Author Archives: A. Margrave

About A. Margrave

Asena Margrave is a writer and artist. Her genres include romance, erotica, sci-fi, and fantasy. Office worker by day, her true bliss (and oftentimes frustration) begins with the stroke of a pencil.

The Sims 3: Simwhore Chronicles

The Sims 3: the Pimp Chronicles

Monte Vista is a sleepy, underpopulated town. At any given time, there are no crowds. The festival grounds never see people. The library only ever has that one guy in his burglar outfit, though I don’t know why because everyone knows burglars can’t read. The theater is just about the only place that drew a crowd, and even then it seems people visit only to return home in their jalopies the very next minute.

In other words, Monte Vista had a problem. And the only way to remedy this dire situation of underpopulation is by having a baby boom.

Utilizing advanced CAS technology coupled with free community mods (it can’t get better than free), I created the perfect simwhore. The whore’s life’s goal was simple: to plant his seed in every conceivable woman in town and rename Monte Vista to Hasta La Vista, Babies. The plan’s so scandalous that it just might work; Monte Vista will never know what hit it in the face (because it’s rated T for teens and dicks don’t exist in Monte Vista. Yet.)

To help my simwhore achieve his goal of world domination by offspring, I have cranked up everyone’s hormone levels so that they think anyone they meet is “hot” with a captial H, and that the slightest interaction will get them in the mood for a “woohoo” (thank you Nraas).

The following is a glimpse at the everyday routine of Leon Del Rosario-pimp, simwhore, getaway driver, and, above all, father.

*Disclaimer: Don’t read if you aren’t sure about what to do with your life, you’ll easily want to become a simwhore.

*Disclaimer Disclaimer: Your insurance does not cover the amount of brain damage you are about to get from reading this. : (


It was the day after a pool party. It was an all girls party, save for Leon and his roommate, who was there to remind people that Leon was not as sexist as people make him out to be.

Leon had been in the middle of whispering into a girl’s ear that he would like to perform a “Whoohoo” with her when he heard an odd popping sound; he had somehow mysteriously received the news that the woman he whoohoo’d last week had had a baby girl. He also discovered on the same note that it was none other than his baby, even though that woman was married and obviously being chucked by her husband at the same time Leon was chucking her! Talk about battle of the sex!

Now, Leon hadn’t even seen what’s-her-face in a while…(Wow, almost two whole weeks? He’s shocked their relationship hadn’t tarnished to the point of “friends”)…But boy was he happy to discover-by some divine means-that he was now a father (+80 mood!) Leon was well on the road to populating this barren world. Sim-tastic!

Now that Leon knew the good news, he made it a point to visit the mother and his new baby girl at their home. Hopefully before the infant suddenly became a child in the next few days.

So Leon proceeded to throw a baby shower for himself. He had a wild time at his pool party yesterday, so he decided to throw yet another one today. Well, all the guests arrived on time, but for some reason the guests kept coming upstairs into the bathroom to say hello to him. He was too nice to tell them he had just pooped and the bathroom had no working vents, but his guests insisted on meeting him in the bathroom. It took them all three whole hours just to move out of the bathroom and down the stairs.

By the time the baby shower was done well past midnight, the guests were reeking green fumes. Leon couldn’t visit his daughter and her mother anymore because it was “too late”. Which made him sad. Part of the problem was his small house. If only he had a bigger one! As it was, it took him three hours to move from the living room to the car outside. Though, that might be because his guests were vertically challenged and couldn’t make head nor tail of who should move through the door first.

When Leon went to bed that night, exhausted, he had the sudden urge to 1) whoohoo, 2) get married, and 3) buy a crib. All these thoughts formed while his guy friend lay within touching distance of him. If that wasn’t oddly prophetic and/or suggestive, then he wasn’t sure what wanting to buy a crib was. While he wished to buy a crib for baby Kayla (how did he know her name if he’s never even met her nor her mother!?), he knew life wasn’t that really that easy.

See, even if Leon were to buy a crib, he wouldn’t actually be able to use it for baby Kayla. That’s because she technically isn’t part of his household and therefore, not a part of his household. Yes, it had already occurred to Leon to buy a crib and gift it to the mother (whose name he thought was Katherine, but when he checked, was actually Francisca), but he hadn’t a clue how to place the crib in his inventory even though he could fit the next best thing to a Maserati and everything in between. Go figure!

When the next day arrived, Leon had a lot of time before work, which started at nine PM (the perks of being a criminal!) He decided to hop in his car, scouted out Delilah’s—er, Francisco’s house on the map, and dropped in.

Francisco was home with Kayla and her husband, who Leon didn’t particularly like because all he did was walk around the house looking unsure of himself. Leon ignored this man entirely, skipping friendly introductions, and went straight to Kayla. In this precise and persistently constant order, he snuggled, played with, fed her, and changed her diaper. Finally, Leon saw that Kayla was getting tired. Cringing with pity as there was no crib, Leon set her on the hard wooden floor. Leon would have to remember to donate to the Cribs for Cribless Infants fund later today. Oh wait…there is none!

Just then, Kayla’s mother walked by Leon, as trim as the day she was when he had first whoohoo’d her. Francisco didn’t seem to mind his presence at all. She also made no hints as to whether her husband had even realized Kayla was not his baby. Was she even miffed at Leon for having chucked her and given her an unexpected baby in the first place? Was she even going to ask Leon why he popped in out of the blue?!

While staring at her, a thought occurred to Leon: now that Fran had given birth, wasn’t she able to conceive yet again? Technically, she could have up to six children, more if the cheat codes were in working order. Dare he mention it was spring time?

As these thoughts formed, Kayla’s step-father walked into the living room. He didn’t even acknowledge Leon, although judging by the thought bubble hovering over his head he had in fact seen Leon. Passive-aggressive much! Something told Leon that the man didn’t get any “it’s a baby girl!” notifications. And if he did, he made no signs of it. Just to prove how little he cared, he stepped within centimeters of Kayla on the floor and walked right past her, ignoring the fact she was crying, and leaving to play video games in the study. Poor Kayla was too innocent to take offense!

For the first time since he arrived, Francisca approached Leon. Leon was about to pick a fight with Fran’s husband, but if she could alleviate tensions then by all means. She decided a good ice breaker would be to tell him a joke.

She said in Simlish, “Espetuni? OO rada wai?” (How about that color pink, eh?)

Eegwai?” (Pink?)

Ini dwahblah.” (??)

Er…” (Leon begins to sweat, backing away slowly.) “Ooooh…” (Oooh…?)

Ruti tooti!” (A frying pan on fire!)

With that, Leon decided it was getting late. Ditching Fran mid-sentence, he made a not-so-discreet step to the side and walked right out the front door. Francisca talked a while longer to herself, perhaps not registering that Leon had very abruptly left.

Outside on the front porch, Leon sighed. You know what they say: if you’re going to whoohoo crazy, make sure they’re married to someone else first!

Poor Kayla. No crib to sleep. A negligent step-father. A loose woman for a mother. He’ll have to visit Kayla again later.

Leon drove home in such a rush that he fled right through several cars. Literally, like a ghost. He also made no stops at any crosswalks or stop signs, not that it mattered. Monte Vista had yet to see the baby boom of the century; the chances of him encountering someone on the road was next to nil.

When Leon arrived back home, he realized the carpool for work was coming to pick him up in one hour. He gritted his teeth. Curse those carpools; he’d told the gang hundreds of times that he had his own car. If he was going to be a getaway driver, he was going to do it in the safety of his own vehicle! Those goons act as if there were some sort of tracking system in place for cars. Everyone knows that you only get caught if you “do a side job”, but the SPD (not to be confused with Power Rangers S.P.D.) couldn’t possibly arrest you for “business as usual” or “working hard”.

Entering the living room, Leon saw his roommate brooding. Leon still had the same desires from this morning to buy a crib, get married, and to whoohoo. If it were winter, Leon would have gotten the chills, but it wasn’t winter, so Leon just had to settle with the fact that his roommate’s love of interior design confirmed that he was indeed a homo and that Leon had odd romantic ambitions relating in one way or another to his homo roommate.

Perhaps he was being too harsh. After all, could Leon have predicted his own preferences? There was no button that could be clicked to determine one’s sexual tastes…Was there?

…Could it be that there was the possibility that he, too, was a lover of penises? Several sims including males, females, and aliens had asked for his sign. Each time, Leon had obliged.

The honking of a horn broke his train of thought. Leon dropped whatever he was doing, recognizing the sound at once.

Well, if carpools were useful for one thing, it was to serve as a secondary notification…Leon waved bye to his roommate and walked back outside. Ignoring the carpool, he stepped into his own car, teleported onto the road (reversing was for aliens), and drove down to Good Guys, Inc. where he would “practice illicit activities” for the rest of the night. Hopefully this would get him that promotion!

Meanwhile, back at home, the carpool continued to harass Leon’s driveway, not realizing he was already at work.

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A Catamite’s Love is Out!

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Art by Asena Margrave

A Catamite’s Love is downloadable for free as a PDF here: ACatamitesLove_AsenaMargrave. (Right Click link, then Save As) If you enjoyed the read, I ask you to please consider purchasing it via Amazon.com for $0.99 or leaving a comment/review!

Purchase here: A Catamite’s Love

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Slave-born Nihilus has but one duty: to pleasure. While his fellow catamites have long since become jaded by the cruelty of men’s lust, hope for finding true love remains in Nihilus’ heart. He prays for the day the gods would grant him the love of one man and, perhaps, his freedom from a life squandered in the brothel. And when the late night arrives, bringing with it a cohort of Roman centurions bound for war, Nihilus realizes his prayers may yet be answered…

Using Stock Photos for Book Covers

Using Stock Photos for (erotica) Book Covers

I was in the process of designing a book cover for my short story, A Catamite’s Love. Swimming in the depths of photoshop hell, something kept tugging at me from the back of my mind. I couldn’t stop worrying, and I couldn’t figure out why.

Well, I eventually did. Let me backtrack some.

Being new to the process of using stock photos for book covers, I searched high and low for images on stock photo sites such as Shutterstock and Dreamstime. It took me ages to find the perfect bae to represent either my characters Nihilus or Vitus. Excited when I finally struck gold, I quickly purchased myself a few images of a model who I thought looked exactly like my character Vitus, as well as a still life.

I wish I had held back. (Well, I don’t regret it that much…I can still post the images on my blogs and what not. Mind as well put them to some use.)

Due to the nature and content of my book, a homoerotica, I should have been looking at the licensing terms and agreements (usually the tiny, faded out links in the nether realms of a webpage) instead of browsing images of Roman studs. Exploring my hesitations too late, I emailed support at Shutterstock and received very discouraging replies.

Original photo by tommaso lizzul, licensed by Shutterstock.com. Design by Asena Margrave

Me: I would like to use a picture of a model for the cover of an erotica (e-book). Does this violate model’s release/license agreement?

Shutterstock Support: Our license do not allow any usage of image for sexual contents.

Me: Are images without models (still lifes) also prohibited from use for erotica e-book covers?

Support: Yes All of our images are prohibited for sexual content use.

Me: (sighs heavily) Well, fuck. Do I need to ask permission to piss now too? Or is someone going to use my act of pissing in a sexually explicit context?

So…now I have a bunch of virtual paperweights in my Novel Material folder. I don’t doubt other stock sites who share the same terms as Shutterstock will give me similar replies.

Okay, yes, not everyone complies with terms, and yes, people get away with misusing images, but if you’re gonna go through life thinking something’s “okay” just because someone else did it and got away with it…Well, I just hope you’re not a lawyer. Companies hardly ever take up issue, but it’s the “little” guys, the photographers/artists themselves, who tend to find offense or issue. They just don’t typically have the means to take legal action (except for this model), and more often than not they’re usually nice people who prefer not to blow matters out of proportion. I only wish these photographers provided a direct contact for business. Sometimes it’s better to ask them directly than through secondary channels who probably hardly touch base with them because let’s be honest; how much do these million dollar companies actually care?

I don’t mean to scare people from using stock sites. By all means, I think they are glorious inventions. But whenever using images created by other individuals, I have to advise looking at the website’s licensing, crediting, and fair use terms of their photos, and not simply for the sake of compliance. When using models’ faces on a book cover for explicit material, consider the model’s position (unless the image is obviously meant to titillate the sensitive organs, then what the hell?). And while there’s a huge controversy over whether erotica constitutes as pornography or not (I don’t think so), if the book contains explicit material, then, well, it contains explicit material, even with plot and character development tossed in. Those young kids in the erotica/romance aisle of the bookstore better have asked their mothers to sign permission slips…

There is a workaround, though. And I think it’s pretty obvious; slash off the model’s identifying features. Does this work? Is it anymore “legal” than having their face entirely shown? I’d like to think of this as a…Get-away-with-it-until-you’re-caught sort of thing.

Just as a side note, I am quite familiar with how crediting art works in general. Unless otherwise noted, give credit where it’s due, especially if you plan to use it for commercial purposes. Do your research if you want to stay out of trouble. Even for simple things like textures, fonts, or clipart. Deviantart and tumblr has such a vocal community who rally together with pitchforks when their members discover their images have been used without credit or permission. Unless you genuinely don’t care, be considerate. I know it’s all a pain in the arse, I totally get it, but 1) nothing appears out of thin air; people worked on these things, and 2) now’s a good time to start developing your legal sense!

  • Scarlet Cox has provided on her post a list of stock photo sites which are erotica friendly (the trade-off being a MUCH smaller selection). She also provides great insight into this rather poorly touched upon subject. “Where to find erotic stock photography for your book covers” by Scarlet Cox, ScarletCox.com
  • If you prefer not to do covers yourself, which often is the suggested case, then I personally endorse freelancers. While you’ll have to put in work to do a bit of soul-searching, their price range tends to be within reasonable means. While I agree you should invest wisely (spending while being mindful of long-term return)firms are asking you to hire them for typically $300+ to design a book cover. The general consensus in the indie writing and reading community at large seems to be charging 99 cents-$2.99 or even free altogether for authors just starting out. Maybe in five years, you’ll make back that $300+. So again, weigh your options carefully. It’s your book, and it’s your wallet.

-A.M.

Convention Tips for Beginners

Convention Tips for Artist Alley/Vendor Beginners

Whew…An all-genre geek convention is just around the corner, and in between my day job and writing I’m cramming to get new products done.

Though I’ve been to conventions in the past as an artist in artist alley, I still have to remind myself that something like this is a huge commitment. Putting products together is a huge, stressful undertaking that should not be underestimated. So to help alleviate my stress, I’ve compiled a brief list of things I’ve learned from conventions over the years (further procrastinating from finishing my products).

Whatever the convention’s theme, I’m positive these tips will still apply in most cases.

1.) Conventions will drain you if you’re going in with unrealistic expectations.

Even if you work your hardest and create products to the best of your ability, sometimes customers just don’t bite. There are many reasons as to why this is, including the audience’s preference, your skill level, and competition. If you’re just starting out, go with the intention of simply getting your feet wet. Some people get lucky and make a lot of money on their first go; others do not. The point is to experience and explore from a vendor standpoint.

2.) Engage customers/foster the community.

Even if your products don’t exactly fit the crowd, engage where you can. Especially with your neighboring tables. Conventions are a great place to meet people with like minds. Get connected and have some fun, because business doesn’t only come in the form of money. If you’re a nervous type, practice using the mirror at home. Think of some generic conversation starters just to get the ball rolling. If you want to do this well, you’re going to have to look up from the cell phone and wiggle out of your shell. (But don’t overstep boundaries. Remember that these guys are not your friends (yet) and don’t care to spend all day talking to you. Likewise with those customers that are overly attached, be mindful that you can’t spend your whole day with just the one.)

At a local convention I attended, there was a duo of guys who weren’t getting any customers whatsoever, even though their portfolio was amazing. Over the years, literally years, they very slowly gained an audience simply because they engaged with people and were amazing to be around altogether (it probably helped they had really cool 3d printed helmets displayed on their table, but their artwork was still great).

3.) Subject matters. Mood sells.

What I tend to find at these conventions is that it’s not just the quality, but the content  of your products that makes it or breaks it. Quality will always be a factor, but unless you’re just that good and people love your original creations, you’re better off drawing what’s well known versus something obscure. Furthermore, consider that other artists have already worked on  the same subjects that have been said to be easy sells. What puts your creations aside from the crowd? Does it affect the consumer in any way, to the point where they simply had to buy from you instead of someone else?

Personally, I go into these things expecting to make back, at most, half of what I paid for the table. I don’t care to draw Cap’n Murica as much as I would Judge Dredd. But you have to understand that my expectations are so low because I draw subject matters which are often outside the mainstream and are almost guaranteed hard sells. Which brings me to my next point…

4.) Consider your audience.

Knowing the demographic of your audience should help in figuring out what products to put out. Are you looking at primarily teenagers, parents, men, women, etc.? Little kids from the local elementary are very likely not going to be interested in artwork about ancient Sparta. From my experience, cute things generally sell better. I’m sure there’s a science behind understanding what certain audiences want, but as far as I know, no one has been able to provide a clear cut formula that works for the rest of us. Just consider this: if you were in the customer’s position, what are you there for, and what would you be thinking if you saw your own products?

5.) For your own sake, clearly define your intentions/goals for owning a table. 

This easily ties in with #1 as well. Are you there to make money? Are you there to advertise your services to potential clients? To have fun, to experience the convention from another perspective? Once you have the goal defined, what tailored steps can you take to achieve it? How much work are you willing to put in?

I go to have fun. Oddly enough, I have fun not by participating as an attendee, but as a vendor. While my potential audience has been minimized by my offering products featuring characters outside the mainstream, with only a few popular characters here and there, I have fun engaging with people who do take the time to stop to notice my things. Again, these are the guys with like minds. If I can make an everlasting impression on at least one person, then I say it’s a successful convention for me. Losing money or gaining it is my last concern.

For a lot of us commoners, vending at conventions is oftentimes high stress, low payout. Unless you’re a veteran, you will very likely run into bumps along the way. Just remember, no matter how many times you attend, it will always be a learning experience. The rewards are what you make it. So take what you can get and improve for next year!

The Tale of Asena

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I think for my first post, it’s only fitting I share a quick story behind the name.

Of course, my name is not really Asena, but when I first heard it, I was mesmerized. The simple ring of it leaves a harmonious impression on the mind. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert on pseudonyms-hell if there ever was one-but I personally feel names should suit not only the author, but the nature of one’s work as well. (Speaking of, I found a clever name on Nifty.org, a non-profit archive of free erotica stories; Hugh Cox. Made me laugh when it finally hit me…The pun, of course. Not Hugh Cox.)

The legend of the gray wolf is a creationist myth. Asena is the mother wolf who had rescued a child in the Northern region of China from raiders. Nursing him back to health, she eventually gave birth to his children; human-wolf hybrids who the ancient Turkish people would come to call ancestors.

There are probably as many creationist stories revolving around wolves as there are wolf enthusiasts, but I think Asena’s story is among the lesser told and more mysterious.

-A.M.