Saturday, February 19, 2011

“Come On, Get Happy” by Alison Tyler

Image by Riendo

I like happy porn.

Before you throw rocks at me, I will quickly state that of course deep, dark stories possess merit. This is a personal preference. For the most part, I like my smut smiley. While the concept of being punished makes me wet—one of my biggest pet peeves is the genre of sex stories in which characters must be punished for what they like or what they need. 9 ½ Weeks is a perfect example. I adore the novella right up until the end. To me, 9 ½ Weeks is sexy sexy sexy sexy sexy sexy sexy oh, she’s off her rocker, let’s lock her up. Why does Elizabeth have to be institutionalized? Why can’t she and John make it work? (There’s a new ending I’d love to pen.)

Now, when I say I like happy porn some people get the wrong idea. I’m no vanilla cupcake. I take my coffee with quite a bit of kink. Tie me up. Spank me. Make me call you Ma’am. Use a crop or a fraternity paddle or those nasty alligator clamps. Leave me marks I can admire in my bathroom mirror—just don’t leave me without a silver ray of hope at the end. Especially if the hope is that I’m going to get another spanking!

The stories that thrill me most are the ones that make me care without tossing in a suicide pact or a dying spouse or a wound that will not heal. To this end, I offered a challenge ( about a month ago, asking smutters to post snippets of upbeat erotica on their blogs or websites. Check out this line-up:

Jeremy Edwards:
Shanna Germain:
Saskia Walker:

Nikki Magennis:

Kristina Lloyd:

Most of the writers I adore are ACDC. Well, at least they’re AT/DL. They can write they way I like for me, but they can do the dark literary work for other editors. What can I say? That makes everybody happy.

Why am I drawn to happy stories? Don’t I know that the world is an unhappy place? That sad things happen? That all we are is dust in the wind? Sure, but I never liked Kansas that much anyway. I’ve always been more of a Chili Pepper girl.

Am I happy all the time? (to steal a title from an author I worship, Laurie Colwin). Not on your life. When my man was diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago, I found myself starring in one of the very plots I would never publish in an anthology. How’s that for a kick in the ass? Did living day-to-day in a soap opera story make me long for sad tales? Hell, no. I reached for the dirtiest upbeat stories I could clutch in my hot little hands.

Avid readers could easily point out that I’ve written sad tales myself. But I’ve penned so many stories (about 1000 at this point) that some are bound to end with a whimper rather than a bang. Call 2% of my stories sad. My batting average is still grinning ear to fucking ear.

Jean Roberta once said about me: Her male characters sometimes mislead her female characters, or vice versa, but Tyler describes disappointment in a light and witty way. No one seems to get seriously hurt. If any of her characters have dark nights of the soul, these happen off the page.

That is me to an Alison T.

And Ashley Lister gave me my one of my very favorite quotes: “It’s part of the PTP trademark that the content of their books portray sex as fun and wholesome. Alison Tyler’s stories are invariably sex-positive and her commitment to this ethos shows in every title that comes out of her Pretty Things Press.”

I do my best to live up to this in everything I write.

Why? Ah, repeat my mantra with me, won’t you: It makes me happy.



P.S. Where I am not at all dismayed by death, doom, and dying is in memoirs. I can’t explain this either. You’d think I’d rather read about faux sadness than real despair, but you’d think wrong.

Alison Tyler is the author of 25 naughty novels and the editor of 50+ erotic anthologies. She’s been called “the mistress of literary erotica” by Violet Blue and a “trollop with a laptop” by East Bay Express. Her favorite color is scarlet, her (current) favorite perfume is RUSH, and she likes to wear an armful of retro ID bracelets and bowling shirts with other people’s names embroidered on the pockets. Visit her often at


  1. While there is certainly plenty of room for dark sexuality in literature, and I have found my way there from time to time, happy sex needs a voice too.

    Too much of the dark stuff can lead to the impression that sex is inherently sad or bad or just plain depressing, and there are enough religious sorts putting that notion forward.

    Sex is wonderful, and I certainly love to explore the joy in it when I write.

    It's excellent that you are out there, continuing to do your part in such a big way, Alison.

    Thank you!

  2. Hi, Alison!

    A hearty welcome to the Grip!

    And oh, do I agree with your comments about stories where sexual indulgence leads to doom, gloom and real punishment! Any story that takes this tack does not qualify as erotic in my book.

    I've written an occasional dark story, but the darkness never derives from giving in to one's passions.

    I do love your stories - although thinking back, my favorites are the ones that are a bit ambiguous, the ones that focus on the complexity of sexual desire.


  3. This is one of the things I love about you, Alison, in both your writer and editor roles—that dedicated feel for the joy of sex (to coin a phrase). Your positive passion for positive passion shines through everything you do.

    P.S. Thanks for those links! I'm honored to be included; and I missed some of the posts the first time around, so now I can do a makeup session. (Pass the eyeliner.)

  4. Some of my stuff gets dark, but not all of it. I think probably the best thing, or at least what I would aspire to is range. To be able to write the happy stuff and the dark stuff. The book should be the boss I think,


  5. Hi Alison,

    thanks for guesting on our blog and for ending the week on such an up-best note.

  6. Hi Alison! I love your comment about loving something up until it's ending (like 9 1/2 weeks). I remember that movie, but I've hesitated to watch it again, but didn't know why - but you reminded me. For precisely that reason - she's got to be nuts.

    When I saw "That's Complicated," I kept thinking "wouldn't it be great if she could make it work with both guys? And that would truly be complicated, LOL.

    I'm always struck by how sex in "literature" seems to have to be fraught with horribleness. And if it IS happy, that's only a precursor to the sure-to-come trials and tribulations. And I get really irritated by people who say that it is that way because "that's how it is in real life." Always miserable??? I don't think so. Or we would have gone extinct long ago.

    In my mind, "erotica" is defined by the characters' enjoyment of the sex. Not all flowery, happy face balloons and bubblegum. I think a lot of us are writing erotica partly to figure out our erotic selves. And we want it to end well!

  7. Hello all,

    Sorry to be late to the party! Yesterday got away from me!

    Thank you for all the intelligent comments. I used to be embarrassed for liking the rose-colored side of the street. I've come to terms with that part of me by now. Of course, my "happy" would probably freak other people out. I'm upbeat but by no means vanilla. I believe some folks equate the two.

    Isn't the photo by Riendo amazing, btw?

    Cheers and thanks, Mike!

  8. I *love* Riendo's photo!

    Thanks for the link, Alison. Know what? It makes me happy to know you.

    I believe happiness is one of those very elusive things that are incredibly hard to capture. In fact, it may even be more difficult to write an authentically happy piece than a dark one. Think?


  9. I too am honored to be included on your list, Alison, and thank you!

    And I felt like the happy shined from the screen as I read this post. :) Seriously. Thanks for sharing this perspective—it made me smile!

  10. I agree whole-heartedly, in fact, I can't help putting in a few lines, here and there, to make people laugh. I tend to enjoy erotica that doesn't take itself too seriously. And, like you, I'm quite a ways from vanilla.

    But even when my characters are bruised and sore, in the end they always have sloppy grins on their faces and are ready to, as I wrote in a recent story, enjoy some cookies and cuddling.

    Plus, I've learned it's very difficult to read "serious" erotica aloud to an audience. People have a much easier time following something that not only makes them horny but makes them smile or laugh, too.

    Great post and keep up the good work!

  11. Good post! (And btw, I didn't know that anyone reads my reviews!) Sorry I'm discovering old posts late.


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