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A Month to Remember.

It’s suddenly Fall in North Carolina. One day we were sweltering in shorts and T shirts, and the next day we froze in long pants. Flowers are still blooming, even while the leaves on the trees turn orange. It gets dark early and the sun comes up late. Soup sounds better than salad now. Here in the neighborhood, people are becoming friendlier as working from home means we are around each other more - which seems like a paradox, because at the same time, we keep our distance as we call out our conversations. Many of us are retired, and some are no longer empty nesters, as the young adult generation gives up their apartments and works from their parents’ homes (my kids are spread out all over the country, but a grandma can hope).

I’ve been dividing my time between writing, editing, and getting out the vote. I’m also teaching a class on memoir writing under my actual name and participating in two Elderotica writing groups as Stella. And I’ve recently been asked to be a beta reader for two projects: one a memoir and the other an erotic novel.

Being a beta reader is a great responsibility. I was a beta reader years ago for a novel that has sold more than a million copies, no thanks to me, because I didn’t know what I was doing back then. By now I have more of a sense of what to do and not to do. As a beta reader, I start by asking the writer what kind of feedback they want. If they’re still completing a first draft, they may need encouragement to finish the project. Many of us get sick of our work and wish we were finished with it before it is finished with us. The writer may also want to know what questions we have about their work. Where did we want to know more? Finding typos and minor grammatical errors is less important, unless the work is nearing completion.

As for my own work, I’m still completing edits on my stories of erotic life in lockdown. At the same time, we are transitioning into production, because this Love in Lockdown series will be my first venture into self-publishing. I’m looking at the genre expectations for erotica covers and thinking about what it takes to turn a complete manuscript into a published work.

I gave a presentation to a local writers’ group this month about the process of negotiating with a publisher without an agent. That presentation also got me thinking about the pros and cons of self-publishing. The bottom line is: The more you do yourself, the bigger a piece of the revenue pie you keep. Going direct to a publisher without an agent saves you the 15% of your royalties an agent would take. But self-publishing saves you much more: the 85% of revenues a publisher would take. At the same time, it means you do extra work, everything from obtaining your own ISBN numbers to taking full charge of your own publicity. After going through the publication process twice, I feel ready to take on the challenge (in part because my partner is doing a lot of the production and publicity, and my daughter designs book covers professionally). Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Meanwhile, as of this writing, we are 45 days from an incredibly high stakes election. The loss of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a towering jurist, has made the stakes just that much higher. I contribute what I can to candidates I believe in, make canvas phone calls, write voter postcards, and am about to begin a letter writing campaign as well. In 2021, state legislatures all over the country will determine the congressional districts for the next ten years based on the 2020 census, so it is extra important for all of us to vote the full ballot this year—not just the top races. And today I voted. In North Carolina we can deliver our absentee ballots to the County Election Board even before Early Voting begins, and that is what we did. It was a solemn moment. Living in a Swing State, I felt my vote counted for much more, and I was very glad to be able to vote.

May November see a free and fair election in which Americans affected by a pandemic, an economic downturn, heightened awareness of racial injustice and a devastating fire season bring our collective wisdom to the task of choosing the stewards of our democracy.

Wishing all the best to you and your family.

Take care,

Here's An Erotica Writing Tip!

In the new erotic group, we used two prompt techniques this month that you may wish to try at home.

  • There are a number of erotic Tarot decks available for purchase, for example the Decameron deck, which includes images of women after midlife. One prompt idea is to draw three cards from such a deck (either randomly or deliberately). Use the first card to inspire the beginning of your story: What is the initial situation? Use the second card to write the conflict in the story. Then use the third card as you write the resolution to the story.
  • For the second prompt, open an erotic novel or story collection and choose phrases that appeal to you. Make a chart and type them (you can re-use this same phrase collection for several stories, especially if you include a goodly number of phrases). Now pick a phrase and begin writing. Every time you begin to run out of steam, pick another phrase from your chart and keep going. Repeat until your time is up, if you are timing yourself, or until you complete your draft story.
Join An Elderotica Writing Group
Email me to Join In

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. One group launched in August 2020 and it would be great to start more

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

Then at each meeting:

  • The group starts 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 the group continues 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 go, empowered to write more!

Shared leadership is 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.

If you’d like to be on a list of interested women for a future writing group, please email me.

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 (or a guest blogger) 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
Ubuntu – I Am Because We Are

After six months of pandemic, it’s clear that this strange time exacerbates fear and brings out the human tendency to distance ourselves, to label one another as “Other”. It is easy to see when a group I belong to is labeled Other. When the health risks to older people are minimized, as in, “The deaths of older people don’t count because they would have died soon anyway.” Or this: “If supplies are scarce, treat the young, treat the able bodied.” As a white woman, I’m also troubled by blanket statements about how white women vote, as if we were all a homogeneous group joined at the hip (or the brain)...........

Read More.....

Image for blog on Spectrum of Sex book interview with Maria Nieto
Who Says Erotica is Porn?

I got into a minor spat with a romance writer one day. She was talking online about how much writing romance means to her as an older woman, which I totally understand. Just like writing erotica, writing romance for older women has that wonderful ability to bring our stories to life, for ourselves and others, and to push back on the nexus of ageism and sexism that plagues us all—especially during the pandemic.

But then my correspondent said: “Romance isn’t like erotica. Erotica is just a bunch of sex scenes strung together.” I had to demur. Clearly, she is one who says erotica is porn. I suggested she was confusing the definition of erotica and of porn.

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!

Stella's Books are Available at all good booksellers & online stores

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Stella Fosse

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

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