Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Historical Pubes

So, I agreed to write a novella set in nineteenth-century India for Aphrodisia (in THE HAREM, December 2006). Unfortunately, my knowledge was pretty much limited to The Secret Garden and a variety of misty mini-series.

So I glommed history books on India to get an overview (which I have to return actually. I’m gonna have to mail them at this rate.) I ordered and read “The Complete Kama Sutra” (unabridged and no pictures), which not only translated the text but included two commentaries, one from the Medieval era and one modern one.

Let’s just say I needed my brain scrubbing out afterwards. It’s a book basically about how to seduce a woman, and the bit that really bugged me? Well, if all these sweet seductions don’t work, beat the crap out of her and then she’ll be willing.


So my heroine, trained in the Kama Sutra arts, makes a comment about it because...ew. One of those cases where a little Western culture needs to be injected into a story essentially about a different culture, otherwise my heroine was going to have to teach the hero how to beat the crap out of her.

Not particularly romantic or sexy. Unless it's purely consensual of course. And you have a "safe word".

Huh. I could've made "East Meets West" more kinky. Oh well!

Fortunately, William Dalrymple came out with an excellent book, “White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-century India”. He’s one of those delightful historians where all the really interesting stuff lives in the footnotes. But there’s plenty in the main body as well. Take his reference of the Persian tourist Shushtari’s opinion on the British. While there were some things he liked about them, he was positively horrified that “neither the men or women remove pubic hair”. Ergo, the Mughal class (which came from Persia, modern-day Iran) must have kept that area clear, and had for centuries, because Dalrymple footnotes the same reported horror in Crusader Syria, where a Muslim came across a Frank who “kept his pubic hair ‘as long as his beard’.” (pg 131)

The focus of the story is on James Kirkpatrick, British Resident of Hyderabad and his falling in love with Khair un-Nissa. It’s a fascinating story of changing to fit the environment.

Oh and cool little tidbits like the bit about pubic hair, of course.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Sorry to be late in posting but yesterday was a day where errands took over and today is a day for some day job related panic. Romantique, the erotic art book Lacy mentioned is one of my faves. It includes a naughty blind man’s bluff scene which was the inspiration for my first erotic historical romance, A Gentleman Seduced. It took months to decide exactly how I wanted to use the scene, up until my hero stepped in and took over. It was marvelous fun to write about my well-endowed viscount who has to choose the courtesan he desires entirely by feel.

I also used Romantique as inspiration for my heroine for my September Aphrodisia, Sin, who draws erotic art. Once upon a time, I used to draw and paint quite a lot, and did scandalize part of my high school art class by drawing male nudes. Now, I find it’s a useful skill, as I can do sketches of my heroes for inspiration. It was a lot of fun to go back to that part of my life and remember what it was like to create in a different media. I wrote the beginning just after my second child was born, and I think the nostalgic sense of touching my past through my heroine made writing Sin very special.

Right now I am writing a heroine who gives her virginity to one man, discovers he is a completely heartless cad, and seduces the hero because she wants to bed the right man—a man she will want to remember. Too risky for regular romance, which is what is so great about erotic romance. I have the chance to explore my characters’ sexual mistakes.

In other news, I may be appearing on t.v. in the fall as part of a national test on the English language. Though I’m a writer, my background is in technical fields like product design and engineering, so I’m a bit intimidated! However, it will be fun, and I've never been on t.v. before--though I was interviewed for the upcoming documentary on romance, "Who's Afraid of a Happy Ending". I'll post more news as I get it.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

French Dressing

Her outfit was... a long dress with a full skirt, worn over a sturdy whalebone bodice gathered tightly at the waist, and over a stiffly starched linen petticoat. The low-cut neck scarcely concealed the breasts which, raised by the constricting bodice, were only lightly veiled by the network of lace.

This is the costume given to Story of O's eponymous heroine when she enters "the chateau," as it's called -- a regime of erotic submission she accepts as though in a familiar, recurring dream. The language is austere, depersonalized. The narrative voice refers to "the" rather than "her" breasts. And in fact, soon after, one of the "masters" of the chateau tells O that her hands are not her own, and that she has "lost all right to privacy or concealment."

O receives her instructions with the same unquestioning passivity with which she allowed herself to be dressed in her costume. Or at least that's how it's usually -- and to my mind not quite correctly -- described. A better word than "passivity," I think, would be "recognition," and of a very literate, sophisticated order.

Neither O nor her readers need to be told that the costume is a dolled-up version of that of a chambermaid, in cruel, absolutist pre-Revolutionary France. And when she's told that Pierre, "who will chain and unchain you, who will whip you... when the others have no time for you," neither she nor her readers is entirely surprised to find that Pierre is "dressed like the valet in some operetta."

The power relations in the chateau -- levels of hierarchy; iron and leather restraints; ritualized sexual obedience; and the screams and tears that the masters wrest from O and the other women in their long, lowcut dresses -- are rendered with eerie conviction. Oddly, though, what makes it so assured, so quietly confident, is its stagy predictability. This has all happened before, O thinks. And so does the reader. At the very least it's happened in the work of the Marquis de Sade, the aristocrat who lived through the revolution and the terror and who staged his own private versions of them in his over-the-top, bloody, sometimes yucky and sometimes wildly funny writings.

Sade dreamed about the limits of absolute freedom and the beguilements of totalizing system and domination. It's fair to say that he invented the genre of BDSM, though he probably wouldn't recognize it in the cuddlier, domesticated versions we're used to. But it's his genre that O enters, quite as Buffy (and Willow, and we) re-enter the world of teen movie horror for yet the umpteenth time. The real conflict in genre fiction, I believe, is the endless argument between the helpless part of us that wants – that has -- to go there once more, and the wisecracking intellectual part of us that can’t quite believe we’ve been suckered, again and forever seduced by the worn old props and operetta costumes.

It’s that conversation that I listen for in genre – the endless, two-sided chatter, the unashamed, ambivalent questioning that I strain to hear (and knock myself out to write) in romance and erotic fiction.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Writing processes…

Sorry for such a late post today. I got distracted at my day job.

Writing processes are different for every person I know. For me, I have certain books that I read just before I sit down to write, as well a some web sites, and an entire different set of books for when/if I get stuck.

I almost always pick up either The Pearl or The Romance of Lust when I start a new story. The characters and usually a scene is what invades my thoughts first. As I’m drifting off to sleep in that half dream state, they come to me. From there I research, deciding on certain sexual elements that fit my characters. I am truly a panster, but certain things I need to know before I start… Like the fact a character of mine has a kink or that they have a certain fear or quirk.

To come up with certain sexual elements I refer to a great number of sexual position/instruction books, erotic art books of the times, and (here comes the blushing moment) I watch porn.

Yea I did just say that.

There are some really great DVD’s out there for women and being a very visual, sensual person, porn works for me. (but I must caution against any of the cheesy so called historical set ones) :-) If you know of a good one let me know!

Two my favorite research books for sexual inspiration are:
The Guide To Getting It On. This book is amazing! If you have not read it you should! It is filled with excellent information. They interviewed both men and woman asking them all sorts of questions about sex… questions like what it feels like to orgasm and the like. Being a woman, having a guy explain what sex feels like is fantastic for when I am writing in the male POV.

My all time favorite erotic art book isRomantique (This is a book filled with 200 or so Early 19th century lithographs and prints from Hans-Jurgen Dopp's collection. Who if you do a search on google or amazon you will see is well KNOWN in erotica) the images are beautiful… and I have to say… candle sticks were really popular sex toys back then.

Hugs and Kisses,

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Pictures from the Past

This image is from an Ackermann's magazine which was published in 1816, slap bang in the middle of my favorite time period, the Regency. Ackermanns was a bit like the Vogue of it's day, containing fashion plates, articles about famous people, furniture, politics and the goings-on of the Royal Family.

I bid regularly on Ebay for these little fashion plates which have usually been separated from the rest of the magazine and kept, probably by women who either wanted to copy the style of the dress themselves or wanted their dressmaker to do it for them. It's a bit like us catalogue shopping or using the internet.

I love the idea of some Regency young lady frowning over the details of a dress, wondering just how the style could be reproduced and in what fabric. It makes me feel close to a generation of women long gone. Women who appreciated fashion as much as I do and possibly wondered why so many of the models pictured were so thin and so beautiful. I also love holding something so precious in my hand. The detail on these engravings is amazing and the colors remain remarkably fresh considering each ten inch picture is almost 200 years old.

This particular picture is a favorite of mine because the lady shown is a widow. But if you take a peek at her perfect little face, she looks ripe for mischief. She inspired me to write my first erotic romance, "Eden's Pleasure" about a young widow who has endured a loveless marriage to an older man and is determined to have some fun before she marries again. Enter, our hero, Major Gervase Harcourt and his identical twin brother, Gideon, who is not averse to helping matters along in his own unique way.

One of the most essential things for me when I write, is introducing conflict. That's why I like to write historicals because the very rules of society, and the way women were 'expected' to behave cause conflict. Helping these ladies get around the rules is one of the main pleasures of writing historicals. Allowing them to get around the sexual mores of their time is even more interesting!

So, dear readers,or fellow bloggers, which time period do you prefer to write or read your erotic fiction in and why?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Secret Garden

And then she took a long breath and looked behind her up the long walk to see if any one was coming. No one was coming. No one ever did come, it seemed, and she took another long breath, because she could not help it, and she held back the swinging curtain of ivy and pushed back the door which opened slowly--slowly.

Then she slipped through it, and shut it behind her, and stood with her back against it, looking about her and breathing quite fast with excitement, and wonder, and delight.

She was standing inside the secret garden.

I re-read this book by Frances Hodgson Burnett from time to time--like many of my favorite books, it's because it doesn't always work that I think I like it so much. The parts of the book that I love are the strange, magical scenes: the scene in India at the beginning where Mary Lennox finds herself abandoned by adults during a cholera epidemic; the wonderful, creepy Gothicky house in Yorkshire to which she's taken and her first meeting with Colin there; and of course her discovery of the secret garden itself.

The other stuff--wholesome Dickon and his family (and I do love the depiction of a working family, by the way), Colin getting better and his reconciliation with his father, and all the stuff about growing things--well, it's what the story is about, isn't it? The garden comes back to life as Mary and Colin heal themselves. (I just read yesterday, by the way, that Frances Hodgson Burnett was a Christian Scientist, which explains a lot of the mind-body stuff.) But I find the "healed" garden is just another pretty, manicured garden. It's disappointing. It's a safe, tamed garden with none of the wildness and mystery of the locked, secret garden.

Look at the potent images Burnett uses--the walled garden and the rose, both symbolic of the Virgin Mary and virginity in Christianity; and the rose, a symbol of eroticism in Kabbalistic and Islamic mythology. And above all, a wilderness of thorns, like the protective hedge that grew around the virginal Sleeping Beauty's castle. A pre-pubescent girl unlocks the secret of the garden, but we learn later that the garden killed Colin's mother--oh, no, she had sex (presumably) so she must die! On the other hand there's an idealized, fertile earth mother figure, Mrs. Sowerby (Dickon's mother), but I can't recall any mention of Dickon's father. All rather icky, isn't it?

I can't help wondering what happens to Mary, Colin, and Dickon when they grow up. I've always felt that Mary and Colin are destined for one of those marriages between cousins that the English upper-classes liked so much (keeps it in the family, don't you know). Dickon--not a chance, although I'm sure we could think of something to keep the three of them together.

Despite its peculiarities, I love this book for its richness of language, the wonderful descriptions of places and animals in particular. Your thoughts?

Monday, February 19, 2007


I will swear under oath that I am not into Phil Collins, even if I like a couple of his songs. (The other one is “Against All Odds”.) However, I’m like, totally, an Eighties girl which probably explains a lot about me.

(Announcement of winner of signed book covers at foot of message!)

So given the current stream of consciousness at this here Tea Party about pseudonyms, I thought I’d tackle it as well. Grab a cuppa and a Tim Tam and settle back. (Ooh, you girls know how to do a Tim Tam Slam, right?)

I chose Celia May Hart because Celia is so often written to by the (R)romantic poets when they didn’t want to reveal who they worshipped (or slept with). May is my birth month. I so totally didn’t mean to gain a Southern feel to that -- but hey, if it throws people off the scent, so be it! Finally, Hart is my grandmother’s maiden name. She’s the one that was conceived out of wedlock...

So why the pseudonym? It wasn’t just because I switched to writing erotic stories. You know I have been for ages. I didn’t mind who knew what I was writing: not my family (except for Nana) or the folks at church or at work (when I had a day job). Not that I throw it in anybody’s faces, either, you understand. I don’t know what half of them do for a living either. (Well, ok, I do know what my former workmates do, but you know what I mean.)

I readily admit the idea of prisoners finding me as a result of what I wrote squicked me out a wee bit -- but it squicked out the hubby more. He doesn’t share. (That wasn’t TMI, was it?)

I took it because I’d published sweet Regencies with Kensington, and a) my sweet Regency readers might self-implode if this super-hot smut revolted them, and I might never be able to sell them something under my own name again; and b) the book distributors would pick up fewer of my books because the Regencies stopped selling well. (which kinda means selling under my own name again is very unlikely.)

Yep. It came down to marketing and book distribution.

Isn’t that utterly nonromantic?

So that’s my pseudonym story.

Ok, so I listed all the folks who asked me questions, in the order they asked, and picked a random number generated by And the winner is..... Cherie! Email me at with your name and address, and I’ll send out your prize post-haste!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Does Your Mother Know?

Well, mine does now. That I write erotic fiction, I mean.

Our (unspoken) agreement is that she reads the romances, ignores the hardcore. Which works, I believe, because there are places in the heart (or such we might call it) where family really doesn’t want to go, even if your family is as important to your writing self as mine is -- and most especially my mom.

It was my mom who couldn't wait to introduce me to her beloved Jo March and Scarlet O’Hara. She was reading a romance novel when they wheeled her into the delivery room to have me, and these days she’s an all-purpose culture vulture, gobbling up midlist fiction and washing it down with her favorite Ann Perry with a chaser of Amanda (Cross or Quick).

She wanted me to be a writer. And during the long years when I was, shall we say, a non-writing writer, she never lost hope for me. I’m sure that she always believed that the veddy veddy writerly -- and extremely un-Brooklyn -- name of Pamela that she’d given me would someday do its magic, while I never quite lost hope that someday I’d produce something, publish it, and share the triumph of it with her.

But when I finally did publish something, it was Carrie’s Story -- Story of O retold in the voice of an overeducated San Francisco bike messenger with ambitious S/M fantasies and a penchant for literature, self-analysis, and anal sex. The cover of the current edition (tenth printing last December!) isn’t what I would have chosen, but you get the idea. Not a book you’d bring home to Mom.

Or to many people. At first I was very protective of my Molly Weatherfield secret identity. I was serious about not wanting to be contacted by… well, who knew who was out there? And I certainly didn't want to share my fantasy life with my then college-age son.

Or with my mother, even if she would so dearly have loved to know that I was writing at long last (for it seemed -- who knew? -- writing about extreme sex had been just the push I’d needed.)

But I was determined to keep it all a secret. Which included hiding the essays I (as Molly) had been publishing in the online magazine,, about the great French erotic writers Dominique Aury and the Marquis de Sade -- because the author blurb and sometimes the text referred to Carrie’s Story. And much as I knew that my mother would have loved the brief, precious email I’d gotten from the noted author Francine du Plessix Gray, in appreciation of what I’d said about her book At Home with the Marquis de Sade—well, it just seemed too weird to introduce my mom to Molly Weatherfield.

Luckily, however, my mother is possessed of strange and mystical mind-reading powers. Okay, call it coincidence if you must -- but for me it was as though the band had begun playing the theme from The Twilight Zone when, at a family bar mitzvah (where else?) Mom suddenly asked me what I knew about the Marquis de Sade. Because bless her culture-vulture heart -- she’d seen “Quills” in Florida that winter, and she was wondering whether I might be able to supply her with a little literary-biographical background.

“Well, umm... yes,” I stammered. “Funny you should ask,” I mumbled. “Because actually…” I continued. And so I showed her the Sade piece (you can find a link to it on my web page if you go to the ABOUT PAM page and look for ESSAYS BY PAM) and a copy of the note from Ms. Gray. Which did make both of us awfully happy.

So was I silly to keep Molly a secret for so long? No, not exactly. Because a literary essay, even about an erotic topic, is quite a different thing from hardcore erotic fiction. So when a piece of my second Carrie book, Safe Word, came out in The Best American Erotica 2000, and when I told my mom explicitly not to read it, and when she did anyway (something about the conjuncture of one of her children and the word best causing her to take predictable leave of her senses)... well, sometimes it seems that a loving and overeager parent simply has to learn about life the hard way.

“What did you think of it?” I asked her. “It. Was. Very. Well. Written,” she replied, avoiding eye contact but clearly sadder and wiser for the experience.

I should add that my very wise son, (who's now a graduate student in Victorian literature) has never opened any of the Carrie books. But he has read my romances, and he paid me the best compliment anybody has ever paid my writing after he read an early draft of The Bookseller’s Daughter.

“It walks," he said. "It talks. It’s a novel. Congratulations.” Who could ask for anything more?

And to the writers out there: do you share your erotic writing with your family or do you hide it, perhaps behind your pseudonym?

Valentines Day and Romance.

Lucky me… I get to post on Valentines Day!
Unfortunately I have been totally slammed at work and didn’t have time to put together the great wonderful heart inspired Valentines day post that I wanted to.

Instead you just get some ramblings about my thoughts on love and romance.

Being a romance author I LOVE romance and Valentines day. Romance for me is the little things that men and woman do for each other that show they care. Romance doesn’t have to be some big grad gesture. It is small. A glance. A whisper. A pinch. Or a spank. It is in the way a person cares for the one they love and how they express those feelings. What someone feels is Romantic I’m sure is different for everyone. What is romantic to you?

So on to Valentines day…

The Definition of Valentine is: Val•en•tine
1. Saint, died a.d. c270, Christian martyr at Rome.
2. Also, Valentinus. pope a.d. 827.
3. a male given name: from a Latin word meaning “strong.”

Choosing a lover and the Saints day being linked together dates back to the 1300’s and Geoffrey Chaucer with his “Parlement of Foules.”

The Parlement of Foules from Wikipedia:
This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia.

The poem is in the form of a dream vision in rhyme royal stanza and is interesting as it is one of the first references to the idea that St. Valentine's Day was a special day for lovers.

The poem begins with the narrator reading Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis in the hope of learning some “certeyn thing.” When he falls asleep Scipio Africanus shows up to guide him up through the celestial spheres and then to Venus’ temple. The narrator then passes through Venus’ dark temple with its friezes of doomed lovers out into the bright sunlight where Nature is convening a parliament at which the birds all choose their mates. There the three tercel eagles make their case for the hand of the formel until the birds of the lower estates begin to protest and launch into a comic parliamentary debate, which Nature herself finally ends. None of the tercels wins the formel, for Nature allows her to put off her decision for another year. The dream ends with the other birds choosing mates, and their joyful roundel to welcome spring. The dreamer awakes, still unsatisfied, and returns to his books, hoping still to learn the thing for which he seeks.

This is the line from the poem:
"on Seynt Valentynes day,/Whan every foul cometh there to chese [choose] his make [mate]."

Valentines day is a day to celebrate Love.
So go out and do as the birds in Chaucer’s poem do, select a lover and welcome spring. :-)


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dogs and name calling

I was thinking about pen names today and the discussion we've been having about why we choose a particular name and why we feel we need a different name to write what we do. It comes back to what we call what we write. For most of us here, I think the label erotic historical romance writer sits quite comfortably on our shoulders. But for some people there is no such thing as erotic romance. It's just another name for erotica or smut or porn.

And we're all individuals, and different words produce different emotional responses. Personally, I don't mind being told I write smut, and sometimes I'm aware that I'm treading a delicate line between erotic romance and erotica but I definitely don't write porn. Our sub-genre is so new and boundary breaking that the lines are always blurring and the definitions are a changing. I like to think of myself and all these great authors on this blog as pioneers.

I'm climbing down off my soap box here to tell you why I chose my pen name. It was quite simple, really. I kept Kate because I know I'll never remember to answer to anything else and I chose Pearce, well, because it's a family name and as my family don't really approve of what I write, it gives me a little giggle every time I see it on a book cover.

The picture at the top is from a painting by Sir Edwin Landseer, entitled 'Cavalier's Pets'. What does it have to do with your blog today, I hear you ask? Well not much, except that I'd love to write a book about the English Civil War (Cavaliers and Roundheads.) The dogs in the painting are called Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and I have one who is the spitting image on the dog on the right. My little piece of living history and a true romantic despite his small stature.

Here's wishing everyone a splendid Valentines Day!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

One-and-a-half-handed reading

For me the writing process started a long, long time ago, even if I didn't actually begin writing until fairly recently--rather like Flora Poste in Cold Comfort Farm (one of my favorite books) who claims that she's going to gather material and then, when she's fifty, write a book as good as Mansfield Park. I believe voice is something you accumulate from your experiences, culture, and above all, your reading. And since we've been talking quite a bit here about what books we read in our formative years that have stayed with us and made us into the filthmongers we are, I thought I'd share mine.

The dirty book of my generation was Lady Chatterley's Lover. Copies of it, pawed over so much they fell open at the "good bits," were passed around surreptitiously at my all-girls high school (a very old-fashioned place with uniforms, lesbian gym teachers, the lot). All those rude words! All that running around in the rain with flowers in places flowers don't usually go! Pics here are from the BBC's Lady Chatterley's Lover (1992) starring the lovely and talented Sean Bean and directed by Ken Russell, who also directed one of my favorite movies of all time, Women in Love. And here's a very Ken-Russell-like shot from the production. But seriously, who doesn't fantasize about naked men crucified with flowers while out on a quiet afternoon hack?

Trouble is, D. H. Lawrence got women's sexuality all wrong, in my opinion--poor old Connie doesn't have a "proper" orgasm until she allows the virile working-class gamekeeper into her mantrap. No kidding, he and Freud were responsible for a generation (at least) of Englishmen's incompetent fumbling. (Well, you didn't come because you're not a real woman. Of course they wouldn't admit to wanting to sleep with their mum...) On the other hand, you have to (almost) forgive someone who could write this (quoted by Alan Bates in Women in Love--you must see that movie):

The proper way to eat a fig, in society
Is to split it in four, holding it by the stump,
And open it, so that it is a glittering, rosy, moist, honied, heavy-petalled, four-petalled flower.

Oh, wow. Read the whole poem, Figs, here. There's some wonderful stuff before he goes into a DHL-like rant, as he tends to, and apologies to those who've heard all this before from me.

As for other early influences, Jane Eyre, of course. All that...discipline. I do hope we'll talk about Jane Eyre later--it's worth at least one post and lots of discussion, but I'll share this with you. Last year, some letters came to light that suggested Charlotte Bronte barely escaped court action over her portrayal of Lowood School and Mr. Brocklehurst. You can read the whole story here.

And another book I've always loved, The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is absolutely fascinating and I'll talk about that next time.

Thoughts, anyone?

And you do know the difference between erotica and pornography, don't you? If you need two hands to hold the book, it's erotica ...

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A Special Announcement

Congratulations to Melissa aka Meljprincess!
Take a look at our header. Melissa came up with the term crumpet strumpet, and we all liked it so much we borrowed it and have awarded her a special prize. Melissa, please send your contact info!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Of noms de plume--and the contest winner!

I wanted to take on a nom de plume for my erotic historical novels that had some meaning--at least to me. Some kind of sly, wink-wink allusion, since I didn't want to use my real name.

My first choice was Colleen Réage, which anyone who's read The Story of O will understand immediately...and for those of you who haven't, well, get thee to a library and snatch up a copy. Note the author's name, and then enjoy the read.

The Story of O influenced my erotic writing quite a bit, and that and the A. N. Roquelaure (aka Anne Rice) books really set me off. (Although, admittedly, before that I'd glommed all the Bertrice Small Skye O'Malley historicals, and had delved into Ordeal: The Story of Linda Lovelace.)

So, anyway, now that you know my influences, you'll have an idea of what to expect in Unmasqued when it hits the shelves in August.

Anyway, I digress. (Get used to it. It happens a lot.)

My editor, much as I love her, didn't love my wink-wink choice of Colleen Réage, so she suggested I think of something else.

So I thought again and came up with Colette (as in the infamous Colette) as the first name. It was close enough to my real name that I might even 1) actually answer to it, and 2) remember what letters to write when I'm signing that name.

But for a last name...I was stumped.

Then about the time I had to actually give the final name to my editor, a long-awaited item arrived in the post. It's an adult comic book collection called Lost Girls, and it was created by the talented Alan Moore (The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen) and Melinda Gebbie.

The first installment of Lost Girls had come out in the format of a regular comic book about fifteen years ago, and I bought the original and then the next two editions. Then they stopped.

Now fifteen years later, the entire, complete collection, as planned, was released in a leather bound trilogy and in a slipcase. I'd ordered it three months earlier, and it finally arrived. And it was gorgeous.

What is Lost Girls, you ask? Get to the meat of the matter, Colette. (That was Jane, I'm sure. She's always concerned with meat.)

Anyway, Lost Girls is an erotic story about three women, grown up from the lost girls they were in children's literature: Wendy, from Peter Pan, Alice from Alice in Wonderland, and Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz.

They're all grown up now, and they have different things from their youthful adventures that influence them as they explore their sexuality.

Alice has a laudanum addiction, and she has an intense fascination with a looking glass...Wendy and her husband have a very cool, reserved relationship, but their shadows are much more passionately involved...and Dorothy...well, she's a naive little girl from Kansas who becomes very experimental and daring in her sexual exploits. (Can't imagine why I chose her name, huh?)

It's an extremely well-done story--everything from the art to the themes and undercurrents is brilliant. I haven't read the whole three volumes yet; I've been savoring it. But I love it.

Anyway, that, my friends, is how I came up with my nom de plume.

Oh, and the contest winner of our Grand Unveiling Contest is:

Please post a comment with your email address so we can get in touch with you about your winnings (lucky devil!).

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Who would *you* do?

If you scroll down, you’ll see today’s little contest -- ask me an interview question and I’ll answer it. (Although, you know, I reserve the right to save it for my next post if it’s gonna be a long or a good story!)

Meanwhile, let’s pick up the interview where we left off.

If I could “do” one person from the Regency period, who would it be?

An obvious answer is Byron. By all reports, the guy was quite the playboy. One would presume he also knew his way around. Wouldn’t it be marvelous to be in a villa near Geneva with the Shelleys and Byron? ... Exercising in the fresh air, pontificating literature and writing by roaring fires and being well-bedded at night.

The only woman to complain of his lovemaking was his wife -- for unspecified reasons that the gossips of the day just boiled over speculating about. And Caroline Lamb’s saying that he was mad, bad and dangerous to know is enticing -- but it’s an accurate description of the woman herself. The poor woman found herself locked away because Byron bored of her (although I seem to recall some discussion that she had a few curls loose).

Anyway. In my heart of hearts (or lust of lusts), the one Regency man I’d do in a heartbeat would be the Duke of Wellington.

Yeah, I know. Totally unavailable. (Assuming for the moment that he’s not approximately 150 years dead.) But isn’t it the unavailable ones that you want most of all?

He’s unavailable in that he ragged on his brothers for having affairs, although I think his disgust had more to do that they aired their dirty linen in public. (His older brother ended up marrying his mistress if I remember right. Feel free to correct me. My many Wellington biogs are all downstairs and I don’t want to disturb the doggies.)

If the gossips are right, he wasn’t immune to females either, despite his estranged marriage. At the Congress of Vienna, he was linked with the opera singer Grassini. In Brussels, Lady Paget remarked that he kept company with some disreputable women. And of course, in his later years, Mrs. Arthbutnot. (I’m sure I’ve spelled that wrong.)

But give him to me young and virile, the “alpha” leader on the eve of battle, when tomorrow’s breaths may be his last.... *sigh* Let’s face it. Wellington wouldn’t have put up with that sighing rot for a millisecond.

And that’s the other attractive thing about him. That crisp upper lip, the inscrutable veddy English air. These authentic hallmarks of unavailability are just soo enticing.

It makes me want to see his facade crumble and reveal the vulnerable human underneath. And have that unguarded expression be all mine, baby.

*fans self*

Gods, where is that tea...

Ahem. I think I have to stop writing about rakes in my books and write about a stiff hero instead.

(No, no, not that kind of stiff. The stiff upper lip kind. Get your mind out of the gutter!)

MADE FOR SIN is now available

Out now.... MADE FOR SIN by Celia May Hart
Kensington Aphrodisia
ISBN: 0-7582-1465-0

Two very different sisters with one thing in common--the good fortune to find men who'll show them how heavenly sin can be...

Lucy Waverton's wild escapades are the talk of the ton. Fleeing the notorious Earl of Radbourne's carriage after a delicious seduction, she meets a soldier whose hard body and rebellious streak stir her newly awakened desires. Sergeant Michael Hall may be low born, but his every caress takes Lucy higher and higher, into a realm of pure carnal ecstasy...

Searching the country for her reckless younger sister, Caroline Waverton instead finds herself in the company of the rogue who reputedly ruined Lucy. Alex Radbourne is decadent, depraved, and devilishly skilled at uncovering Caroline's secret, forbidden desires. The refined Miss Caroline has a thoroughly wanton side, and though each knows the affair is wrong, nothing could feel more right than surrendering to sinfully erotic abandon...

Okay, so now that you’ve read through this, ask Celia May Hart a question by replying to this post and continue her infamous self-interview. One random person (who actually asks a question) will get a set of autographed Celia May Hart bookcovers sent to them.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Dare to Take a Bite with Sharon Page

I'm Sharon Page, and I'd love to sit back with a cup of tea and introduce myself.
I wrote my first erotic story in high school on a manual typewriter, hampered by a certain lack of experience, and inspired by Erica Jong’s ‘Fear of Flying’ and ‘Fanny’, which opened my eyes to the pleasure of historical erotic romance. Back then I could actually check ‘Fanny’ out of the library—now, in my local library, it’s only available by special request. Funny the ways in which things change!

It took a few years of dealing with a real job, a house that desperately needed renovation, and my first child, before I began writing erotic romance again, but I am so delighted that I did. What’s changed since I wrote that first book? Well, that book was about a young woman’s journey of self-discovery as she tried to chose between two men (also it's still in my file drawer). But in my newest release, Blood Red, my heroine doesn’t have to choose.

A vampire story set in Regency England, Blood Red is my first ménage a trois story. It seemed to me that the vampire story is so passionate and so intense, and of course, the drinking of blood is so intimate, that a sweeping and conflicted love story was called for. And what could be more intense than twin brothers in pursuit of the heroine? As a vampire huntress, my heroine is defying the rules of her Society and the wishes of her father—he’s rather have her make a happy marriage and produce grandchildren for him to bounce on his knee.

That’s what I love about writing historical erotic romance. My heroines take a lot of risks to get what they want in life and in the bedroom. They might be the sort of ladies to enjoy a polite cup of tea, but they are strong women who are unafraid to claim the intimacy and pleasure they know they deserve.

It’s wonderful to have a chance to say ‘hi’, and now it’s back to that cup of tea and copy edits for me. Just so you know, I have two books in stores—Sin (about a woman who draws erotic art) and Blood Red. And I’m such a Regency addict that the hero of my contemporary vampire story in the Wild Nights anthology is a Regency male, of course!

Our Grand Unveiling Contest

Welcome to our Tea Party! We're giving away great prizes this week, our first of pouring tea and offering crumpets, so click here to learn how you could win!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Past and Present, Hide and Seek

After posting my own face as avatar in my first responses to Celia's post, I’ve beaten a hasty retreat, back behind the ambiguous smile of my cover girl for The Slightest Provocation. Because I’ve rather belatedly realized that I’m the only author on this group blog to be posting under my erotic-romance-writing name, which is also my own, everyday name of Pam Rosenthal. All of which, in the context of this frank, clever, trash-talking blog, makes me want to reach for the nearest mask or figleaf.

Funny how all that works.

And, no - in case there might be any doubt - I didn’t choose to publish erotic romance as “Pam Rosenthal” because I thought the name conveyed that sexy Brit resonance so often coveted for romance writer pseuds.

The story's simpler. By the time I got published in writing erotic romance I’d been writing my down and dirty literate smut as Molly Weatherfield, and it felt like time to get a little credit under my own name. (Or, more correctly, the name I'd come by via Michael Rosenthal, after meeting several eons ago, during the summer of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde and the Grove Press translation of Story of O.)

I’m a slow reader, a slow writer, and a slow learner. Unlike some of you precocious young things, I was well past adolescence when I turned to erotic writing. In fact, by the time of my first story, Michael and I were ourselves the parents of an adolescent much given to rolling his eyes in extravagant, desperate humiliation whenever I'd sing along with the girl groups on oldies radio.

More than two decades had drifted or hurtled by since the hot Manhattan summer of Michael and I reading Story of O together in that hard single bed we found so roomy and comfy. By now we had a bigger bed, jobs, responsibilities, a big mortgage on a tiny San Francisco Victorian, and that eye-rolling offspring.

But that morning had been a particularly lazy, sexy, sunny Sunday. Michael hadn't gone off to work at his bookselling job until eleven. After which I had decided that it might be fun, interesting, at least therapeutic and certainly better than housework, to curl up in a chair in the bay window and jot down a few of the secret, outré, long-cherished S/M fantasies that had passed through my head in the prior hours.

Several hours passed, quite imperceptibly. Sunday morning became Sunday afternoon and I was still in my ratty old pink terrycloth bathrobe. The only time I’d gotten up was to consult the bookshelves, to check the punctuation of COMMA CLOSE QUOTE HE SAID PERIOD. Because there were real characters speaking real dialog on the page before me. I felt like God. There was no going back.

I finished the story and sent it to a local zine I admired, “Frighten the Horses,” which had recently published a hot and beautifully crafted poem by Kim Addonizio (check her out if you don’t know her work).

Maybe six months later I received what I now recognize as a wondrously generous, helpful, and encouraging page-long rejection letter from the zine’s editor, erotic writer Mark Pritchard (also a fine writer, and now a friend – check him out too). Mark wrote that while I’d produced an unusually well written first attempt at a story, I clearly didn't understand much about what a story actually was; patiently, he suggested that something - perhaps transformative or revelatory - usually happens in a story. I, of course, thought he was a fatuous idiot, cried a lot, and tried to forget the whole thing.

Except that I didn’t. Couldn’t. Partly because I was lucky enough to be living in San Francisco’s Mission District during a wonderfully creative queer and feminist-inspired efflorescence of erotic culture (this was the early 90s – more about all that in my next post). And partly, simply (simply!) because erotic fiction-writing had been so much fun (it was never very therapeutic; the first thing I learned is that it shouldn't be).

But the fun is what I hope will always remain. Which makes me think I’ve come to the right tea party. I like my tea green, by the way. As green as I was when I started that first story. May I always be able to find my way back to that moment of innocent bravery.


Monday, February 5, 2007

Hi there!
I am Lacy Danes. I’m not really sure how to intro myself here, so I guess I will just jump in with how I stated reading historical romance.

I have always loved books with really hot sex in them. I would go on Amazon and search for books that were historical romance that had a sensuality rating of 8 or 9 and I would buy any and all I could.

I started reading Lisa Kleypas that way. I loved her and then moved from her to Susan Enoch. My mom turned me on to Stephanie Laurens from there; I started reading Mary Balogh, Jo Beverly, Sabrina Jefferies and finally the classics like Jane Austin. I too have never read Heyer. In the classics, I really missed the steam… the sex…. so I ventured to classic erotica.

A few of my favorites are Fanny Hill, The Pearl, My Secret Life, The Romance Of Lust and most stories by the Marquis De Sade. What I love about them is the way there are social rules, yet none, or there are rules and they break them. I don’t know if you would agree with that statement about the above stories, but for me sexually doing what some feel is indecent, is incredibly hot and when these books were written the content was VERY naughty. Hell it still is viewed as naughty.

I just recently picked up a small book that made me laugh and laugh. It is called the Autobiography Of A Louse. I have not finished it yet, the language is purple prose-ish and that is what made me laugh but so far it has been quite entertaining.

For me the stories in the above books gave me a glimpse into the minds of the men of the times. They show what they thought about sex or at least what they fantasized about!

Most of the classic erotica I enjoy is from the Victorian times. I love history and especially history of social sexual behaviors.

So here I am… my book WHAT SHE CRAVES releases in March of 2007. WSC is my first book and I'm still in awe that I am published. My stories always seem to involve some sort of kink. Whether that is a light form of S&M or strong women who wish to submit and please a man.

I look forward to meeting and chatting with you all!

Hugs and Kisses,

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Once upon a time...

I'd love to say that this picture is of me in a past life but it is, in fact, Caroline Murat and her children. I've always liked it because she has that look on her face I often have, (when surrounded by all four children), of 'take me away!'

Once upon a time I desperately wanted to be Jane Austen. Then it was Georgette Heyer. Finally I became Kate Pearce and I quite like her. She’s everything that attracted me to the two great ladies mentioned above and a lot lot more smutty.

Like dear Jane Lockwood, I’m an import to the USA from the Old Country where I grew up in the middle of a family of six sisters. Three of them got married in a fairly short period of time, echoing the Bennett sisters, leaving me with my own bedroom for the first time in my life.

I’ve always been fascinated by sex in all its amazing variety and detail. My historical romances kept getting turned down for being too unconventional, so I decided the best thing to do was be even more unconventional. Hence my first erotic Regency romance, “Eden’s Pleasure” was written six weeks after the birth of my 4th child. (I’m sure there’s some deep hidden meaning behind that inauspicious start but whatever). I sold it to Ellora’s Cave in Nov 2005 and I haven’t looked back.

The sequel to “Eden’s Pleasure” “Antonia’s Bargain” came out in January 07 from Ellora’s Cave but readers will have to wait a while for another Regency erotic romance as I just sold two (well, my agent did) to Kensington Aphrodisia (waving at Celia). I think they’ll be out in 2008. (lowers voice) In the meantime, I write in other erotic sub-genres as well, so please go and check out my website!

Some of the things I’m looking forward to discussing are historical attitudes toward contraception and the more ambiguous kind of happy ever after. I’m sure we’ll get around to those fascinating subjects soon! When I'm super famous, I'm also planning on 'improving' all the Georgette Heyer's with a bit of smut. Only problem is, I can't decide which book to start with...Damarel or the Duke of Avon? hmm...

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Jane juggles.

How did I know I was a filthmonger? Well, I've always been interested in that sort of thing, and when I started writing romance, I found my characters were too. So, there I was with my new critique group, and they were letting me have it on my first attempt at writing a ... romance?... something. In chapter two, my heroine, an apprentice actress with an eighteenth-century theater company, had been propositioned by a young man at a party. Their assignment is in the orangerie, and the first thing she notices is that he's squeezed the huge spot on his chin as preparation. How sweet, I thought (they were both quite young).
They then proceed to have clumsy, fast, first-time sex, buttons flying, with the occasional cry of "Ouch!"
Question from critique partner: Is he the hero?
Me: I don't know yet. I think she might just be learning how to, uh, do it.
Critique partner (very firmly): If you're writing a romance, the hero gets the cherry.
Me: Why?
My heroine then picks oranges and juggles with them.
And that's pretty much the pattern of my writing: there are no rules and I and my characters can fool around in whatever way we choose.
My first book, like Celia's, was a traditional Regency, with no juggling but rather a lot of sex, and some quite grown up sex, too (mature protagonists who'd learned how to do it).
I have a book coming out in October, from Signet Eclipse, called Forbidden Shores. No juggling, but lots of the other. Lots. It's about a woman in 1800 who is in a triangle with two men, where each of them is in love with the wrong person--the one who can't possibly return their love. There are lots of references to The Tempest (it's set on a Caribbean island) and The Merchant of Venice.
First the sex, then the juggling.
I'm so glad to be here with everyone. Milk and sugar?

Friday, February 2, 2007

Night time sharpens...heightens each sensation...

by Colette Gale

I love Webber's Phantom of the Opera. It's rich, it's lush, it's sensual and erotic...but Christine ends up with the wrong guy!

After watching the play and movie umpteen times, I decided to take matters into my, hands (considering the to-die-for appeal of Gerard Butler in the movie, however, I must admit there were other things I would have liked to take. In hand.).

It was obvious to me, and to every other woman I've talked to, that the passion, the attachment, the sex between Christine and Erik (the Phantom) is beyond belief--and how she could throw it away just because he has to hide half his face is beyond me!

(Well, okay, he might have accidentally killed a few people...but that was in a different version of the story. Definitely not mine.)

Plus, I couldn't stop wondering what actually happened during the "Music of the Night" scene. I mean, that bed!--not to mention the way Erik's hands were all over her body while he was seducing her with song. But, alas, it was a family production (or at least PG-13), so Webber had to close the door on that scene...

...but that didn't mean I had to leave it shut when I wrote my version.

So, by way of introduction (since this is supposed to be an introductory blog post, according to dear Jane Lockwood, the woman who really wields the whip around here--and quite handily, might I add), let me just say that, come August 2007, you'll be able to read my extremely hot, quite dirty version of The Phantom of the Opera...and, believe me, I leave nothing to the imagination. Even Madame Giry and the two managers get in on the act!

The book is titled Unmasqued: An Erotic Novel of the Phantom of the Opera, and it will be published by Signet Eclipse.

As for me? Well, you'll get to know me a little better once I have my website up (in progress), and after a few posts here on Spiced Tea Party.

(Blog posts, Jane. Not...whippping posts. Okay?)

Thursday, February 1, 2007

The First introduction

My name is Celia May Hart and I write Regency-set historical erotic romance.

Which is quite a mouthful, not to mention sounding like an AA meeting. Well, this is a tea party after all. We just won’t tell you what we’ve spiced the tea with *wink wink*

So as this is supposed to be an introduction post, I thought I would interview myself:

Q: Why did I choose to write erotic romance?

Oh, very good question, me. I didn’t always write smut.

My. I am such a liar.

I wrote smut (and let’s discuss terminology another day, shall we?) all through my last two years of high school (very PG), university (badly written but R-rated, but this time I knew exactly what I wasn’t getting, which um, might be TMI). My favorite sexy fanfic story that I wrote involved sex in zero-gravity. (Guess the fandom!)

And then I turned to romance. I wrote a beautiful, sweet, romantic Regency story that was eventually published under another name in 2005. But it got published without the heroine (disguised as a stable-boy) getting this close -} { - to being a rent-boy.

Of course, it was a sweet romance, so I knew it couldn’t have sex in it, but it turns out that overtly mentioning homosexuality, mollies and male brothels wasn’t kosher either for a first novel. (And I’ll readily admit, there was a LOT wrong with this book. Which explains the 7 major revisions over 10 years before I sold it.)

But I’ll write about rent boys another day.

Last year, my mum told me how proud she was that I’d been successful (i.e., published) in my career. (Yes, she’s read my books, in between lots of cold showers.) She said she should’ve known I’d grow up writing smut.

I don’t remember this at all but in the fifth grade, my mother was summoned to see my teacher. I had written a story about a prince and princess who got married “and mated”.

I guess this was destiny.

Stay tuned next time, when I ask myself: “If I could ‘do’ anyone during the Regency period, who would it be and why?”

PS. I have a book, MADE FOR SIN, that's out now!