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When Disaster Strikes.....

My computer died an untimely death this week, taking the first iteration of this newsletter with it. The moral of the story: Back up every day, dear Queens. The work you save may be your own.

I had backed up three days earlier, which is good news and bad news. With the help of my marvelous IT-savvy partner, I was able to resurrect the book I’m writing. But the last three days of edits are gone. It is amazing how attached we are to these machines. Losing computer memory feels like amnesia.

The death of my machine followed a week that included the biggest earthquake in a century here in North Carolina, plus a hurricane at the coast. And to top it off, the same day as the earthquake, we had thunder on a sunny afternoon. All in all, a bizarre week in a bizarre year.

So, to reconstruct this newsletter.

August saw the launch of my new online Elderotica writing group. I put out an invitation on my Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and we had a great crew of highly enthused women from all over the US plus Australia. We took time to get to know one another and to review how to keep the group safe for our sharing. Then we wrote from prompts in real time and read to one another. It continues to amaze me how a quick writing prompt can kick each woman’s brain in new directions, and how incredibly varied the responses can be. Writing erotica solo is great fun, and writing in a group is a quantum leap more so. And as one woman said, “This group will make life tolerable during this pandemic.” Connection is a powerful thing.

My original impetus to write Aphrodite’s Pen was the subversive impulse to start a movement of erotic writing groups. I was convinced that groups of women past menopause empowering one another through erotic writing was a great way to push back on ageism and sexism. I’m even more convinced of the need for such groups in the sexist, ageist era of the pandemic. And at the same time, one of the silver linings of lockdown is the chance to renew connections and form new networks online. I had to leave my original writing group in California when I moved to North Carolina two years ago, but that group went online with the pandemic and invited me back. Those meetings are so electric, so supportive, and generate such great creative juice that it made me want to share this model with lots of women.

For those following along at home, here are the first prompts we used in our new online group. If you’d like to try writing from one of these prompts, the rules are: Write quickly for ten minutes, don’t stop, don’t edit, but do change pronouns at will.

Write on your choice of:

There he was at her door, all gray hair and flowers


“The older I get, the more I like indecency.”

[Virginia Woolf]

Fun, isn’t it? Even on your own. And if you would like to join an online Elderotica group, or better yet start one for women in your time zone, write to me at and I will gladly provide information and support.

With all best wishes,


Join An Elderotica Writing Group
Email me to Join In

In late July I posted an invitation on my Facebook page for women who want to participate in a new Zoom-based Elderotica writing group, based on the playful approach and supportive feedback models in Aphrodite’s Pen.

My concept is that a group of five to seven women will set a mutually agreeable time to meet online once a month. At the first meeting we will discuss group safety, including confidentiality and structured ways to give one another positive and useful feedback. 

Then at each meeting we will:

  • Start with a short “appetizer” prompt, and write for about ten minutes
  • Women who wish to do so can read their response to the short prompt and receive supportive feedback
  • Then we will continue with a longer prompt and write for about twenty minutes
  • Women who wish to do so can read their response to the longer prompt and receive supportive feedback
  • Then off we will go, empowered to write more!

Shared leadership will be key to our success. At the first meeting, I’ll review the feedback principles and provide prompts. But since I’m not planning to charge a fee, I look forward to all the women taking turns providing the short and longer prompts in later meetings.

The response to the invitation was immediate. I’ve sent out full introductory packets to the women who inquired. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of this group, and I’d love to see more such groups start up. If you’d like to be on a list of interested women for a future writing group, please email me.

New Stories & New Book Coming

In other news this month, I completed a new draft (book should be available next month) of my story collection about love and lust in a locked down community for active seniors. As you may recall, I was motivated to write these stories by the situations of two of my friends. Housed in different communities here in North Carolina, for a time these women and others similarly situated had to stay in their individual units, could not visit with neighbors, and could not leave campus except for urgent medical appointments on pain of losing access to their homes. I wanted to explore through story how women in such a circumstance could celebrate their erotic lives despite these limits. One of the threads that holds together the linked stories is a frog who travels around the community, adhering by the suction cups on his feet to the windows of people getting it on. Some readers of the draft manuscript find the frog fun and fanciful while others do not. Frogs: Appealing or disgusting? Would you be more or less inclined to read a story collection with this plot device? Feel free to cast a vote by sending me an email.

Meanwhile I’ve been reading The Rope of Life, a new memoir by Mirinda Kossoff. Mirinda tells the story of her dad, a Jew turned Southern Baptist, and how she herself grew up in a small Southern town in the Jim Crow era. She came to realize that there were far worse fates than the ostracism to which her family was subjected. Mirinda deftly shapes her anecdotes, with a writer’s understanding of the importance of sensory detail. She graciously shared some of her learning about social justice, and her thoughts about where we go from here, in a guest blog this month.

While there are many terrible things about this pandemic, including the blatant racism, ageism, and sexism it reveals, this time of decreased activity is also a chance for reflection and remembrance. Like Mirinda, many women after midlife are turning to memoir writing during lockdown. If that interests you, and if you would like to include erotic elements in your memoir, please take a look at my free online writing course as a way to uncover and structure those memories in your writing.

Speaking of reflecting and remembering, my August blog, “Third Act with Plague" (see below), is about the paradox of finding serenity during a pandemic. We women past midlife know that time is limited, and we must connect fully with our everyday lives, even with its current limitations. The guilty secret I explore in this blog is that in some ways, this shutdown may make it easier to find fulfillment in the Third Act. I will be interested to hear whether this is your experience too.

In the coming month, keep writing, keep editing, keep connecting. Our stories are important and true, even when we call them fiction. Let me know how it’s going, and while you’re at it, please say how you feel about frogs as story characters.

New From The Blog
Click for my Blog

I publish two blog articles (published online on the 10th and the 20th) and this newsletter every month, so you hear from me every ten days or so by email.
Below is a brief extract from each of last month's blogs - click the links for the whole enchilada!
If you've ever considered getting your voice out there, I welcome suggestions for topics, or a fully written guest piece in line with the philosophy of the site.  Drop me a line......

Header image for Sexuality Down the Decades
What I Did Not Know About Racism

My guest blogger Mirinda Kossoff, who grew up in small-town Danville, VA, shares a powerful recollection in What I Did Not Know About Racism of what it was like to grow up in the South one hundred years after the Civil War.

She has lived and worked in Japan and England as well as the United States. Mirinda has been a career chameleon: from social worker to newspaper editor to metalsmith and jewelry designer. She penned a weekly column for a local paper, was a public radio commentator, and taught essay writing at Duke University. In her new memoir, The Rope of Life, Kossoff explores the life of her father, a Jewish man who became a Southern Baptist, and the forces that shaped him - and her...........

Read More.....

Image for blog on Spectrum of Sex book interview with Maria Nieto
Life in the Third Act with Plague.

What it’s like to get what you want in a pandemic.

I recently read a fabulous article [registration required] by Caitlin Moran with the subtitle “Goodbye, nice, jolly, happy Caitlin. Hello, angry Caitlin.
Moran’s premise is that women spend most of our adult lives drunk on a biochemical cocktail of estrogen and endorphins, and that the stereotypical angry post-menopausal woman is just waking up to all the crap she’s put up with for decades. Objectification, childrearing, the double shift, the lost opportunities for advancement—and then one day the happy drugs drain from your system and reality bites your butt........

Read More .....

More Blog Posts
A FREE Email Writing Course
Writing Your Erotic Journey

You may remember the terrific guest post by my friend Simone LaBerge, “Sexuality Down the Decades,” where she reflected on her own sexual development from childhood to her seventies and talked about her hopes for the years ahead. 

Her writing inspired me to create a free short course to help you to reflect on your journey so far and your hopes for the days to come. 

Sign up for a fascinating interior journey, and share the details with your close friends and on social media please!

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Stella Fosse

125 S Estes Drive #4311, Chapel Hill
NC 27312 United States

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