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?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Come... Join Pam and I and others for a reading OH MY!

An Evening of Erotic Literary Delights…

Ladies of the Pacific Northwest Pamela Rosenthal/Molly Weathefield, Lacy Danes, Eden Bradley and Lillian Feisty write some of the hottest and most lyrical erotica and erotic romance on the market today! Come join these four masters of erotic fiction for a tantalizing evening of readings and book signing. With a collection of books ranging from the lusciously sensual to the wickedly kinky, there’s sure to be something to tempt every taste.

When: Friday, October 26th
Time:7 – 8:30 pm
Where: Good Vibrations Polk Street Store
1620 Polk Street (at Sacramento Street)
San Francisco, CA 94109
(415) 345-0400

For more information, please visit the Good Vibrations website: http://www.goodvibes.com/Content--Community-Events--id-43
Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Jane who?



I finally got around to reading "The Jane Austen Book Club" by Karen Joy Fowler, which I have to say, I enjoyed very much. My favorite addition to the book was a list of quotes and reviews from other sources over the last 200 odd years about Jane Austen and her books. What is so amazing is the way she had been perceived over the generations, from patronizing quotes, to damning ones, to absolute admiration and respect.

1898-"Every time I read "Pride and Prejudice" I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin bone." Mark Twain.

What's up with that? Is he saying he's jealous because she's so good or that he hates every word she'd ever written. And if he hates her, why keep reading her books? I wish I could ask Mark Twain the answer to that one.


1913-"Jane Austen was born before those bonds which,(we are told) protected women from truth, were burst by the Bronte's or elaborately untied by George Eliot. Yet the fact remains that Jane Austen knew more about men than either of them. Jane Austen may have been protected from truth: but it was precious little of truth that was protected from her." G K Chesterton

I like that one. that's how I see Jane Austen as an acute observer of the little things that make up the big picture, the small unpleasantness, the snide snub, the obstacles of class and money. And she writes about them all in a way which I think still appeals to us because we love to see weakness in those who are held up to us as our betters, these days mainly celebrity's and sports stars, in her day the upper classes.

Long long ago when I was in my twenties, (in black and white land when I was chased to college by dinosaurs according to my 14 yr old) I wanted to be Jane Austen. I tried to write like her and failed miserably because, well, I had to learn to be myself and find my own voice. but I took away certain things from her writing that I believe help me today. The layering of subtlety, the implications of the class system and her sly wit-I hope I incorporate those elements into my love stories.

My favorite Austen book used to be "Pride and Prejudice", mainly because I have 5 sisters myself and I suspect my father used to worry about how he was going to get us all out of the house. He left a ladder leaning up against the back of the house for 2 years but unfortunately no one took him up on the offer and eloped. Now, it's Emma, because I love the flaws in her, and the way Mr. Knightly 'knows' her and loves her despite herself.

My favorite TV film adaptations are the BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice" with Colin Firth and film-wise I love Emma Thompson's "Sense and Sensibility" and Gwenyth Paltrow at "Emma".

I'm not a big fan of "Mansfield Park" I had to do it for my A' levels and hated every page. Seriously, Fanny is the one I'd like to attack with her own shin bone.

So would anyone like to tell me how they see Jane and pick their favorites?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Real Men Do ... or Don't?

My book Forbidden Shores came out three weeks ago and there's quite a bit of buzz about it online. I'm very happy about that.

But a lot of the chat about it seems to be about the fact that the book has some m/m stuff. Nothing new, I'd have thought--except this book doesn't look like an erotic romance, it's cataloged as a historical romance, and the back cover blurb is, uh, discreet. Take this discussion at the All About Romance Reviews Board where the consensus seems to be that heroes do not take it up the ass.

The discussion of what they do do to each other was apparently continued via e-mail to protect the innocent. (Spoiler: Hand jobs, ladies! Hand jobs! Mostly.) This, plus the reaction at Dearauthor.com, where the book is the featured dueling review of the month (hooray! Although it seems to have turned into a Kinsale-fest, but that's okay), sent Erastes (a future guest here at the Spiced Tea Party) into a rant about whether romance readers are such delicate flowers as they appear to be. Plus Erastes has an additional bonus rant on the same post on the use/misuse of the term menage, something I have complained about too.

I spent some time, and had some ponderings with critique partners, about who would be top/bottom and couldn't reach a conclusion. There's one character, March, who's definitely bisexual and in a state of groveling horniness for Allen, the man he's in love with; Allen, meanwhile, will do just about anything to be with Clarissa, but out of innate decency doesn't want to lead March on, and is mostly heterosexual. So the characters defined the level of sexual activity, and I think it works. Just because it's erotic romance doesn't mean everyone has to do everything to everyone else; the characters determine their actions, not an editorial checklist.

And off-topic, Colette and I had a blast reading in NY last week. I made them laugh; Colette had them spellbound (she read the mirror scene in Unmasqued and I read the sex next to the chicken coop scene of Forbidden Shores).

So what's your definition of a real man in erotic romance?

Today's illustration is from Popular Science magazine, January 1964, in an article headlined: Automated Caveman Gets a Rear-End Drive: Despite his wide-open situation, the caveman on the preceding page is feeling no pain.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Crumpet Strumpets in NYC tonight!


Jane Lockwood (Forbidden Shores) and Colette Gale (Unmasqued) are reading from their books tonight at Virgins'* Night at the In the Flesh Reading Series hosted by Racher Kramer Bussell. It's free! There will be free books (Colette's) and cupcakes and all sorts of good naughty stuff:

8 PM
Happy Ending Lounge, 302 Broome St., NYC
Hope we'll see you there!





* Don't get too excited. It means writers who haven't read their work in public before.

The Reading Public


While doing research for my Beau Monde talk back in July (Sex During the Regency: What Jane Austen Knew and Lord Byron Didn’t), I came across this charming cartoon. It’s dated 1826 and is called “Four Specimens of the Reading Public”. The captions above the four are way to small to read, here they are from right to left:

Frank a la Mode: “Pray is a Waverley’s new Novel out----?”

Political Dustman: “I vants a Cobbett”

Sir Larry Lascivious: “Have you the last of Harriette Wilson?”

Romancing Molly: “Hav’nt you no Romances in 5 Wollums?”

That’s “Volumes” by the way, and I have no idea why the Dustman sounds German (or Russian). Cockney doesn’t sound like that. *scratches head*

Anyway, take a look at our Lascivious gent: older, rich, elegantly dressed. This, according to my reading, was the primary demographic for obscene publishers. Secondary, and more likely to come “innocently” come across these novels, were women of the middle and upper classes. That’s how my heroine in SHOW ME from last year, came across this “obscene” literature.

What would a “Four Specimens of the Reading Public” look like today? I’ll leave that to your imagination.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mmmm, silky....

Just a short post to reveal the cover for my upcoming regency with Aphrodisia, Black Silk. Well, it’s coming in April 2008, but the way time seems to go by, I guess April will be here before I know it. My editor described my cover as "Sharonesque", a word I’ve been rolling around on my tongue for the last few days. I rather like the sound of that—even if I’m not quite sure what I want it to mean.

I love the drama of my cover, even if it isn’t a strongly historical image . This will be my first couple cover, at least once where they have been caught in the midst of being passionate, which, for me, really suits the story. Shouldn’t a couple cover suit all of my erotic romance books (at least not the menage ones)? Well, I guess so, but in Black Silk, my hero uses sex like liquor or a drug—to help him forget a painful past. Sex has so many layers for him that have nothing to do with desire or love, and until he opens his heart to the heroine, he can’t really explore desire and love. So for me, the passionate couple definitely strikes a chord for this story.

I also got my copy edits along with my cover flats, so I am furiously working on those right now, and have taken a break from my WIPs to get them done. I’m enjoying the read, and have not been struck by any intense, furious desire to rewrite sections—though we seem to get so little time for copyediting, there’s never time to navel gaze. Which I think is probably the point! I’d be hopeless if I had months to rethink every word. Which I would—wouldn’t we all?

Here’s the blurb for Black Silk:
DANGEROUS SEDUCTION
Maryanne Hamilton had expected to be shocked, but the wanton orgy she finds in Mrs. Master’s salon makes her wonder if she has walked into hell. Desperate to escape, she comes upon the master of sin himself—Lord Swansborough. Fascinated by his nakedness, she longs to touch every inch of his long, hard body. And when he bids her come near, she quickly surrenders to his wicked promises of carnal pleasure and sensual ecstasy…

Now back to copy edits! For everyone else out there—what are you working on in your writing life, or what are you reading?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Warming The Engine...(Or The Model T)

Hi everyone. I'm Bonnie Edwards and I write for Aphrodisia from Kensington. When the beautiful and talented Lacy Danes asked me to do this guest blog I jumped at the opportunity! So, thanks Lacy and all the other crumpet strumpets!

In my first efforts writing in the historical realm I created a bordello: Perdition House. Built in 1911 by a madame raised in the Free Love Movement of the late 1800s, the house provided the best of everything. The wine, the women, the experiences!
I love the early 1900s, particularly the years before the Great War. Life was good, advancements in technology abounded. Telephones were installed, electricity came into homes. Luxury steamships cruised the world and a race was on to build bigger and better ships. The world got smaller with the Panama and Suez canal constructions.

Society was still restrictive and women had issues. Some worked for the vote, while others believed in the occult. Still others worked hard for Prohibition.

MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS is set in this bordello. But, it's no longer the gorgeous mansion it once was. My heroine, Faye Grantham inherits the place and discovers that the hookers who used to work there, are still there, anxious to tell their stories of love lost and found. Every time she falls asleep, she dreams another story. So, the book is a blend of contemporary and historical.

I followed up with MIDNIGHT CONFESSIONS II in July and a novella in BUILT (Rock Solid) in August. Next up is THIGH HIGH my single title anthology in February.

With all these heroines from the past, their heroes and Faye trying to decide between three men in her life...I had a great time writing the sex scenes.

Every time I write a sex scene I have to put myself in my characters' places. Particularly the first time... I wonder about the sex. Will it be fast? Slow? Loving or even angry. Over the course of this series, I had to juggle a lot of characters, their moods, their conflicts, their attitudes about sex. Their attitudes about prostitutes!

Sometimes I know how the sex will be without thinking.

But other times, it's a conundrum because each character is different, and comes at sex from a different place. I write happy endings, so romance plays a major role in any sex scene I write.
I know what I think is sexy, and it's a sense of developing love between the characters. They don't have to be in love the first time they have sex, but they need to be on the road. For me, that works. Turns my crank. To my mind, there's nothing sexier than those first heady days of falling in love.

I always ask myself what it is that my hero has noticed about this woman in particular? What small thing keeps his attention? The one thing that calls to him. It's usually something emotional, some part of her personality he admires, or just plain likes. The great body is often beside the point. (Remember, I'm writing erotic romance...heavy on the romance)

But what about for readers? Is it exotic locales or other worlds? Group sex? Or something far removed from their real world. Maybe it's a glimpse into another lifestyle they're too shy to explore for themselves?

What creates that warm glow that means your engines (ok, maybe even your Model T) are revved and ready to rock and roll?

Bonnie Edwards
http://www.bonnieedwards.com/

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Fetishism 101: Notes from TheoryGirl

Wow, I'm still enjoying the reflected buzz off that last post. All those fabulous sex toys with their wonderful adornment -- how delicious, thanks so much, Lacy.

And also how very strange.

But that's one of my writing alteregos talking. I've got a crew of 'em in my attic and this one's called TheoryGirl. She's the one who's wired a little bit strangely, whose erotic apparatus is hopelessly and forever jacked into her intellect. TheoryGirl gets hot, bothered, and fascinated by the astonishing weirdness and awesome variety of the human erotic imagination.

TheoryGirl can't help but ask how come certain of us out there find ourselves so enthralled by the eroticization of inanimate objects and also the objectification of flesh (from where TGirl and I sit, you can't have one without the other). Here's a pic of me, btw, taken by Celia, at last summer's RWA National Conference, while I was channeling TheoryGirl.

Note the slightly wired quality. TheoryGirl's the one who asks the uncomfortable questions.

Uncomfortable because in the world of 70s feminism where I grew up, "objectification" was about the worst thing you could accuse someone of doing. And with good reason -- because in the real world of human relationships, you never want to treat anyone as anything but a political/moral/narrative end in her or himself. Everyone is the heroine/hero of her/his story/journey through life, and no one should be treated as any less. Which is about as close to a moral credo as I suppose I have.

And yet in our erotic fantasy lives, the opposite can often be true. It seems we like a little vacation now and again from the awesome and miraculous responsibility of being a human among other humans. We like to play at being less -- or more -- than human. Not only are we fascinated by jade and ivory phalluses, but we're fascinated by their obverse -- by bondage, immobilization, flesh constrained to mimic object. And we're fascinated by our human power to affect such transformations.

TheoryGirl's considered answer to this problem is that because one of the facts of being human is that we’re never exactly sure what “human” is, it’s not really so weird that we’d want to explore it at its boundaries and margins.

In a troubled world (where freedom is misinterpreted as unchecked power), this makes me extraordinarily nervous. But in my own blessedly sheltered private life and in my writing, it works just fine, thank you very much, and I've come to believe that you get into considerably more trouble pretending it doesn't exist. (I'm not going to give any contemporary examples of holier-than-thou sexual hypocrisy. Just read the newspapers -- and weep.)

I've never done any better describing it when I riffed off this quote from Dominique Aury, who wrote Story of O (as Pauline Reage). In a memoir-essay called"A Girl in Love," Aury remembers

those oft repeated reveries, those slow musings just before falling asleep, always the same ones, which the purest and wildest love always sanctioned, or rather always demanded, the most frightful surrender, in which childish images of chains and whips added to constraint the symbols of constraint.
To which I added that,
At the bottom of Aury's elegant and urbane pornography lies the fantasy life of an impressionable child -- the sort who listens carefully to the overheated perorations of an overzealous religious school teacher, who pores endlessly over the lurid imagery of a comic book or an illustrated saint's life. Because pornography's power doesn't reside in the extremity of its images and motifs, but in their naiveté and redundancy -- in the pornographer's need to employ the symbols of constraint, and to spell out the abstractions of power and passion in the most primitive terms possible.
You can find a link to this essay, my tribute to Dominique Aury/Pauline Reage on my web page, btw.

And yet, I’ve discovered that my erotic imagination has its own limits, too. I felt much freer to explore my fantasy of a global S/M underground in Carrie’s Story and Safe Word, because Carrie was a contemporary character who was so sure of her own political and intellectual autonomy (read: over-educated motormouth TheoryGirl type) that the reader could be sure she’d never lose herself in the rules of the game or mistake "the abstractions of power and passion" for the real thing.

Whereas when I write stuff that takes place in the 18th or early 19th century, where no woman (and not every man) could feel sure of her political and intellectual autonomy, I find I’m a lot more careful - less free with the whips and chains and other props. I use found objects more - I try to imagine how immobilized a body could be simply by being placed in a certain posture wearing a tightly laced corset.

Gotta go write that scene now. Deadline calls. I may give you a peek at that scene, tho, in some future post.

And I may also, in a future post, write about the astonishing, even if confused and constrained, erotic imagination of Emily Bronte (talk about the fantasy life of an impressionable child), who tells us in Wuthering Heights, that what 6-year-old Cathy Earnshaw really wanted, when her father set off to Liverpool on the fateful trip that brought Heathcliff home, was a whip.

Monday, October 8, 2007

I know I own one… do you?

For years, dildos have played a role in sexual fulfillment. I know I own one… blushing… but hey I figure most woman do so I should not be embarrassed! Wink.

For my first book What She Craves the story CheckMate has an erotic sexual chess game in it where some of the pieces are given marble dildos. I did a bit of research to make sure that they were indeed used during this time period and found that the first documentation of a dildo is from Ancient Greece. The city of Miletus was renowned for its leather, wood, and ivory olisbos - they were sold not only in the shops of the city, but on the Mediterranean circuits they traded them. I tried really hard to find images of some of these old phalluses… but was unsuccessful! If you know of any links please let me know.

There were also paintings on Greek vases that depicted dildos, as well as some vague references to them possibly being used in deflowering ceremonies, wherein a dildo was attached to a statue of Priapus and used to prepare a young woman for marriage. And in Renaissance Italy they used wood versions which required olive oil to make them sufficiently lubricated for use.




Outside Europe, dildos had also been in use since ancient times. In China, they were sometimes made of wood, jade, and ivory; ( I did manage to find a photo of a jade one and an ivory one, Though I am unsure of time period on these. They are quite beautiful and I imagine feel quite unique.)

Hugs and Kisses,
Lacy.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Writing what you know...



My writing group met last night. We've been meeting for about 5 years now and know each other pretty well. We're an odd group, I write erotic romance, then we have literary fiction, fantasy and inspirational mystery/suspense. So far we've all gotten along well. Apart from that one occasion when I almost burst into tears and left because someone kept picking on my hero :)

Last night we discussed that age old chestnut, 'write what you know' -did it mean you had to write about your life and only the things you had experienced or did it mean something more profound? Perhaps it meant write about what you believe in? We all had to stop and think about that.

For our inspirational writer it was easier, because for her, the faith element is not only what she 'knows' but what she strives to achieve in her life. I can totally respect that. For our literary gal, again she writes thinly veiled memoir so she really writes what she knows in the more expected sense. The fantasy writer weighed in with the thought that she always explores the journeys of women who are weak and how they become strong.

As for me...well, obviously I don't write what I do. I'm a happily married women thank you very much :). I don't need to seek the sexual thrills my characters crave and I still don't know how the hell I ended up with quite this erotic an imagination! So this is my take on the 'write what you know' thing. I write about human relationships because I am totally fascinated by how people relate to each other, the grays of sexual identity, the way people speak, or don't speak, the way they touch, or don't touch, the intricate dance of a courtship or a sexual relationship.

I've always admired authors who write fabulous dialogue-Dorothy Dunnett is one of those writers whom I love to read because her characters are so often at cross purposes and the flaws in their communications just exacerbate the problems. I want to write as well as that when I grow up and I certainly force my characters to talk to each other. The other thing I strive to achieve is honesty between my characters about what they crave or desire or need to be happy-and ultimately, that's what we all want really, isn't it? Someone to love us for ourselves.

So am I writing what I know or simply expressing my view of the world of sexual intimacy? I'm not sure, I'm certainly not trying to preach a way of life or a belief that everyone is sexually blurred. Is it even necessary for a writer to know why she writes the way she does? I'm not sure I have the answer to that one either! How about any of you?

We have a Winner!

Seeley, please send your snailmail (and real name) to elailah @ yahoo.com (no spaces!) with Forbidden Shores in the subject line.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Jane does it with herself --Forbidden Shores contest!

I'm interviewing myself, and if you comment or ask me a question now through Thursday October 4 you can win a signed copy of Forbidden Shores.

Jane: Welcome to the Spiced Tea Party

Jane: Thanks, Jane, it's great to be here. Let me tell you about my book. It's an erotic historical romance called Forbidden Shores (Signet Eclipse) and it takes place in 1800 on a Caribbean island. It's about three people who are each in love with the one of the three who cannot love them back.

Jane: Ooh! A menage on the beach!

Jane: Uh. Not as such. Well, actually, yes. There is a threesome. They do do it on the beach. But there's more to the book than that. I started writing Forbidden Shores--it morphed through about thirty titles but it began as The Story of Miss O and then Chained--after reading Adam Hochschild's brilliant book Bury the Chains, the story of the English abolitionist movement. That man cannot write an inaccurate or inelegant statement--

Jane: You are such a literary tart--

Jane: Oh, shut up. Yes, as I was saying, Hochschild's book inspired me to write about people who were involved in the cause, which crossed boundaries of gender and class. Ordinary housewives boycotted sugar; Wedgwood made a special plaque that appeared on decorative items, jewelry, china. So my heroine Clarissa is a pro-abolitionist who was (literally) screwed by the movement--she's been exiled by her family and has decided since she can't be any more ruined, she might as well embrace ruination and become a courtesan. Unfortunately, her family have thwarted her plans by arranging her to go to a Caribbean island as a governess. So on the voyage there she gets to fool around with Hero #1, Allen Pendale, a disillusioned lawyer who's the odd one out in his family and has spent too much time cuckolding Bristol merchants.

Jane: [comment to break up long paragraph]. There's more than one Hero?

Jane: Hero #2 is a plantation owner, March.

Jane: Ick.

Jane: Precisely. One of the challenges of the book was to make a slaveowner seem sexy if not particularly sympathetic and also make it credible that Clarissa falls in love with him, although I've always felt that love is irrational and gets people into trouble--it's a catalyst before it heals. So Clarissa is in love with March, March is in love with Allen, and Allen is in love with Clarissa.

Jane: Oooh.

Jane: Yes, it is HOT HOT HOT with some stuff between Allen (grudging) and March (desperate and begging; he's not a man used to being thwarted), and Clarissa has the best time of all; so it's a very rocky triangle that falls apart when Allen discovers a family secret. And that's all I'm going to say. You'll have to read the book.

Jane: And you could win a signed copy of the book with your question or comment! Fire away.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Want to meet Jane and me masquerading as virgins?

Heh heh heh. Thought that would get your attention.

Now don't laugh, but it's true...Jane and I will be appearing at Virgin Night this month! (I know it's hard to believe, but it's true: we still do have some virginal aspects.)

What's Virgin Night, you ask? Well, it's an event in New York City at a club appropriately named Happy Endings Lounge.

Every month, on the third Thursday, erotic writer Rachel Kramer Bussel hosts an evening of erotic reading. Authors such as Jane and I attend and read from their published works.

We'll be two of the guests on October 18th, which is also Virgin Night--for erotic writers who haven't read their work in public before. (Which would be me.)

So, we'd love to see you there if you're in the NYC area and can come by. There might even be some free books and other prizes there!

For more info, check out Rachel Kramer Bussel's blog.