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Warren William would have played a perfect sex fiction charlatan…

Today, as noted by some of my friends on Twitter, is the birthday of the king of the pre-Code movies, Warren William–that master interpreter of likable scoundrels, charlatans, and sleazeballs. I couldn’t resist making this screencap off my tv the other night when he was up to his orbs in trouble pretending to be a successful Park Avenue doctor (!) in Warner Bros.’ 1934 BEDSIDE. The movie was shown on TCM (Turner Classic Movies) the other day.

“I’ve always made it a point to be strictly ethical,” says “Dr. J. Herbert Martel” aka Bob Brown (Warren William) as he hires “Sparks” (Allen Jenkins) to get him some publicity as a medico in BEDSIDE.

 

One of the fun aspects of editing sex magazines was assigning fiction to my writers, one of whom, who went by the byline “Luther Selleck,” created a character named “Mr. Baxter.” In various guises in many stories, ranging from World War 1 fighter pilot (“Ass Aces of the Great War”) to New York City cockroach nemesis (“The Nutty Exterminator”) to ancient Greek judge of a butt beauty contest (“Assmasters of the Acropolis,” there under the name “Baxocles”), Mr. Baxter went his cheerfully amoral way through adventures with an assortment of fetching ladies–and depending on the magazine’s title (I edited CHEEKS, LEG WORLD, and GIRLS OVER 40), their chief attractions physically for Mr. B would be either derrieres, legs, or overall “cougar” appeal.

Although my writer Luther didn’t model Mr. Baxter on Warren William, when we later discovered Warren William (after Mr. Baxter was created) both Luther and I agreed that Warren would have been perfect in the role had there ever been any “Mr. Baxter” movies!

So, a tip of the hat to Warren William today on what would have been his 124th birthday!

Born December 2, 1894, died September 24, 1948.

 

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Oh those Leg World days!

On the fetish femdom scene there is more than a little nostalgia about the glory days of Leg Show magazine, primarily under the editorship of Dian Hanson, who has since gone on to work for Taschen Books and their line of historical erotica tomes. I wrote for Leg Show from about 1995 through around 2003 or 2004, so I got to participate in that fondly missed era with my fiction, often illustrated by the British master of femdom art, Sardax; and I did many interviews with everybody from leggy softcore horror movie scream queens to imperious dominatrices.

But from 2004 through the beginning of 2010, I was also the editor of Leg World, a much lower-budgeted magazine but one into which I poured my quarter century of experience in writing for and editing magazines, as well as my decades of fascination and personal experience with femdom and fetish.

 

To use a Hollywood analogy, budget-wise, if Leg Show was MGM, Leg World was Poverty Row. But I put my heart and soul into it, and I think you’ll see in the intensity of these typical covers–for which I selected the shots, wrote all the lines, and supervised the layout–that I gave the readers their money’s worth starting with the covers themselves. I always aimed to show enough to the readers on the covers so that, if they wished, they could have a good time with them before they even opened the magazines; and since these periodicals were puritanically shrink-wrapped for display on the newsstands, I felt duty-bound to let the customers know exactly what they would find inside…once they shot their first loads for the covers! 😉

With my art director and talented group of contributors, both writers and photographers, a memorable magazine came into being with each issue. I didn’t have enough budget for art, or I would have asked Sardax to work for Leg World too (see his fabulous work here). Instead I illustrated fiction with carefully chosen photos from the archives.

 

So if you run into Leg Worlds at flea markets or online, take a minute and check out these lovingly crafted collectors’ items. If you’re into legs and feet and femdom, I think you’ll enjoy the mix of amazing pictorials and evocative stories. I poured my passion for editing images–I’d originally moved to New York City to get into the film business–into editing and even occasionally directing the shoots of erotic pictorials. In recent years, I’ve transferred my coverline writing passion into the writing I do for my personal Twitter and the feed for the femdom website Domme Addiction. There I happily conjugate my nouns and verbs in the service of celebrating the dominant female much as I did in Leg World.  🙂

 

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Femdomartists.com: a treasure trove of kinky inspiration!

“Where do you find your inspiration?” All writers are asked this question, especially porn or erotica writers (the terms are interchangeable to me). Often it’s somebody I see whom I consider unattainable–like a beautiful, haughty shopgirl–who will spur a story idea. Such was the case with my ebooks, the original Learning to be Cruel and its sequel Learning to be Cruel Part 2.

In other cases, like my story Mommy’s Little Dunce, it comes by exploring an emotion I myself have, but exploring it in the context of a fictional erotic situation–in this case, the feeling that I have not accomplished all of my literary goals, such as they are. I invented a writer character who gets “punished” through spanking, humiliation and “maternal discipline” in order to purge his low self-esteem.

The story She Made Me a Cuckold on Black Friday sprang to mind because I sometimes like to write tales tied to holidays, which gives them a perpetual topicality. And because one of the femdom sites I write for as a freelancer, Domme Dose here, has such a fascination with the cuckold fetish, it was on my mind a lot to deal with this theme.

Toes Are For Sucking sprang to mind when I saw an incredibly leggy model stride into a fast food restaurant, just as one does in that story…

…and the five short stories in my Spell of Dominance anthology were inspired by photographs. All the pieces were originally written for Leg World magazine, and printed with the photographs. But I wrote the stories in such a way that they could be enjoyed without the photographs if I decided to reprint them in my own ebooks. I don’t own the rights to the pictures. And with all my ebooks, I create my own covers in a kind of crude style that recalls the almost homemade kinky booklets that used to be sold in Times Square porn shops back in the day.

But another way I get inspiration is by looking at other sites. A lot of sites, but one of my very favorites is Femdom Artists here, which is a great compilation of imagery.

In a recent post entitled “Namio Harukawa: Laundry Service” the site ran a great picture by the master Japanese illustrator of femdom fantasies. Harukawa’s work has the artistry and horniness that make me want to write more stories and keep my contributions coming to the great edifice of femdom erotica!

I don’t work for Femdom Artists, but I recommend it to my readers. The site was kind enough to put up some links to my ebooks, and I have long had them on my bookmarks in the rightside column on this blog, but I thought I would give them an extra shout-out today. I frequently put comments on the posts there, because it’s full of interesting discussions and remarks from many other articulate aficionados of the genre. So in answer again to the question, “Where do you find your inspiration?” I would say I absorb inspiration also by osmosis, by looking at sites like Femdom Artists. On both conscious and unconscious levels some of the things I see there give me fuel for my own pervy output! 🙂

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To read samples of my ebooks or purchase them on Kindle, you can go to the Amazon stores linked below. And by the way, Learning to be Cruel and Learning to be Cruel Part 2 are each self-contained; you can read either story and enjoy it without having read the other. The sequel is one of the wildest tales I’ve ever done–and I wrote some crazy shit for Leg Show under Dian Hanson’s editorship, believe me! Starting from the moment that my hero starts licking a bookstore window to catch the attention of the object of his affection, the beautiful cashier Miss Meirong, Learning to be Cruel Part 2 is a cock-stiffening, clit-tingling, brain-titillating journey into female dominance and male submission. (Sorry if I’m starting sound like a friggin’ infomercial. Just trying to get my porn out there!)

Amazon US:

http://www.amazon.com/Irv-O.-Neil/e/B005KA6DZQ

Amazon UK:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=sr_nr_seeall_2?rh=k%3AIrv+O.+Neil%2Ci%3Adigital-text&keywords=Irv+O.+Neil&ie=UTF8&qid=1348521949

Amazon Germany:

http://www.amazon.de/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?__mk_de_DE=%C5M%C5Z%D5%D1&url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=Irv+O.+Neil&x=0&y=0

Amazon France:

http://www.amazon.fr/Irv-O.-Neil/e/B005KA6DZQ/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Amazon Italy:

http://www.amazon.it/s/ref=pd_rhf_dp_s_1?ie=UTF8&search-alias=digital-text&keywords=Irv%20O.%20Neil

Amazon Spain:

http://www.amazon.es/s/ref=sr_gnr_fkmr0?rh=i%3Adigital-text%2Ck%3AIrv+O.+Neil&keywords=Irv+O.+Neil&ie=UTF8&qid=1327901175

 

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A “soundtrack” for Sardax…

I feel the work of an erotica writer (or call it smut or porn too, if you wish–I’m fine with them all) can sometimes be analogous to that of a film composer.

Often the writer creates a story completely out of his imagination and it is illustrated by an artist-rendered picture or a photograph. In that case, the illustration brings a visual dimension that the story can only suggest. But on other occasions, the writer is called upon to provide amplification for photographs, in the “girl copy” that accompanies pictures. The words bring a literary dimension that the pictures can only suggest, just as good film music brings extra dimensions to cinematic images. Soundtracks for movies use music and audio effects, and “literary soundtracks” for images use words to evoke emotions and fantasies.

Here are two examples of “girl copy” I wrote for a pictorial commissioned by me when I was editing Leg World. I called the model “Sandra Scarlett”–as far as I knew, she hadn’t picked a nom de porn, so I gave her one. The photos were shot by noted erotic photographer Jana Krenova.

Scenario is a reverse strip: Sandra primps for a date with “Stud Male” while naked “Slave Male” watches obediently in the bathroom.

“Slave Male” is represented by camera’s point-of-view, and “girl copy” expands scenario beyond bathroom.

The pictures of Sandra were taken for the October 2008 issue of Leg World, and Jana also shot Sandra for the cover (which you can see in my archives here.) Ms. Krenova did many terrific pictorials for me at Leg World and for Dian Hanson when she edited Leg Show. You can see more of Jana’s work on her own site, BestLegShow.com.

Sandra now also appears as “Sandra Sanchez” on HotLegsAndFeet.com and other sites for which I write newsletters and web copy at DDFNetwork.com.

I am a very big fan of classic film music, by composers such as Bernard Herrmann, Miklos Rosza, Alfred Newman, Jerome Moross, Franz Waxman, Erich Korngold, and Elmer Bernstein. I often listen to their music when I work, as well as to ragtime, house music, Big Band, and classical piano and symphonies.

Check out one of my favorite pieces of film music here, the opening credits from David and Bathsheba, setting the scene for a tale of exotic and dangerous Biblical romance. See this excellent movie if you have the opportunity.

Now this is what I call a movie poster!! And the music lives up to it.

Now, I recently had the pleasant experience of writing a story to accompany a picture by the noted British fetish artist Sardax on his site The Femdom Art of Sardax here. I used various details in the picture to imagine a story around it which was entitled “The Pit.”

Dreaming up a story for this picture was right up my alley!

A woman counting money…a barefoot woman reading…the color of a domineering woman’s blouse…my story took off from these things to imagine a sensual, psychological, and emotional experience for the man in the center of picture, in awe over the feet of the woman sitting above him.

One thing I like about Sardax’s work is that his mastery of expression and detail gives his work a narrative quality that is very appealing to a writer’s mind.

There are more than a few pictures on his site that have written accompaniments, these “literary soundtracks” which accentuate and bring extra psychological and emotional components to the images. Most of his pictures don’t have words, but the ones that do have some excellent and evocative prose.

It’s amazing how just a few lines or paragraphs underneath some of his pictures really expand on the already powerful fantasies he depicts through his skills with drawing and color alone. One of my favorites is “Lucky Man”:

In the copy that accompanies the picture, the young wife expresses her dissatisfaction with her older husband, and lays out a “contract” with five items which pretty much encase him in a cocoon of total slavery to her. She emphasizes:

“I am in charge. Your role in this relationship from now on is to obey me, and work to make my life easy and pleasant. Is that understood? Do you accept these rules?”

He is more than happy to acquiesce and feels lucky to do so, as the brief but potent story elaborates the “contract” point for point.

Sardax recently completed a series of gorgeous pictures illustrating the early femdom novel Venus in Furs, and they are some of his most dramatic and striking images. They are now on his site.

I hope to write more for Sardax, and of course will let you know here if and when I do.

Getting back to the idea of an erotica writer providing a “soundtrack,” one of my happiest accomplishments when I wrote porn screenplays from the 1980s through the early 2000s was to suggest the use of an actual musical soundtrack, of Rossini’s overture for The Thieving Magpie as the score for an X-rated movie I scripted in 1988, The Bitches of Westwood. The director, Ron Sullivan aka “Henri Pachard,” liked my idea and we had ourselves a very jaunty soundtrack which perfectly accompanied this porn take-off of the Jack Nicholson/Michelle Pfeiffer movie The Witches of Eastwick.

In this parody, the late John Leslie played the devilish role Jack Nicholson did in the original.

I think the writer Anthony Burgess, most famous for A Clockwork Orange, said that if he weren’t a writer, he would have liked to be a film composer. I feel the same way sometimes (although being a film director is even more appealing and was my original career “goal”). Anyway, give a listen to The Thieving Magpie overture here on You Tube and imagine it as accompaniment for a hardcore sex comedy!

(Well, holy shit. As I went to You Tube to find the music, I discovered that Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, the 1970 movie, used it too. That was a film I hated for its violence when I saw it and never watched again, but I wonder if after that the first time of hearing The Thieving Magpie it perhaps nestled in my subconscious for years after…until it seemed to me the perfect accompaniment for my own take on, shall we say, rambunctious devilish behavior?)

In any case, music has always influenced my work, whether overtly or subconsciously. When I worked for GCR Publications in the 1980s, I used to sit in my office and sometimes listen to Big Band music as I assembled issues of Cheeks, Girls Over 40, Stag, or For Adults Only. One of the associate editors said he always thought that the Benny Goodman number “Goodbye” (composed by Gordon Jenkins) well expressed my personality. Either that’s true, or I played it so many times in my office that it became indistinguishable from who I was. But my personality did partake then, and still partakes, of some of the melancholy embodied in the tune, which can be found here in a recording on You Tube.

This is a still of Benny Goodman from the 1943 movie “Stage Door Canteen” which I found on Wikipedia.

And this is me around the time I was always listening to “Goodbye,” playing dress-up at home in the “film noir” mode:

Pic was taken in 1985 or 1986 in my book-crammed apartment on West 46th Street in Manhattan’s Times Square. Moved out in 1990 to try a less “film noir” lifestyle in Astoria, Queens; didn’t like it, though.

Maybe I’m being a little harsh on myself. I shouldn’t call it “film noir dress-up” because I had a lot of vintage clothes (still have some of them, in fact) and donned them often, not as “costumes” but as my regular wear. In many ways, “noir” is the way I look at the world…as a place where people, even with free will, are too often puppets in the hands of destiny…where men are subject to the wiles of femmes fatale (truly)…and sometimes I call myself a “film noir” kinda guy. Anyway, this picture was taken in the 1980s when I lived in a Times Square walk-up where many years earlier in the 1950s prominent burlesque agents actually had their offices. (I discovered this recently by looking at the agency ads in old burlesque trade magazines and seeing the address where I used to live.) So it is very possible that peelers like Tempest Storm or Jennie Lee, or models like Bettie Page, at one time or other crossed the threshold of the very same apartment I dwelled in thirty years later! No big deal, just strikes me as kinda cool.

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I found the David and Bathsheba poster here, and The Bitches of Westwood boxcover here.

The images of Sandra Scarlett from Leg World October 2008 courtesy of Magna Publishing Group Inc. and Jana Krenova.

The use of “The Pit” and “Lucky man” pictures are courtesy of Sardax.

 

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Why some people look down on erotica…

I believe that all of the best writing, whether it’s erotic or literary or genre or journalistic, takes practice and skill before mastery is achieved. It can be as difficult to learn to write a great erotic story as it is to write a great story of other types. To be able to create your own distinctive universe where your characters meet, talk, screw and/or kink out, is not an easy accomplishment.

One of the earliest magazines I edited and wrote for...each coverline came right from my sexual psyche or pop culture interests.

However, in one important aspect erotica is a less demanding form of fiction writing for the simple reason that it doesn’t take all that much to turn people on, if you are basically giving them what they’re looking for. For example, if you hand a poorly written femdom story to a submissive man, it still might turn him on if there are nuggets in the tale that capture his fantasies.

As an editor, as well as a reader of online fiction written by any number of anonymous souls, I’ve been constantly amazed at how weakly written amateur stories can be really hot in spite of their poor grammar or structure. But it makes sense, because it is the stimulation of body rather than the mind that is the primary goal of porn, erotica, smut, or whatever you want to call it, and the body is easily titillated. A single apt turn of phrase in an otherwise crummy tale can do the trick.

If a person, not necessarily a trained writer, puts down his or her fantasies honestly, or at least passionately, and with a modicum of intelligibility, there are bound to be some people out there who will get aroused when they read such jottings.

On the other hand, if an unskilled scribe attempts to craft a mystery, even with honesty, passion, and intelligibility, the odds are high that it will excite nobody, because the challenges and complexities of writing a mystery are usually too much for the novice. In this sense it’s harder to write a mystery than an erotic story, for the simple reason you can’t fall back on the biological urges that can so readily be triggered by the right smutty passage in an otherwise lumpy pile of pornographic pulp.

Attempts by tyros at most other literary categories, from literature to westerns to thrillers to romance, are often hopelessly bad with no available fallback on the libido, as in erotica. Of course it doesn’t mean that, given time and effort, beginners in all these fields can’t develop the necessary skills to succeed.

Most people understand all this instinctively–even unconsciously–about erotica, and from this comes their attitude that somehow erotica is not “real” writing…or at all challenging to write. Everybody knows how easily and quickly our individual arousal buttons can be pushed by the right words or images, and so they figure it doesn’t take all that much skill to write horny material. Unfortunately, they can be correct.

But–when you read a great piece of horny prose, the skills utilized are obvious to the discerning eye.

Still, all this is one big reason for the never-ending condescension of the civilians (as some of us pornsters call people outside of the business) toward the art and craft of erotica writing. Such condescension and misunderstanding are occupational hazards to be encountered at parties, family gatherings, or wherever such civilians gather. “You write what? Oh, I didn’t know magazines actually paid people to write stuff like that.” (Snicker, titter, smirk, gasp!)

On the contrary, they did–and sometimes very nicely indeed.

...and one of the more recent. The main covergirl is like the 1950s paperback femmes fatale that I love.

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I found the covers of the magazines at the great online source for vintage publications, OldMags.com. I don’t work for them, but I love to browse in their site and scroll through more than thirty years worth of titles I worked for. So visit OldMags.com sometime.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Erotica

 

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The eroticism in great books and films…

I’ve felt a little at loose ends this week, partly because I was completely blown away by a novel I finished reading called Contempt, by Albert Moravia. It was made into the movie of that name by Jean-Luc Godard, but the original title of the book was A Ghost At Noon.

A young screenwriter is baffled as to why his wife's love has suddenly turned to contempt.

The book encompasses questions like the nature of love, the absurdities of the mid-20th century movie business, but most of all it takes us into the head of a young screenwriter who is devastated when his wife decides, after two years of seeming devotion, that he is despicable. At first he thinks it’s due to a misunderstanding, but as the story proceeds it seems clear that the problem is far deeper and more complex.

Some of the book is quite funny, as when a German film director expounds on a psychological angle on The Odyssey, the story of the Greek hero Ulysses. Funny, but provocative and profound too.

Amazing descriptions of the Italian landscape and the screenwriter’s enigmatic wife make this book a sensual experience as well.

This is the edition of the novel that I read:

But it leaves out some of the sensual sights, like that of his wife, which fuel his introspection...

As if reading this book wasn’t enough to knock my socks off, I watched the movie He Ran All The Way, with John Garfield.

This taut drama gets more impressive each time I see it.

It was the last film that Garfield made, and although I’ve seen it before, I think the combination of finishing Contempt and seeing this movie on the same day made me more aware of its many nuances. Garfield plays a cop killer on the run who forcefully holes up in the apartment of a family. In ninety minutes it suggests a novel’s worth of tragedy–and indeed it was based on a novel of the same name by writer Sam Ross.

What made the movie so powerful was how Garfield’s unstinting characterization shows a criminal life brutalized by parental abuse, emotional immaturity, poverty, lack of education, and an absence of intelligent introspection. You feel pity for his character, even empathy (Garfield’s performance is mesmerizing) but you understand why he must be stopped before he strikes again.

His scenes with Shelley Winters, as a love-starved girl who works in a bakery, are tinged with forlorn and desperate sexual hunger. What she is willing to do to feel wanted is one of the most shocking elements of this film.

I recommend both Contempt and He Ran All The Way.

But what do these things have to do with my trade being erotica? Simply, that great works like this are the fuel and inspiration that make me want to write the best stories I can, stories that perhaps go beyond being stimulating into something deeper, something haunting.

Like this European poster for He Ran All The Way, which has an atmosphere of danger and eroticism…

I would not classify this poster as erotica, but it is surely sexually suggestive.

The colors of the European poster remind me of those of a pulp magazine from the 40s. And when I edited adult magazines such as Leg World or Cheeks, I always worked with my art director and photographers to get the most vivid colors in the images and typography.

Main covergirl Sandra Scarlett, now working under the name Sandra Sanchez, is a popular European model.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in Erotica

 

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