Cover Art IV: The Lesbian, the Bitch, and the Bathrobe

I was working on releasing The Lesbian, the Bitch, and the Bathrobe in paperback, so I decided to update the book cover while I was at it. The text was a little dreary, so I pumped it up with a gold finish. The gold look is easy enough to achieve in inkscape — it’s just a repeating gradient from yellow to white and back again.

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I also inserted my lil’ ole’ signature into the artwork because, heck, I drew it so I’m going to take credit for it. Actually, Swapship Troopers was the first cover art that I liked enough to actually want to sign, but I’ve since gone back and signed all my others as well.

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You can find this book on Amazon Kindle and soon available in paperback!

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Inspiration: The Lesbian, the Bitch, and the Bathrobe

This is a “Behind The Porn” story of how I came up with the idea for my novel The Lesbian, the Bitch, and the Bathrobe. Spoiler Alert! This article is going to give away many key plot points, so you should definitely go read the book first. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Ok.

I read CS Lewis as a kid, of course, but mostly forgot about it. Then in December 2005 the movie version of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” was in theaters and the marketing was everywhere. It’s such a distinctive phrase, and it flows so nicely for a long title.  I started to think how it would be fun to have a parody that replaced Witch with Bitch. Ha, ha. I said bitch. That is sooooo funny.

What about the rest of the title? The only thing I could come up with for Wardrobe was Bathrobe. I wasn’t sure how a bathrobe would figure in the story, but I knew bathrobe sounded right. Bathrobe is funny. Bathrobe is absurd. It’s so much the opposite of CS Lewis’ pretentious style. It was perfect.

Lesbian was harder to come up with. It’s not phonetically very similar to Lion, honestly. You have the L at the beginning and the N at the end, but the middle has no similarity whatsoever. So when I first thought of Lesbian I wasn’t entirely satisfied. Lesbian, however, lends itself to all sorts of plot ideas (I mean, seriously. It practically writes itself). So I decided to go with Lesbian

I had a title. I just needed a story to go under it.

That the story would include a magical doorway to another world was a no-brainer. An evil queen was also an obvious choice. I wanted the main character to be a young woman who is sex-starved in the real world but really gets it on in the magic world. It is erotic fiction, after all. Just like whats-her-name from the original novel meets Mr. Tumnus first thing on the other side, in our book we’d meet Mr. Cumnus. That’s a little tacky, I admit, but it’s so obvious I couldn’t resist. 

The evil queen would be anti-sex, in a satirical parallel to sexually repressed, social conservatives in our own world (note the elephants pulling her carriage). Her magic spell that would turn any two citizens who had sex into stone statues created a loophole that the main character would be able to take advantage of to get laid in a major way. She would be in the middle of a land where no one could have sex — except with her. Bada-boom! It was sort of a “last man on Earth” fantasy.

I worried about realism at this point. Not the magic spells — that was standard fantasy stuff. No, I was worried about the realism of a female character who was unable to get laid in the real world. I even considered changing her to a boy. After all, there are a lot more guys out there who are sex-starved than there are girls. Instead I decided to hit hard on how Lilly (later Lily) was shy and awkward and lacked self-confidence. Lily just had to be a girl. Because lesbian.

The evil queen had to be defeated, too. There was no more poignant way to do that than for her to be defeated by sex. Here I borrowed from “The Wizard of Oz” and decided she would melt away after experiencing an orgasm. It makes as much sense as being melted by a bucket of water, doesn’t it?

There I had the basics of a story. I worked on-and-off on it for more than a year. Finally, in November 2007 I posted the piece on Literotica.com. It was the first erotica I ever wrote. A hand full of people read it. Some liked it, some didn’t.

I gave up on writing for a while and got busy with other things (like depression and self doubt). In 2013 I did what I should have done years before and got a divorce. Finally out from under that toxic relationship, I felt my creative spirit slowly come back to life. I started to think about writing again.

Ideas were coming left and right, but always in the back of my mind was that old story about the magic doorway. I felt like what I wrote never lived up to the potential of the idea, and I was eager to try again. Then in 2015 I had the story taken down on Literotica.com and did a thorough rewrite.

Some people complained how the sex scenes in the original were constantly interrupted before anything actually happened (call it performance anxiety for a first timer). In the update I made sure all the sex scenes were carried through to completion. You’re welcome.

The new version also included more depth in the characters. Lily was more wholesome and naive. Megan was more gritty and tough. The relationship between those two was given more time to develop, too. The theme of sexual repression from 2007 was focused on LGBT equality in 2015 (with Lily proclaiming “Love is never wrong or abnormal or evil!”).

All together, the updated version was about 3 times longer than the original. More importantly, it was more coherent, hotter, and presented the themes more effectively. Now The Lesbian, the Bitch, and the Bathrobe is not just my best title, it’s also my best story.

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Cover Art: The Lesbian, the Bitch, and the Bathrobe III

The original cover for The Lesbian, the Bitch, and the Bathrobe got my book flagged as ADULT on Amazon. You might think I wouldn’t really care — this is an erotic novel after all, adults are the only people who should be reading it — but it actually makes quite a difference. A book flagged ADULT won’t show up in “also bought” recommendations or search results. Even a user who explicitly searches for “lesbian bitch bathrobe” won’t see this book (even though they are clearly interested in somewhat more adulty content). Effectively this book has disappeared.

The reason? Boobs. Lily (the dark haired girl) was showing too much cleavage in the original cover. Of course, in my own opinion this is absurd. How can the human body be offensive? Not to mention the fact that men can go around bare-chested all they want, but women are held to a different standard for no particular reason. But that’s the society our forefathers left us with, so we have to make do.

I’ve appeased Amazon by drawing a bra on Lily. It hides what needs to be hidden apparently, because I’ve been notified that the ADULT flag will be lifted. Maybe now some people (adults, obviously) will find my book and give it a read.

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Cover Art: The Lesbian, the Bitch, and the Bathrobe

The Lesbian, the Bitch, and the Bathrobe was the second time I attempted a large illustration for a book cover and it went much more smoothly. I learned from my mistakes with the first go-around. Megan (the blond) is tough, edgy, and athletic. I based her off of Australian fitness model Stacey McMahon, Susan Storm from the Fantastic Four, and this girl from my local donut shop with funky hair.

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Could she get more badass? No, she could not.

Lily, on the other hand, is soft and voluptuous. I tried to contrast her with Megan in terms of physical build, color, and texture. The bathrobe was a difficult one for me to get right. I wound up just applying a blur filter over and over to give the robe a fuzzy texture. One interesting note: her glasses are based on ones worn by porn star Mia Khalifa.

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Sure lots of people wear glasses. But these are porn approved.

Originally I planned to draw the title text by hand, but I found this Algerian font and it looked awesome. At first the text was reddish brown, but that was difficult to read. I changed it to a misty-tan in order to up the contrast.

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