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The Cozy Spot



24 posts categorized "writing"

July 16, 2008

Lucrezia & Other Updates

There are plenty of erotic stories, reviews and articles to arrive on Lucrezia Magazine. This week sees an erotic-romance titled Leaving Home by erotica newcomer Gaby DeMuro, that explores the dilemma that many couples experience when the challenge of long distances arise. Roxanne Rhoads is back to review Cleis Press' Yes Sir: Erotic Stories of Male Dominance (edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel). This week has been a really busy week, for another reason - my son is on school holidays/vacation, and after this week he is back at school! (silent, 'yey!'). The week will conclude with us seeing The Dark Knight. We are thinking of seeing it tonight, but as it is the Australian premiere, we're anticipating a sell out, but if we do manage to see it, that is another school holiday mission out of the way (admittedly, I've been dying to see The Dark Knight).

This week commenced with taking him on a shopping spree to give his wardrobe a little bit of an update, and as he is taller than me now (at the young age of 14), and tends to take after my father: tall, solid and hardly what I can describe as a toothpick, we hit the department stores. If I go back, way back to when he was a little toddler, shopping at places like Target and K-Mart (they have cute ranges of children's apparel), shopping was so easy. Now, however, I'm also trying to develop his inner fashionista because -at 14- he's still nonchalant about clothes. If it was up to him, his clothes would develop holes by the time he updated them.

Anyway, check out the new content on Lucrezia Magazine. I'm still on the lookout for any author news, and this week haven't had that much time to surf the web to find any. If you're an erotica author and you wish to have anything updated, send me an email. If there are any events you wish to be promoted, feel free to join as a member, and you can post the event up - it's a free service.

July 02, 2008

Returning to Normalcy

Normalcy is difficult to define. Away from my own personal projects, I can function normally. This week has seen more new content appear on Lucrezia Magazine, and that is what I classify as normalcy. When it becomes more intimate, or involves my own work away from the magazine, it becomes different. Things haven't been normal. The last few months has seen me working on other projects, with little energy reserved for my own things. A lot of that time has been taken up with external issues, such as my day job - even though I haven't been at my day job. Things like discussions and meetings that seem to go nowhere.

I surprised myself today by finishing a rough draft of a short story I had in mind. It isn't an erotic short story, rather mainstream. It can't be classified as sci-fi, but it has futuristic undertones, but I decided to spent two hours of my afternoon finishing the first draft, going all they way until I wrote its conclusion. I'll need to go over it a few more times, there is no doubt about that, but finally - I thought - I can actually get my head around my own stuff. I have no problem with others' writings, that is no issue, but the idea of getting my own groove back haunted me since January because my own personal writing routine, or the more serious routine of plotting short and long stories, went out the window and even so, there were always other topics to write about, like editorial content for the magazine. So I kind of doubt the writer block theory. You either do, or you don't. I had copious scribbles in notebooks, and decided to plant my ass down this afternoon, and put them together.



Never Too Old...

While I don’t see myself as a rebel at my ripe age, I do rebel. I find it necessary to state my opinion on various things that tend fry my brain to red alert mode. The thing that fried me this week was the idea of disclosure. I can understand the requirement to disclose out of work activities if they are written into a contract, or specified by legal language, but companies that ambiguously state such requirements (verbally) without providing specific terms, terms that are signed by an employee, are either incredibly naïve or silly.

I can’t speak for overseas companies or how policies operate in the United States or Europe, but certain Australian companies expect disclosure even if an employee’s contract doesn’t explicitly request such disclosure. Take me as an example. I write fiction in my spare time. I do this away from the workplace, and the time taken doesn’t really matter because it is away from work and it’s not as though this would conflict with my nine to five job, but the subject of disclosure did arise during a work meeting in 2007. It was a general roll-out. Not targeted toward me, but I found it hilarious and Big Brother-esque.

Continue reading "Never Too Old..." »

July 01, 2008

Sex Writing Ruined My Life?

I outed myself at a work meeting today. I had the mysterious word documents presented to me, and they weren't what I'd classify as pornographic, but they did contain - heaven forbid - a few swear words, like 'dick', 'fuck' and...the worst word of all...pussy. Yep. They weren't anything related to fictional works. They weren't erotic stories. They were correspondences, and I thought...is that all? Then I revealed the other side of my life, that housemate later joked about - the dirty side, and it was more a surprise for them. As for myself?

I returned home feeling the same as always, even if two people from my company are aware that I publish Lucrezia Magazine. Not that I'm bothered or freaked about it, hence the question mark in the title. Has it ruined my life? Maybe it has, in the sense of maintaining a 'conservative' aura within a corporate environment. I've never been conservative, but I've never revealed the other things in my life - freelance writing and related activities - until today, and I was never the type to discuss my other life with my co-workers, fully aware of the possible outcomes, but today -for some reason - I was really over it, in the sense of being comfortable with that side of myself. I also think the merlot at lunch helped a lot.



June 18, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

Being at home, I've watched some crazy stuff this week, everything from the new and improved Wheel of Fortune (that isn't really improved), weird journo-current affair stories about fat pets (I'm betting people will start creating pet gyms soon - this is how absurd society can be) and yet another environmentally hot issue - food wastage, but I always return to the golden oldies because even though they're old or in B & W, the issues that appear aren't that distant and haven't been eradicated.

Continue reading "The Eye of the Beholder" »

May 23, 2008

From the Olivetti Clang-Bang to Intel Ease

I have been watching I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, on Friday evenings and I have to say that it’s incredible. There are many wussy celebrities out there, and I’m afraid that David Guest completely exploded the myth. He doesn’t whimper and sook at the sight of bugs and other creepy crawlies.

The TV or paparazzi celebrity industry is different from other creative arts. Firstly, there is a portion of TV celebrities who are only famous for being famous. As for me, I think it would be amusing to see a reality show like, “I’m an artist, get me out of here,” or my personal favorite: “I’m a writer, get me the hell out of here!”

There are days when I don’t even know what to make of writing except to say that it doesn’t feel like a huge deal in the sense of making someone any more special than a street sweeper, nurse, store assistant or anyone else. After all, how much real sex have I forgone in order to get work done? Plenty. Getting out and about, making time for play dates and buying apparel takes considerable time. I've done that for a decade or more in the past, so I don't see the point of it now. I write, but it’s not like I’m altering society, I don’t see it that way and that kind of attitude seems arrogant to me. When I buy something to read, I buy it for the thrill of the escape or the story. I don’t put writers on pedestals.  It was as I deposited a cheque in the bank today, a cheque I received for a published story months ago, that I was asked about the cheque. It was a foreign cheque, that bewildered the teller, and she asked me if I frequently received such cheques. I laughed and shook my head, “It’s for a magazine article, and it’s not a regular income.” Her eyes lit up a little,
“Really? What did you write?”
I’m no Roald Dahl, and certainly no J K Rowling, so I wanted to laugh really hard.
“A short story.”
“What about?”
If I told her it was erotic and had oodles of sex, she would have turned beet red, so I saved her the coronary and told her I didn’t remember, “I send lots out, and I hear about them later. It’s very erratic really, not something that can be considered a regular income. Just some story in a woman’s magazine.”

I am sympathetic to the potential reaction another person may have, and I’m afraid I don’t have the need to be controversial for the sake of it - I had to make a stop at the DVD store and the supermarket, and I took up a long period of time. It takes ages to deposit a foreign cheque into my bank account. There is identification confirmation, followed by a conversation, followed by paperwork that I have to sign, and then I have to wait for a receipt. It takes about fifteen minutes.

And where will the money go? It will go toward paying a few household bills like the telephone, groceries, and my ciggies. Glamorous huh? The glamorous life of a ‘writer’ lol.

It’s not to say that it sucks. In the three years I have been writing and having erotica published, I have earned the amount to cover the cost of my laptop. Of course, I bought my laptop outright, after a tax refund from one of my previous full time jobs, and it was a huge investment for me because I don’t live my life based on credit cards. I don’t actually have a credit card, so forking out a grand and a half for a laptop was a huge step for me, but a worthwhile investment that I haven’t lost out on. As of today, I have earned a little over the amount I forked out for my laptop - over the last three years of course. That is not too bad. It isn’t enough to buy a fast car, or a flash penthouse, but it makes my life easier. I can’t imagine returning to the time when I learned touch typing on an Olivetti, or my first writing steps on an electric typewriter. I hated changing correction ribbons, and buying typing ribbons wasn’t cheap, for the amount of text I was churning out.  Learning to touch type on an old typewriter was an experience in itself. Bang-Clang, my fingers would throb by the day's end, but my motivation to increase my strokes didn't ebb. We were assigned daily targets. The day I hit 40 wpm was one of the most exciting moments in my life all because I did it without looking at the keyboard. After 40, there was no stopping me. I had to reach 50, 60, 70, 80 and beyond, and I have.

Even now, I challenge myself. Some days I will write a draft and I'll close my eyes, in order to reach into another part of myself, and type away without watching the screen or my immediate surroundings and it feels quite different, like entering a different realm or dimension.

May 08, 2008

Writing Under the Influence

I don't like using the typical preamble, 'as a writer,' but I have read about many writers who have written under the influence of substances, and for those sorts of rituals to be considered arty or something. Me, I don't get it. If I slam down five shots of Scotch, I can't keep my eyes on a screen, let alone a page, so I don't get it, but I do write under the influence of tobacco. I'm a chimney, and I don't say that from pride. No, it's not a cool pastime, but it is what it is and I've quit so many times, to restart. I've given up giving myself a hard time - there are worse things in life. I'm not an alcoholic, and I don't do other recreational drugs, but when I write I sometimes have a cigarette perfectly balanced between my lips, and it has become an art form; smoke no longer gets in my eyes. I can type one hundred to two hundred words before it's time to ash the wretched fag, and I return to the next paragraph.

Most recently, or over the last few months, I have written under the influence of a foreign substance and as people who visit here can see, it has reduced my salaciousness to some degree. I sometimes have good salacious days, but most days I'm more topical in nature. This substance has no effect on my appreciation of erotic content. I've always been an avid reader, but my inner life (and my bodily reactions) have entered a different plane, which may come across as loony or slightly unhinged, but it is difficult to describe the phenomenon that accompanies selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

This week, I have thought of returning to work that sits on my computer, work that I haven't returned to since the new medication kicked in. This work is unfinished and unpublished. It was supposed to be completed, and I was supposed to read the first draft, in order to correct it, but lately I've been quizzing myself about it all, namely the content of the stories I've written and if they are viable. I've second guessed myself countless times because of one simple truth: the two stories on my laptop were written during a time of great duress, and lately, I have come to think that such phases don't provide a crash hot read.

To reveal the effect of SSRI's is to open up the door to concepts that may seem outlandish to most sexually active people, and sex writers. How this has affected my own erotica is a phenomenon of its own. The last time I completed an erotic story of my own was a few months ago, and I now experience days asking myself if it will ever come, and I don't specifically blame the medication, even though I don't begin or end my day counting my self made orgasms or my orgasmic motivation, I blame myself.

Most recently, I asked myself where does a person go sexually, after they have experienced all that they wish to experience? In my personal life, the idea of getting out there and being intimate with anyone is no longer a high priority. I tend to visualize standard gropes and sexual expectations (like choreographed foreplay and typified fellatio) and I sour at the prospect of immersing myself in that mating game.

I have done the blind date, casual date and Internet date. I have done the one night stand, relationship, short relationship and Internet booty call. What else is there to do? Where else can I go? And this doesn't have anything to do with writing per se, because there are countless stories that can be written, that are no problem, but I frequently ask myself if I have desensitized myself or whether it is a dual feedback situation, of society desensitizing people. Occasionally, I'll ask myself if I'm smack in the middle of an early mid-life crisis, and sometimes I'm comfortable with that (because if it's experienced early, it won't be experienced later – who has the energy for a second run?)

Most recently, after a short visit with a relative of mine, a conversation developed and it related to the death of a family member in 2007. We agreed on one thing – how it changed everyone on some level. Maybe it was the situation or event of the death and how it unfolded, at the most unexpected time. One thing is certain, the day altered us all in some way or form, and it was something that I didn't anticipate. I thought I was immune to death. After all, I have spent five years in nursing homes and hospitals, and I have spent almost three years majoring in human anatomy at university. Death and human bodies go hand in hand with those kinds of jobs and studies, but something did change. Perhaps my perception of my life, at that stage (and age) added more factors to my reaction and response. I can't be entirely sure, but when I returned home and reentered my workplace, I was a different person but those around me would pretend that nothing happened.

I remember the day my work woes erupted like an inflamed wisdom tooth. It was shortly after I felt I made some good calls, and achieved more than I did the year prior. I entered a new role, and I finally felt I had covered good ground. All in five months. Not bad, I thought, considering I had endured a personal death a few months prior. The sun shone for me, until other things arose, things that related to intra-office bitchiness, and then I came face to face to the early crisis once again. It returned like a long lost friend or a shit stained shoe, shaking my hand and welcoming me back into the sticky fold.

I'm amazed that I've had a few short stories published during that time. I remember returning to Sydney, shortly after the death in my family, and finding out I'd won a short story competition. Sure, I was rapped, but I thought it ironic. It took me some months, after that, to return to any form of erotic writing. I wrote. I just didn't want to write about affection, love, sex, intimacy or anything remotely personal on any sexual level.

Achievement, or the sense of achievement is a relative thing. When my work issues arose, I felt like I'd fallen into an abyss, and getting away from the abyss became difficult due to all the roadblocks that I partially created. I'd faithfully committed to a position, and glanced back to see that I had not accumulated any knowledge in a particular industry, to enable me to escape to another position. I cursed myself for entering yet another fucking day job in another industry, and felt disappointment in myself. I also wished I could punch my managers' lights out, but I had to contain that emotion, even though I felt justified in doing that to them. Sure, we're supposed to be sophisticated animals once we enter our adult years, but I can fondly recall my teenage years, or my elementary school years, and think back to brash moments that stood for something, or something much more than what political correctness and the emotional stiff upper lip do.

I think the bulk of my life experience has enabled me to foresee the breaking point. I have seen it in others, and I'd have to be extremely stupid if I couldn't see it for myself, and I did see it. It's strange how people do react to revelations of stress. I recall my recent eye examination for a new set of specs, and the optometrist asking me about any medication. When I replied with, 'Zoloft,' her tone changed. When I recently lodged a form at the local Social Security office, to validate my current job status ('I'm afraid it's still in limbo. I'm officially employed, but I'm on leave."), I had the best service in the world. When the officer apologized profusely and said I needed to lodge the correct medical certificate, he expected a rant or diva tantrum. Five months ago, and I would have exploded but I smiled and nodded. I did inwardly curse my doctor (I haven't had a lobotomy), but my blood pressure didn't rise. I made two trips that day, probably burning a few much needed calories off my Greek butt, but it all ended well and I didn't have to stress about any Social Security payments, even though my workplace is still 'sorting things out,' with bureaucratic vigor. The behavior of those aware of my situation has been interesting for me to observe.

I can't really say that I experienced a total nervous breakdown. I can say that I was on the way there. I just happened to bypass the nightmare before it took hold. Insomnia and anxiety, not to mention inverted anger, can do that to a person. They are the three warning signs, and all the writing in the world (or all the creative endeavors) sometimes fails to balance the stress, and even so, it may not be stress but the perception of non achievement: there I am, I thought, spending eight hours a day with people who'd rather sabotage other people, people who'll spend decades backstabbing other people, people who have orgasms over minor typos, and this is not who I am, and what the fuck have I done? There were many days when I wanted to regress into the teenager I once was, grab two higher ups by the scruff of their necks and give them a right royal shake up. Instead, I woke one morning and said, 'fuck them all, I can't go in anymore.' This arrived, after my realization that I'd only slept an hour, for the seventh consecutive night (or morning), and I couldn't keep on lying to myself, tell myself that I was busy writing. Yes I was writing, but I wasn't really writing for the art of writing. I was writing for the escapism, and that, to me, isn't really an ideal setting and it seldom rectifies other ills, as least for myself.

My first month on medication wasn't anything exciting. It wasn't as though I transformed into a zombie and spent my days in a drug-induced stupor. It was the total opposite. Clarity – after the previous eight or so months – arrived and could have been a strange visitor. Maybe I can liken it to a new lover or a strange houseguest. One thing is certain, getting reacquainted with it felt strange, and it still feels alien to me but I take it one day at a time. I am still a long way from returning to my writing routine, and this post isn’t what I’d classify as writing. I type at a 100 words per minute, all eight digits, thumbs on space bars.

There are days or evenings, such as this moment, when I sit down to write and I recall all the stories I need to go through with a fine tooth comb, and grab all the dead lice. Yes, I have to remove the bits I don't like. I have to amputate the influence of the stress of the last eight months, and I have to regroup and reorganize, and it does feel strange to be under the influence of what I am currently taking. Others get off their faces to lose themselves, and enter a world of smudged reality, meanwhile I'm taking something that is slowly piecing together the person I used to be, and the strange thing is that I'm willing to put my libido on the temporary back burner in order to get that person back.

May 06, 2008

The Most Notorious Book Reviewer

Writing can be considered a pleasure, but to most who pursue it as a profession, it is tough. It's not a pleasure or a hobby. It can be an ordeal and a royal pain, and that is just the writing process, and it doesn't include the review process.

Reviews come later. They arrive after a book is polished, edited, printed and distributed.

Michiko Kakutani is the most notorious book reviewer, one who has aggravated many a known author, such as Norman Mailer, who wasn't too kind with his words. Salman Rushdie has described her as 'weird' (but she can probably come back and say The Satanic Verses were weirder still), and she has been a presence on the New York Times for practically - forever?

Continue reading "The Most Notorious Book Reviewer" »

April 30, 2008

I Don't Like Facials

To be exposed, even by accident, to scenes of rape or extreme sexual violence posing as sexual kink, that subtly diminishes consent, for fantasy purposes, was not a part of my life as a child or as a teenager.

Today, it is all a different story, one that is opening debate and stirring people into a frenzy. Some feel they are immediately victimized via laws that aim to create some middle line where adult content is concerned, and others clearly don’t like the idea of extreme porn being passed off lightly without question or debate. Others still, dare not express a real opinion lest they offend people. I really couldn’t care about that. I feel that it is much worse to bullshit and feign overall acceptance of everything without any debate or question.

Continue reading "I Don't Like Facials" »

April 18, 2008

Writing & Publishing Sex Doesn't Mean I'm Easy

There are adult magazine publishers and adult magazine publishers. Tycoons like Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt have big personalities, and controversial views (or views that others find controversial, if not, offensive at times).

I don’t classify myself a pervert. I think the word is overused, or an incorrect definition or label. I don’t think there is anything perverse about being an adult and wishing to explore sex with other people as long as it is consensual and non-violent, but there is always something…

For one, having to explain the reasons behind choices that involve adult content, is a constant. I can’t speak for other societies outside Australia, but my experiences in my locality have shown the other side. People don’t like to discuss things that are ‘adult.’ It is one thing to discuss these things in a blog, and another to reveal it on a day to day basis. I remember the day I was officially introduced as a publisher of an online adult magazine at a university panel on Freud. I didn’t mind it. Adult online magazine. The word adult is like a wildcard. Of course, I didn’t have to explain what I did, why I did it, and why I made the choice to enter the world of online erotica, at the university, but if I take myself somewhere else - a social gathering, or chance meeting, it can become something else.

My business card doesn’t contain the word ‘adult’. The magazine isn’t described as an adult publication. What you’ll see beneath the magazine title is the following: ‘Erotic Literature, Art and Photography.’ It is a nice looking business card. If I could get the resolution right, I’d snap a picture and post it on this blog. The interesting thing is observing what occurs after I hand out the card to those who don’t expect ‘erotic literature, art and photography.’ They probably expect ‘team leader’ or some bureaucratic occupation.  I did experience a little hoo-ha last week when I went out and did give my card to a person for that person to think, ‘oh yeah baby.’

Just because I write erotic fiction, and publish adult content doesn’t meant that I’ll fuck anyone at the drop of a hat. I am picky. It isn’t the OCD kind of picky, but I’ve outgrown my sexually nomadic phase. What is casual sex but a brief interlude? In reality, one would be lucky for a casual sex session (or one nighter) to last half an hour and each move is nowhere near as glamorous as a choreographed film scene, so the person’s notion of ‘oh yeah, I’m going to score now,’ amused me because if I really get to the gristle, I rarely have time to go on the prowl these days.  If I was pressed to produce a harsher reason for my lack of sexual motivation (to prowl and mate/date) the reason would include desensitization. All my sexual escapades did catch up, and going through the regular motions or procedures does bring the film, Groundhog Day, to mind.

There in the world of erotic fiction and art, there are no hairy arses, belching, farting or preposterous  pick up lines, emotional unavailability or lame online dating profile descriptions like ‘I like to play hard‘. In other words, there is magic. I would love to be the person who can proclaim that mind blowing casual sex is a real thing on every occasion, but I am not that person, and I think that erotic literature provides that magic and some days I think it is the best form of safe sex there is.

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