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Once is Not Enough

I had a fantastic time delivering my “Imagining Sex” erotic romance writing workshop last week.


First at a monthly Maryland Romance Writers meeting and then at New Jersey Romance Writers’ fantastic Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. They were great, smart audiences at both venues — if you’ve done any teaching, I’m sure you know the feeling, when your points are connecting. Great. I’d love to do it again sometime soon.

But meanwhile (as promised) here’s the supplementary reading list from the workshop.


Pam Rosenthal: Imagining Sex
Tiny Little Reading List

How to Read/Write a Dirty Story, by Susie Bright
~ Susie’s been writing and speaking about sex, sensibility, expression, intelligence, and well… freedom for decades. Funny, brilliant, essential – even if she does think erotic romance began and ended with Robin Schone. Oh, well. Skip that chapter, but read the book.

Talk Dirty to Me: An Intimate Philosophy of Sex, by Sallie Tisdale
~ Built around an essay first published in Harpers, about a simple and sensible, if radical idea. Tisdale knew that her own sexual desire was a source of mystery to her, and she had learned that pornography—that much-maligned technology for seeking, pondering, and choosing what we actually like sexually—had something to teach her. The original essay caused a scandal, and for my money, it’s still the core of the book. But I also like her further discussions of technologies of desire: the whole subculture of sexual arousal—sex stores and sex workers and sex zines—including a loving report on the art of selling dildos at Good Vibrations.

“The Romance and the Empowerment of Women,” by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, in Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women, ed. Jayne Anne Krentz
~ Why the bodice-rippers worked (even for some feminists).

Molly Weatherfield, “In Bed With Groucho And Harpo: Thoughts About Irony, Humor, And S/M Pornography”
~ My first (and in some ways best) try at an essay about hardcore erotic writing, repackaged as a blog post here.

Molly Weatherfield, “The Mother of Masochism,” originally published in
~ Salon’s title, not mine. About the writing of Story of O — in tribute, on the occasion of the author’s death. You can find a link to it here.

George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”
~ Romance writer Janet Mullany brought this one into the conversation for me. You can read it online here.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way.
~ A richness of excellent ideas and provocative thoughts.


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