Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Toblerone and Exotic Dancers

I live in Switzerland so I can’t ignore the 100h Birthday of the most famous and most innovative of Swiss Chocolates: Toblerone.

When I was growing up in the UK there was a memorable, slightly psychedelic, animated ad for Toblerone which had the surreal feel of the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine”. It was accompanied by a “New Seekers” type song that went

out on its own
Triangular chocolate

that's toblerone
Made from triangular honey by triangular bees

from triangular flowers in triangular trees
a-and *O-O-OH* Mr Confectioner pleease!!

Now that’s effective advertising – I remember the words more than twenty years later. At the time it seemed to make Toblerone out to be a kind of LSD. But then, English ads often carry a second meaning – the copywriters must have been grinning when the got Cadburys to go with

A finger of fudge

is just enough

to give the kids a treat

Anyway, Toblerone (in England we call it Toe – blur – own. In Switzerland they call it Toe- bluh – roh – nay because it links Tobler’s name to torrone – the Italian word for nougat) is still out on it’s own after 100 years.

It’s been owned by Kraft foods since 2000 and currently is ranked 17th amongst global confectionary foods brands – impressive given it has had limited distribution in the US for the past thirty years or so (hey, I’m a consultant; I get paid to know this stuff). The current marketing tagline is: "Lose yourself in the Toblerone triangle."Further hints at the hallucinogenic power of chocolate, honey and nougat – or is it just the triangular shape that makes the difference?

The triangular shape, which allows you to snap off one triangle at a time and pretend that you’ll leave the rest to later, is the link to the exotic dancers in the headline of this blog entry

It’s often stated that Tobler gave the chocolate its triangular shape because he was inspired by the Matterhorn but Theodor Tobler was in his twenties when he came up with the idea and he was the king of marketing cool of his day so I wasn’t surprised to learn that Matterhorn (booooooring) had nothing to do with it.

According to Tobler’s grandson, Andreas, the idea actually was inspired when Theodore went to the Folies Bergeres in Paris (a very naughty place to visit at the time) and saw the dancers forming human triangles as part of their act.

You have to admire a man who sees pretty, athletic women form a triangle and goes “Mmm, I’d like to pop those in my mouth one at a time.”

Monday, February 04, 2008

The print market for erotica is dead? Not with editors like Alison Tyler and Rache Kramer Bussel around

2007 saw a further contraction of the print market for erotica. The long-running Blue Moon / Avalon imprint was killed off. Orion and Neon both cut back on their plans, including cancelling commissioned novels.

The publishers that remain have narrowed their calls for submission so that you they can hit a particular niche, preferably with a sure-fire formula – for example erotic
romance must have a happy ending. Apparently that and not the passion that people feel and express, is the defining characteristic of romance.

In this context it is particularly pleasing to see some editors having significant success in pitching short story collections to the publishing houses. Rachel Kramer Bussel has done well with the “He’s On top” and “She’s On Top” pair of D/s books and has more on the way.

Alison Tyler has managed to pitch an Erotic Alphabet series (now don’t you with you’d thought of that?) to Cleis. Putting something like this together is a lot of work. You have to handle the publishers and their lawyers. You have to push out calls for submission and deal with authors like me (Alison wanted one of my stories for "H is for Hardcore" but I was ill and didn’t get the contract to her in time) and you have continuously to publicise the books in the press and on the internet.

Alison was kind enough to give me a second chance to contribute to her series and I now have “Have a Nice Day” (one of the raunchiest things I’ve ever written) in her appropriately name “I is for Indecent” and “Other Bonds Than Leather* (my favourite this-is-what–it’s really-like BDSM story) in “L is for Leather”. The covers are cute. The authors cover a wide range of styles and content but all pack a punch.

So when I hear “e-books killed the print erotica market, aint it awful” line in writers’ formums I remind people of Rachel and Alison and point out that if you have the energy and the talent and the persistence you can make print work.

I wish them continuing success.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Flash Fiction: Super Bowl XLII

Flash Fiction, stories of 200 words or less, is as much fun to write as it is to read. I use them to test my ability to put a bigger punch in a smaller package.

I've put this little piece together as an exercise in writing outside my own culture - for me football is played by fast fit lads who kick the ball around without a break for two fortyfive minute sessions, not by steroid-enhanced gorillas in armour who jump on each other in rehearsed ballet moves and take a rest every few minutes so the promoters can sell more advertising.

Anyway, here's a little offering from me to keep you amused on Super Bowl Sunday - even if you think NFL means Non-Fat Latte.

Super Bowl XLII © 2008 Mike Kimera All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without written permission from mikekimera@yahoo.co.uk

“You’re sure you want this?”

“Don’t I look sure?”

"You look wonderful. Wearing nothing but a Patriots shirt is a nice touch. But what about Matt?"

"Your brother, my husband, the one we’re about to cheat on - again? I’m wearing this shirt in his honor. He’s sure the Patriots will get the first touchdown."

"Where is he?"

"Downstairs, in front of the plasma, grazing on chips and guacamole. I offered to put an X in Superbowl XLII and he said he’d prefer pizza. That’s why you got the booty call draft. Hell, even I told him I was ovulating and that we could call the baby Brady. Made no difference."

"You’re ovulating?"

"Of course not. Does stupid run in your family? Anyway, even if I was, there’d be no way of proving which of you was the father."

"Yeah but if the babies mine I want it called Moss"

"That’s what I like about you. You understand the value of a good catch. With Matt only the touchdown counts. Now bend me over and show me how deep you can go in the end-zone."

"You gonna be my wide receiver?"

"Honey I’m lubed up to be your tight end"

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Back to writing: “Blind Faith” – my first story for 2008 – is up on the ERWA website

Hi folks,

I’m glad to have 2007 behind me. On the whole it was not a fun year. It was my least productive writing year since I started in 1999. I’m determined not to let history repeat itself. 2008 is going to be a GREAT writing year.

So far, things are going well. The folks over at the rolling writer’s workshop that is the Erotic Readers and Writers Association helped me to kick start the year with their theme of the month.

January’s theme was fetish. I wanted to do something that avoided the whips/leather/latex stuff and straddled the line between vanilla and something more. I came up with “Blind Faith” a gentle piece about blindfold public sex. The story revolves around the transformational nature of a fetish – in this case a blindfold. The sex is hot, the setting is real, but the focus is the experience of Faith and how it is affected by her fetish.

Here’s a small sample

Faith shivered at the thought of being on public display, but she did not leave. Instead she touched the strip of heavy white cotton that was tied around her wrist. It was her magic amulet. It had the power to transform her from her day to day self into someone to whom amazing things happened. After all, how many recently divorced, thirty-five year old Englishwomen found themselves standing on a harbour wall, looking out at the Alps and waiting for their lover to arrive?

If you’d like to see the whole story, please go here. http://www.erotica-readers.com/GD/S/Blind_Faith.htm

I’d love to hear what you think of it.