August MacGregor

Celebrating Sensuality. Intended for mature audiences, 18 and over


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Why I Write Erotic and Romantic Fiction

I originally wrote this by a request from Elizabeth over at Just Add Tea, and I wanted to add it here after reading Emmanuelle de Maupassant’s post “Why Write Erotic Fiction?” that offers a wonderful variety of voices (I reposted it yesterday).

First, a little background in how I got to the point where I’m writing erotic and romantic stories. Several years ago, I saw an online contest for erotic short stories. I was writing general fiction at the time, and I figured, Why not? It’ll be fun to try something new. I won an honorable mention, and that was soon followed by an invitation to join other authors in contributing to Ruthie’s Club, a subscription website that offered erotica — with each story accompanied with an original illustration at the beginning. I enjoyed being a part of the site, and many stories came out of that relationship.

Unfortunately, Ruthie’s Club shut down around 2010. That left all those stories no longer published — and a lot of ideas in my head for more stories.

Then I learned about this little thing called “self-publishing.” You mean I could prepare an ebook and put it up for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords? I figured, Why not? It’ll be fun to try something new.

Yes, that’s a recurring theme for me. It drives part of my writing. Because stories can come in forms of fantasies that I want to see played out and see where they go. I imagine that scores of people have fantasies, and authors move those from their heads to the computer screen (or typewriter if you’re old school like that).

And sex scenes can be electric to write. Sometimes, my fingers can’t type fast enough to get the action out. Thank goodness I can type fairly well, and don’t have to hunt-and-peck — which would’ve driven me bonkers from impatience.

However, my writing is not just about the sex. (Okay, you got me: that part of storytelling is fun.) Deeply satisfying is writing about people connecting on emotional levels — not just physical. I’ve noticed that my writing in the past couple of years has come to include this. Before, I was pretty single-minded on writing about people simply enjoying pleasure. Now, though, the characters also enjoy togetherness. And that has broadened my writing to involve scenes besides sex.

In turn, that expanded my stories from only the erotica category to romance. Which is something I never saw coming. I read a mixture of stories, including general fiction, thrillers, and erotica. I don’t come from reading a vast library of romantic books. So I feel as a newbie in the field. (By the way, the romance that I’ve read which has probably stuck with me the most is The Lover by Marguerite Duras. An exquisite book.)

Relationships and emotions are complex, and I probably capture only a fraction of them in my stories. I’m fascinated by relationships and emotions, so there’s plenty for me to explore. My most recent novel is The Sweet Taste of Revenge, in which the main character divorces her cheating husband and plans to get revenge on him. That’s been an interesting challenge. I’m not a woman, nor have I been divorced. But in writing the book, I hope I was fair to the character. It was quite a ride.

Speaking of a ride, I suppose that’s the reasoning behind why I write. It’s the rush that I get when I take an idea and turn it into a story. That can be with an erotic and romantic story — or tamer stuff. I use August MacGregor as a pen name for the Rated Mature content and my real name for the rest. Writing is way too much fun to commit to only one type of story.

With my August pen name, I try to tell stories of people enjoying the sensual things in life and connecting with each other — but making mistakes along the way. I find that to be another part that brings interest to writing. Because things don’t always proceed perfectly. When a character is in love with someone, the second character may not feel the same way in return. People cheat in relationships. Not every couple has simultaneous orgasms that are mind-blowing every single time.

Which brings the hope that a story with people making mistakes is more interesting for the reader. Because I’d love for my stories to be a ride for readers, just like the stories were a ride to put together.

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Book Lights

book lights by glasseyes view (Flickr)

I saw this lovely image on Flickr and wanted to post it, especially since it’s been a little while from my last post. I’ve been adding finishing touches on a novel, and I plan to have news on it next week. I hope all of you are doing well.

Photo by glasseyes view (Flickr)


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Reading Heartbeating

(Note: the first link is safe for work, but the second is not. Which is a good reason to click on it.)

The infographic says
6 minutes of reading
can slow your heartbeat,
and I like that reaction
of readers ingesting
some scenes in my stories.

But in other scenes,
I hope for quickened thumping
of readers’ hearts
as their eyes leap from
word to word
line to line
in a rush to find out
what sensual thing
happens next.
Because in my stories,
it’s fantasy time
and not the kind of fantasy
of strolling by a lazy stream
(birds chirping
sun shining)
and seeing a flying pegasus
swoop down nearby, then
is led by a friendly elf
to the stream for a drink.

Rather, the fantasies are meant
to elevate heart rates
like books that come
with trigger warnings
which turns away some readers
but is a draw
for other readers who
(while they’re deep
in the forest of the story)
find a good position to prop the book
with one hand turning the pages,
while the other hand
teases their own triggers,
causing heart rates to skyrocket.


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Best Friends

Thanks to all who downloaded my free e-books over the weekend. I very much hope you enjoy the stories!

And now, a quote from Groucho Marx…

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

dog, by Chris Frewin (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Chris Frewin (Flickr, Creative Commons)

*****

Quote from Good Reads. The photo above is used under the non-commercial Creative Commons license. Click on image to jump to photographer’s Flickr page.


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Amazon’s New Payments Per KU Pages Read

Last week, Blondewritemore’s post That magical moment when you decide NOT to quit writing was a great description of those times when a writer — and other artists, I would imagine — has a build-up of doubts that lead to wonderings whether he or she should continue writing. And when you decide not to quit, that moment is indeed magical — as you rediscover the magic that made you fall into love with writing in the first place.

It happens to me lots of times. I wrote about self-doubt back in November, after I ran across a quote from Neil Gaiman in which he describes doubts rising as he was working on a novel. He called his agent to share these doubts, and she illuminated him with the fact that he had called her with doubts after every novel — as all her other clients did.

That quote helps me in times when doubts start creeping into my writer’s house, like an invasion of little robbers. The quote is one of those helpful things to get me back on my feet. Or, rather, back on my butt — and my fingers back to tapping on my laptop’s keys.

Amazon recently changed the way it pays authors who have books in their Kindle Unlimited (KU) program. KU is a subscription service where customers pay a monthly fee ($10, I believe), and they can dive into an orgy of reading, to inhale as many KU books as they like. Authors who include their books in the KU program give their solemn oath that the books are not available in electronic form anywhere else.

Yes, this is a monopoly on ebooks for Amazon. You’ll find advice out there giving benefits and drawbacks of including your book in KU. The piece of advice I found valuable was that having a book in KU is good for beginning authors, since a customer doesn’t have to risk money on an author they’re not familiar with, since the monthly fee covers all the KU books the customer wants to try.

I have several books in KU, and I’ve found that it has led to more books being read. The KU borrows have added to sales. And that’s good stuff to an author who hopes to eventually make writing a career.

So back to Amazon’s change in its payments for KU books … Used to be that authors were paid a portion of the monthly KU fund based on how many of your KU books were borrowed.

As of July 1, authors are now paid by pages read. The proper, initial-capped term is Kindle Edition Normalized Pages (KENP) Read.

At first, I didn’t know what to make of this. But now, I like it. Because of the chart showing me, each day, how many pages of my KU books have been read. And that’s sweet stuff. Previously, I never knew if a KU book was being read. Just because a customer borrowed a book didn’t mean they actually read it. Now the data tell me that, yes, pages are being read. And how many.

It’s a boost to an author’s confidence to see the chart and say, Hey, 5,000 pages of my books were read yesterday! Sure, the numbers go up and down daily. But they provide feedback of being read. Similar to receiving comments on a blog post and reviews on a book.

I don’t know how the payment change will turn out financially for authors. If an author has mostly short stories on KU, I can see the change lowering their payments. For me, though, it wasn’t as if a hundred of my books were being borrowed every day — so the financial change won’t be significant. However, the change in feedback certainly is.


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Too Many Good Books

bookshelves, by Sue Langford (Flickr, Creative Commons)

Sue Langford (Flickr, Creative Commons)

“Life isn’t really short. There are just too many good books to read in one lifetime.”

― Mokokoma Mokhonoana, The Confessions of a Misfit

*****

Source: Goodreads. The photo above is used under the non-commercial Creative Commons license. Click on image to jump to photographer’s Flickr page.


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A Slower Pace of Blogging

Another month has wrapped up, and I want to thank all of you who read my poems in February and gave such wonderful comments. Truly, I was surprised about the reactions. In planning for February, I wanted to publish a love poem a day, and I didn’t think beyond that. It turned out that these poems gathered more likes than anything else I’ve written on this blog.

So, thank you. You’ve humbled me.

Now I’m turning to look ahead. My posting will slow down a lot, compared with posting daily in January and February. This comes for two reasons.

Most importantly, I need to focus more on my day job — as I’ve been allowing that to slip. Time management is definitely not one of my strengths, and I’ve got to get back on track for my job.

The other reason is that, as I carve out time to write, I’m going back to work on stories that are longer than poems and flash fiction.

Through the past few years, I’ve published 24 erotic and romantic ebooks, from short stories, to novellas, to a novel. Given the amount of my works in progress, I could certainly churn out many more of these. Sexy stories are a thrill to write. So I’ll be looking to wrap up some of these stories and publish them as ebooks.

But I’m also going to work on other types of stories, due to a creative urge to go beyond sex as a big part of storytelling.

Also, there’s a practical reason to see how non-erotic ebooks would sell. February has been a small uptick in sales for me, probably because I put all my ebooks on sale at 99 cents each. I’m grateful for my sales, as there are so many options for entertainment out there. It’s wonderful to me when someone chooses one of my books.

I have to wonder if non-erotic books would sell better and help get me closer to becoming a full-time writer. After all, according to the July 2014 Author Earnings Report, erotica represented only 1.2% of ebook sales on Amazon for that month’s snapshot.

My non-erotic stories will not fit under my August pen name, but will be published under my own name. I would like to eventually get to a point where I find a kind of balance, when I work some on erotica and some on non-erotic stories.

This doesn’t mean I’m saying good-bye to this blog. I will be popping back in now and then. You’ll see a poem occasionally, as I still have many of those that I haven’t published here yet. In diving into love poetry for February, a book of poems resulted — something I hadn’t planned. So, I’ll be sharing more of the poems in there.

And I’ll be popping in to read your blogs, too. Since starting this blog a little more than a year ago, I’ve made fantastic connections with you guys, and I’ve enjoyed your beautiful writing. I’m certainly going to come back and enjoy more of it.

Thank you again for supporting my blog. Your likes and comments have been wonderful, as continue on this journey as a writer. I deeply appreciate you.