As a line, it looks innocuous.
As a reality, it’s about as innocuous as a bear pit.
‘A wide female readership.’
So – something that will appeal to lots of different women? Or something that will appeal to some women, and hope that the whole rest of womankind is covered by the other authors?
Where that sort of questioning gets troublesome is when you’re a bloke, and you’re never written erotica before in your life, and you discover the submission call the night before the deadline. Where it gets even more troublesome is when you remember the trailblazing book and series that most appealed to a wide female readership in recent history, and blew the doors off erotica as a niche, so that wives and mothers, students and teens were all reading it, openly, on trains and buses, on commutes and in coffee shops. Because in spite of its legendary lack of literary merit, that book was Fifty Shades of Grey, EL James’ modern dark fairy tale of a naïve ‘princess’ and the Prince Millionaire, if not exactly Prince Charming or Prince Respectful Of Boundaries, who leads her into a world of sexual satisfaction she never previously knew existed. Yes, it’s BDSM For Dummies, including some staggering misrepresentations, at least a bit of stalking, and very possibly a rape, but there’s no getting away from the fact that, unlike almost everything that went before it, Fifty Shades launched a profit-driven assault on prudery, and appealed to a wide female readership.
So – Fifty Shades Of Fyler, then?
But it did get me thinking. Fantasy and escapism are glorious things, especially in the world of erotica, where the mind can take us into any scenario. But if the leading trailblazer for erotica for ‘a wide female readership’ was pure escapism, how many women out there saw themselves as the stars of their own lives? As owners of their own erotic wonderland?
How many women appreciated how other people saw them?
How we who love them, see them?
Every woman’s different, of course. Every woman’s amazing in her own mixture of ways. But every woman’s amazing. And perhaps unsurprisingly in a society that’s still as patriarchal as ours, if you tell most women they’re amazing, they’ll demur, and tell you they’re just being themselves.
We know that, all we men and women and others who love every woman out there. It’s ‘themselves’ that we find brilliant, bright and breathtaking, ‘themselves’ who make us laugh, and sigh, and ache in the heart with their kindness, their raised eyebrows, and their love. ‘Themselves’ whose frozen feet we find endearing even as they give us heart failure late at night, whose snores and farts are oddest intimacies, speaking of a life shared, a life in which they choose to show us everything.
‘Themselves’ who remember things we never even learned, who care for people we barely could pick out of line-ups, who do a thousand things we’d never, ever think to do, and make the world immeasurably better. Just by being themselves.
And of course themselves who, with one smirk, one line, one yes, or now, flashed like lightning through their eyes, can turn our world upside down in the moment of their need, or want, and choosing.
Write what you know. That’s the advice they give to writers. Of course by that rationale, all crime novels should be written by detectives, science fiction should be impossible, and Stephen King should be on some seriously heavy medication in a bouncy room somewhere. But still…
I’m lucky enough to know a wide variety of women, and all of them, in at least a handful of ways, take my breath away. And I’m lucky enough to love one most of all, and be loved in return.
So, if Fifty Shades was the ultimate escapism, I figured what I could bring, as a man who loves a woman, was a kind of honest admiration. A hymn, if you like, in praise of Everywoman. My story’s simple. Just the story of a man who can’t believe his luck that one amazing ‘just herself’ woman chose him, of all the men in the world, to love. The story of a couple, a quippy, bantering, loving couple who, fifteen years down the line, have shared their every intimacy, and still wake up wanting one more day together. Who’ve shared their time, their space, their daring, and who still enjoy a Lazy Sunday together.
And who probably always will.
Excerpt from “Lazy Sunday”
The time I first discovered her poetry weakness, outside, in the park, with my back against a tree. Reading French poetry, being desperately pretentious. She was doing the sun dress thing that Summer, and she looked like something from a watercolour in the yellow dress with strawberries on, and a broad straw hat. As I read, she closed her eyes, her breathing getting heavier.
“Seul, inconnu, le dos courbé, les mains croisées,
Triste, et le jour pour moi sera comme la nuit.
Je ne regarderai ni l’or du soir qui tombe,” I read.
She reached over, letting her hand lie, as if testing a theory, in my lap.
I looked down, surprised but thrilled, and flared a welcome to her. She took off the sun hat, then unzipped me, pulling out my cock and covering her hand with the hat. “Keep reading,” she said, the Summer thick in her voice.
I did, the words, the intonations rising and falling along with her fist on me. I’d just started “La vie est une fleur dont l’amour est le miel” when she squeezed the base of my cock, I thought to make me stop.
“Le miel,” she repeated, seeming content and yet frowning.
“Life is the flower, and love is the honey,” I translated. She nodded, as if to say she wasn’t an imbecile.
“Oui,” she said, releasing me from her grip and letting the hat cover my modesty. “It’s no good,” she decided, her voice quavering. “Was gonna wait till I got you home, but that can’t happen now.” She reached quickly up both sides of the sun dress and drew her panties down, letting the dress fall quickly back into place and handing me the sodden scrap of fabric. That was it, that was the word, it was absolutely sodden, like you read about in stories and don’t believe until you experience it for yourself and realise you underestimate a woman at your peril.
“One day, my darling,” she said, her voice raw and thick as she pulled the hat away, exposing me to the breeze and any wandering eyes, “I’m going to sink down your body while you read me this stuff, and I am going to suck your cock and blow your tiny mind to the sound of the French poets.”
Sinful Press welcomes you to lose yourself in Sinful Pleasures.
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Janine Ashbless, Ella Scandal, Sonni de Soto, Jo Henny Wolf, Lily Harlem, Lady Divine, Gail Williams, Samantha MacLeod, Tony Fyler, Ellie Barker, Lisa McCarthy
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Tony Fyler is Editor-in-Chief at Jefferson Franklin Editing, and spends his days telling writers what they need to know, rather than what they necessarily want to hear. To get a free sample chapter edit, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Meanwhile, the writing for which he has far too little time can be found at