Whipped Cream is pleased to welcome Melodee Aaron. Melodee has several stories published with Siren Publishing as well as Amira Press. Melodee was one of the first authors to push the envelope beyond ménage to examine what she calls "polyamorous" relationships.
"How do you personally distinguish between erotica, erotic romance, and pornography?" I asked.
"That distinction can be hard," she said. "No pun intended! In my mind, it all has to do with characters and plot...
"In porn, there's no need for developed characters and a plot. Yes, this is a judgment call as one person's opinion on a good character or plot will be different from another person's concept. Porn is simple titillation for titillation's sake.
"The line between erotica and erotica romance is even finer for me. In general, the addition of a long-term dedicated relationship between the characters moves a story from erotica to erotica romance.
"Now, if you've read my books, you'll know that none of this prohibits multiple partners in a polyamorous relationship.
"Yes, polyamorous. I hate the term 'ménage' because that word, in my opinion, doesn't require a dedicated, loving relationship between three (or more) people. When I think 'ménage', I picture three+ way sex and not much more."
For Melodee, a good erotic story has the same characteristics of any good story: well-developed, real characters and a plot that engages the readers. "The erotica and romance features are just add-ons to the simple basics of a story," she said. "That said, there are different required elements for a story depending on if it is porn, erotica, or erotica romance because the target reader is different.
"There's no nice way to put this...porn is aimed mostly at men, and they like lots of hot sex. Men don't care about the love and attraction. They want to get down and dirty as fast as possible. The formula for porn is pretty simple, too—girl goes down on guy, guy goes down on girl, three positions, ending with a 'pop-shot'. It doesn't matter if we're talking about a book or a movie.
"Erotica is still aimed mostly at men, but there is a little added romance to attract women as well. Not too much, though, because the men will find the romance sappy and so lose interest. The idea here is to get both male and female readers excited. I like to think that a couple—or larger group—will read this together. At least a few pages!
"Erotica romance is targeted at women. Lots of romance, love, and tenderness are needed to really grab the woman reader."
Melodee writes all three, and the research needed depends on the story and which of the three she's writing the story as.
"Porn needs little research beyond coming up with some very hot and exciting positions," she explained. "Erotica needs more to build a decent plot. Erotica romance needs as much research as mainstream literature. After all, erotica romance is nothing more than a mainstream romance with the bedroom door left open!
"I write in erotica romance, erotica, and porn and all three have some elements of the other two. Some of the extreme sex of porn can easily be worked into erotica romance for example if the author handles it right.
"I tend to push the envelope in my erotica romance stories, though. Those who have read For the Love of Payne know what I mean. Ike, the heroine, has a number of pretty intense trysts with men other than Devon, the hero, in the book. That's a big no-no in erotica romance, but it works in the story because it tells us who and what Ike is.
"There was a time when I would 'try out' scenes from my books. That was last week. Anyway, the research should include as much of your personal experiences as possible so you really know what you're talking about."
Most of what Melodee writes has a science fiction spin to it which can make the research pretty rough, and she makes things even harder on herself by forcing herself to write hard science fiction, or science fiction that has a basis in fact.
"For example," she shared, "I have ships in my stories that travel faster than light. According to relativity and quantum mechanics, that's not possible. But I use something called M-theory, and it's entirely possible there. I have to be able to back up every little detail."
"What research books do you recommend for writers starting out in writing erotica?" I wondered.
"That's easy," she replied. "A good dictionary and thesaurus is an absolute must. A style manual helps, but most good authors ignore the manual to a large degree.
"A copy of the Kama Sutra is also a big help for those times when you just can't think of anything new and different.
"Finally, don't ignore those who have gone before you! Make a trip to the local adult bookstore or check around on the Internet. After all, other writers and the porn industry are selling what they offer, so they must be doing something right."
Melodee writes just about everything, but in the writing industry, an author's name gets linked to a particular genre, so you won't find children's books written by Melodee Aaron.
"Would you buy a nonfiction book about the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire written by Stephen King?" Melodee said.
Melodee's move to erotica and porn happened when she was in college. "Hey, it got the attention of the guys in the frat house!" she said.
She started writing erotica romance mainly in the e-book world about three years ago.
I asked her what her family thought about her writing.
"I don’t think anyone I care about has a problem with the erotica I write," she said. "I know there are a few relatives who don't care for it, but then again, I don't care for them so it doesn't matter.
"Actually, it wouldn't matter to me in any event. I like writing erotica romance, erotica, and porn, and I will do what I like. What other people think has no impact on what I do. It shouldn't.
"As far as the reading goes, my biggest fan reads all of my stories, no matter the genre. Frankly, I like when he reads the erotic works right before bed.
"I better just shut up now!"
Melodee did a reading once for a purely erotica story, and she told me that sitting in front of a room full of people reading out loud was embarrassing. "Some of that was the content," she said, "and some was that I am a little self-conscious about speaking out loud since my deafness gives me what most people think of as a speech impediment."
That wasn't the most embarrassing moment in her life though.
"That would have to be the time that a couple I was dating at the time (Bill and Rhonda) and I were caught in the elevator at a Sears store in St. Louis.
"It was a slow ride, so Ronda and I decided we could get off before we had to get off. The elevator, that is. We didn't make it. The door opened in the middle of the hardware department on the third floor. Poetic justice I guess. All three of us were in various stages of undress when a group of four or five people started to step into the car.
"We pushed the 'close door' button and finished up before we made it to the top."
"If you could entertain a character from a book, who would it be and what would the evening be like?" I asked.
"Are we talking from one of my books or from someone else's books? From my books, it would be Harry from The Polyamorous Princess. Maybe that's not actually fair, though, because Harry has a good deal of me in him—sort of a cross-dressing Melodee. He's smart to a fault, arrogant, demanding, and drop-dead gorgeous. I think I would give him a run for his money. If nothing else, we'd find each other entertaining. In the Biblical sense.
"From other books, there are literally thousands of choices. If I had to narrow it down to just one, it would be Hari Sheldon from the Foundation trilogy by Asimov. No, I wouldn't jump his bones, but the character would be absolutely fascinating to talk to! Good, intelligent conversation is hard to find.
"I can get sex anyplace."
On a personal note, if Melodee could be anyone she wanted to be, she would remain herself. "I like being me, and I'm not sure how to be anyone else. True, I've had some tough things happen to me in my life, and being deaf hasn't made it much easier, but all of those things have shaped who I am. Similarly, the good things have also made me into the person I am today. I wouldn't trade them, or who I am, for anything."
She also told me that she can't think of any place she would pierce that isn't already perforated. "I have thirteen places above the waist and three below pierced now. You can figure out the locations!" she said. "There aren't many places left!
"I love tattoos and piercings, not only on me, but also on others. Piercings can enhance one's appearance, as can tattoos, but I like it artfully done. A skull just doesn't cut it. Body art and jewelry can draw attention to parts of the body and build anticipation. As I said, I have a total of sixteen piercings and I also have fourteen tattoos. Some are visible in 'normal' dress, some can be seen only at the beach, and others require—shall we say—a more intimate relationship to be apparent."
She also admits to an oral fixation—"a, um, two-way oral fixation," she clarified. She can tie a cherry stem with her tongue, and she can also roll her tongue and turn it upside down. "The same gene allows for all of that," she explained.
She likes syrups to eat of someone else's tummy. "Chocolate, butterscotch, marshmallow cream, and so many others are wonderful for that," she said. "They cling a little but still have a good deal of 'flow factor'. The downside is that they all tend to be sticky. Then again, the syrup is usually the least sticky thing around at this point.
"For other body parts, does it really matter? Not as far as I can tell! I do have a thing for hotdog buns and mustard." You can keep up with Melodee on her website, http://melodeeaaron.com