If I seem to have slipped easily into writing erotic romance, it’s because of my vast background in writing and editing “Adult” materials, which dates back to 1969. By 1970 I was writing seven features a week for, and editing, two of the then-new sex newspapers in New York. In the wake of Screw’s groundbreaking success, many imitators had sprung up, none as successful (or as good) as the original, but all vying for a piece of the pie. I found myself on the staff of two of them (out of the same publishing house).
Before I came onboard, the publisher, “J,” had hired a writer, “D,” to write some of the stories in the newspapers. J had also assigned D another task. You see, some of the revenue the publisher earned came from the classified ad section, which took up some four pages of each issue of each paper. I no longer remember if placing an ad was free or cost money, but I do recall that there was a fee inherent in answering an ad. All ads were box ads c/o the newspaper, and those responding to the ad were instructed to place their letter in a small envelope with the box number in the lower right corner, then place that and the forwarding fee inside a larger envelope addressed to the newspaper. Well, J wanted to gin up more revenue for the paper, so he assigned D to write a bunch of phony ads in hopes of getting more responses, with their forwarding fees.
J also paid D to reply to some of these responses to phony ads, saying words to the effect of “Thanks for writing but I already met someone else.” This was to accomplish two objectives: To keep the people from getting suspicious and also to keep their interest up so they would respond to more ads.
As it turned out, though neither J nor I was aware of it at the time, D was cribbing some of these ads from another sexpaper.
One day a response came to one of the phony ads that D had written. Although D was freelancing, he happened to be in the office at the time. J passed D the letter and said, “Here. You can answer this one.” D opened the envelope and removed the letter and a part of a Wonder bread wrapper that contained a brown, crumbly, dirt-like substance. D read the letter, which included words to the effect of, “To prove the genuine sincerity of my interest, I am enclosing something for you.”
None of us could ID the substance, and the letter was no help. D searched out the ad he’d written to see what it was that he’d said. In it he’d expressed an interest in a particular sexual aspect that, he was forced to admit, he didn’t know the meaning of. That’s when it came out that he’d been cribbing ads from another paper.
We looked up the mystery word in a dictionary and found: Coprophilia: A sexual interest in feces.
The brown substance in the Wonder bread wrapper was dried poop.
Sitting at my computer and writing m/m romance erotica is much safer and calmer, but there are times I miss the heady excitement of those days when we were pioneers in the “Adult” industry.
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Diana Sheridan’s m/m erotic novels Finding Mr. Wright and Mating Michael are available now from Siren-BookStrand. She has six more novels due out with Siren-BookStrand between now and May and is nearing completion of a ninth. She has many more books, of a totally different nature, out under her true name.