Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy holidays from the Crumpet Strumpets!

Celia, Colette, Jane, Kate, Lacey, Pam, and Sharon
wish you peace, love, and joy this holiday season.
We'll be back in the new year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Little Spice for the Holidays

Well, the holiday season is starting! Last Saturday morning, we were in a clinic with one child, who was a brilliant red, and who turned out to have scarlet fever. (Thank heaven for antibiotics). And last night, child #2 threw up a few times. Looks like that might just be too many holiday party cookies on top of a big ball of excitement. That’s why I was late in posting—a morning at the office, and some "barfy kid" patrol in the afternoon. But he’d much better and was sleeping like an angel on the sofa.

I’m sure everyone is having a hectic time. If it’s not the Christmas preparation, then it’s the realization that 1) it’s the end of the year and 2) people are away for 2 weeks. That always spurs me into desperate action. I finally forced myself to outline my next erotic historical vampire in detail today. No working from the 1 page synopsis in this time. I’m going to try some greater organization in 08 (ho, ho, ho).

I wish everyone a happy holiday. Soon we’ll be thinking of New Year’s resolutions. My kids have already suggested less junk food and more exercise (for me), so I’ll have to think of my own. And I’ve told them that all I really want for Christmas is sleep.

Since Black Silk is set in the winter (around Christmas), I thought I’d include an excerpt:

"Both, perhaps." He sat on the edge of her bed and held out his hand. "I don’t feel as though I am in mourning anymore. Not now that you have come into my life, Maryanne."

"That is so…." It was as if doves took flight inside her. To think she had made such an impact. It stunned her. "Wait right there."

He leaned back on the bed, propped on his elbow, all six delicious feet of him sprawled over her ivory silk sheets. And she shook in her slippers as she went to her wardrobe and dipped to slide out her secret from beneath it.

Maryanne’s cheeks were hot as she returned to Dash holding her muslin wrapped package "I smuggled it in—and it was the very devil to do so. I couldn’t risk having a maid find it during the unpacking. But I have a small compartment in my case."

Dash’s mind ran riot. A whip? A large dildo? What would be Maryanne’s secret? Slowly she drew the muslin down, revealing curled pages, and then finally she flicked the translucent material away to reveal a stack of paper with an ivory ribbon tied around it. She picked it up, cradled it, and then handed it to him.

Handwriting, tight and neat, covered the first page. The writing angled in every direction as though the notes had been added haphazardly and at different times. Then he picked out the words: A Novel by M. Hamilton.

"This is your book. You wrote all this yourself?" He patted the bed beside him.

"Yes." She laughed.

But it still seemed miraculous to him. That she had created a story and diligently set all these words to the page.

"No one has ever read it before. I’ve never shown it to anyone. I was always too afraid to let anyone see it. But I would like you to read it." She ducked her head, cheeks pink. "You see, it is an erotic story."
"Hell," he muttered, instantly erect, lusty, yet completely astonished.

"You must wonder why I did it," she hurried on. "And I really cannot say. I edited those stories for the courtesans who wrote for us, and I…I felt a compulsion to put down words myself. To tell a story. Of course, since it is an erotic story, I was hampered by a certain lack of experience." She stood by the bedpost, her arm curled around it.

Too shy to join him while he read her book? "Not anymore." He grinned, sat up, and spread his legs. "Come and cuddle between my thighs while I read."

"I don’t know. You may find parts that are…silly."

"I doubt that, love."

"Or physically impossible."

God, he was hard with anticipation. As he turned to the first page, he watched Maryanne. A curl brushed her cheek, she looked so sweetly demure. Then he looked to the first lines.

All the best for the holidays! And if you’ve thought of any inspiring resolutions already, please share them now!

(excerpt from Black Silk, ©2007 by Sharon Page. Coming in April 2008!)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Made My Deadline... Glo-o-o-o-o-o-or-o-o-o-o-o-or-o-o-o-o-o-o-OR-ia

I went to elementary school, you see, in the era before holiday celebration went all ecumenical.

So I know a lot of carols (some in Latin), and this week I'm belting them out for joy, especially after my editor actually found the manuscript I sent her (buried, inevitably, beneath several hundred hints as to how she could increase the size of her penis).

"And I don't even have one!" she wailed.

"Which just goes to prove how much you need all that spam they're sending you," I told her.

She decided to settle for my hot, thrusting prose instead and we launched into an enthusiastic chat about production schedule and revision procedures, both of us quite enjoying the detail stuff -- because during my 25 years as a computer programmer for major financial institutions, I learned to get good at schedules and procedures, it being clear to me I was never going to make it solely on my programming expertise... And yes, there is a lesson there for writers of popular fiction.

So now it's all over but the revisions. Oh, and the publicity, though I'm not sure how much blog-hopping I'll do next fall. My book (another erotic romance, this time set in 1829, as George IV's reign was drawing to its bloated, overwrought close) is set for November 2008 -- at the close of another George's... well, you can finish the thought for yourself.

I'm thinking that people may have more important things than another Pam Rosenthal book to think about next November, though perhaps they won't want to.

But I'll worry about that later. Right now (during the month before I get my revision instructions) I'm sort of floating around my house in a giddy delighted stupor of freedom, doing stuff like replying to a friend's (unfailingly witty, charming, and guilt-producing) Christmas letter for the first time in three years.

Which is about as much holiday celebration as we ever do around here (except for an overdue Chanukah check in the mail to the kid, also known as Our Son the Victorianist, bravely girding his loins for on onslaught on the academic job market).

Aside from that, Michael and I mostly drift disembodied through the season like happy ghosts. Not not Jacob Marley, though; I prefer to think of us as the chic-er and much more fun George and Marion Kirby of our childhood favorite movie/TV series Topper.

What with finishing the draft, this year I'm even enjoying taking my occasional swipes at cooking and housework, both of which Michael's been doing way more than his share while nursing me through the novel. As he always does, he helped me research it and then make sense of what I'd written. This time I was sort of a basket case emotionally, which he said made it sort of scary fun.

And then there's the huge pile of unironed clothes I'm amassing. As soon as my local video rental place gets me Disk One/Season Two of Big Love, I'm planning an ironing and irony extravaganza. After which we head east for a week (NY and Philadelphia) to see family, friends, museums, theater, pretty lights.

But meanwhile I have a little holiday set piece to offer, from Carrie's Story, perhaps making the season yet a little more ecumenical in its pleasures:

As the winter wore on, he brought more toys--angry little clips for the nipples and other soft parts, sometimes with little bells attached. He told Mrs. Branden to give me a cup of coffee when I came in and not to let me pee; this would increase the chances that I'd have to squat over the chamber pot he kept for me in the corner. And if I dribbled onto the floor, I'd have to lick up the drops.
He tried different whips on me--whips and broad leather paddles. Once "just for the hell of it," he said, he tried a stiff hairbrush, which really hurt. Another time, an old-fashioned shaving strop--he'd ordered it from a catalog, Peterman or something, just to use it on me; I don't think he ever used it to shave with.

There was a period--Christmas and through January--when he seemed to have presents for me all the time. Things that hurt and humiliated, which sometimes I'd find beautifully wrapped under a little holiday tree in his study, and have to unwrap--of course without tearing the paper--and thank him for. Sometimes I would never have seen them before--strange Victorian posture-training devices, for example--and he'd make me guess what I thought they were for before he showed me.

And then, after the needles of the little Christmas tree dried up and it got tossed into the alley, there were costumes...

Have a great holiday, everybody, whatever you call it and however you manage it. See you next year.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Hello From Afar

This past week I actually did some writing. Being a single mom with two jobs my life tends to be a bit on the caotic side. A friend of mine from a tinny little far away land invited me for ten days away from my fast pased unfocused exsistance.

I arranged for my X to watch the kids and I packed one very large suitcase with clothes that I mostly did not wear, and my research books, then headed with passport in hand to the airport. I was nervous; single woman traveling for the first time to another country where I did not know the language. So, I drank two glasses of wine and downed a Dramamine and I was out cold on the 9 hour flight.

I arrived in an airport that had wooden floors, something I have never seen in any airport in the US. I headed towards the man sitting in the glass booth and handed him my passport thinking to myself will he understand me if I speak?
He said in english "where are you going?"

I said "here" and smiled.

He smiled back and stamped my passport for the very first time and said "Enjoy your stay."

I walked through the power sliding doors and into the baggage claim area thinking wow that was amazingly easy.

I then left the airport for a 4 1\2 hour drive to the west coast and a beautiful beach house. I had wine… ate dinner... and then lie awake that night exhausted but unable to sleep! I had always wondered why people complain about jet lag. Now I know. I still have not quite gotten on any ones schedule but that has been okay. My trip has been relaxing and basically time has truly stopped for one week. I woke when I woke… ate when hungry… went for walks on the beach when I was awake and it was light out. (this happened only three times during my stay) and I wrote.

Yes I did just say that… I wrote.

I had been struggling to find the time to do this and then when I did find the time I was so distracted by all the other things I should be doing like taking out the over flowing trash or finally washing the dishes that had been sitting in the sink for a few days that I didn’t have the creative energy to think of what my hero should do to my heroine once he had her naked and sitting before him.

I have had a wonderful time on this escape from reality and I was curious… Do any of you do this? Take a holiday to escape and write? To leave the everyday and be creative?

I am still on holiday… Tomorrow I will explore the city and the local erotic art museum, then I will return to the real world the next day. Until then...

Hugs and Kisses,

PS... No English spell check on this computer. I am sure I have misspelled a few words! Amazing how dependent I have become to that feature... LOL!

Friday, December 14, 2007

It's nearly Christmas!

When I say Christmas, I mean any holiday that works for you:) Christmas is the one I'm most familiar with and the only one I can recount tales of family traditions and mishaps! Researching Christmas traditions for the Regency period can be a bit tricky because most of 'my' family traditions, and those of most people who grew up in the UK, come from the Victorian time period.

Christmas trees? A German import, probably courtesy of Prince Albert. There is, of course, a old tradition of bringing in the Yule log which gets to burn over the holiday period. That dates back to medieval times and is usually considered pagan in origin, as are quite a few of the Christmas traditions.

I think that hunting for small objects cooked into a pudding is also an old tradition that dictated who got to boss everyone around for the season and play tricks. The Victorians added the silver charms in the Christmas pudding but I'm not sure if they had any particular significance, other than you had to be careful not to a, choke or b, crack your teeth!

From my family I carried over the tradition of Christmas stockings placed on the kids beds for the morning. It's kind of a delaying tactic to slow them down with enough chocolate to wait for their big presents later after church. I remember one Christmas when I was about 8, when my father came home from the pub and took umbrage (as you do when you've had a few pints) to the suggestion that my mother was the only one who could fill the xmas stockings for the girls (his 5 daughters). He insisted on doing it himself.The next morning everyone was sobbing because, of course, he had no idea what each of us wanted and we all got the wrong things. It took my mother about an hour to sort out the mess and I realized that maybe 'you know who' wasn't quite who I thought he was.

Recently my husband asked me whether we should continue the stockings-he gets very bah-humbug as Christmas approaches, I suspect it's a money thing. The kids were horrified at the very idea of messing with their xmas and I'll still continue to do them. Mr Kate Pearce has to be kept away from the financial aspects of xmas. He has this weird idea that $50 goes a long way and I hate to destroy his old-world assumptions. We have a deal that he doesn't look at the bills in December!

Something else that's become a tradition in my family is that I always make mince pies and a particularly rich ice cream from scratch. I'm not sure how ice cream became an xmas tradition, but there you are. For my kids, it's part of Christmas, as are the mince pies which I hand out to various guests and watch their expressions as they try and work out exactly what I'm expecting them to eat!

And in case you're wondering about my dad. He never did the stockings again, but he did once bring a complete stranger home for Christmas dinner because the poor guy had no one to celebrate with. Now that more than made up for the stockings in my book :)

And don't forget, if any of you get any gift cards for bookstores-and I know you will-"Simply Sexual" my erotic Regency-set romance from Kensington Aphrodisia comes out on January 29th!

I hope you have a great holiday season!
And please comment about your own traditions, I'd love to hear about them!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Making of an Erotic Romance Reader

Tomorrow my other half will be over at the Risky Regencies blogging about Mansfield Park in the week-long (with a prize!) build up to Jane Austen's birthday on December 16. The Riskies each picked their favorite Austen book to discuss, and I knew Mansfield Park would be a problem, so I volunteered to talk about it. Just to give you a preview, I found it an extraordinarily sexy book; there's a lot of physical awareness among the characters and a huge amount of activity taking place around rooms and spaces and entrances. I kept coming across passages that just didn't sound like Jane Austen (color coded for your convenience):

...stopping at the entrance take a last look at the five or six determined couples, who were still hard at work--and then, creeping slowly up the principal staircase, pursued by the ceaseless country-dance, feverish with hopes and fears, soup and negus, sore-footed and fatigued, restless and agitated, yet feeling, in spite of everything, that a ball was indeed delightful.

And I wondered why the book, that once struck me as being tedious, longwinded, and with the nerdiest of heroes and heroines, now bristles with sexuality. (Oh, okay. Fanny and Edmund are still pretty nerdy.) The simple answer is that I read differently and I've changed, and possibly I'm smarter now about Jane Austen. I'd hope so, considering how long it's been.

On the other hand there are also books I've always found sexy--Jane Eyre, for instance (see my post Jane on Jane). I'm indifferent to Mr. Rochester--for me the big turn-on in the book has always been Lowood. All that discipline. All that spanking, dressed in frilly white underwear and black stockings, under the lascivious gaze of Brocklehurst and the Board of Trustees (I made that up. Didn't I?).

What books have you found that you've interpreted differently at different stages of your life? Or what books do you feel you have a particular insight into because you're a reader/writer of erotic romance?

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Making of An Erotic Romance Author

In my formative years, I was as na├»ve and innocent as can be imagined. I knew nothing about sexuality, at least until I discovered some hidden books in my parents’ house and took a look, with my best friend, at her parents’ copy of "The Joy of Sex". I wrote about this in my very first attempt at an erotic/coming-of-age story, and just for fun, I’ve posted a little of it here:

"Giggling, she promises to come right back, and runs out of the room. In an couple of minutes she's back, pulls a book out from under the loose pajama top. The Joy of Sex.

I'm disappointed. A lot of hairy men and droopy women with saggy stomachs and description of a multitude of positions. I suppose the bodies are supposed to represent reality and not an idealized person, but if I wanted reality I'd buy myself a pair of binoculars and scan the windows of my neighborhood. Books are an escape, I believe.
Anne sighs. "I want to have a boyfriend this summer."
"You want sex?"
"I don't know if I'd go that far. I think we should both meet guys."

It's not a boyfriend that I want, but something physical that I don't completely understand. Something to satisfy my restlessness, the ache within me. Someone on which to release the energy that builds up in me at times, until I feel like screaming and crushing something with my bare hands."

I’m writing erotic romance because it always intrigued me how sometimes men and women can be physically intimate, while not even willing to have a conversation. It intrigues me how the physical part of sex—the caressing, cuddling, touching—gives a sense of intimacy that maybe just isn’t there. And that fascinated me about the role sex plays in romance. I couldn’t see how you could write romance without writing the sex. Getting naked with someone, exploring them, experiencing what you’re feeling (or not), what he’s feeling—what could be more critical to love and a relationship? I wanted to peek behind the bedroom door, because, back when I was a teenager who didn’t know anything, I needed to figure this relationship stuff out.

In my books Blood Red and Blood Rose, I explored male/male relationships. I read stories written by men and found it intriguing that, as Pam mentioned on Friday, it is human nature to wonder about love and to wonder about whether he’s really into you (whether you are a he or she) and vice versa. I remember reading a story in an old-fashioned "confession" magazine. In this confession, a group of eighteen-year-olds set up house together—there are three or four couples. And pretty soon there are jealousies flaring and someone’s boyfriend fancies someone else, and people are going to bed with each other because they’ve just had their heart broken by someone else. I write menage a trois stories for my vampire series, and wonder, would it really work? People do live in successful relationships involving more than one partner. What intrigues me so much as a writer is the process of making that work.

As I was stretching my writing wings and taking that journey to learn about voice and story-telling, I took a fiction writing course at my local university with author Tom Henighan. Tom who looked at my early short stories and told me to write about what is really important to people. Their sex lives was one of the things he mentioned. And I though, yeah, that’s why I was sneaking books out of the bookcase—in the hope that I would learn about life. Maybe I should go there too.

And so an erotic romance author was born.
(Excerpt from "Brash", WIP by Sharon Page ©2007)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Book Bottom II: Pornotopia and its Discontents

Warning: I'm in Theorygirl mode these days, trying to make a whole lot of interesting ideas fit together, which they don't quite yet.

But with Jane Lockwood's "have we lost our way?" post still in mind, and with my brain cells still wonderfully massaged by Katha Pollitt's fabulous wit and smarts, here are some further thoughts about erotica, pornography, and erotic romance.

It's the people who have a problem with porn -- even a simple aesthetic revulsion at the shaved and implanted phoniness of it all -- who are suspect now, and who have to prove their normality by insisting that they "like sex," as if sex were all one thing, like oatmeal. Imagine if you said, Yes I like sex, with the right person, in the right place, in the right mood, preferably after a lovely meal cooked by someone else; otherwise, frankly, I'd rather get on with Daniel Deronda.

That's Pollitt again in Learning to Drive. Is she right? Certainly I do think that there's a certain you-go-girl giddiness in the hype for the romance erotica lines. It's interesting these days how we're nudged in the direction of a kind of tickle-me-Elmo giddiness about sexuality. Doubtless a necessary corrective to many still-current pruderies and hypocrisies, but perhaps not the best inducement to make a book hang together.

Pollitt continues that, "in porn no one takes a night off, no one even rejects one partner for another they like better; they just have them both at once, and the meter reader, too, should he happen to drop by" -- or (I hasten to add) the hunky gardner in the Marquis de Sade's Philosophy in the Bedroom. Rock critic Richard Goldstein once put it more succinctly. "In porn, everybody wants it. All the time."

Of course, Pollitt doesn't seem to have read much erotica since the very male-oriented porn from the 70s, but it's possible that (mostly)-by-women-(mostly)-for-women erotica from the romance publishers is going in that direction. At least I gather from Jane Lockwood's post that there is some sentiment that it's possible to have too much of a good, friendly, down and dirty thing -- and that what you risk is losing the romance.

I'm not sure. Partly because I haven't read enough dirty books lately. My current w.i.p. has taken a lot of effort: the draft's due Monday and after I hit the SEND key I'll find out what's actually happening in the world outside my study.

For now, tho, I only have my experience, and a word, "pornotopia" -- from Steven Marcus's 60s lit crit book The Other Victorians, which introduced books like The Pearl and My Secret Life to a general readership. I don't remember Marcus's exact definition, but I've kind of adopted the word to mean a kind of alternative fictional world -- sort of another kind of dimension, where the ground rules are different, and sometimes the laws of physics and biology. It's a fun, friendly, sort of prelapsarian world. Even when you impose the power strictures of BDSM, it's got a kind of amplitude. It lends itself to episodic writing and ensemble plots (I like the ensemble aspect, because I often find romance novels awfully thinly populated).

But as to plotting: If you're a Shakespeare, you can get the dizzy wonder of A Midsummer Night's Dream out of it. But if you're not a Shakespeare, it can be hard to fit a plot around what's potentially endlessly episodic.

What's interesting to me is that when I was writing erotica-that-at-that-time-called-itself-pornography, I found that I desperately wanted a plot. And so did my characters.

In the Carrie books, a perverse dynamic began to take over. The bigger and friendlier my orgies got, the more seriously I and my characters began wondering about who really liked who best (or even loved them). Relationships formed just below the surface of the action as characters began asking themselves what they really wanted. I began to imagine little offstage tragedies (what's going to happen to Susan when Andrew realizes she's really into Steve?). I loved giving tiny subplots having happy endings (poor neglected Stefan, happy at last as Mr. Constant's boytoy!). I wrote a sequel, Safe Word to figure out whether Carrie's Story had really been Carrie's story at all, or Jonathan's and Kate's.

Which was one of the ways I drifted toward erotic romance.

About which I'm blogging today, at Michelle Buonfiglio's RomanceBuyTheBlog at LifetimeTV, to cap off Erotic Romance Week there and in honor of the mass-market paperback release of Almost A Gentleman. Please come by and say hi.

And about which I'll also be yacking on a panel with romance academics (whom you can also check out online at the Teach Me Tonight blog) . I'll be chatting with them in person, though, at the Popular Culture Association Conference in San Francisco next March. My contribution (which I hope will be provocative) will be called "From BDSM to Erotic Romance: Observations of a Shy Pornographer." I hope to attend in Theorygirl mode, except that by then I hope to have figured out all this out (partly through posts and discussions here).

And if you want to read more from Safe Word, the clue to my current contest is in the excerpt from that book, posted on my web page. And the prize? An autographed copy of Forbidden Shores, by Jane Lockwood.

Oh and as for my question -- well, do you think there's a difference between male and female-oriented erotic fiction?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Mistress of Subtlety

When writing my erotic novels, I don't leave much to the imagination--as far as emotion, action, insert Tab A into Slot B, etc. I mean, to me, that's what an erotic novel is: detail, so one can immerse onself.

And while I love that kind of writing, there are times when I also prefer subtlety. The kind of writing I have to work a little harder to appreciate.

One of my favorite authors is The Mistress of Subtlety--in all facets of her writing. She writes romantic mysteries/gothicky ghost stories. There's always a romance (never any sex; I think she's used the word "breast" five times in more than thirty books)...and sometimes it's more satisfying than the insert Tab 6 into Slot 9 (heh heh) stories.

Her name is Elizabeth Peters, and she also writes as Barbara Michaels. She's brilliant. She's funny and witty and writes the most dry, humorous stories with such a great romance that I read her stuff over and over. And the wonderful thing about it is I always catch something new every time--even the books I've read upwards of five or six times.

Do you have a favorite author who, unlike many of us Strumpets, leaves some of the details to the imagination? Do you find you have a preference between the implications of sex and the immerse-yourself-in-the-moment scenes?

Why and when?

Monday, December 3, 2007


Well, it's been out since just after Thanksgiving so far as I can tell, but it's official release date was Saturday.

ONE MORE TIME, under Kensington’s Aphrodisia line. I was so thrilled when I got the word that I made RT’s Top Pick list! (Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine). Here’s part of the review:

“This scorching roller-coaster of a read is an erotic page-turner. It has romance, intrigue, licentious nobility, a Greek god come to life and an unexpected ending. Feisty Abby and sensual Myles are the perfect couple to surmount the obstacles in their way. This may have been the first book I've read by Hart, but it certainly won't be the last!”
4.5 stars, Bella March, Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine

And Harriet Klausner likes it too! She gave it 5 stars! "This torrid time travel romantic fantasy stars two wonderful lead characters, a horde of profligate aristocrats (she'd make a fortune selling her toys to this crowd), and a Greek god seeking passion. The story line is fast-paced even during the heat of passion and yet filled with twists. Loaded with heat, ONE MORE TIME is an erotic tale with plenty of heat."

So as you might guess, I'm pretty pleased with all that. The blog tour (see the list at my website) is also going pretty well!

So how's your Monday?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Biting My Fingernails

Tomorrow my very first BDSM erotic short story will be available from Harlequin under their Spice Briefs line.
It is called The Invitation. I am nervous about this short story(it is only 22 pages in length) because it is a first on so many levels for me. One it is written in first person. eek! and Two it is more extreme than anything I have written before.

Here is the blurb...

The Invitation.

Her lover’s gift--a unique erotic toy--was accompanied by an invitation: Wear this gift and meet me on the trail at dusk. Following his direction, she wore no bra or panties under her hiking outfit. As they entered the woods, the anticipation was more than she could bear. Soon their game would begin--dominant man in control of his spirited woman--and she would glory in the intoxicating thrill of submission.
Oh and what the heck... here is an Excerpt.


Your lips quirk up as I reach your side. “Greet me

My lips curl up in to a smile. “Yes, Master.” I drop to
my knees, my eyes filled with adoration never leaving yours,
then smooth my hands up your thighs. My fingers trail your
zipper and slide the fly down. You stand absolutely still,
hands clasped behind your back. I want to shake you to make you
moan. To lose the control you always hold in check, but I will
never cross that line.

My mouth waters, wanting to take you into my sweet depths,
to swallow you up, and make you hard. I slide your cock from
the confines of your pants and press the plum shaped tip to the
soft glossed lips of my mouth. My tongue slides out and circles
the head of your semi-firm cock. The smell of your sex shoots
straight to my wet labia making my cunt gape with need. Saliva
pools under my tongue and as I slide your prick into my mouth,
the slickness slips down your cock coating you with my moisture.

You taste delicious. The salty spice of your skin tingles
my taste bubs and I flick my tongue against the smooth ridge of your dick head.
The skin is loose but quickly fills, tightening over your wide penis.

I nestle your dick head in my mouth then pull back out to
the tip. Sliding back down your length, your crown gently
touches the back of my tongue. I hesitate afraid I may gag on
your thickness and pull back up to the tip. Swirling and gently
nibbling on the rim with my teeth, you moan. The sound of your
pleasure emboldens me, I want so desperately to hear more and
more of that sweet delicious sound as you capture your pleasure
and in turn I receive mine. Licking my lips I move back to suck
the large tip back deeper into my throat. To create the
sensation I know you so love.

You grasp my chin. “No. Stand.”


The sweaty firm grip of your fingers on my jawbone washes
through me and I tremble. Even the lightest touch from you on
my skin makes me shake but when you firmly grasp me, my vision
hazes and I begin to float in the euphoric bliss that goes back
ages in time. Dominant man in control of his spirited woman.
I stand without hesitation, my eyes clouded with nothing but the
vision of pleasing you. Of giving you all my power to do with as
you wish.

You smile at me, devotion and excitement swirling in the
depths of your eyes.

God you make my knees weak.

You lead me, your fingers entwined with mine, into the
woods, away from the lake and the pretty view that we enjoyed on
our first encounter. Deep into the trees we walk neither one
of us saying a word. I wonder what you have planed but know I
will enjoy it no matter what it is.

We reach a set of trees that are equal in size and spread
about five feet apart. There is a large grouping of boulders off
to the one side which you have placed your backpack, and a

“Give me your backpack.” You hold out your hand to me.

I slide the pack from my shoulders and hand over the bag
which contains the water and warm blanket you requested.
You grasp them in one hand and with the other you grab my
hair. Tingles shoot through my scalp and you pull my lips to
yours. The warmth of your mouth devours mine, the taste of Red
Bull on your tongue as it plunges in tangling slowly, warms me
to my toes. The flavor I will forever associate with you.

My nipples pebble hard and I groan wanting to touch you to
feel your skin beneath my hands, but I stand absolutely still as
I have been trained by you to do.

You slip my jacket from my shoulders and off of me. I
shiver but more from excitement then the cold. I only want to
please you, to excite you, and bring you pleasure.

You walk me to the trees. There your fingers wrap my palm,
and you raise my arm, placing a fur lined cuff about my wrist.
The cuff is attached to the tree by rope. You do the same with
my other hand, smiling a very devious smile, then go back to
your plan. God I love that smile. It is the smile that
inhabits my every dream, my every memory of us. I tug on my
arms to see if I have any room for escape. the cuffs dig into
the base of my hand but don’t slip over.

“No escape.”

“Yes Master. You know me, I had to check.” I grin at you.

You laugh as a blindfold emerges form your pocket and you
slide it over my head. The soft fur under lining slides down
forehead and the last thing I see is your lips grinning at me.
Oh dear... what do you have planned?

Eek! well there you go.
Grinning as my cheeks and other places grow warm.

What does he have planned?

To find out you can purchace The Invitaion from the eharlequin site by clicking here The Invitation

Hugs and Kisses,

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Book Bottom, Part I

As Humpty Dumpty said in Through the Looking Glass, the question is which is to be master.

And the answer is not me. There are situations over which I have absolutely no control.

Because even when I'm frantically trying to finish a manuscript and don't have enough time for it -- when a book by one of my absolute favorite writers comes out, it tells me in a clear, calm, masterful voice that I must drop everything and read it now.

And so I do, meekly and obediently, like a well-behaved bottom in an S/M story Molly Weatherfield might have written. And which is how I read Katha Pollitt's spectacular memoir/essay collection, Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories.

Which would no doubt surprise Pollitt, even if she did once write a scorchingly wonderful modest-proposal-type essay suggesting that welfare mothers would do a lot better becoming dominatrixes (dominatrices, I guess) for self-righteous Washington types who like to bash women and poor people.

I read all Pollitt's poems and essays -- if not really obediently then certainly faithfully, and with immense delight and wonder. I read her feminist political stuff in The Nation magazine because it gives me facts to back up my beliefs and logic to make my case and because she challenges me to think more boldly. I read her poems because they're skillful and lovely and smart.

And I raced through the personal essays in Learning to Drive (twice, back to back) because they're about everything I'm interested in. About being a daughter, a mother, a lover, a frustrated but stalwart progressive; a feminist, a romantic, a lover of words and not getting any younger either.

There's a line in one of her poems about writing "feverishly/in all five notebooks at once." Learning to Drive felt that way to me. And the writing makes me laugh and almost weep with envy.

Reviewers have of course paid the most attention to the four essays in the front of the book, which are grouped around the story of Pollitt's seven-year live-in relationship with a man who neglected to tell her he was also sleeping with most of the upper west side of Manhattan (or actually -- and as he'd doubtless insist -- just a certain sensitive, romantic, intellectual female subset of it). Which stories Pollitt manages to make human, instructive, rueful, memorable, occasionally hilarious, and sometimes unforgettable. I don't envy her that it happened, but I'd give a great deal to be able to write something as glancingly wry, as wincingly apt as this little bit about G. (the horrible boyfriend) and one of those lovers:

One night I woke up suddenly in bed, like William Hurt in his prison cell at the end of Body Heat, when it comes to him in a flash how Kathleen Turner had double-crossed him. I saw Judith and G. laughing and bustling around the stove, a few months before he left; they were making paella for our Marxist study group. She had brought her own special pan and her own special recipe.... she had made herself at home in my kitchen! Not that I ever used it much, but still. The whole evening came back to me; I had drunk wine in the living room with the rest of the group while the two of them crashed about gaily among the cabinets, bustling and laughing and calling each other "Professor," and I had felt like I was swimming underwater in a glass box.

Bustling and laughing and calling each other "Professor." I'd probably never have recovered, not to speak of live to write so wonderfully about it. But if the G. essays -- about men and women, sex, honesty and infidelity (not to speak of touchingly, ridiculously pure leftie politics) -- are the Big Bang that gets everybody's attention, the rest of the book is a wonderful little expanding universe of intelligent, rueful speculation about what we do and don't know about each other and how we do and don't live up to our images of what should be.

"I love how she put it together," one of the women friends I gave this book to said (if you're expecting a present from me this year, you now know what you're getting). I loved it too. I loved the way everything had to do with everything -- all five notebooks at once. And (I guess because it has a lot to do with everything for me) I especially loved the essay about the job she had after graduating from college proofreading pornography. Just the humor of having to correct the stuff for grammar and syntax is riotous but also meaningful:
Jack snaked his hand toward Tawny's invitingly swelling nipple, it's pink aureole glistening with delicate feminine sweat, her tongue darting among her teeth like a string of pearls. OK, make that "its" "areola," "between" instead of "among," but uh-oh, should that be two strings of pearls, one for upper teeth and one for lower? And wasn't Tawny called Linda a few pages ago?

But there's more to it than the hilarity of her made-up hideous porn writing. There's remembering that age of '70s porn, when everything was written by and for men, with the assumption that if it gets a guy off the woman's got to be loving it too. Which got me to thinking about our own little world of erotic romance and how we got from there to here and what's changed and what hasn't. Which (perhaps with the help of Pollitt's insights) will be my next post, hopefully after I wipe the delicate feminine sweat from my brow and finish the erotic romance I'm writing and clean up the dangling strings of pearls and other modifiers.

Question: is there any writer you read absolutely faithfully?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Not so happy Thanksgiving...

Last week I was supposed to be enjoying a 4 day break away from the kids in Sedona, AZ with my lovely husband. Of course, it didn't quite work out like that...Let me take you back to Saturday night when son #3 is puking into his trash can and wishing he was dead while I stay away at the door sending him comforting motherly thoughts and words without touching him.

But I knew I'd be sick-there's a certain karma to it, isn't there? Everyone bar, Granny, who had the sense to get a flu shot, has been sick over the holiday week. Not nice, not happy but quiet and surprisingly light on food bills for a change.

I lost 4 pounds in Sedona, but not in a good way at their world-reknowned spa, but in a far less elegant manner. It was a beautiful hotel, but I saw way too much of the inside of my room and not enough of the wonders around me.

Hopefully all will be well now school has started up again-it usually is. Mr Kate and I have made a vow never to book a vacation at Thanksgiving again :)

The picture is of one of the 6 pools at the Enchantment Resort where we stayed. it really did look that beautiful-although I can't say I had the urge to swim much!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday tactics

... or, how to waste a perfectly good writing day.

Congratulations again to all the Strumpet Crumpets who have finished project(s) or are basking in the glow of a brand new release. I have to start something new following the lukewarm reception of my latest partial, so far. This was my Arabian Nights project that I blogged about back in April, and has met with editors' reactions like "not sexy enough" or "your voice didn't speak to me."

I have, though, discovered the version of the Arabian Nights that would have been familiar to the Georgian era, the Mille et Une Nuit by Antoine Galland--the Arabian Night's Entertainment, translated by Robert Mack.

I'm trying not to dwell too much on the editors' comments because I write is what I write, so today, after eating too much yesterday, I'm all fired up to write. It's mid-afternoon, and here's my writing progress:

Got up at 10:30. Went back to bed with tea. Read.

1:00 Husband announced as he left for work that the kitchen fan, one of those old fashioned things that's in a hole in the wall with a flap to the outside, was stuck on as he'd tried "to pull it all the way closed." Daughter simultaneously announced that the dishwasher had flooded but she'd almost finished mopping up.

1:15 Daughter and I deduced that if we turned off the kitchen breaker the fan could stop, and she of the delicate little hands could unplug it, braving the filth and grease of fifty years or so. The outside flap is now jammed shut with an old soda bottle. The kitchen floor is much cleaner. I swiffer it a bit more; the swiffer is the first household item, ever, that I have fallen in love with. Did you know the swiffer is environmentally sustainable? Read this interview with the swiffer designer.

The inside of the dishwasher is covered with black specks that I suspect the plumbing has burped back up. I give it another rinse. Still there. I run it again. So much for environmental sustainability.


I tidy my desk hoping to find wonderful things on it. I don't. The contents of the dishwasher are mostly clean.

Put on CD of Callas singing Tosca that I did find on the desk clean up and consider how to make my writing sexier. A bit worrying since the last one started in a harem and the next one, I think, will start in an ultra polite drawing room, so it seems I'm regressing. But I find it far more interesting to discover the erotic possibilities with everyone on their feet, fully clothed, and talking about the weather, or in this case, making music.

Make yet more tea, put on CD2 of Tosca, and consider myself fortunate that I am not so desperate not to write that I have gone to a mall (ugh!) or outside to rake leaves.

So what are you doing on Black Friday?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Secondary characters and blog tour

Before I get started on today's post, I just wanted to let y'all know that my blog tour starts today. You can find the list on my website, but I have one new addition for today which is me getting interviewed over at Fog City Divas. I'm giving away a copy of SHOW ME from my backlist at FCD, mainly because some of the secondary characters reappear in next month's release, ONE MORE TIME.

What’s secondary about a character?

Well, aside from the fact that they are not in every scene, there isn’t a whole lot that’s secondary for them. In fact, it often surprises me (and I don’t know why I don’t expect it by now), how attached I get to them and if I can’t give them a happy ending in the book, then I plot happy endings for them.

I know, I’ve yet to write a real sequel to any of my books, but it keeps me happy to think that I could drag, say the young and obnoxious Viscount Winterton from SHOW ME, through all sorts of hell before he gets the girl.

I have a sequel in mind for ONE MORE TIME out next month too, where a certain Greek god gets his comeuppance, but I think the problem with sequels is that even though the characters have horrible things happen to them before true love wins out. I’m fond enough of them not to have the truly horrible things happen to them, or, the things are just so horrible there’s no relenting or joy.

So yeah, the likelihood of any of these sequel ideas getting published are slim to none, but they make me happy.

Anyway, ONE MORE TIME has a few characters from SHOW ME turning up. At the risk of spoiling SHOW ME (hey, I have books on my to-read shelf that have been out for two years and I still haven’t gotten around to reading them), the Wintertons turn up with an previously unmentioned new sibling in tow, and well, things get even more interesting.

So, readers and authors, how do you feel about secondary characters? Do you get so invested in them that you want to see their story?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

That First Booksigning Smile

I was supposed to post yesterday, so my apologies for being late. Friday is always a tough day for me to get online—I go into the office, then have the kids at home (no daycare). I have to go up into the, well basically attic space to go online, and I don’t trust the kids enough to leave them downstairs alone. My son recently followed me upstairs and almost discovered this is where we hide the Xmas presents. I can freely say this here, as he can’t read yet.

Lacy's blog of a few days ago really resonated with me (and kudos to Lacy for everything she's managing to do). So my blog today is a bit of a "what's in my world" post.

I just found out I got a terrific review on Blood Rose from JERR. A gold star award and they wrote: "Blood Rose contains a cornucopia of sensuality that will grab you by your senses and your passions, refusing to let you go until you have been sated along with the characters." Wow, I’m really thrilled.

On the WIP front, I’m still struggling to finish the 2nd draft for the end of the month, but the sex scenes are coming together. I’m so relieved! There is much crafting to do after this. I only know a book is really ready to go when I start changing words and then changing them back to what I had originally.

The picture posted above is from my very first booksigning (you can tell by the big "I can’t believe this is really me doing this" smile. I was also signing with Jo Beverley, who's work I adore.) I now have to get organized and have a real author photo done. Which means I have to get my hair done, find the right outfit, and do makeup. Actually, it would probably be easier to have a "stand in" be me. An author stunt double, as it were. It would probably be much more fun that having to worry about my hair.

In other news, I just got my blurb in for Hot Silk, the last in my regency trilogy about erotic author Rodesson’s daughters:
Two years ago, with her reputation already in jeopardy, Miss Grace Hamilton gave herself to a powerful, compelling stranger in one night of delicious, quivering ecstasy. Wild, bold, and wickedly sensual, Devlin Sharpe is a highwayman and pirate—a scoundrel whose world is ruled solely by pleasure. And now he has returned to claim Grace again, vowing to make up for the time they’ve lost, to take her to the heights of carnal abandon and show her the exquisite bliss of exploring her darkest, most decadent fantasies…

After I read the blurbs for my books, I always think "ooh, that sounds so hot!" and I know I could never write one myself. I would add way too much dull plot summary stuff that would sound as exciting as a technical report.

For readers out there, do the blurbs on books entice you? How much plot do you like to see revealed? For authors, do you have a favorite blurb from your books?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Anniversary Musings: Love in the Western World, a.k.a. Lives of the English Majors

I mentioned on a prior post that my husband Michael and I recently celebrated our 38th anniversary with a very recherche product (which shall remain nameless) from Good Vibrations.


But mostly when we amaze each other, it's on a more everyday level, like still finding things to talk about and rediscovering ourselves along the way. Like a few nights ago when we were talking at dinner about the Big Serious Book I'm trying to find time to get into, Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond. Actually, I've read about 100 pages, and it's pretty great -- kind of a history of almost everything around us, by examining how different societies around the world developed different survival characteristics at different rates, and how this helped them develop hegemonies over each other and bash each other around.

Anyway, I was telling Michael about how much more reliable sharpened steel weapons were than stuff that's mostly good for bludgeoning -- when both of us realized we didn't know anything about the technology of making steel, except for the word "tempering." And that actually, the only thing we knew about tempering was from the theme song of a 1950s TV western series called "Jim Bowie," about the guy who invented some kind of steel knife. Which led us into an effortless, word-perfect chorus of:

Jim Bowie, Jim Bowie, he was a bold adventurin' man
Jim Bowie Jim Bowie, battled for right with a powerful hand
His blade was tempered and so was he
Indestructible steel was he
Jim Bowie Jim Bowie
He was a fighter, a fearless and mighty adventurin' man
(no pix, but if you want to hear the tune, here 's the Youtube link)

Amazing what a person remembers. And more amazing what a couple of people remember together. But then, those Jim Bowie verses were really pretty good: clever to take the simple "bold adventurin' man" and then expand it so elegantly in the last line -- alliteration and slant rhyme both).

In a sense, though, Michael and I grew up together. We didn't actually meet until we were 20 (almost children, it now seems to me), but thanks to TV and mass culture we already shared an erotic and artistic imagination.

At 11 or so, we each, separately, spent large amounts of time staring at this cover on the paperback book racks that were springing up everywhere. Staring and having funny feelings. Yes, I know her button says "anti-sex league." But to each of us (and maybe a lot of kids like us) it screamed SEX!! We found an old copy in Michael's parents' bookshelves, and have the cover framed in our hallway, as a reminder who we were "before we loved," as John Donne put it.

Of course, sometimes we saw the same stuff entirely from opposite points of view. As a kid, Michael found the chorus of the TV show "Maverick" theme song a bit confusing.
Riverboat ring your bell
Fare thee well Annabelle
Luck is the lady that he loves the best
Natchez to New Orleans
Livin' on jacks and queens
Maverick is the legend of the west.
(again, you can hear it here)
Why are the two apostrophes jammed up together, Michael asked me -- one to the riverboat and one to Annabelle -- and then why does the lyric hurry back to 3rd person? It seems a little disjointed, he said.

Really? I said. You mean you don't get the brilliant, romantic immediacy of the "fare thee well" jammed in like that? I was genuinely surprised he didn't love it as much as I did.

I think it's a girly thing -- that for the instant in time it took to sing or hear that line of the verse I and every little girl who heard it was poor, spurned Annabelle. Years later, I didn't have to learn how to write the quick emotional changes of deep third person pov (as it's called in Romancelandia). The riverboat gambler Brett Maverick taught me how fast and flexible, how headlong, precipitous, and shifting love can be. There you are with Brett, and before you know it the riverboat's sailing and he's off to follow his life quest. Evidently not the same heartbreaker for little boys (though I'll have to ask the gay guys in my book group).

At which point the other night, Michael and I went to YouTube, to explore a few more of those boy/girl (or Michael/Pam) differences. An early favorite of his being the noirish "Have Gun, Will Travel,"
which was a little dark for me back then, but which probably had a lot to do with making Michael the brooding, pretentious young existentialist I was ready to fall in love with at 20.

Or for me, with this cross-dressing sequence from one of my childhood favorite movies, "Calamity Jane," which I saw when I was 8 and which thrilled me with its image of a girl doing stuff a girl wasn't supposed to. It probably had as much as anything to do with my writing a cross-dressing romance, Almost a Gentleman a gazillion years later. A romance (I have to add) whose new mass market cover is hardly about to cause any shy, word-drunk, imaginative eleven-year-olds to stare and sweat and have funny feelings in their stomachs. I doubt it will prepare anyone to fall in love. But then, Almost a Gentleman's no 1984, so fair's fair.

Great popular art of your childhood?

Romantic or erotic intimations from words or images?

Stuff that made you who you are before you quite knew what hit you?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Life and the Persuit of Happiness

I sit here today trying to think of something to write to you all... I have had a lot going on in my life of late. Being a single mom, working a full time day job that requires long hours and conversations to India in the evening, writing and having a social life(the little I get).

I had thought I would write something about research and historical sex here today, but I am too mentally tired to think of something, so you will get some questions about writing and life and families.

I am wondering how all of you do it? Balance life and writing and not get overwhelmed?

For me I can't write when I am emotionally taxed with other issues and this past year was filled with ups and downs. I miss writing daily. I always find joy in creating something that I look back on and go "wow I wrote that."

Sometimes I think it would have been easier to live in the time period that we write in. Sure there were hardships and illnesses, and I would not have been permitted to divorce, but on so many levels things were easier. Or at least they appear to have been to me. I think that is because your role was defined. woman, man, class.

In todays world especially here in America it feels like there is constant pressure to rise to the next level, to not be what you are woman, man, class. To have the best car, the best house, the best job, to do things that the opposite gender would do just because it shows you are different, better.

People seem less concentrated on the things that are important. Like relationships with people they care about. People also seem less content... Maybe I am naive about this... maybe that is part of being human. I don't know. Thoughts?

Humm I guess that is it...

Off to write.

Hugs and Kisses,

Friday, November 9, 2007

Time to slow down

The time has come for me to slow down a bit...not that I'm particularly speedy anyway, (10 weeks in a walking cast didn't help) but in a writing sense. I find that by November I'm starting to flag both creatively and physically. Maybe it's because the cooler months are approaching and I'm gearing up for hibernation, but I definitely find it harder to be creative toward the end of the year.

And this one has been busy. I've written 3 books, a proposal and a short story. That's about normal for me, but this year was slightly different in that I 'had' to write those books to stop the publishers taking their money back. That changes my delightful airy-fairy 'writing for love' ethic into a 'write for money, it's a job' type scenario. And a job has always been high on my avoidance list.

I'm proudest of my second erotic historical for Kensington. It takes a character who first showed up in a very minor role in "Antonia's Bargain" through "Simply Sexual" (his best friend Valentin's book) and into his own. And he truly was a pleasure to write.

One funny thing was that I was convinced I was writing a true menage a trois book-until about half way through when I realized that it wasn't going to work out quite like that and that if I was true to each characters needs I'd have to find them a different solution. I think I managed it. Now we'll jut have to see if my Editor and eventually the readers agree.

So for me, the next 2 weeks will mean time off to read some good books, talk to my husband and re-connect with my kids-if they remember who I am, of course. I admit to being a little driven the last month or two :) I've ordered our entire Thanksgiving dinner from Marie Callender's this year because I'm sure she'll do it much better than me and I intend to enjoy every morsel!

The painting is by Picasso from the Moma collection. I love it, although it makes me feel a bit sleepy...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Have we lost our way?

I've been chatting online with some other writers and what started as a "where have you been and what are you writing now" discussion turned into something else: our concern about the state of erotic romance.

Many of us felt that erotic romance was losing its romantic side, and, worse yet, wasn't even story telling; that it was becoming formulaic and more like porn.

(Now, I don't think more like porn is too bad. If we could let go of the "nice girls don't ..." baggage and admit that, yes, this should turn you on and I hope it does, I think that would be a step in the right direction.)

But the issue that really worried my friends was that of recent erotic romance they'd read, there wasn't enough emphasis on plot and characterization, the nuts and bolts of storytelling.

And it was an embarrassing thing to admit, because we've said all along that it wasn't just all about the sex--that in fact they were agreeing with those harrumphing comments you see in letters to the editors columns and on boards online, that this is what erotic romance is, or is in danger of becoming.

The trouble is, of course, that's there's a huge amount of material out there, in all romance subgenres; how do you tell the good stuff from the mediocre? Can you believe the back cover blurbs? Are publishers, anxious to jump onto the bandwagon and hang on for dear life while it lasts, letting their standards fall? Do readers of erotic romance really not care (at last, all the good bits without any tedious plot stuff)--and don't want to say so, because then they'll be accused of that greatest of sins, enjoying porn?

And here's a question for everyone: If you were to introduce someone to the joys of erotic romance, what book(s) would you suggest?

Friday, November 2, 2007


I'd like to welcome Erastes to our blog. Due to time zones, and my general incompetence, Erastes might be a little late, so I'm going to borrow a quick bio and some book information and post them here first!


Erastes has been writing all of his life, in one way or another, letters, emails, diaries used to satisfy his need for the written word. He simply didn't think he could write, make plots that people would be interested in.

Then one day in 2003, he simply started, a few short stories, and then a novel and then.. well, he hasn't stopped writing since.

He lives in Norfolk, and when he can be dragged kicking and screaming away from his computer, he enjoys walks by the Broads. He likes cats and cheese but has discovered only one of those is any good with toast.

He likes his men like his fiction, dark, with a hint of danger, romantic and intelligent without being too wordy. He believes in the GDM bases his dodgy morality on Heinlein's Intermissions.

He is a member of the Historical Novel Society, The Erotica Writer's Association and is a staff writer at

is a novel set in England during the Georgian period. Here's the book blurb:

A great house, a family dispossessed. A sensitive young man, a powerful landowner, and the epic love that springs up between them.

Ambrose Standish is a studious and fragile young man with dreams of regaining the great house his grandfather lost in a card game, but when Rafe Goshawk returns from the continent to claim the estate, their meeting sets them on a path of desire and betrayal which threatens to tear both of their worlds apart.

Set in the post-Napoleonic years of the 1820's, Standish is a tale of these two men, and how the relationships they make affect their journey through Europe and through life.

Painting a picture of homosexuality in Georgian England, illegal as it was and punishable by death, at heart it is a simple love story and the tale of one man's discoveries of his sexuality and his true feelings for the man who released it.
Product Description

I have to say that the Georgian period is one of my favorites and I'm really looking forward to reading this book!

Ladies and gents, Erastes!

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and what led you to write m/m romance stories?

I've always wanted to write but nothing really sparked me off - I'd started books before. I have a half started children's book which is completely plotted out, but when I was half way through it I discovered Pratchett and found he'd already done "amusing sarcastic witches" and so that came to a halt, I've also got a fantasy I started about 10 years ago but that never got very far either.

Then I got into the Harry Potter books - and one day I was just surfing on the net looking for gossip or news about Severus Snape on whom I had a bit of a crush (blush) when I found a site called "The Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest" which was literally an archive of stories about Severus Snape having sex with just about every male character in the Potter Universe and my jaw dropped onto the desk. I'd discovered slash - and I'd never considered it before. Believe me, I've had the least sheltered life imaginable but I'd never thought of gay sex as a turn on - despite having been to bed with 2 men at the same time on several occasions - but here I was, reading slash and getting turned on. At first I thought I was slightly perverted, then I realised that a lot of male fantasies concerned two women in bed together, so it seemed perfectly normal after that.

I was lucky that the first slash story I ever read was a damned good one - there's a lot of crap in fanfic - if I'd read a bad one - I may not be here today! I read voraciously and then must have been struck by what they call inspiration and I wrote a novella in about 3 weeks. I realised almost immediately that I could do nothing with a Potter Novella - so I decided to write a Regency - and Standish was born.

2. How do you see the market for what you write-who are your readers and where are the based?

The market is growing - especially in the epublication market. I truly believe that for once in my life I'm in the right place at the right time. The publishing world has been steadily ignoring m/m fiction, but I don't think they can do much longer.

My readers come from all over the world, and, maybe because Standish is equal part gay historical, gay romance and gay erotica, seem to be both men and women, both straight and gay. It's wonderful to get emails from people about the book - something I thought would never happen to me.

3.What would you say were the main differences between what you write and say, erotic romance which often now incorporates elements of m/m or m/m/f or m/f/m stories?

Well, I admit that when I started out to write I was writing erotic romance, that is, fairly graphic sex but as I've continued on with books they've become less so. The one I'm doing at the moment has moments of "oh? was there a kiss there?" so I don't know whether people might be dissapointed. Don't get me wrong, I do love the sex scenes, but what they have to be is relevant to the progression of the plot and some erotic romance seems to be more about the sex and less about the characters or plot. I don't like the idea that people think m/m=sex because (and I shouldn't need to say this) people are about more than that.

4. Describe your journey to publication.

I have been very very lucky. I know that much. I finished Standish in 2004 and started sending it out to various mainstream publishers and got rejected and rejected - possibly about 12 times in all (I don't count the times where the particular editor had left or the publishing house had closed down) and then I simply stopped sending it and concentrated on short stories for a while. I was lucky enough to get the first story I ever wrote for original publication ("Bright Souls") accepted by Torquere Press and I sold several more stories to them-I'll always be grateful to them for my start. Then I re-sold Bright Souls to Alyson Books as part of their "Ultimate Gay Erotica 2005" and after that things just snowballed. In the middle of 2005 someone suggested I start sending Standish out again, now I had some details on my "CV" and the first publisher I sent it to (P D Publishing) accepted it. I still find it hard to believe.

5. What does the future hold for you bookwise? What's coming up?

My second novel "Transgressions" (which is based in the English Civil War) is with the publisher and they want some re-writing done, so that's what I need to concentrate on now. I'm half way through a novel about a married stockbroker who falls in love with the teenager next door - and which doesn't obey the requisite rules for a "Romance" so I don't even know if that will sell.

But I do - in the interim - have two novellas coming out in the next little while: One with Aspen Mountain Press (which will be my first foray into ebooks) called Chiaroscuro and is about a 19th Century Florentine artist and the man he falls in love with and another one which I can't talk about yet as it hasn't been finalised - but it's a Regency.

6. Where can we find you and your books?

My website is Standish is available from all Amazons and Barnes and Nobel (and some bookshops, in America I think) My website has some free stories and excerpts on it, and links to all the anthologies.

7. How do you see the market for what you write in 5 years time? Are times really changing and if so, why?

I hope - I'm fairly confident - that m/m will have broken into the mainstream by now. It's already happening in some small way. As well as the ubitquitous Brokeback Mountain, there are the Lord John stories by Diana Gabaldon, David Leavitt's fiction, Mordred Bastard Son by Douglas Clegg, As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McAnn and The Boy I Love by Marion Husband - all of which have been critically well received. What needs to happen is

1. more people to write it
2. and the emphasis to drift away from the graphic sex

I'm sure that things will be better - there are a lot of problems in the publishing world, gay oriented publishers and book stores are closing all over the place, but I hope that when one falls, it leaves a place for one or two others to spring up in its place.

8. Favorite football/soccer team? Favorite TV show? Favorite thing to do when you're not writing?

The only sport I enjoy watching is Three Day Eventing and there's not much of that on the TV, not enough anyway. *G* When I'm not writing I'm usually reading. I run a gay historical fiction blog, Speak Its Name which concentrates on reviews and discussion so I'm always reading in order to review. The sad thing about m/m fiction is that there is a finite amount of it - whereas heterosexual historical fiction is vast. I maintain a list HERE - so if any of your readers know of any that I haven't listed - please let me know!

Thanks for having me, Kate.


Any questions or comments for Erastes, please post them to the comments section :)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

First off, congratulations to Celia for her Top Pick from Romantic Times for One More Time and the terrific review! I just received my RT and there is Celia's book on the page 3 Top Picks.

And Happy Halloween! I hope everyone has a safe, enjoyable, and "fun-scary" night tonight. This would be a great day to talk about sexual fantasies that involve disguises, but I’ve been in the midst of proving Murphy’s law over the last week, and don’t have anything brilliant to say. (As I’m sure you know, that’s the "Whatever can go wrong, will" law, usually accompanied by the companion observation, "Murphy was an optimist".)

I’ve reached the point in my WIP where, in the synopsis, my heroine challenges the hero to explore his wildest fantasies. So I’ve spent this morning scratching my head and writing odd lists about sexual acts and locations. What would be his wildest fantasies? I’ve tapped into my hero’s vulnerabilities to set up three other love scenes in the book. I’ve used the heroine’s house as a setting for the previous sexual encounter to this one, because the heroine’s home represented escape and freedom and control to her, and it was critical for the growth of their relationship that she let the hero into her own, personal bed.

So where to go from there? I don’t want his fantasy to be too pedestrian—two women in his bed, for example, especially as he’s probably done that already at some time in his younger days. As for setting—in previous books, I’ve used Vauxhall, a theatre, a hot-air balloon ascension, even a family mausoleum. I am searching through reference books looking for a setting that will strike a chord. The book I’m using right now is "The Polite Tourist—A History of Country House Visiting" by Adrian Tinniswood. The description on the flyleaf is fun: "When Elizabeth Bennet…set off with her uncle and aunt for a tour of Derbyshire, she planned to see both the beauties of the country and its fine mansions. In the event she overcame her prejudices concerning the proud Mr. Darcy, becoming his wife and mistress of his country seat, Pemberley. Not every tourist finds country house visiting provides such a dramatic outcome…" That is certainly an understatement, though we can all hope!

The Polite Tourist gave me the perfect image I wanted for a gentleman’s library (already used for a sex scene, alas, so I can’t use it again). So I’m scouring, and thinking in great depth about my hero, to find that hidden fantasy that will reveal all to both the reader and the heroine.

So for those of you donning a costume tonight, enjoy your fantasies!

Monday, October 29, 2007

For Reading Out Loud

For a Friday evening's reading at Good Vibrations, San Francisco's venerable feminist sex toy/sex book/sex education/sex-everything store, what does a writer of "erotic literary delights" wear?

Well, if you're this particular writer -- moi -- who'd just celebrated her 38th wedding anniversary the night before, a red silk scarf around the neck seemed like a good idea (a la Nora Ephron's essay collection I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being A Woman). And I did, at least, wear high-heeled boots. But otherwise, I'm afraid I had to leave the glam standard-bearing to my beautiful and talented young co-readers and co-conspirators, Eden Bradley, Lillian Feisty, and our own Lacy Danes (who looked fantastic in -- well, what else but lace? -- black lace and fine black wool and fantastic stockings with straight straight black seams).

In any case, it was great appearing with these hot and elegant, charming and fun creatures. Great to be reading and listening too. Because reading out loud in public isn't as much a part of the romance-writing culture as it should be. I'm not sure why this is, though I'm guessing that it has something to do with mass-marketing. We sign and sign and sign, but (as with Jane and Colette last week) usually only read aloud as part of the erotica scene. A pity, that. I hope it changes.

I drank too much wine, but my husband (who was there) told me I managed to read clearly, and even slowly enough. Unlike my three co-readers, I've read a fair amount in public, but I still haven't completely learned to swallow the ends of my sentences. I think I'm improving, though. And Friday night was the first time in more than a decade that I read something not yet published -- which I think I'm going to keep trying to do. Even though I read out loud a lot as I write, there's something different about how one's words vibrate in the air when there are listeners around.

And what can be great about reading with a group (especially if it's a simpatico bunch), is to hear the themes and variations that weave themselves through the very different pieces the writers choose to read.

For us four last Friday night, negotiation was one of the themes. I found it interesting how seriously our work took that particular element of eroticism. For a certain sort of female erotic imagination, exotic, kinky sex seems to need a certain modicum of rule-making between participants -- and the talk, the working it out, the exchange of power and the exposure of desire are all definitely a part of the turnon. I read a little bit from the beginning of Carrie's Story where the talk of rules and procedures suddenly makes the adventure she's entering seem realer to her.

And it seemed that we writers also shared certain fascination with -- well, if not bondage, at least immobilization. It's been a perennial theme in my work, this fascinating business of, as essayist Sallie Tisdale put it, "the dream of being dominated by sex itself -- being forced, as it were, by the intensity of the sex to submit to and accept sex, be bound by sex, mastered by sex," of somehow needing to be forced to do what you most want to do.

My own contribution, from the novel I'm working on now (which still must not be named), was about the possibilities for immobilization that a tight corset might provide, for a woman in the right position (the book's set in 1829, and styles aren't really Regency anymore -- waists are getting longer and tighter by the minute). I loved trying out the images in front of an audience, and I also loved hearing how the other writers handled the situations they'd imagined their heroines into.

Anyway, it was great. To meet the readers and other writers as well. To hear our contrasting voices. Oh, and to find out when I got home, that my husband had managed to buy me a little anniversary present at Good Vibes when I wasn't looking.

So... writers, what kinds of experiences have you had reading your work in front of audiences?

And readers, do you enjoy going to this sort of event?

Why do you think romance writers do so little reading out loud?

And... (off topic but oddly important to me), what was your response to J. K. Rowling's announcement that Harry Potter's Professor Dumbledore is gay?