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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Revenge is Published

Sweet Taste of Revenge ebook cover

After the pre-order screwup, my self-published novel, The Sweet Taste of Revenge, is now available on Amazon! The introductory sale is for 99 cents. Less than a buck for a novel of just over 190,000 words. After a week, the price will increase to $3.99.

I’m happy to see this book published, as it is the effort of many, many months crafting it. Several years ago, I wrote a lot of erotic and romantic short stories, and some of them have grown into novels–since I found that I wanted to expand on what happened to the characters.

The Sweet Taste of Revenge is one of those. The short story grew during the past year, and I was interested to see what happened in Michelle Brower’s life after she discovered another woman’s hair on her husband’s shoulder.

Some days brought fluid writing, while other days brought doubts and much slower writing. Eventually, though, the doubts eased during the editing process. (I described my doubts in another post.)

And now, the book is complete and self-published on Amazon. A big breath of relief!

Here’s an excerpt — the first chapter — to hopefully whet your appetite:

*******

Chapter 1. Strand of Hair

The blonde hair on her husband’s shoulder didn’t belong to Michelle Brower.

Michelle and Joe were reading in bed, their nightly routine after dinner and their favorite TV shows. Sometimes, though, Michelle went through the routine alone, when Joe worked late on a demanding project. He put in a lot of hours at Hannold Engineering in the hopes of advancing his career into upper management. That position shone brightly above him on the corporate ladder, and he was determined to climb the rungs.

The light from the nightstand’s lamp flitted across something on the fabric of light blue pajamas on Joe’s shoulder. Enough to catch Michelle’s attention out of the corner of her eye. At first, Michelle kept reading Dead Ringer, the suspense novel she was enjoying, in which Detective Baldwin was at a bar, nursing his fourth Jack Daniels while trying to make sense of clues found at yet another crime scene from the previous night.

But something on her husband’s shoulder kept twinkling in the light, like a lure drawing fish out of a lake’s depths and up to the surface. Michelle had to stop reading and find out what the thing was, so she reached over and pinched it off.

A long strand of blonde hair. It twirled from the grip of Michelle’s thumb and forefinger as she held it up.

Exhibit A, your honor. She didn’t think it then, but would eventually view the hair that way.

“This isn’t mine,” Michelle said while looking curiously at the hair. It was a simple, flat statement. Void of the intense emotion to come later.

After glancing at the hair, Joe shrugged, saying, “It’s probably from the dry cleaners.” Trying to pass off the hair as nothing.

“But I clean your PJs. Not the dry cleaners.”

“Who knows?” he wondered. “Hair gets everywhere. It’s probably from the hotel. God knows how many people go through hotel rooms.”

Hotel room. Atlanta. Joe recently came back from a business trip. The facts clicked together for Michelle. As if she hoped to emulate the hunky and damaged Detective Baldwin, who tried to click the facts together to discover the serial killer’s identity.

Joe pressed on: “You know hotels are like carousels. Thank God I’m not worried about germs. Otherwise, I’d wear gloves or a Haz-mat suit or something. You know, they never wash the bedspreads in hotels. They just put them right back on the bed. I bet those things are breeding grounds for germs. I try not to touch them at all. I don’t want to get sick and bring some nasty bug home to you. But I guess I can touch them by accident. It happens. That’s where the hair came from. Got to be.”

“Yeah. I guess so.”

Michelle had told him that tidbit about hotel bedspreads not being washed. She heard it from a girlfriend and passed it along to Joe.

And now, her husband used it as an excuse for another woman’s hair on his PJs. But Michelle wasn’t convinced. Call it intuition. Something about Joe’s tone of voice or his frown or maybe a shadow across his face.

No, there wasn’t really a shadow on his face. That appeared later, in her mind, as Michelle remembered the scene and tried to pick out details that showed her husband’s guilt.

Michelle tried to tell herself that the thoughts of Joe cheating were all in her imagination. She was looking too hard for suspicious behavior. Her perception was biased because she read too many detective novels. Maybe she wanted to find suspicious behavior, so she turned ordinary things into clues because she figured they should be guilty.

She laughed, thinking, Don’t be so worried. There’s nothing wrong. Joe’s not the cheating type. He’s devoted to you, and he’s a hard worker. All that traveling stressed him out. So don’t go looking for things that aren’t really there.

Still, another woman’s hair had actually been on her husband’s shoulder. A blonde woman’s hair wasn’t ordinary.

Discovering the first hair led to the need to decide how it got on the shoulder of Joe’s pajamas. Maybe Joe was right. He could’ve tossed his pajamas on the bed in a Atlanta hotel, and his PJs picked up a hair from a previous occupant.

Or maybe Joe was lying. The hair could’ve meant that her husband fucked some blonde bitch in his hotel bed, and she spent the night sleeping next to him. Maybe they even fucked a second time in the morning.

Because the blonde hair wasn’t the only suspicious thing. There was something different in how Joe acted. He was more enthusiastic in general. And it wasn’t merely because his business trip to Atlanta had broken up January’s winter doldrums.

Undoubtedly, the trip to Atlanta had jolted some electric juice in him. Michelle felt a nagging sense that Joe’s great mood after his trip was due to great sex. Like how Joe used to get when he and Michelle had a weekend packed with sex. After several rounds of wonderful love-making, Joe positively glowed with happiness and relaxation. The guy sported a wide grin that took many days of returning to his job and grinding at work to wear off.

He had that glow again. Like characters in a musical, just before they broke out into singing and dancing. That was it. Joe didn’t normally look like he was about to break out in song and dance, but he did now.

And it wasn’t from a weekend of having an orgasm marathon with his wife. Who was a brunette.

As much as Michelle denied Joe’s guilt, the clues pointing otherwise kept nagging at her. His effervescent mood. The blonde hair. His business trip to Atlanta.

Michelle imagined Joe sitting at a hotel bar, sipping on a bourbon and club soda. A long-legged femme fatale sauntered in, wearing a black dress that hugged her curves. Her dress was cut low and cut high where it mattered. Showing enough skin to capture your eyes and hold them there securely. Until you realized that you were staring, and you had to turn your head. Before someone called you a creep.

As the femme fatale sat on a bar stool, she pushed blonde hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear. Her long, straight hair flowed gently past her shoulders. Making all the men in the bar wonder how that hair would look when it was fanned out on a bed. Of course, after the bedspread was ripped off. Hotels never washed those things, and they were surely breeding grounds for germs.

Once the bedspread was ripped away, you could lay this hottie on the bed and see how her blonde hair looked all splayed about. You’d get to see how her body looked in various positions. Because her body and hair inspired lots of wicked fantasies.

All the men in the bar lusted after the blonde, as her smoky blue eyes drank them in. Her glossy red lips were parted just so, seeming to nearly say something—or kiss someone. If only a special someone would come.

Joe slid off his bar stool and went to the woman, as if drawn by a powerful magnet. He said in a scratchy voice, How about a cigarette, then a drink, then my hotel room? In that order.

A scene from an old, black-and-white noir movie, full of clichés. A blonde femme fatale and stilted dialogue. The scene was probably nowhere close to what actually happened to Joe in the hotel during his trip to Atlanta.

Michelle didn’t have a clue as to how Joe got started with the blonde. But she knew the story led to a long hair on the shoulder of her husband’s pajama top.


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O

A poem inspired by the playfully tilted O in Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture.

O

Her glossy red lips form an O
open to let sounds rush out
desperate to release
refusing to be contained
needing to unleash the song of bliss felt inside.

This is not the funny yet silly
O face from Office Space,
but the moaning of hysterical literature
hysteria of uncontrolled emotion
why would you want to control it
let it have its wondrous way
be it caused by literature or unseen tool under the table.

Or in this particular case
on this particular night
with her glossy red lips forming an O,
her hysteria is caused by
his fingers and mouth
eager and patient
for the reward of her crying out
O God O God O God
in a transcendent chant
above all that is ordinary.


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A Reader in the House of Books

He didn’t use the library’s
self-checkout machine,
instead bringing the book
to the counter
when the pretty librarian
was behind it.

To see if she gave a reaction
when he slid
A Spy in the House of Love
across the counter
with the temptation of asking
if she’s read the book,
this specific copy of the book,
because it would be
very lovely to know her fingers
had caressed the words
and slid each page to the side
to get to the next page,
like peeling away
layers of a fantasy
getting closer to the center.

Which page corners did she fold down
to mark her spot when
she paused reading?
A break to take care of a craving
or drive to work at the library
or maybe meet her friends for wine.

But she’s a librarian, and she would find
folding page corners
to be a crime against the book,
preferring to slide an erect bookmark
between the layers,
fitting it snug and safe
until she’s ready
to slip back into the fantasy again
and hear Anaïs Nin’s
soft, French-accented whispers in her ear.

He doesn’t ask the librarian if
she’s read the book.

It’s enough to see the
slight rising of her eyebrows
and the brightening of her eyes
before she returns to
the expression she wore before.

It’s enough to plant the seed
of this book in her mind,
and cause her to imagine reading it,
maybe even with him.

He will imagine sitting
next to her on the couch,
naked under a blanket,
taking turns reading to each other,
trying out their best French accents,
laughing while aroused.


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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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Surprises and Surprises

I’m floating on cloud nine right now because my novel is on Amazon’s bestsellers of erotica for Kindle ebooks! This past week, Tara & Steve: A Tale of Swingers entered the top 100 list at #100, and it has fluctuated around the list. This morning, it reached #84! (The list is updated hourly, so the position will definitely keep changing.)

How the hell did this happen?

I haven’t written a blog post showcasing the book, and I’ve tweeted about it a couple of times. This was far from the strategy I’ve read that authors should do, in carpeting all available social media sites to get the word out about your book.

Because once the book was published on Amazon, I felt elated about finishing it — and then I went to work on another story. That’s been my mindset of late: not blogging and promoting as much on Twitter, but focusing more on crafting stories.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted that something clicked with this book. It has easily out-sold my other two novels — Bavarian Beauty and An Eager Audience: A Cuckold Erotic Romance — as well as my various novellas and short stories.

Whatever the reason, I’ve been surprised to see my book among the list of bestsellers. To put it frankly, it’s a place I didn’t imagine being. I simply hoped people would buy my books and enjoy them. Enough to someday bring in an income where I could write full time.

Here’s the cover of the book:

Tara & Steve ebook cover

Another surprise is that my book isn’t selling thousands of copies a day to get on the bestseller list. The number is actually fewer than 60 a day — when you add in the Kindle Unlimited downloads to the actual sales.

I’m thrilled to sell that many. I certainly haven’t expected to sell thousands of books a day. That atmosphere belongs to E.L. James, whose Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy looks to be firmly in the top three slots of Amazon’s erotica bestseller list.

I have to mention one other surprise here, because I’ve been scratching my head about it for a while. Every day, the most popular post on my blog is How to Talk Dirty (and Romantic) in German. It’s caused me to ask the same question: How the hell did this happen? The post is from the two weeks of Octoberfest 2014, when I blogged every day about some of the landscape, music, food, and history of Bavaria — all to promote Bavarian Beauty. Out of those posts (and all my other posts), the one on talking dirty in German stands at the top of the heap.

Maybe the post’s popularity is due to a link at streettalksavvy.com, where I got a few of the phrases. Maybe, maybe not. But while I can’t figure out the reason, I have to hope that people out there are using the list to do some sexy talking in German 🙂

Until next time, meinen Lieblings!


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April Update

It’s been a while! I hope you’ve been well. Many weeks have gone by since I last posted on my blog — and it was quite a change going from posting every day during January and February to taking a break.

While I’ve missed posting on my blog and reading other blogs, the break has been a good one. It’s helped me get on a better track with my day job. Which has been busy, so I was relieved to take away the deadline of posting every day that I had put on myself.

Also, the break from my blog helped fine-tune my focus back onto longer stories — instead of poetry and flash fiction. And that’s been wonderful.

Because I’ve come to realize a big difference in writing flash fiction versus longer stories. Coming up with shorter pieces (fewer than 1,000 words) is neat for seeing what kind of story you can tell in a condensed amount of time. They’re fun to write.

However, you don’t get immersed in the story. Not like you do with a novella or a novel. It hit me when I made the realization that maybe it’s the reason why my short stories don’t sell very well on Amazon and Smashwords. I thought about it from a reader’s point of view, when I pick up a novel and dive into it and find out where it takes me. I like rooting for the characters and seeing what happens to them. Seeing if they change, grow, as the story unfolds.

And that’s what I’ve been missing as a writer when I focused on shorter stories. I missed connecting with the characters and pulling for them. I missed imagining the possibilities of where the story could go. Then seeing how I think the characters would react to the expanding story.

And that’s what I got back to when I returned my attention to longer stories. I was able to immerse myself in them. Like I said, it’s been wonderful. I’ve had such a good time writing a few stories — and I even managed to finish a couple.

I’ve worked on different types of stories: more romantic and sexier ones under my August pen name, as well as more vanilla stories under my real name. It’s been interesting to see that I write slower with the vanilla stuff. Nothing like the sexy scenes (or anticipation of sexy scenes) to get the fingers flying on the keyboard. Except for the dangerous stuff — like in the thriller novel on which I worked for National Novel Writing Month last November.

I’m still planning to get back to that thriller novel. Eventually!

But I’ve been wrapping other stuff up first. The big one was completing my second novel, Tara & Steve: A Tale of Swingers. This project started off several years ago as a series of short stories about a dating couple that tries out a swinging lifestyle — and the consequences that those adventures have on their relationship.

I tied together the short stories into chapters for a novel and hit it hard with my editor’s hammer. Well, that sounds too violent. More like a pen, with removing stuff here and adding stuff there. The novel is the longest story I’ve written so far, at a little more than 135,000 words. And, damn, that sucker felt good to publish.

I also finished a story that started off as a short piece last year on my blog. It had bugged me that the story wasn’t done, since the characters yearned for more than where I left them. So I expanded the story into a novella, and that’s published, too. I’ll have a post about it next week, as I’m going give the ebook away for free on Amazon for 5 days. It’s about Beltane, the Gaelic festival to celebrate fertility and the arrival of the warm season. The event comes on May 1, so I want to make the novella free leading up to that day.

The original story ran last year in two parts, and I deleted those posts because the ebook is under Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing Select (KDP Select), which means the story can’t be available electronically anywhere besides Amazon. It also means that if you have Kindle Unlimited, the story is free any time it’s within the program — well beyond the 5 days when it’s free to everybody.

So that’s an overview of what I’ve been up to since my last post. Lots of work on my day job and lots of writing. Of course, getting out and enjoying the sunshine, too 🙂

After posting next week about my Beltane novella, I’ll probably duck out again for another break. I apologize for not keeping a more regular schedule of posting. But some stories have their grip on me, and it’s really hard to stay away from them for long. I’m not sure what I’d post about if I did have a regular schedule — since I’m not going to return to writing poetry or flash fiction any time soon. I hope you understand. Writing the longer stories is like a drug that pulls me in and gives me a rush that’s amazing.