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My Dad writes Porn

E. H. Howard

After squealing louder than an air raid siren, this was how my daughter described my writing aspirations to anybody who would listen. Although she’s a grown woman with a family, the thought of her father even knowing about sex made her feel queasy (I guess we all feel that way about our parents). Whilst less vocal, my other two children were equally perturbed by my behaviour.

It all started when I won a competition with a short erotica story and decided that it was a good format for me. With the 2011 nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) coming up, I decided to try not only to write erotica, but to do it in a month. I had a plan. The year before, I’d drafted 25 chapter headings, each to be 2k words to hit the target. I did the same for my planned erotica, but just like reality sex, each chapter was over too quickly. I couldn’t pace myself at all.

My own definitions are that Porn is gratuitous sex, for the sake of depicting sex. It has nothing to do with relationships. Erotica is creating sexual scenarios the reader can fantasise about being in. All writers want the reader to live through their character’s eyes and erotica is creating a whole-body experience.

My attempt at full-blown erotica became a serial bonk fest in various positions. It wasn’t satisfying for me to write. Therefore, regardless of how much I tried, I knew I was failing. I shifted more towards incorporating stimulating encounters within a story. Sex provided another dimension to engage the reader. It heightened tension just as much as the creaking stair, or darkened passage.

One of the difficulties of writing sex is the vocabulary of the mechanics. Certain “real” words work, others don’t. Clitoris seems OK, shortened to clit, it’s possibly even better. Penis is awful, shortened to pen, I think that’s going places we shouldn’t. Therefore, I had to settle on my own words I felt comfortable with. I also believe there’s a US and a British syntax, but most English speakers get the gist of most euphemisms. Wang, Dang and Dong all work in their place.

An extra challenge is that I often write from a female point of view. Even though I have a lot of female friends, I swear I’ll never understand what goes on inside their heads. Of course it might just be the women I know, but their urges, hungers and impulses really don’t appear different to a man’s.

Like most men, I’ve smirked at Jack Nicholson’s advice in the film, As Good as it Gets, ‘Write it like a man, but then remove reason and accountability.’
Isn’t the truth that regardless of gender, we all want to give and receive pleasure? I try to show my characters taking this to the point of ecstatic oblivion.

Of course I’m aroused by what I write. I think if it doesn’t work for me, then I’m not hitting the spot. Of course on the tenth edit, the moves are becoming known, but it still works at some level.

A key theme for Amara’s Daughter was that sexual orientation or gender has nothing to do with being good or bad. To do this, I had to depict both predatory and consensual sex. Doing so pushed the book way out of the Disney-clean, wholesome YA category, but then who decided young adult is 13 year olds? Show me a group of over 16’s where sex isn’t an overriding part of their behaviour and thinking. As most young people now get their first impressions of sex from internet porn, I’m in agreement with a recent report suggesting YA authors should consider putting more authentic sex scenes into their literature.

Surely, it’s naïve to think that by keeping adult themes to specifically adult books we’re protecting anybody. I deliberately made the decision to make each sexual encounter more intense as the book progressed on the basis that if the attempted rape in the first chapter offended the reader, they really didn’t want to get to chapter 13 …

Swords, Sandals and Sex – High
fantasy on speed
Carved from ice with blades of fire, the rigidly feminist state of Serenia breeds heroes

Unimaginably perfect, Amara the Magnificent, the legendary Ultimate Warrior is their greatest.

Five years since Amara’s mysterious
disappearance, her daughter, Maryan, struggles to escape her mother’s
formidable shadow. Shunned by most, her only friends are oddball characters
from the edge of society.

The Queen sees Maryan as an asset to
the nation, a pawn to play with and a pretty bauble to appease the neighbouring
king, but lurking beneath the surface, an ancient terror plots to wipe out
Maryan’s bloodline.

Friend, lover, and more, Amara’s
Daughter is a turbulent, rite of passage story tracing Maryan’s growth from
naive schoolgirl to the woman destiny needs her to be.

About E. H Howard in his own words:
E. H Howard
‘Living in Cheshire with my wife and our two dogs (Milly and Molly,) I’ve run a successful computer consultancy for many years. The business continues to thrive and I feel blessed that people pay me to solve complex problems for them.

One day, we hope to spend a portion of our year on the Greek islands, where I would love to spend most days writing, but for now, I’m content that with three adult children, I’m being presented with grandchildren at a fabulous rate.

I split my writing time between short stories and novels. I love to take the challenge of creating a viable story in a reduced number of words for flash competitions.

At the top of my list of all-time favourites are CS Lewis and JRR Tolkein. Following them are Robert Jordan and Trudi Canavan, with a whole host of modern writers cramming up behind, including Kim Harrison (Hollows series), Margaret Stohl/ kami Garcia (Caster Chronicles) and Ben Aaaronovitch (Rivers of London.)’
Something to titillate your senses

Click ‘more’ for an extract of Amara’s Daughter

A snippet from 
Amara’s Daughter

“I hoped you’d
come.” Fredrick rose from the chair, a silhouette against the window.

A tingle ran
through her and she was in his arms without a thought. His mouth covered hers.
The passion of his embrace drowned all reason.

He lifted her,
sweeping her back and forcing her onto the desk with her legs straddled wide
around his hips. One hand gripped behind her head, holding her in a kiss, the
other pressed against her breast before sliding along her body, moving lower,
prying at the folds of her garments.

“Stop!” She jerked
her head aside to break his kiss.

He kept his weight
pressed against her, but lifted from the kiss to study her face. “Why? Why
“I’m to marry

His hand kept
searching, probing, touching. “He’d never know.”
“I would.”
“We could run away.
I’ve collected a lot of money over the last few months. We could work as guards
down in Baraland.”

Shadowed in the
gloom, she thought she could still see traces of the boy she’d loved. She sat
up from the desk, holding him against her. Nestled into the muscle of his
shoulder she listened to their twin hearts beating.
Finding her earlobe
with his teeth, he raked his fingers across her back. The heat of his breath drew
her farther into wild imaginings. She could feel the bulge of his erection
against her, a forbidden and sensual pressure. Mere fabric was all that
prevented him from entering her. He started to fumble at his waist to loosen
his belt.

“No!” She shoved
him back and stood up.

“I bet the others
have poisoned you against me, haven’t they?” He swept one hand back across his
shaggy hair. “One damned mistake.” His eyes flickered away from hers.

“Tell me about that
one mistake.”

Questions answered about Amazon’s KDP

A Beginner’s Guide to Amazon’s KDP Select Program


Marquita Herald
I would love to have $1 for every posting I’ve come across in an online forum or author group with the question “Is KDP worth it?”

Now I admit, even when you find your way to the KDP Select area at Amazon, there really is a lot of information to slog through, and participation does after all involve an exclusive commitment; so it’s human nature to want to look for feedback from others who have experience with the program. The problem is we humans are born storytellers, and the stories we tell are naturally laced with personal editing and biases that may or may not provide a good indicator of whether the program will work for you.

So, with that in mind, I invested some time compiling a list of the most frequently asked questions I could find about the KDP Select program. Along with answers and a few tips, I’ve also tried to clear up some common misunderstandings.

What is the difference between KDP and KDP Select?

KDP stands for Kindle Digital Publishing and is Amazon’s basic publishing platform. There are no requirements for exclusivity to publish your books to Amazon using the basic platform.

KDP Select is Amazon’s promotional program for authors, and participation does require that your book be published exclusively to this program for a minimum of 90 days.

How does KDP Select work?

KDP Select features a $6 million annual fund dedicated to independent authors and publishers. The basic enrollment period is 90 days, and participation includes the option of offering books free to readers up to 5 days each period. Participation also includes enrollment in Amazon’s Kindle Owners’ Lending Library (often referred to as KOLL), which means you can earn a share of the fund based on how frequently your book is borrowed.

KDP Select is set up so that books are automatically renewed at the end of the promotional period, but if you decide not to renew, you can easily opt out by simply going to the book’s “Edit book details” page and un-checking the box next to “Automatically renew this book’s enrolment in KDP Select.”

What does it mean to publish exclusively on Kindle?

When you choose KDP Select for a book, you’re committing to make the digital format of that book available exclusively on Kindle. This means that during the enrolment period you cannot distribute your book digitally anywhere else, including sites such as Barnes & Noble or Smashwords, or on your website, blogs, etc. However, you can continue to distribute your book in physical format, or in any format, other than digital.

Can I use previews or excerpts to promote my book?

While Amazon support is quick to point out that readers can view a snippet of your book on your book page, and read it for free as a Prime member, they confirmed to me that authors are allowed to use digital previews to promote books elsewhere. The guideline is the preview must not exceed one third of the contents of the book.

Does my book have to have an ISBN (international standard book number) to publish to Kindle?
No. In fact all books published to Amazon are assigned their own book number, called an AISN which stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number.

Will I have to enroll all of my books in KDP Select?

No. In fact many series authors enroll just one of their books to entice new readers to buy other books in the series.

How do I enroll my titles in KDP Select? When does enrolment become effective?

Existing titles can be enrolled from the bookshelf. To enroll a single title, you can simply click “Enroll.” Existing titles can also be enrolled from the book editing process.

New titles can be enrolled from the book details page. Simply check the box to “Enroll this book in KDP Select” and proceed to publish the book as you normally would.

For titles already live in the Kindle Store, enrollment takes effect immediately. For new titles, enrollment takes effect once the book is available for sale on the Amazon website.

And finally, the most frequently asked question of all!

Is KDP Select Worth It?

The bottom line is you are the only one who can decide if the program will be right for you … but I’d start by answering one simple, but all important question.

How well is your digital book selling on other platforms now?

Of course there are no guarantees that KDP Select, or any other e-book sales platform, will work, but if your sales on the other platforms have been stale, or non-existent, then taking a three-month gamble on KDP Select could prove to be a valuable experiment.

Here are four basic strategies I’ve used to make the most of Amazon KDP Select sales.

1. Complete your author profile at Amazon’s Author Central. You can upload book trailers, and if you have a blog, once you set up the link snippets of your latest posts will appear on your author page. If you’re active on Twitter you can link your account to your page; but consider whether your tweets will support your books before you do. I use a link to my author page in my email signature, in social media, article marketing and guest posts. If your book is available worldwide, you’ll also want to take the time to complete your author page for other countries. You can sign in with the same username and password, but you’ll have to set up a separate author page for each area. Is it worth the effort? Within 2 weeks of completing my author profiles on the international Amazon platforms, I saw first time sales from Germany, France and Italy!

2. There is no question that good reviews will help you sell more books. But don’t fall into the trap of waiting to promote your book until you have a stack of good reviews. The first time I ran a KDP Select free promotion for one of my books I ignored advice to wait until I had at least ten good reviews. At the time I only had 2, but both were solid 5-star, so I decided to go for it. I earned $200 with that promotion, which is double what experts say a new author typically earns in their first year!

3. Whether you decide to try KDP Select or not, remember it’s up to you to market your book. Make a habit of promoting your book(s) at least a couple of different ways every single day. I normally begin spreading the word about my KDP Select free day promotions a full two weeks in advance!

Hopefully, this article has helped to clear up some of the misconceptions 
surrounding the KDP Select program, and has given you some tools to logically evaluate whether KDP Select is for you!

It’s Your Time NOW
A Guide to Living Your Life

There are really only two ways to live … 

You can glide along and let things happen, reacting to whatever comes your way. Not necessarily bad, but in choosing to live this way you relinquish control of your life to serendipity … good luck, bad luck, whatever the fates happen to serve up.

Or, you can be an active participant – making intentional choices and decisions, creating focus and direction, and turning dreams into reality. But the question is, where do you even begin to create meaningful change when you’re already up to your eyeballs with demanding relationships, commitments and emotional baggage?

With the belief that you deserve and are capable of becoming all that you are meant to be. In fact, as you begin living with greater intention you become more aware of the power you have to take advantage of the opportunities in adversity, cultivate the confidence to determine the direction of your life, and the courage to own your choices – no excuses, no regrets.

No matter where you are in life now, It’s Your Time Now will help bring into focus the steps to guide you on your personal journey to mastering life by design.

Author Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald is a transformation guide, the creator of
the life by design blog IGG-Tips, Tools and Tantalizing Ideas, and the author
of three books: Stepping Stones to Greater Resilience, Inspirational Words of
Wisdom for Challenging Times, and It’s Your Time Now – A Guide to Living Your
Life by Design. 

Her professional background includes a successful 20 year
career in hotel sales and marketing, followed by a decade as a life and small
business coach.