“If you ever looked at me once with what I know is in you, I would be your slave.”
― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Please join me in welcoming I.J. Miller to Exile on Peachtree Street. Miller is the author of five, distinct, literary, erotic works of fiction: SEESAW was translated into two languages, with over 130,000 copies in print; WHIPPED appeared in both English and German; SEX AND LOVE, a collection of short stories, made its debut in the summer of 2011; CLIMBING THE STAIRS, a novella, was released just a year later. His latest novel, WUTHERING NIGHTS, is an erotic retelling of Emily Bronte’s classic, Wuthering Heights, and is published by the Grand Central Publishing imprint of Hatchette Books. It is available now as an e-book and will be in bookstores as a trade paperback and audio book on April 23. Miller has a Master of Fine Arts from the American Film Institute and has taught creative writing and screenwriting at the university level.
The following previously appeared in The Huffington Post, April 23, 2013...
AN EROTIC HISTORY
by I.J. Miller
The year was 1970 B.E.L.J. (Before E.L. James) and I was a freshman in high school. Midnight Cowboy (1969) had just become the only X-rated movie ever to win the Oscar for Best Picture, foreshadowing a decade of sexually bold expression. In literature, there were uninhibited erotic books like The Happy Hooker (1971), Fear of Flying (1973), My Secret Garden (1973), Delta of Venus (posthumously published in 1977) that helped pave the way for the quality sensual writing available today. All of this explicit material sizzled on the page, but, like the films of that era, earned their mainstream success because of their intelligence and good writing.
During the eighties there was a wide gap between what was mainstream and what was underground. Thanks to the writers of the previous decade, if a book was erotic, well-written, and told a good story it would be marketed as a literary book. My first novel, Seesaw (1983), written using my real name, is a graphic recounting of a high school teacher’s dominant/submissive affair with a student, yet it was released with the rest of the hardcovers that winter season, translated into two languages, and reviewed by the L.A. Times, Publisher’s Weekly, and Library Journal.
At the other end was loosely plotted, explicit erotic fiction focused mainly on titillation, usually found in adult bookstores located in the seedy part of town, with mostly men slipping quietly through its side doors. This erotica, similar to some of the material published now, would sometimes have a pseudo-analysis included, written by a so-called psychiatrist, in order to avoid a pornography charge. Can you imagine Dr. Phil checking in at the end of your next erotic read?
In the early nineties I started a family, worked full time to make ends meet, while I labored on the side to write. Despite the financial struggles many experienced during this period’s tenuous economy, the increasing affordability of home VCRs caused the near disappearance of XXX adult theaters, the flourishing of sex videos over books in adult bookstores, and the appearance of bold Main St. rental locations with large X-rated video sections. Mostly men seemed to support this hardcore side, perhaps because they tend to be more visual, or the material was targeted directly at them, or because there were fewer stigmas when a man rented a dirty video.
At the same time, chain bookstores exploded at malls and airports, many with discreet sections called Erotica, housing softcore fiction appealing mostly to women. The annual Best American Erotica (beginning in 1993) and The Mammoth Book of Erotica (1994) are two anthologies that helped inspire the numerous erotic short story collections that are still popular today. Although the female audience for this material widened, I suspect it was limited by the very public walk from the Erotica shelves to the cash register.
The first decade of the twenty-first century seemed almost as conservative as the early sixties. An X-rating for a movie was the kiss-of-death at the box office. Major publishers shied away from mainstreaming explicit sexual material at first, whether it was well-written or not. Then along came Print-On-Demand technology and the explosion of E-books, which opened up vast opportunities with self-publishing and independent presses. The erotica market grew in leaps and bounds. More people could produce sexy books on their own and make them available at a nominal cost. Most significantly, on-line purchasing did for erotic books what VCRs and now Movies-On-Demand did for X-rated videos. It allowed men and women to buy this material discreetly and read it in the privacy of their own homes...although it still seemed to be mostly women filling up their E-readers with erotic stories about hung cowboys and sexy threesomes.
Despite the boom in erotic writing, it wasn’t quite out of the closet. Major publishers developed small erotic imprints, but focused more on other genres. Many traditional and self-published authors used pseudonyms. This material, with its bold, racy covers, whether E-book or not, was rarely reviewed in mainstream periodicals or carried by libraries. The orthodox rabbi of my town had checked my first novel out of the local library in 1984, provocative cover and all. But during this decade the same book wouldn’t even get through the front door.
No one could’ve predicted the 2011 perfect storm known as FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. It started by capitalizing on the independent press/print-on-demand/e-book model then grew through social media marketing and huge word-of-mouth. Author E.L. James fulfilled a classic female fantasy: the wealthy, alpha-male, tragic hero who sweeps a young girl off her feet with inventive dominance. It went against the trend of an explicit cover, opting for one that made the novel easier to review anywhere and read in public. In April, 2012 a mainstream press bought the rights and suddenly it was everywhere. The result: major publishers continue to develop their own erotic imprints, but also scour the internet to sign self-published writers to nourish this feeding frenzy. Now even your aunt is writing erotica and consumers (still mostly women) are buying truckloads of books. All of the attention is attracting a wide range of authors and the quality of some of the writing is at an all-time high.
The Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon also helped inspire a sub-genre: the erotic mashup...which led to my writing of Wuthering Nights, an erotic retelling of the Emily Bronte classic Wuthering Heights. Heathcliff is surely the original tragic, alpha-male hero and his intense relationship with the fiery Catherine lends itself perfectly to having a few more layers peeled back through sensual lovemaking and creative BDSM.
But perhaps now, thanks to E.L. James, libraries will carry this work, my local newspaper will review it, I can someday soon go back to using my real name, and those who still prefer a paperback won’t feel compelled to buy a greeting card they don’t want in order to cover the erotic novel they’re bringing to the cash register.
You can connect with I.J. at the following links. I promise you won't regret it in the morning.
I.J. Miller's buy links:
Barnes & Noble: http://http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wuthering-nights-ij-miller/1113763182?ean=9781455573028
Thursday, April 25, 2013
Sunday, April 21, 2013
Friday, April 12, 2013
Monday, April 1, 2013
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Eight authors, eight Celtic festivals...all woven into one tapestry.
A Celtic Tapestry.
Welcome to the official release of A CELTIC TAPESTRY!
The wheel of the year turns, bringing the joy of spring, the warmth of summer, the richness of autumn, and the merriment of winter. But eight Celtic festivals link these seasons together, bringing with them romance, lust, danger, and even magic. From a city under threat from night-time creatures at Ostara, to a selkie caught by the light of the Lughnasadh moon, to a writer caught in the flames of a fiery goddess at Imbolc.
Eight authors have come together to give their own twist on these festivals, weaving each story with a blend of myth, magic, and contemporary telling…to create A Celtic Tapestry.
Crimson Beat--Elle J Rossi
In Nashville, Ostara night is filled with monsters...and only one woman can take them on.
Beltane Fires--Livia Ellis
Deep in the Irish countryside, a witch takes over as Mother of her coven. Will a 'wink at the moon' love spell give her what she most wants?
Blade's Magic--Carolyn Wolfe
Midsummer celebrations are going as usual for one magical young woman, until she comes into contact with Max Blade--a man from another dimension.
Shore's Edge--Tara S Wood
Lammas beckons in Ireland in the year 1170, bringing with it war. Will one feisty young woman have to marry the man she hates most, or will the Gods bring her another answer?
The Picnic--Elodie Parkes
The woods near Morgan's home are under threat. But will salvation come for the woods--and himself--in the form of a beautiful environmental officer?
Shadows in the Dark--Miranda Stork
A surprising past life regression opens up a new world for one young woman...but it also throws her at the mercy of an unknown Shadow Man.
Magic in Memphis--Hunter S Jones
Memphis. The favourite place of a hard working public-relations employee, whose life is good, but without surprise...until she has a chance meeting with James Wellington on Yule night, throwing her world upside-down.
Brigid's Flame--Laura DeLuca
A writer, depressed at the turns of his career and losing his relationship with his girlfriend, looks to the Gods for inspiration at Imbolc...and finds the goddess Brigid answers his prayers.
Learn a little more about the magic within the pages...
Buy your copy from
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
The Emperor’s Daughter’s New Clothes
A Political Satire
Hunter S. Jones
Once upon a time over the mountains and through the valley, in a city by a river there lived an Emperor who had long ago been deposed. His vain, insipid daughter had been appointed to a position in the city, as her father could no longer serve, as deemed by the people. She loved to show herself off to the people and let them say...“Oh she is beautiful.” “Oh she has had a good idea.” “Oh she has done much to help the poor people of this fair city.”
She was so very vain and shallow she believed every word she heard about herself and said, “My people are good. They see my great beauty and believe I will only do the best for them. They are so stupid and ignorant they will never see that I only do what is best for me. They are so very stupid, I will bring up that horrible movie I did years ago. It never made any money. If I make it controversial, they will buy it. I will finally make the money I deserve from it.” And, the Emperor’s daughter thought this was a very good idea.
Being so spoiled and vapid, the Emperor’s daughter began to spend the taxpayer’s money on her own projects. “These are good things” she said. “They are art.” “See this blue albatross? It was only $32,500 but the taxpayer’s money is justified. It is all justified because I want it.” The people are so stupid, they do not know what is good for them, she thought.
As word of her incompetency spread far and wide, the good people of the city begin to complain. “She is wasting our tax money.” “She knows nothing of art.” “She has been in one very bad movie and proclaims that she is an artist.” “She only returned to our fair city because she can’t get a job anywhere else.”
The Emperor’s daughter became even more spoiled and insolent as the years went by. She used money from the taxpayer’s to buy herself a house on the highest hill in the city. She took expensive trips and bought expense clothes. “This is good because I am doing a good job. The city may be losing money and I may be working on my projects on taxpayer’s money but it is good because I am doing what is best for me. If it is best for me, it should be the best for them. The people are ignorant and do not understand how great I am. Once I leave this position, I will take the money and connections that I have made from the taxpayer’s money, get a reality TV show and make even more money. I am so wonderful and so beautiful. I am a legend.”
“These people are evil because they do not see how wonderful I am. If they do not agree with me, I will proclaim that they are evil and bullies. Even in a Democracy, the people should never be allowed to speak against me. I was born to rule. My family has ruled this area for years. Even if the people believe it is a Democracy, they are wrong. The people are stupid, evil, bullies.”
One day, to prove how powerful she was, the Emperor’s daughter had the idea of showing herself to her people. “I will show them I have nothing to hide. I will go for a walk naked.”
So, the Emperor’s daughter proceeded to walk down the city’s Main Street. “Look, fair citizens, I have nothing to hide from you.” She said this as she thought…The citizens are so stupid. Once they see my great beauty they will never speak another word against me.
The people said, “She doesn’t have on any clothes.” “She is naked.” “We have already seen her naked in that bad film she did.” “Why would she do this since we have already seen her naked?” “Why is she wasting the taxpayer’s time on something this useless?”
Then, a writer, a lowly writer that had long ago been banished for being of no use to the Emperor’s daughter, spoke up and said “Good citizens, could it be the Emperor’s daughter is delusional?
The moral of the story is this. The Emperor’s daughter is spoiled and vain. She has wasted the taxpayer’s money on her pet projects. Why didn’t the mayor stop it long ago? She has a mother and she has a son. I feel so very sorry for what they must be going through, but she has brought this upon herself. You have been absolutely correct in asking for her to resign and pointing out the inadequacies of that office.