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It's a good idea for a writer to establish a routine for writing. I've read advice stating to try to write at the same time every day and aim for a certain number of words. I like to work in the mornings and I aim for 1,000 words minimum when working on a story.

In honor of World Mental Health Day, I'm reprinting this article I wrote a few years back about creativity and mental illness. Enjoy

THE MADNESS OF ART

We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art. – Henry James

Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation. – Graham Greene

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Have you ever had an erotic dream? They're fun, aren't they? I read some articles about erotic dreams, and some people have had some very strange ones. One woman had sex with the bottom tip of a crescent moon. She said, "I wasn't sure it was a good idea, but I did it anyway." That seems to be the going thing with erotic dreams – you do it anyway since there is nothing to hold you back.

I often joke that considering my Google search history for writing research purposes, the FBI must have a massive file on me. I can't comment on some of my searches since they are far from PG rated. Suffice to say I'm surprised I don't get Pornhub spam in my email box. If you've seen it on Urban Dictionary, I've searched for it, LOL.

I mentioned this topic on Facebook and my friends told me about their bizarre search histories which are research for their fiction. Here are a few:

I'm saving the 8th season of Game of Thrones for binge-watching with my husband after the season and series finale. I have only run into two spoilers so far – the Starbucks cup on the table in front of Daenerys in episode 4 and the water bottle by Sam Tarly's feet in the series finale. I promise – no Game of Thrones spoilers in this article. It's not about Game of Thrones anyway. Not directly.

It's about the Mary Sue and her male counterpart, the Gary Stu.

In my last post, I mentioned how I’m cutting back on conventions and other public appearances. However, I did not mention writer’s retreats. I love writer’s retreats and I try to go to one or two every year. Right now, I’m in central Massachusetts at a retreat hosted by Broad Universe. Broad Universe is a networking group for women who write speculative fiction. This glorious retreat is in a beautiful house in the middle of the woods. There is lots of snow on the ground. I saw squirrels and birds. This place is bucolic. I love it.

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season since it's about to wrap up for 2018. I had a fantastic Halloween and Thanksgiving. Christmas and New Year's are the only holidays left to celebrate. With 2019 looming, I've decided to make some writing goals for the year. Here is my list:

I've been writing romances and erotica for over a decade. One of the first things I've noticed is some of the cringe-inducing terminology for various sexy body parts. I read a Huffington Post article by Andy McDonald about the most embarrassing sexual phrases from romance novels. Those words included the following for male and female aroused sexual organs:

Turgid shaft
Throbbing manhood
Pulsing core
Fiery slit
Molten need
Hot, wet sheath

Terms for sexual intercourse and orgasm weren't much better:

Elizabeth Black writes in a wide variety of genres including erotica, erotic romance, horror, and dark fiction. She lives on the Massachusetts coast with her husband, son, and her two cats.

Lesbian fiction isn't nearly as popular as it should be. I've written lesbian erotica for Cleis Press, Xcite Books, and Torquere before Torquere folded. This form of fiction feels natural for me because I'm bisexual. I like creating intriguing, playful, and vivacious women – the type I'm attracted to. My first foray into lesbian erotica was my story "Neighbors", which was published by Torquere in 2009. Charlotte and Lina (no last names) are roommates who look so much alike they could be mistaken for twins. But these aren't ordinary women.

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