Friday, 28 January 2011

Our Genre--Erotica

Please welcome Liz Crowe to Four Strong Women!

Greetings Strong Women and Those Who Follow Them!

I’m a big fan of and in particular of Tracy Clark Flory, a writer who thinks like I do as relates to the human sexual condition. She’s written about the science of the smooch, the Miley Cyrus pole dance, Betty Friedan actually saving marriages, how UNsexy is virtual sex, the economics of simple romance and, most recently how we as a culture are still embarrassed by pornography.

This most recent post got me pondering once again about what I like to think of as Our Genre--erotica. Our Genre has been called (among other things) “porn for women.” However “pornography” as I see it defined is anything depicting the human body or human sexuality with the express goal of “arousal.” So..... “porn for women” seems a bit, I don’t know, redundant? Unnecessary compartmentalization or, dare I say, sexist?

It is commonly assumed and accepted that men are aroused by visual representations of sexual situations while women tend to be titillated by something that requires a little imagination (in other words, written, so you are forced to picture the people in your head).

So he watches porn, and I read it, and we work through our respective “arousal goals” together. That’s cool. Just as long as we ladies will own up to the fact that we can actually enjoy our version of “porn” (a.k.a. Our Genre) and not get all squidgy and embarrassed and, well, girly about it.

Flory alleges through a series of admittedly unscientific random polling, that women still are “in denial” about their partners’ porn consumption. To these women I say, “What are YOU waiting for, ‘cause you have no idea what you are missing!”


An entire world of porn in well-written form exists for your consumption and fun!

Welcome to Erotica World! A land where men are men and women love to touch them! Or, in many cases both of them.

I write it, I consume it, I’ve been asked to offer reviews of it, and to anyone who asks, “really, how many ways can you effectively describe the sex act?” I say, “Oh, lots and lots and if you think otherwise, you need to broaden your literary horizons.”

Of course, I would enter the erotic market at the sweet spot, when everybody and their sister (mostly) think they’ve got the next great Urban Vampire Sex Novel (and believe me there are ton of these--even enough to generate a lively discussion at one writer’s group I belong to on the relative realities of vampire ejaculate--yeah, ick), or the Seriously Sexy Cowboy Series (these are STILL best sellers and yes, there is one called Rode Hard Put Up Wet) or even the Fornicating Faeries and Shagging Unicorns of Fantasy...these, to my mind are much easier to create since there are absolutely no limits to what THEY can do, sexually speaking. If you can imagine it they will come...or something like that.

There truly is something for everyone and every taste. When I jumped in with my “Beerotica” (actually Brewing Passion or, in the immortal words of a fellow brewery owner--”Beer Porn”) series I was entering a highly populated, very competitive field littered with Alpha Males, moans, groans, tingly skin and smoldering stares.

As a consumer, I cut my teeth on Sunny’s “Monere” series--wherein the woman rules the world, and the respective alpha men are chosen to attend and protect her essentially based on their ability to fuck her silly. Sign me up!

Moving on through the canon as it were I have eagerly consumed the “reluctant sub” tales well-woven by Shayla Black, and into the M/M/F fantasy land of Cat Grant. While I have to admit a fondness for the short form “quickie” anthologies (anyone who can make you honestly horny in 2 pages or less is truly talented) I also have argued that the best books are the ones where the sex isn’t THE story, merely a natural part of it. I describe it thus to my own workaday girl friends who have offered my best critiques: “I write stories about real people in real situations and just don’t fade to black when they get busy.”

And they get busy a lot, too. Because it is all fantasy in a way, and I for one don’t kid myself about it. The men are large and in charge, the women may be in charge but they love that man (or men--I’m currently on a M/F/M kick and loving it!) and are generally NOT large--you get where this is going. We want to be entertained, and enter a world where we might could just picture ourselves as younger, thinner, sexier, and in situations where the hottest guy (or girl, if that’s your bag) in the office/gym/club/conference/briefing room/vampire nest/dive bar/werewolf pack/wizard school/brewery wants nothing more than to bang our brains out with their ultra talented body parts, then either fall madly deeply in love with us or walk away satisfied and best of friends. The only thing separating us from the Soaps perhaps is a distinct lack of cars driving off cliffs and hospital bedside dramatics…but enough of that. As I said before: “Sign Me Up!”

There is a lot of junk “lady porn” out there, of course. Frankly, the last four books I read were boring and formulaic. Or worse, badly constructed, with (really) typos and in general poorly edited (or not at all). Just because you can picture the hot scene with your personal trainer in your head while he’s rubbing you down after a workout doesn’t always translate onto the page--in other words, some folks truly should be consumers only. Hey, if it weren’t for you, WE would have no real outlet after all.

And so to those poor repressed females among us, and to their long-suffering significant others looking over their collective shoulders so as not to get caught whacking off to, I advise: get online and find us. We have the solution to your frustrations--whether it’s vamps, ghouls, cops, robbers, cowboys, Indians, wizards, warlocks, gargoyles (yes, I read one of these just for research you understand) firemen, Alpha Male CEOs or just plain old folks getting up to no good in the brew house or cold storage—We are out here and waiting to relieve YOU!


Drink Craft Beer!

Liz Crowe

The Rookie

XXXMas Ale

Jockey Box (release date: 2/18/11)

The Tap Room (release date: 4/18/11)

All from

Who Is This Liz Crowe?

When not marketing her brewery, tearing her hair out over beer inventory problems, having friendly arguments with Her Brewer about beer names, learning even more about brewing beer or ogling her kid’s soccer coaches, Liz writes. This latest iteration of Liz comes after fifteen years in marketing and public relations and seven years of expatriate living with her family. As “The Ann Arbor Beer Wench” Liz blogs (, runs her Tap Room on Ann Arbor’s west side, directs sales marketing and the ever-popular distributor relations for The Wolverine State Brewing Company, a craft micro brewery. As “The Bed Wench” Liz blogs ( and relates her thoughts about various aspects of the human animal and his/her sexual nature. Liz has two stories published (The Rookie and XXXMas Ale), and 2 more set for release. “Jockey Box” is due out February 18, 2011 which is the final “missing chapter” of the Novella The Tap Room, due out April 18, 2011 (a great way to celebrate that your taxes are done!) All of the stories are part of a bigger “Brewing Passion” series about people in the craft beer industry and the various shenanigans they get up to. Her current Work in Progress is a murder mystery set in the craft brewing world, with the naughty bits left in, of course and the Manuscript in Constant Revision will soon be published--a series about realtors--and the fun that can be had in an empty condo or Open House with a view. For fun, Liz reads in her favorite genre (erotic fiction), sweats like mad in Bikram yoga three times a week, conducts market research (i.e. drinks craft beer), and carefully observes her kid’s soccer coaches and Real Madrid, her favorite team.


Fiona McGier said...

I prefer "porn for women" to some other things people have said when I tell them what I write. That reaction, along with an expectation that now I can quit my 2 other jobs since I must be getting rich off of my royalties, really irks me! I've always enjoyed watching porn with my husband, as long as it's not the kind where women get hurt, or do things with animals...ew! In turn, he reads my books as I finish them, and offers helpful suggestions as to how a man would really talk/think/feel. But I see nothing wrong with what I fact, I blogged recently about whether or not you encourage your family and close friends to read your stuff...I was amazed at how many female authors said they don't even let their husbands read their writing! Why not share it and enact some of the scenes? Whoo hoo!

Nicki said...

Yeah, Fiona, I get the same thing from people who find out my book's on 3 bestseller lists. They're like:

"What newspaper can I see the list in? Are you getting rich yet?"

Or worse, the old:

"You *&%^ing liar, if you were a bestselling author you'd be making a mint off your royalties. Don't lie."

When I worked at a club as a dancer, the girls there were like,

"What, you're really a bestselling author? WTF are you doing in a strip club? You probably have money falling out of your panties!"

And I was like, "Um, no. Small press."

So they said, "Oh, then it's not real then. You need to shut up and stop lying, girl, or you're never going to be a millionaire."

AUGHHGHGZH! Women (and men) like that royally piss me off, up a freaking glass wall!

And then they're like "You're an erotica writer? You probably know more about us at dancing then. Don't lie and tell us you don't know how," and etc., etc., informing me I MUST be a whore if I write erotica, and my morals are crap, and etc, etc....

Coming from strippers who trick on the side to earn money? That's LOW.

And women who write erotica, apparently, are "the worst sluts on the planet", with regard to "NORMAL CHRISTIAN PEOPLE". Yeah right. They're cuddling up with strippers and saying we're bad? They should practice what Jesus preached if they're so in love with him.

Agh, I could go on forever, but there's no room.

She said...

Good post. I may call what I read porn as a joke but I also know what I like. I like realistic sex scenes without the stupid euphemisms used in the past. I find it more erotic using the actual words for the act or body parts then what gets made up. I like that there are books for everyone. What I like may not be what you like but that's the beauty of reading. There are so many works out there that each reader can find what she likes. I try all genres. I never know when I might find a new genre for me or a new author I like. I find it incomprehensible that other women will put down an erotica author. I am always interested in how an author chooses the particular genre of their book. The whole writing/publishing process interests me but I have no desire to write. Thank you for giving us readers what has been so sorely missing in "mainstream" publishing--genres that interest us and we want to read.

Liz said...

Thanks for reading and for your responses folks! Yeah, I don't ever anticipate leaving my day job...wait, I own a business so I don't really make anything off that yet either but...oh well. Frankly, I love how my life as rare female on the beer biz has fed my erotic imagination...the whole "hmm, this is interesting, what if..." thing is a huge inspiration for my beer-infused muse. And "Mr. Wench" was the one who told me essentially to "shut up about it and just write!" My first published work is dedicated to him. He opened my eyes to the beauty that is erotic fiction in the first place, with a gift of the Monere series. My mom is also a big fan! Keep reading!

Lily Harlem said...

Liz, I adored this post, so many truths. I love to write/read erotic romance and pure erotica. I don't consider it porn but mental stimulation which spreads throughout the system!

Your 'Brewing Passion' series sounds awesome, wishing you huge success.

Lily x

Liz said...

Hey Lily! I'm a big fan of yours---and also enjoyed your erogenous zone educational session!