Showing posts with label writer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writer. Show all posts

Thursday, September 26, 2013

In Which a Liberal, Atheist, Feminist, Smut-Slinger Moves to the Bible Belt

Cheers, lovelies!

Technically, it's bad form for a blogger to point out her lengthy absence on the blogosphere, but to hell with convention. I've always given a tall and straight one-fingered salute to convention, which is why I even dipped my big toe into the endlessly deep lake that is erotica writing.

My husband was recently hired by an amaze-balls company (which shall heretofore be referred to as ABC--AmazeBallsCompany.) ABC requires a relocation to Texas. Now, under ordinary circumstances, I wouldn't feel that any company that makes us move from a fabulously liberal town to the middle of Texas is amazing, but with careful wooing, they exposed me for the willing slut I really am. ABC is giving us a brand fucking new vehicle, which I'm totally expected to use for personal use. They're even covering the insurance for me! They're providing us with a card for all the gas that goes in it and all the expenses that happen with owning a ridiculously huge SUV. ABC is giving us a honking huge relocation allowance, an iPad, and money to buy stuff like food and shelter. It's pretty fucking amaze-balls. We'd have to be complete ninnies to turn ABC down. Seriously, after tons of discussion and lots of vodka, we've determined this company is Practically Perfect in Every Way.

So, here I am, a liberal, atheist, homeschooling, smut-slinger on the verge of moving to one of the most religious and right-wing areas of the nation. I'm about to move my family to a state that seems to place a woman's value on how high and yellow her hair is. On which Mega Church she goes to. On what position her kid plays on the local high school team.  To say that I'm scared shitless is an understatement of, well, of biblical proportions.

But here's the thing. As much as I don't want to leave the life I've so carefully crafted behind, I do believe that this move is the best possible thing for my family. Aside from all the cool swag they're throwing at us, this is a dream job for my honey that will not only provide us with the financial security we need to be able to continue homeschooling our mini feminist heathen, but also to allow me to spend more time doing what I truly love doing: writing. It's amazing how well financial security greases the wheels of creativity. I've always believed that a starving artist is a successful artist, but the reality is that a full belly and creature comforts like electricity go a long way towards allowing a responsible adult to escape into fiction. When you're worried about shit like where dog food is going to come from, it's hard to justify spending time writing.

Besides, Texas needs all the liberal, feminist-atheists it can get. And let me tell you all right now, I shall not go gentle into that good fucking night. Oh, no. I intend to unpack our Halloween stuff and then make a splash in the community. I'm too old to keep my mouth shut for the sake of fitting in, so I'm not going to. I intend to announce to the world that I am an atheist, that I am an erotica writer, that I am a homeschooler, and that I am as liberal as they come. My sanity simply cannot handle the balancing act of trying to be just like everyone else. Anyway, what kind of role model would I be for my kid if I denied who I am and what I love and believe for the sake of fitting in?

Tonight, I'm going to a going away party thrown by some of my best friends. I've requested that they color my hair for the very first time in my life--purple and blue. If I'm gonna be out, I might as well be loud, so that others can find me.

If you're in the Dallas area, and meet a mild mannered homeschooling mom with  purple streaks in her otherwise dirty blonde hair, go on up to her. Say howdy. Tell her you know that her alter ego is called Alyssa Steel, and tell her that you're a comrade at arms. I may talk big, but the prospect of being all alone out there scares the mother loving god right outta me. Wait, no. I don't have a mother loving god, but you know what I mean.

See you soon!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Review: Grammarly Premium

I used Grammarly to grammar check this post, because they offered me $20 to try out their Premium service on my original 8/3/13. About 9 months later I received an email from the Grammarly rep I worked with noting:

"Would you mind removing the link to Grammarly from the sponsored blog post we worked on together? It's been brought to my attention that Google's Webmaster Guidelines don't approve of sponsored posts that include links to the sponsoring site."

Earlier this week, someone from Grammarly emailed me and asked if I'd be willing to allow them to sponsor a blog post in exchange for a $20 Amazon gift card. After a couple of emails back and forth, I decided that I'd go ahead. My son is dying for a water bottle rocket, and what better way to use an unexpected gift card than on something your kiddo really wants?

Before I agreed to allow them to sponsor my blog post, I did some research and was disappointed to see that they were asking for a credit card number to activate the free trial. Luckily, they didn't do that with me. They simply set me up with a username and password, and I was ready to put Grammarly through the paces.





After logging in, I was taken into the Grammarly program, where I can copy / paste or enter text to review for spelling and grammar errors.

40 of 100? Grammarly is very kind.
I decided to type a poorly written sentence to start out. I typed: "I definately love cHocolatechip Cooqies." It caught all of the misspellings and offered suggestions on how to fix them. To the left of the text box, there is a rating system based on the errors that were found. This sentence earned a score of 40 of 100. I'd have given it a much lower score, but that's just me. I'm a hard ass like that. So far, so good.

Checking for plagiarism.
The next feature I wanted to explore was the plagiarism checker. This is a valid concern for a writer. I like the idea of being able to upload my text and see if it's floating around on the internet without my permission. I know there are other programs that perform this function, but I thought I'd see if Grammarly worked for it as well. I copied and pasted my last blog post into the text box and hit the plagiarism button...

Gotcha!
It didn't take the program long to identify that I copied and pasted something directly from another website. All of the text that was plagiarized was highlighted in red and a window popped up encouraging me to credit the source(s). Very, very good! But a blog post is easy. I wanted to see what would happen if I checked text from one of my previously published e-books


Hmm.
I copied and pasted the text of an entire e-book and clicked the button. The result it kicked back was disheartening to say the least. Out of 3,736 words, only 2% of the document--the disclaimer--came up as plagiarized. I decided to remove the disclaimer and run the check again.

Not Good.
Nope. It came up as 100% original. This book can be found all over the place: Amazon, Smashwords, All Romance...Seriously, it's everywhere. Maybe because it wasn't published on a blog or website it didn't recognize the text as stolen. This isn't Grammarly's primary function, but I do feel that if they're going to offer a plagiarism function, it should at least identify eBooks. 


As far as the quality of the grammar checker goes, it's pretty basic. It notes the same things that my word processor notes. In some cases, it flags things that are correct or that fit within the context and writing style. In the above image, Grammarly had a problem with the sentence: "Isabel felt heat and moisture rise between her legs." and suggested I change it to "Isabel felt the heat..." I wholeheartedly disagree. I left that article out of the sentence because writing it that way perfectly expressed what was happening to sweet Isabel.

My overall impression is that Grammarly is easy to use, but that it's not much better than the grammar and spell check in my word processor. I could see it being a huge help to someone who doesn't have a basic grasp of grammar rules or who has a hard time writing, and it might be great for students who are trying to write a paper for a class, but it's just not right for me. If I, as a professional writer, incorporated all of Grammarly's suggestions, my writing would be stiff, too formal, and no fun to read.


While I've had a lot of fun playing with Grammarly, I think I'll stick with my word processor's functions. They're free and I don't have to copy / paste anything.

Have you used Grammarly? What do you think of it?


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Fifty Shades of Responsibility

As an erotic writer, some people may see me as perpetuating stereotypes, of glorifying pornography and the degradation of women. No and no again. Women are strong and powerful and...sexual. We have desires and wants, fantasies and dreams. Sometimes we want things in our minds that we would never, ever, ever want in reality. It's fun to think about certain things. Those things can be as different as the women who think them, but we all think things we'd never want to really happen.

Here's the thing, though. I feel that authors owe a debt of responsibility to their audiences. Yes, it's important to be honest in your writing, but it's equally important to remember that your audience is placing themselves in your story and you never know what will send a message you never intended. And that is my problem with the Fifty Shades trilogy.

I feel that James did not take her debt of responsibility seriously.

Whether you love or hate her writing style or her storytelling skills, I think anyone who's ever read the books will agree that they are frequently cringe-worthy.

As a wordsmith, there were times I wanted to light the book on fire and then throw it across a room. As a feminist, my primary reaction was to take the main character in my arms and hold her. I wanted to tell her that she didn't have to take all that was being asked of her. I wanted to tell her that she has more worth than was being given to her by both her man and her creator.

Fifty Shades is a yarn. Hell, it could even be seen as a fairy tale for adults.  Beauty and the Beast, perhaps. It doesn't take a genius to see Ana and Christian as Belle and Beast, complete with a towering castle on a hill.  Like Belle, Ana finds herself entranced with a dangerous and controlling monster. Oh, like all controlling monsters, Christian shows signs of remorse and regret and even a glimmer of a person with a sensitive soul. He shows just enough humanness to keep her hooked and fawning. Yes, very Beast-like.

And the result is that this young and naive girl willingly enters into an abusive relationship and becomes the classic victim. Sure, James makes a point to let Ana question Christian from time to time and even to make demands of her own, like being able to control what and when she eats. Hardly a demand that needs to be made. Any person over the age of about 7 should be able to decide when they're hungry and to eat accordingly. But I give her credit for at least trying to give Ana a voice and backbone.  But it's simply not enough.

For three long books, this young girl bends over backward for her abuser. She tries not to ask questions, tries not to express her own needs, tries not to impose or make him upset. She tries to convince herself that if she just loves him enough, if she just accepts him enough, just sticks it out long enough, she will turn him into the prince she sees in him.

Did you read that? Read it again.

If she just tries hard enough and is a good enough woman, he will change.

What is the opposite of that? If he doesn't change, then she is not good enough.

That is a horrible, heart breaking, soul crushing message. But it gets worse. Eventually he changes just enough for her to feel safe. What's worse is that she starts to desire his controlling abuse and to convince herself that he's changed for her. Unfortunately, the only thing he's actually changed is threatening to beat her if she bites her lip. But that's enough for her!  She did it! She rehabilitated him! She turned her Beast into a very human Prince and they move into a brand new castle on a brand new hill.

The clear message is that you really can change an abuser with enough patience and love. If you go through hell and give up enough of yourself, you'll eventually reach your heaven.

My audience is women, and I take that very seriously. I don't know what is going on in the lives of the women who read my work, but I do know that I want them to walk away feeling empowered and stronger. I owe them a very real debt. My readers, and all women for that matter, deserve to read stories about characters who are true and strong. Even when I'm writing about a woman being tied up, I am aware that someone in my audience may be in a relationship with someone who is controlling or abusive. I want to give that reader a sense of freedom. I want her to understand that you can be tied up without being a victim and that if, at any moment, being tied up is no longer working, you can demand to be untied.

We are women. We are sexual. We are strong. We do not need to change for anyone. We do not need to accept someone's anger, hostility, or controlling attitudes. We can have all kinds of crazy kinky sex without subjugating ourselves to anyone. We deserve to be pleasured and we deserve to pleasure. But most of all, we deserve to know we can walk away from anyone who would demean us.

I have a responsibility to my audience to turn them on and to empower them. This is a responsibility I take very much to heart and that I will never abandon. It's the least my audience deserves of me.




Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Thoughts & Wishes from Alyssa Steel

This is a hectic time of  year for many people. There are so many things to be done, and it seems like there's just not enough time in the day to get everything that needs doing done.

My own life is a whirlwind of activity right now. Between homeschooling my son, (actually, don't tell him I said so, but my husband has now taken over homeschooling entirely so I can have more time to write) buying  Christmas gifts, making Christmas gifts, attending holiday parties, making cookies for friends and neighbors, and working on all of my various writing projects, I feel like I haven't gotten a decent night's sleep in weeks.

I know I'm not alone out there, feeling the hustle and bustle of the Holiday season, so I just wanted to take a moment to remind you that it's okay not to get it all done. It's okay not to buy a gift for everyone in your office or to attend every blasted party you're invited to. It's okay to curl up on the couch with a good book, a cozy blanket and a steamy cup of  hot cocoa and to just take an hour or two for yourself. Take time to enjoy your family, take time to laugh and sing badly. Take a moment to kiss your partner in the toy aisle at Target. Paint a picture with your child, let your cat cuddle on your lap and scratch your dog's belly. These are the moments that we will carry with us for the rest of our lives, so please don't let the frenetic pace of the season distract you from them.

Slow down and enjoy a cup of cocoa on me.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Balancing Act

Working mothers.

I hate that term. All mothers work extremely hard, whether or not they get paid an actual income to do so. We all work hard to make the most out of current circumstances, we all work hard to ensure that our children have a better life than we had, and we all work hard to be the best damn moms we can possibly be, even when we're fumbling and making crap up as we go.

My kid is in fifth grade and I've homeschooled him his whole childhood. Well up until now. He's still homeschooling, but my dear, sweet, handsome  husband had taken a much more hands-on approach with his education and is now the primary homeschooling parent.  He works from home so he's able to break away and teach our son important things like how to convert a mixed number into a decimal. He's being super supportive of my writing and makes a point to send me to my room...er, office...every morning with the assurance that "I've got this. Really. You just go write."

My son is super duper supportive and he sends me off to the spare room with shouts of "Go write mom! We've got this under control!"

Such amazing, sweet, supportive, awesome dudes. I love them both so much it seems like it ought to make my heart burst.

But as the primary homeschooling parent, the primary stay-at-home parent for nearly eleven years, letting go and following my passions is hard. When I hear commotion or my son's raised voice because he's pissed off and confused, I have to turn up the music and fight the urge to run in and fix things. I have to remember that my husband is smart...he's got this. That doesn't stop the guilt, though. I worry that I'm becoming a distant mother, that I'm making all the wrong decisions, and that every hour I spend writing a sex story is an hour I'm not on the couch reading to my kid.

Truth? I miss it. I miss being the on-point parent.

More truth? Working from home is fucking hard. I do have to tune out the noise of life, but all of the stuff that needs to be done still needs doing. I'm not talking just about the schooling. There are still pets to feed and breakfast to tend to. There is lunch to prepare, dishes to clean, laundry to fold, toilets to scrub, dogs to walk, dinner to cook, more dishes to do, cat puke to scrub out of carpets...dear god, the list of shit that still needs doing looms over me and judges me for ignoring it or putting it all on my honey.

I know I've said that my guy is awesome. But have I said he's amazing? He takes on all this extra stuff without complaining. I still do the majority of cooking and meal preparation, but he does almost all of the cleaning. Oh, trust me, Loves, it is not lost on me that I'm one lucky little bitch to have a hot guy who is not only willing to go buy me porn, but will be the primary homeschooling parent AND the primary house-cleaner. Just so that I can spend my time writing. The man isn't just encouraging me to reach for my dreams, he's freaking letting me stand on his shoulders.

And to assuage the guilt I often feel for neglecting my family for the sake of writing smut, I've decided that I'm going to be an example for my son. I'm writing a novel for him. It's something I'm doing under my real name, it's something I can do with the office door open, it's something I can talk to him about. Writing smut with a pre-teen in the house is pretty tricky, but writing a middle grade novel with a pre-teen in the house is pretty awesome. He can see the big outline on my wall, he can help me come up with names and he gets to be involved in the process, even if it's just to a small degree.

Writing two very different genres is somewhat difficult, but it's also completely fun. And if my family is going to be supportive of my writing career, well, then I owe it to them to explore all of the stories I have inside of me. Now I just have to find a way to spread my time between my pouty-lipped sex goddess persona and my wild haired, whooping, tree-climbing adolescent persona with the mother and wife I am.

Life. It is one helluva balancing act.



Monday, September 17, 2012

The Things We Do for Love

Sometimes, when I'm hanging out with my mom friends, the subject of husbands comes up. Okay, the subject always comes up, just in different ways. Once in a while it's about a fight that just happened or what dairy or gluten does to their bellies. Sometimes it's about their relationships with their kids and sometimes it's about the things they do that show us they love us.

This post is about how my husband loves me.

Oh, sure, he's done the normal "I love my partner" stuff. He's held my hair back as I've vomited, he's rubbed my feet even though he has a distinct aversion to feet, he does 90% of the laundry because he knows that's the one chore I hate above all others.  He's thrown me a surprise birthday party, and has kindly refrained from drinking so he could drive my drunk ass home. You know, all that stuff a good and loving life partner should do.

But when I'm old and bed ridden and reviewing my life there will be one story that I will tell to everyone who will listen.  Okay, maybe not grand-kids, but everyone else:

Once upon a time, I decided that I wanted to write erotica. My reasons were varied. Part of me wanted a chance to explore my sexuality, part of me wanted a chance to be a bad girl and write all the stuff that I'd always imagined, part of me hoped to make enough money to support my coffee and vodka habits (though never coffee and vodka at the same time! That would just be a waste.), and part of me wanted to use it as an opportunity to get back into writing and to prove to myself that I could do it.

When I told my husband of my insane plan to start writing smut, he didn't laugh. He didn't judge. He hugged me and encouraged me. Then he cleaned out the spare bedroom and set it up as an office for me, so I could have a private place to think my depraved and explicit thoughts in private.

One day I mentioned to him that I wanted an anthology style book of erotica. Reading free erotica online is fun and all, but a lot of it was so poorly written. Wading through the mud to get to the gold was exhausting. 

And what did my honey do? He asked me to drop him off at a major bookstore while I took our son on a play date. Cool. I'll drop him off, he can work a bit, he can browse, have a coffee, take a couple of hours to himself.

I dropped him off, but what happened while I was at the play date is the stuff of legend.

He took himself straight to the Romance section and scoured, even down on his hands and knees, the shelves for some sort of erotica anthology. Coming up empty handed, he approached a twenty-something manager, adjusted the zombie messenger bag he was carrying, and asked her if she could help him find erotica anthologies.

Apparently she was a decent manager because she didn't bat an eye at the 6'2", scruffy bearded, army green shirt wearing, zombie bag toting, wedding ring-less, gorgeous man asking for written porn. She led him up the escalator and right to the Sensuality sextion section.They were both scouring the shelves, on hands and knees, looking for a book, just for me! After coming up empty handed again, she led him to the gay and lesbian section. That area came up dry, too, so he thanked her and she left.

Before we dropped him off, we had lunch. Indian. Lots of Indian. And it started to hit him after the manager lady took her leave. The poor guy tried to ignore it, but there it was. He had to use the bathroom. Although nobody likes going poo in a public restroom, he was stuck there until I decided to come and get him. So he headed back down the escalator and was about to turn down the hallway to the bathrooms when he saw the manager lady. She was looking at him and he was just too damned embarrassed to go to the bathroom.

How would it look? What would she think? Oh god! She'd think he was in there jacking off after looking for erotica! Looking for it, asking for it, searching on his hands and knees for it didn't phase him in the least. But the idea that someone would think he was getting off in public was just too much for him.

Fortunately, I showed up just a few minutes later, so he didn't have to hold it long and he didn't have to suck it up and use the public bathroom.

Some men will go and buy tampons for their wife, some men will make sure the car always has gas, but my man will go to great lengths just to buy me Erotica. That is love.

Incidentally, I did finally get an anthology. After dropping our son off with a friend, we spent a whole afternoon going to bookstores and porn shops. We found lots on interesting stuff but not what I was looking for. Until one amazing, women owned, women operated oasis was able to quench my thirst.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I Write The Stories That Turn You On. What's Your Superpower?

I think it's pretty clearly established that I write smut for a living. Okay, maybe not for a whole living, maybe just for cheap vodka money, but still. I write the stuff that, if done properly, will make the reader need some alone time to take care of urges. That is what I do and it's a helluva lot of fun.

But it's not entirely who I am. I am a wife, a mother, a homeschooling parent, and a leader in my community. I am a blogger, and a from-scratch cook. I am a friend, I am someone that people call when they are confused or have problems. I am someone that is always available to watch a friend's kids at the last minute.

But that's not it, either. I'm a liberal. I'm staunchly pro gay-rights, I'm an atheist, and I'm feminist. I'm strong, I'm a survivor, and I'm intelligent.

But that's not all there is to me. I was an English major with a focus on creative writing in college. I read to escape and I write to process. My husband knows whether I'm depressed, overwhelmed, or just chilling based on the author I'm reading. I have great conversations about Kafka and Bronte and Hardy with my fellow lit-geek girlfriends.

I have worked hard to develop a network of amazing and beautiful people, and to be brutally honest, I'm afraid of the raised eyebrows if it ever got out that I write erotica. I'm afraid that some of those great mom friends would stop letting their kids come over and play with my kid. I'm afraid that my liberal, feminist friends would be aghast that I write stories (and get turned on by them!) of being fucked by strangers or being tied up and made to submit to a man. I'm afraid that my lit-geek girlfriends will look down their noses at me for starting sentences with the word "But" and for writing things with no higher purpose than to make someone all wet between the legs.

Having a pen name allows me to let go of all those fears and all that pressure. Alyssa Steel is able to write the stuff she wants to write without fear of being ostracized or judged, and that is so god damned freeing! As Alyssa, I can say or do anything in my stories and I don't have to worry what my grandmother will think if she stumbled upon my them. I don't have to worry that my kiddo's friends' moms are disgusted by the bondage in my stories. I don't have to worry that all they're thinking about when they're looking at me is whether or not I really enjoy it up the ass. I'd imagine that kind of worry wouldn't make for a very fun moms night out.

When I go into my office to write, I set aside my real name and my real issues. I put on my headphones, turn on Alyssa Steel's Pandora account, put on my pouty lips, and become whoever the hell I want to be. Without my secret identity, I could never reveal this super awesome part of myself.

I write the stories that turn you on. What's  your superpower?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Becoming an Erotic Writer Improved My Marriage

Hi, I'm Alyssa and I write erotica.

Actually, I've just started putting my smut out there for the world at large, but I've had an active fantasy life since my teen years. In the early years of my marriage, I would write sexy stories for my husband, mostly because it turned me on to write them. The way hot sex that followed each reading wasn't such a bad thing, either. What I didn't realize at the time, so young and naive was I, that while my husband liked that I was turned on by my stories, he didn't really care that I wrote them. That makes him sound like some sort of selfish bastard, but that wasn't the case. All he really cared about was that I was turned on and feeling good about myself. That was the turn-on for him, not some imaginary characters in some imaginary situation.

The sexy part of our marriage came to a screeching halt pretty much as soon as it started. Days after our wedding, I found out I was pregnant. The hormones sometimes made for some lovely sex, but mostly I just felt too fat, ugly and achy to do much lovin'. For my honey's part, he had those normal new dad worries of hurting the baby or whatever.

After about forty-six years of pregnancy, our son was born and we were thrust into the world of parenting, and the style that most fit us was the Attachment variety. Our son co-slept with us, he nursed on demand for a really long time, and we didn't even leave him with a grandparent until he was a year and a half.  I still hadn't lost my baby weight, which made me sensitive. I used to have an eating disorder, so much of my self esteem was wrapped up in what the numbers on the scale said. The higher the number, the less I was obviously worth. So, even on the times that my honey made sexual overtures to me, I felt too worthless, ugly, fat and exhausted to do much lovin'.

And life, it continued.

Our kid got older, slept in his own room, and we had more time to be alone together. But I could never lose that baby weight. Almost twelve years later, I'm still fifty pounds heavier than I was on my wedding day, which was ten pounds too big for my anorexia-addled mind at the time. In actuality, I could stand to lose twenty pounds now. Those numbers ran in my head and did bad shit to my self-esteem. I felt too much like a beached whale to do much lovin'

And life, it still continued.

Jobs were lost, parents died, money got tight, and my husband was diagnosed with something called Peyronie's Disease. Neither of us had ever heard of this, but it's more common than we thought. The nuts and bolts of this piece of shit of a disease is that it effects the penis shaft, curving it and making erections painful. After running its course naturally, which often takes upwards of two years, the penis is different. It's smaller, less sensitive to stimuli, and can pop or bend in unnatural and painful ways. There are surgeries one can  have, but they don't always fix the issue at hand. There are remedies men can use to help the discomfort and bending, but there's nothing that can be done about the new size short of a penis pump or surgery.

So obviously this did a number on my husband's self esteem. Even though I find sex much more pleasurable now that he's shaped differently, even though I cum much more frequently than I ever did before Peyronie's, he just felt like too little of a man to do much lovin'.

And life, it kept its damn continuing.

Siblings died, moves happened, and I had a round of surgeries myself, which...yep. Made me too achy and doped up on Vicodin to do much lovin'.

It's been a hell of a ride. We're both as recovered as we'll ever be from our various issues, but the sex thing--well, that just never got back to that pre-pregnancy, early-marriage, hotness.

Until Erotica.

I still have that skinny little girl in my head, telling me that I'm ugly and fat, but I'm older than she is now, and I know she was just hurt and damaged when she was younger. My husband has always made it perfectly clear that my body is beautiful to him, but it's been so hard for me to believe and accept that as truth. Just like it's been hard for him to believe that I'm totally satisfied-- more satisfied than ever--by his penis, even though it's different from the one I married.

Over the last few years we've fumbled our way back into intimacy and we've both had plenty of fears and doubts along the way.

One day, not too long ago, I decided that I wanted to get back into writing sexy stories. But this time I wanted to do it for me, not for my husband. I felt embarrassed to tell him that I wanted to write these stories and that *gasp* I wanted to sell them. I kept it to myself for a while and refused to write a single thought down because I was afraid he'd laugh at me, that he'd tell me it was dumb, or that he'd think I was nothing more than a stripper or prostitute. As  it turned out, those thoughts never crossed his mind. He was thrilled when I told him because he'd always told me I was a good writer and I should put myself out there. So, not only was he beautifully supportive, but, he's gone out of his way to give me space to write as much as I want.

And life, it continues.

But this is a new chapter. For the first time in my life, I'm giving myself permission to tap into that sexy young thing inside me without giving her permission to harm my emotions or my body now. In writing my stories, which my husband often doesn't want to read, I'm liberating myself from the bonds I've placed on myself since I was sixteen.

www.alyssasteel.com
And liberation--It is sexy as hell. I feel sexy, I feel confident, I feel powerful. Nothing has changed in my or my husband's bodies, but suddenly I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a very sexual person and that admittance has made me confident, which has made me absolutely irresistible to him. Feeling strong and sexy has put my husband at my mercy. And guess what? That makes me feel stronger and sexier, which gives me more confidence to write which makes me feel stronger and sexier...Oh, this is a delicious, sensual, nipple nibbling, erotic circle that is so much more than just sex.

Even when we're not in bed, we're kinder to one another. We hold hands, we kiss, we hug each other in the middle of Target just because we love each other. And guess what? That extra intimacy during the day is just prolonged foreplay for both of us and we can't wait until we can devour each other again.

Becoming an Erotica Writer has not only saved our sex life, but our marriage too.

And so, when you see that couple hugging and gently smooching each other in the store, smile for them...and then go home and get in touch with your inner sex-pot. You'll wonder what took you so long.