By Mathilde Madden
Spring. New Life. And what could be newer or springier than ebooks? Kate Pearce will be here on Monday asking publishing revolution or terrifying cover-art repository? Tune in and find out.
Then, on Wednesday we will all be upstanding for Portia da Costa. Black Lace might be making out its new paranormals line is the shiniest thing ever (- it is pretty shiny -) but Portia wrote Gothic Blue way back in the day. This trailblazer is being reprinted and Portia will be here with a juicy excerpt.
At the end of the week we have a small change around. We're here on Saturday not Friday in order to slot into the virtual book tour schedule of Rachel Kramer Bussell. RKB's new books He's on Top and She's on Top - one volume for each flavour of the kink dynamic - feature our own Shanna Germain. Shanna will be chatting to RKB and we'll no doubt all chip in.
And stay tuned. Later this Spring we will bring you romance as we visit our birthplace Romance Buy The Blog, gender bending as we ask whether, when it comes to erotica, do you have to be The Write Sex? and a certain Susie Bright.
Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
Sifting through all the internet's hottest man-candy – so you don’t have to. (Yeah, I've done Naveen before – but I found this and..., well, how could I resist? We put him in the half-naked wing of the Foundation for the Preservation of Dangerously Naked Men.)
Saturday, March 31, 2007
By Mathilde Madden
Friday, March 30, 2007
Sorry bit of wishful thinking slipped in there. Happy Friday everyone! In a moment I'll give you the rest of that Dark Designs extract I promised yesterday, but first I'd like to introduce you to my current obsession - Camui Gackt, who while not the inspiration for Takeshi, certainly comes pretty darn close to how I imagine him, but with silver-blue hair & a big dragon tattoo, of course.
Enjoy the read!'You've got to be fucking kidding!' Silk yelled.
'Stop it, stop it.' An icy shiver ran up Remy's spine. She could see Takeshi's tattoo emblazoned like a warning across his back. She wished she knew more about him. He hadn't drawn blood, but he was pressing hard enough to force Silk over the viridescent bowl at his back. Takeshi tossed the sword aside and moved in, pressing two fingers to the impression he'd made in Silk's chest.
Unblinking, they waged a silent mind duel, while Silk fought for balance and Alix bobbed around the fountain's edge, still seeking out the best angles. 'Slowly,' she prompted, when Takeshi slid his palm down Silk's chest towards the half-opened zip of his fly. She leant in for a close-up of Silk's face. His expression was a combination of fury and bruised longing. Raw, but heart-meltingly beautiful. He snatched at Takeshi's hand.
Takeshi dipped his head instead, and poked his tongue rudely into Silk's navel, invoking an anguished cry.
Remy's insides clenched tight. She wanted to be able to see Takeshi's expression as well as Silk's, but she hardly dared move, let alone circle around for a clearer view. Faint 'oh!' noises were escaping her throat. Takeshi's tongue snaked along the golden line of hair across Silk's abdomen, and pressed a kiss to where, if he'd been erect and unconfined by clothing, his cock tip would surely lie.
Was Silk erect? He seemed to have lost all composure, unable or unwilling to escape. She could see him in her mind's eye, long and thick, creamy like the rest of his skin, apart from at the tip, which burned an exuberant plum red. If he'd still been zipped up, she'd have known how Takeshi's intimate kisses were affecting him. The trousers were cut tight across the hips, which meant they showed any bulges.
She saw the flick of Takeshi's tongue. Silk clenched his fists, so that his lacquered talons dug into his flesh.
She knew that sensation during sex. Takeshi had made her feel like that only last night. There were things that were so sensitive, so raw, so earth-shatteringly good, that all you could do was bite yourself, scratch yourself, stuff the pillow in your mouth in order to temper the sensations to a manageable level. Otherwise, orgasm came rushing up way too fast and the moment of explosion felt like crashing through a brick wall at forty.
Silk seemed immobilised by the whole experience, shocked into submission by the turn of events - or maybe at his own sudden arousal?
Alix kept taking pictures, gleefully snapping like a paparazzo on a window ledge.
Takeshi moved down and placed a kiss on Silk's inner thigh. Remy could picture Takeshi's next move, how he'd open the remainder of the zip and release Silk's cock, then slide his magic lips up and down the lily-white stem. It was so damn sexy she was rubbing herself against the fountain's edge. She'd never imagined Silk would turn out to be such a passive little uke. With her, he always seemed so dominant, so in control.
'Enough of this bollocks!' Silk rose abruptly to a sitting position, and his hand closed over the sword hilt. 'Get off me or I'll cut yer fucking nuts off! Got enough yet?' He directed the question at Alix.
'One more.' Alix snapped an extreme close-up of his face. If it came out in focus, it would show his green eyes to perfection, but Remy suspected she'd done it merely to wind him up a bit further.
Takeshi looked over his shoulder and caught her eye. He winked - a signal he'd used before to alert her to coming excitement. But surely the show was already over. Her body tensed in anticipation. Takeshi nuzzled against Silk's thigh, then bit down.
'Fuck! Fuck!' Silk was on his feet. He stumbled away from the fountain, and rubbed at the bite. 'I'm done.' He scooped up the coachman's coat and was out of the Orangery before she recovered enough wits to call after him.Instead, balance recovered, she turned to Takeshi, who grinned darkly at her. 'Done? We've barely started,' he mouthed.
Thursday, March 29, 2007
by Madelynne Ellis
'Shhh! Quick, is anybody looking?'
'No - right then, lets get set up!'
So, it's the last Friday of the month tomorrow, which means it's time for our Monthly Sexy Snippet, when I'm expected to take to the floor with my 'award-winning' (how did that happen), tribute to yaoi manga and Gothic decadence. But, you know, I thought what's wrong with celebrating Thursday too? Maybe we could kick back and get in the mood a bit.
Ahem! Book Blurb
'Silk inclined his head a fraction and let the very corners of his lips curl upward, letting most of his response come from his eyes. Remy swallowed hard. It was like getting a come-on from a panther - aggressively, knicker-wettingly sexual.'
As the designer for an opulent gothic wedding, Remy Davies is under pressure. There's the over-stressed bride, a trinity of vampire-obsessed bridesmaids, a wayward groom, and then there's the best man... Silk looks as if he was drawn by a manga artist; beautiful, exotic, and with a predatory sexuality. She has to have him, in her bed and between the pages of her new catalogue. Remy is about to launch herself into the alternative fashion world, and Silk is going to sell it for her whether he knows it or not. But Silk is nobody's toy, and for all his androgyny, he's determinedly heterosexual. Pity, since Remy's biggest fantasy is to see him making out with her sometime-boyfriend, Japanese biker Takeshi.
Remy rubbed her brow and tried to focus on costumes. Alix was becoming mutinous, partially due to hunger, and partially because she was sick of making her two rivals look good. Takeshi was cavalier play-acting and Silk - well now! Dare she ask him to strip for the camera?
'Quit bloody obsessing, Remy,' Alix barked. 'Sort them out. I've been at this five fucking hours, you've got two minutes before I pack up and go in.'
It took less than thirty seconds to dress Silk. He looked like a manga character anyway. She just added the coachman's coat to the formal three-piece tail-suit he was wearing, and asked him to braid his hair. She wanted him to tease it out as his clothes came off, until it swirled around him, dusting his bare calves. Takeshi took a bit longer, a fact Alix conveniently overlooked, despite a loudly rumbling stomach. They swapped the knee breeches for leather jeans, lost the shirt and added his own leather jacket with the picture of the girl, then a long duster coat. Somehow the contrast between the two men worked, although they began shooting most of the poses separately.
They'd been at it about twenty minutes. Silk was stripped down to shirt and trousers, and Takeshi to just his leathers. Remy had them posed like lovers, with Takeshi's hand upon Silk's shoulder and their heads tilted towards one another. But the tension between them seemed to be running at an all time high. Between shots, Silk seemed to be making it clear he was there under duress. Remy wondered if she was expected to feel obligated to him after this.
'Closer, and look into each other's eyes,' Remy demanded. Despite the pressure, she was enjoying herself immensely. 'It needs more intimacy.'
Takeshi leaned forward and brushed his lips against Silk's.
Well, that was intimate!
Silk's lips parted in surprise. Takeshi snaked an arm around his waist and moulded their bodies together from hip to thigh. Silk retaliated by shoving Takeshi off his feet, followed by a wordless snarl of fury.
Remy's carefully constructed fantasy fell apart, although Alix gleefully continued snapping expressions. 'Yey, fight!' she cheered.
Takeshi snatched up the great sword and forced Silk back against the rim of the fountain. The tip of the metal beast pressed between the open edges of Silk's shirt making cold contact with the skin...
If you can't wait that long, you could always zip over to my website, where you can read the naughty and somewhat sordid tale of Remy and Takeshi's first encounter.
PS. I have no idea why the book cover features a man in drag sporting a clown wig, since I have no memory of including such a character.
Black Lace have launched a new line of little books called 'Quickies'. There's six short stories in each, and each book is half the price of a normal paperback. Perfect for filling the little gaps in your day with some quality dirty reading!
Check them out here at Amazon UK, or here if you're Stateside.
(The cover above is from Numero Deux, which contains 'All I Have to Do' by Me.)
Posted by Nikki Magennis at 12:36 PM
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
I am rebellious by nature. I learn about an anthology collection, and rather than dive into the stated theme, I try my best only to dip in my pinkie toe. Or to barely brush my lips across it. Sometimes this works. Sometimes I flame out.
But Sex & Fashion, I chose myself. And yet, as soon as I began to consider the topic, my mind strayed from dressing up to stripping down. (This is a theme close to my heart, as well. Check out my collection: Naked Erotica.)
Here is my dilemma: I love getting dolled up. My closet brims with dresses and blouses and boots and heels. My underwear drawer is an explosion of color, lace, silks, and satin. I remember what I wore on all sorts of important days and dates. Copper-colored panties on a first date with a movie star. Gold mini dress and white fringed go-go boots when I worked in casting. My “magic dress” — tight and black, with sterling buttons down the front, on many, many occasions. (Tacky now. Sexy then.) I contemplate my clothes the way a costume designer would, choosing my outfits with extreme care.
They aren’t sluts like you
Beautiful garbage beautiful dresses
On my very first date, when I was 12, I wore a turquoise t-shirt, pegged jeans, and my father’s forest green flannel overshirt. My eyeliner matched the tee- and I had on candy-colored lipgloss that tasted as good as it looked.
When I met Brock four years later, I was in jeans and an oversized football jacket covered with rhinestone pins. I’d purchased the jacket at a thrift store in the Haight (Aaardvark’s Odd Ark, to be precise) for $7.00. Completing the outfit, I wore a man’s navy ring on a watch-fob chain around my neck, and a thin blue bowling shirt with the name Dominic embroidered over the pocket. I had on three different silver ID bracelets (Tom, Dick, and Harry) and so much purple eye makeup my dad said I looked like a raccoon.
Just like fashion it's a passion for the with it and hip...
But I’m with a man now who can’t wait to get my clothes off me. The fancier my attire, the quicker his libido rises. Am I off to meet an important editor, dressed to the nines in some spiffy suit? Perfect. He’s going to take me down a notch first, make me all rumpled with a quick, pre-meeting fuck, so that my makeup is smeared and my shirt is wrinkled, and I have the taste of cock on my lips.
A night out with the girls? Wearing my favorite shimmery frock and bright blue fishnet stockings? Lovely. Just let him rip a hole down the side of the hose, so that they ladder further and further throughout the evening, creating that trashy slut look he’s after.
Fashion – Turn to the left Fashion - Turn to the right
So that’s sex and fashion in our twisted world…. I become fashionable. He wants to have sex.
But Sam’s not the first who fully confounded my sense of style. Kelly, he of the midnight shift at the grocery store. He of the barren cave apartment with no books. He...well, he didn’t have use for me in the slightest when I showed up in my best dress-for-success outfits: crisp white blouses, pencil skirts, high stacked heels. Trying to look older than 18 to impress the writers on the newspaper where I worked. It wasn’t until I came in at a quarter to midnight, in cut-offs and a tight t-shirt, fully drenched in sky blue paint that he took notice.
I needed to be demolished, before he could see me. Really see me.
I'm too sexy for my shirt
Too sexy for my shirt
So sexy it hurts
—Right Said Fred
I had to be slightly mussed around the edges before he wanted to fuck me. If I was clean, he made me dirty. If I started out dirty, he made me filthier still.
I wish she'd take off all her clothes
Throughout the years, only one of my men was truly interested in fashion—consumed with putting on my clothes as opposed to taking them off. Hunter was my editor on the newspaper, my Pygmalion. He changed my entire sense of style, turning me from goth girl to girl Friday. He was why I had those pencil skirts and white blouses, why I wore my hair the way I did, wore my make-up in the style of his choosing. He is featured in "Edit Me,” and there are certain items in my wardrobe that I can’t wear without getting wet from memories of him. Of the way he’d tilt his head and take in my whole look, before making some minor persnickety adjustment. It was as important to him what went on my body as what he ultimately took off.
I want a girl with a short skirt,
And a long, long jacket
Sex and fashion, is the theme I pitched.
Sex and fashion, is the topic I chose.
When all along, what I really wanted to talk about was undressing and standing naked, once more, before you.
Baby, take off your dress.
Yes, yes, yes.
P.S. Now you…your most delicious outfit. Your most decadent example of how you put it on, or how you took it off. We’re giving away a copy of Naked Erotica to one lucky poser… I mean poster.
P.P.S. When I lived in L.A., I had a shirt that said something like: It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s what you wear, because when it all comes down to it, nobody cares who you are…. I wore that shirt until it fucking distinegrated.
Note: The picture above is "Bis" by Pamela Hanson and is available here.
Monday, March 26, 2007
Those category romance books are all smouldering glances and unrequited desire but when it comes to the crunch the bedroom door closes, we fade to black or cut to a crackling fire, right?
Rising category romance star Julie Cohen explains just how dirty those innocent looking books can be (and how dirty they *can't* be) and lets us in on where she finds her smuttiest inspiration.
As a young teenager, I learned about sexual relationships from two secret sources: a stack of Penthouse Forum magazines I found in a closet, and from Harlequin and Silhouette novels that I sneak-read in the library. One source was about sex. One was about love. It’s probably not surprising that I grew up to write sexy category romance.
In the kind of romance I write, sexual tension and emotion is more important than sex. Usually, I have to think up characters who lust after each other, but who have very compelling reasons never to have sex with each other, ever.
So I might spend most of the novel building up to a sex scene. For example, in my latest release, Driving Him Wild (Mills & Boon Modern Extra, February 2007), my heroine, Zoe, is irresistably attracted to the hero, Nick, from the moment she meets him being difficult on her doorstep. Nick, however, isn’t attracted to Zoe sexually at first. He likes her, and he particularly likes winding her up, but she’s a tomboy and not his usual type, so the idea of sex with her doesn’t even occur to him until, out of the blue, suddenly he can’t get it out of his head.
What this means is that Zoe picks up on early signals that Nick isn’t interested in her, and therefore she spends most of the book struggling against her attraction, because who needs the humiliation of trying to seduce someone who’s not interested? And then, when he makes his interest very blatantly clear (he’s wearing exercise shorts at the time, and it’s pretty darn blatant, hooray!), she thinks it’s because he feels sorry for her.
In a 216-page book, the first sex scene starts on page 150. And even then their problems aren’t over, because Zoe finds it far too difficult to trust. Every sex scene after that first one is focused on trying to get her to let her defenses down.
On the other hand, maybe I have two characters who lust after each other and have no reason not to sleep together. That’s what happens in my October 2006 release, Married in a Rush. Jo and Bruno are both commitment-phobes, and within half an hour of bumping into each other, total strangers, in the National Gallery in London, they’re having sex with each other in a broom closet (on page 27 of a 216-page novel).
If you begin a romance with your characters getting it on, you have to then come up with reasons why they can’t get it on again for much of the rest of the book. With Jo and Bruno, there is a simple reason--the condom fails, and she gets pregnant. Because they’re having a baby together, but because neither of them wants a committed relationship, they agree they have to try their best not to sleep together again: it will only complicate things.
(The title of the book sort of gives away what happens. I wanted to call it Remarkably Penetrative Sperm, but my editor, alas, said no. Marriages of convenience are a major hook for category book buyers. Sperm, apparently, isn’t.)
My June 2007 release, All Work And No Play... is similar in that the characters have sex with each other right away , and I had to think up a compelling reason why they couldn’t have sex again until near the end of the book. In that case, it’s because of a mistaken identity: she thinks he’s a stranger, when in fact he’s her best online buddy, the one she can’t afford to lose if (when) their relationship goes wrong.
So I spend a lot of my sexy novels stopping my characters from having sex with each other, which is pretty fun for me. (Less fun for them.) When they do finally get busy, I have to concentrate on character arc and emotional intensity as much as on the sex. Because while the reader wants to read a good steamy scene, she also wants to be taken on an emotional journey and fall in love along with the characters.
There’s also the tricky bit about writing explicit sex scenes that aren’t too explicit. Personally, I like to call a penis a penis, and I don’t have much truck with buttered muffins and throbbing flagstaffs (unless it’s for humour). But there are some words I can’t use, because they’d be offensive to the reader. When I wrote an erotic novel with my best friend recently, it was incredibly liberating to be able to use four-letter words, and to have my characters shout them out, repeatedly.
As long as my language is fairly clean, I can describe what I want to, though because the focus is on romance rather than sex, I try to make it more sexy than sexual, and any kink has to relate directly to the character arc and emotion. There can’t be anything that will distract the reader; the fantasy is about two people who are wildly attracted and in love with each other, not the sexual act in itself. Definitely no gimp masks or enormous dildoes or horny Alsatians. I save those for my private life.
One of my editors removed a reference to (male) pubic hair once, but I’ve included it since without any problem, which is good, because romance heroes don’t tend to wax. Another editor took out a description of the hero disposing of a used condom, and I sort of agree with that because it is gross, but hey, it’s an important part of real-life sex, and, to me, an indication that he’s not a slob.
On balance, I’m glad I read the Penthouse Forums as well as the category romance--just as I have fun these days writing romantic sex scenes, and erotic ones. They’re two different views of fantasy. And we can never have enough of that.
Amazon UK links
Driving Him Wild, Married in a Rush, All Work and No Play
And Julie has two treats for viewers. The first is the chance to nip over to her blog and win a copy of Driving Him Wild. The second is a very worthwhile new recruit for the Mathilde Madden Foundation for the Preservation of Dangerously Naked Men. Of course, we're talking about passion and fashion this week. And if you are Guy Pearce, what could be more fashionable than the "Oops, all my clothes have accidentally fallen off" look.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
by Mathilde Madden
Welcome to Lust Bites, where fashion is passion and passion is the fashion... or something.
That might have worked better in my head.
But, no matter, passion and fashion collide this week starting on Monday when the wonderfully funny and sexy Julie Cohen will be here to explain why category romance is more passion packed than you think. Could erotica fans be missing out of some really dirty fiction that is nestling between pink covers?
On Wednesday it's time for another chat with Alison Tyler. Now, practically a Lust Bites institution. After enticing us with tales of Sex and Movies and Sex and Music Alison will be here to talk about Sex and Fashion. So make a note to be there – and dress to impress.
The themes of passion and fashion climax on Friday when we enter the deviant mind of Madelynne Ellis. Madelynne takes over the monthly smut slot with an extract from her delicious novel Dark Designs – winner of the Scarlet award for best male/male sex scene – which features a Gothic wedding, yaoi overtones and one of her trademark boys you love to hate. Don't miss it.
Finally huge congratulations to Teresa/tetewa winner of Erastes' Standish competition. Please drop a line to erastesdotcom (at) googlemail (dot) com including who you would like the book signed to and a note of where to send it.
Until next week I remain your most passionate, fashionate servant
Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
Friday, March 23, 2007
by Sophie Mouette (aka Dayle & Teresa)
Teresa and I (aka the joint writing team of Sophie Mouette) are at the tail end of a week-long writers’ retreat on the Oregon Coast, where we’ve written more than half of our current novel-length project. What better time to ramble on about our experiences with collaboration?
One caveat: There are as many ways to collaborate as there are collaborators. For example, I know at least two sets of writers who work such that one half of the team writes the rough draft and the other half fleshes out the details. That’s not how we do it, so we can’t really talk about that style of process. Everyone’s different, and every collaborative team is different.
Our method is to brainstorm our stories and novels together, tossing thoughts back and forth and building on idea and concepts until something really clicks. Then we decide who’s writing one scene or chapter, and we trade back and forth. Sometimes we can each be working on sections at the same time, but more often than not, we’re building on what the last person just wrote.
Dayle forgot to mention that our brainstorming process involves wine. Sometimes a lot of wine. We don’t necessarily endorse this for everyone, but it works for us, although sometimes it makes it hard to decipher our notes in the morning. But anyway…on to more details of how we collaborate.
For longer projects, we each have areas or characters or subplots we’re more or less in charge of. For instance, in Cat Scratch Fever, I filled in a lot of the details of how the zoo actually worked, since I’d done fundraising for an aquarium. (I swear neither the office sex nor the criminal board member was based on real life, but the sheer level of insanity…that’s 100% real.) Dayle filled in a lot of the setting since she often visits the big cat sanctuary that inspired the one in the book.
In our current work-in-progress, which involves a personal chef working for a wacky starlet, she’s in charge of pop culture details and I’m handling the food, echoing what we’re interested in. (This also gives me a great excuse to buy more cookbooks and cooking magazines as “research”.) We’ve been passing chapters back and forth full of brackets along the lines of [Dayle: celebrity name?] and [Teresa: foodie stuff here].
And sometimes things divide out in really strange ways. For instance, I’ve written every sex scene so far in this book and she’s written every scene of the plot thread involving the heroine’s dog. We haven’t figured this out yet, since I like dogs better than she does and we’re equally fond of writing sex scenes.
I didn’t forget to mention the wine; I just wanted to leave something for you to write about….
One of the biggest pluses of collaboration (other than the fact that you each have to write only half a story or book) is the ability to bounce ideas off each other. The final product is stronger and richer that way.
But there are downsides, too. We tried to avoid a good chunk of them by having a signed contract with each other. We’ve been friends for almost 20 years, but we still felt that was crucial—hopefully if we do have any disagreements, the contract will help protect our friendship. It covers issues such as “if one person stops writing partway through the book, do they get a percentage of the advance” and “how does future money get divided if one of us dies.”
There’s also scheduling and timing. We live on opposite ends of the US, so we don’t get to meet up very often. We also both have lives away from Sophie: solo writing projects, not to mention husbands, houses, friends, etc. If I’m off on one of my motorcycle jaunts, she has to wait until I return to get the next chunk of a project from me.
We’ve been lucky in that we usually agree on things, but occasionally we hit a sticking point where we each have to argue our point. Thankfully our friendship has held up through these! We try very hard to keep the love and respect at the forefront.
We also (I think) have healthy egos—not too overblown, but not too wimpy. Teresa can edit my words and make them stronger, and I can do the same for hers. If you’re too wedded to your prose, collaboration probably isn’t for you.
We’ve been collaborating long-distance since Sophie Mouette was born. When we first started writing together, Dayle was actually living in Wales, which made even scheduling a phone call interesting. At least now it’s only a three-hour time difference. Thank goodness for email.
This week has been heavenly in terms of our creative process. Instead of being on opposite sides of the country, we’ve been on opposite sides of a big table. When one of us reached a sticking point, the other was there for bouncing ideas around. We’d read bits out loud to each other, riffing off each other’s words in a way we can’t do when we’re apart. If something one of us wrote didn’t work, we could talk it through on the spot. We not only made tremendous progress on our current book (the end’s in sight!), we also started plotting two sequels and helped each other brainstorm our next solo projects. The synergy, the sense of a shared brain, has been simply amazing.
In fact, this whole week has been about synergy and sharing a brain. About writers sparking off writers. Our retreat wasn’t just the two of it; it was a whole beach house full of writers determined to get away from the distractions of home and write up a storm. We had private or semi-private rooms, but a lot of us ended up working in the common area, earbuds in, burning up our keyboards.
We’d help each other brainstorm through sticky spots, urge someone out for walks on the beach when she obviously needed fresh air and a fresh perspective, cheered as we each hit important milestones. We were all working in different genres (erotica to inspirational—how’s that for range?) but we all shared a common goal of getting tons of writing done, and we helped each other reach that goal. And all of us have been buzzing about how wonderful it’s been to be with people who “get it.”
I guess that’s one advantage Dayle and I have. We don’t often get the wonderful experience of being together and being surrounded by other creative people, all busily working away, but we are at least sharing the process, sharing both the highs and lows of writing.
Writing is inherently a lonely job. Face it, we spend a lot of time by ourselves, in our heads, staring at a little screen and talking to imaginary people. But when we’re “being Sophie,” at least we’re both talking to the same imaginary people.
There’s also one other thing we had to negotiate, which is unique to writing erotica, and that’s language. What slang and euphemisms for body parts and sexual acts did we like and dislike? Thankfully we both abhorred the same ones! We were lucky: I think there’s only one word she doesn’t like that I could go either way on.
This isn’t to say that one of us won’t question a particular term in a particular context. Once in a while, for example, I might use a word that, to Dayle’s ear, doesn’t fit the mood, or she might have a character say something I’m not convinced the character would say. Sometimes we hear the suggestion and say, “Of course! Why didn’t I think of that?”; sometimes after a little discussion we’ll decide that the original wording is fine. That’s all part of the fine art of collaboration!
Collaboration has its pros and cons, and its up to every individual writer to decide whether it will work for him or her—and then there’s the challenge of finding someone with whom you click.
But when it works, it works really well. If you’ve read Cat Scratch Fever, we’d love to hear your comments about what you thought about book in terms of this little chat about collaboration. Could you tell that Sophie has two brains…?
(Cat Scratch Fever by Sophie Mouette was a 2006 Black Lace release and received a four-star review from Romantic Times.)
Thursday, March 22, 2007
By Janine Ashbless
“Then the gods did say unto Janine Ashbless, Mortal often hast thou questioned the reason for thy existence, and now we shall give thee the answer. Rejoice, for there shall be a movie made in the very image of a Frank Miller graphic novel.
And Janine Ashbless did say, Oh cool. I shall watch it.
Then the gods did say, And that movie shall be called 300, for it shall be about the heroic Spartan stand against the mighty Persian army at Thermopylae. And lo, there will be much bloody swordplay.
And Janine Ashbless did say, Oh, Yeah!!
Then the gods did say, And King Leonidas shall be played by Gerard Butler – whom we shall afflict with an horrid beard, for fear that otherwise thou might drop dead on the spot for pleasure. As it is thou shalt have to be peeled off thy cinema seat and thy limp body carried from thence by two strong men*.
But Janine Ashbless said nothing, for the blood had run from her brain and she was no longer capable of human speech.
All these things came to pass and Lo: it was very good.”
300 : It’s violent. It’s stylised. It reeks of testosterone. It has 300 buff men wearing nothing but leather codpieces. It has GB and Dave Wenham and more sculpted abs than a gay gym. Finally - proof that this is a benevolent universe after all.
Janine ‘Practically Snuff’ Ashbless
* It takes two men because they both have crap knees, not because I’m lardy. Honest.
From all of us here at Lustbites who've worked with the lovely Donna Condon at Virgin Books, this is a heartfelt thank you and a sorry-to-see-you-go message...
You've been a wonderful help for all of us, making sure the birth of all our books was as painless as possible. A lovely, friendly editorial assistant that we all have appreciated enormously. We know that you'll be sadly missed, and a hard act to follow.
(We'd like to thank you too for sorting out all our competition prizes - without you lustbites wouldn't be so shiny and full of promise! )
We'd like to wish you all the best of luck for the future, and here's a hand-picked bunch of flowers from Kristina Lloyd's garden.
...entire cast of Lustbites join in singing 'For she's a jolly good fellow...'
Love from all of us xxx
PS - Good luck in the Edinburgh marathon!
Posted by Nikki Magennis at 10:40 AM
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
I’ve done some crazy things for love.
A few years ago, a boyfriend and I were suffering from a long period of time apart. We hadn’t seen each other in almost six weeks, and we both lamented every lonely moment of it when we slept alone in our respective beds. Then, an unexpected treasure: He somehow found three days free in an otherwise packed schedule. He would meet me at the airport. Could I get there?
Never mind that he was thousands of miles away. I was in Music City, USA. He was in Sydney, Australia. But what does a little distance matter when you’re in love?
Could I get there, he asked? Of course I could get there! When?
Ooooookay...and oooooh, boy.
It would mean juggling deadlines, rearranging a solid week of plans, and getting out of a friend’s wedding. I would have to work hard and heavy to finish all my writing obligations early.
A flight from Nashville, Tennessee to Sydney, Australia can take – depending on the airlines, layovers and the Gods of Accurate Departure Times – twenty hours or so. That’s almost an entire day and night of airtime, most of it over ocean so impossibly vast that looking down on it boggles the mind. The flight crosses the International Date Line, so that when you arrive you have either lost a day or gained one, depending upon whether you are going or coming. Touching down with a whole day missing – or magically restored – is enough to make one believe in time travel.
Did I do the sane thing and consider all the options? Did I use common sense? Did I slow down long enough to think about the fact that he would be returning to the US in four weeks anyway?
Think? Slow down? Are you kidding?
The next several days found me sacrificing sleep to a point of absurdity. Finishing deadlines to free my schedule. Apologies to friends. Boarding the very annoyed dog. Twenty-four hours on a plane (the Gods of Accurate Departure Times were apparently on vacation). Hellacious turbulence and more than a few prayers.
Finally, touchdown – and there he was, waiting for me at the gate.
The closest we came to leaving the hotel was making love on the balcony. We survived on nothing but wine and a fruit basket. We devoured each other instead, loving with a vigor that left us with sore muscles, bruises and not a single wink of uninterrupted sleep. We made up for every day of those six weeks apart. It was glorious.
We had a grand total of fifty hours together before the plane took me away again.
I left Sydney at a wonderful eighty-five degrees. I returned to Nashville to find four inches of snow and temperatures just slightly above freezing. I came home with a cold from breathing recycled cabin air, a cramp in my leg from sitting for so long, a bank account much diminished thanks to last-minute airfare, and a complete uncertainty of what day it really was.
Why did I do it? I loved him, that’s why!
Love brings out the irrational part of us faster than anything else ever could. We start to see the possible in the impossible. We become willing to fly across the world at a moment’s notice. We play the same songs over and over, just because it was the one that played on our first date. We send love letters like we were back in elementary school, smile like a goofball and drive our friends mad with constant descriptions of that one little tiny thing our beloved did or said. We become obsessed with that soul-searing, heart-lifting, sweetest lightness that only love can bring.
Flying to Australia is not the only crazy thing I’ve done for love. I’ve made shorter trips, crossing a country for the sake of stolen moments with a lover. For sweethearts I have written songs, poems, stories, even whole novels. I’ve spent more money than I could afford on tokens of affection. I once wrote a message of adoration for a man – in ten-foot-tall letters on a public billboard.
It wasn’t the first time, really. When I was in first grade I wrote “I Love Adam” on the class blackboard in the biggest letters I could manage. He responded by kissing me on the school bus. All was beautiful in our young love until our parents were called by the headmaster. Oops!
Maybe I got into a bit of trouble for those stunts – but were they worth it, you ask?
You bet your fluttering heart they were, my friend.
How could doing something crazy for love not be worthwhile? The best moments are spontaneous, from the heart with no-holds-barred. Even if the relationship doesn’t work out in the long run (alas, Mr. Australia didn't), letting yourself turn into a love-stricken fool is always memorable.
Perhaps the most crazy-wonderful thing anyone has ever done for me when it comes to love is the most simple: Giving the gift of himself. Shortly after I met the love of my life, there came a night when he dropped everything, moved his very busy schedule around, hopped in his car and headed my way. He showed up on my doorstep during the wee hours of the morning, unannounced and unexpected. Why? I was lonely. He thought I might want a hug.
I got my hug, and he got me. I’m going to marry him. I figure we’re both crazy enough to keep each other happy for the rest of our lives.
That’s my story...what’s yours? What’s the craziest thing you ever did for love – or the craziest thing your love ever did for you?
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Posted by Nikki Magennis at 11:13 AM
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Here at Lust Bites we are always pleased to hear from people who are doing new and different things with the genre. A lot of erotic romance topics can feel done to death. Fresh new thrills are always top of our list of treats. So we couldn't wait to get Erastes - author of male/male historical erotic romance Standish - on the blog and find out all about her small but perfectly formed genre - where you get not one but two gorgeous men striding out in their breeches and, quite often, striding out out of their breeches too.
Erastes: Well, hello everyone, it's nice to be here. I've been lurking for a while, reading the syndicated posts via LiveJournal and I've been enjoying the posts and the discussions that you generate here.
I'd always wanted to write but although having started a couple of projects which founded after a few chapters, I didn't succeed and I finally gave up, thinking that I had no plotting abilities. This all changed in July 2003, when I discovered fanfiction - entirely by accident. I had no idea that "fandoms" existed up to that point. I read a couple of fan fics, thought "I can do this" and wrote a 66k word Harry Potter novella dealing with what Lucius Malfoy got up to in the book Order of the Phoenix when he wasn't actually on the page. Although it was fun, I finished it and thought. "Mmmm. That was a spectacular waste of effort, I can't sell it!" I decided to convert it into original fiction, the idea being I'd change the names and places, remove or warp some of the magic and wouldn't have to do too much.
However, as other authors will know, things rarely work the way you set out for them to do. The book wouldn't listen, the characters evolved into different beings entirely (to my considerable joy) and it utterly refused to have anything to do with Potterdom or magic. It turned into a homoerotic regency romance and Standish was born.
It is now my aim to attempt to help drag historical homosexual romance into the mainstream and to make the publishers and review sites take it seriously as a genre.
I'm re-writing and editing my second novel Transgressions which is based around the English Civil War and is nearly ready to start getting sent out to publishers, and I'm about half way through Junction X which isn't strictly what the Historical Novel Society would deem "historical" as it's set in 1960's English Suburbia, but has been as much of a challenge, research-wise as any of the others.
I actually worried about myself the first time I read a gay story and was turned on by it. Believe me, I've had the least sheltered life you can imagine, but I'd never considered that homoerotica could be hot. But it was. Then I thought …"Hang on, what's most straight men's favourite fantasy? Two women!" So that being the case, it made perfect sense that I found two beautiful men in bed together alluring.
I should of course point out here, that I'm not a man, in spite of the name and the web-bio – I chose the name Erastes because at the beginning I didn't think that men would want to read gay erotica written by a woman and now I'm stuck with "him". I had no idea that most people writing and reading gay erotica (particularly in fandom) are women, and I'm pleased to say that both gay and straight men and gay and straight women enjoy my stuff, so I must be doing something right!
There are a lot of people writing contemporary but not that many writing historical gay fiction. Granted the word "gay" didn't come into that use until last century but homosexuality wasn't invented last century (or indeed "invented" at all). The interest in writing homosexual historical fiction for me is to attempt to portray it as realistically as possible. I don't want to write (or to read about) men in earlier centuries with modern attitudes. I want them to be aware of the danger of what they are doing, of the attitudes of the government, the church, even their neighbours.
This makes gay fiction difficult to resolve into a HEA – in my opinion. Two men from the 17 th Century in England would find it as difficult and as dangerous to set up house together as lovers as Jack and Ennis (Brokeback Mountain) would have done in 60's America. However there are ways to infer that they will be happy without having an anachronistic gay wedding. Lee Rowan manages it perfectly in her Ransom – set in Nelson's Navy, and Emily Veinglory does it well, too, in The Highwayman.
Personally, in the two novels I have finished, I've allowed the reader to decide what happens after the curtain falls. Can a rake and an innocent be happy and will Rafe ever be faithful? Can a Puritan and a King's man find a common path in Cromwell's England? What happens next? I hope that the reader cares enough to worry about my characters after the last page – that's the nicest compliment of all.
So – any questions? Don't be shy!
(We are also giving away a copy of Standish to one lucky commenter. So even if you don't have a specific question, just pop in and say 'hi' and 'gimme'
Saturday, March 17, 2007
By Mathilde Madden
No 'Coming Attractions' last week as I was wrestling werewolves into an A4 envelope. Sorry about that. I hope the picture makes up for it. It is dedicated to the ever inquisitive Nikki Magennis, who wanted to know if Marcus had his knickers on in this picture. Well, of course, not. He is in the shower. He might be very, very pretty but he is not an idiot.
On Monday fresh from the success of her debut novel Standish is the wonderful Erastes to tell us why on earth a woman would want to write a male/male historical romance? Surely not just to avoid the tiresome So have you done all the things in your books? question.
Meanwhile Gwen Masters will be here on Wednesday with more fascinating questions. What's the craziest thing you've ever done for love? Knowing our viewers this could be, um, interesting. We'll be adding our thoughts, and possibly taking notes.
And talking of craziness, I don't think I can think of anything crazier than trying to write a novel with another human person. Trust me, I don’t play well with others. But Dayle A Dermatis and Teresa Noelle Roberts seem to thrive on it, cracking out novels and short stories together as Sophie Mouette and indulging in dalliances with other writing partners too. Well, how does that work then? All will be revealed on Friday when they show us their hive mind at work by co-writing a blog post for us.
Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
Still your first choice for snark, wordplay and dangerously naked men.
Friday, March 16, 2007
by Mr Madelynne Ellis
So, what’s it like being the partner, confidante and (ahem) muse of an erotic writer? It’s all questions, like one long interview, or maybe a pub quiz, and it usually starts like this…
'So does your wife work?'
'She's not my wife. We're living in sin.'
'Oh. So is she just a housewife?'
Ha! If housewives were paid the going rate for what they do, they'd earn more than company directors.
'Actually, she's a writer.'
'Oh, that's great! Has she had anything published?' (As in: what a lovely hobby for the little woman.)
'Why yes. She's got three novels in print and a fourth has just been commissioned.'
'Wow! So what does she write?'
You asked for it...
'Porn. She writes porn.'
Expressions range from Gobsmacked Goldfish to Randy Gargoyle, but at this point it's anyone's guess where the conversation goes next. All right, I've got a sadistic streak that likes baiting people. Sometimes it upsets their little world, sometimes they make vague promises to read her books. Sometimes they've even read some Black Lace already.
I'd better say that I'm immensely proud of what Madelynne does. She's following her dream. It's kinda cool to have an artist in residence, and I think she's a fucking excellent writer. I know, I'm biased. But not very biased. Plus anything that accelerates the decline and fall of western civilisation has got to be good.
But it (she) is sometimes a pain in the arse. Oh, the birth pangs of a new plotline. All the pacing and knuckling of the forehead is exhausting to watch, and so is the agonising self-doubt as editors and publishers prevaricate about accepting a submission. I've offered to form a posse and do some kneecapping, but she won't have it.
Sometimes the Artist In Residence looks up at me as I cut my bloody swathe through Resident Evil (How many guys do you know who get left in peace to play videogames all evening?) to ask a question.
'Can you think of a Japanese/Egyptian/Atlantean name?'
I sometimes feel like I'm being mined for my knowledge of everything from comics to blokey attitudes towards sex. Do you all do that to your partners? Doesn't it wear them out sometimes?
'Do you like my new notebook?' (Madelynne has a notebook fetish. Art deco, paisley, mock Victorian, whatever. Her latest has spiders all over it, and she bought two of them. I just nod and smile.)
Sometimes if she's struggling with the biomechanics of some piece of sexual athleticism, and the limbs don't fit or someone can't reach a nipple or a clit, I have to get up and be an artist's bendy model while she works out what's humanly possible and what only happens in hentai. I keep trying to persuade her to buy me a Real Doll for this kind of thing, but apparently, the job doesn't pay enough.
This all started thanks to my excellent friend Dom, who had the first book dedicated to him. And no, he's nothing like Vaughan (well maybe a teensy bit). Anyway, at that point Madelynne was between crappy imagination-killing jobs, so I agreed that if she's going to do it, she might as well do it properly. For a long time I fended off family from both sides who kept asking why the hell she didn't get a proper job, so I felt hugely vindicated when Kerri Sharp picked up A Gentleman's Wager. Now they keep asking why the hell she doesn't write a proper book. Grr.
We have an arrangement on weekends. Saturday she works, Sundays I work. It's frustrating, I guess, being a writer, suffering for your art, working in isolation, but it must beat the 9 to 5 (or in my case, midnight to midnight). Every now and then, she asks if we can swap. She'll go to work, I get the kids, the laptop, daytime TV and the struggle to find a hundred different ways to say 'penis'.
Sweetheart, sugar, you have no idea what you're saying.
'Can you read this? What do you think of it?'
Being Mr Madelynne Ellis sometimes means being a mean, curmudgeonly bastard, but as the first person to comment on her work, I've always been honest. Brutally honest. You need that, as writers, oh yes you do. You might not like it, but just look at what happens to famous authors when no one is brave enough to say 'This is crap. Go write a different book.' That sucking noise is the sound of someone vanishing up their own proverbial.
By the way, you know that question? I get it too.
'So, have you done all the things in her books?'
Yeah! We make hot monkey love every night! I'm just like those hunky love gods that live in her kinky little head! And, 'cos she's a writer, she has to watch and take notes, so I get to take home all these babes and shag them stupid. Although it's not so much of a perk since she got into yaoi...'
No, I haven't been brave enough yet. I'm saving that answer for someone really annoying.
I've just been instructed to put in a discussion point. Errmm... okay, friends, lovers and relatives of writers, artists and other dreamers. How much do you do for the writer in your life? Do you put their books at the front of the pile in service stations, or link websites? Have you ever given their book as a present to someone? Ever posted a review for a friend? How about requesting a copy for a library? Anyone ever done anything really cheeky? Like this... link.
Mr Madelynne Ellis
PS. Visit Madelynne's website http://www.madelynne-ellis.com/
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
by Shanna Germain
Yah! It's time for the Wednesday morning pop quiz here at Lust Bites land.
What? Oh, you need coffee before quizzes? Okay, go get your caffeine. I'll wait.
OK, Ready now? Good. Here goes: Can you guess who said this to me in the last year?
"You're so talented! What are you wasting your time writing that sex stuff for?"
Here, I'll give you some choices to make it easier:
A. My grandmother
B. My neighbor
C. One of my editors
D. One of my best friends
E. Another writer
F. A stranger making a comment on my blog
See how easy that was? Do you have your answer? Great, let's see how you do.
If you guessed all of the above, you'd be right. (Yes, I know that wasn't an option, but that's just the way we do things around here; we're always making you think). Give yourselves a big gold star and a hand (or a hand-job, depending on your mood).
Like many writers, I write about lots of things in lots of genres. In addition to erotica, I’ve written and published poetry, non-erotic fiction, essays, articles, shorts and even a book on interior decorating. And it’s true that people are always commenting on my "literary skills,” which is sweet and flattering—until they follow that up by asking why I continue to waste my time and talent writing smut.
For me, the question is absurd, but the answer is multi-faceted. First off, anything that I love to do—and that others love to read—never feels like a waste of time to me. Second, I’m a writer first, but a business woman second. So even if I didn’t love to write about sex, I’d write about it because I’m good at it and because it makes me a lot more money than iambic pentameter.
There are a million other reasons, of course, but I'm more interested in hearing what you think. Does erotica have as much "talent value" as other types of writing (and reading?). If you write it, are you just doing it until something more literary comes along? Does it deserve a higher place on the literary value scale, or should it continue to be just brain (and body) candy? (This part of the pop quiz doesn't have any wrong answers, so don't be afraid to jump in and say what you think!)
p.s. While we don’t have a prize for you if you answered our earlier pop quiz correctly (other than that warm-n-fuzzy feeling of being right), we are offering a chance to win some luscious prizes from Violet Blue, including her book Fetish Sex: An Erotic Guide for Couples. Just go here and leave a comment to enter!
p.p.s. Lastly, for those of you who are wondering (which is probably no one, but I can pretend right?), why yes, the photo up-top is of me. How nice of you to notice. Erotic? Literary? Both? You decide.
Posted by Shanna Germain at 5:28 AM
Monday, March 12, 2007
Lust Bites: Violet, we, at LustBites, are in awe of you. Your moxie. Your charisma. Your full-body flower tattoos. If we could, we'd take you out to drinks, in some dive-y little bar, and ply you with liquor to loosen your tongue. (A Violet Martini, anyone? The splash of Rose Water sounds so enticing!) But that would require mega bucks for airfare (we hail from such exotic locales as Essex and Brighton and Glasgow and L.A.).
Violet Blue: Ahhh, but what a wonderful, decadent, sexy salon we'd all make.
So instead, we've pooled our collective brain power and come up with a variety of questions for you.
Lustbites: What do you look for in a story? What do you hate to see?
Violet Blue: It's funny—I know within the first 5-6 graphs if a story has what I'm looking for or not, and sometimes I can't even explain exactly what it is. A good piece of erotica should let me know why I should care about it right away, and give me at least one character I like, even if she or he is an anti-hero or seriously flawed. I tend to be drawn more to publish character-driven stories because they really anchor erotica well; plot-driven stories are a joy but good ones with sex in them are hard to find, or perhaps more tricky to craft. And it should seem obvious, but I demand erotica with sex in it—I do not like "lite" romance or erotica that dances around the actual sex, and as a reader I hate to be teased. Not to say I don't love a good love story; it just needs to have some tension and some explicit friction if you know what I mean. And one thing I really can't stand is when authors go overboard with genital and sexual euphemisms —it's often so distracting, and even vulgar. Go figure!
LB: What do you think of the romance genre's trend toward erotic romance?
VB: I think it's exciting—I love that romance is getting hotter and more in touch with its readers' desires to see situations that accurately reflect their fantasies, and the honesty of the sex therein.
LB: What are the worst offenders in conventional mass-market porn? Boob jobs? Bad lighting? People keeping their socks on?
VB: Ack—it's funny to read what you just wrote, but so painful to know that after decades these things are all still equal offenders in the world of porn! Sunglasses, socks, icky guys, scary looking girls—why can't pornographers get a clue and show us the kinds of people we really want to see!? It's like we've all been waiting for porn to grow up and out of the Barbie era, but it hasn't. So I guess the worst offense of modern (okay, present-day) porn is that they still think their audience is comprised of stereotypical depictions of porn consumers left over from the 1970s, 80s and even 90s. Their worst mistake is thinking that we're just like them.
LB: Where do women go to find stuff that's hot and not ugly?
VB: Online and in film festivals. Comstock Films, Bleu Productions, directors like Eon McKai, and festivals like Seattle's Hump! and NYC's CineKink. Also, on my blog and on Fleshbot.com (we feature lots of mainstream porn, but plenty of hotter indy stuff every chance we get).
LB: I'd like to know more about your outlawed mechanical art, please! (Okay, so this is not technically a question. Some of us don't understand what a question is. But it's sweet, in a breathless, gushing way, nonetheless.)
VB: Oh goodness! I'm the kind of girl who loves to get dirty with the boys turning a wrench (better than the boys in most cases), and gets hot under the coveralls for anyone who likes it, too! I've been a grease monkey with outlaw machine arts organization Survival Research Laboratories for the past 11 years. We produce the most dangerous robotic shows on earth, meaning we weld hybrid giant lethally-capable machines and make them remote control so they perform in shows— anthropomorphically with a script, even. I weld, drive a forklift, run crews, do carpentry, work on hydraulics, old diesel and gas engine and run the machines during shows. It's always funny to see mainstream media people stumble and trip over putting this part of me together with the sex writer/editor/educator side. Like a girl can't have more than one talent! I apply a mean set of fake eyelashes, too.
LB: Our culture is so sex-saturated at the moment it sometimes seems like we're approaching the Fall of Rome. Do you think we're in danger of becoming oversexed?
VB: Hardly—we're becoming more sexually mature as a society. I'm of the opinion that there's no such thing as information overload, no matter the topic, especially sex—and the more information we have the better consumers we become. And the safer we become as a culture in many ways, too.
Visit Violet at http://tinynibbles.com/
And don't miss more fun at Lust Bites this week with Shanna Germain here on Wednesday to chat about what it's, like being an erotica writer who also writes things that, well, aren't erotica and on Friday - another special guest star - none other than Mr Madelynne Ellis will be here to tell us about the hellish life of an erotica widower
Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
Who just waved goodbye to her first litter of werewolves.
P.S. We're giving away a free copy of Violet's awesome and amazing Fetish Sex: An Erotic Guide for Couples, so be sure to post a comment. We'll announce the winner at the start of next week!
PPS. Alison Tyler (who isn't really here) has just added a couple more books to the giveaway: Violet's The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus and The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio, both featuring all the jaw-dropping oral advice you'll ever need plus sexy shorts penned by Alison.
Phew, we're getting hotter and hotter today. Good luck!
Kristina X (also not really here.)
Thursday, March 8, 2007
By Madeline Moore
'Tawdry, misogynistic, and unrealistic.' I'd pressed one of my best friends, another writer, to read my first erotica novel, Wild Card. Now she was giving me her honest opinion of the book. I was stunned.
Tawdry? As in cheap, flamboyant, and tasteless? OK but …misogynistic? Impossible. Wild Card is a Black Lace novel – written by women for women. Unrealistic? The action primarily takes place in a hotel room over a couple of days – the classic dirty weekend. Or did my friend think a good paddling followed by twelve strokes of the crop was more than a real woman could stand? Not if that woman is a pain slut!
Then the kicker. She called me an artist, and said I have a responsibility to the world. Just like her.
Well, I'm a writer, I know that. But an artist? What's that even supposed to mean?
Is erotica art? Is genre fiction art? This is a just a little essay and my first post as a member of Lust Bites (as is evidenced by the ungainly topic I chose) so I'll get to the point. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on who wrote it and when. It used to depend on whether it originally came with a hard or paper back, and, although 'trade paperbacks' and the lovely new covers introduced by traditional erotica imprints like Black Lace have blurred the distinction a little, it's still possible to judge a book by its cover.
Here's what I think about art: It evokes a feeling. Sometimes, the public response to art translates into action, (Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe for example) but not always. Mostly, aren't we simply awed by art?
Genre fiction writers are charged to evoke a particular feeling. Writers of horror set out to scare the reader. The High Priest of Horror, Stephen King, has only recently been acknowledged as a possible literary figure. Mystery writers lure the reader into following the chain of evidence and puzzling over clues. Elmore Leonard is the latest mystery writer to make the cut as an artist.
We erotica writers are charged with the task of sexually exciting the reader. Anne Rice comes to mind as an author who has transcended the erotica and horror genres to take her place among the mainstream literary figures of the day. These days, she's writing about Jesus!
Genre writers only get to be artists when they're old. (Who wrote it and when.) Or, to put it another way, when they have amassed a quantity of high quality books. New writers who are published by the mainstream publishers have a shot at being considered artists. (Hard cover or soft.) Newer writers identified by their publishing house as genre writers, don't. (Hard cover or soft.)
These days, Black Lace is looking for literary writing and believable scenarios, more chicklit with our clitlit, if you will. Meanwhile, romance publishers are looking for more clitlit with their chicklit. Chicklit may be a perjorative term, but it's a name for the books that the female population wants to read, and that's exciting. Clitlit, of course, is just plain rude.
Artists are free to add dollops of incest and child abuse and alcoholism to their work, (Fall on Your Knees by Anne-Marie MacDonald); it's almost de rigueur, these days, to imbue a book with substance by heaping on the substance abuse. Black Lace authors follow rules that prohibit that practise. Bestiality is another taboo topic for erotica genre writers that is used to good effect by literary authors. A Black Lace writer can't use it no matter how well-written it is. (No Bear by Marion Engle) for us! Our literary erotica guidelines forbid it.
We Black Lace authors are happy to move in the direction of literature, as much as the fairly tight schedule laid out in our contracts will allow. (Generally we get six months to complete a book.) If we create art, I know our editor would be overjoyed, as long as it's sexy art. But it isn't expected of us. We are expected to write extremely well and make our readers extremely horny. If we don't do that,it doesn't matter how pretty the prose is, we've failed. My book, Wild Card, like all erotica, is written for 'the one handed reader'. I think I accomplished that, and I think my editor thought so too. That's not only good enough for me, it makes me proud.
My friend said she wants her work to 'leave the world a better place,' and I said that my mission is 'to entertain, using my voice.' I also suggested that she is hobbled by her high ideals. While she struggles with the morality and message of her work, producing almost nothing, I write short stories (as Madeline de Chambrey)and novels (by Madeline Moore) that get published. There's no better way to become a better writer than to write.
In the volley of emails that ended a friendship, she had the last word. For the purposes of this essay, I thought I'd give the last word to Oscar Wilde...
'There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.'
...but then I decided, to hell with it, I'll give the last word to me.
From Wild Card by Madeline Moore:
'"After you cover my feet in your creamy come, Ray, I will spread my thighs and let you sink your fingers deep into my hot steaming naked cunt -" she made her words as crude as she could. The sudden revelation of her inner predator could shock a weak man into impotence but it always had the opposite effect on a strong one.'
Wild Card at Amazon
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Well, it’s actually scheduled for “Watching,” but… whatever…
The winner of the 4-book set is t’sade.
Please email me at msalisontyler AT yahoo DOT com with your mailing address, and I’ll get the ABCD books out to you asap.
P.S. And here is a glimpse of one of the future covers. Oooh, la, la...
Uma The Great
To celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow we’ve gone all womanly (well, even more than usual) and today is our first Girl Crush Wednesday.
And I got to pick the first girl for us to get all Sapphic over!
I toyed with Winona, flirted with Maggie, and even gave the entire cast of the Mediaeval Baebes a bit of an eye. But in the end, it had to be Uma.
She was deliciously wicked in Pulp Fiction. She even looks good in a yellow jumpsuit. She manages to make everything she touches look sexy, without ever looking like she’s even trying.
The crooked nose and the big sulky mouth. The way she’s kind of gangly and curvy at the same time. The lovely bosom and the big knuckles (why yes, I have a kind of a thing for big knuckles, since you ask!). The way she wields a motherfucking huge big sword….Hmm, yup, if I got to pick a girl to share my pillow with, it would have to be Uma.
Of course there's more to Women's Day than perving over hot girls. But, this being Lustbites, we're kind of focussed on the sexy side of things.
So, support IWD! Name your girl crush! Nominate the chick you'd like to lick!
(Uh, was that taking it too far?)
Monday, March 5, 2007
By Janine Ashbless
Burning Bright is released in America this week, so I thought I'd let you poor unsuspecting people know what you're in for, via the medium of British reviewers. I've never had Reviews before, so forgive me if I'm a bit giddy! This one is from Forum, (Vol. 41 no.2) and I'll quote it in full:
"Veraine was a commander in the Imperial army and Myrna was the high priestess he stole away from her temple. As they attempt to make a new life together they are attacked by reivers: Myrna is taken to be a slave of the evil Tiger Lords, while Veraine is beaten and left for dead. Piecing together fragments of memory, Veraine begins to search for his lost love, but there are many erotic temptations on his way, while life with the Tiger Lords is so brutal and short he may not arrive in time...
Black Lace is branching out heavily into paranormal erotica this year, attempting to emulate the success of authors such as Laurell K. Hamilton and Sherrilyn Kenyon (but with better writing standards...), so expect lots of novels involving vampires, shape-shifters and general spookiness. If they're all up to the standard of Burning Bright then it's a gamble which should pay off. There's an art to making you believe in characters who are part-human, part-animal and Ashbless clearly possesses it.
Personally I don't particularly like lots of death and dollops of gore with my erotica, but the fight scenes are carried off well, and the Eastern tinges of mysticism which are woven into the plot and the characters' belief systems hold everything together nicely. And the sex never takes second place to the plot twists, which is always the danger with this type of erotica genre.
Careful, this one burns..."
No offence to LKH, but ... heeheehee!
However, my real favourite is from the journal of the Erotic Trade Organisation:
I laughed till I fell off my chair...
Sunday, March 4, 2007
By Mathilde Madden
Janine Ashbless – the woman who once wrote hot dragon sex and made it work (my god, did she ever) – will be here on Monday to celebrate the US release of her dirty, steamy paranormal filth book, Burning Bright. Yes, it's scary porn: full of sweat and blood and other fluids. And as a semi-pro werewolf handler, I have to admit, I'm more than a fan of delicious monsters.
We move from Beasts to Breasts on Wednesday, when we celebrate International Women's Day in our own style. International Women's Day is fine by us, but truly, here on Lust Bites, everyday is International Women's Day – so we thought why not make it International Hot Women's Day? Yep – Girl Crush Wednesday: hosted by Nikki Magennis, who is the subject of more than a few girl crushes herself right now thanks to her post last Friday demonstrating the power of her sexy, sexy mind.
And then, just when you thought all we cared about was smut and jungles and frottage, we hit you with the big one on Friday when Madeline Moore takes a look at the dirty book you're currently reading/writing and asks, 'But is it art?' I am not sure how it works with books, but when it comes to men in the nude, it is clearly art if it is in black and white. Like the startlingly artistic image above.
Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
Locking imaginary werewolves in imaginary cellars for your pleasure since 2006
It's the moment you've all been waiting for, the answers to our True or False quiz. Oh, okay ... you just want to know if you've won some dirty books or not, don't you?
And so, without further ado, I present you with the four lucky winners of our Valentine's competition: Shon Richards, Johanna, Katie and Bubble (aka Jacqui C). You each win a copy of the very hot and very lovely Sex in Public plus a 3-book selection of our fabulous fiction. And one person also wins a signed copy of Asking for Trouble from our mini-comp and that's Teresa. Congratulations winners! Send your name and address to us at lustbitesblog AT yahoo DOT com and your super-sexy goodies will be in the post.
Sadly, no one got the answers to our True or False quiz correct although there were a few near misses. Cast your eyes over the full revelations below if you want to know who to trust - although my best advice would be to trust none of us.
Massive thanks to everyone who entered the competition. We never know who's out there and it's fantastic when you pop up to say 'hello', 'gimme filth' and other sweet murmurings. Our next big lusty giveaway will be early May to mark the UK release of the Black Lace anthology, Sex with Strangers. In the meantime, there'll be mini-contests strewn fetchingly across the blog plus the usual mix of scintillating chat, steamy snippets and pics of hot hard men whose clothes have accidentally fallen off. And if you haven't already done so, check out Alison Tyler's gorgeous giveaway as she launches her stunning alphabet of smut.
True or false?
- Madelynne Ellis (Passion of Isis) has a romantic boyfriend who once sent her a hug in the post by drawing around his hands and arms, and cutting them out of paper. TRUE: awwww!
- Suzanne Portnoy (The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker) once held a small select Valentine’s party in her hot tub with 3 other guys. FALSE: although she does have a hot tub and I have it on good authority she's not always alone in it.
- Mathilde Madden (Equal Opportunities) had a male escort called Mark Valentine in her novel, Mad About the Boy. TRUE: oh so very true.
- Nikki Magennis (Circus Excite) was once picked up by a stranger who gave her a crushed Valentine's rose he found in the street. TRUE: tart.
- Kate Pearce (Sex in Public) struggled with long-distance love and, after getting on the wrong coach one Valentine’s Day, ended up four hours late for a date with her boyfriend. That poor, poor boyfriend is now her husband. ALMOST TRUE: Kate was actually 7 hours late and, yeah, he still married her.
- Janine Ashbless (Burning Bright) once proposed to all the men she knew on a leap year Valentine’s day. ALMOST TRUE: Janine proposed to all the ones she saw that day.
- Sophie Mouette (Cat Scratch Fever) is made up of two people, Teresa Noelle Roberts and Dayle A Dermatis. One of them has single pierced ears and tattoos; the other has multiple piercings but no tattoos. If it’s true, can you guess which one's which? TRUE: Dayle has the tattoos whereas Teresa is tattoo-free but, oh boy and ouch, does she have some piercings.
- Alison Tyler (Tiffany Twisted) once broke up with a boy on Valentine's Day. The last she heard, he was still holding a grudge. (Ah, young love. They were 10 at the time.) TRUE: and can you blame the guy? Wouldn't you be hurt if Alison Tyler dumped you when you were expecting extra kisses?
- Alana Noel Voth (Best Gay Erotica) has a heart ‘n’ dagger tattoo on her ankle. FALSE: Alana's ankles, though they're not always together, aren't marked with this tattoo.
- Portia Da Costa (Gothic Blue) has a double crush: two guys, one name. Valentino is the hero of her forthcoming novel, Suite Seventeen, and is also a character played by Vincent D'Onofrio in a film called 'The Velocity of Gary'. TRUE: of course.
- Shanna Germain (Caught Looking) has been proposed to over a dozen times but only once said ‘yes’, to a guy who promptly broke her heart. TRUE: although I forgot to ask Shanna whether the 12 proposals were from one very determined guy or several doe-eyed hopefuls. Shanna?
- Kristina Lloyd (Asking for Trouble) dreamed of marrying her first serious boyfriend whose surname was ‘Fullalove’. TRUE: well actually, I don't recall wanting to marry him but I didn't want to say 'the guy who popped my cherry' when all those people were watching. (Please note careful positioning of quote marks there.) It's just you and me here now, right? Competition launch over.
- Madeline Moore (Wild Card) once hand made (yes - hand made) a shirt for her boyfriend on Valentine’s Day and he said, ‘Thanks, I didn’t get you anything.’ TRUE: I know, I know, I'm weeping for her as well.
Lusties, I hope I got that right. If I slandered any of you, treat me gently in court, won't you?