Secret Sex Lives

Talking Sex — Writing, Teaching, & Dating

One thing I discovered through researching, writing, and publishing Secret Sex Lives: A Year on the Fringes of American Sexuality is that people look at me through colored lenses when I tell them I research and write about sex. I have yet to figure out if those lenses are rose-colored or black. I do know they looked black on the day a former student insisted that I go up to his hotel room to talk with him about his w
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Jill Di Donato's Beautiful Garbage

“Beautiful Garbage”: A Q&A With Jill Di Donato

I clicked play and was barely into the video when I was hooked … on both the book trailer, which is like a short film, and the novel.
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Feeling Lost?

Sometimes getting lost can be good for writers, such as when we get lost in our work. And in our stories. Then again, getting lost in one’s story can be good or bad depending on what kind of lost. There’s the good kind of lost where our creative minds are living in the world we’re writing about. That’s bliss. There’s the kind of lost when we lose our direction in our story. That’s hell. And then there’s the ki
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A Miley Cyrus T-shirt: “That’s So Gay”

I didn’t pay much attention to the four teenaged boys standing in front of me at Wendy’s until one of them started talking about someone who had been wearing a Miley Cyrus t-shirt and how he’d walked up to that person and said, “That’s so gay.” At that, I paid attention. At that, I presumed the person wearing the t-shirt was male. At that, I wanted to speak up and say something to the teenager, but I didn’t know what
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Creative Nonfiction

On Writing Narrative Nonfiction

It can be easier to write about mother-daughter dynamics in a novel than it is to write about one’s own mother-daughter dynamics in a memoir … or … in a book about sex. For that matter, I think it’s easier to write about sex and religion in a novel than it is in nonfiction. In a novel, one can always say that those thoughts, feelings, actions are those of the character, not the author – the character just took the au
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Erotic Romance Author Kate Douglas, Part II

Kate Douglas has been writing erotic romance for the Aphrodisia imprint of Kensington Publishing since 2006. So when Publishing Perspectives asked me to do a story on the erotica market and how it’s changed post-Fifty Shades of Grey, Kate was one of the first authors I contacted. My November 2012 email interview with her was so informative that I decided to post it here in its entirety, though divided in two parts. I
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Suzy Spencer discusses

Comfortable, Finally

I asked a friend the other day to pray that I’d find the “right” book to write next. “I want you to write a book with purpose,” she said. I flinched. Every book I’ve written has had purpose, I think. Certainly Wasted and Breaking Point did. Wasted, the story of the murder of Regina Hartwell, allowed me to go into high schools and talk about drug and alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, and physical abuse. St
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The Clouds Are Low And Dark

The clouds are low and dark. The wind whips hard. An oil well blows in west Texas, kills two, and almost no one notices. The Boston Marathon is bombed, kills three, and the world notices. A former Texas judge and his wife are arrested for the murder of three, and the United States notices. The town of West, Texas blows up, and … My stomach knots. My heart pounds and hurts. It’s April in the United States. Are we numb
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The Taint Of True Crime

I wish I saw things the way other people do. I really do. The other day, I was driving down the highway when I noticed a firewood stand on the side of the road. For most passersby, they’d simply see a man standing by the road selling wood. That’s not what I saw. Not at all. I saw a young couple buying kindling to burn the body of a man they’d murdered. In truth, there was no one there. Not a single customer. So why d
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