By Lisabet Sarai (Guest Blogger)
This morning I received a rather nervous-sounding email from Victoria, reminding me that I was booked for her Friends Friday this week. I have to admit that it’s lucky she contacted me – having scheduled the slot weeks ago, I had completely forgotten.
Given the title of the day, I decided that I’d talk about friends – specifically, the many cherished connections I’ve made in the writing community since I began publishing and promoting my work.
When I published my first novel in 1999, with Black Lace, I didn’t know any other authors. I lived in a tiny, rural town in Massachusetts where we didn’t even have broadband Internet. As I’ve recounted many times, I was inspired to write Raw Silk after having read Portia da Costa’s delicious Black Lace title Gemini Heat. As I waited for my book to come out, I fantasized about meeting Portia. I imagined Black Lace throwing a party in swinging London for all its authors. I pictured us all wearing risquÃ© or romantic costumes – high boots and short skirts, leather and lace – hobnobbing, drinking wine and sharing our favorite sexy scenes.
was i ever naÃ¯ve! I had no idea that 1) even highly successful publishers tend to operate on shoestring budgets and 2) being an author was about as far from glamorous as you could get!
Nevertheless, i did eventually “meet” Portia, at least via email. We’ve discovered that we have quite a lot in common (including a passion for felines) and we’ve been sending each other holiday cards for a decade. One of the high points in my career was the first time that she and i both had stories appearing in the same anthology! And one of these days, i’m going to make it to england and give her the grateful hug she deserves.
In the year 2000 I discovered the erotica readers & writers association and erwa storytime, a mail-list-based critique group for aspiring authors of erotica. When you read the erotic fantasies of other authors and share your own, you can’t help but develop a sense of intimacy. On the erwa writers list, we discussed authorial problems ranging from punctuation to characterization, shared advice on marketing and motivation, and offered each other encouragement. As a result, i developed a number of extremely close relationships that have only grown closer over time.
I’m not sure that it’s appropriate for me to name them here, but there are a dozen or so folk from erwa whom i love and trust as least as much as any of my meat-space friends. Several of them have joined me as members of the oh get a grip group blog, giving me the opportunity to peer even more deeply into their histories and their psyches. I’ve also had the privilege of editing the work of some of my virtual colleagues as part of the cream anthology and the coming together presents series of charitable erotica titles. Several of them have edited my work for their anthologies as well.
When I began publishing erotic romance, I gained a whole new set of on-line friendships through blogging and participating in chat lists. Over the past four years, I’ve developed close relationships with some very special people. Some of them live in quite different worlds from mine, but that doesn’t seem to stand in the way. One of the side benefits of starting my personal blog, beyond romance, has been the opportunity i’ve had to meet new authors whom i’ve hosted as guests.
I live in southeast Asia, far from the conventions and conferences, on a different continent from any of my publishers and most of my readers. I can count the number of my authorial friends whom i’ve met in person on one hand. I can tell you, though, that the few times i have had flesh-and-blood encounters with the individuals i’ve known so well on-line, the connection has been so intense as to be a bit scary. Did we know each other in a past life? And how would our lives have been different if we’d met earlier?
Right now I’m in the process of taking an on-line collegial relationship one step further. I’m co-authoring a story with a close friend whose writing i greatly admire. This is a new effort and i don’t know how it will work out. I just hope we don’t end up hating each other!
Speaking of collegial respect, I want to mention the imminent release of my story “the understudy”, in the bdsm anthology Master Me, coming next monday from Total-E-Bound. I’m under the covers with some of my favorite authors! I’m really looking forward to reading the other stories in the book as soon as I get my complimentary copy.
Thanks for having me as your guest, Victoria, and please accept my apologies for leaving it until the last minute!
Bio: a dozen years ago Lisabet Sarai experienced a serendipitous fusion of her love of writing and her fascination with sex. Since then she has published six erotic novels, including the classic raw silk, and two short story collections, as well as contributing to nearly three dozen print anthologies.
She has also edited two multi-author anthologies, sacred exchange and cream, and currently serves as editor for the coming together presents charitable erotica imprint. When she’s not writing, lisabet enjoys dancing, cooking and traveling the world. She currently lives in southeast asia with her long-suffering husband and two exceptional felines. Visit her online at http://www.lisabetsarai.com.