A break from regularly scheduled programming….
I wasn’t sure what kind of feedback or reader mail I’d get from the relaunch of The Life Erotic Discovery Journals. As I’ve been down for the count recovering from surgery, I’ve been blessed to sit in bed reading the loveliest notes from those who picked up the booklets for the first time, along with happy reminiscing from those who read them before and are now excited to see the world unfolding into a streaming adaptation.
I should say that Amazon has been blocking the reviews for TLE. Yes, I’ve been made aware. We’re working on it. I’m so sorry for the inconvenience! Hopefully, it’s fixed soon. I’ve been assured that when it’s fixed, all the reviews will show up—probably all at once. So, please keep leaving those reviews! They will pop as soon as the snag is corrected. (Also, I am deeply grateful for all the emails letting me know!)
My favorite responses are from people letting me know TLE has opened their minds to the deeper levels of intimacy that can occur in trust-based relationships. Those raw and vulnerable moments when we are just humans—exposed—splitting open to tenderness that makes connection with a lover such a spiritual and powerful sexual experience. There’s so much validation in knowing we are not alone in the longing for these experiences, nor alone in the celebration of them when we’re able to make those moments come to life with our lovers.
The notes from readers include very personal stories of their sexual healing journeys; many of those running in tandem with spirituality and a near-cosmic understanding of self—which only serves to elevate experiences with their partners.
I am so honored to know these stories from you all. So grateful to know that “soul-gasms” are happening when The Life Erotic explores these vignettes of partnership through a reader experience. (I hope you don’t mind me co-opting “soul-gasm”, Esial2323… it’s just so perfectly suited! Thank you!)
In honor of the raw vulnerability from readers, I’ll try to answer questions with the same fearlessness.
Jannabella- Why do you write erotica? Are you ever ashamed?
It took a while for me to write erotica specifically. I mostly targeted relationship dynamics in my fantasy fiction. In the world-building matrix where I create Storyverse, all interconnected levers are relationship interdependencies. So, I began there. But as those stories and characters became more real, reflecting a lot of my own personal desires and needs I had to get honest with myself as a creative—and as a woman—and ask what was missing in my life that was also missing from my character relationship arcs and story mediums.
Radical vulnerability and the ability to deeply connect on a sexual/spiritual level.
World builders and creatives with rich imaginations are pretty good at pretending. We can be the original fakers, right? We are easily romanticized, easily led by the longing or promise of something magical, beautiful, and wondrously mysterious. It’s natural for creators to be regularly disappointed, let down, embittered. Unfortunately, this creates a calcification which permeates both life AND the fictional realms and Storyverses we populate. It’s like a virus that jumps from us into our fictional worlds.
I don’t know about you, but I read to escape. I read to fall in love, see new worlds, live other lives. I don’t read to soak up someone else’s wounds, shames, prejudices or hit creator blockages because they’ve leaked into the story, even accidentally.
To be the best storyteller I believed I could be for my characters, Storyverse, and audience—I had to dig out all the injuries, purge all the aches, and drop any baggage that would prevent me from being able to honestly and authentically speak for the moments in each scene. My knowledge is limited. I don’t know all the things. But I can at the very least FEEL everything, and report that to the reader by placing those words on a character’s tongue, or leave that feeling glittering on the page for someone else to find.
Radical vulnerability led to the need to heal myself of shame and fear, specifically around the subject matter. “Heal thyself” became a mantra set to the understanding that I could then heal my characters—and hopefully, someone out there might also benefit from that process as well.
Erotica as a genre was the next logical choice. Aside from memoir, there is no other genre which requires self-honesty, vulnerability, imagination, and empathy the way erotica does. You cannot write sexually engaging prose if you are bound by shame. You cannot write emotionally connective characters if you cannot be emotionally bonded to another.
Writing about shame in erotica, for me is now only writing about the memory of it—not the lived experience of shame. It’s been healed, released. Writing about heartbreak, longing and ache in erotica is now about writing the memory of it. As a creator, I don’t have to avoid these things because I’m no longer beholden to them as a human putting pen to paper. Freeing myself, freed up the characters, and freed up the story—which allows readers to have a more unbidden experience. It also allows me to write the erotic content freely, expressively—and with ALL THE STEAMY BOILERS ON FULL THROTTLE. And isn’t that the fun part?
I hope that makes sense! (As an aside, yes, I am sometimes freshly ashamed of something I do or say, in which case, I learn from it–heal it. Then I try to do better next time. There’s no need to carry it into the story as anything but the memory of the memory of shame.)
Kristystail1966—Do you write erotica while listening to a playlist? Can you post the list for the read along and… bedroom?
Oh, dang! Alas, erotica is not something I can write to music. All other genres I can have music, or specific playlists. Unfortunately, because music is SO GOOD at setting the mood, I end up getting swayed by the tunes and the chapter shifts where I often don’t want it to go. So—in this example. I don’t have a playlist to share.
THAT SAID—I’ll look at putting a thematic playlist together that would fit the journals and compliment them as in after the fact! I’ll get on that and get back to you. Brilliant suggestion!
Zettabird—You make it sound easy to be open with a partner in the bedroom. How long did it take to become that comfortable?
Tough question. There’s no one answer for this as it depends on the emotional intelligence and generosity and understanding of lovers to meet one another in the most tender and fragile needs first—then get to the other stuff. Anyone can be rough, or ragged, or hungry in the bedroom—not everyone can hear/see/know their lover in those moments. Presence creates that trust. Awareness and the willingness to hold back one’s own personal needs or urges, ensuring their partner is moving at the same level of security and fulfillment, require a willingness to pay attention.
So answering your question—the answer will be different for everyone.
Siatoa755angel—when will the next Life Erotic journal be out?
Good question! And thank you 😊 As there are show spoilers in the next journal, I’m sitting on it for a little bit. Not a long time, maybe next spring. The hope is that the show adaptation will have enough steam that the readers will only be slightly ahead of the spoiler information—readers do it best anyway, right? We should get the early bird treats! Thank you for your patience!
Thank you for all the questions and notes. Truly, the emails have been such a boost. It’s so fun knowing where the books have landed and where they have traveled.
Please stay tuned on the adaptation information and book release news by signing up for the newsletter at Elder Glade Publishing.
In the meantime, please continue to ask questions via the contact portal here.
Athena lives and writes in the Siuslaw Forest, Oregon.