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Musings September 2007

Spotlight on an Editor of Erotica: Liam Stalls


Liam Stalls is editor of erotica for:


Red Rose


Loose Id




Carnal Desires, a subsidiary of Double Dragon publishing



Here Liam shares some tips for writers who want to be published in this genre.


1. Is Liam Stalls your real name? If not, what made you choose it?


Liam is not my real name. It’s not because I am ashamed to edit soft erotica romance. The reason is simple: I write, and have been published, in various genres so I try to keep erotica separate from my other books.


2. You are the erotica editor for Loose Id, Red Rose and Carnal Desires. Does that mean you have the final say in the choice of manuscripts for publication?


Each publishing house has their own guidelines for editors to follow.


In two of the publishing houses above, the manuscript is selected and approved for publication before it reaches the editor. My task is then to edit and see if I can tighten the plot, flesh out the characters a bit more, watch for inconsistencies, locate typos and grammatical mistakes, and so forth.


The other publishing house submits a manuscript to editors, then we read and evaluate. After that, it’s handed back to a Management Team who reevaluate, then decide. So far, the editor’s evaluation has been spot on and Management has agreed. If it was a rejection, the author is notified of our decision, asked to make certain changes and invited to resubmit.  If it was an acceptance, a contract is offered and we live happily ever after. Then the fun begins! We discuss several edits, line edits, blurb and cover art. There’s a nervous rush to make sure we meet the proposed release date, a sure fire way to lose weight since deadlines are on your mind and not food.


3. What is your own background in writing/publishing erotica?


I have written erotica but haven’t had the time to fine-tune my own books. Balancing my job as an editor at times means my own work is delayed,, because I made a commitment to hone another’s manuscript. However, editing has taught me to write tighter the first time around, thus eliminating several rewrites. In the end, it does balance itself out.


4. Can you give writers some idea of what you are NOT interested in having submitted to you?


Most definitely. If there’s anything remotely connected to children I won’t even take a second look. Bondage, beatings, rapes, and the taste of some ‘yellow’ drinks puts me off immediately.


I look for a storyline along with the sexual entanglements because one without the other really isn’t worth reading. Just because the genre is ‘erotica’, doesn’t mean the whole manuscript needs to be focused on sex. There has to be a strong plot and setting and a justification, along with a bond for the main characters, the same you would have in any other genre book.


5. Can you give writers some tips to help them make it out of the slush pile?


I’d be happy to offer some tips.


Regardless if you’re writing erotica or not, a strong command of storytelling is your best weapon to get an acceptance. Grab your reader with characters that jump out of the page. Give them life. Give them a sense of existence, pain, hurt, or jealousy – give them a reason for their actions.


Remember that a story has three main areas of interest: a beginning, a middle and an ending. The beginning needs to hook the reader immediately. The middle needs to keep stringing them along to find out what is going to happen. The needle on the manuscript Richter Scale needs to keep going up, with added suspense, inner conflicts coming out, obstacles to overcome. Your ending needs to put every single obstacle and foreshadow to bed. Omit a few and your reader will pick up on it. It leaves an ‘I’m not going to buy any more of this author’s books again ‘ taste in their mouth.


6. What would you recommend as examples of best practice in erotica?


Well, I have two excellent examples, each in a different word count to show you that erotica, just like any other genre, has the potential to strike its awe-surrounding bind in a reader whatever the length of the story.

A Little White Lie is a short erotica story about one woman’s predicament and a solution that becomes available to her, but without her consent. In a fit of anger and desperation, she lies to her sister about having a date for an engagement party. Without revealing anything more, I’ll add this story keeps you moving forward, trying to see what the outcome will be. Although the sexual tones are hot and sexy, it’s the storyline, the constant tug of war battle between two sisters, which keeps you glued to the book. The author is Aliyah Burke and it’s published by Red Rose Publishing.

The Onyx Palace is part of a series.  All the books link together, yet each stands alone. This Multicultural Paranormal Suspense novel has mystery, romance, martial arts, and the wonderful world of fantasy. It doesn’t rely on the erotic aspect alone, but is a fully fleshed out story with interesting characters to pull you into the read. The Onyx Palace is written by Diane Charles Linford and Jade Rivers and published by Loose ID.


7. Are there subgenres in erotica romance?


There are subgenres in erotica romance novels just as there are in romance. The only difference between these two 'styles' of writing is that one includes explicit and detailed accounts of the sexual acts whereas the other one implies and gives different descriptive details.

My favourite erotica genres are horror (vamps, werewolves) and fantasy. You get to read about different creatures and worlds and it's always interesting to see how the writer brings in the erotica in these two genres.


Many thanks to Liam for providing that insight.



Some other publishers of erotica


Tie them up, chain them down, press the envelope. Bring your darkest fantasies to life. Liquid Silver Books is known for publishing classy, hot, distinctive erotic romances. Now we want to take our stories to a hotter, steamier level. With our new Molten Silver line, we want the stories that are hot enough to melt silver. We’re looking for the naughty, the boundary-pushing, the “holy crap, that was awesome.”




We at eXtasy Books are proud of the reputation we have earned for the quality of both our novels and shorter works. This doesn't happen by accident.

WE ARE CURRENTLY ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS. We accept submissions in all the sub-genres: romance, sensual romance, BDSM, G/L/B, interracial, African/American, Alternate Lifestyles, Gay/Lesbian, and any and all combinations thereof. We embrace the unusual and original, and are interested in all heat levels. If it's outside the box, feel free to send it.

Read what Piers Anthony has to say about many internet publishers here:


This page is not limited to erotica.




Quote of the Month:

In honour of our guest, who better to quote than Chilean writer, Isabel Allende, who said,”For women, the best aphrodisiacs are words. The G-spot is in the ears. He who looks for it below there is wasting his time.” Isabel differentiated between pornography and erotica thus: “Erotica is using the feather; pornography is using the whole chicken.” I like what she has to say here: ”That is the best part of writing: finding the hidden treasures, giving sparkle to worn out events, invigorating the tired soul with imagination, creating some kind of truth with many lies.”



Have you been to these sites?


Harlequin Super Romance is sponsoring a Conflict of Interest writing contest. They're looking for stories with "heightened emotional conflict that raises the stakes -- and the sexual tension -- for your hero and heroine." Submit the scene or moment that best illustrates the conflict between the hero and heroine, along with the first chapter and a synopsis of no more than ten pages. The contest is open to both published and unpublished writers. Prizes include a critique by a Superromance editor, a one-year's subscription to Harlequin Superromance (72 books) and the possibility of publication. Deadline to enter is October 31, 2007. For contest rules, see


Do you need an illustrator? Kathe Gogolewski shows some of fantastic book art here:


Notorious Press invites authors to submit short fiction to be considered for inclusion in the upcoming mystery/crime anthology HOW’D THEY DO THAT? (temporary title) edited by Jenifer Nightingale-Ethier. General theme is that all stories will center on quirky methods of committing or solving a crime. That’s right, the “quirky” part can be acts by either the criminals or the investigators, or both. This title will be a PoD trade paperback with a release date of early 2008. Paying $50 for new stories in the 2,000 to 8,000 word range. Deadline to submit is October 21, 2007.  More at



50- plus Travel Magazines that want to publish your writing:


FundsforWriters Sixth Annual Essay Contest - MAKE US WANT TO BE YOU!
Once again, FundsforWriters offers its annual essay contest with
two themes to choose from - both asking you to MAKE US WANT TO BE
YOU! As always, FFW offers two categories - ENTRY FEE and NO ENTRY
FEE. First prizes of $200 and $50; second prizes of $20 and third
prizes of $10. Deadline
October 31, 2007. 


Joke of the Month

The goal: to write a short story in as few words as possible.

The stipulation: it must contain religion, sexuality and mystery.

The winning entry: “Good God! I’m pregnant. I wonder who the father is.”