Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
(Sorry, I had a draft ready to go Sunday and promptly forgot to post it before I went to bed. Better late than never....)
Well, here it is, another post, and I’m still having my butt kicked with the end of this synopsis. I do not know how this story is going to end, and perhaps in the end it doesn’t matter that I know, because the good thing about synopses is that they are not set in stone.
However, if my solution turns out to kill off one of the two heroes, then that might be off-putting to the editor who agreed to the idea with all three living happily ever after.
Perhaps, a serious maiming would do. (Because truthfully, I can’t bring myself to kill off either one of them.) But a maiming would make for an interesting sequel, which would probably never see the light of day.
Of course, there’s always the: you get Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays; and you get Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and I get Sunday to myself -- solution. Which with these two jealous brothers? Not so sure would work without bloodshed and, well, see above, and the need for this ending to be satisfying.
This stream-of-consciousness has been brought to you by someone who thought threesomes might be a fun thing to explore and it turns out that they’re a major headache.
So, readers, what do you like about threesomes in erotic romance? Are you satisfied with the endings of those books?
Authors, what am I missing? Why is this so hard? *whiiiiiiiiiine*
Sunday, February 24, 2008
It’s always a learning process.
Since it’s winter I have to hurry out and take the kids up for some skiing, so I’m going to post a small excerpt of my upcoming Black Silk—out so soon, April 2008:
One glass of champagne for courage.
Maryanne handed her empty flute to a barechested, masked footman, who whisked it away. She couldn’t help but stare at his finely hewn, bronzed muscles, such a startling contrast to his immaculate powdered wig and black breeches.
Her invitation had gained her entry to Mrs. Master’s salon, but she rather felt as though she’d walked into hell. Surely hell was as hot, as raucous, and smelled as strangely. Decorated in Eastern fashion, the salon was a sumptuous den of gold and scarlet, velvet and silk. Pillows spilled everywhere, on daybeds and on the floor. Couples and groups explored pleasure in sensuous and astonishing positions.
Behind her mask, Maryanne’s cheeks heated. She pushed aside a spray of glittering red beads that dangled from a swinging lamp.
Most of the women strolling about were completely nude, and they encouraged the handsome gentlemen to paw, pinch, or kiss them in any place desired before inviting them to play on the cushions. A few wore virginal gowns of pale silk, like hers, so she did not look out of place, at least.
How would she find Georgiana in this crush?
"My dear, you must be parched."
Another glass was thrust into her hand. She half-turned and the gentleman bowed. Lord Craven. She almost dropped the glass. Lord Craven had been featured in many of her authors’ books. The acts he enjoyed gave her nightmares.
He plucked the glass from her fingers, his smile dazzling. Craven was a handsome man, a fair-haired gentleman with angelic blue eyes, long lashes of gold, and lean, sculpted form. He held the glass to her lips. "Such a delicious brew is not to be wasted."
This was a smaller glass than the one that had held champagne and the fluid within was a deep burgundy. What harm in a sip?
But Craven tipped up the glass, and the liquor was sweet, intoxicating, and tempting. She continued to drink. At his laugh, she saw she’d drained the glass.
He gave her a leering wink and raised his hand. Instantly another tray of champagne was presented. "To cleanse the palate."
It was true. The drink was…clinging to her tongue, sickly sweet. She took the champagne. He grabbed a flute and drank it in a gulp. "Do you dare, my dear?"
His smug smile irritated. "I’m not a fool, my lord." She thrust the glass back, untouched, on a passing tray. She did not have to do as Lord Craven asked.
"Ah, the timid and pretty kitten is now a lioness." But his smirk became a beaming grin of delight.
Understanding dawned. Most jades would not be concerned about becoming drunk. She had given away a clue that she was not a lightskirt.
Lord Craven raised his hand. In the blink of an eye, men surrounded her, gathered by Craven. They made a circle—eight of London’s most desirable gentlemen.
From Black Silk, © Sharon Page, from Kensington Aphrodisia April 2008
Posted by Sharon Page at 2/24/2008 08:02:00 AM
Thursday, February 21, 2008
I always get a little nuts waiting for The Revision Letter from my editor, so my thoughts are a bit scattered today...
So in lieu of a coherent post I thought I'd unveil the cover of the book, front and back, since that's what they've sent me thus far.
Isn't it pretty?
In Regency-speak, isn't it devilish pretty?
As you can see, the book is called The Edge of Impropriety. (I like the way the end of her shift gets tangled up with the title lettering, don't you?)
It'll be out in November, a erotic historical story whose heroine is a silver fork novelist (those were glitzy novels they read during the Regency -- the Regencies they read during the Regency, if you will; I love playing self-referential games). The hero's a classical scholar turned Mediterranean adventurer (anything to get those guys outside and give them a good, sexy suntan); he's one of the people responsible for hauling back all the spectacular Greek art you see in the British museum, though of course -- being one of my guys -- he's developed a conscience about it.
In fact, my couple meets cute among the Elgin Marbles.
And banter their way into each other's hearts (and bed) amid dinner-party discussion of Greek eros and esthetics -- and a little about the British empire as well (all of which was big fun for me to research).
But until I find out what revisions I have to make to the text, I better not tell you any more about The Edge of Impropriety.
Or worry too much about those revisions (though if you think I'm not worrying, perhaps there's a fixer-upper temple on a big hill in Greece that I can sell you).
So instead, I'm trying to prepare a set of comments to deliver at the Popular Culture Association Meeting next month. I was invited to speak on one of the romance panels; yes, there are academic scholars who study popular romance fiction: you can find out more about what they think and say and do at the blog Teach Me Tonight (and follow out the links from there).
The title I sent them was "From BDSM to Erotic Romance: Observations of a Shy Pornographer." Well, I figured it would get people's attention, anyway. And it has the virtue of limiting what I say to the work of one author I know a great deal about (moi) -- because to me one of the most daunting aspects of romance scholarship must be knowing how to define the field, popular romance being so huge and so driven by the prevailing winds of an ever-changing market.
But the core question for my presentation will be how a writer of hardcore BDSM porn came to turn her attention to romance writing. I wasn't a romance reader at the time, though I was vastly curious about the bodice-ripper covers it seemed I'd been seeing everywhere for a decade or so, and which seemed to seethe with the sort of repressed passion on the verge declaring itself (see my last post as well, about Mr. Darcy and repression -- gosh, I'm already learning to footnote myself). And my point (one of my points, anyway) will be that certain elements of the romance novel form sort of sprang forth from under my pornographer's hand...
(but some of you Molly Weatherfield readers probably know where this is going already)
...at the moment when, at the end of Carrie's Story, Jonathan makes his unwilling and hitherto-repressed declarations to Carrie (he's even pale -- god help him and his author -- and has been chain-smoking). Whereupon Carrie (cruel healthy young hyper-intellected smartass that she is) muses angrily that when he'd promised to give her a narrative form for her fantasies, she didn't think it would be "a goddamn Harlequin romance".
Which was the same moment when I (older, more compassionate, hyper-intellected smartass that I was), decided that I'd better find out what those "goddamn Harlequin romances" had to tell me (I thought of them generically back then -- Harlequin was like Kleenex).
True story. I still have to figure out how to tell it (among others).
In my spare time, when I'm not finding revisions and better ways to tell my tales of eros, esthetics, and empire, at The Edge of Impropriety.
If you want to find out more about the Popular Culture Association conference, it's here.
And as for questions... oh lord, in my disheveled state, you want questions?
Well, how do you think BDSM and romance fiction hook up? Or do you?
And isn't that cover for The Edge of Impropriety just fiendishly lovely?
Monday, February 18, 2008
I am under major deadline pressure. I have a book due on March 1st. I also have my next book releasing this month. on Feb 26th. Animal Lust.
I have received some wonderful reviews for this book.
RT. gives Animal Lust 4.5 stars... and says...This fantastic novel keeps the reader engrossed. You'll turn page after page and not be able to put it down! Each story of the cursed Ursus brothers starts off with a bang, thanks to amazing characters, and readers will feel as if they are in Regency England. Danes is a rising talent.
Coffee Time Romance gives Animal Lust 4 cups and says... Animal Lust is not only, four steamy hot stories, about four well-developed brothers, and the four women who capture their heart, but it is engaging, wonderfully written, great dialogue, and secondary characters that even pull the reader into the midst of the tales. Lacy Danes crafts a read that is explosive. This great read entertains as the characters still linger with the reader long after the story if finished. It comes highly recommended.
Animal Lust is about 4 brothers who are descendent from a Viking clan and live in Regency England.
The first story in this book, Martian's story, the opening scene came to me in a dream.... the sniffing at the door.
The other stories just came one after the other after that. I really enjoyed writing this book... I mean who can resist Bear men?
Dreams are amazing things... some say they are your subconscious flushing bits of information you no longer need (when you have crazy weird dreams that make no sense) or that your subconscious is working on a problem you are having... but have you ever had a dream come true? I have and it is kind of freaky when it happens.
So I guess my question is... do you remember your dreams? and have you ever had any of them come true?
Friday, February 15, 2008
I like to write Regency heroes who aren’t quite what you’d expect, in fact, I like to write heroes who appeal to the type of reader who is slightly intrigued by the tantalizing thought of gay men making out, but still likes a good romance along the way. My heroes will give you that. Not quite gay, but willing to experiment with anyone or anything if the opportunity arises, (and somehow it always does in my books) and also just Alpha enough to keep you interested and hot and, well, you know...
How did I end up writing them? I don’t know. I just got fed up with the whole Alpha, Beta, Metro thing. I mean, sexuality is much more complicated than that isn’t it? Aren’t there a hell of a lot of grays in between? I love the grays, the men and women who can appreciate that sex is far more interesting if you can be open and up for anything.
What does amuse me is seeing my books in the romance section. Yay, I’m a subversive! ‘Georgette Heyer on crack’ as one of my fellow Black Lace authors called me. I’m expecting my readers to want to know whether a sexually ambiguous pair of Regency gentleman like Lord Valentin Sokorvsky and Peter Howard who star in Simply Sexual and Simply Sinful, can find their happy ever after’s. And I want my readers to be happy for them and care about what happens to them. I want them to care even though these men aren’t remotely conventional and never will be.
I don’t have an agenda. I truly believe love is where you find it and that we all have a right to be happy and sexually satisfied. Is that going to become the norm? Will my kids wonder what all the fuss was about back in the day? I sure hope so
So tell me, does ‘just gay enough’ turn you on or off and how do you feel about it being in the romance aisle?
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Is anyone else sick of winter?
(Well, I know some of you don't have to deal with winter, but humor me.)
It's cold and blowy here today, but at least the sun is shining. It literally looks like diamonds on the snow--I know it's cliché, but it's a cliché for a reason. Right?
So tomorrow is Valentine's Day. As an erotic novelist, that holiday should be high up on my list of favorite days, right? *snort*
Yeah, it's there with my red-silken boudoir and candle-lit bath and cabinet filled with a variety of whips and other accoutrements.
No, seriously. The cabinet is there, but the other stuff....well, all right. You caught me. How about piles of laundry and rows of shoes in my boudoir?
So what's your favorite way to stay warm in the winter? Me? I take a hot bath every night. Then when I climb in bed with HEN (Husband of an Erotic Novelist), my feet aren't cold and neither are my hands. Or other areas.
What about you? And how will you celebrate Valentine's Day tomorrow? Chocolate and champagne? Whips and chains? Dinner for two with some good under-the-tablecloth foot (and/or finger) action?
Come on. Spill!
Sunday, February 10, 2008
It's Sunday and I was supposed to post on Friday. How the heck did that happen? Where did Friday go? And Saturday for that matter...
I do recall thinking, "Oh yes, I must come up for something this week." I don't recall actually coming up with something...
I do have good news though. I have finished (really finished this time) a rough draft of my latest WIP proposal. It's Regency-set and deals with the "Table of Affinity", which aren't in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer anymore. I don't know if they are in the current UK BCP.
Anyway, they're based on the rules in Leviticus (and given my husband's chuckles, it sounds like "The Year of Living Biblically" by AJ Jacobs will be a good read on the complexity of those rules). However, it was Judah and Tamar's story in Exodus (please don't ask me to quote chapter and verse) that inspired me to write this one.
Until I found out about that Table of Affinity (I keep wanting to writ "Infinity") and how it was an ecclesiastical crime in the UK to conduct and be a party to such a marriage. And shortly after the Regency period it became a civil crime to do so. The main problem being that such a marriage (and its offspring) could be rendered invalid if a husband returned, say, from a long sea voyage, or turned up coming back from a war after all.
Oh crap, thought I, that tears it.
Fortunately though, the Austens came to the rescue once again. Her brother Henry married his wife's sister -- had to go overseas to do it admittedly, but they don't seem to be shunned by society for so doing. I think the sympathies lay in their court though. Henry had small children who needed a mother, if I remember right.
My heroine doesn't have any children, but still, I thought this was a way cool idea. I still haven't figured out how much of what I've written will actually make it into the book, but I think I'm on the right track this time.
Next, the synopsis. *groan*
So my question for you all today is: authors, how many of your stories have been inspired by a historical tidbit; readers, do you get disappointed when the inspiration that you've read about a WIP and the final product don't seem to match up?
Posted by Celia May Hart at 2/10/2008 11:33:00 AM
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
"Even now, as I open the book, I feel the same panic of unsatisfied expectation, despite five or six rereadings. How can this be, when the genre itself guarantees consummation ? The simple answer is that the lovers really are made for each other - by their creator. They are constructed for each other: interlocked for wedlock."
How can an author make the reader believe in the happily-ever-after, i.e. make the reader beliebe the hero and heroine will be sixty (or so) and still finding passion together? Passion heightened by the long understanding of lovers, and made all the more intriguing by the secrets kept for a lifetime. (Honestly, would anyone admit to their spouse what they really fantasize about?)
Mr. Amis’ idea intrigued me because one of my critiquers said the same thing of my first Bantam Dell book. She told me that she felt I created heroines and heroes who belonged together. And the truth is, I consciously want to do that. The hero has to give the heroine something that she can’t find in herself. He has to challenge her to grow. He has to complement her. On the fundamentals of life—money, morals, children, dreams and hopes, they have to be on the same page, at least eventually. In short, they have to be capable of having a strong partnership through life.
As Mr. Amis states, why are am I, as reader, on the edge of my seat, wondering whether there will be a happily ever after, even though I know there must be one? I think the mystery and excitement is in the process—and in the waiting for those moments of revelation. What I’m hanging on for is to see how each character will grow—because that’s the way they will complete each other. Unless the character changes, there can’t be the partnership. What keeps me turning the pages is the excitement of each step in the process and the pain/reluctance of each character to take that step. In Pride and Prejudice, Lizze could have accepted Mr. Darcy’s first proposal with money and security in mind. She doesn’t because he hasn’t grown yet. We might know there will be a marriage at the end, but the mystery to me is: will it be made for the right reasons, or the wrong ones? Will there be happiness? Will it last?
Now I’m preparing to work on my second book for Bantam Dell. I’m writing an erotic vampire romance right now for Aphrodisia and letting my next sensual historical romance percolate. A while ago I talked with my agent about book 1. She mentioned that I could choose a titled hero for book 2. And I could. But my heroine has survived an abusive marriage, attended a sex club for couples with her late husband, and is generally steeped in scandal. She was championed by her best friend even when everything looked black against her—did she murder her husband or not?
Even so, she could have fallen in love with an earl or a duke. How, after all, could a gentleman bring a scandalous widow into his family? But suddenly the hero stepped into my story. He’s not titled—he’s a bastard son. As a youth, he was involved in a horrible murder (he’s still heroic, though, as will be seen). He is tormented and at the start of the story, he has a death wish. These are two people I believe can believe in each other, even when the rest of their world doesn’t. It’s early days yet, and things may change for this story, but this hero and heroine are calling to me. And if I’m passionate about them, I know they are going to be passionate about each other.
What keeps you turning the pages of romance when you know there’s going to be a happily ever after ending?
Posted by Sharon Page at 2/06/2008 10:55:00 AM
Monday, February 4, 2008
Friday, February 1, 2008
"What happened, I think, is that someone said they wanted it to be sexy. What they meant was the kind of sexuality that's in the book, the sexuality of repression.When you read the book, you know that everybody's horny -- all that flirtation and dancing and conversation, but nobody's going to get laid."
"I thought to myself: 'This is where he wants to go across the room and punch someone. This is where he wants to kiss her. This is where he wants sex with her right now.' I'd imagine a man doing it all, and then not doing any of it. That's all I did."
Lacy's vintage smut was is hard act to follow. And so, in a tight situation, who best to help me out but that sublimely sexy writer Jane Austen?
More precisely Jane Austen as channeled by screenwriter Andrew Davies as channeled by Colin Firth, as he spoke in various interviews more than a decade ago, trying to explain how he worked up the mojo to play Mr. Darcy in the 1995-6 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, soon to be showed once again in the current PBS Jane Austen fest.
Repression. What a concept.
And it works, too. Extraordinarily well. Skimming over the text of Pride and Prejudice, it's not the least bit of a stretch to to plug in Mr. Darcy wanting to kiss, have sex, etc.
Like at this moment:
...the pianoforte was opened; and Darcy, after a few moments' recollection, was not sorry for it. He began to feel the danger of paying Elizabeth too much attention.Or this:
But no sooner had he made it clear to himself and his friends that she hardly had a good feature in her face, than he began to find it was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes. To this discovery succeeded some others equally mortifying.
Oh yes. Mortifying will do very well indeed. In romance, we love a mortified hero, not to speak of one who "begins to feel the danger..." And we especially love it when the author has first introduced him in all his smug, hunky, thoughtless toughness and now shows his inner writhings and torments.
I've read that it was during the era of the bodice-ripper that this outer-to-inner revelation becomes popular romance convention. You know, stuff like (I'm improvising here), "He'd sailed the seven seas, plundered the Spanish Main. No one could master him at arms and yet... she... she.. this meek little chit of a tradesman's daughter. Why did she set him all aquiver... afire?"
Needless to say, it works better as filtered through Austen's her gorgeous little understated ironies. But it shows you why there are those who insist (especially when they feel they have to stick up for the genre) that Jane Austen was a romance writer.
I suppose you can say that she was, in this way, at least in her spare time when she wasn't inventing the modern novel. She didn't invent the moment when the hero reveals his hot inner anxieties and arousals (I think it might have been Richardson who did that, in Clarissa) but she did it so deftly and demurely that she can take your breath away.
And provide stage directions for guys in waistcoats and tight pants for the next couple of centuries as well.
Note: I took the Firth quotes from this article. And while you're at it, you won't regret reading this wonderfully witty piece on Austen by Martin Amis.
So, are you doing the TV Austen fest?
Do you agree that Austen might have been an influence on the bodice-ripper authors? Or do you think I ought to be pilloried for suggesting such a thing?