On Writing Eros: Who I Read

Old Books by Tom Murphy VIIThus endeth another year…

The other day I was discussing a bit about where I am taking this site going forward into 2014.

Time to have some fun.

I had mentioned Fifi was not coming back yet. Still true, although I did have another go at a re-booted (or re-pawed as the case may be) draft and still not happy with it. However, I have also been thinking long and hard at returning to something I created back in 2011 called Under Foot. Already working on the beginning concepts for a reworked first draft that may be my first post to the new meme I am hosting called A Darker Flame (posting Jan 1). The story will be redone as more of an erotic/urban fiction theme.

Why say this? Why bring all this up?

In a sense, for me, this will mark a return to where I came from.

In high school the first adult novel I ever picked up was by a man who I suspect none of you have heard of…Stephen King. It was called The Dead Zone. That novel quickly helped me to decide that King was the best writer ever and no one ever would compare. I burned through Firestarter, Cujo, Christine, Pet Sematary and the first day of university I went on my 90-minute public transit with a copy of The Stand clasped under my arm.

I walked in, so proud to be carrying that book…at least until a literature class professor handed me a copy of another little known author named Douglas Adams and his first part of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Funny enough, it was almost 20 years after that before I picked up a copy of another King novel…and not because I do not enjoy King, but simply upon finding my other writing mentors distracted me from returning to him.

42Being I have the tattoo, no doubt all of my readers are aware of my Hitchhiker fetish that has developed over the years (and there is another Hitchhiker-related tattoo on the way, just a question of when). Thanks to a university project in that class where I wrote a paper comparing Adams’ Hitchhiker’s to Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings…well, I was suddenly off to new worlds and possibilities.

Ed McBain and his police procedurals found their way onto my reading list along with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s little known detective series. Neil Gaiman and his Urban Fiction tale of Neverwhere began another reading set for me. In Science Fiction I found Peter David who brought a sense of humor to the serial Star Trek novels. Back to the horror realm with Peter Straub and his books such as Ghost Story and one of my personal favorite novels of all time, Mystery.

And I lied…speaking of Straub…during that 20-year hiatus from King, I did read Talisman and The Dark House that King co-wrote with Straub. That hiatus was more that I read no solo-work by King during that time.

Somewhat more recently my fingers have danced across some pages written by Christopher Moore’s humorous and blasphemous fiction. Highly recommend “Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal” as a glorious starting point. Have also taken the blasphemy a step further, even, with some of Richard Dawkin’s more scientific writing in “The God Delusion”, and more humorous in Jon Stewart’s “Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide”.

In fact, the closest I came to erotica was with two female authors…and yes, the above list is rather male, but…

First was J.D. Robb…a pseudonym for another one of these writers that none of you are likely to know, Nora Roberts. She did a romantic/futuristic police procedural that, due to my enjoyment of McBain’s stories, I first picked up. These were not exactly erotica, but my first turn at anything with any romantic overtones…and remember, I came from those boys who were seven when Star Wars hit theatres and if George Lucas has one flaw, he does not know how to write romance…he has other flaws in his writing, too, but let us just go with this. For the record, I have yet to read anything under Nora Roberts’ own name.

Then there was Anne Rice when I delved into her vampire stories. Quite by accident, however, I found her erotica in the Beauty series and was rather shocked at first. Shocked that I enjoyed it, more than anything else. This is likely where my BDSM interest was born.

Oddly enough, the only true erotic writers I have ever read are the friends I have found through the interwebs…and not all write erotic fiction. The sex-bloggers and other amateur fictionalists (so far) like myself.

Every so often I do delve into the professionals of this genre…last year I put my nose in a “best of 2012” set and found myself shaking my head at what I read. No issue of quality, as some of it is extremely good, but more about my knowing I cannot write like that.

So there you have it…a little window into the writers that over the past 42 (plus one) years have inspired me. One could argue other writers have inspired me that I have not really read…the aforementioned George Lucas, for example, or perhaps Joss Whedon…but of the one’s above there has been no visual aid. All in the mind.

Gestalt is a wonderful thing.

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