Friday, May 30, 2008

Scents and Sexuality, part II: Lotus-Eating in the Late Regency

When I was a very little girl, the final step in the ritual of getting dressed up was to “put on a little perfume.” I loved the romantic names of the scents, the sensuous shapes of the bottles on the dressing table, mysterious ritual of dabbing the stuff behind my ears – as I’d been taught to do -- and (particularly) on the insides of my wrists. And I adored the momentary shudder of the cold alcohol on my skin.

But why those places on my skin?

Why ears? Wrists?

I wondered but I never asked, as though not to tamper with something important. Because even the tiniest child doesn’t need to be told that some parts of her body are more special, more interesting than others.

I think – though I’m still not sure this is true -- that the point of the wrist thing is that that’s where the pulse is. Ears, I still don't know. But the truth is that I prefer not knowing for sure. I think what I particularly like is the ritual mystery, the bare, unexplained fetishism of it.

I like the slow attention to detail -- the primitivism, if you will, that we devote to body care.

And when body care is shared between lovers…?

When routine and ritual become the rules of the game…?

And when erotic power struggle roils just below the surface…?

That's when I like to write about it, as in this excerpt from my forthcoming novel, The Edge of Impropriety, available this November -- in which, gentlemanlike, my hero Jasper Hedges, has come to the aid of a person in need, to find himself and his sore muscles in my heroine Marina Wyatt’s bathtub.

The plumbing’s rather progressive for the late Regency era but hardly impossible.

And the scent rising from the steamy water?

It’s lotus. Ancient. Intense. A bit astringent. I bought a tiny vial of essential lotus oil to find out what it’s actually like and it turns out rather compelling.

As well it should be. For in legend it kept the classical hero Ulysses and his men lingering with the lotus-eaters when they should have been trying to get home to Ithaca.

And as Jasper is a scholar and collector of Greek antiquities (why fight it? I find brainy men overwhelmingly sexy). And as Regency Britons were nearly worshipping all things classical…

Well, anyway, here's a tiny taste of my take on eros and empire, in a lady’s bathtub at The Edge of Impropriety:

She resumed… probing and kneading… the knotted muscles and tendons.

It hurt a bit [he thought…]. It hurt quite wonderfully. As though the warm blood had once again begun coursing through his back and shoulders.

Perhaps it had -- as indeed the blood seemed to be coursing more quickly to other parts of his body as well. He opened his eyes, glanced down past his belly to his knees rising out of the suds. And then finally, to another perturbation of the water’s surface.

If perturbation it could be called.
[While…] on her knees […] at the side of the tub, Marina lathered up a large sea sponge. Pretty, she thought, all the little rainbow bubbles, a few of them floating upward until they popped from the heat from the candles.

She’d wash him slowly, beginning with his hands, lingering over the fine bones in his wrists […]. She moved the sponge up each arm in turn -- to his shoulders, and now down his chest, following the dark smoky line of hair down his lean belly…

The head of his cock showed itself above the water’s the surface. She watched it dreamily. Like a lotus, she thought, rising from the water where it grows.

She bent over to brush her lips against it. Her lips, and then the tip of her tongue. And then, not quite intending to, her lips again.

But -- she chided herself -- she needed to stop, groan as he might in protest.

All innocence, she sent him a mildly aggrieved glance -- I simply can’t imagine what might be troubling you -- and cleared her throat.

“Ahem. Let’s see to your feet, shall we? Of course you already know I’m rather particular as to a gentleman’s feet…”

He groaned again […].

She returned a suitably evil laugh. Fun to tease him, and in truth, she did rather like his feet -- long, narrow, with high arches and straight toes. Not too hairy, either. She lifted one out of the water, to wash it carefully, especially beneath the toes. One and then the other one, before she moved up to his shins, knees, thighs.

Eventually -- and happily -- she’d get around to where he wanted her to be.

But not before she worked a little at the muscles in his thighs. She though of how stiffly he’d stepped into her hallway and she remembered how he’d tensed his upper legs, yesterday when he’d lifted the cart. Surely he could use a little massaging there, to work out the achiness. She put aside the sponge, to use her fingertips.

The problem was that she didn’t want to hurt him by putting too much weight on the hurt places.

He was watching closely. “Careful,” he muttered.

She promised herself she would be. Wonderful, she thought, a man’s lean limbs, the finely defined shapes of the separate long muscles.

He grimaced. Oh dear. She rose higher on her knees, to get a better angle. Balancing on her haunches, she leaned over him, intent upon keeping her touch firm but even.


But how could she be careful when suddenly she’d been immobilized? She tried to pull against him, to twist out of his insistent grip.

When had he grasped her forearms so tightly, one in each large sun-browned hand?

Why was he grinning, his blue eyes gleeful, alight?

And how -- with a cry of triumph on his part, some choking and sputtering on hers, and amid great, splashing tides of sudsy water -- had he managed to tumble her into the tub on top of him?

Much better,” he told her, “but move your left leg, won’t you, Marina, over to the other side of me. Come on, climb up, don’t worry about squeezing me. I assure you that a little muscle ache is nothing compared with those well-intentioned discomforts you’ve been inflicting upon me. In fact, please squeeze, ah, yes, that’s right, that’s…”

That’s… perfect, she whispered, as best she could through her gasps and giggles. Perfect, he whispered the word back into her ear and crooned it against her neck, as he entered her and as she slipped and grasped and tightened herself around him, and then straightened her back to sit astride him.

And it was perfect, she thought. No matter if soapy water were in truth a highly imperfect lubricant of a woman’s private parts, she seemed to have done quite well for herself […].

But that’s it for now, and that’s where I’m leaving Jasper and Marina. And you, with the hope that you’ll want to read the whole book when it comes out this November.

And as for my question… Well, what scents – or even what names and myths and legends of scents – provoke your… imagination?

[apologies from Pam--she's on the road and will post pics later]

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Research: Going deep.

I currently do not have any writing contracts, and because I had two deadlines that overlapped each other, I decided to take a small break from writing and live a little. Part of that for me is reading… reading Non-Fiction as well as fiction.

Non-Fiction books give me inspiration, make my mind spin and swirl with ideas for new stories and life. I have a TBR pile on my nightstand that is a foot high… okay I have three stacks that high.

I know I have also talked in the past about music and how that inspires me. So I have been exploring listening to all sorts of new music trying to find something that gets me moving, makes me feel sexy, or brings tears to my eyes. The CD at the moment I cant get enough of is called Tribal deviations by Beats Antique. I can NOT sit still and listen to this band! My hips start to move on their own and I find myself twitching in my chair. LOL.

The book I am reading at the moment is called Mating in Captivity(Unlocking erotic intelligence.) The author Esther Perel. I have only just started reading it but OMG… amazing. She states in the opening of the book, her purpose… she wants to know if we can hold on to the sense aliveness and excitement in long term relationships. Is there something inherent in commitment that deadens desire? Can we ever achieve Security with out succumbing to monotony?

She wants to know if we can ever achieve what Octavio Paz calls the double flame of love and eroticism?

Octavio Paz’s quote: The original primordial fire of eroticism is sexuality: it raises the red flame of eroticism, which in turn raises and feeds another flame, tremulous and blue. It is the flame of love and eroticism. The double flame of life.

The chapters in this range from: The pitfalls of modern intimacy: talk is Not the only avenue to Closeness. To Sex is dirty; save it for someone you love: When Puritanism and Hedonism Collide.

The opening of the book has this lovely poem by D.H. Lawrence.
Wild Things in Captivity

Wild things in captivity
while they keep their own wild purity
won't breed, they mope, they die.

All men are in captivity,
active with captive activity,
and the best won't breed, though they don't know why.

The great cage of our domesticity
kills sex in a man, the simplicity
of desire is distorted and twisted awry.

And so, with bitter perversity,
gritting against the great adversity,
they young ones copulate, hate it, and want to cry.

Sex is a state of grace.
In a cage it can't take place.
Break the cage then, start in and try.

My questions for you: What are your thoughts on that poem? And the idea of sustaining desire in a long term committed relationship?

I am looking forward to hearing what Mrs. Perel has to say on the subject.

Hugs and Kisses,

Friday, May 23, 2008

Some historical research

The Industrial Revolution brought about a dramatic change in Georgians' sex lives. At last, the power of steam could bring about sexual satisfaction, although early experiments had some refining to do. Take this early prototype of the famous Buzzing Jenny (1784); apart from the inconvenience of requiring several servants to add coals and make sure pressure remained at safe levels, it was necessary to operate the device out of door in case an explosion of the wrong sort occurred.

A generation later, Brunel's genius produced this elegant model, which could be discreetly installed in the boudoir or even tucked into the corner of the drawing room for post prandial delights. Even so, it was necessary to instruct the footman to stand by with extra fire buckets, just in case.

Regency pleasure seekers employed the Napoleon (short and stout) or the Wellington (long and skinny) but it was the Victorians, with their irrepressible instinct for pornographic activities who brought sex toys into their full flowering, even going so far as to install an oversized dildo in Trafalgar Square as an expression of national pride and patriotism.

Hidden away in the most respectable homes, you could find such delights as this collection of silver-tipped toys, and it takes little imagination to guess the function of this item at left.

Have you done any interesting research recently? Do tell.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Saddle

No, I’m not going to talk about kinky fetishes from Britain’s Regency era. The former madam story did not fly, and so that research has been set aside.

And that’s what I’m going to write about today. Setting things aside, and then getting back into the saddle.

When you read this, if Pam’s promises that it will post when I tell it to post turn out to be true, I shall hopefully be back in the saddle and writing again.

You see, I’ve been writing a bit here, a bit there, but really, have not been writing a whole lot. Why? Well, I let other things take priority -- it’s amazing what a complete lack of contractual deadline will do. I could launch into them all, but you’ve all surely heard the reasons ten thousand times from many a wannabe writer who just can’t find the time to write: back to work five days a week, needed time to play, intensive study course. Oh and the, “I’ll write during lunch time unless someone wants to lunch with me”, which was like, almost, every day, and when it wasn’t I was doing homework from the course.


The point is, I’m getting back into the saddle. I’m going down to four days a week pretty soon. The person I lunch with the most is moving to Virginia. My course is on a summer break.

And I’m gonna give my trusty (so far, it is rather new) AlphaSmart a good run.

I’ve the erotic romance story idea that needs another two chapters and a better synopsis than a set up and “Stuff happens.”

The full on fantasy novel that I started *cough* years ago because it wouldn’t shut up until a new contract silenced it, is making noises again.

I’m not sure which project I’ll take on first, but if it gets me writing again, I really don’t care.

And that’s where you come in, dear reader. The next time I post in a couple of weeks, I want you to ask me: “So how’s that word count, then?” or “Which story did you end up writing?” Make me accountable for my vow as blogged here.

I will get back in the saddle and write again.

I will get back in the saddle and write again.

I will get back in the saddle and write again.

Writers out there: have you ever fallen off your writing horse and needed to get back into the saddle again and start writing? What did you have to do to get there?

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Black Silk Contest

Like many of my fellow crumpets, I’m working to a deadline—trying to finish revisions for the end of the month. But I’ve had to take a "break" this long weekend to do galleys (in Canada this is a holiday weekend, the Victoria Day weekend. Since it usually falls around the 24th and heralds the start of cottage season, it’s often called the "2-4" weekend.)

That’s why I’m blogging late. Also, I had a day at the office yesterday and my daughter was invited to a "sports evening" at a friend’s house. I always admire people brave enough to extend an open invitation to an entire class of 7 year olds!

I’d like to give away a copy of Black Silk—it’s one of my favorites, and just garnered my first RT Top Pick, which I was really thrilled about. The question is from the following excerpt:
Maryanne watched her raven-haired Lancelot elegantly climb into the basket. Of course, he could do it easily—he had endless legs and wore trousers. Just as she stared helplessly at it, he scooped her effortlessly into his arms. In a froth of hems and petticoats, she was hoisted over the wicker wall and into the basket. As her feet touched the floor of the basket, it came up to meet her. "Ooh!"

The flame illuminated the sculpted planes of his face, his wicked grin as the balloon went up. The basket tilted to the right. She clutched the side. "Goodness."

Swansborough laughed. "But as you each take on orgasmic flight, you must remember to hold on tight," he quoted. He wrapped a hand around the stays that secured their small basket to the enormous balloon and kept the other near the fire box and the ropes that worked the vents. Below, illuminated by the torches, she saw the men gripping the tether ropes, feeding them through gloved hands.

A lurch to the left, and she tumbled back against his lordship. His large body pressed against her, his arm locked around her waist, and she felt safe—though if the basket tipped, they’d both fall. Why should the thought of falling to their deaths together, sharing disaster, make her feel better?

"Magnificent, isn’t it?"

With her hands gripping the basket, she stared down.

Far below, the torches looked like tiny candle flames, and she could no longer see the men. Men who thought she was going to rut with a viscount here. Men who thought her a courtesan.

The Serpentine caught the moonlight, water rippling in the sweet breeze. Dark trees bobbed and swayed, the leaves silver, and the park was a stretch of dark velvet.

She gazed up. Stars dotted the violet skies above the park. And London’s lights were spread out before her. "It’s beautiful." The basket swayed. "And terrifying."

The Question—Where are Maryanne and the hero, Dash, Lord Swansborough going to make love?

I’ll check in on the comments over the weekend, and select a winner on Monday. So on Monday I’ll post in the comments for the winner to drop me an email, just so you know where to look!
Excerpt from Black Silk © Sharon Page

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Scents and Sexuality, Roses and Sweat

My thirteen year old niece, aspiring writer and veterinarian, likes to ask me when I think she'll be old enough to read my books.

I shrug, demur, and tell her it's up to her moms...

Though in truth, I think the very best way to read a sexy book is as a teenage baby-sitter, finding it on the shelf after the kids are asleep and putting it back very very carefully in the exact same spot before the parents get home so that no one will ever ever know you were reading it... I certainly have no fonder hope for my books than that they be read by a generation (or two, if I'm lucky) of breathless baby-sitters.

But don't tell my niece's parents I said that, okay? Anyway, with or without me, one way or another, I have no doubt she'll read my stuff when she's ready for it.

What I really worry about is whether I'm ready for her.

By which I mean that I hope my books aren't too much of a letdown from some of the deeply, brilliantly romantic stuff she's read already.

I mean, how much more moving could any doomed passion be than Severus Snape's lifelong, tormented, ultimately sacrificial love for Harry Potter's mother, Lily?

And I may never have come up with any single detail as hot (in its squeaky-clean way) as the bit from Twilight, the first book in Stephanie Meyer's teen-age vampire series, where the dreamy good teen vampire Edward explains to our very human heroine Bella how he first became attracted to her, in biology class -- which was by her body's unique and particular smell.

In biology class. Of course. Meyer got it dead-on right. There's something wonderfully basic and biological about writing about smells -- it's the immediacy of them, the way that good and provocative smells are part of our animal nature, our preverbal, amoral attunement to what's safe -- or (even better) to what's so captivating and attractive that safety be damned.

And yet smells are also a deeply cultural link to memory and identity. Mothers and their babies can recognize each other's smells. As of course so can lovers.

Smells can be so overpowering that they seem to surround us. Imagine not wanting to lose any of those little atoms you and your lover's bodies are sloughing off, as though you want to short-cut the journey from desire to memory. And actually, if you don't change the sheets after a week or two... In the Japanese director Oshima's astonishing 1976 movie, In the Realm of the Senses, the sex-crazed couple don't allow the brothel housekeeper to clean the room they've spent some weeks in. It's as though they want to create an environment that's as much an extension of their own bodies as possible.

I've used smell in all my books, but perhaps most consciously in The Slightest Provocation, the story of a couple who've been separated for nine years, and who journey back to where they first fell in love. It's a book where memory and desire are intertwined as tightly as I could make them, as in passages like this one, where Mary, my angry, overwrought and very horny heroine, can only get to sleep by means of a combination of masturbation and laudanum (that ubiquitous 19th century remedy of opium dissolved in alcohol):

She swallowed it down, threw off the rest of her clothes, slipped naked below the quilt, and -- quickly and coldly, skillfully and purposefully -- touched herself until she cried out. Until the aching became a burning, a hard white light easing to a warm orange glow, until the trembling stopped and the candle guttered and died and the visions faded, of blazing eyes and strong tapering hands, of pain and anger, disillusionment and rivalry -- oh, and other visions, memories, from youth, of things they’d done and things they hadn’t dared to try. The smell of lemon oil, warm smooth cherrywood surface of a desktop, her face and breasts crushed against it. All subsiding now, to a dull dark red, as though dimly painted upon the velvet insides of her eyelids. Ebbing, waning, flickering. Until she slept.

Or this passage, no doubt unconsciously influenced by Oshima's movie, where my hero Kit thinks happily of sex and song and smells and dirty sheets:

Come live with me and be my love -- an old lyric she’d liked to sing -- words and cadence coming echoing back now, from behind his thoughts. Pastoral, a shepherd’s love song: giddy swain wooing his lady with promises of beds of roses, food served al fresco on silver plates, and absolutely no messes to worry about. Poetry, in a word.
While reality was quite a different matter, especially if you were accustomed to having servants clean up after you. Astonishing, Kit thought, how smelly a linen sheet could become and in how short a time, at least when subjected to such excellent usage as this one had been getting. The odor had been piquant at first; at this moment one might call it “earthy.” Give him and Mary an additional sweaty day or so of pounding each other so delightfully, and the only thing one could honestly call it would be “stinking.”

Come live with me and be my love
And we will all the pleasures prove

On stinking sheet in chilly air . . .

I do smells differently in my forthcoming book, The Edge of Impropriety. And -- finally tired of roses and sweat, of leather and lemon and of the Provencal lavender and rosemary that wafted through my French-set Bookseller's Daughter, I found a new scent. Or a very old one.

But since this post's quite long enough already, you'll just have to come back for my next to find out about this most interesting, evocative, exotic, and ancient of scents.

While right now, I'll turn the discussion over back over to you readers and writers.

What role do you think the portrayal of smells plays in erotic writing? Writers, how have you used it? And readers, got any favorite examples you'd like to share?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The winner is!

Hey everyone,
I want to thank you for all the wonderful suggestions.

Second the winner of the copy of Animal Lust is Lil.

Congratulations Lil.

Please email me at with your email addy and I will send a copy out to you!

Hugs and Kisses,

Monday, May 12, 2008


I have an excuse for not posting-I really do. I had a book to finish and so I did that instead of blogging or talking to anyone or going out to enjoy myself. On Mother's Day, I actually asked my family if they could leave me alone for 4 hours so that I could finish the book-I insisted that was the best gift they could give me. Of course, it went down very well with my teenage sons who are notoriously tight with their money :)

Oldest son did buy me a lovely box of chocolates and 2 bags of Bare Naked granola. The granola was because he 'liberated' the whole bag last week on his way out to college making me think I was going crazy when I couldn't find it to have my breakfast :) The chocolates were because he knows me and his girlfriend took him shopping.

The picture above is of me at the Romantic Times book fair and was taken by Sasha White. It was so much fun to meet up with some of the Crumpets, especially Sharon Page-and I got to listen to Collette on her panel-fascinating stuff!

The book I was finishing isn't even a historical-it's a cowboy contemporary entitled "Riding the Line' which in my usual fashion is nothing like the synopsis I handed in 6 months ago. I hope to God my editor still likes it. I'm hoping he'll be too busy to notice how bad it is and merely publish it anyway.

The NEXT book, which is due August 15th is an erotic historical "Simply Shameless" which is all about Madame Helene. Now, although time is tight, I enjoy writing the historicals a lot more, I think they are more suited to my natural voice. In no way am I an American cowboy :) Hopefully this one will flow more easily.

Wish me luck!

And here's my thought for the day: Readers love it when authors deliver books faster in a series but is there point when they can be too fast? Is there a sense that quality might suffer?

Starting To Breathe Normal Again.

Hey all,
It feels like forever since I have blogged on here. I had a hellish deadline; two stories due at the same time… May 1st. One for Avon, one for Kensington.

I took a trip in April so that I would not be distracted by dishes, laundry, picking up kids toys, cooking, etc. I found that this works really well for me and will continue to do this in the future when I have deadlines. I suppose, who doesn't work better when you can sit in the sun and have vodka gimlets brought to you as you write! I did however gain 10lbs from eating too much chocolate and carbs. sigh.

I also had a release during this time… Animal Lust came out in March and because of my distraction and stress, I really have not had a chance to promote it/ hold contests. Etc.

I also had a site redesign during this time so if you have not seen it… stop by and take a look at my new site!

I am starting to think proposals for my next book. I tend to get my best ideas when I am reading history books… Have no idea what I will be doing just yet.

If you have any suggestions on a good history book, social history or other, or if you have something you would love to see from me; paranormal dragons, paranormal bears, or straight historical, tell me in a comment here and I will pull a name to win a copy of Animal Lust at 9PM PST on May 13th!

The two stories I recently turned in were straight historical, but as always… erotic.

Hugs and kisses!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sultry Climates

What men call gallantry, and gods adultery,
Is much more common where the climate's sultry.

Byron, Don Juan

Last month Lacy blogged about the erotic implications of travel, and I wanted to follow on from that. I've just read a splendid book, Sultry Climates: Travel and Sex, by Ian Littlewood, a study of how and why the English (mostly) went abroad, and their expectations of travel. And yes, sexual tourism was well and alive in the eighteenth century.

Take, for instance, the Grand Tour--the rite of passage that young Englishmen of the Enlightenment undertook to pick up some culture and polish, in the company of an older, responsible gentleman called the bearleader. It was generally understood that as well as viewing the marvels of antiquity, the young gentleman might also receive a sensual education with the right sort of aristocratic woman.

Invariably, the outcome was different. Evading the bearleader's leash, young men, dazzled with the sensuality and novelty of the countries they visited, consorted as often with the wrong sort of woman. In either case the intrepid travelers frequently took more than some bits of classical sculpture home as a souvenir.

But here's one of my favorite passages in the book, from the other side of the world when the good ship Dolphin visited Tahiti in 1767. A month after making land, Littlewood reports:

The Tahitians' high valuation of anything made of iron had quickly established nails as a currency for buying sexual favours from the women. By 9 July the gunner could inform Robinson [master of the ship] that 'the price of the old trades, is now fixt at a thirty penny nail each time'. Such was the popularity of the trade that by the time [Captain] Wallis left, most of the men had to sleep on deck for lack of any nails from which to sling their hammocks.

The prized nails cost thirty pence for one hundred.

Any other favorite travel books? Or books inspired by travel?

Friday, May 2, 2008

In your face

No, I'm not talking about certain sex positions today.

I finally signed on for Facebook to figure out what all the hoo-ha is about. And found a whole bunch of folks I went to high school with. The amazing part is most of them haven't changed a bit! The other amazing part is, they say, "So, I hear you've written a book..."

Actually, that's the oddly scary part. The last time I saw most of these people was the last day of high school. And here it is, twenty-*cough*-some years later and I find myself caught in how to respond.

I rattle off a list of books to one, and offer a website link to the other (and then I deleted that post because Facebook will find the link and post it like a little ad and I wasn't quite ready to post ads to people's Facebook pages). Anyway, it's hard to explain, but it's just weird.

It's like the teen of *cough**splutter* years ago is competing against the me of today, who, um, is a little brasher, little more forward, than she was then. (Actually, I was the super-shy one.) Sort of "see how I've changed?" versus "well, no, I haven't really".

But it's given me some food for thought for the current WIP. It involves the reuniting of two childhood playmates (no, not that kind, ick) and I'd already added a level of her personality-slash-attitude occasionally slipping to that of the teen who had a crush on this older guy. I think I need to do the same for him though. And I think I can go deeper into their conflict as they can now struggle to reveal how much about themselves have changed over the years.

Never mind that I haven't written a word for about three weeks. The next scene is waiting in my head for me to get the time to write it. But see, messing about on Facebook is good for something.

Oh, and anybody know if it was possible to diagnose somebody with a venereal disease in the 1800s besides taking a look and seeing sores? I'm wondering if I'm going to need a private detective as well....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Back from Romantic Times

Back from RT (okay almost 2 weeks now!), and hard at work on revisions for The Club, my upcoming book from Dell.
The Romantic Times conference was a terrific experience. I love meeting readers, and when they are thrilled to meet me, I am just so touched, astonished, and delighted. I’m glad to say I saw Colette and Kate Pearce at RT, and I loved Colette’s panel on the new directions for historicals. I think three members on the panel were writing erotic historicals, proving how popular the genre is.

I also had my picture taken with cover models Fabio and Adrian Paul, which was fun (I’ll be posting those on my website soon). The book signing was a blast—it’s always a little intimidating to be surrounded by hundreds of other authors. So it was a thrill to have so many readers stop by and pick up one or two of my books. And one of my favorite parts of the signings is the chance to chat with the authors around me. We’re in alphabetical order, so you get to meet authors who write completely different genres.

I was on an Erotica panel--writing first person point of view in sex scenes. Before the conference, I mulled over this for a long time. I’ve not actually been published in first person. All my books have been third person, with the heroine and the hero (or heroes) as narrators. But I began writing erotica in first person, with the narrator speaking directly and really intimately to the reader. I realized writing in first person helped me develop my voice.

I dug up one of my really early erotica manuscripts to take a look. It was intriguing to see how the first person point of view gave an strong element of mystery—after all the narrator (and reader) can only interpret the other character through action and dialogue. The readers never get to see in any other character’s heads, so they are as much in the dark as the narrator. Here’s an example:

"The screen sends blue light throughout the room; the undraped windows are black, blank. Jon's lying on the couch, wearing striped blue pajamas, and strangely, as much as I want to join him, I feel paralyzed. Reluctant to interrupt his privacy. And I decide to let him make the choice. I sit down on the carpet a few feet in front of him. If he chooses to, let him approach me. It never occurs to me that my action may set up a barrier—as though I don't want him to come to me. Watching the screen but not seeing it, I wait, enjoying the feeling that he is behind me, watching me.
After a while, I turn around. The couch is empty, he's gone."
—From "Brash", (a work in progress) © Sharon Page

It was terrific to be on the panel with such incredible authors—Cheyenne McCray, Angela Knight, Kimberley Kaye Terry (a fellow Aphrodisia Author). Author Barry Eisler was on our panel—it was cool to get the male point of view (and to see him blush now and again). And Renee Bernard was our great moderator.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you like your erotica—any preference for first person or third person point of view? Or do you like both? Do you feel erotic romance works just as well in both first and third person points of view?