! I’m a rabid fan of the show! :)) is brilliant, meticulous, logical, dubious, reserved and also a devout Roman Catholic in mostly Protestant Canada.

Combine those qualities with the fact that Murdoch is played by the utterly delish Yannick Bisson, and I just had to use him as the inspiration for the character of Inspector Maxwell, except my inspector is seething with a very great need to spank the delectable bottom of Lady Fairchild.

Actually, why don’t I provide you with an excerpt from “Elementary, My Dear Sir” so that you can see what I’m yapping about. 🙂

Rowena stepped away from him and walked over to her claret-colored ottoman. Once there she kept her back to Inspector Maxwell. She took off her dressing gown and let it fall to the floor.

Underneath it, she wore only her corset as it was the only piece of undergarment Mary had managed to help her on with before Inspector Maxwell had come calling.

Her bottom was bare as were her legs. She hadn’t even had time to put on her garter or stockings. Her hair spilled down her back, the ends of it just brushing the upper curve of her buttocks.

When her husband was alive, just presenting herself to him in this manner had kindled his desire.

Delilah. Salome. Lilith.

He’d whisper those names in her ear when he finally put his hands on her.

Inspector Maxwell, however, was nothing like her husband, who had embraced the pleasures of the flesh as eagerly and enthusiastically as he had embraced life. However, there was no doubt in Rowena’s mind that the inspector wanted her as much as she wanted him.

She’d known that the first day she met him. Even when his sole purpose had been to see her swing from the end of a noose, she had felt his lust for her. Lust he had been unable to acknowledge, thus leading him to channel it into his ruthless persecution of her.

But she had not been found guilty, had not swung from a rope, and his hellish appetite for her had not been sated.

And now, here she was, offering to him the very thing he reviled yet desired beyond all reason.

Rowena smiled. How utterly delicious.

The skin on her bare buttocks tingled as she waited for Inspector Maxwell’s response. But he had not moved from where she had left him when she walked over to the ottoman.

She felt his eyes on her. Like lashes from a whip across her naked skin. She stood there, trying not to shiver, trying not to let him know she was starting to feel anxious.

She heard movement. Shoes moving across the carpet. However, she could not tell if he was coming toward her or leaving.

Fearing she may have miscalculated, she waited breathlessly for the door to open and close behind him.

Instead, she felt the stirring of air that meant someone had moved up behind her. Her heart pounded.

He put his hand on her bottom.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to visit the blogs of all the other contributors to the Spank! anthology.

Links on Victorian Sexuality.

Victorian Morality

The Victorian Web

Making Victorian Sexuality

Victorian Spanking

September 1 – D.L.King

September 2 – Cervo

September 3 – Sommer Marsden

September 4 – Anna Black

September 5 – Jean Roberta

September 6 – Tara S. Nichols

September 7 – Maggie Norton

September 8 – Kathleen Bradean

September 9 – Lee Ash

September 10 – Lisabet Sarai

September 11 – Evan Mora

September 12 – Allison Wonderland

September 13 – Sean Meriwether

September 14 – Roxy Katt

September 15 – Donna George Storey

September 16 – Bethy Wylde

September 17 – Sacchi Green

September 18 – A.D.R. Forte

September 19 – J. Z. Sharpe

September 20 – Jessica Lennox

September 21 – Cassandra Park


Time. Again

August 23, 2010

Meant to post a long blog post yesterday, but once again weekend went by too fast and now it’s Monday morning and I have to write before heading into work. It’s still proving an adjustment, working 40 hours a week again. And I’m going to be quite busy for the rest of the year with a number of writing projects.

Maybe I should just resign myself to tweeting instead of blogging.
But I don’t even have time to do that. 🙂

Ciao!


Time

August 15, 2010

Yep, here I am again. Not enough time and lots to do. Darn it, I had a really cool (or at least I thought it was cool) blog post I wanted to write, but it’s all still in my head and I don’t have enough time to write it.

Edits are due today and I’ve still got loads to do on them and then back to work tomorrow.

So, hopefully, next week I can dazzle everyone with my rapier sharp wit and my oh-so-insightful insights into the nature of the universe and other sundry things. 🙂

Ciao for now!


Bad Moon Rising

August 8, 2010

The title of this blog is a song from Creedence Clearwater Revival, which I just happen to be listening to now.

I had planned to write a regular, ordinary blog post but, once again, I’m rushing about trying to get all I need to get done this weekend before heading back to work tomorrow.

Argh!

I have to add 3,000 words to my manuscript which my and editor and I are working on, and I have to have the edits done by next weekend.

Actually, I’m not doing anything that exciting. Just working, writing, watching movies. I’ve watched some really bad movies lately. Movies I did not go to the theater to see but decided to check out on DVDs from the library. Meaning they were free. And, man, am I glad I did not waste my money on these movies at the theater!

Anyway, I gotta run. I still got some errands to do this Sunday before I hit those edits.

At least I have Mad Men to look forward to this evening! And I think, to wash the bad taste of that bad movie out of my brain, I’ll watch a good movie before Mad Men. I plan on writing all day and I know I’m going to need to cool my overheated synapses by then. 🙂

Ciao!


I’m Back!

August 1, 2010

Greetings and Happy 1st Day of August !

Yep, I’m still here. I have been very, very lax about blogging due to Real Life (RL) being very, very stressful. And oh, what a tale of strife and woe I have to share!

But I’ll share that another day. I’d rather blog about something fun and try to forget what’s been going on the last couple of months. 🙂

I have a new book coming out from Ellora’s Cave. It’s called Madison Avenue Vampire and it’s releasing Wednesday, August 4th.

Here’s the blurb: It’s the swinging 1960s and Richard owns one of Manhattan’s major advertising agencies. He’s also a vampire. He hungers to make love to Lana Sorenson’s lush, voluptuous body, but he also thirsts to sink his fangs into her lovely neck. Richard’s desire for blood is nearly out of control, and surrendering to both his lusts may deprive Lana of her life.

Lana is the proverbial farmer’s daughter. A small town girl from Wisconsin, Lana regularly sees things she never would have imagined in her wildest dreams. But when she finds out the handsome, sexy man she’s dating is a vampire, Lana is faced with the terrifying possibility that the first time she and Richard make love could also be the last. Literally.

You can read an excerpt here.

I have no qualms about saying that Madison Avenue Vampire was most definitely inspired by the AMC television series, Mad Men. I was sitting and watching it one evening and thought to myself, what if Don Draper were a vampire? 😀

I actually wrote the story back in 2009 as a much shorter story. But when I submitted it my editor at EC she asked me to make it a bit longer.


This is from Wikipedia and pretty much sums up what the show is about.

Mad Men is set in the 1960s, initially at the fictional Sterling Cooper advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City, and later at the newly created firm of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. The show centers on Don Draper (Jon Hamm), creative director at Sterling Cooper and a founding partner at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce, as well as those in his life in and out of the office. It also depicts the changing social mores of 1960s America.

The first season is set historically speaking in 1960. Then Season 2 jumps ahead to 1962. Season 3 in 1963 and Season 4, which started last Sunday, late in 1964.

My novel is set in late October and early November of 1962.

I was initially so not into Mad Men that I didn’t even watch the first season. Then, for some reason, I started watching it and now I’m officially hooked.

I had a lot of fun researching the period (one of the things Mad Men receives acclaim for is its accurate recreation of the early 1960s). However, the folks over at Ellora’s Cave caught a rather major faux pas on my part.

In the very first sentence of the very first scene of the very first chapter, my heroine, Lana Sorenson, is at a swanky Halloween party. I had her drinking champagne out of a fluted glass. Like the one pictured.

Nope. Wrong. Back in the early 60s people drank their champagne out of coupe glasses. Here’s a pic of the guys at Sterling, Cooper doing exactly that.


Fortunately, my editor caught the mistake and I corrected it.

I love research, however. Even when I drop the ball sometimes. 🙂 And I love history. Even recent history. It’s fascinating. Speaking of, here are some interesting and, in some cases, tragic events that happened on this date in history.

August 1

30 BC – Octavian (later known as Augustus) enters Alexandria, Egypt, bringing it under the control of the Roman Republic.

1619 – First African slaves arrive in Jamestown, Virginia.

1834 – Slavery is abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force.

1876 – Colorado is admitted as the 38th U.S. state.

1914 – Germany declares war on Russia at the opening of World War I. The Swiss Army mobilities because of World War I

1944 – Anne Frank makes the last entry in her diary.

1960 – Dahomey (later renamed Benin) declares independence from France.

1966 – Charles Whitman kills 15 people at The University of Texas at Austin before being killed by the police.

1981 – MTV begins broadcasting in the United States and airs its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles.

Well, I have edits I must work on all day as it’s back to work on Monday. Since it’s a brand new spanking month, my goal is to at least blog on the weekends. Now that I’m back to working full-time and also have a number of writing goals I need to accomplish before year’s end, my time is pretty much filled to the brim, but I do like to blog and have missed doing so these past two months.

And I apologize for not visiting blogs in turn. Yes, time has been at a premium but the stress of what I’ve been dealing with the last two months was also a major factor. But I got some news this past Friday which should lessen some of the stress.

Ciao for now!