To Much of a Good Thing (Erotica for the Thinking Man (and Woman) Book 2)

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I cried a lot, I wrote a lot, and I read a lot; and that was how I dealt with it. What went in had to come out. The child Hocking began telling her own stories before she could walk. She was forever inventing make-believe worlds, so much so that the counsellor to whom she was sent for depression concluded that her incessant storytelling was an aberration that had to stop.

Fortunately for Hocking, and for her many fans, her parents took her side in this argument, and she was never sent back to see him. At 12 she had already begun to describe herself as a writer and by the end of high school she estimates she had written 50 short stories and started countless novels. The first that she actually completed, Dreams I Can't Remember, was written when she was She was very excited by the accomplishment, and printed it out for friends and family, as well as sending it to several publishers. I don't blame them — it wasn't very good," Hocking says.

Hocking went on to develop an intimate relationship with rejection letters. She has somewhere in her new house a shoebox full of them.

Yet she would not give up. She wrote unpublished book after unpublished book. This time it was bound to work. In she went into overdrive. She was frantic to get her first book published by the time she was 26, the age Stephen King was first in print, and time was running out she's now Once she got going, she could write a complete novel in just two or three weeks.

By the start of , she had amassed a total of 17 unpublished novels, all gathering digital dust on the desktop of her laptop. She received her last rejection letter in February Hocking says she hasn't kept the letter, which is a crying shame because it would surely have been an invaluable piece of self-publishing memorabilia. As far as she can remember, the last "thanks-but-no-thanks" came from a literary agent in the UK. If that agent is reading this article, please don't beat yourself up about this.

We all make mistakes April 15 should also be noted by historians of literature. On that day, Hocking made her book available to Kindle readers on Amazon's website in her bid to raise the cash for the Muppets trip.

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Following tips she'd gleaned from the blog of JA Konrath , an internet self-publishing pioneer, she also uploaded to Smashwords to gain access to the Nook, Sony eReader and iBook markets. It wasn't that difficult. A couple of hours of formatting, and it was done.

Within a few days, she was selling nine copies a day of My Blood Approves , a vampire novel set in Minneapolis. By May she had posted two further books in the series, Fate and Flutter , and sold copies. June saw sales rise to more than 4, and in July she posted Switched , her personal favourite among her novels that she wrote in barely more than a week. By January last year she was selling more than , a month. Multiply that by a million — last November Hocking entered the hallowed halls of the Kindle Million Club , with more than 1m copies sold — and you are talking megabucks.

The speed of her ascent has astonished Hocking more than anyone. In internet-savvy circles she has been embraced as a figurehead of the digital publishing revolution that is seen as blowing up the traditional book world — or "legacy publishing" as its detractors call it — and replacing it with the ebook, where direct contact between author and reader, free of the mediation of agent and publishing house, is but a few clicks away.

There is certainly something to that argument. The arrival of Hocking onto the Kindle bestseller lists in barely over a year is symptomatic of a profound shift in the book world that has happened contiguously. Her rise has occurred at precisely the moment that self-publishing itself turned from poor second cousin of the printed book into a serious multi-million dollar industry. Two years ago self-publishing was itself denigrated as "vanity publishing" — the last resort of the talentless.

More generally, however, Aristotle suggests that a relation grounded in erotic love will not be the highest form of friendship. When he takes up the question, he has in mind, it would seem, pederastic relationships, but this does not affect his view of the relation between eros and philia. He distinguishes a bond like friendship, grounded in a trait of character and involving choice, from a bond grounded in an emotion. And, while there can be friendship between lover and beloved, it will not be the highest form of friendship.

It will be a friendship grounded not in character but in pleasure—and it is, therefore, likely to fade. I t is important to note that eros and philia are indeed different forms of love, even if they may sometimes go together. In making a somewhat different point, C. Lewis suggested the following thought experiment. In recognizing the reality and difficulty of the choice we discern the difference between the loves.

Lewis believes that friendship and erotic love may go together, but in many respects he agrees with Harry and with Aristotle that the combination is an unstable one. He suggests that friendship between a man and a woman is likely to slip over into eros unless either they are physically unattractive to each other, or at least one of them already loves another.

She figures you must be secretly interested in the other person—which you probably are. Which brings us back to the first rule.

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W e ought not, I think, deny that friendships between men and women—friendships that are not also marked by erotic love—are possible. We ought not, that is, let a theory lead us to deny the reality we see around us, and we do sometimes see or experience such friendships. The difficulties of combining eros and philia are the stuff of our daily life.

Equalizing the relation of the sexes, bringing women into the academy and the workplace, has not made these difficulties disappear. Indeed, in certain respects they may have been exacerbated.

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Men and women are radically uncertain about how they are to meet in such shared worlds. Friendship requires an easy spontaneity, a willingness to say what one thinks, talk with few holds barred and few matters off limits—precisely the sort of thing that some will find difficult on occasion to distinguish from sexual harassment.

I have discovered that college students often wish to argue that Harry is wrong, that there need be no obstacle to friendship between the sexes. That, however, may be because they have great difficulty managing erotic attachments which are quite a different thing from sexual encounters. Fearful of the kind of commitment eros asks of us—fearful of being drawn toward one who is completely other than the self but to whom the most complete self-giving is called for and before whom one therefore becomes vulnerable—they take refuge in groups of friends, hoping thereby to achieve what parents of thirty years ago saw as the advantage of group dating: the domestication of eros.

But eros is a wild and unruly deity, unlikely, I think, to be tamed so easily.


I t is wiser to grant the point. Friendship between men and women will always have to face certain difficulties that will not be present in same-sex friendships. There will almost always be what J. In one scene, Harry and his friend Jess are talking while hitting some balls in a batting cage:. This is, let us face it, a problem for friendships between men and women, even if it may also be enriching.

Eros always threatens; for, unlike friendship, eros is a love that is jealous and cannot be shared. If we grant this, we may not agree with Mary Hunt, whom I quoted earlier. Neither would have reason to seek the kind of close, particular, and preferential friendships that Aristotle—and many others since—have considered the highest form of friendship. What Hunt seems not to realize is that she is, in fact, like Aristotle in at least one important way. Also, in poverty and all other kinds of misfortune men believe that their only refuge consists in their friends.

More important, however, for Aristotle friendship is not only a particular and preferential bond that must be limited in number. The concept of civic friendship deserves more attention than we can give it here. But in any case, in her emphasis upon friendship as a public, political relation, Hunt is far more like Aristotle than she realizes; but, lacking his interest in those more private bonds we have in mind when speaking of friendship, she can shed little light on the problems of friendship between men and women. T hese problems go deeper than the presence of erotic attraction alone.

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They involve the very nature of the bond of friendship. It grows out of a peculiar treatment of self-love as the basis of friendship, of love for the friend as an extension of the friendly feelings one has for oneself. And there are, in fact, aspects of his discussion that I would not claim fully to understand.

What he has in mind, however, in depicting the friend as an alter ego is something we might discuss in terms of the social origins of the self. The friend is the mirror in which I come to know and understand myself. I have no way to look directly at myself and must come to see myself as I am reflected by others—and especially, perhaps, by close friends. This apparently puts the lie to our socially manufactured assumption that women are inherently more sexually restrained than men--and therefore better suited to monogamy. Detailing the results of a study about sexual arousal, Bergner says : "No matter what their self-proclaimed sexual orientation, [women] showed, on the whole, strong and swift genital arousal when the screen offered men with men, women with women and women with men.

They responded objectively much more to the exercising woman than to the strolling man, and their blood flow rose quickly--and markedly, though to a lesser degree than during all the human scenes except the footage of the ambling, strapping man--as they watched the apes. Far from being more sexually modest and restrained than the male libido, the female sex drive is "omnivorous" and "at base, nothing if not animal" writes Bergner.

He says: "One of our most comforting assumptions, soothing perhaps above all to men but clung to by both sexes, that female eros is much better made for monogamy than the male libido, is scarcely more than a fairy tale. Monogamy is among our culture's most cherished and entrenched ideals. We may doubt the standard, wondering if it is misguided, and we may fail to uphold it, but still we look to it as to something reassuring and simply right.

It defines who we aim to be romantically; it dictates the shape of our families, or at least it dictates our domestic dreams; it molds our beliefs about what it means to be a good parents. Monogamy is--or we feel that it is--part of the crucial stitching that keeps our society together, that prevents all from unraveling.

Women are supposed to be the standard's more natural allies, caretakers, defenders, their sexual beings more suited, biologically, to faithfulness. We hold tight to the fairy tale. We hold on with the help of evolutionary psychology, a discipline whose central sexual theory comparing women and men--a theory that is thinly supported--permeates our consciousness and calms our fears. And meanwhile, pharmaceutical companies search for a drug, a drug for women, that will serve as monogamy's cure.

Bergner thinks that monogamy is society's way of constraining female sexuality.

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He implies that this constraint is unjust and prudish. He is not alone. Salon 's Tracy Clark-Flory hailed his book for revealing "how society's repression of female sexuality has reshaped women's desires and sex lives Bergner, and the leading sex researchers he interviews, argue that women's sexuality is not the rational, civilized and balancing force it's so often made out to be--that it is base, animalistic and ravenous, everything we've told ourselves about male sexuality.

On its face, the flexible arousability of the female sex drive seems to be an indication of its strength, and that is what Bergner implies. But in truth, it is an indication of the very opposite, its weakness. Bergner's thesis that women are turned on by more stimuli than men does not mean that they are less monogamous than men.

In fact, the very flexibility of the female sex drive implies that women are more willing to prioritize monogamy over their libido. For that to make sense, it's important to understand that the female sex drive can be simultaneously weak and "omnivorous.

Amanda Hocking, the writer who made millions by self-publishing online | Books | The Guardian

That is the view of the highly cited psychological researcher Roy Baumeister, who this year won a major lifetime achievement award from the Association for Psychological Science. About a decade ago, he set out to determine if the female sex drive was indeed weaker than the male sex drive. He was inspired to do so when he noticed , in the course of his research, that the influence of "cultural and social factors on sexual behavior On measure after measure, Baumeister found, women were more sexually adaptable than men.

Lesbians, for instance, are more likely to sleep with men than gay men are with women.