One of the remarkable things about reading transgender erotica is running into so many talented authors with such a variety of styles and appoaches. Today we talk to another of that cohort, the prolific and well-regarded Lyka Bloom. If you’re not familiar with her work, run—don’t walk—over to her Amazon page and take a look. Or visit her website for free samples.
Now, on with the show!
Hi, Lyka! Thanks for taking the time to share with my readers. Do you want to start with where you’re from and who you are?
Thanks for having me! I’m a writer from Tennessee, which is maybe not the best place to be a proponent of gender transformation and fantasy stories, but I’ve lived here most of my life. I grew up in a military town, which is kind of nice because you meet people from all over the world. Despite people’s rural impressions of Tennessee, and there are definitely those places, there are also places where people from all sorts of backgrounds come together, just like everywhere.
Now, I call Nashville home, and it’s a wonderfully artistic town. I’m not crazy about country music, but there is such a wealth of culture here, you can ignore all the tourist trap country bars and it feels incredibly metropolitan.
Much, much more after the jump!
Q: It’s good to be alive and in Tennessee! Is there any special significance to the pen name ‘Lyka Bloom’? I’m thinking Lycans and flowers but maybe that’s just me.
I wish I had a better story for this, but it was because I liked the name Lyka. And then I just mulled it over for a while and Bloom came pretty naturally. I think it was because assuming that name was also acknowledging the part of myself that was obsessed with writing and addressing parts of myself I hadn’t before. Even though it is a pen name, it really has become much more meaningfully symbolic for me. When I am called Lyka by readers or online, it feels completely natural, not just acknowledging a nom de plume. I just adore it.
Q: How did you first get into erotica?
I think my first encounter with online erotica was on mcstories.com, which is a hypnosis/trance-based story site. I even wrote a few stories over there, but my tendency has always been gender-reversal stories, and that was frowned upon and I found writing there very limiting. So, I started publishing stories on my own through Amazon and found that there were actually people who seemed to enjoy the kinds of stories I liked writing.
I’d been writing for years, literally since I was 11 or 12 years old. What I wrote followed my interests, and I’ve found erotica to be a great avenue, partly because I am an unrepentant pervert, and also because you can tell all kinds of stories. I love it.
Q: You’ve been published quite a lot, with stories on Amazon going back to 2013? How many stories in total? What is a typical work-week like for you?
I have been writing for years, at least with regard to erotica. I think I have something like 100 stories now? I haven’t counted, though I feel like I should, just to do some super-special 100th story or something. Then again, I don’t know what I would do different for the hundredth that I wasn’t doing for the third or fourth, though I like to think I’m better at it.
As for my schedule, I try to do at least 2000 words a day. In a perfect world, more like four or five thousand, but I still work a day job, so that can be difficult. Some months I’ve been very lazy, but I have been working steadily lately, which has been wonderful. I don’t know about other writers, but days when I don’t get some writing done, I feel incomplete. Ideally, I’d love to be doing a couple of new stories a week. It’s a tough schedule, especially considering my shorts are still eight to ten thousand words. Still, I’m never happier than when I wrap a story I feel good about.
Once the story is done, I do the editing, then give it up to the readers. Some of my favorites never take off, and I am always surprised when one I think is going to release and disappear pretty quickly explodes and people love it. It’s completely unpredictable.
Q: You hit mostly transgender niches but do tend to wander over a fairly broad range of interrelated niches—which makes me feel better, since I do the same. Do you plan this with some care and thinking about how it fits your overall catalog and will be received by your mailing list? Or are you writing what appeals to you?
I wish I could say I had some grand plan, but I don’t. When I’ve tried to do that, to write a story because it’s a sequel to one that did well or I think it’s a story that’s going to do well because of subject matter or whatever, I’m always wrong. The big lesson I learned was to write for myself completely. I have one reader who is great, reads almost everything I write, but even he doesn’t follow me to the hucow stories, which is totally fine. Likewise, I’m sure there are readers who like the ponygirl stories who would never in a million years read the TG stuff.
I love all kinds of kinks, and exploring what I find intriguing or arousing about these stories or situations. So, that’s my guiding light these days, which is to follow my own interests and hope that readers will follow me there, or, if not, will come back when I come back to the stories I might be more known for.
Q: That said, it seems you focus a lot on genderswap. Is that your favorite or strongest sub-niche?
It’s absolutely my favorite. All of my stories tend to have some kind of transformation at the heart of them, but the shift between male and female is the most intriguing thing in the world to me. I’ve analyzed my own obsession with the genderswap stories, and I can probably give you a hundred reasons I like it, but it’s something fundamental to my nature, I think. No matter where else I venture story-wise, I always come home to a good genderswap story.
Q: What are some of the other niches you like—and ones you never want to touch?
I love erotic horror, and there are definitely horror elements in some of my stories. Notably, I think, Rubberwerks and the Inferno stories, but little tropes find their way in. I play with some dollification and gynoid stories, and I might do more along those lines soon. Ponygirls. I am one story away from completing a set of stories revolving around that kink. Some age regression, which finds its way into the TG work, too. I don’t have much interest in straight BDSM stories. Again, elements of that find their way into my work, but a typical 50 Shades-esque story doesn’t hold much interest for me.
And some things are just taboo, even for me. The pseudo-incest stuff you see feels like it’s a dodge to do something that’s a little distasteful, but, again, that’s my perspective. There are writers who do well in the subgenre, but it seems like you’re courting danger both legally and ethically. I don’t have a list of things I would never do. I think you have to let yourself play in other sandboxes and see what works. I keep trying to do a TG-centered story that borrows a bit from the Gor books, I just can’t get it quite right, but I keep trying!
Q: Sally Bend I think said in her interview that she’d love to see a TG-themed Gor book. The problem is Gor’s slavery theme which violates a lot of platform terms of service. Speaking of which, nonconsensual situations are verboten on Amazon, but a lot of transgender fantasies have that aspect to them: hypnotism, for example, or magic pills that turn men into bimbos without their consent. Why do you think that is, and how far do you yourself go down that line?
I am definitely a proponent of that sort of story, as it’s basically where I began. Bimbo pills, bimbo viruses, hypnotic feminization… it’s all about the loss of control. I think what makes some of it okay and some of it really sketchy is intent. I like my characters. I want them, mostly, to be happy at the end. Where that gets icky for me is when the writer is playing out some power fantasy, especially as it relates to women. There are lots of stories that feel like poorly-disguised rape fantasies, where domineering men have their way with dim-witted bimbos. That feels like a grasp at some sort of control and there’s something dark there.
My work, I like to think, is more about finding unintended fulfillment. During the transformation process, the characters begin to want the change. Or maybe they do from the beginning. It’s like that old quote about pornography: “I don’t know how to define it, but I know it when I see it.” For me, the real line in the sand is whether the characters are being humiliated in such a way that it is humiliation for its own sake. A similar thing I struggle with is the notion of feminization as fetish. The stories I do are fantasies, and rarely intend to capture the struggles of transgender men and women, but I have gotten criticism from members of those communities for sexualizing something that is very dramatic in their lives.
It’s fair criticism on one level, but also it’s never what I’m aiming for, with rare exceptions. The closest I’ve come is a story called Girly Weekend, which still has fantasy elements, but it is far more honest about the TG experience, I think. Sorry, tangent, but I think it’s something people in the TG erotica space should be mindful of, just as an issue.
Q: Oh I agree, but stories about genuine transwomen do worse than futa, sissies, and genderswaps, it seems. Shifting gears a little, what about the genderswap story do you think is so appealing to readers? Is that different for you as a writer?
I’m a reader, too, so I can say what I enjoy about these stories. There is something basically taboo about embracing the feminine in a male-centered society. Men have expectations of behavior, and if you fall somewhere other than alpha male on that spectrum, you can be made to feel inferior or guilty. These stories can be an outlet for that, a way to indulge in fantasies of femininity where the reader is not in control. The characters are forced or tricked or seduced into femininity, which allows the readers, some at least, to indulge in the feelings of embracing these impulses in a safe way. And, to be honest, what’s sexier than experiencing life as another gender, to know for sure what the male orgasm is like if you’re a woman and vice versa?
As I mentioned, I write selfishly, so the stories I do are my own fantasies to one degree or another. Sometimes I want to try things I haven’t, like the feminizing game show story which pops up here and there, and sometimes it’s just because I think it sounds hot. I’d love to do a shopping mall feminization story like Courtney Captisa and Claire Bear do so well, I just haven’t find my own hook for something like that, yet. But, come on, being taken store to store and becoming more feminine with every stop is sexy, right? There are a lot of ways to get to the same place, which is to be in a story where the end result is to be something different than yourself, and perhaps that’s part of it, too. Genderswap is the ultimate escape fantasy, to be completely different than yourself.
Q: There’s something magical about gurlie shopping! Your books consistently do well within the transgender niche, high on the charts and receiving good reviews. What are some of your tips for other erotica authors?
Thank you! I have such poor advice, because I have no recipe for my own work. At least, not in terms of subject matter. Be disciplined. Write and write and write. I am a fan of the five minute rule. Those days when you have no motivation to write, do it for five minutes. Lots of times, that gets the creative juices flowing and you just keep going. Don’t be afraid to publish outside the genre you do most often. It might flop, but by allowing yourself some freedom, you can escape the grind of it a bit. That keeps me, as a writer, invested in my own work.
When you begin a story, it can be an apocalypse or an intimate tale told over a dinner. It’s the most amazing palette. So, be free, enjoy the work, because that will show in the final product. You can tell when you read a story if it was just a story written to check boxes in a subgenre, or if it was a genuine attempt to tell a tale. I am far more forgiving of the latter than the former.
Did I say keep writing? That’s really the only advice. Keep at it: experiment, play, explore your own beliefs and kinks and turn-ons. If you keep writing, an audience will come to you, because none of us are alone in the things that turn us on.
Q: Your story ReMale is about a futuristic, femdom dystopia—or utopia, depending on how you want to look at it. It’s one of the more political eroticas I’ve read in a while (maybe I should go back to reading Chuck Tingle, heh). Was this in response to the recent election? Do you think politics in erotica works, distracts, potentially alienates?
Oh, it was definitely a response to the election. I don’t think you can be involved in trans efforts and not think the current administration is, at best, unfriendly to your well-being. So, I wanted to do something where the pendulum swung the other way, where women became the intolerant and powerful leaders and hetero men are the minority. I did briefly consider the ramifications, that I might lose a reader or readers who didn’t agree with the statement I was making, but I took my own advice. This was something I wanted to say and I have to allow myself that freedom to express my own views. In this case, I wasn’t attacking Trump or his supporters or anything, I was just posing the question of what it would be like to have a Trumpian woman in power. And, of course, how hot it would be to see a man turned into a sexy housewife, which is always fun.
Ironically, it’s the most popular story I’ve done this year, so I think it’s reinforced my belief that you should just write what you feel. Maybe I lost readers, but I don’t think so. I like to believe my readers are all sophisticated kinksters like me. And a moment of totally shameless self-promotion, the audio version of the story just released on Amazon and Audible and I love it. It’s read by Rose DeMarco, and she has such a sly take on the host of the titular show. So, shameless promotion done.
Q: You got to self-promote! Plug away! (And I added the audio link there). I loved your story Meido, about a couple who get a magic maid costume that turns the wearer into a Japanese cosplay maid. One of the interesting facets along with the genderswap was the ethnicity-swap, if you will. Given erotica’s fascination with race, why do you think there aren’t more trans-ethnic stories?
I don’t know! I also did one called Curse of the Kathoey that involved the idea of the Thai ladyboy or kathoey. I think it’s a fun addition to the idea of being changed. And it’s something I’ll explore more, and I don’t know why more writers don’t play with the idea.
Partly, writers get stuck on the stereotypical genderswap into the girl next door or the blonde bimbo, but there really is this wealth of ethnicities and cultures to draw upon that would be fascinating to explore. I think there’s a lot to be done with that sort of twist on the traditional story. But thanks for mentioning that one, I really like Meido.
Q: What are some of your own favorite stories, scenes or characters—what is the “prototypical” Lyka Bloom story?
These days, I don’t know if I have a prototypical style. I think I do tend to fall into the “be careful what you wish for” trope quite a bit. Also, the Twilight Zone-esque punishment, where the penalty fits the crime in some way. And powerful women. In almost all cases, my protagonists are searching for something and may or may not like what they find. I ended the series, but the Pink Institute stories were my favorites for a while. Very sexy, very pink, almost always transformational with a hint of mind control. Those are definitely aspects that pop up in a lot of my work. And I like a happy ending, even if it’s not the ending the protagonist had in mind.
One story I did featured a character named Lana Rae, which was a shameless nod to Bailey Jay. I really like her, and I’m sure she’ll pop up again, no pun intended, but appreciated. Also, Muffy from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer homage. Doing a Whedon-esque story made me very happy. Depending on the day, the answers may change, I really do like almost all my stories and the characters in them. Oh, and, of course, Raquel Benson from the Corporate Takeover stories. She is cool and a little older, professional and always in control. She’s who I want to be when I grow up.
Q: I read Bending the Bookshelf’s review of your Buffy pastiche, sounded like you nailed the Scooby gang. Most of us have probably done stories we think are fantastic yet for whatever reason vanished without a trace. Mine, I’d probably say Kor the Savage or UFO Sex: My Galactic Mistress, my lone hetero femdom story. Which if any of yours do you consider your ‘neglected treasure.’?
So many, really. For every one that you kindly said hit the charts for TG erotica and are well-received, I have one that just fizzles. I really like the Toy Chest stories, which revolve around a witch. There was one in the series called The Millionaire’s Gambit, which I think is one of the best narrative stories I’ve done and I think it sold maybe 30 copies ever. Maybe I doomed it with a title that suggested the rampant “millionaire” stories in erotica, but it really was fitting for the story. There was a blossoming romance and double-crosses and magic and all kinds of things I love, and it just died.
Eventually, I’ll go back to that series, but it still stings that no one seemed to want more from it, and I liked the arc of it. There are plenty that never found an audience like some of the bigger successes, but I think you learn that what you like and what the audience likes aren’t always the same. That’s why you can’t predict it. I would have sworn Gambit would outsell every other story in that series. You just do your best on the story at hand and offer it up to the erotica gods. They are fickle.
Q: I know, it’s agonizing. Any final thoughts?
Just a big thank you! I think it’s great to have a platform to talk about the work we do, especially considering the general impression of erotica is that it’s disposable entertainment. And, if your readers want to find more of all the stuff we talked about, LykaBloom.com has all my work and some reviews of other stories and my email and all kinds of stuff. And thanks to everyone who reads my work!
Awesome, thank you so much for that great interview, Lyka! Be sure to check out all my other interviews with others in the transgender erotica community.