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.

WARNING EXPLICIT EXCERPT AHEAD!

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

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.”

Damn.

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
flask.

“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
my
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,
Lacy.

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.

Lunchtime.

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.

Amazing.

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,
Lacy.

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

Erastes



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!

Bio

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 www.bookpuppy.co.uk


Standish
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 www.erastes.com 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.

Erastes

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