Zetta Brown: Scotland’s Zane Hits Big in Publishing World
Zetta Brown Interviewed by Robert Fleming

Zetta Brown
The international publishing world is taking notice off Zetta Brown’s red hot L-L Publications with its line of unorthodox commercial books. Based in Scotland, L-L Publications and its sister imprint, Logical-Lust, have made profitable inroads across the European continent, and now it has America in its sights. Several of its books have garnered acclaim and critical praise. The following interview with Robert Fleming and Zetta Brown covered many subjects such as censorship, self-publishing, the profit-loss obsession of mainstream publishing, erotica, sex, the craft of writing, and the difference between European vs. American sensibilities.

Interviewed by Robert Fleming

Fleming: What’s your background?

Brown: I’m a native Texan and have lived half in Texas and half in Colorado. I currently live in Scotland with my husband, Jim Brown. I’ve been writing stories since I was 10 years old. I have a degree in English/ Creative Writing from SMU in Dallas.

Fleming: How did you become interested in publishing?

Brown: I’ve always wanted to see my stories published and thought I would have to go through the “traditional” way: getting an agent, aiming for New York, and hopefully getting a deal. These days with ebooks and digital publishing, there are more options and avenues leading to publication. I have had some success with my short stories getting published in small literary magazines. Two of my stories were adapted for the stage and performed live and one story won a regional first place award from the National Society of Arts and Letters. But it wasn’t until I met my husband that I started to pay attention to the business of publishing. At the time, Jim had started Logical-Lust and was making a name for it and himself as a publisher of erotica ebook anthologies.

Messalina Messalina: Devourer of Men

Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Logical Lust Publications
June 9, 2008

Language: English
ISBN-10: 1905091117
ISBN-13: 978-1905091119
Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.8 x 0.6

Eva Cavell is a woman with an embarrassing secret. She is sexually frustrated and believes her size and race intimidates men. In an attempt to relieve her sexual tension, every Thursday she goes to a local movie theater and allows strangers to fondle her in the dark. During one of her escapades she meets renowned artist, Jared Delaney, a smooth Southern gentleman with irresistible violet eyes. He has been watching Eva on her weekly visits and sees through her icy defence straight to the hot passion burning underneath. But Eva has an image to uphold as a tenure-track instructor at a private Denver college and as the youngest child of a prominent black family. Will she ever be able to live her life how she wants and without shame? In order to do so, she has to own up to her own choices in life. http://www.logical-lust.com/messalina.html
Malice (work in progress)
What would you do if you were not only implicated in a murder, but find out that murderous intent runs in your family?

cherries jubilee
Cherries Jubilee “ Before Eva Met Jared

Before she was a sex goddess, Eva Cavell was a virgin. In "Cherries Jubilee" a young, and innocent, Eva Cavell comes to terms with the challenges of reaching womanhood and independence. When her first job results in demotion and humiliation, Eva finds comfort in the arms of handsome blond, Casey Weller … comfort and revenge.

devil don’t want her
Devil Don’t Want Her

How do you get rid of a body that won’t stay buried? A young, spiritually righteous woman, Faith Darling, woman must face the fact that you cannot escape from your family and the truth. When Faith’s notorious great-grandmother, Miss Sunny Vincent, dies, Faith, as the only surviving relative, must arrange the funeral. However, Miss Sunny Vincent’s remains are hard to dispose of because God won’t have her and the Devil don’t want her.
Fleming: What goals did you make a part of your publishing mandate?

Brown: It was tempting to be like a lot of other publishers and have a goal of getting X-number of titles released every month. But in actual fact, a great majority of submissions we receive aren’t of a standard that we could bring ourselves to publish. We’re not going to take anything that comes our way. We look for books and stories that catch our eye in their creativity and originality. We quite like the idea of building a name for ourselves for publishing stories that will set us apart from other publishers. We publish what we like to read.  

Fleming: Is it difficult to run a publishing house from Scotland to the rest of the world? 

Brown: It’s not as hard as it could have been. The Internet really brings the world to you. We do most of our work via computer and online. However, during our trips back to the States, we’ve been able to meet several of our authors. Jim and I are strong believers in the power the Internet has to bring people together because we met through an online writing group. However, the publishing industry in the UK is a very closed society whereas in the U.S., you have more tools, networks, and people offering more advice than you could ever use. The UK is a hard nut to crack when it comes to ebooks and digital publishing, but we are determined to crack it and we are making progress, thanks to our signing some talented British authors.

Fleming: What publishing influences have you followed: Barney Rosset’s Grove Press, Richard Kusak’s Masquerade Books or the British publishing house, Black Lace?

Brown: Surprisingly, none of those. Our initial influences of publishing came from several highly successful independent publishers such as Dan Reitz at Mundania Press, Elizabeth Burton at Zumaya, Marci Baun at Freya’s Bower, as well as attaining the extraordinary information that comes from being a member of EPIC ( Electronically Published Internet Connection). Those influences are American and not British. The British publishing industry is like a closed, private club and stuck in the past while the publishing industry is rapidly moving forward and evolving, especially with digital publishing.

Fleming: Zane, one of the leading African-American writers of erotica, has built a substantial financial empire here in the States. Do you know of her work and achievements?

Brown: Oh yes! In fact, she commented on a story of mine years ago. We were both amused with the fact that our names started with “Z” and that more people should have “Z” names. Needless to say, I remembered her name so when she “struck it big,” I was encouraged. Zane is the “Erotic Oprah.” She has built eponymous empire doing what she loves. How can you fault that? 

Fleming: What attracted you to the topic of erotica?

Brown: What can I say? I have a dirty mind. I enjoy reading about sex. I’m also a female who admits to enjoying porn videos “ not soft-focus “porn” where the only full-frontal nudity is female, but hardcore porn. Yet when it comes to writing, I like stories that have substance, and if they have sex in them or call themselves “erotica” or “erotic romance, “ those sexual elements better be written as skillfully as the rest of the story.

Fleming:  There is a great debate between the merits of erotica and porn. How do you see the both of them?

Brown: Erotica has more depth, more character, and story development than a pornographic book. Frankly, I enjoy them both. It just depends on my mood. I prefer to read erotica but watch porn. And I don’t buy into the idea that erotica and porn exploits women. That attitude demonizes sex and sexuality. If sex is between consenting adults, where’s the exploitation? The sex may not be to your taste, that’s all.

Fleming: How is erotica viewed in Europe?

Brown:  There is a growing market for erotica in the States. Now, the vast majority of our sales come from America and that includes erotica. We publish our books in English so that limits our market share, but only at this time. However, the general consensus is that Europeans do have a more relaxed attitude toward sex and erotica. Sex is still regarded in the UK as something that happens behind closed doors in the dark or is portrayed in tongue-in-cheek humor in TV and films…you decide which cheek.

Fleming: What does the future hold for your publishing companies?

Brown: We have two publishing houses: Logical-Lust Publications, which deals with romance, erotica, erotic romance, and their subgenres, but the parent company, L-L Publications deals with most other genres, literary fiction, and anything else we feel like publishing. We will be moving our operations to the U.S. in a few years. Both publishing houses want to produce more storylines and authors with interracial, multicultural narratives regarding of their genres. We intend to continue to produce quality, original work at both houses. Early next year, we will be releasing A Blonde Bengali Wife by Anne Hamilton, which is a travelogue of an Irish woman traveling to Bangladesh and establishing a charity for orphans. On the flip side, we have Ordinary World by Tony McQuin, which is a dark comic satire covering controversial issues that no mainstream publisher would touch. Our Author, Ben Larken, who wrote the award-winning horror novel, Pit-Stop, has created a loyal following in that genre. In the Logical-Lust’s perspective, we would love to have more speculative, original works advancing the romance and erotica genres, such as Helen E. H. Madden’s Future Perfect or the Jolie duPre’s Swing! anthology or M. Christian’s Best S/M Volume 3.