Sunday, May 10, 2009

Focus Group

By Lisabet Sarai

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for taking the time to join me and share your opinions. I'm Lisabet Sarai...”

“You're Lisabet Sarai? Cool!”

“I thought you'd be taller.”

“Hey, from your pic, I thought you'd be younger. But you've still got great tits....”

“Please, Mr. Worminghauser, restrain yourself. Remember that this is a mixed group.”

“What do you mean? You write sex stories. Everybody here likes sex, the men and the women, too.”

“When I said mixed, I didn't mean gender. Some members of this focus group read romance rather than erotica. They tend to like things a little less raw than the erotica readers”

“Oh. Well, you said that you wanted us to share our opinions.”

“I do. But let's set some ground rules. We'll go around the room and give each person a turn to ask me a question or offer an opinion. Let's start over here, with Ms. Larchmont. Lily, do you have a question for me?”

“Well, yes. I just finished reading 'Exposure'...”

“Did you like it?”

“Oh yes, I really loved Stella. She's so strong and yet still vulnerable. And smart, too. Everybody's after her, but she manages to keep one step ahead of them. But I want to know why the book doesn't have a happy ending.”

“It's sort of happy. Stella's back where she belongs, dancing at the Peacock....”

“Yes, but she and Jimmy didn't get together.”

“I don't say that they didn't...”

“But you don't say that they did, either. He's such a nice guy, and obviously in love with her. They belong together. He should take her to Greece, like she wants.”

“You think so? But what about Francesca?”

“Her? She's no good for Stella. Stella needs a good man. Maybe if she got married, she'd be able to quit working as a stripper.”

“She likes working as a stripper. Anyway, I deliberately left the ending ambiguous. 'Exposure' is not a romance, it's an erotic thriller. I didn't want to tie up all the loose ends.”

“Well – I think I would have liked the book better if they'd at least gotten engaged...”

“Okay... I'll keep that in mind. Thanks for your feedback, Lily. Let's move on. Bob Brakethrust, do you have anything to say?”

“You should write more femdom.”


“Your story 'Be Careful What You Wish For' is the hottest femdom piece I've ever read. And 'Quiet Evening at Home', where the two women spank their two-timing boyfriend, is nearly as good. They tan that guy's butt until he's in tears, then make him watch while they play with each other. My kind of story!”

“Thanks very much. Have you read 'Ruby's Rules'? It includes a chapter-long scene in which Ruby dominates Rick.”

“Yeah, I read it, but it's got too much other stuff in it. For one thing, by the end, it seems as though the tables are turned and he's topping her.”

“Yes, well, I was trying to show that nobody is purely dominant or purely submissive – that the roles in a D/s power exchange are fluid. A dominant can't really be effective unless he or she understands, in a deep way, the sub's perspective, and vice versa. That's the whole point with Margaret, too – after being a submissive in her relationship with Liu, she reacts as a domme when she meets Luna.”

“Well, it's all too complicated for me. Just give me femdom, plain and simple. A gorgeous, domineering woman who kicks her guy around, humiliates him, cuckolds him, forces him to do disgusting things like drinking her lover's cum... Mmm. Can't get enough of that sort of thing. And you do it so well. If you would just concentrate on that and not throw in so much variety – woman-woman, male-male, ménages, it's like going to some Thai restaurant where you don't have clue what you'll get when you order. I'm a meat and potatoes man, myself.”

“I see. I appreciate your point of view, and I'll take your suggestions under consideration.”


“Ms. Rizzotto, what about you? What do you like about my writing? What do you want more of?”

“That's easy. Vampires. There's nothing that I love as much as a tall, pale, muscular undead stud, with razor-sharp fangs and a cock like stone.”

“But Reba, everyone is doing vampires.”

“That's because they're so delicious.”

“But don't you get bored?”

“Not a chance. I could read about vampires forever.”

“Well, in my career I've written three vampire stories, including a new one called 'Fourth World' coming out in D.L.King's anthology 'The Sweetest Kiss'. It's about a vampire who lives in Bangkok. But to be honest, I find it hard to find anything new to say about vampires.”

“You asked me what I wanted. I'm just telling you. If you want to make this reader happy, write a sizzling, sexy vampire novel. Better still, a series! Why not turn your Fourth World story into a series?”

“There's already a series called The Vampire of Siam.”

“Oh really? Who wrote it?”

“Thank you for your input, Reba. Ms. Krinklekotter, I'd love to hear your thoughts.”

“My absolute favorite is M/M romance. I loved 'Tomorrow's Gifts', though I have to say that I skipped over the heavy BDSM scenes.”

“You skipped them? Why?”

“They made me uncomfortable – especially the ones between Michael and Thorne. Because it's clear that they don't love each other the way Michael and Neil do...”

“That's the whole point of the story, Kelly.”

“I understand that. But I just couldn't get into the sex without them being in love. It just felt wrong to me.”


“Anyway, I hope that you'll write some more M/M. These days that's almost all I read.”

“Actually, I am working on a new M/M novel called 'Necessary Madness'. It's paranormal. Do you like paranormal?”

“I love it. Though honestly I'll read anything that has two horny hunks in love with each other.”

“Well, I'm only a few chapters into this new book. But I'll keep your opinions in mind. And what about you, Mr. Worminghauser.”

“Call me Wayne.”

“All right, Wayne. What do you think of my writing?”

“I love your sex scenes, Lisabet. They make me hard every time. Especially the kinky ones.”

“Well, thank you very much.”

“You must have had lots of interesting experiences”

“You shouldn't assume that I've actually done everything that I write about, Wayne.”

“Most of it, though, right? Right? I can tell the difference between imagination and reality. You couldn't write the way you do if you weren't a real slut. That orgy in 'The Antidote'. The public flogging in 'Incognito'. And the billiards scene... you couldn't have made that up! There's nothing you wouldn't try – probably very little that you haven't tried.”

“Mr. Worminghauser, I'm not sure...”

“Personally, I'd rather she didn't put so much sex in her romances. It's embarrassing.”

“Lily, please wait for your turn...”

“Why should I, when he's being so rude? I just want you to know that not all of your readers are perverts like him.”

“Who are you calling a pervert, missy?”

“You, you disgusting sex fiend. You should be locked up.”

“Well you're an ugly, dried-up old maid who I wouldn't fuck in a million years.”

“Hey, hey! Let's be sex positive here. Sex is good – healthy, emotionally fulfilling, a path to enlightenment.”

“I'd like to enlighten your pussy...”

“That's enough from you, Wayne! Stop screaming, Lily. He's a bit of a boor, but he won't hurt you....”

“Why don't you kick his ass, Lisabet? I'd love to see you do that.”

“Bob, I'm a writer, not a wrestler. Wayne, you apologize to Lily. Lily, you do the same. Come on, you're both my readers. I'd really like you to get along.

“I'm sorry things got so out of hand here. I wasn't expecting such a – lively – discussion. Seriously, I appreciate hearing your opinions. I'll do what I can to satisfy them. It's just a bit tough trying to keep everyone happy. But I always do enjoy a challenge...”

Actually, these are just the voices in my head. My real readers are far more
polite! I gather their opinions with my monthly contests. I ask a question; they respond and get entered into a random drawing for some nice prize. For more details about this month's contest, see my newsletter.


  1. Lol, the phrase - you can't please all of the people all of the time, springs to mind.

    Kim Dare.

  2. Hi, Kim,

    Yes - I suppose that I could please one small subset if I stuck to one genre. But like I said, I get bored!


  3. OMG!

    I'd love to have been at that group. You've definitely said a lot here, Lisabet and shown how authors, especially, erotic authors, are often perceived. We aren't what we write. I don't know how many times I've said that, and been completely ignored. LOL

    Great blog!


  4. hi Lisabet!

    I think if I had been there I would have brought up the subject of "Raw Silk", which I really liked, in particular the chili pepper scene. Also "Communion" which strikes a cord with me. I didn't know you wrote vampire stories. Congratulations on making D L King's book.


  5. Thanks, Molly! Glad you enjoyed my little satire.

    Jude - I'm very careful about my personal details, because in fact I'm quite nervous about stalkers. Because people really DO think you're a pervert and a slut just because you write erotica. Okay, in my case it's somewhat true (giggle) - at least the pervert part. But my imagination far outstrips my opportunities to turn fantasy into reality!

    Garce - I don't want to write vampire stories... I sometimes feel like the world is drowning in them (and I don't mean your story!) However, I haven't been able to resist a few calls, edited by people that I respect. And I try hard to make my vampires different from the stereotype. For example, in my Black Lace vampire story, "Vampires Limited", the undead guy has only been a vampire for 5 years, can go out in the daytime, and looks like Brendan Fraser - blond, healthy and middle-American!


  6. Great post Lisabet. I hear the vampire complaint from people in conversations quite often. True fantasy fans think vampires have to act and look one certain way, and those that don't are in crap stories. It's that kind of structure I don't care for. If I want to create a fantasy character, I want no limits. I'll make my own rules. It's fantasy for Pete's sake!

    Have a great day,


  7. You dress like a slut.

  8. Wow....I think 'daniel' is looking for a spanking, Lisabet.

    Loved the post. I commented on it too early, and then you took it down, and the comment disappeared.




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