Don’t you just love this pic? I do. I wonder what was going through the male mantis’ head right before the female bit it off. “Hey baby, see? You ain’t such an uptight bitch after a—!”
Welcome to Freaky Friday, the day where I explain a little bit about the weirdness that is me. I know, I know. I was doing Fiction Friday, right? But ya know, much as I love to read and write, writing about other people’s books just hurts my brain for some reason. I spend so much time and effort into my own fiction writing that dissecting other people’s fiction isn’t really that much fun for me. There are some things that I just want to sit back and enjoy without any fuss.
So I won’t be doing any fiction reviews for a while. Stop crying. I know those are crocodile tears. What I will do instead is talk about what it’s like to be a freak mama in the great land of Suburbia.
I think in some sense, we’re all freak mamas. We all have our little idiosyncrasies that make us different from the so-called “norm.” But some of us stray further afield than others, especially yours truly. I know I am not the only stay-at-home mom and erotica writer, but I am probably the only stay-at-home mom and erotica writer within a 100 mile radius of where I’m standing, so I do feel… shall we say, a little unique? At times, anyway.
Why do I write about sex? When I started writing, I wanted to write science fiction and fantasy, my two favorite genres, and I spent a lot of time struggling to write stories about goddesses, robots, aliens, dragons, etc. But nothing ever really clicked, except one 20K word novella that I was never able to sell to anyone because even though editors liked it, digital publishing just hadn’t taken off yet and so there was very little market for 20K word novellas. Maybe I could get it published now. In fact, I might try sending it out in the next month.
But anyway, back on topic. I wasn’t able to write very well in my chosen genres of fantasy and sci-fi. Then one day, a girl friend and I went on a rampage through town. This was years before I had kids, and I still had the J-O-B working for the Man. I was really crazy back then (and yes, I know I’m really crazy now, but this was a different kind of crazy, okay? This was ‘young twenty-something with too much money who hates her J-O-B but doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life’ kind of crazy. See? Totally different!). So my girl friend and I left our husbands at home and took an entire day to plunder and pillage the local shopping malls. We ate lunch out, hit the fabric store, the craft store, the cafe, the book store… It was while we were at the bookstore that I picked up a copy of PlayGirl. Hey, I was crazy, twenty-something, and sans the Hubster, so why not? Turns out the magazine was pretty much crap. The models were all plasticky looking and scuzzy, the photo shoots all had this horn dog vibe. Disgusted with the pictures, I decided to read the articles (yes, I actually read the articles). They were just as bad. Then I got to the readers’ fantasy forum, which was just down right awful. I read through every story, and when I got to the end, I thought, “Jeeze Louise! I could write better than that!” Then I noticed a little note at the bottom of the page that said, “Can you write better than this? We pay $100 for the story of the month!” And I said, “Hell yeah, I can write better than that!” And so I sat down to write my first pornographic story.
I was very proud of my first effort, and I sent it in, hoping I’d get story of the month. I didn’t. I didn’t even get into that lousy crap ass magazine! But after I finished fuming over my form rejection letter, I sat down, re-read my story, and said, “What the hell was I thinking? This is crap! I can write better that this too!” And so I sat down and wrote my second pornographic story. And I slaved over that damn thing, and I did research on it, and I spell checked it and grammar checked it to within an inch of my life, and then I slaved and sweated and swore over the damn cover letter too! And then I sent the thing and I waited. And waited. And waited.
Two weeks later, I got a letter from PlayGirl that said, “Congratulations! Your story has been selected for Story Of The Month!” And suddenly I was walking on air! I signed the contract, got my $100 check (they do not pay nearly that amount anymore, from what I understand), and waited for my story to come out. A couple months later, I marched into the bookstore and bought a copy of PlayGirl with MY story in it. And I opened it up right there in the store and….
Started swearing up a blue streak, because instead of putting my name on the story, they gave the byline to my main character, Cindy. Man I was pissed. My first publication, and I didn’t have a byline to show for it. How the hell was anyone supposed to know that I was the person who wrote it?! It was then that I swore that ALL my stories would be published under my REAL name, so that nobody would ever have any doubts about who wrote that amazing piece of porn! (I kid you not, I currently have around 150 stories out there, between print publishing, e-publishing, and podcasting, that bear my name, Helen E. H. Madden.)
After seeing the results of my first success, I immediately ran home to write another story for PlayGirl (yes, I knew I wouldn’t get a byline for that either, but hey, $100?!). I wrote up a hum-dinger, based on my then J-O-B, which I hated so much, and decided really needed to be the setting for a pornographic story. It worked very well. I wrote this wonderful tale about a conference room and a public speaking engagement… Anyway, I wrote the story and sent it out to PlayGirl. And waited. And waited. And waited. Two months later, they still hadn’t gotten back to me, so I started looking for other markets. There was one place, an online multi-media magazine called Cherrybomb.com, that was doing audio recordings of stories that people could listen to online, and they gave bylines to their authors. I sent the story in, and they bought it! About three months after it was published there, PlayGirl contacted me saying they’d like to publish the story too, but they were too late, so nyah! (PlayGirl didn’t take previously published stories for their readers’ forum, so I couldn’t have sold it to them as a reprint. Whatever.)
I sold another story after that to a website that I cannot now remember. The money was only $25, but it was a sale. And after that… nothing. I stopped writing porn for a while. I was bored, to be honest. Those first three stories were fine, but they were pretty much typical erotica stories – girl meets boy, girl wants boy, girl and boy get naked and have sex in the bedroom, the public library, the conference room, whatever. I did sell a story to Marcy Sheiner for an anthology called Ripe Fruit. That was my first older woman/younger man story. I’m very proud of that tale. Marcy wrote to me to say ‘thank you for not sending in a story about some poor bereaved widow who needs to get laid, because I’m overwhelmed with those kind of stories right now, and by the way, you’re in the anthology because you were original.’ That was my first clue that I really needed to do something different.
Well, somewhere in the midst of all that, I got pregnant. Toward the end of my pregnancy, I wasn’t doing much of anything except be pregnant, so I thought maybe I should start writing again. I had this perverse idea to write a fantasy story about a tribe of Amazons were the women had multiple husbands to serve and entertain them. It involved m/m sex, the first time I’d ever ventured into that arena, and another of my favorite themes, older dominant woman/younger submissive male. I knew nobody, I mean NOBODY, was buying this sort of thing. I didn’t care. I sat down to write the first few chapters, which I let a friend read. She told me my male characters needed a good spanking for being so wicked. I think that was a complement. I was about three or four chapters in, and then it was time for my C-section so I went to the hospital one day and had a baby.
I don’t know what happened, exactly, but not only did I come home with a new baby; I also suddenly had the burning need to WRITE. Maybe it was post-partum hormones. Maybe it was the thought that I was going to spend the rest of my life changing diapers and breast feeding, and if I died, my tombstone would read, “She breast fed her baby a lot!” But nobody would remember me for anything else. So I decided I had to do something, make something of myself. I remembered the trashy porno story I’d been working on before I had the baby. I set up a table beside my nursing chair, set a notebook and a pen on it, and every time I sat down to nurse, I picked up the pen and started writing. I wrote every day, five and six times a day, for over a year. At the end of the year, I had several hundred pages of chicken scratch. The story was complete trash. But I also had a) a well-fed baby, and b) the discipline I’d been lacking before to write every single day.
Some time after that, I joined the Erotica Readers and Writers Association. I wrote four short stories that first year. The second year, I wrote a couple more. The third year, the year I was pregnant with my second child, I wrote my first real erotica novel, Demon By Day. I recall the day I mailed it out for submission, I walked out of the post office with Princess and said to her, “Well, now that THAT is in the mail, I can have the baby anytime now.” My water broke a few hours later, and I had child number two at 2:34AM the next day. Woof!
And I’ve been writing pretty steadily ever since. Yes, it’s all been erotica. It’s what I write. I figured out how to write stories that didn’t bore me, and I figured out how to sit my ass in the chair every day to make that writing happen. I have a weekly podcast now, for which I must write a story every week. I write other stories beyond that, and I’m hoping to get back to work on another novel within the next few weeks.
So, I’m the stay-at-home mom and erotica writer. And that’s your freaky fact about me for this first Freaky Friday. Huzzah.
BTW, if this blog post wasn’t long enough, or freaky enough, for you, I’m over at Oh Get A Grip today, writing about “self-love.”