Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Why do women like my cock-filled gay porn?

Guest Blogger: James Lear
Fag Hag: Kristina Lloyd

Filthy. Funny. Gay. Three words to make many women prick up their ears. (I said *ears*! Quit with the anagrams.) James Lear ranks highly on all these fronts (I said *ranks*) so we're thrilled to have him on Lust Bites. James's Back Passage (Cleis Press) is a brilliantly funny riot of shagging and sleuthing, and I have never read a book with so much come in it. Ahem. I mean, I can highly recommend it. It's topped the Lesbian and Gay Bestseller charts on both Amazon UK and Amazon US, and is also - woo hoo! - a finalist in the Lambda Literary Awards. The results will be announced tomorrow at a super swish ceremony in New York so we've got our fingers and legs crossed on Lust Bites (okay, just our fingers) and we're all rooting for James's Back Passage.

James is here today to tell us more about his Back Passage, his latest release, Hot Valley, and to mull over a question that's been puzzling him: Why do women like my hot, cock-filled gay porn?

When I started writing gay erotic fiction, I assumed that the readers would be almost exclusively male, and that they’d be reading it for one reason only. Much to my surprise and delight, I’ve discovered that a very significant percentage of my readership is female, and that they’re far more forthright in their enjoyment of the books than men. The majority of the reviews on Amazon, both in the UK and the US, are written by women, and I’ve had no end of really great, positive feedback from female readers both in person and online.

Thinking about it, I suppose I should have known. I remember girl friends back in the day telling me that they enjoyed reading about sex, and that a good dirty story got them far more excited than looking at pictures of knobs. But I’d assumed that they would need some point of identification – that there would have to be a woman in there so that they could imagine it was “about me”. Nothing of the sort, as it turns out: my readers tell me that they enjoy reading about men in sexual situations for all sorts of reasons, that they enjoy the wider range of roles available in same-sex coupling (as opposed to the formulaic approach of so much hetero stuff) and that they can get into sex scenes whatever the genders.

And there’s another surprise: these readers are by no means all straight women. Many of them are lesbians, and they’re right in there with the rest of them getting off on descriptions of two men fucking.

So what exactly is drawing in this female readership – and why are they so much more articulate in their appreciation of erotic writing than men? I think men take a more functional approach to porn, both written and photographed: they choose what specifically turns them on, they consume it and they get off. That’s what I assumed when writing the four erotic novels I’ve done to date. The basic deal is that there are two good wanks per chapter (one for older readers), and, in the “down time”, enough plot and humour and good writing to keep you entertained.

Obviously the nuts and bolts aspect of the writing also works for women, who, I am reliably informed, “enjoy” erotic writing in exactly the same way as men. But it seems that female readers have less rigid ideas of what will work for them; they’re open to a wider range of stimuli. Some get off on the depiction of men as vulnerable, passive sex objects; others like the depiction of strong, rough, masculine figues (there are plenty of both). Some like the romance aspects, and the happy endings; others go for the historical or genre trappings. The Back Passage, my biggest seller and the first for US publisher Cleis, is a 1920s country house murder mystery – basically, it’s Agatha Christie and Gosford Park with yards of cock – and that, more than any other, has got female readers’ juices flowing.

But this isn’t just a question of sexually-open women enjoying male/male erotica as part of a smorgasbord of literary stimulation. There are several female readers, and indeed writers, who are choosing to specialise in m/m material. One reader told me how she actively seeks out m/m erotica, and scares male shoppers by hanging around the gay section in bookshops. Several female romance writers have found their way to m/m fiction and explore it with a completely new sensibility.

We’re used to the cliché of gay men finding points of identification in movies with strong female leads; I wonder if this move towards m/m erotica signals a similar quest among women who are dissatisfied with the traditional roles they’re given in m/f books and films and are looking for material that takes them on a wider imaginative journey. I well remember watching a Jeff Stryker gay porn movie with a butch lesbian friend of mine many years ago, and her stomping around going “I wish I had a dick as big as Jeff’s so I could fuck anyone I fancied!”. I’m certainly not suggesting that this is some form of literary penis envy, but I do think that gay porn has a liberating effect on women’s imaginations.

Gay male readers also enjoy the books, thank God, but are far less likely to engage in discussion of them than women. As for officially straight men – and I know that they’re out there reading these books, checking out gay websites, cruising the gay/bi chatrooms and the saunas – they probably wank themselves silly and then chuck the book in the bin. I would love to know what they think, but I resign myself to the fact that I will probably never find out. One female reader tells me that she likes to get all steamed up with a good bit of m/m erotica and then leap on her husband to try out lots of new ideas. Do us a favour and get him to read a bit too, and report back.

Perhaps the new one, Hot Valley – an American Civil War epic – will grab the men as well, as it’s got lots of fighting and shooting, as well as some extremely dirty bits involving officers and foot soldiers, life in army camps and prisons and a huge variety of uniforms for the characters to take off.

I started writing erotica at a time when I was stalled in my “legit” writing career (I write novels under my “real” name, Rupert Smith) and needed an outlet. Now I find myself in a situation where the porn is outselling the literary fiction. It’s also had a healthy effect on my other writing, getting me in touch with the very basic functions of fiction: to excite, entertain and delight, not to be clever-clever. James Lear has liberated Rupert Smith, and it’s a happy symbiosis.

Please note: the man in the suit is Rupert Smith. James, I'm told, is kept under lock and key at a home for elderly nymphomaniacs. One of these guys will be along later today. I don't know which. I am worried.

Check out Rupert's website for more on the proper books and visit James to explore the improper stuff.

FREE FILTH! Up for grabs: The Back Passage and Hot Valley. Add a comment and this double dose of depravity could be yours!

Are You A Winner?

You are the winner of our May Madness competition. You've won a copy of Sex with Strangers!
You are the winner of our book giveaway during the Sage Vivant Interview. You've won a copy of Your Erotic Personality!

We need your details to mail out your prizes. Please send your names and addresses to me, Madeline Moore, at and we'll get these hot-off-the-press books into your hot little hands ASAP.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Cowboys anyone?

Yes, I know, here I am again banging on about cowboys when everyone else on this blog gets into far more kinky and interesting stuff-but I can't help myself I love them. I think there are several reasons for this. One, is that most girls go through a pony/horse/unicorn phase in their life, well, I certainly did, and what is more natural than as a big grown up girl, I should lust after the men who can control these noble steeds, the cowboy?

I also think I'm a product of my age. When I was growing up, almost every other show on the telly was an imported American Western. I loved The High Chapparal, Bonanza, and particularly, The Virginian.

Now, I have no idea what the Virginian was actually about, but I fell in love with 'the man who had no name' and his blond buddy Trampas. I agonized over which one I would marry and wondered if I could marry them both-(see the seeds of my kinkiness were there right from the start). I also had some very interesting dreams when I was a teenager about a short-lived show called "The Quest" which featured a very young Kurt Russell as a man who'd been brought up by Native Americans. he wore a lot of leather and fringes and grunted a lot...sigh

Anyway, "Where have all the Cowboys gone?" is out on Tuesday May 29th! I already spotted it at my local Borders, so run like the wind and buy one-you won't regret it! It's about a business-man turned cowboy who's determined not to let what happened in Vegas, stay in Vegas.

And, as a special request from some Lusties and readers, here is a small excerpt from the now notorious scene in the barn:

"The sweet smell of hay washed over her as Grayson halted in front of her. He held out his hand, his gaze commanding. “Take off your boots and jeans.”
Aware of heat and moisture pooling between her legs, Lauren complied. Grayson’s borrowed denim shirt covered her to mid thigh leaving her decently covered. He pointed at it. “Unbutton the shirt.”
Lauren took her time sliding the buttons free, aware of Grayson watching her and the building anticipation of pleasure. He swallowed hard as he took in her tight nipples showing through the sheer silk of her bra. She resisted a brazen urge to touch herself, to bring that wild look into his eyes and make it boil over.
He walked her across to the empty hay manger in the corner of the stall. “Hold onto this and bend forward.” Lauren grasped the wooden structure with both hands, aware of Grayson moving closer. From her position, she had a nice view of his bulging jeans.
“I’m going to cover your eyes, just like the mares.” A folded blue and white bandana appeared briefly in front of her blocking out the light. Lauren could smell a hint of Grayson’s aftershave on the stiff fabric. She drew in a deep breath trying to adjust to her lack of sight, trying to judge exactly where Grayson was.
The silence stretched. A horse neighed somewhere in the distance followed by a man’s faint laughter. Lauren imagined Grayson staring at her half-exposed body and licked her lips as her heart rate increased.
“You’re beautiful, Lauren.”
Gray swept his hand up the inside of Lauren’s shirt caressing her naked spine from bottom to top. She shivered at the faint roughness of his palm and the hint of possessiveness in his voice. The soft hiss of his leather belt being drawn out of his jeans made her listen more intently. She sensed him edge closer and held her breath.
“Do you remember how the stallion sensed the mare?” Grayson inhaled, the sound loud in the sultry silence. “I can smell you, Lauren. I know that when I want to push inside you, you’ll be wet and ready for me.”
Lauren bit her lip and pressed her thighs together. Grayson was right. She was more than ready to take him. He snapped the end of his belt out and grazed her butt. The leather felt warm and supple against her skin. He did it again, surprising her with the small sting and then drew the length of the belt across her back. Her fingers fisted as he wrapped the belt around her wrists and secured her to the hay manger."

Hope you enjoyed that! And please come on over to my website tomorrow for a 'rootin tootin contest!'
Share your feelings here about your favorite cowboy shows and movies and I'll pick one lucky commentator to win a signed copy of the book!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Coming Attractions

This week at Lust Bites we're all feeling a little queer.

We kick off the week with cowboys. Big butch sexy 'Kate Pearce' cowboys. Saying yee-ha and everything. And hot on the heels of those sturdy ranch hands, on Wednesday, is our guest, deliciously dirty gay-romp author James Lear, with Kristina Lloyd acting as his beard.

(I expect they're exchanging rugby players backstage as I write…) Some of you may have already thumbed Mr Lear's Back Passage and perhaps now you'd enjoy giving his Hot Valley a little of your attention. What? It's his new book, okay. God, you people…

At the end of the week our very own grande dame Portia da Costa will be here to give us a tease of her brand new novel, Suite Seventeen – featuring a very naughty and capricious hero.

And, really, no one is happier than me to announce that naked Lionel over there will be gracing our sidebar all week as part of a concerted effort by us to distract you from whatever you are trying to do.

Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
Just enjoying the view…

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Bondage for Husbands…

We’re here on a Saturday. A Saturday! So you know this would have to be important, otherwise, we’d still be lounging in bed, with mimosas (the drinks, not the plants) and smiling coyly at our men, who are bound to the bedframes…

No, wait! I’m not supposed to be writing about bondage play for wayward spouses, I’m supposed to be introducing Murray Suid, who is ready to teach us all about what the words “bondage” and “husband” have in common, as well as a few other sexy word sets.

Murray Suid is the author of more than two dozen books. A former instructor at San Jose State University, he is a screenwriter and lives in Northern California. (If you think that California relates to fornicate, you likely will enjoy reading Words of a Feather. The same is true for those who are absolutely certain that California has nothing to do with illicit behavior whatsoever.)

Without further ado, here is Murray!


In the next few minutes, I’ll try to demonstrate that etymology can be fun, provocative, and even sexy.

WORDS OF A FEATHER focuses on 150 word pairs that at first seem unrelated but yet share common origins. I wrote the book partly because of a long-standing interest in etymology (hey, we all have our hang-ups) and also because a friend’s agent had heard that a big publisher was hot to find a witty book on words. The agent persuaded me that we’d sell enough copies to fund my feature film project—THE ESP AFFAIR. That seemed like a stupendous idea, which I fell for, not recognizing the close connection between stupendous & stupid.

No regrets. It was a challenging project. Early on I decided to choose pairs that shed light on a variety of subjects, such as sports (“champion & champagne”), war (“infant & infantry”), and money (“flatulence & inflation”).

Which brings us to the subject at hand: SEX. Let’s start with “husband & bondage.”

“Husband” comes from the Old English husbonda, meaning (back then!) “master of the house.” The first syllable—hus—was the Old English word for “house.” The same element is found in the ancient huswife,” “housewife,” which eventually came to be pronounced “huzzy” and spelled “hussy,” with the disrespectful meaning of a loose woman.

Back to “husband”: The second syllable band is from the Old English bonda, “a farmer,” which, after the Norman Conquest in 1066, came to name someone who was under the control of the lord of the manor. Hence, bonda signified subjection, from which arose “bondage.”

Happily, with the rise of democratic institutions and the decline of the power of the lords, husbands are no longer seen as suffering in bondage. Indeed, the word “bondage” brings to mind words quite different from suffering.

For those more interested in affairs, consider “flamboyant & in flagrante delicto.”

If you want to call attention to yourself, go for red—red shoes, red sports car, red hair—or if you’re a flamingo, red feathers. This is the lesson taught by “flamboyant,” a word first used in the fifteenth century to name a showy—flaming—style of French architecture. The word comes to us from the Old French flamboyer, “flame,” itself derived from the Latin flagare, “to burn.”

From the same Latin source we get many hot English expressions such as “flambe,” “inflammatory,” “flagrant,” and in flagrante delicto. A literal translation of this Latin legal term is “with the crime still blazing.” Figuratively, we get “in the act of committing the crime” or “red-handed.”

These days, of course, “in flagrante delicto” almost always refers to an illicit sexual encounter. Hot stuff. Which brings to mind a seventeenth-century synonym for “sweetheart”—“flame.”

The theme of heat brings us to the climax of this presentation: “fornicate & furnace.”

Around the time that Saint Augustine wrote, “Lord, give me chastity—but not yet,” the Latin word fornus referred to “an oven designed with an arched top.” Fornus, which is the source of “furnace,” also gave rise to “fornicate,” and therein lies a story.

According to those who keep track of such matters, prostitutes in ancient Rome waited for their giovannis (johns) near the arch-shaped ovens that baked the bread Romans widely enjoyed.

We can easily imagine some witty Roman making the connection between the literal heat from the ovens and the metaphorical heat of sensual encounters.

At least some of us can imagine it.

That’s it for my presentation. If you have questions, please post them, and I’ll respond here. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Words of a Feather to one lucky commenter.

By the way, if you’d like to read a few excerpts from the book, please visit the Words of a Feather website. There, you’ll also find an interactive quiz that some people say is very funny.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Got a Minute?

I’m going to make this quick. I have a thing for ultra-short sex stories. There is just something so damn hot about flash fucking. I mean, flash fiction. Not only do I like writing short-shorts, I like reading them. This is why I have edited three anthologies on the theme: Down & Dirty, Down & Dirty2, and Got a Minute? And why I am currently editing a fourth. Stories in these books range from 75 words to 1,500. Max.

Doubt the power of a quickie?

Just look at what Lust Biter Shanna Germain can do with under 600 words. The piece is called Squeaky Clean. But I swear, it will make you feel dirty.

There’s something hot about washing sex toys. And it isn’t just the water. There you are, standing at the sink, running your lathered hands up and down the bumpy blue shaft of your favorite vibrator, removing any signs of last night’s play, leaving only memories. Beneath the soap and the water, the toy is almost alive, the way it shimmies and wiggles beneath the flow, a slippery fish headed upstream.

Flash back to last night: his hands, lubed, wrapped around the head, coming slowly down the shaft, preparing it for you. You can’t remember wanting anything more, anything other than the quivering false-cock inside you, your lover’s hands bringing it slowly, softly to the edge of your thigh, against your lips, forcing the tip inside as you arch your hips, moan, ask for it, please, yes, please. But he makes you wait, makes you beg before he’ll slide it in, the rubber slipping deeper and deeper, whirring its quiet circles of pleasure inside you, filling you.

Your hands are rougher with the toy now, stronger as you stroke the rubber, every last inch, making sure you don’t miss a spot. The rubber is firm beneath your fingertips, and you close your eyes while you wash, imagining your hand around your lover’s shaft in the shower, water raining on you both. Your hands soaped and slippery, sliding up and back down to circle the tip until he thrusts his hips against your curled fist.

You turn the vibrator on and it buzzes alive beneath your fingers, nosing in and out of your palm, searching for its flower, a scent of nectar. You set the toy against the inside of your arm—wet and humming—and it makes your hips tingle and ache so that you press them against the edge of the sink.

You remember the mornings when he takes you before he showers. You, standing in front of the mirror, nearly swooning as he nibbles your neck before he bends you over the sink. He is quick and a little rough—the way you like it in the mornings—and your whole body seems to lift when he enters you, as though some invisible force is holding you along. He pinches your nipples until you look up at your reflection and the sight is enough to make you come.

The toy is clean now, but you can’t help soaping it up one last time, just to hear the motor rumble as your palm runs up and down its length. After a few minutes, you reluctantly rinse the toy and turn off the water.

It’s almost five and your lover will be home soon. You have a sudden image of meeting him at the door, toy in hand. No, you imagine draping your body across the couch, feet up along the arm rest, vibrator sliding its way between your thighs.

Or, you imagine him coming home, calling out “I’m in here!” when he opens the door. He will come to the bathroom, find you elbow-deep in hot, soapy water, washing the blue vibrator that you used together last night. He will watch you run your hands along its thick shaft, and imagine it is his own cock, stiffening beneath your fingers. Then, he will join you, pressing himself to your back, sinking his hands deep into the liquid next to yours.

You like this idea best, and you stand, poised at the sink, the vibrator in your hand, waiting for him to enter.

For more short (but not necessarily sweet) stories, please check out Got a Minute?—which also features three stories by Teresa Noelle Roberts, two more by Shanna Germain, one killer one by Dayle, and a delicous piece by Gwen.

Alison (100 words or less) Tyler

P.S. What can you do in 100 words or less? Show us! Post your super-short fiction in the comments. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Got a Minute? (But you don't need to post your porn in order to enter.)
P.P.S. I've posted a 100-word piece of my own, here.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Congratulations to me!

By Mathilde Madden
Well right now I am meant to be dedicating myself only to my werewolves, but I just had to pop in to swank about some rather lovely news I just got.

My most recent novel - Equal Opportunities - ground breaking smutfest about a disabled man and a slightly controlling woman (who is *nothing* like me) - has catapulted me into the final three for writer of the year at the 2007 Erotic Awards.

Click on the banner to find out more about the erotic awards which honour all kinds of sexy people from campaigners to strippers to sadomasochists.

Read a sample of Equal Opportunities here.

Tilly aka Mathilde Madden

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lust Bites Interviews Sizzling Sage Vivant

LB: Your name is synonymous with sophisticated, sexy fiction, so it's thrilling to welcome you to Lust Bites, Sage Vivant. We met when you were reading submissions for the anthologies you and M. Christian edited for Thunder's Mouth Press in 2006, but you've been active in erotica for some time. I put it like that because, along with your fiction and your editing, you run Custom Erotica Source, an online writing service. At CES, people order tailor-made erotic tales.

Before we get to that, there's a question I’m dying to ask. When my work was accepted, you communicated with me. When it was rejected, it was by M. Christian. Is he the heavy in the partnership?

SV: Now that’s the most original question I’ve ever been asked in an interview! Chris (M. Christian) isn’t a fan of administrative work or correspondence, so that’s mostly why I dealt with both for those anthologies. Plus, his name is so much better known than mine, I felt it was only right that I do the dirty work to carry my weight! But it’s hysterically funny that anyone would think he would be the heavy. He’s a pussycat.

LB: Isn’t he best known for m/m work? We Lusties are wondering: How did you and he… become partners?

SV: In 2001, a mutual friend – Jamie Joy Gatto – came to San Francisco and tried to cram in as many visits with her cyber-pals as she could. She wanted to see me and M. Christian but didn’t have time for two dinners (Chris and I didn’t know each other), so she invited us to join her for one dinner. But here’s the funny part: I had seen and heard M. Christian’s name but I hadn’t ever read anything by him, so I did some Internet sleuthing and discovered that he wrote a lot of m/m material. “He must be gay,” I assumed, opting not to waste my time on much makeup or particularly sexy clothes for the dinner! Well, lo and behold, he is as straight as they come and we hit it off like gangbusters. We were an item almost instantly and have been together as a romantic couple and a professional team ever since.

LB: Many of us at Lust Bites started writing erotica for our friends and lovers, but who'd have imagined it could become a successful enterprise. How did CES start?

SV: Well, I must clarify that Custom Erotica Source is completely and totally my baby – M. Christian has almost nothing to do with it other than to talk me down from the occasional ledge.
I started the business in 1998 when I wanted to leave my banking career and start writing. I had a fairly high-paying job, so I didn’t relish the prospect of being a penniless scribe. Becoming a novelist, then, was out. I’d always wanted to run a business that provided a real service to people and I had strong feelings about sex-positive approaches to life. Plus, I’d found that when I read erotica I was disappointed. I wanted to provide stories that would be exactly what a given individual wanted to read.
It wasn’t that I thought the erotica on the shelves was bad, it’s just that what turns some people on isn’t what turns other people on.

LB: Do you write a lot of the CES stories yourself? What's the secret to styling the story for readers who also star in the piece?

SV: Up until about six months ago, I wrote 90 percent of the stories myself. I felt (and still feel) that writing to spec expands my repertoire like nothing else. Now, however, I don’t have time to write all the stories (and I was starting to get burned out), so I’m giving more and more of the work to staff writers.

People get an enormous kick out of reading stories that are written about them and/or for them, so my job is made somewhat easier. However, clients can also be tremendously exacting where their sexual fantasies are concerned, so I (and my writers) have to pay incredible attention to every detail the client provides. I often liken the task to being a wedding planner or a psychiatrist – you have to read people very well and you have to put aside your own preferences for those of the client. That’s not easy. It comes down to respecting the clients. If we can manage that, we pretty much always end up pleasing them.

I concentrate on what the requester feels are the positive aspects. A common one, for instance, is larger women. I refer to them as voluptuous and luscious rather than big or oversized – that kind of thing. However, if the client calls such women big or oversized, that’s how I’d characterize them in the story. It’s a matter of how the client sees the characters. How I write them is completely dependent on that.

LB: One of your celebrity writers, Lust Bites' very own Alison Tyler, said her CES experience was a very pleasant one. She's curious to know if CES has taboos? And what fantasies do people request most?

SV: Alison is so kind – and a pleasure to work with. She and staff writer Bryn Colvin turn stories around faster than any other human beings I know. Same day service! I like having a little roster of “known” names because I think it lends credibility to CES.

CES absolutely has taboos. They’re outlined in the site’s FAQs: Bestiality, incest, under-age characters, and nonconsensual sex. I’ve had to decline some requests, but it seems that most folks understand these taboos and tread carefully around them. I am surprised by how many potential clients write me before placing an order to make sure what they want is something CES will write.

By far the most frequently requested storyline is threesomes and foursomes. Usually in a tropical setting. Men order this fantasy quite often, and women who order stories for their men usually request this fantasy, knowing it will have great appeal!

LB: Erotica seems to be moving rapidly into the supernatural - vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc.. Are you seeing more requests for those? I wonder if this is reflected in the tastes of your clients.

SV: I get a fair amount of requests for supernatural erotica, but it’s not nearly as popular at CES as it appears to be in bookstores. I’ve had requests for these types of stories since CES began in 1998 and can’t say that the percentage has gone up. About 15 percent of client requests fall into this category.

LB: We're all fascinated with the 'Your Erotic Personality' book. How did you research it? Which personality are you?

SV: Thank you! My research entailed looking at CES requests and finding trends among the erotic psyches of the requestors. I first categorized the stories then, based on the themes that emerged, I came up with the personality. The book quickly became a kind of self-help book that explains why people gravitate toward certain sexual fantasies, but my primary purpose in writing it was to underscore that differences in erotic triggers are normal, good, and above all, common. In the United States, I feel we are adolescent in our sexual views. Right now, we seem to have downright sophomoric definitions of what’s sexy: you’re either kinky or you’re vanilla. The uber-hip enjoy certain sexual practices, we’re told, and if you don’t like them, then you’re sexually stunted. When I see publishers start erotica lines and all they publish are tales of bondage and discipline, I get angry. Scores of people don’t find s/m remotely sexy, but here are publishing imprints so limited in their sexual views that they can’t think of anything else that might turn people on. The word “fetish” is, in fact, now virtually synonymous with bdsm, and I find that exceptionally narrow-minded. I might take a lot of heat for my views, but I’m getting too old to care, really!
I am a Wanderer and a Show-Off. Come to my website, to take the erotic personality mini-quiz or watch the movie. That is, if you don’t want to buy the book!

LB: I know you're excited about your latest venture, Sage's Advice. Lust Bites is all about fiction and so are you, so what the heck is Sage's Advice?

SV: Sage’s Advice will be for Web sites what Custom Erotica Source is for individuals. I’ve had several sites comes to me for content – blog posts, stories, even sexy marketing copy. The time has come to start a separate business targeted to Web sites. M. Christian and I will operate Sage’s Advice together. We plan to launch it sometime in June. We’ve got some writers but are happy to consider more – especially experienced, published writers.

LB: Thanks for zooming into Lust Bites today, Sage. And best of luck to you, and M. Christian, with all your sexy endeavors!

SV: Thanks so much! I’m looking forward to answering questions today. I know they’ll be especially interesting from this group of savvy writers!

LB: We’re giving away one copy of Your Erotic Personality by Sage Vivant. To enter, all you have to do is post a comment. Let the fun begin!

Monday, May 21, 2007

On Our Best Behavior for Barry Eisler

We at LustBites are all dressed up to meet our latest guest author: Barry Eisler. It would be enough for us that Eisler is the author of The Rain books, featuring half-Japanese, half-American assassin John Rain. These titles have won the Gumshoe Awards; have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists; have been translated into twenty languages; and have been optioned for film by Barrie Osborne, Oscar-winning producer of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Say it with me: Oh, my god.

But Eisler is cooler than that. Before becoming a best-selling thriller writer, he worked in the CIA's Directorate of Operations.

Yes, the CIA.

And if that’s not enough, he then lived in Japan, where he earned his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center.

So what all this means is that you’d better behave yourselves and read the following sexy excerpt from his latest book, Requiem for an Assassin, out tomorrow. Then stick around for a little Q & A. We’ll choose a commenter from today’s post to win a signed copy of Requiem!

The back of her thighs bumped against the side of the bed. She was barely thinking now, she just wanted him naked, his skin against her, his weight on her, all of him inside her. He broke the kiss to lift her sweater over her head and was back before he had even tossed it aside, his tongue, his teeth, the taste of whisky and his own taste, too. She managed to get his belt open, then his pants. She reached inside, and when she felt how hard he was, it excited her even more. She squeezed and felt his breath catch.

She pushed the jacket off his shoulders and tugged it down over his arms, then got his shirt off and threw it aside, never once letting him stop kissing her. He pushed her back on the bed and stepped out of his pants. She realized her bra was gone, she hadn’t even been aware of his doing it. Her groin ached and she was panting. Without thinking, she put her hand on herself, over her jeans, and rubbed. “Hurry,” she said.

Then he was naked, leaning over her, unbuttoning her jeans. He hooked his fingers inside the waistband and peeled the jeans and her panties down over her legs and flung them away. She scrambled back on the bed, spreading her legs and raising her knees, and Rain moved on top of her. She took hold to guide him and she was so wet that he didn’t stop nor even slow but buried himself inside her with one violent stroke.

She gasped with the mixed pleasure and pain of it and he moved back and thrust again and this time she cried out because she was coming, her back arching, her body shuddering, her hands moving involuntarily to his ass to pull him deeper, deeper. She felt his arms go under hers and he took her face hard in both hands and spread her legs wider with his thighs, his weight on her now, holding her, pinning her to the bed, kissing her hard again, fucking her like some primitive natural force she’d conjured but could now no longer control. He was moaning in her mouth, she could hear it and feel it both, and his movements grew faster, more brutal, and she felt another orgasm welling up from the depths of her. He groaned and squeezed his eyes shut and hammered at her harder than ever, as though enraged, or enraptured, or punishing an enemy he didn’t know how else to kill.

Then the groan grew wilder and his body tensed and she felt him coming and she came, too, a shock wave of pleasure reverberating from her groin to her toes, her breasts, her fingertips, her mouth where he was kissing her still.


Lustbites: How do you decide whether to include an explicit sex scene or fade-to-black?

Barry Eisler: Mostly I prefer more of the full monty approach, driven as I am by my enduring inner 14-year-old. But here's the right rule of thumb, I think, at least when your inner 14-year-old isn't calling the shots: does it only matter *that* the characters had sex? Or does it matter *how* they had sex? If the only thing that matters is the fact of the sex itself, showing it is unnecessary and will add nothing to the story. But if the way the characters make love is what matters in the story, then not only should you show it, you actually have to show it, or the story will suffer.

One thing an explicit sex scene automatically has going for it in this regard is the way it can reveal character. Few things reveal character as immediately and profoundly as the way someone makes love. Another, by the way, is the way someone reacts to violence, whether as victim or perpetrator. To me, the best stories, really the only worthwhile stories, are always about realistic, memorable, affecting characters. If you're writing genre and don't have all the time in the world to allow your characters to develop over the course of a thousand mundane behaviors, subjecting them to the extreme stress of violence, and seeing how they make love, are two good shortcuts.

LB: Do the sex scenes always have to drive the thriller plot?
BE: They do if the thriller is any good. In a good book, there shouldn't be a single scene that can be removed without the whole story unraveling. If you can pull out that single thread without unraveling the story, you didn't need the thread in the first place -- and there's no exception to this rule for sex scenes.

I suppose it comes down to a question of emphasis. In romance, readers expect good sex scenes, so romance writers have more of a tendency to make the scene the objective and work backwards to plot and character. In a thriller, where action might be the objective, it's more the action that will drive plot and character (actually, I tend to think of sex as just another kind of action scene... see my thoughts in response to question #1...). But regardless of how you arrive at any scene, sex, action, you name it, that scene has to be both the result of and the catalyst for other forces in the story. In other words, it ought to be some kind of turning point: emotionally, thematically, or logistically. If it's not, it'll by definition be gratuitous, and will have far less power than it otherwise would have.

LB: You are a male writer and (seem) to have a male POV character. Have you ever written a sexy or romantic scene from a female POV? If not, why not? If yes, how was it for you?

EB: Up until Requiem, which is the sixth Rain book, all my sex scenes were from the male POV -- naturally enough, because the books were primarily told from John Rain's first person perspective. But in the fourth book, Killing Rain, I started adding segments told from the POVs of other characters -- most particularly Delilah, the seductive Israeli agent who becomes Rain's lover. As the lives and actions of these characters became more intertwined, not just their behavior, but their impressions and interpretations of each other's behavior became increasingly integral to the plots. In Requiem, I realized the reader could best understand the changes in Rain's character, and the chemistry that bound him to Delilah, if those changes were told from Delilah's POV. Naturally enough, that led to a sex scene from Delilah's perspective.

How was it? Awesome. The research was a blast: a lot of imagination, a lot of interesting Q&A sessions with my wife, a lot of "I get paid to do this?!" moments. And the result, for me, was one of the hottest scenes in all the Rain books.

LB: Do CIA agents wear uniforms?
EB: Only the security guards at Headquarters in Langley. For the undercover people it would be a dead giveaway...

LB: What are you wearing?
EB: LOL! You wouldn't believe me if I told you...

LB: Oh, try us, Barry. We'll believe anything...

For more about Barry Eisler, visit his web site or be his friend!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Coming Attractions

Sex, spies and videotape

Mathilde has gone to an international top secret werewolf convention, so today Special Agent Magennis is stepping in to her very kinky shoes to let you know how what the week brings.

Next week is looking rather racy. In fact, it’s rather like the XXX files…

On Monday Alison meets Barry Eisler in a secret location. We’re excited about this for several reasons: An ex CIA covert agent, Barry has travelled the world, mastered martial arts, written many thrillers, and has that whole rugged, stubbly, I-could-kill-you-but-instead-I’m-going-to-seduce-you thing going on. Lustbites donned our leather cat suits to ask him probing questions about his weapon (while giggling nervously from the other side of the Atlantic) and his bestselling ‘John Rain’ thrillers. Miss it at your peril.

If you’ve recovered from the excitement by Wednesday, join Madeline Moore as she interviews the lovely Sage Vivant, owner of Custom Erotica Source, editor of many lush erotica books, and author of ‘Your Erotic Personality.’

On Friday, gird your loins as the ever-generous Alison Tyler returns to offer a peek into her next anthology – ‘Got a minute’: a collection of super-short and super-sexy erotic tales that should set you up nicely for the weekend.

And finally, as a special treat, Murray Suid will be dropping by on Saturday to tell us about his book ‘Words of a Feather’ and the tangled history of language. If you’d like to know more about the connection between ‘bondage’ and ‘husband’, be sure to visit.

So your mission should you choose to accept it, is to join us as we go undercover with the hot spy, work out our erotic personality disorders and sample some sizzling etymologically correct erotica, all in less than sixty seconds. I think…

Giveaways are likely, but I can’t tell you any more or I’d have to kill you.

Agent Magennis
Working undercover for your reading pleasure

Friday, May 18, 2007

Who Needs Perfection?

By Gwen MastersBarbie
Last week I picked up a new novel by an author I had never heard of before. I got to page eighteen before I had to put it down and walk away. It wasn’t that the writing was bad, or that the plot wasn’t any good – it was the lead character. She annoyed the hell out of me.

The perfect protagonist is the one thing that will make me throw a book across the room in a fit of fury. Impossibly perfect bodies, stunning success without working for it, dialogue that I have to look up in a dictionary – these are not the things of real life. I love to lose myself in a fantasy from time to time, but even fantasy goes only so far before common sense takes over.

I admit: I’ve been guilty of writing the perfect protagonist. It was something I did back when I was just dipping my toes into the publishing pool, and my lovely editors forgave me the indiscretion. As time goes on (and as I trade the fairy tale youth for a bit of experience), I tend to write things a more realistically, and I want to read something more realistic, too. I want to read about the woman who might drink too much at the company party, who curses like a sailor when she gets pissed, who walks out of the house with no makeup. I want to read about a real woman, not a Barbie doll!

My all-time favorite flawed heroine is Orleanna Price from Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible. She’s the wife of a fire-and-brimstone preacher, a mother to five children, and trying hard to survive as a missionary in the deepest reaches of the Congo in the 1960s. She struggles with her faith, with her marriage, and with motherhood. She struggles to make peace with the village women even while she tries to make peace within herself. She bends until she breaks, and when she does finally fall to pieces, only then do we see what she’s really made of.

Two BarbiesOne of my favorite characters to write was Kelley, the woman in One Breath at a Time, my upcoming Black Lace novel. Kelley went through a breakup that left her devastated – she was cheated on, lied to, hurt immeasurably. She’s working through the pain of the betrayal and trying to get on with her new life. On her best days, she’s just like you and me. On her worst days, she has moments when one breath at a time seems to be all she can manage. But she keeps on keepin’ on, because you know, that’s what we do.

Dayle A. Dermatis has a unique take on the topic: “Are there perfect heroines? Because if there are, what's the point in writing about them? Where's the internal conflict, and thus the book? Aren't ALL main characters, by necessity, flawed?”

That’s a good point – and that’s why it drives me insane to pick up a best-selling novel whose heroine is a dainty wallflower. Dayle is right: What’s the point? The good stuff comes from the hard knocks, not from easy street.

Nikki Magennis is loving Carmen Martin Gaite’s heroine in Living’s the Strange Thing. Check out the blurb and tell me this woman isn't fantastic:

'Office file clerk Águeda Soler, 35 years old, lost her mother 2 months ago. During her husband's absence she visits her grandfather and, when the old man confuses her with her dead mother, she doesn't contradict him, and submerges herself into a delirium of emotions.'

In Nikki’s words: “It's so subtle you can feel the characters fingertips.”

Clarice and HannibalPortia Da Costa had a great protagonist in mind: “Clarice Starling. She's stubborn, opinionated, and sometimes tactless. She's fighting a constant battle to stop the ghosts of her past muddying her clarity of purpose, but she's intelligent, loyal and intuitive, and she's not afraid to admire the unthinkable.”

Portia has also written a flawed heroine or two in her time. Her favorite? “Maria Lewis from Entertaining Mr Stone. Don't really know why except that it was just so easy to be her for a while. Her flaws are my flaws...which are legion.”

Madeline Moore (sometimes Madeline de Chambrey) says: My favourite heroine I've written was in a short story for the Thunder's Mouth Press anthology Amazons: Sexy Tales of Strong Women (edited by Sage Vivant and M. Christian). She is the main character in the eponymous story, 'The Bearded Lady."

Why is she Madeline’s favorite? “After she has a mastectomy and chemotherapy she loses her hair, which means she loses not only a breast, but worse, her beard! So, whereas once she was 'more than a woman, now that her beard was gone...she was less than the most ordinary woman on earth.'”

Alana Noel Voth has a whole list! "Julia from George Orwell's 1984; Holly Golightly from Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's; Brett Ashley from Ernest Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises; Laura Brown from The Hours by Michael Cunningham; and Marguerette Duras as herself in The Lover. I love a writer brave enough to allow the rest of us to view her flaws in such a lush, erotic memoir. Seriously, Duras has inspired me beyond words and made me feel brave enough to explore my own flaws in writing."

Scarlett and RhettDeanna Ashford picked a true classic. “It must be Scarlett O'Hara for me. I first read Gone with the Wind when I was about 13 and I enjoyed it so much I read it from start to finish in one weekend. I admire Scarlett's strength and determinationin the face of adversity and he desire to rebuild her beloved Tara. However, I also wanted to slap her most of the time because she was selfish, emotionally stupid and callously used people to achieve her own ends. When she did eventually marry the one man who was right for her, her own foolishness destroyed her one last chance of true happiness.”

Kate Pearce chimed in, “Ooh I was going to suggest Scarlet O'Hara too for exactly the same reasons! My other fav is Anita Blake, the heroine of Laurell K Hamilton's series. She starts off as a prudish, narrow minded Catholic and ends many men does she have in her bed now? I haven't counted for a while.”

Doesn’t that just make you want to ply Miss Anita with enough alcohol to make her spill the details?

Slutty nailsFinally, Olivia Knight has her favorites, too. “I'm such an A.S. Byatt whore. Frederica, from the quartet - The Virgin In The Garden, Still Life, Babel Tower, and A Whistling Woman. She's opinionated, ambitious, and unrelentingly clever - she never lets up into the sweet womanliness which is so often touted as a much higher virtue. I like heroines who aren't always nice, because nice holds women back left, right and centre.”

Olivia sums it up perfectly: "Anyone who doesn't explicitly and routinely match all their clothes and wear dainty little designer shoes has my vote!”

So forget the surgery-enhanced knockouts, the brilliant rocket scientists, the impossibly perfect lasses who never chip a nail. Who are your favorite flawed heroines?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Crush Wednesday: skinny boys

Picture it: bulging biceps, broad shoulders, muscular thighs, a square jaw, large powerful hands. I glance up from my coffee-table, yawn, and return to filling in my tax forms. ‘Manly’ bores me. ‘Rugged’ leaves me stone cold. Macho makes me snigger. But enter a skinny-malinky-long-legs and I start to flutter, shift in my seat, toy with my hair, lick the tip of my fingernail thoughtfully, and send sly sidelong glances.

It’s Legolas over Aragorn, Johnny Depp over Brad Pitt, Regency Rake over Burly Scots Warrior, computer geek over cowboy, underfed artist over powerful city-suit, bony over bulging. Long slender legs captivate me; sturdy burly limbs leave me with nothing but distaste. Narrow shoulders tapering to an even narrower waist fill me with reverence; powerful pecs don’t earn a second glance. Brawny and beefy are insults, to my mind. Six-packs – well – I can take ‘em or leave ‘em, to be honest.

What I worship is hipbones. Sharp, prominent hipbones with an interior shadow that slides invitingly down into those slim-fitting jeans. The hard shape of them beneath my exploratory thumb. The purple flowerets of bruises they can leave on your inner thigh. Mmmm… hipbones…

To be honest, my tastes haven’t changed much since I was fourteen, which shows a) a woeful sexual retardation, or b) having a sufficiently hermaphrodite mind myself, I don’t feel the need for excess masculinity cluttering up the place. We’d only fight over my drill.

It was established at school that I had ‘weird taste in guys’, which I thought meant I got all the elven scrawny ones to myself. As it turned out, they mostly got each other. All the guys I’ve found irresistable have either been gay, bisexual, or thought to be gay by everyone but me. Skinny and girly? Bring it on. Make-up on men? Yummy. Look good in a dress? Borrow mine! No, really, I’ll just slip it off right now, it’s no trouble… In most gay clubs, I feel like I’m in a sweet-shop with the wrong currency.

Thankfully, body-fat percentage is not always directly proportional to heterosexuality, so I can have my oatcake and eat it. In reality, there are plenty of lean willowy gods for me to worship. In erotica, the pickings are often the only thing that’s thin. Kristina can keep her rugby team. Tilly can have all the swollen biceps. I’ll pass on the cowboys, the baseball team, the fireman, the woodcutter, and the knight, but I’ll take the alchemist, provided he’s sufficiently wan. Or rather, I’ll fight over him with Madelynne, who provided most of today’s artwork… because as it turns out, I’m not alone. (Cue music)

So how exactly not-alone am I? Who else would spurn rugged, manly, bulging, muscular, beefy, well-built, and hairy for lithe, slender, lean, elegant, graceful, and smooth? And just how many people am I expected to share this man with?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

COMPETITION: And the winners are ...

by Kristina Lloyd
Our May Madness competition was a huge success! Amazing! The deal was: if we reached 150 comments, I'd be put in a basket and lowered into a pit of naked rugby boys. And I'm thrilled to announce that the winner is ... ME!

Thanks to everyone who entered. I really do appreciate it. It's so kind of you to take the time out from your busy schedules to ...

Sorry? You want to know who got the books? Oh, I see! That's why you're all here. I thought you wanted to watch.

OK then - briefly, because I have an appointment: a round of applause and a huge stash of signed smut to our two champions: 'Kelly from TN' and 'Melissa, the Switchiest Diva Around'!

Three lucky runners-up also win a copy of the latest Black Lace anthology Sex with Strangers and a condom (use it wisely). They are: 'Sarah SG Frantz', 'Casey' and 'A Bookworm'!

Congratulations, winners! Email us with your address, and your deliciously dirty books will be in the post, pronto. We're here: lustbitesladies AT yahoo DOT com

Commiserations to all those who missed out but, hey, don't be too downhearted. We've always got mini giveaways scattered throughout the schedule so, you know, keep it coming.

Our next whopper of a contest will be in August when, hopefully, I'll have recovered from the rugby boys. No! I mean when Black Lace releases Love on the Dark Side, the mightily exciting anthology of paranormal erotica and romance. I think this collection features stories from more Lust Biters than any of the others ... because, deep down inside, we're a spooky bunch of gals.

Many thanks to everyone who joined in the fun. It's lovely to know we've got so many smut-hungry readers out there. You make it all worthwhile.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got a basket to clamber into.

Woo-hoo! Someone pass the baby oil, quick!

Monday, May 14, 2007

One-handed reading habits

Recently, I had to proofread The Ten Visions (coming out 4 July, so as not to overshadow the last Harry Potter on the twenty-first; avoid the queues and pre-order now!). I curled up on the sofa, coffee in one hand, pen in the other, realised I couldn’t turn the pages, put the coffee down, and began to read. It took all my self-control, honed by Taoist meditation on mountain retreats and further schooled by Tibetan fire-walking techniques, to last as long as I did. After five chapters, I had to nip off for a cold shower. And yes, that is a euphemism. It’s a credit to my proofing skills that even in throes of unsated lust I can spot a there that should be their, but I probably left swathe’s of misplaced a’postrophe’s in some of the sex scen’es. The whole exercise held the seed of its own collapse from the start.

You see, rigorous self-control is my favourite style of one-handed reading. I’m talking no hands – not even a fingertip, not even a surreptious wiggle against the sofa. I sits, and I reads. The slight flush rises up my body, my lips part, my eyes dilate, a squishy wetness seeps, but it’s strictly lapdance rules: no touching. Once, I came like that. (Once, I came just from internet sex – talk about kkkkkrrrshhhhhvvvv – and once from a toe massage, so yes, it is the thought that counts.) Usually, my self-imposed discipline collapses at some point, or I set a pact with the book – I’m only allowed to touch when and where the characters touch, or I can only slip a finger in when the heroine gets something rather thicker wedged slowly into her. With short story collections, I might be forcedly composed for the first two and then gradually disintegrate over numbers three and four, until the book is pinned down at an awkward angle halfway off the bed, my neck is in agony, the bedclothes are tangled and heating up…

There’s also the question of where. I once read a Nexus book on a rush-hour tube, inside a copy of Germaine Greer, hoping the flush would be mistaken for feminist fervour. I thought I was safe, wedged against the back of the carriage by the door. I’d forgotten the glass window into which the next carriage’s occupants could peer, rubber-necking their way through a severe ritualistic spanking. Sometimes I read on the sofa, then wish I’d thought to close the curtains earlier, often in bed (such a handy place, bedrooms; have you noticed how many cosmetics come in cylindrical containers? Coincidence? I think not), and most daringly while invigilating a university exam. (Put the sub back into sub-fusc, I say.)

I do, rather pruriently, prefer to read alone. The fallen angel I share my bed with reads at the identical speed, so we could theoretically read in tandem; we read aloud to each other, so we could theoretically read erotica out loud, but for some reason we don’t. (Now that I’ve thought about it, though… watch this space.) It’s a private fantasy world, sliding under a character’s skin and sharing their shudders. That said, sometimes I’ll wake up earlier and lie in bed reading until his tranquil sleep is abruptly and demandingly disturbed.

My erotica stash frequently lands up on the bedside table, but migrates around the house like a herd of restive stallions. For a while, it sat in a box under the stairs. Occasionally it hides under my skirts (it won’t fit in my knickers drawer anymore). Tucked behind other books on the bookshelves was discreet, but I could never remember which shelf. Sometimes they get shelf-space of their own, but that’s a precious commodity in this house – so during parent-proofing, they get shoved hastily in a drawer and by the time they’re ready to come out their alphabetical niche is mysteriously occupied by a batch of Terry Pratchetts. (I swear those books breed.)

So – what about you? Now that I’ve divulged more intimate details than anyone was probably ready for, it’s your turn. How do you prefer to read? Where? With someone, alone, or both? And where, in your home, do these inflammatory books live?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Coming Attractions

By Mathilde Madden

If you're reading this in an idle moment can I invite you to hop back a post and read Alison "Randy Little Bitch" Tyler's sensational Susie Bright interview – or take a look at the side bar where we have links to some of our all time favourite Lust Bites nibbles.

And if you're hopping around and haven't entered our competition – go do it! I don’t want to encourage double entry but if that post reaches 150 comments we're going to put Kristina Lloyd in a basket and lower her into a pit of naked rugby players – so you'd be doing everyone a favour.

If you do enter our comp and win you'll be drowning in a sea of dirty books. You gonna need a hand with that? On Monday Olivia Knight asks How Do You Read Yours?

Your pornographic literature that is.

Then, on Wednesday, Olivia will be back - this time with her glamorous assistant Madelynne Ellis - and they'll both be crushing on a whole raft of skinny, dirty androgynous boys. So you'd better wear protective goggles or they might take your eye out with those hip bones.

Friday sees Gwen Masters talking about flawed heroines. As mainstream visual porn presents us with an endless stream of Barbie dolls with ridiculous fingernails, can erotic romance do better? Oh, of course we can.

Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
So, he's Brad Pitt…

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Group Retreat with the Sensational Susie Bright

by Alison Tyler

We, at LustBites, are all atwitter. Today, we’re featuring an interview with editrix extraordinaire Susie Bright! Ms. Bright is the cofounder and editor of the first women's sex magazine, On Our Backs, the founder of the first women's erotica book series, "Herotica," and the editor of the excellent "Best American Erotica" series, which she began in 1993. BAE 2007 is the 15th collection in the series. Basically, Susie rocks!

Susie, you are an inspiration. One who's made such an impact to all of us: readers and writers alike. We’re truly excited you’re here.

Lust Bites: One lustbiter recalls picking up a Best American antho, "And it was like I'd been given treasure. All the erotica I was reading tended to be very romantic, health spa-ish, full of adverbs.

Susie Bright: LOL! who of you said that? Please tell me! I have never heard the "health-spa-ish" appellation before, that is too perfect. And just ask me about the Adverb Diet!

LB: And suddenly here was good stylish writing with contemporary characters I could relate to, wit, intelligence, relevance ... oh, I was so happy it existed."

SB: I must quote this. You must reveal.

LB: It was Kristina Lloyd who said that. (You don't mind that I've outed you, Kristina, do you?) Another Lustbiter remembers reading a quote from you. It was so powerful, she posted it on the wall: "Close your eyes for a moment, and remember the last time you had an orgasm. At the moment of climax, how many of you were thinking about a lovely walk on the beach, or a bouquet of balloons?" God, that was freeing.

SB: Yes, I remember writing it, and it liberated me to just blurt it out. I was taking a chance, but it really does seem to speak for the multitudes! Who among you had this memory?

LB: Um, that was me. It's still one of my favorite quotes! You know, we wish we could sit around a roaring fire with you, drinking bubbly and painting our nails while we slip sultry questions into the conversation.

SB: Well, why not? Why do we never have a group retreat, get-together, something?

LB: As we're an international crew, that's not going to happen unless one of us rakes in the lottery. So instead, we've managed to come up with a variety of questions. Pick and choose your favorites, or go off on another tangent altogether. (We'd all love to hear more about the delicious Best American Erotica 2007 which features one of our crew, the ever so talented Shanna Germain.)

SB: I have an interview with Shanna on my blog...

LB: What do you think of the romance genre's trend toward erotic romance?

SB: I wrote a piece answering this very question, which I'm really proud of.

LB: What do you look for in an erotic story? What do you hate to see?

SB: The erotic story has a built-in expectation: Person A Meets Person B (Maybe a C and D, etc) and They Get It On, After a Brief Conflict.

That expectation is deadly. Predictability is the torture of literature. So, a great erotic story for me is one that makes me completely forget that I think I know what's going to happen, that makes me really wonder how the conflict will be overcome, that captures me with suspense of some kind. That makes me innocent.

Well, you hit on my "hates" in your comments above. Mushy, cornball, bigoted crap-cakes. With lots of adverb frosting.

LB: What shocks you? Has this changed over the years?

SB: Not really. My sensitivities are pretty consistent. Cruelty and callousness, the real kind, not the erotic variety, are what push my buttons. But I will publish these very things, these kind of characterizations, if they're not gratuitous, because of course, if it REALLY shocks you then it means the author knows what they're doing, with their craft and imagination. In other words, to take an example from mainstream literature, of course "Hannibal Lecter" frightened me. He's supposed to. The Marquis de Sade IS shocking, he'd better be. An erotic story can have shocking, anti-erotic content and still be wildly successful as writing and as erotica, if it finds its own divine conclusion.

On a more political note, what really shocks me is the tenacity of Anglo-American puritanism. I am so fucking sick of it, and it never lets up, never stops ruining people's lives, never lets go of its hold on democracy.

LB: Who or what are your heroes/inspirations?

SB: I'm one of those people who just goes wild over a new bud opening, a new person I just met on the bus, an intact sea urchin shell on the beach... I don’t meant to sound like a ditzy ingenue, but I would be crushed if I didn’t find something new that's beautiful or intriguing or contemplative to get into, day to day. I'm impulsive that way.

LB: Has there ever been a story that you wished you'd written yourself?

SB: That is the essence of BAE... I wish I wrote virtually all of those stories! That's exactly my criteria!

LB: Have you ever considered starting your own Susie Bright imprint or publishing empire?

SB: Yes, certainly. Stay tuned...

LB: What is your feeling about ebooks? Do you think people will ever make the full transition to online reading, leaving paper books behind?

SB: I have. I mean, I'm bi-readable now. I enjoy ebooks all the time, because I read on my computer ALL THE TIME. But I love my books, always will. It's like loving movies and loving books and loving music.

Thank you for your time, Susie. We can't wait to see what you have waiting for us in the wings...

Be sure to check out the BAE editions featuring Lustbiters -

Alana Noel in BAE 2005

Gwen Masters in BAE 2006

Shanna Germain in BAE 2007

And visit Susie's journal for more.


Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Devil's in the Details

By Guest Blogger Erastes

"Without historical accuracy, my books would be fantasy. With only historical accuracy, they would be textbooks. For historical fiction, there must be a story, accurate in detail but brought to life through imagination and creativity"

Author Karen Cushman

First off - writing historical romance is FUN. It can be very sexy to play with a period not one's own.

The clothes are nicer. There are buttons, and OH how sexy it is to have buttons undone, or spats gently removed, stays unlaced, hooks and eyes undone with a kiss between every – single – one.

There are plenty of opportunities for getting your heroine (or in my case heroes) into scrapes and sexual situations. There are lots of phallic innuendoes, outrageous codpieces, biting thumbs, swaggering bravos with swords on their hips. There are fans, and the language of fans. For the Mollies, a handkerchief could say many things it was death to say out loud.

Conversations can become duels, hell - they can become real duels, and you can cover subjects such as slavery and piracy that would not really be acceptable in the modern romance novel.

But I'm strongly of the belief that you should attempt to get it as right as you can. There is nothing that makes me want to throw a book across the room than anachronisms, both in fact and in the characters' thought processes.

Let me say up front that there are mistakes in Standish, and they've been pointed out to me, and I'm grateful for it. Some were deliberate; I had the Carnival in Venice take place in the book, when in actuality it was banned at that period in time but I needed masques; some were typos, some were just careless assumption of facts I thought I knew. Lesson learned. I'm terrified of Transgressions going live, because whilst the Regency was a period I knew well, I knew (note past tense) next to nothing of the English Civil War period. And I know a LOT of English Civil War Re-enactors, and they are the most unforgiving when it comes to errors.

There are responsibilities that a historical fiction writer takes on. The main reason I like to see historical accuracy, particularly for the main events, is that some people will read a book and think that the facts are true.

For some reason there is a faction of romance writers - and readers - who seem to think that it's all about the escapism, and that accuracy doesn't matter. "It's only Romance" they say, as if it deserves lesser attention than any other genre. If the readers and writers are denigrating their own genre, is it any wonder that others don't take it seriously? Historical romance is probably the only genre that gets away with this inattention to details.

If you are writing a contemporary romance do you (unless it's a fantasy/sci-fi) twist the laws or physics? Doesn't it drive you bonkers if you are reading a story based in 1999 and your heroine is listening to a song that you know damn well wasn't released until 2005? Personally I wouldn't actually notice stuff like that, as I'm not really a creature of this age, but if I'm reading a historical novel and the hero in 1600 is using a sabre when it wasn't called that until many years later it just drives me mad.

"Aren't you being a bit anal?" I can hear you say. And no - I don't think so. I was talking to my friend and fellow writer T. J. Pennington the other day, and she put it far more succinctly than I had managed:

"Taking the time to get it right means that you respect the reader. And far too often in romance, the attitude is, "Well, it's JUST romance. It doesn't HAVE to be accurate.

Try saying that in any other genre. I dare you. Tell a mystery writer he doesn't have to get things like ballistics or forensics right. Tell a hard science fiction writer he can slough off on the math and the science because the audience won't notice. Newsflash, people - the audience notices. And they trust the writer to get it right. When the writer doesn't give a shit - or slavishly imitates what other writers do without checking to see if it's accurate (Georgette Heyer imitators, I'm looking at you!) - it brings the genre down."

Then of course, there's the sex. The fine line between getting it completely right and grossing out the reader.

You've spent several thousand words having your fiery heroine fall for her lusty Elizabethan hero. You've worked up a passable plot including a roguish ship's captain, a daughter of a landowner, an evil but devastatingly handsome English Lord. The heroine has escaped the unwanted attentions of her English suitor and is grabbing a little slap and tickle with the handsome rogue. Are you going to tell your reader that her bits are going to smell like ripe fish? Do you dwell on the likelihood that said rogue has suffered from scurvy and has rotten teeth and pitted limbs?

Of course not. That would spoil the mood, wouldn't it? For a start, the health and stench of individuals were only relative. If one person reeked, everyone reeked and therefore no-one noticed very much, so there's no great need to emphasise that.

There ARE ways of making your couplings clean, if you want to be fastidious (essential, really, for gay sex at any time…) Make your characters "faddy" about cleanliness, or have them in the swimming hole a lot. If they are on a ship, they can use the sea.

But as I said, neither of them are going to notice the other is smelly if they stink themselves.

I had to write a section in Newgate, and although I introduced the prison,-upon the characters' first entrance into it-as being so foul smelling that it made the visitor retch and the eyes water (which it did) such things become "normal" in time. I used to keep a horse on a pig farm, and after a week I couldn't smell them. So it would have been for the inmates of Newgate. To facilitate sex scenes within the prison, I made Ambrose be fussy about keeping clean – Lye and soap were available – for a price.

And I think anyway, if you are scrupulous as you can be about getting the rest of the details right, your reader will trust you enough to offer them this little deceit, and your selected pairing can boink away without giving any thought for the fleas and lice…

Did you spot all those anachronisms in the pictures:

1. The new BBC Robin Hood - So much wrong with this. The make-up. The halter neck top, the hairstyles ... the hoodie.
2. Kiera Knightley as Guinevere, very practical. Not.
3. Walking the plank. Invention of books and hollywood. Pirates didn't bother, they just chucked their victims over the side.
4. "Braveheart" - William Wallace in Woad and Tartan. Both of which weren't around in his day.
5. "Pathfinder" - Viking helmets didn't have horns!

Check out my website for some great historical resources.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Erotica Authors Kiss and Tell

By Mathilde Madden

Have you done everything you've written about? It's a question erotica authors get asked so often. Others might shy away from answering it - but, damnit I hang out with these dirty girls and *I* want to know the score. (In fact, in secret, I want it all to be true.)

So I put this question to the Lust Biters and demanded they jolly well tell me. There were handcuffs, thumbscrews and bright lights in the face. I eventually threatened to withdraw access to my archive of hot naked men pics. That clinched it - they all 'fessed up.

First to spill, Janine Ashbless. Janine writes scary fantastical smut. In our last Friday slot she posted a story about a woman encountering a sexy, foul-mouthed fairy on a train that's had me lurking around railway stations ever since. Here's hoping she's going to tell us that really happened.

Janine: I write erotic fairy-stories, fantasy and paranormal. I've written about bloodstained warriors, werewolf orgies, battling magi, undead seducers and (notoriously) a dragon with an enormous ... sexual appetite. And my erotica is almost always about how in the midst of chaos, brutality and strife, passion and love bring meaning to our lives. Have I done everything I've written about? My characters are usually lucky to survive! I'd have no chance.

Well, fair enough. Janine boasts the most ever deaths in a Black Lace novel, so perhaps she does invent some of it.

Let's try Deanna Ashford. I wonder how much she knows about being a slave girl.

Deanna: I have taken my readers to Pompeii, a city of slavery, strange sects [honestly, that's how Deanna spells it] and gladiators. To the Holy Land to face the power of the Templar knights and the sensual confines of a Saracen harem. Yet, even in these diverse places, love blossoms and survives. Have I done all that? No, but we can all dream, can't we?

Hmm, you know, maybe I should stop asking these fantastical types. Perhaps Portia da Costa does some hands-on research for those saucy contemporaries of hers.

I mostly write contemporary romantic erotica full of kink, fun and what I hope is emotional truth. Have I done all the things I write about in my books? Well, I’ve had my share of romance ... But as for the rest? My dears, I simply couldn’t comment!

Portia, you tease! I'll draw my own conclusions. Meanwhile I wonder what Dayle A Dermatis from the Sophie Mouette writing tag team thinks.

Dayle: I've done some of what I've written about. I leave figuring out what as an exercise for the reader.

Figure it out! Phooey! I want details. Nitty gritty. Talking of which, Madelynne Ellis writes the hottest male/male nitty gritty on the block. I suppose we can’t expect her to have done that – unless there's something she isn’t telling us.

Yeah, everything. I regularly pick up gay men in parks, screw shapeshifting demons across the kitchen table and I have my very own Regency rake chained up in the stables out back just waiting for a good lashing (the variety of which I'll let you decide upon).

Ha ha. Hooray. I might pop round and visit that rake of hers sometime. And next up, pretty litty Shanna Germain.

Shanna: Yes, I have. Everything. I've fancied my bike repair guy. I've had orgasms that made me fall on my knees. I've been tied up and tied down. I've eaten food so sexy it can't be called food. I've given the world's best blow job. (Make that blow jobs.) I've drawn blood. I'm having wild hotel-room sex as I write this. I believe everything I read.

Hooray. Another for my 'yes' pile. And you know, that reminds me, I've always wondered what the difference between 'tied up' and 'tied down' is. I must do some internet research on that.

Olivia Knight is a new Black Lace author. She can do html, but don’t let that put you off. Her writing's delicious.

Olivia: Have I had sex? Yes.Have I had sex with my characters? No, I'm not a frigging lunatic. Have I had the same kind of sex as my characters? Mostly, because I don't really write such hardcore stuff, but not necessarily the exact same positions in the exact same order. I have also eaten many meals, but not necessarily the ones I include in my books.

Kristina 'Arthouse Slut' Lloyd gave us this wholly believable confession.

Kristina: I am a virgin. Everything I write about I get from google. Asking for Trouble is set in Brighton where I live. It's a psychological thriller about obsession and sleazy sex. It's one of Black Lace's bestselling books. I did none of the stuff in that book and I've never been sexually obsessed. M'lud.

Which is pretty much what I thought she'd say. Nikki Magennis on the other hand, well, does anyone on the blog get called a mucky little tart more often?

Nikki: Oh baby, you'd better believe it ... I've felt desire, longing, love and lust, pain and disappointment. The peripheral acrobatics may be imagined, but the emotions and sensations my characters feel are as real as I can make them. So I may never have turned kinky somersaults on a hill top, or fucked a Norwegian sailor, but in some way I've experienced what matters most ... the rising heartbeat, the dizziness, the hunger of body and heart.

Gwen Masters seems to write so much for so many different people she'd have to have amazing stamina to do it all. Let's see.

Gwen: For every thing I've written about that I've actually done, there is another story that is pure fiction. But I can tell you this ... I can't write about something that doesn't turn me on. So if I haven't done what I write about in the story, you can bet it's one of my naughty fantasies.

And then there's Madeline Moore. Apart from anything else Madeline lives with the erotica author Felix Baron and has won an award for her oral sex scenes (the ones in her book, that is).

Madeline: I have done almost everything I've written about, and the things I haven't done, that I've written about, are things I've thought a lot about doing, wished I could do, or hope someday to do.

I don't doubt she'll get there in the end. Teresa Noelle Roberts is the other half of the Sophie Mouette team along with Dayle A Dermatis.

Teresa: Hardly. I've never stolen jewels, or been a fire-spotter, or set foot on the continent of Asia. Oh, you mean the sexual 'everything'! The answer is still no. I enjoy an interesting and somewhat non-mainstream private life, but I've written about sexual activities I haven't tried and probably never will.

Like Madelynne Ellis, Alana Noel Voth writes wonderful guy/guy erotica – among other wonderful things – so maybe we'll accept that's fictional because she doesn't have a penis. But how about the rest.

This has driven me nuts for three days, and I finally understand why. It's a ridiculous question!

Meanwhile our cowboy queen Kate Pearce is here and I want to know all about the hot cowboy action she writes.

Well I've had sex, if that's what you mean. But I'm one of those quiet people who say little, believe in true love and have deep thoughts, most of them incredibly kinky. So that's what I write about.

Hmm, nearly at the end and we haven't had a really dirty confession for a while. But I'm sure we can bank on Alison 'Randy Little Bitch' Tyler for that.

Oooh, I love this question. [See, she loves it, the randy little bitch!] I only do 83% of what I write about. The trick is to guess which parts are the 17% that I make up. Have I really watched my lover slip into ladies’ panties? Have I really kissed a waiter at my man’s request? I won’t ever tell. But I will tell you this: Tiffany Twisted, in which a boyfriend and girlfriend change bodies for 30 days? Listen, that's absolutely 100% true.

Oh, Alison, with you we know it's more a question of 'Have you written about everything you've done?' So that's us. If you write erotica, why don’t you answer this annoying question too? And if you read erotica, tell us: Do you want the author to be a randy little bitch in real life? Or if a story feels true and you can believe in its characters, is that good enough to satisfy?

What? Oh, me? Come on, you don’t want to know that about me, do you? You do? Well okay then, I'll tell you this much: I have absolutely no imagination, whatsoever.

Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
Official Lust Bites Nosey Parker

PS (from Kristina Lloyd): We're leading a double-life today. As well as being here, we're also guest blogging on Romance By the Blog. RbtB is a very special place for us. Back in December 2006, our editor was a guest blogger there, several of us joined in the fun, got highly excited, and Lust Bites was conceived that very night. Some of us may remember getting an email which began: The Blogger user Nikki Magennis has invited you to contribute to the private blog: Lust Bites.

I saved that email and it still gives me goosebumps. We had no idea what we were starting. We had no idea if we could sustain it. We had no idea if anybody would be interested in what we had to say. And look at us now! We're flying - and so much of it is thanks to you! Chatters, lurkers, passers-by or guest bloggers - whoever you are, wherever you are, you all add something to Lust Bites. Thank you - we salute you (whatever our sexual kink)! You rock!