"We work from home in our pajamas all day long. It's awesome!" says Jordan LaRousse, co-founder of erotica website Oysters & Chocolate, laughing.
Pajamas or not, LaRousse and her business partner Samantha Sade spend more than 60 hours a week each running their website, Oysters & Chocolate. As if that weren't enough, the pair has just launched a new erotic novel publishing company, OC Press (oceroticbooks.com).
An offshoot of Oysters & Chocolate, the company released its first title, "The Pleasure Dial," a novel by Jeremy Edwards, on Nov. 17. This coincides with the launch of the OC Press website, oceroticbooks.com.
From there, ambitions are high: The women say OC Press will release a novel every Thursday throughout December.
"We're going to keep on rolling them out, one after another," LaRousse says. "We're crazy!"
LaRousse and Sade are lifelong friends who grew up in Boulder and graduated from the University of Colorado before creating Oysters & Chocolate in 2005. The pair say they plan to perform all editing and publishing duties themselves -- and that submissions are "already filling up our inboxes."
The original website has focused on publishing short stories from around the world. LaRousse and Sade have published two anthologies from those submissions, and written three sex therapy/education books.
"It's definitely the natural evolution," LaRousse says of OC Press. "Everything we've done so far has culminated into this project. We're both word nerds, so this kind of work suits our personalities. I'm exhausted, but it's really going to be worth it."
Erotic literature has gone mainstream in recent years. According to LaRousse, ever since larger bookstores like Barnes & Noble began to more readily sell erotica to offset financial troubles, the genre has grown impressively.
LaRousse and Sade say that being writers themselves has helped them to be "nurturing" editors who take a hands-on relationship with writers.
"We had our experience as authors and what we had already been doing with our authors' short stories," Sade says. "Then we read an article about other online publishing companies, and it seemed simple enough."
Author Edwards (who, along with Sade, LaRousse and many other writers of erotica, assumes a pseudonym) agrees. Edwards, 49, of Pennsylvania, says he began writing erotic literature in his 30s. He has published 135 short stories in more than 50 anthologies as well as one previous novel, "Rock My Socks Off."
Edwards says he came upon Oysters & Chocolate when he sought out his first publisher in early 2006.
"They looked like a great place," he says. "They were among some of the more high quality online magazines accepting commissions.
"They have some good heads on them and their goals and my goals make a good match," he says of Sade and La Rousse.
Edwards says the "The Pleasure Dial" was inspired in part by the works of Nicholson Baker, particularly "Vox," the 1992 novel that focuses on the dialogue of a phone sex chat. He says the fusion of humor and erotica in "Vox" and "The Pleasure Dial" is rare.
"I feel very positive about writing erotic literature," Edwards says. "I like what I'm doing and there's nothing wrong with it. Just the opposite, actually. Sexual expression is a healthy thing. It's very flattering that they've chosen my book as the first to be published.
Sade hopes the new enterprise will continue to push erotica into the mainstream American reader's hands.
"It's definitely our dream to have everyone read erotica. It's fun to read and it's a market that's growing," she says.