“Love as Thou Wilt.”

So, many of you might be familiar with the writings of Jacqueline Carey. She is a highly respected author of epic fantasy, among other things. And while she has had critically-acclaimed books in several genres (check out “Santa Olivia” if you want an interesting take on lesbian love in an almost unrecognizable America) she is perhaps most famous for her “Terre D’Ange” series.

The books take place in a Europe that never was, but one that might have been. A Europe where Christianity never gained ascendancy, but where all the native religions survived intact. So you have the Skaldi (barbarian easterners) worshiping Othinn, and the city-states of Caerdicca Unitas (a fragmented Roman empire) worshiping Jupiter and Asherat-of-the-Sea.

To make a long story short, our heroes hail from the land of Terre D’Ange, which is basically the old Roman province of Gaul (France and western Germany). The people who live there are literally children of angels, seven angels who came to earth and mingled their blood with mortals.

“Alana,” I hear you saying, “this is all interesting, but what does it have to do with erotica?”

Well, impatient reader, here’s the deal. In these stories, prostitution is a sacred calling. The angels who came to earth, specifically, Naamah, sold their bodies so their leader could eat. The one credo by which the people of Terre D’Ange live is ‘Love as thy wilt.’ Which means that no love is forbidden as long as both parties consent.

I have made that phrase the foundation of my personal beliefs as far as writing erotica is concerned. Love as thou wilt. Which does not, let me emphasize, condone rape, non-consent, mind-control, or anything underage. In Terre D’Ange, rape is a blasphemy, punishable by death, because it takes away the free will of the one being attacked. And personally, I can’t stomach anything that smacks of violence or abuse. Oh, I know how role-play can add a little spice to the bedroom. But anything more makes me ill.

Incest? Carey never overtly mentions it. However, there is one scene in the first trilogy where our courtesan-heroine Phedre is contracted for a night of pleasure by a brother and sister. And in her second trilogy, our hero, Imriel, (SPOILER ALERT!) ends up marrying his first cousin twice removed (his father was her great-grandfather’s brother).

So, love as thou wilt. Write as thou wilt. Read as thou wilt.

And cherish your freedom to do so.

Advertisements

So Why Erotica?

tumblr_oh92mtgiey1u0yn8wo1_500

GRAB MY BUTT!

“So, Alana,” I can hear you saying. “Your first post was interesting and witty, although I don’t understand your grudge against monkeys. But why do you write erotica? Couldn’t you choose a more socially acceptable medium with which to influence people, and also make truckloads of undeclared personal income?”

Well, let me think you for reading, first of all. And to answer your question, yes, I could write contemporary fiction, or urban fantasy, or even straight fantasy. If you check out my writings, you will see that I have been heavily influenced by the latter two.

But for me, at least, the pull of writing erotica is the knowledge that I do it well. I know that if I tried writing sci-fi or epic fantasy or urban fantasy, I would never, not in a million years, be as good as JRR Tolkien or Tad Williams or John Scalzi or Jacqueline Carey or Jim Butcher or Seanan McGuire. I don’t have the patience for the world-building, I wouldn’t be able to keep the plot threads properly aligned, and I would eventually give up.

But erotica? I know I can do that. And I believe I do it well. My motivation began when I was reading stories on one of the “free” erotica sites on the internet, and I thought, “I can write better than this crap.”

So I tried. The result was a 100,000 word behemoth titled “The Guardians of Heklos,” which, when published, sold like a dead fish. But with encouragement from my publisher and others in the industry, I persevered.

But it’s not just about money and ego. Okay, a lot of it is about money and ego. But behind it all, there is something else. The desire to tell a good story that, at the same time, tells us something about us. That is what my best stories do, I think. Whether it be about a man who sacrifices his life, and in the process, gains the love of an immortal nature spirit (“The Snow Maid”) or a young woman fleeing from years of abuse and in doing so finds love in the most unlikely place (“Innocent Passion”) or about a terminally horny succubus who finds her life entwined with a normal suburban family (“Idle Hands”), there is a point beyond immediate sexual gratification.

“But do you have to write about…taboo subjects? It’s so…icky.”

Do I have to? No. Do I want to? Yes.

I don’t consider taboo and incest “icky.” I think we all bring our own personal baggage into the stories. And for me, writing about a taboo relationship means that the love, the desire, is so strong that it pierces through those societal norms and leaves us with a better knowledge about what love truly is. I don’t do it because I secretly wanted to sleep with my father or brothers, or because I was abused as a child, or for any other reason.

I do it because it’s hot.

That’s why I write erotica. I like doing it, I think I do it well, and even when I re-read a story I published over a year ago, it has the power to move me. And hopefully, bring a little light into another life.

 

Welcome!

So, yeah. I’m starting a blog.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with me and my work, my name is Alana Church, and I write erotica. I will not apologize for that fact. I state it proudly.

I write erotica. Smut. Porn.

Let’s be real honest with ourselves. One of the few things that separates us from the monkeys is out ability to communicate. Some people say that monkeys do that, too, but that is only because monkeys are evil and are just waiting for humans to let their guard down.

Don’t trust monkeys, is what I’m saying here.

Communication can take many forms. Written communication has the ability to lift us up or cast us down. It can have the incandescent beauty of the prose of Tolkien, or the black ugliness of the comment boards on youtube.

At its best, it teaches us something about ourselves. And erotica, at its heart, is no different. When we read erotica, we find out what arouses us. What makes us tick. Sometimes, that knowledge makes us uncomfortable. And sometimes, it can lead to insights about our own sexuality which may help us lead more fulfilling lives.

Also, sometimes people pay to read my writing, which is awesome.

So, welcome to the blog. Over the next weeks, months, years (?) I will be posting my thoughts. They might have to do with erotica, my writing, and books. They might have to do with politics. They might have to do with the travails of the University of Illinois athletics program.

Whatever it is, I hope we can enjoy some laughs along the way.

Alana