Posts Tagged ‘stories’

Plagiarism

I don’t and won’t often do this, but I’m going to call out an author.

E.F. Turner has stolen from authors. I know of many, including myself, who post at Literotica. For an example, in her “Erotica Collection #9,” she has plagiarized my entire story, Island Encounter, only changing the name of the lead character from John to Justin.

My story, Island Encounter, was posted on Literotica and StoriesOnline.net in November 2010, as you can see on my submissions page. Her book was published in May of 2014, and it was hardly the only one stolen from authors. Please spread the word; if you recognize a story, please leave me a comment or if you can contact the author, do so. Most stories seem to be in the BDSM and Incest and Non-Consent categories.

I realize it’s a risk you take on the internet, posting things for free, but I’m not going to let someone take advantage of me if I can help it.

This is her Facebook page; if you can post proof of stolen stories, please do. She’s also on Goodreads. I’m not asking anyone — in fact, I explicitly ask that you don’t — to bully or otherwise harass her. Pointing out the stolen stories is enough.

Challenge stories posted

As I mentioned in the previous post, there is a “Friendly Anonymous Writing Challenge” going on over on Literotica. The stories have just posted.

I urge you to check it out; all the participants (including me) were given four “ingredients” to include in our story.  This pushed us all to think a little harder and try to be more creative, and I’m looking forward, myself, to reading the stories. Currently the stories are all in the “Chain Stories” category — an effort to keep things even, since some categories are more heavily-read than others — but they will be moved to the proper author’s pages when the contest is done.

Tell you what, if you can guess mine, I’ll send you a free PDF of one of my currently-unavailable stories  when the contest is over. You can guess over on Lit, or here on the blog.

When this is over, I will submit the story to the other sites I usually post on.

Writing something new

I have been. Honestly. For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working on a story inspired by a one-hit wonder from the early 80s. No, I won’t tell you. You’ll have to read it and guess. It’s generally a romance, but it is not my usual romance; it’s about two women. I’ve  debated posting it under another name, and then I could ask you to guess which story it is. However, as much as I toy with such things, I come down on the side of not doing it, for a couple of reasons.

First, I’m not going to have duplicate accounts on multiple sites. It’s difficult enough to manage one Penn name (haha) across various sites, that I’m surely not going to make it any more difficult by having account one and account two at those sites. And if I decide to limit a second account to just one site, well then, what’s the point? If I post under “ThisName” at Lit and “PennLady” everywhere else, people will put it together.

Second, why should I? I realize that some people will see the name “PennLady” on the sites I post on, and read it because I wrote it, and that’s flattering. However, I also realize that some people will read it and when it’s apparent that it is not a hockey romance, nor a nonhuman story (yes, I did write a few of those 🙂 ), they will downgrade it in ratings at least on a couple of sites.

This is okay and it’s happened before. A few stories I’ve written, the stand-alones that focused a bit more on the sex, tend to rate lower than my longer stories (although it differs a bit from site to site). I’ve never really tried to figure this out, because it doesn’t seem worth it. So many people read stories, and surely they stop and start again so they may miss something I post, and so many people look for different things in a story that trying to analyze this kind of reaction is useless. That way madness lies.

I frequently warn other writers not to live and die by votes or comments on the internet sites, and I try hard to do that myself. So if people don’t like this, well, tough. I wrote something, polished it up to my specifications, and that’s all I can do.

The disappointing part is that people will downgrade a story on what it is not, as opposed to what it is. So sometimes I get the feeling that I might write a story and the end result is, for some readers, “This is okay but it’s not a hockey romance, which is what I wanted, so I will rate it X instead of Y.”

Some writers, at least on Literotica, do solve this to a point by having separate accounts, and they did that to give their “different” stories more of a fair hearing. Some have had them long enough that readers know it’s the same author. But someone might have a username for their romances, another for their BDSM stories, another for something else, because in the beginning, people did not want to read a BDSM story by a usual romance author, or the romance fans didn’t want to read something that wasn’t romance.

It may help the author, too, and that’s something else I’ve thought about. For example, Nora Roberts writes a romance/mystery/thriller series focused on a policewoman in New York City set in 2060, under the name JD Robb. Many copies of the books have this info plopped on the cover: “Nora Roberts writing as JD Robb.” So it seems it’s not a detriment to her to have this link known. But I wonder if perhaps she can slip into the JD Robb persona and that allows her to write the … In Death series in a somewhat different style than she does her romances.

Writers are often advised to a) write what you know and b) write for themselves. I’ll focus on b), which I agree with mostly. If I don’t enjoy the story I’m writing, or agree with where it’s going, I likely won’t finish it, let alone post or publish it. On the other hand, I don’t want to leave the reader completely at sea. You do a lot of things for the reader when you write — you describe characters, make sure events and relationships are clearly delineated, things like that. As the writer, you may have all that in your head, but you need to communicate it to the reader. To me, that’s a top rule of writing: Make it understandable to the reader.

Readers also get comfortable with writers writing certain types of stories, and it’s a bit of a chance for that writer to go out of the box. I was discussing this on a forum once, and someone posted and said that they liked a certain author because that author good lesbian stories. In fact, the author was a favorite because they wrote lesbian stories. If that author started writing straight romances, the reader said, they would no longer like the author.

I said wait, what, why? Why does one story in another category have to knock an author of your list entirely? (I may be misstating but I don’t think so, and there are some people who will think this way.) I mean, I love Neil Gaiman’s stories, which are almost all in the realm of fantasy or the fantastical. If he wrote a straight-up murder mystery, to be honest, I’d be all over that. I’d want to see what one of my favorite authors could do in another genre.

But that’s probably not the best comparison, because in my above example, the reader was lesbian and preferred lesbian fiction and did not care for straight fiction. No problem. I still don’t see why, though, one story out of the normal routine would be such a mark against an author.

It’s quite possible that my stand-alone stories are voted down because they are not as well done as my longer ones. That’s cool.  I hope not, but that’d be a fine reason. However, as a writer I need to try different things, just like musicians need to experiment with sounds an genres. Writing the same thing gets dull. There’s a comfort in the routine, admittedly, and I like to go back to my fluff sometimes, but sometimes I want to stretch and try something else. I just hope the readers will stretch, too.

 

Interview with me

NaughtyMiranda over at EroticStories.com was kind enough to interview me via some email questions. The interview is available at their site, but I believe  you need at least a free account there, so I can’t link directly to it. I can, however, reproduce it here. Hope you enjoy. 🙂

Q. What and when was the first story you published here?

A. The first story was called “Make a Wish,” a romance about a woman who comes into possession of a genie in a lamp, but she is reluctant to make a wish, which puts the genie in an odd position. I like to take common situations and try to find a slightly different take on them.

Q. How many stories have you published since then?

A. Not as many as I’d like; I guess I’d say between 10 and 15. I have written a number of stories, long and short, and for a while a few were available as e-books on Amazon. I had published with an e-publisher called Republica Press, but they had to shut down. Running an e-publishing house is more complicated than most people realize, I think.

I had a nonhuman romance trilogy about three weretiger sisters, another about a werewolf – which I have plans for sequels for – and a collection of romances centering on ice hockey that I published with another author. I’m a big hockey fan.

I still have two short stories available on Amazon via a little group called Yellow Silk Dreams. One is called “The Collection,” and I was aiming for a little of the Twilight Zone feel with that. The other is “Light and the Darkness,” about an artist and a vampire.

Q. What was your most recent one?

A. “Rhythm and the Blue Line” was my most recent novel-length story, about a female musician, Ryan Bancroft, who becomes involved with a hockey player named Brody Lang. One of the obstacles was that Ryan came from a sports-crazy family, was even named after sports figures, but she’s a musician who can’t stand sports.

“King’s Bay” was a stand-alone story written for a summer contest, and was heavier on the sex than many of my stories. I took some inspiration for that from “The Odyssey,” as well as a song called “Cannibal Surf Babe” by my favorite group, Marillion.

Q. To begin with, what can you tell us about yourself? Three or four points that will help your fans get to know you a little better

A. 1. If you’ve read my stories you’ve probably noticed a couple of recurring elements – I won’t say themes – like movies and ice hockey. I’m a big fan of both, and try to put some references in here and there. I admit they’re more for my own benefit than anything, but I hope the readers enjoy them, too. My favorite movie is Dark City, followed closely by Casablanca.

2. I like to laugh, and try to put some humor in my stories. We an all use a laugh here and there.

3. Although I have two kids and love them to bits, I dislike stories with “kids in danger” and don’t write such things. I don’t mind kids in the stories generally, say in a supporting role, but I hate kids being taken or otherwise in danger. I can’t help thinking of both how I’d feel if my child were in such a position, and how scared the child would be.

4. Although I haven’t written any, I’m a big sf/fantasy fan.

Q. What do you look for in a lover… and what do you look for in a one-night stand?

A. Truth is, I never had a one-night stand. I don’t think I could. I have nothing against them, it’s just not something I could do. I don’t think that sex means there must be a big relationship or commitment for the people involved, but it would for me personally.

Also, it took reading and writing some stories to find out what more there was to do and how to do it and things like that. So my husband and I have had some fun there. 😉

I think the most important thing for any lover is to be open and respectful of your partner. Or partners, if you’re into that. You have to communicate and you have to listen. I think a lot of people are too nervous to talk about what they like or don’t, and that makes things tough all around.

Q. Tell us some of your sexual preferences.

A. Once there was this rubber duck… um, never mind.

Q. Oh, you rotten tease! When you began writing erotic stories -and why?

A. My husband and I relocated when he got a new job, and I had a lot of time to myself at home. I had some telework to do, but still, a lot of time. So I searched for online romance and the first things that came up were some erotic websites which also had romance categories in them.

So I checked them out, and after my initial surprise and shock, started looking into different categories. I read some group sex, even non-con and things like that. I quickly found that I prefer romance in general, and had no real liking for categories like non-consent.

As I was reading, I thought, I could do this, and I decided to try. “Make a Wish” was my first effort. “Exiled,” the first of my were trilogy, was the next, I think. I’d written some stories before – not erotic – but finishing a story was a great thing. Once you know you can finish a story I think it makes starting the next one easier.

Q. What is it about writing erotica that you most enjoy?

A. I like coming up with new characters, and getting them together, and having them learn about each other. Trying to put in some real-life elements is fun, and as I said I like to work in my movie references and other things.

As for writing the sex, that’s often a challenge. Let’s face it, it all kind of ends up in the same way. What I’ve found is that the challenge is to make what leads up to the sex erotic and interesting; the sex itself is often secondary.

Q. Does your partner or any of your friends know that you write? What do they think?

A. My husband knows, and some friends. They enjoy it, as far as I know. With my husband I know I can write something out, let him read it and see how “hot” he thinks it is. Plus if I’m not sure I can always try it out.

Q. What is your favorite category to write in, and why?

A. Romance in general, I think, is my favorite, although I might have to go with the nonhuman sub-genre, if I can say that. I find that adding in fantastical elements can often give you some freedom you don’t have otherwise, and also it’s just fun. I liken it to the original Star Trek series. For instance, there was an episode where the Enterprise crew encounters a planet whose inhabitants have black and white faces, literally black on one side and white on the other. (Trivi:. the guy who played the Riddler in the old Batman series was in this one, Frank Gorshin.)

However, some people had black on the right side of the face, others on the left. This created a divide between them, not-so-subtly mirroring the divisions on race in the U.S. Don’t forget, this would have been around the time of the Civil Rights Act.

Could Trek have just done a black v. white episode? Maybe, but this is one thing sci-fi and fantasy lets people do and always has. You can address a real issue by making a parallel fictional one and sometimes that’s what you need to see so you can say, “Wow, that’s dumb.”

ST also had TV’s first interracial kiss, between Kirk and Uhura in the episode “Plato’s Stepchildren,” if I recall. It was forced, because the titular people were playing the crew like puppets, but it still got done. The science fiction setting allowed things that a regular show wouldn’t have.

When I wrote Exiled, the central idea was that a woman weretiger had lost her ability to shift. As a result, she was banished from her family because her father, the clan leader, feared such a problem might call his fitness to lead into question. So I could look into what happens when a parent does that, and when it turns out to be a mistake? She lost the man she loved – how do you deal with that?

I obviously should have mentioned before that I am sort of a geek and know lots of goofy trivia.

Q. How much of yourself do you include in your stories?

A. I don’t know exactly. I certainly don’t set out and say, “This character will be like me.” For one thing, that’d get old fast. If I wanted to write me, I’d write an autobiography. But sure bits and pieces of me get in, or I realize I can’t use my reaction to something and so have to go the opposite way. I do include a lot of little things I’ve experienced.

In “Nothing Gets Through,” another hockey romance, the two leads meet at a coffee shop, after two people walk in and have a fight. I based that on an experience I had at a Burger King in the Netherlands. Also in that story, when Lani (the female lead) recounts the story of being at a nearly-perfect baseball game and that is from an experience I had attending a Baltimore Orioles’ game.

Sigh, Mike Mussina came within four outs of a perfect game.

Q. Is there anything that happens in your stories that you would really like to try in “real life”, but haven’t yet been able to?

A. I would love to turn into a tiger, but I’m still working on it.

Q. One thing that I love about ES is that you very quickly build up a community of fans, who enjoy writing to and hearing from their favorite authors. Have you ever gone further and started IMing, texting or even met any of your fans?


A. Yes. I’ve struck up a few online friendships, although they’re more with fellow authors than fans, but we’re each others’ fans, so it works out. I do have a Facebook page and a blog, and some fans will post there, and I appreciate that.

It’s really flattering when someone takes the time to write you an email or comment about your story. Obviously it’s more enjoyable when it’s complimentary, but still, even constructive criticism means that person was struck enough by something in the story to take the time to tell me about it.

Going on a bit of a tangent, I’ve also found that as I learn about writing, and write more, I enjoy doing some beta reading or editing for other writers. I’m no professional, so it’s all my opinion, which they are free to ignore, but it often leads to some good give and take. And I find that it often helps me to think about my own stories when I review someone else’s.

Q. How do you feel when you receive negative comments or very low votes from readers?

A. I’ve been very fortunate to have high votes, and receive few negative comments. Even most of the negative comments have been civil, so they don’t bother me.

More generally, I always advise people not to live and die by votes or comments on any story site. My refrain is usually “This is not peer review.” And how seriously can you take an anonymous comment that says, “This story sucks an u r a bad writur?” Why should I care what a stranger thinks, especially when they express it so badly?

If someone doesn’t like my story, well, that’s too bad but others do. So you concentrate on that.

Q. What do you think is the best story you have published here?

A. That’s a tough one, so I’ll waffle a little and break it down into different categories. I think “Rhythm and the Blue Line,” though not without flaws, is my best novel story to date. I think “King’s Bay” may be the sexiest story in terms of the actual sex. And “Who Cares What I Wear?” is one I like as well.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of this interview and your fans? Now is your chance…

A. This is always a tough question… Go Caps!

Thanks for reading this and any of my stories you’ve read, and for comments you’ve left. I do try to respond to comments, which is why it’s better if you leave one with a username as opposed to anonymously. Feedback really is tremendously appreciated.

I like to try new things, so if you start reading a story that doesn’t seem like my “usual,” please give it a chance. It’s as boring to write the same thing as it is to read it, I’m sure.

A final thing is an assurance that although it’s been a while, I have not stopped writing. I haven’t had much chance to do it – life gets in the way, much as we wish it didn’t. But I do have two kids and a husband and a house and all of that, and sometimes when I do get some time to write, I just can’t focus. I’m not sure this will improve as summer vacation looms, but I’m always trying.

Q. Finally, do you have a website or a blog, where your fans can visit and maybe learn more about you?

A. Yes. 😀

I have a blog at http://wordpress.evemcfadden.com. I wish I could say I updated it on a more regular basis, but that’d be dishonest, and not a good way to start a relationship. I do try, though.

I also have a Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/eve.mcfadden. Again, I don’t update as often as some people, but then sometimes there’s just not much to say.

 

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