Guest: Reed James, M/F & F/F Erotica Author.
Specializes in Guilty Pleasures & The Fantastical
Reed James: Unbottled
Reed James occupies a spot in my Top Five Twitter friends. In addition to writing steamy short stories - some catering voyeur kink, others featuring girl-on-girl action - Reed also has a promising non-erotica fantasy series in the works under the pen name JMD Reid. Not to mention, he's a good sport - he composed his own Twitter obituary per my morbid request!
Jane : Reed, it's a pleasure having you on the hot-spot. Since we became colleagues, I've really enjoyed our social media interactions, and wondered what makes you tick.
Your book covers speak clearly for the genre of your published works. Why do you gravitate towards writing erotica? What other genres of writing attract you, both as an author and a reader?
Reed : I have always been a reader. As long as I can remember I was staying up past my bedtime reading books with a flashlight. My uncle gave me The Hobbit when I was in the Fourth Grade, embarking me on my love of fantasy. So when my parents gave me a computer when I was in the seventh grade with internet access, it wasn't long before I discovered porn via a dial-up modem. And naturally, I discovered Whiteshadows, a now defunct free sex story sight. Since then, I've preferred my porn as the written versus the visual kind.
I also found myself wanting to write in Junior High. I would write bad fanfics and my own sexual fantasies. This continued into High School, but when I graduated, life got in the way. I stopped writing during my twenties except at brief intervals of a few days. And though it was my dream to be a published author, I just didn't pursue it. Then I turned thirty, and suddenly my morality was facing me. I had squandered my twenties, and I started to feel this pressure to change things. It took me almost a year to try and turn that around. I was working on my fantasy novel and I just felt my writing wasn't good enough. I wanted to practice my writing.
So I wrote erotica and posted it on XNXX.com. And the feedback I received was great. I was able to polish my writing, gain confidence, and tell the sort of dirty stories that I wanted to read. Fans encouraged me to publish, so I started doing that, self-publishing erotica while submitting my non-erotic Fantasy short stories to SciFi-Fantasy magazines. I'm having a blast, even if it can be damned disheartening sometimes, but it's my dream and I'm going to live it.
Jane : I started my career in a somewhat similar fashion. Online fiction forums are the perfect place for a hopeful writer to hone the craft and build self-confidence.
Kudos to you for living your dream. It takes balls to do that. However, you said it can be "disheartening." Which aspect?
Reed : Rejection letters. Last week, I had three rejection letters in five days, two for the same short story. It's rough, but I just power on through it, reminding myself that it's a marathon and not a sprint. I have to be patient, and I'm not a patient person. Sometimes I get down though, and I write a bad poem, pour my feelings out onto the computer screen or notepad. That helps. I've unbottled my soul and spilled out my emotions.
Jane : I think every author, even the wildly successful ones, have to cope with rejection. It's great that you have such a positive attitude about it.
Recently, you released "My Test-Drive Lover" (#2 in the Seducing Straight Women Series ). What inspired this dirty little F/F tale? In general, you prefer writing from a female or male perspective?
Reed : I enjoy writing lesbian scenes. There's something beautiful and passionate about it. The idea for 'seducing straight women series' in general was just the joy of a woman experiencing something new, something different then she was used to, to be guided upon a different path on life's journey.
"I fall in love a hundred times a day. I'm like a butterfly, flitting between flower to flower. Wonderfully pink flowers full of succulent nectar." This is the first thought that came to me when the idea to write a series of stories about a lesbian seducing a straight women. It's Aurora in a nutshell. So the basest of the story was just different scenarios that I thought would be hot to read, and a woman getting seduced by a salesperson on a test drive, combined with a gorgeous Ferrari, screamed eroticism to me.
It's also the story of Aurora (our seducer) as she searches for true love, and just can't seem to find it, always hoping that her latest partner is the one, even as her own doubts slowly erode that confidence because tomorrow a new pretty face will turn her head, so she just wants to live in the moment.
I don't have a real preference for male or female, I enjoy writing both. I tend to share my POVs in a story, letting the story dictate to me which character should have the perspective in a scene, and then try and write faithfully to that character's personality.
Jane : There's definitely something forbidden about seducing a so-called "straight" woman. ;)
Which facets of your own personality does Aurora share, if any?
Reed : There is very little of me in Aurora. She's the opposite of me in many ways: outgoing, flirty, adventuress, fearless. She's not afraid to put her heart on the line and get rejected because she at least tried. The only real part of me that's in Aurora is we're both dreaming of true love, of finding that one person that completes you. I'm a romantic at heart, and it shows in my writing. I like couples to get together and be happy, and I want that for Aurora, she just hasn't found the right person yet, just like I haven't.
Jane : I'm sure many others can relate to that sentiment.
The other day, I read your blog tour interview about Bill, the protagonist of your upcoming paranormal erotica story "My Fallen Angel." What sets him apart from your other male characters?
Reed : He's more passive initially. He wants to be a different person, but lacks the motivation to actually try and change things. He's going to college because that's just what you do, he choose a major not so much because he's interested in it as it sounded easy. He's pining after a girl, but though he flirts with her and senses her interest, he is never quite is able to muster the effort to really try and overcome her reluctance, to really understand why she's wary of starting a relationship. He's hoping it'll all work out, and that's not life. And then everything changes, the story kicks off, and he finds that motivation, that strength, buried in himself.
Jane : So I take it your other male characters are normally more on the alpha side of the spectrum?
Reed : Definitely more on the Alpha Male side. My new short story "A Submissive Bride" definitely has an Alpha Male as the bridegroom, and Frank, the husband in the main couple of my Naughty Wives Series , can be quite assertive with his wife in their sex life (of course, he meets a real Alpha Male in the form of Officer Connoly), whereas Bill from My Fallen Angel wants to be the Alpha Male, but just hasn't quite found it in him at the start of the story. He's the nice, though perverted, guy that doesn't want to end up finishing last.
Jane : Something tells me he probably won't.
It sounds like you're working on a lot of projects simultaneously. How much time do you spend writing?
Reed : Yeah, I'm kinda of a schizophrenic writer, bouncing between projects. I think it helps to keep me fresh, so I'm not locked into one work for too long. I tend to be editing one thing and writing another, and I have a non-erotic fantasy novel I try to put some time into every day.
I spend most of my free time writing, editing, or promoting. I really love to write, it's very rewarding, and it's come to consume my life more and more over the past few months. I take my laptop to work and whenever I have some downtime between trips, I pull it out and get some more writing done. I tend to spend one of my day's off working all day on writing, and the second day taking it easy.
Jane : Your free time is all booked up. ;)
Tell me more about this non-erotic fantasy novel you're crafting.
Reed : The non-erotic novel is tentatively titled Above the Storm , the first in an untitled trilogy or tetralogy, and is set in a world populated with floating islands. In the distant past, there was a war led by an evil tyrant and the standard fantasy tropes happened, and then the entire world was covered by a Storm, so the Goddess Riasruo lifted up her favorite peoples (humans, a bird race, a mole race, and a lizard race) up above the storm. Everything was going great, except the Wrackthar (evil humans that waged the war) have somehow survived a thousand years without the sun and have harnessed the storm and send massive cyclones at the floating islands while they ride inside the Cyclones on horses made of storm clouds.
The story is about a young man named Ary. He once had wanted nothing more than to serve in the Autonomy's Navy as a Marine and protect his country until he witnesses a Cyclone attack on his home island of Vesche. He witnesses the Intrepid, a flying ship, sally forth to defend his home and though the ship prevails, it crashed and all the crew died and Ary learns that war and battle isn't fun and glory, so he decides to abandon his dreams to a Marine, and decides to just be a farmer and marry his sweetheart. Only that's not life. Everyone in the Autonomy at seventeen (men and women) are entered into the draft and Ary's childhood dream comes true even though its the last thing in the world he wants.
The first book follows him through training and hunting Agerzak pirates in a swashbuckling fashion, while adjusting to life in the military and the stresses it places on his relationship with his childhood sweetheart Chaylene.
I'm having a lot of fun with the world, playing around with what creature populate the skies (people think that fish that live in lakes are weird because most fly through the skies). I'm heavily influenced by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's brilliant Deathgate Cycle , primarily Dragon Wing and Hand of Chaos (Books 1 & 5, respectively) and a JRPG called Skies of Arcadia .
Jane : I confess, I haven't read any of these authors before. Deathgate Cycle has a nice ring to it.
Ary's world seems elaborately envisioned. Have you done detailed research for Above the Storm , or are you making it up as you go along?
Reed : I have done a lot of work and research on Above the Storm . I have spent days on just the notes. I have maps, histories, notes on culture, the world's magic system, and I'm reading books on seventeenth and eighteenth century sailing. The plot for the first book is mapped out in broad strokes. I know the major events, the few pivotal character moments, and then I'll figure out the journey as I write. I tend not to plot out in detail, preferring to discover new ideas and let the characters almost tell me what they're going to do. The plot beyond the first book is even more nebulous.
Jane : I'm curious to observe the differences in your writing styles. Usually, I ask my guest to share an excerpt from the work of their choice, but I'd like to ask for two this time - one from Above the Storm, and one from the erotic short story of your choice.
Reed : Sure.
Excerpt from Above the Storm :
White sails unfurled, quartering the wind to turn Intrepid at the rising Cyclone. A low howl began to fill the air, and Ary gripped the broken stone wall with excitement. The Cyclone was rushing forward, roaring louder, a black boar charging across the sky full or rage and anger. The two ballistae on the ship's bow fired, and an explosion of flak erupted in the Cyclone, briefly illuminating the Stormriders. The flak was like the fireworks last Marriage Day, but instead of green stars and purple sparks, they were red fire and black smoke.
Ary whooped in excitement. The Cyclone came closer and closer, and more explosions from the Intrepid lit the maelstrom's interior with red fire. Ary cheered the ship on, a vicious thrill surged through him. Every explosion killed more of the evil Stormriders. Battles were as exciting and glorious as all the stories made them out to be. He couldn't grow up fast enough.
The Cyclone was closer enough now, and Ary was able to make out the Stormriders amid the maelstrom. They rode on beasts made of storm clouds that resembled wingless pegasi, with manes of lighting and eyes of crackling white. The Stormriders were pale as an Agerzak, black hair streaming out from beneath metal helms. Hauberks of burnished metal reflected lighting that flashed about them in the Cyclone and he could see the glints of metal swords. Other Stormriders wielded small, curved bows; arrows sailed unhindered by winds at the Intrepid where marines ducked behind railings. The Stormriders were oddly beautiful riding on their ethereal mounts amid violent clouds and arcing lighting.
Excerpt from "The Girl at the Bar" (Aurora is using a game of pool to seduce Ursula):
Ursula laughed, playful, light, intoxicating. “Oh my god, you're so terrible.”
“Maybe you need to show me.”
She hesitated, taking a half-step towards me, then she grabbed her pool stick, and started to explain how to shoot again. Suppressing my annoyance, I aimed and, again on purpose, shot badly. “Just show me, Ursula. Stand behind me and guide my arms. I want to be as good as you are!”
She swallowed. “Isn't this a bit of a date cliche?”
I rolled my eyes. “C'mon. I thought we were friends. Don't make it weird.”
“I... Okay.” She moved up behind me, her breath quickening. Good, she's interested.
I stood at the table, almost trembling in anticipation, as her arms wrapped around me. “Put this arm like this, Aurora,” Ursula instructed, moving my right hand. Then she grabbed my left, sliding it down the stick. She tried to keep her body from pressing against my back, but that was impossible.
She was warm and firm and soft and wonderful. I smelled her perfume, a light, spicy scent that almost made me swoon with its loveliness. Her breath tickled my neck. That wonderful ache intensified between my legs, hungry for her touch. I shifted my hips, letting my rear press into her groin. My heart pounded; my skin tingled. The pool stick was smooth and cool; her hands soft, trembling with her excitement.
Jane : Thank you for obliging. I enjoyed observing the contrasting tones between the pieces. Of the first excerpt, I particularly enjoyed the line, "The Stormriders were oddly beautiful riding on their ethereal mounts amid violent clouds and arcing lighting." It paints a vivid picture and accurately captures the mood of the scene. As for the playful game of pool between Ursula & Aurora, it's just the right amount of teasing to keep those who love girl-on-girl erotica wanting more.
Do your family and friends know that you write erotica? If so, how did they react when you told them and/or read your work? Are you planning to publish Above the Storm under different pseudonym?
Reed : My friends know I write erotica and none really care. They all just shrugged when I told them. My family doesn't know and I particularly don't want my mom finding out. She's uncomfortable with pornography and erotica. My grandmother (her mother) would be fine with it though. I plan on publishing Above the Storm under a different pen name then the one I publish erotica under.
Jane : My mom's the same way, but she knows about the erotic tendencies of my books. Never the most comfortable of conversational topics.
What activities other than writing occupy your alleged free time?
Reed : I love to read, and I play Warhammer and D&D. I also enjoy bike riding.
Jane : Cool.
Who's your favorite person, fictional or otherwise?
Reed : J.R.R. Tolkien. His writings changed my life. I had always liked to read as a kid, but the usual young boy stuff like the Hardy Boys. I was in the fourth grade, I had never read a fantasy book in my life, and my uncle gave me a copy of The Hobbit to read while we were at the pool. It opened my eyes to the imaginary worlds that books can take you to. Because of Tolkien I became a reader of Fantasy, discovering all my other favorite authors: David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Robert Jordan, R. Scott Bakker, Steven Erikson, Jim Butcher, George RR Martin, and Brandon Sanderson. And of these Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series has had the greatest impact on my writing style.
I wanted to tell stories in worlds as imaginative, and that's one of the reasons I write. That, and I like to tell dirty stories.
Jane : Your mom should be proud you're putting your imagination to good use. Entertainment is valuable. ;)
I'm glad for this chance to get to know more about you and your writing. Not only do write about naughty ladies, but you're crafting a pretty intricate fantasy story. Looks promising! Thank you for sharing your time.
My last question for you today is kind of morbid, but I have a feeling you're up for it. ;) Since I met you on Twitter, please fulfill one final request: write your obituary in 140 characters or less.
Reed : Reed James, author of many naughty tales, died today. Survived by a few close family who mourn the hole left in their lives by his passing.
Jane : A+. You've got Twitter in the bag.
Reed, it's been an absolute pleasure. I wish you the best of luck with your future projects! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with next.
Reed : Thanks, it's been fun!
Interview conducted by Jane Bled, award-winning author of LGBT Dark Fantasy & Literary Erotica
Comment below to receive a free ebook of your choice from Reed James' collection. My gift to you!
Tune in Thursday, August 7th for my interview with indie horror author Dylan J. Morgan .
About the Author:
Reed James is a thirty year-old guy living in Tacoma, WA.
"I love to write, I find it freeing to immerse myself in a world and tell its stories and then share them with others."
He's been writing naughty stories since high school, furiously polishing his craft, and finally feels ready to share his fantasies with the world.
"I love writing about women who want to be a little (or a lot) naughty, people expressing their love for each other as physically and kinkily as possible, and women loving other women. Whether it's a virgin experiencing her/his first time or a long-term couple exploring the bounds of their relationships, it will be a hot, erotic story!"For his day job Reed drives a paratransit shuttle, helping the disabled and senior citizens get around town. "It can be both a rewarding and stressful job in turns. And sometimes sad."
Connect with Reed :
Sample Reed's books on Amazon :
"Fingered Next to My Husband"
"A Submissive Bride"
"The Girl at the Bar" ( Seducing Straight Women , #1)
"My Test-Drive Lover" ( Seducing Straight Women , #2)
"Roleplay Gone Wrong" ( Naughty Wives , #1)
"Naughty Wife's Surprise" ( Naughty Wives , #2)
"Cuckholding the Cheat" ( Naughty Wives , #3)
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