By Kate Pearce
Sometimes writing is a solitary business and then sometimes you get coaxed into a group blog like this and realize there are other people out there who are just as crazy as you are! About the same time Lust Bites was created, I was asked to join another group blog, The Spiced Tea Party, for writers of erotic historical romance. (I don't just write about cowboys, you know) Suddenly my two blog-worlds collided when I realized that the great Molly Weatherfield, erotica writer extraordinaire, was none other than my 'Crumpet Strumpet' friend, Pam Rosenthal who writes historical erotic romance for Signet Eclipse. So, of course, I had to ask her to talk about her writing!
1. What made you decide to write erotica?
It began after my interest in reading erotica had undergone a welcome revival.. Because during the 80s I was fortunate enough to get wind of the smart, sensible stuff that sex-positive feminists like Susie Bright and Carol Queen were saying—and suddenly it became clear to me that I could have my politics and my bent fantasy life too.
Which hardly made me a writer of erotica, of course. At that that, point, in fact, I hadn’t written any fiction since high school, though I did publish occasional reviews and essays. Actually I was in complete clueless awe of anybody who could actually make up a story—even though this was during that happy, energetic period when I was getting my erotic fantasy life back. You’d think I might have dimly intuited that there was a connection between story and fantasy. But I didn’t.
Until one sexy Sunday morning, when I had a very vivid fantasy about a guy who has a strange hobby of helping people get in touch with their strange inner sexual desires. And that very simple fantasy made me so mysteriously, unreasoningly happy I couldn’t believe it. (It’s pretty clear to me now that “helper” figures are perhaps the primo wish-gratification element in stories—think of fairy tales; hell, think of just about any story—no wonder I made one up).
But at that time all I knew was that I wanted to stay in the fantasy. Perhaps, I thought, if I could give all the needs and desires I was feeling names and voices, and if I could write it all down… which was when the earth moved for me. Because as passionate a reader and as energetic a fantasist as I was, it was clear that I’d never truly understood what fiction writing was about until that moment.
Have I made it clear how huge this was for me? Because, see, it wasn’t like I was a fiction writer who’d decided to give erotica a whirl. The truth was that I was a frustrated non-writing writer who’d kind of blasted my way through to fiction writing through my erotic imagination. What I learned from this experience was to write about what I find mysterious and compelling, so I can understand what makes it so hot for me. And I’m committed to using every bit of “literary” form I figure out how to use, in order to say what I want to say as precisely as I can. I don’t see a conflict between “popular” and “literary” writing—from where I sit, all narrative writing has its roots in the paradoxes of satisfied and unsatisfied desire.
2. How was your path to publication? Rocky or a smooth glide to instant fame?
It was easy to get Carrie’s Story published. Susie Bright told me about Richard Kasak and Masquerade Books – which was kind of a factory for intelligent porn writing until the web changed everything in the 90s. Well, intelligent and not so intelligent both – Richard’s output and energy were huge. There wasn’t much in the way of rules or market guidelines—you were in if Richard thought your stuff was hot. Which was great – there was none of this “make your guy more alpha” or “the market loves m/m” stuff.
I’m totally grateful to Richard, who’s now, btw, publishing erotic romance at Magic Carpet Books. Check him out, and definitely check out my friend Marilyn Jaye Lewis, who publishes with him.
Masquerade went under in the late 90s, I guess, and I moped around for a couple of years while I was getting rejected by romance publishers. And just about the same time that I made my first romance sale, I sold the rights to the Carrie books to Cleis Press. Check them out if you haven’t—they publish Alison Tyler, Stephen Elliott, and many other good writers.
As for the instant fame part, I’m still waiting for that to happen.
3. Many people mention Carrie's Story as one of their all-time favorite erotica stories. Can you talk about where the idea for this piece came from?
I find it thrilling, you know, that bit about “all-time favorite.” Thrilling and pretty astonishing, because I think of myself as a nerdy type, and my fantasy life as sort of weird and bent—but maybe a lot of people think of themselves that way.
As for the idea behind it—well, parts of it were already in that first short story. As amateurish and primitive as it was, it included an attempt at Jonathan from Carrie’s Story; and three minor characters—Annie, Andrew, and Jane—from Safe Word). And it began to explore the fantasy of being forced to do what you most wanted to do, and also the whole helper thing. But it was also missing a whole lot.
What was most egregiously missing was Carrie herself and what she makes it possible for me to do. Which came to me in a flash a couple of months later when I was reading a very nice fantasy novel called Beauty, by Sherri Tepper.
I don’t actually remember much about that book—but I absolutely remember its narrative voice. It was the voice that meant reading and fiction and everything I’d always loved about reading and fiction; it was the brave, adventurous, smart girl voice, of Jo March and Jane Eyre and I suppose even Nancy Drew. And it suddenly became clear to me that I wanted to explore the mysteries of power and desire through the twists and turns of that voice. Power and desire and youth and bravery: because I also knew that the erotic S/M fantasies that I’d once thought I’d had to give up as a feminist were some of the bravest and most honest things about the young person I’d once been.
I wanted to think about, to work through how libido and intellect, the urge to tell stories and the need to be ravished by narrative, are parts of the same wonderful, mysterious thing. And I thought I could try to do this through the voice of this fearless, funny, brainy character—who seemed on the one hand like an idealized fantasy view of my younger reading self and on the other hand as Generic Girl Character. The name “Carrie,” actually started out as a sort of private joke on “character.” After the fact I wondered if people would think I’d named her after Stephen King’s Carrie. But I decided that would be ok too, because when I used to stay up until 4 am reading early Stephen King, my husband had dubbed me “the slave of narrative.” And that had sort of fit in with all the themes I was exploring anyway. (And no, it had nothing to do with Carrie Bradshaw, who I hadn’t even heard of at the time.)
Oh, and let me take this opportunity to add that I actually prefer Safe Word (Carrie’s Story’s sequel). Because I think I go a little further in working out the themes and ideas there. So I do hope people will check it out.
4. How did your alter-ego Pam Rosenthal emerge and how does she get along with Molly?
Well, Pam’s the name I actually go by, and Pam writes everything that isn’t S/M erotica. She’d been publishing the occasional book or movie review all the way along, and when my romance novels were sold, I was happy to publish them under a name my Mom could point to.
So they get along fine, though in truth I’m not quite sure where one leaves off and the other begins. The romances are by Pam, who I guess is the grownup married lady of the duo.
5. We've been talking about whether our families know what we write. How do your family feel about your split personalities and are they supportive?
My family is absolutely supportive of everything I write, and most of them read the Pam stuff and avoid the Molly stuff. Which I understand perfectly well. Actually I prefer it that way, though it’s hard to explain why I’m willing to share that part of myself with the anonymous reading public but not the people who knew me as a little child or as a mother. Just say that for me, family and fiction go by different sets of rules.
But of course this doesn’t include my husband—who is by far my deepest and most astute reader. And who has contributed to everything I’ve written in so many ways I can’t begin to list them.
Thank you so much for gracing our blog with your presence, Pam. It's been a real pleasure!
Pam's Website is here go take a look!
Monday, April 30, 2007
By Kate Pearce
Sunday, April 29, 2007
by Mathilde Madden
It's May! Well nearly. And doesn’t time fly when you have multiple deadlines? But there are too many wonderful things coming up on Lust Bites to dwell on my worries for long.
On Monday our favourite cowboy aficionado Kate Pearce will be here with Molly Weatherfield author of the wonderfully dirty Carrie's Story one of the best kinky novels ever written.
Our Wednesday chat features Dayle A Dermatis and Teresa Noelle Roberts (who write together as Sophie Mouette). They will be taking us out of our comfort zone. I don't know about you, but writing so many back to back kinky werewolf novels you start to see fur and fangs when you close your eyes is waaay out of mine. But, I told you, this post isn’t about me.
Friday is competition time. To celebrate the UK release of the latest Black Lace Wicked Words collection Sex with Strangers, Kristina Lloyd will be here to explain how to enter.
Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
Raised by Wolves
When I posted this Suite Seventeen excerpt, I said I would pick a winner from amongst the commenters and send them an ebook as a prize. But feeling in a generous mood today, I've decided to pick two winners, and they are...
ERIN THE INNOCENT
May and Erin, could you contact me at "portiadacosta at gmail dot com" with your email addresses and let me know which format you'd like. I've got .pdf, .lit, .pdc and .htm
You have the choice of:
Portia Da Costa
Gently gnawing with fond regard...
Saturday, April 28, 2007
I’ve got fairies on the brain right now and there’s only one way to deal with it: share it with you. My first Black Lace book, Cruel Enchantment, was a collection of "unique and breathtakingly beautiful" erotic fairy and fantasy stories, so I did consider offering you an excerpt from one of those. Then I thought No: if you haven’t read it already, why not offer you a chance to win a copy? Drop a comment in to this post and I’ll pick a winner at random, sometime soon. After all, unpredictability is a Fay trait.
The fairy story I did choose to excerpt for you was actually published in More Wicked Words. I called it
So here it is: a visit from the Smut Fairy:
Mel is on the night train to Manchester Airport. It’s Midsummer Eve, and she’s been Seeing Things on the station platform, the trackside and, now, in the carriage with her…
Mel’s heart thudded. Her reflection gaped at her in the glass. On the far side of the train something dark and inhuman crouched on a seat. She turned.
The man sitting across the aisle was smiling at her. He probably wasn’t Indian as she’d first surmised, not unless he’d escaped entire from a particularly melodramatic Bollywood musical. He looked in fact more like the pirate king from some operetta. Dark hair in unkempt curls, jawline beard, lithe muscularity. Even the insouciant grin was just right. But he was barefoot, obviously so because one was planted up on the table in front of him. He wore a long-sleeved white T-shirt that clung like a second skin and black leggings that were – if possible – even tighter. He looked like nothing so much as an actor resting between scenes in a play.
‘Melanie,’ he said. Beneath the arched black brows his eyes weren’t dark at all: they were a wild, pale hazel. Yellow, she would have said, if that had been possible.
‘Go away,’ she whispered.
He tutted. ‘That’s not much of a welcome. Not what I call friendly. I was hoping for something warmer.’ His accent held a hint of the rustic.
‘I’ll call for the conductor.’
He shook his head gently. ‘I don’t think that would help.’ By way of demonstration he unfurled himself from the seat, leaned over the table to the woman reading in the far corner and opened his mouth over hers, his tongue entering with swift and practised ease. Withdrawing after a moment’s avid exploration, he reseated himself. The woman didn’t react. She wasn’t ignoring him from shock or fear; she simply seemed unaware of his existence. She turned a page and settled further into her novel. The man smirked.
Mel felt her heart hit the pit of her stomach. ‘I don’t know who you are or what you’re doing,’ she said, ‘but you’ll have to-’
‘Really? I’m sure you do. You’ve got a degree in English Lit.’
‘How the hell did you know that?’
His grin was complacent. ‘You can call me Robin if you like.’
‘If I like?’
‘If it makes you feel better to have a name.’
‘Oh hell,’ she groaned. Her head was spinning. ‘Shouldn’t you have wings?’
He raised his eyebrows and stretched out more comfortably, the black leggings straining over his sculpted muscles and the prominent bulge of his crotch. He seemed to have a talent for lolling stylishly, even in the confines of a standard-class train seat. ‘I can have a pink bloody tutu if you want,’ he said. ‘But I thought you might prefer this.’
Mel remembered too well the reflection in the window. ‘This isn’t your real shape, is it?’ she said, playing for time until she could think straight.
Robin’s grin broadened, became pure evil. ‘No. No, of course it isn’t. Don’t you like this one? There was such a naked threat in his words that Mel’s throat, already dry, almost closed up.
‘It’s fine,’ she grated. ‘Please leave me alone.’
Laughing, he shook his head. His laugh was dark and soft like soot. ‘You don’t want me to go, Melanie. You’re lonely and you’re bored, just like me. I saw that in Leeds station. Come on, Melanie. Don’t waste time. You want your pot stirring before it burns.’
Mel went pink, though she hated it when that happened. It showed up on her pale skin like a signal of weakness. ‘I do not!’ she protested.
Mel, awash with shock, couldn't help looking over at her fellow passenger, but the woman with the book seemed not to have heard a word.
‘Pity me, Melanie. I’ve been over all over the city tonight, trying to get a good hard grind. I slipped into the Lady Mayor’s bedroom at midnight to give her one in the fat behind while she grunted into her silk pillowslips. I’ve humped no less than eight lucky jenny-cats on the rooftops. I’ve done the business in every club and bar in town, pumping in the sweat and press of the dancefloor until my ears rang. I’ve even given the statue of Britannia in the civic square a faceful that she wasn’t expecting. And while I was waiting in the station I put the night cleaner face-down over her shiny sinks and slipped her a length she hadn’t felt the equal of since she was a girl in Jamaica. Melanie – it’s not as if you’ve got anything better to do on a boring train journey. I’m desperate here. My balls are going to explode.’
Her cheeks were blazing. ‘You’re disgusting.’
‘Isn’t that what you need? A good, hard, filthy fuck? How long since you’ve had that? Or you can sit on my face and dance for me. I could get down between those pale thighs and lick your pretty clit till I drowned, my sweet maid. I could reach parts of you that never felt a tongue before. I’ll get my prick so far up your slippery crack that it’ll be banging on your heart. You’ll love it, I promise. You’ll beg me for more.’
His eyes were lambent and fierce; for all his grinning and banter he was in deadly earnest.
‘Don’t,’ said Mel hoarsely. ‘I’m not the one you want.’
In an instant he was out of his chair and crouching on her table. She shrank into her seat, trying not to see his hard body straining against the thin cotton of his clothes, or the strong tanned hands raised toward her. Above all, trying not to see his hot eyes and hungry mouth.
‘You are the one I want. Haven’t you been listening to a word I said?’ His touch was soft on her hair. ‘You can see me, Melanie: it’s a rare trick and it won’t last forever.’ Both hands met at the top of her blouse and he slipped the first button. ‘You can feel me when I touch you. You can shiver under my hands. You can writhe in my arms and rock your hips against me. I want you all right, my little peaseblossom. And I know you want me. You’re aching for it.’
He laid open her thin white blouse and surveyed the breasts revealed. Fat tits, she'd always thought of them, unremarkable in their plain M&S bra. But as he slipped his hands around them they seemed to flare with inner heat.
‘Sweet little birds,’ he murmured. He pressed them together to make a deep soft valley. She laid her hands on his to prise them off, but his wrists were like iron. The warmth seemed to be running along her veins into her arms and belly, making her weak. ‘Oh yes, he said, and planted a hot kiss on the upper curve of each breast.
Want to win a copy of the "peerless and bestselling"Cruel Enchantment (with the original, impossible-to-buy, Goth-succubus cover)? Post a comment!
Want MORE fairies and
Janine "Fairy Snuff" Ashbless.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
By Mathilde Madden
Mine does. Knows I write porn that is. In fact, my mother is pretty proud of me. I'm sure at some point we had an agreement that she wasn't meant to actually read the books – but she does. My father asks me a lot of questions about the process of writing (I think he's trying to write a computer programme to take care of the boring bits for me). My sisters read my drafts and give me feedback (though they stay away from advising me on the dirty bits).
And if anyone can find a way to embarrass my partner over what I do I'd be glad to hear it. When a national newspaper recently implied I liked to make him dress up as a werewolf for 'research' he couldn't have been happier. (Well he could, but only if I'd bought him a Wii. I fact in this picture I may have just said I would buy him a Wii - either that or I just married him.)
All my friends know. I recently got a text from an old school friend asking if I was the author of 'Mathilda and the Master'. Sadly, I'm not and I have been subsequently unable to track down the book. Everyone but everyone knows. I've never had a less than positive reaction to what I do.
But there are some limits. When I had my brush with national media fame referenced above, my mother confessed she was glad it was the Express and not the Mail so my dear old 86 year old Methodist great aunt wouldn't stumble over it by mistake. And I might be playing happy families now, but I actually wrote three books before I told my parents about my new found source of pin money. What can I say, I somehow missed the point at which I *should* have told them and then it just seemed more and more difficult.
So that's me. How about you? Do you wear a T shirt that says 'I write porn for money!' or is it just a discrete little lapel pin. If you write porn, (call it erotica if you like, but I like the word porn) how out are you about what you do? And why?
If you read on the wild side, do you tell your mother about the latest greatest smutty book you enjoyed. Do you read them on the train. Hidden inside a copy of The da Vinci Code? Do you have a stash of under-the-bed books that aren’t on display?
An author of crime, science fiction, dark fantasy, horror, and (most importantly to us) erotica, and an editor of the deliciously dark Noirotica series, Thomas Roche leaves us breathless.
We’ve pooled our collective brain power (16 erotic writers can create quite a few sparks!), and come up with a variety of queries for the talented Mr. Roche.
Lustbites: We know you were young when you began penning novels. How young? How did you get started? Can you remember the first piece that you published?
Thomas Roche: I first started writing novels when I was 12, and wrote my first erotic novel when I was 13. The first one I published was written when I was 17, but not sold until I was 19. The first piece I published was a non-erotic fantasy story called "Artifact" that appeared in a little fanzine called BEYOND; the first professional short story I sold was to MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY'S FANTASY MAGAZINE in 1989 -- called "The Beast with Blood-Red Eyes." I guess I've been around! [laughs]
LB: How many stories/novels have you written? Ball park figure?
TR: I believe the published number is around 400 stories, and something like 40 or so novels, though all of the novels have been under a pseudonym. I guess about half the short stories are pseudonymous; the rest are under my real name.
LB: How many pseudonyms have you used? (Or how many will you admit to?)
TR: Oh, boy... too many to count, I think. At least fifty. I probably wouldn't recognize them all if I met them on the street.
LB: Do you find it difficult to write from a female point of view? From a sub POV?
TR: Not at all -- the thing I like most about writing is to become someone else entirely, totally outside my experience.
LB: Do you have a favorite story or novel? One you were most proud of? One you received best recognition for?
TR: I think I'm most proud of "Up for a Nickel," which was in the first Noirotica, reprinted in Best American Erotica, and just got picked up for Best of the Best American Erotica. I guess that qualifies as the most recognition!
The stories I'm most interested in remember are the ones that cross over into the horror and crime-noir genres. Those are the ones that come closest to describing my internal experiences, so I guess those are my favorites: "Razorblade Valentines" from the Hot Blood series, "The Privilege of the Dead" from Poppy Z. Brite's Love in Vein 2, "Dirty Pool" and "Bank Job" from the Jeff Gelb / Max Allan Collins Flesh & Blood series.
LB: Where do you get your ideas? Are you an eavesdropper? Do they come naturally? Do you ever get stuck?
TR: I spend more time stuck than not stuck, I'm afraid. I think the difference is that, at least for most of my adult life, I spent virtually all my time trying to write, and I'm gifted in that I can turn it out quickly when it finally comes. It's one of the most unpleasant experiences around, though, being creatively stuck, and it happens much more than I would like.
I get most of my crime ideas from reading books about true crime history -- the mafia, mostly. I get my horror ideas mostly from things that freak me out. I am not sure where I get my erotic ideas from, they just pop in my head.
LB: Have you done some/most/all of the things you write about?
TR: I've done a whole hell of a lot that people would consider sexually adventurous, to the point of being fairly jaded.
LB: How did you become a teacher of fetish/safe sex/etc.?
TR: I got involved with an organization called San Francisco Sex Information that answers questions by phone and email -- anyone can ask, on any topic. I decided I wanted to teach the training, so I got involved and learned how to lecture, and eventually I was a fixture! I have lectured and spoken in other contexts, but SFSI (sfsi.org) is still my main teaching gig.
LB: Did you have a goal when you started, like, I want to get into "Best American"? (Or were you writing before "Best American"?)
TR: I was definitely writing before "Best American Erotica," and my goal at first was to create a world of dark adventure as completely as I saw it when I was in high school. When I started writing erotica more "seriously," my goal was to get into "Best American Erotica," then to get into "Best American Erotica again," then to get in "Best American Erotica" again... you get the idea! I think my goal now is to incorporate the erotic or romantic elements I've used in erotica into a broader context about What It All Means, as soon as I figure out what I think that is, or even where to look for it.
LB: You’ve lived in a variety of cities—L.A., San Francisco, New Orleans—all decadent in their own ways. Did you feel one was more open to sex than the others? What were your experiences like living away from the Bay Area? Glad to be back?
TR: San Francisco is definitely my home, and I’m very glad to be back. It is the most sexually open city I've lived in, but it can be conservative in its own way. I live across the bay in West Oakland now, which is often thought of as sort of a marginal, run-down neighborhood, but I find that the urban environment is incredibly inspiring to me. I often feel like downtown Oakland could be an alternate version of the Detroit in The Crow (the comic book). And like all urban jungles, you head a mile up the road and you have Rockridge and Temescal, which are moderately chi-chi neighborhoods.
It is good to be back in the San Francisco area, but I am a traveler by nature, and wherever I am, I want to be somewhere else. I daydream all the time about places I've been and want to go back to -- London, Dublin, Paris, Prague, Panama, Krakow, Detroit, Boston, Seattle, New York, even LA, which I love and hate. Living in New Orleans was one of the best experiences of my life, but it's always good to come home.
LB: Does your sex life affect your writing, or vice versa?
TR: I definitely write about experiences I have, and things I write make me explore new ideas sexually.
LB: Do you always wear black?
TR: [laughs] Pretty much everything I own is black, grey, or blue. I make an exception once in a while if I'm bowling, and I'll wear a red tie if there's live jazz on the menu.
LB: Strangest request you’ve received from a fan?
TR: I actually don't get many requests at all from fans. I did have someone ask me if I'd written all the lyrics to a fictional song that was excerpted in a short story, but I don't really consider that all that strange... I guess it was unexpected, though. I actually had written that song (I used to write a lot of songs, and play the guitar) but I was too shy to share them with her.
LB: Can you talk about your pin-up photos… how did you become interested in taking sexy pictures?
TR: How could I not be interested in taking sexy pictures? I'm fascinated by the female form, and once I got interested in digital photography the first thing I wanted to photograph was a naked chick. What I discovered was that I'm so anal retentive when it comes to lighting that I found a whole new way to express myself.
However, I had to put photography on hold for a while, because I found it was too tough to pursue it seriously while working with a writing day job AND trying to write creatively, not to mention teaching at SFSI and doing Dr. Sketchy's Barbary Coast, the live figure drawing salon I comanage. I'm sure I'll take up the visual arts again some day soon.
For more information about Mr. Roche, check out his website or his blog, and sign up to be his friend. And come to Dr. Sketchy's Barbary Coast, a burlesque figure drawing salon he organizes in San Francisco in association with the Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School Global Empire.
P.S. We'll be giving away a copy of His and Hers, two books that Thomas co-wrote with Alison Tyler, to one lucky commenter on today's blog. Winner announced next Monday.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
by Kristina Lloyd
Tilly's unpacking werewolves right now so I've been brought on from the subs' bench to tell you what's happening next week. (That's 'sub' as in substitute, okay?)
On Monday, Alison Tyler interviews the astonishingly prolific and super cool Thomas Roche, US erotica author (among other things) who's written about a million stories. Thomas once did a reading about necrophilia which Alison still laughs about to this day. Yup, I feel it's going to be one of those interviews. Thomas is also a man. We had Mr Madelynne Ellis on once (and a jolly fine riot it was, too) but, as far as I know, Thomas is our first male author. Is that correct? Gosh, how exciting.
On Wednesday, Mathilde Madden (aka Tilly) asks 'Does your mother know?' Do writers of erotica keep their identities secret or do we discuss the finer points of our latest spanking 3-way scene over family Christmas dinner?
Then it's the final Friday of the month, a date we like to reserve for pure, unadulterated smut. This month Janine Ashbless ('Spartans!') brings us an excerpt from her stunning jungle porn epic of love, loss and sweat, Burning Bright. Well, I think technically it's called a paranormal erotic romance though some prefer 'practically snuff'. Whatever you call it, it's bound to be hot and intense. Janine may also be giving away a copy of Burning Bright. I'm not entirely sure. I imagine she will be. Come to think of it, I imagine Alison will be offering free smut as well.
As you can see, I'm not as on the ball as Tilly when it comes to knowing what's going on. So to distract you, I include a picture of a very naked Jonathan Rhys Meyers crawling out of the sea at Brighton. Okay, so there's a slight element of wish fulfilment in that sentence. But it is JRM. And he's very naked, isn't he? No, I'm not sure either. I chose it because I like the shape of his shoulders and I love wet men. Honestly, that's the reason. But, you know, it's also an interesting photo. I mean, it could just be the way the pixels have fallen. Why not spend ages staring at it and let me know.
Bringing you dripping skinniness while the beefy-arm-obsessed Chief Scheduler's back is turned.
Friday, April 20, 2007
All this time you were pretending, One of my erotica stories actually ends with the words ‘they lived happily ever after’. It’s a fairy tale, so it has to. All my ‘erotica’ ends well, whereas my other writing tends to end in death, desolation, mourning, tragedy, and bleak bitter triumph – but my other writing is also erotic, just not categorised as such. With erotica sliding increasingly towards erotic romance, the Happily Ever After question raises its dewy-eyed head with some peculiarly specific problems. In straight romance, the final resolution is when they get together, kiss / shag / marry / confess their undying love, and that’s about as Happily Ever After as we need. The plot challenge for the writer is inevitably how to keep the characters apart until this joyous union, while raising the sexual tension. In erotica, that’s more problematic. How do you keep your characters away from a romantic resolution until the end of the book while filling said book with swathes of horny sex? One trope is misunderstandings, but I’m impatient with that. If two characters can’t be bothered to sit down over a glass of wine, put away their egos and lay their cards on the table, they don’t deserve happiness and their relationship is probably doomed anyway. Another trope is having people who're incredibly attracted to each other but can't stand each other / fight passionately throughout the book, which is all a bit silly really. I prefer my erotic wine without cheese. There’s another problem. If the Heroine’s having sex with the Main Man, why is that not Happily Ever After? If not, who is she having sex with, and why is she, when she fancies this other bloke? What is the defining moment of ‘romantic resolution’ if not the long-awaited shag and confessions of love? A good writer (and all the Lustbiters are!) will resolve these within the nature of the individual plot: its singularity supercedes all ideas of ‘tropes’ and the characterisation dictates what Happily Ever After is for these two. All my happy endings took care of themselves, without being my primary story goal. The more we insist on romantic resolution as our major aim, however, the more we risk slipping into clichés. Is H.E.A. even what we want? Any sentence beginning “What women want is…” should be struck off the record and the culprit sent to do a proper representative survey of women around the world. Disney is not the international female ideal for narrative. What my female characters usually want, like Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, is sovereignty: power, authority, mastery. Their relationship lies alongside that, rather than coming first. Let’s duck out of ‘romance’ for a while, and look at other love-story plot-lines. Think of the epic tales: Tristan and Isolde; Romeo and Juliet; King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot… The tragedy didn’t spoil these; it defined their resonant power. Guinevere and Lancelot’s doomed night together is doubly charged by its illicit nature and the looming discovery. Crying has never ruined a story for me. My definition of erotica is quite factual: stories with sex in. Not love-stories or romances, just stories. Most people have sex regularly and it usually does affect their lives and relationships. Including sex-scenes that are relevant to the plot is as easy as breathing. The plot itself could be drawn from fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, thrillers, crime, realism, anything at all, and sex will always be pertinent. Now that women are allowed to own property, vote, and work, love and marriage no longer define our lives: should they still define our stories? Or are there other more varied plots into which passion is woven as seamlessly as it is in life? Should erotica be borrowing from the romance genre or defining itself simply as quality writing that leaves the sex in?
So much for my happy ending…
All this time you were pretending,
One of my erotica stories actually ends with the words ‘they lived happily ever after’. It’s a fairy tale, so it has to. All my ‘erotica’ ends well, whereas my other writing tends to end in death, desolation, mourning, tragedy, and bleak bitter triumph – but my other writing is also erotic, just not categorised as such. With erotica sliding increasingly towards erotic romance, the Happily Ever After question raises its dewy-eyed head with some peculiarly specific problems.
In straight romance, the final resolution is when they get together, kiss / shag / marry / confess their undying love, and that’s about as Happily Ever After as we need. The plot challenge for the writer is inevitably how to keep the characters apart until this joyous union, while raising the sexual tension. In erotica, that’s more problematic. How do you keep your characters away from a romantic resolution until the end of the book while filling said book with swathes of horny sex? One trope is misunderstandings, but I’m impatient with that. If two characters can’t be bothered to sit down over a glass of wine, put away their egos and lay their cards on the table, they don’t deserve happiness and their relationship is probably doomed anyway. Another trope is having people who're incredibly attracted to each other but can't stand each other / fight passionately throughout the book, which is all a bit silly really. I prefer my erotic wine without cheese.
There’s another problem. If the Heroine’s having sex with the Main Man, why is that not Happily Ever After? If not, who is she having sex with, and why is she, when she fancies this other bloke? What is the defining moment of ‘romantic resolution’ if not the long-awaited shag and confessions of love?
A good writer (and all the Lustbiters are!) will resolve these within the nature of the individual plot: its singularity supercedes all ideas of ‘tropes’ and the characterisation dictates what Happily Ever After is for these two. All my happy endings took care of themselves, without being my primary story goal. The more we insist on romantic resolution as our major aim, however, the more we risk slipping into clichés. Is H.E.A. even what we want? Any sentence beginning “What women want is…” should be struck off the record and the culprit sent to do a proper representative survey of women around the world. Disney is not the international female ideal for narrative. What my female characters usually want, like Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, is sovereignty: power, authority, mastery. Their relationship lies alongside that, rather than coming first.
Let’s duck out of ‘romance’ for a while, and look at other love-story plot-lines. Think of the epic tales: Tristan and Isolde; Romeo and Juliet; King Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot… The tragedy didn’t spoil these; it defined their resonant power. Guinevere and Lancelot’s doomed night together is doubly charged by its illicit nature and the looming discovery. Crying has never ruined a story for me.
My definition of erotica is quite factual: stories with sex in. Not love-stories or romances, just stories. Most people have sex regularly and it usually does affect their lives and relationships. Including sex-scenes that are relevant to the plot is as easy as breathing. The plot itself could be drawn from fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, thrillers, crime, realism, anything at all, and sex will always be pertinent. Now that women are allowed to own property, vote, and work, love and marriage no longer define our lives: should they still define our stories? Or are there other more varied plots into which passion is woven as seamlessly as it is in life? Should erotica be borrowing from the romance genre or defining itself simply as quality writing that leaves the sex in?
Thursday, April 19, 2007
by Alison Tyler
Nikki covered the ladies we lust after.
Alana revealed her Ideal Husband.
Janine drooled over Gerard Butler.
And now there’s me. And wouldn’t you know, I have a very specific type of crush. One that will come as no surprise to anyone who pays attention to my writing.
I am all about the older man.
Pretty young boys just don’t do it for me. Sure I can admit they’re pretty, and yes, I’ve dated a few over the years. (Underwear model. Movie star.) But after the shine wears off, here’s the truth: I don’t want the pretty boys.
I’m looking to date their daddies.
Thankfully, I’m not the only person who feels this way. But, I never thought I’d find a kindred spirit in Joan Rivers. Yet I’ll give credit where credit is due, and she summed up my emotions in a recent Esquire interview: “Men look great when they’re a little used. They’ve done it, and they know about it. That’s William Holden to me. Robert Mitchum. George Clooney is getting that look. That wonderful, wonderful lived-in look.”
Perfect description. "Lived-in." I love it. The creases around the eyes. The calluses on the hands. The "been there and done it all" attitude. Because I'm not just after the looks. I'm focused on the actions. A man knows how to treat a girl. He’s got experience. He’s got finesse. He’s got me wrapped around his finger. A boy can't put you over his lap and spank you. Trust me. Not the way a man can.
I will go for the Rat Pack style of Dean Martin over the baby-faced beauty of Brat Pack Rob Lowe every time. What can I say? You can’t choose your poison. The problem is that I’m not an ingénue anymore. (Can you be one in your thirties?) But aging hasn’t stopped me. My older men have simply gotten, well, a wee bit older. When I was 16, a 27 year old could make my heart stop. These days, my older male fantasies have adapted accordingly.
Luckily for me, age works on men as well as wine. Check out the young George Clooney and the modern man—the latter wins my heart without a question. Or Robert Mitchum—fresh-faced versus "used." And Sean Connery—well, actually, Sir Sean was always pretty fucking hot. There are exceptions to every rule, you know. Some men, like Connery, seem to have been born as men.
So now you tell me....
Are you a fan of the older man? Are you an older man yourself?
Or are you on the other side of the fence, focusing solely on the slim-hipped boys? The ones who won't make me turn my head for another twenty years.
Spill your secrets and let us know.
P.S. For more on my personal fantasy, click to my blog, and my short story, “Yeah.”
All you pretty women,
Stand in line,
I can make love to you baby,
In an hour's time.
I'm a man,
I spell m-a-n...man.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
by Janine Ashbless
It's London Book Week and the publishers are throwing parties. On Monday night some of us Lust Biters managed to stop thinking about studs with rock-hard cocks for long enough to attend the Virgin Party seven storeys above Kensington High St. And we didn't even have to supply our own virgins.
From the left - Madelynne Ellis, Janine Ashbless, Kristina Lloyd, Olivia Knight.
You notice we all wear spectacles? It's true what they say about it being bad for your eyesight...
We had a lovely time drinking free champagne, nibbling canapes and fighting over the Virgin erotica catalogues (not enough copies to go round) in which we found previews of upcoming covers for such delights as Love on the Dark Side (the Black Lace paranormal collection), Kristina's novel Split and Mathilde Madden's werewolf trilogy.
Our editor Adam plots the next stage of Black Lace world domination. Possibly.
It was good to see Donna even though she's left Black Lace now. We did meet Simon our new assistant editor but I was a bit crap and failed to take a photo.
The lovely Emily Dubberley (sometime guest on this blog).
The salacious things she can tell about celebs would make your jaw drop!
Personally I didn't get home till 3am. A big thanks to my escort Jules, without whom I'd have got lost on the Underground. Actually, with whom I got lost on the Underground, three times, but he got me to the party eventually!
The winner of the Blue Boys/Public Service draw is....
Please get in touch with me at portiadacosta 'at' gmail dot com, Tawny, and I'll arrange to send you your spiffing prize of a copy of Gothic Blue and a copy of Sex in Public...
Commiserations to the losers, but there's still time to enter my Suite Seventeen draw... :)
aka Portia Da Costa
Superannuated Black Lace Pioneer
photo from art guru
Exciting news! Shanna Germain has won Second Prize at Desdmona's Titillating Tattoo Contest for her sharp story 'To the Hilt'!
Here's what the judges said:
“And what do you do with these knives of yours?” he asked… The answer is only a small part of what keeps the reader enthralled in this piercing yarn. Add two unusual characters, each with a secret, drop them into a shiny, disquieting setting, and what you get is one delicious story that scrapes the edge of convention."
...read the whole story here.
(And I got an honourable mention for Salt, a story about Elsie and a sailor. "Most importantly, there is love—rooted, passionate, sacrificial—the best kind.")
All ten winning stories can be read at Desdmona's. The prize is run by Ruthie's Club erotic stories site, and there's some real gems up there if you're looking for a little divertissement. Enjoy!
Posted by Nikki Magennis at 10:12 AM
Sunday, April 15, 2007
By Mathilde Madden
Sex is a staple of comedy, from vicars and tarts to the filthiest 'blue' comics, from seaside postcards to the rather lovely Boyce and Statham and their dubious relationship in the Channel Four sitcom Green Wing. But how about going the other way (missus?) – how about comedy in erotica?
I used to be funny.
I used to be a stand up comic. I made a lot of jokes about sex. I had jokes about breast implants, jokes about male sexuality. I had a joke about fisting. (Get me drunk and I'll probably tell it.)
And actually, writing erotica and writing or performing comedy are very similar. In both case you are using nothing but words to create a physical reaction in your audience. You can never be sure if you've got it right. You can only do what you find funny or hot, but the way your audience react will soon let you know if you've hit the spot; be it the funny bone or somewhere lower down.
I think comedy and comic writing, if it's a skill you have, can be really useful tools in erotica and erotic romance. I'll explain here how I use them and how I think they can enhance the book. And you can chip in at the end and let me know if I've got it right.
So the heroine and the hero finally fall into bed. Passion is rising. After 150 pages of bickering and unrequitedness and angst and conflict they're finally going to do it. And it's *hilarious*.
Yeah. So, I know. Sexy and funny don't always mix.
But a lot of women say the main thing they look for in a guy is a good sense of humour. So forget tall dark and handsome – for a really sexy hero give him a few good lines.
Actually though, why not make him gorgeous *and* sexy.
David in my book Equal Opportunities is a good example. He's a great looking guy. He's also in a wheelchair and, a lot of the time, he's pretty pissed off about that. But whiny self-pity isn't really attractive in a hero, even if - like David - they have lot to feel sorry about. So I gave David a strong sense of humour and a sardonic voice that could poke fun at his own problems without making them trivial.
In my second novel, Mad About the Boy, my heroine Sophie is torn between her long time boyfriend Rex and male escort Mark. Mark is absolutely gorgeous, and Rex, well, Rex is lanky with bright orange hair. But Rex is way sexier than Mark because Rex is, just, well, Rex.
'I have presents,' he says, answering my yet-to-be-asked-question, 'sleazy presents.' And the magazines drop from his arms onto my stripped floorboards, sliding over each other glossily, like a sort of naked-man-slick.
I pick up the nearest one. It's called Boy Time and it looks like a gay porno. 'Rex,' I say, brightly, turning the shiny prettiness over and over in my hands, 'do you have something to tell me?'
Rex laughs, shaking his head cheerily. 'Sadly not – I was still heterosexual last time I checked. But you know, if I had turned to the dark-side in the last twenty four hours, I so would tell you by throwing a pile of gay porn across your front room.'
There is some debate about whether funny women are sexy. I've never had any complaints, but some female comics used to say it stopped them getting dates. But in erotic romance having a funny heroine can give her a sassy quality that means she doesn't take herself too seriously. In a book like my novel Peep Show, where the heroine is doing some fairly unethical things (spying on gay men having sex, using a photo of her own super-hot boyfriend so she can chat up gay guys online), giving her a sense of humour about them stops it all getting too seedy.
Here's a short example. Our heroine Imogen's take on her online beau Dark Knight's reaction to the photographs she sends him of her hot boyfriend Christian.
Sometimes comedy can be more than just a character. Sometimes a whole erotic story can be comical. In the upcoming Wicked Words collection Sex in Public, my story – Lust for Glory - is pretty much a comic romp. Albeit a romp through a world of glory holes and getting crushes on the men from Lost. But this is quite definitely a comic story as much as an erotic one.
It's from the heroine Lou's point of view and, as with Peep Show, the heroine needs a sassy voice because of some rather unethical behaviour (you'll have to read the story to find out just what) but this is the closest I've written to out and out erotic farce. And I like it.
Gracie runs her own sort of company. Sort of. It's basically a catering company, but she likes to pretend they do events management and party planning as well. They don't. They reheat vol-u-vents and serve champagne. And it's not really even a proper company because Gracie's family are utterly loaded and the entire organisation is being propped up by the generous handouts her family keep giving her (supposedly to avoid paying inheritance tax).
I don't like working for Gracie at the weekend. For any number of reasons borne of both laziness and class warring principle, but she does pay pretty well and I've been a bit trigger happy on EBay lately - my last credit card bill was just a piece of paper with the words 'Oh-my-fucking-god' written on it.
'Front of house?' I ask, because wafting around topping up champagne glasses is slightly better than unloading and reloading a dishwasher in an ancient kitchen.
Gracie winces. 'Front for Willy or Markie, back for you, Lou.'
'Um, well, it's kind of a men only kind of party.' Gracie says and makes such a weird face that you would actually think that she couldn't possibly conceive of why a group of men would want to have a private party with no women around. Her. Her who is sitting here next to Mark and William. William with his hand down the front of Mark's trousers
I was going to say here that I don't always write funny. But I do actually usually tend to get a little joke or funny line in somewhere. A recent story I wrote I thought was pretty straight until a crit partner told me how much he liked the little jokey line about the Christmas present. (I'll tell you where you can find that joke as soon as it's confirmed.)
So, I guess I always write a little light hearted, but when I read, I like allsorts. In fact I love angst and buckets of gore and abject misery. But, for my writing that's just not my style.
Course there's funny and there's funny. Nothing in erotica is worse than an unintentionally funny sex scene. You know that thing about having people laughing *with* you rather than *at* you? Never more important in funny erotica.
So, tell me, do you like your heroes funny or brooding? Are funny heroines sassy or just smart arse? Do you like comic scenes in your erotica, or does it break the mood? Do you want to laugh and squirm?
Should good erotica laugh you into bed?
Tilly aka Mathilde Madden
Posted by Kate Pearce at 12:56 AM
Friday, April 13, 2007
Suddenly I need more than an indifferent red wine to fortify me. A hefty belt of gin would be better. My head goes so light that I seem to be floating towards the ceiling. Everything until now seems to have been all in my imagination, and only this moment of erotic connection is reality. I blink at him, imagining that I can see an invisible, silvery link between the two of us, forged by the strange interplay of an ever-tilting power balance.
I lower my head, staring into my glass, and twisting at the folds of my skirt between fingers that are a hot, sticky echo of far stickier zones.
'No… No, I haven't.' My voice comes out tinny and nervous, echoing around the kitchen as if we’re in a cathedral.
When I risk looking up again, Valentino's sculpted face is a picture. He's perfectly stern and his carved, elegant features are formed into the cool lines of a wise mentor who's mildly disappointed with an increasingly hopeless pupil.
But his eyes… oh, his eyes are luminous. They’re as dark as sin, yet brilliant with joy and anticipation. Despite the façade that form demands of him, I know he's elated by my answer.
He takes a measured sip of his unremarkable wine, still watching me. A past master of ratcheting up tension without any apparent effort, he makes me wait, for what seems like an age, before he answers.
‘Now why does that not surprise me?’ His voice is quiet and conversational and I doubt if a casual acquaintance would notice anything untoward about it.
But I do. To me it’s as if he’s just made the most obscene and explicit suggestion, and I blush so hard that I swear I can hear my ears sizzling.
‘I… I’m sorry…’
‘Don’t be. I’m not.’ He allows himself a smile now, and suddenly my heart turns over.
Oh hell… Again, the stark simple truth is hammered home to me, even as his dark eyebrows lift in provocation.
I love him. And my heart twists with bitter-sweet joy as I watch as his glorious face straighten in an obvious effort to get back on track again. He’s no solemn, serious, po‑faced master who’s hung up on rituals. This is all fun to him. A sweet, life-enriching game. And he wants to share it with me, and enrich my life too.
‘Lift your skirt,’ he orders quietly, ‘Show me the evidence.’
Abandoning my glass, I ease up the crinkled turquoise folds of my cheap skirt, feeling sweat break out all over my skin as it rises. He’s seen every bit of my body, and sampled it as both a lover and a master, but every time I reveal myself to him has all the impact of the first time. My face heats up like an embarrassed teenaged virgin’s showing herself to a boy she’s crazy about. Clumsily, I bunch my skirt around my waist.
‘Come here… I’d like a closer view.’
I take a step towards him, but he halts me.
‘Bring your drink.’
Skirt in one hand, wine in the other I walk towards him, feeling strange and disorientated. Holding the glass somehow makes the exposure of my barely covered crotch a hundred times ruder. When I reach him, I hang my head, unable to face the brilliance in his eyes. I’m a penitent. A miscreant. Deserving of punishment, not the beneficence of wine.
He reaches out, lifts my chin and makes me look at him, ignoring my exposed crotch and the incriminating thong, and concentrating solely upon my eyes.
He heaves a mock sigh, clinks his glass to mine, and takes another sip from his. ‘Drink up,’ he murmurs, then he switches his glass to his right hand and with his left, he pushes my flimsy underwear aside and dives two long fingers magisterially between my sex-lips.
It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that I’m sopping wet, and when he strokes me, I groan out loud, unable to stop myself.
‘Your wine, Annie,’ he prompts, and I raise the glass to my lips, terrified I’ll choke.
But I don’t. I swallow the rich, fruity fluid, savouring its slightly rough bite as Valentino’s fingers glide back and forth, and my hips weave like a trollop’s, working in sync with him.
He licks a droplet of wine from his lush lower lip, still watching my face as he flicks rudely at my clitoris.
'Delicious…' His head tilts a little and his tongue sweeps again, back and forth, caressing his lip as his finger caresses me.
I can't take it any more. I shove my glass down precariously on the counter, and clasp my fingers over his in defiance. My skirt drops down to cover our hands and I close my eyes to shield them from his gaze.
I hope you've enjoyed this preview of Annie and Valentino's naughty relationship... Suite Seventeen will be available in June in the UK and August in the US. Visit my WendyPortia Weblog for the latest breaking news.NB. one lucky commenter will get a download of my 2005 ebook 'Lessons and Lovers'!
aka Portia Da Costa
Celebrating 12 glorious years of Black Lacemaking!
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
“Reader, I married him. A quiet wedding we had: he and I, the parson and clerk, were alone present.
…I wrote to Moor House and to Cambridge immediately, to say what I had done: fully explaining also why I had thus acted. Diana and Mary approved the step unreservedly. Diana announced that she would just give me time to get over the honeymoon and then she would come and see me.
‘She had better not wait till then, Jane,’ said Mr Rochester, when I read her letter to him; ‘if she does, she will be too late, for our honeymoon will shine our life long: its beams will only fade over your grave or mine.’”
– Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
Of the honeymoon, nothing more is said. The story leaps six months then ten years, when we most hoped it would leap to the bedchamber. All this passionate romance, awash with Jane’s teasing nature and Rochester’s masterful, muscular ways, vanish into tying up loose ends with the characters we least care about. One critic, as frustrated as anyone about this precipitous pan-out, suggested we could take St. John’s last words instead: “ ‘Surely I come quickly!’ and hourly I more eagerly respond, ‘Amen; even so, come, Lord Jesus!’”
Forget problems of period, censorship, banning: we want that missing scene. Not only in that book, but in dozens of others, where its absence lies at the very heart of the book. Think of all the romance stories you’ve read, where its final culmination was snatched from you – Wuthering Heights, every Jane Austen, even Bridget Jones (who surely has every excuse for recording the exact salacious details in her ever-ready diary), all fade to black. Then there are books whose entire plot depends on a sexual act we never see: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Ruth, Hardy’s Tess of the Durbervilles (any Hardy will do; he loved the downfall of women, preferably milkmaids), Madame Bovary…
The really epic romances – Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Lancelot and Guinevere – are all about sex. Almost everyone puts a love interest and its consummation in their stories, even the thriller-boys: Robert Ludlum, Stephen King, Dean Koontz. They work their characters into a lather for each other, but most authors would rather describe shoe leather than their own character’s gleefully satisfied lust. Fair enough – we don’t all write erotica, but then do they have to tease so? Everything building to this one point, everything finally in place and set up, and… My goodness! Morning already? Best have these love-birds stretch sleepily and smile at each other, while the reader howls and drums her heels.
A.S. Byatt, on the other hand, knows the many meanings of “romance” and that bodies’ speech is part of it. In Possession, Christabel La Motte and Henry Randolph Ash’s lives are elaborately constructed through letters, biography and implications – but she creeps behind scenes and tells us exactly what we want to know about “those long strange nights” – proving that it’s possible to write sex beautifully, literarily, intelligently, and win the Booker Prize.
For whatever reason people don’t write the sex scene they’ve been building towards or working from – if they lived in the wrong time, fear censorship, don’t write “that sort of thing”, whatever – there are times when we wish, oh how we wish they had. They’ve created characters we desire and we want to share that consummation. So – what are the best sex scenes you’ve never read? What made you want them so much? How did you imagine them? Would you be overjoyed to find those “missing manuscript pages” or are you happier imagining the unsaid?
(And if you want, you can read the missing pages of Jane Eyre.)
Monday, April 9, 2007
I read extensively in the various genres loosely collected under the umbrella “smut.” From flat-out porn to erotica to erotic romance to mainstream fiction with a spicy slant, it’s probably on my bedside table. Or triple-layered in my bookcases. Or piled up next to my favorite comfy chair. Or on my handheld or laptop so I can read it discreetly at work or while visiting my mom.
If you read enough of any one genre, you’re likely to develop strong likes and dislikes, and I’ve developed quite a list of porno-peeves over the years. I don’t mean particular acts or kinks that turn me off. I can quite happily read a well-written story about something I’d have absolutely no interest in trying, and even things that leave me cold, I’m willing to accept as “not my fantasy, but someone’ll love it.”
No, I’m talking annoying plot devices, clichés, and mistakes that could have been easily fixed.
In no particular order, here are a few things that make me want to toss books around, or at least curse a lot:
Gigantic Members: Okay, big cocks are delightful. Those of us who like boys at all tend to like big, meaty boy-bits, particularly in our erotic-fantasy reading. But I’ve reached the point of being tired of 12-inch, wrist-thick dicks. Which is sad, really, because this is a drool-worthy image. I just think they should be reserved for special occasions, not automatically attached to every hero. (Curiously, I find this tic most in erotic romance. You’d think it would be erotica by and for gay men, but no…while they’ll have loving descriptions of cocks, they’re usually not monsters.)
Random Boinking: This is a contextual problem. In a very short story, say a 1500-word vignette, or something along the lines of Penthouse Letters, I don’t expect a lot in the way of character development or plot or motivation, other than “two or more randy people meet and have wild sex.” If the work has more substance, like an actual story arc and characters who are more than names and “36-24-36” or “Gigantic Throbbing Tool,” I want a little more set-up than that. If two (or more) strangers fall into bed, I’d like a little motivation. Is impulsive sex normal behavior for them? If not, what’s making them take a walk on the wild side now? It doesn’t have to be Love at First Sight—it probably shouldn’t be, unless one character is psychic or something and can somehow sense this random stranger is a potential love of his/her life. It can be simple overwhelming horniness, or loneliness, or something dark and complex and sad. But you have to make me believe in it, especially if it leads the characters into behavior that’s not just wild and hot, but unsafe and reckless.
Virginal Heroines: Everyone has to start somewhere, and the journey of sexual awakening, from curious innocence to bold and horny experience, can be fascinating, especially if the author does a good job portraying the emotional arc as well as the physical one. (I’m looking forward to reading Rachel Kramer Bussel’s novel that she talks about in her April 7 post, for instance. I bet she’ll avoid the clichés.) But lately, half the erotic romances I’ve picked up, maybe more, have had inexperienced heroines. Hello? A little realism here, especially since erotica publishers won’t let us write about fifteen-year-olds.
In a historical, I’ll buy it, but you have to give me a compelling reason that our heroine, in a time period where sex had even more potentially life-altering consequences than it does now, would choose this moment, with this person, to start exploring her sexuality. And please don’t make it just something irresistibly sexy about the potential partner. An amazingly attractive hero (or other heroine, if it’s that’s kind of book) is a good start, but at this turning point of the heroine’s life, the ultimate motive needs to be hers and hers alone.
If it’s contemporary, the author faces a worse challenge. Modern adults face a lot more pressure to have sex than not to. If someone chooses to abstain, the reasons are probably deeply personal and deeply engrained and aren’t going to evaporate just because they meet someone hot. I find the virgin’s progress toward that decision easier to buy in more traditional contemporary romances where there’s a long, teasing journey to sex. In that kind of book, there’s time for the heroine to work through whatever made rollicking sexual intimacy not seem right for her at the book’s opening. Don’t show me your innocent heroine just decide she’s done being a virgin and picking someone random to teach her without some background that lets me believe she’d operate this way.
Sexism isn’t Romantic or Sexy: Speaking of peeves, where are the inexperienced heroes, the shy young men starting their erotic adventures at the hands of a more experienced woman? Certainly they seem to be a no-no in erotic romance, and I don’t see nearly as many of them as I’d like in erotic fiction in general. (Tilly? This sounds like it might be up your alley!) Is that because it’s assumed male virginity is no big deal? That men are supposed to be experienced and teach women? Yawn! Not that the teaching scenario can’t be hot, hot, hot, but I’d like to see it from the other side more often.
In the same vein, dominant alpha males can be sexy in the bedroom, but unless it's a story about a dominant/submissive relationship, where the sub explicitly consented to being bossed around, dominant posturing outside the bedroom can get annoying. Unless it leads to a fight, a realization, and incredibly hot make-up sex, possibly with role reversal.
Getting the Facts Wrong: There’s simply no excuse to get basic facts wrong with the Internet at everyone’s fingertips. Yet I can’t tell you how much “Uh, it doesn’t work like that” stuff I’ve encountered. BDSM sessions that would end in an emergency-room visit. Positions that only Cirque du Soleil acrobats could achieve.
And misplaced hymens.
Hello! If you opt to write about an inexperienced woman enjoying her first vaginal intercourse, please know where the hymen is! It’s not deep inside the vagina, no matter how many times you’ve read this in older romance novels. I swear, someone wrote a really bad deflowering scene, complete with misplaced hymen and pain and buckets of blood, back in 1977 that’s still being rehashed today in otherwise far more sophisticated books.
Unlubed Anal Sex: Do I really need to explain why this bugs me? Especially if it’s in tandem with Gigantic Cocks and Virgins? Ouch!
If it’s a dark, edgy, BDSM-oriented story where the characters decide to play at consensual non-consent and are deliberately courting pain and a certain amount of risk…fine. Might not be to my taste, but I’ll buy it from those characters. But stories where the author just seems to forget the lube? Book goes flying!
So what are your pet erotica peeves?
Posted by TeresaNoelleRoberts at 3:15 AM
Friday, April 6, 2007
If you haven’t heard of Rachel Kramer Bussel, then you’re likely not reading enough erotica. Rachel, who's also known as Lusty Lady, is the queen of all things erotic, edible and edibly erotic. She’s the author of too many short stories to count, much less name; the editor of books like Naughty Spanking Stories from A to Z 2 and Glamour Girls; and a contributor to blogs, newspapers, magazines and nearly every other form of readable media out there.
We invited Rachel for cupcakes and diet Coke, and not only did she accept our invite, she let us pester her with a million questions about writing novels, tasty cakes and her newest books dominance-themed collections, He’s On Top and She’s On Top.
Lust Bites: What was the idea and/or reason behind doing He's On Top/She's On Top?
LB: What was the story that surprised you most from the He's On Top/She's on Top collections?
RKB: Teresa Noelle Roberts’s “Mark of Ownership” in She’s on Top, because it had this quality of emotional tenderness while talking about a topic, cutting, that is not my personal cup of tea. It got to the heart of what I wanted to explore in these anthologies, which is how power, within the context of BDSM, isn’t absolute. The story shows how sometimes being the top is the toughest role to play because you have to watch out for your sub’s well-being as well as your own, and sometimes, perhaps, at the expense of your own.
LB: Why He's on Top/She's on Top? Isn't that a bit unfair on those of us who aren't that bothered about who's on top but care mostly about who's on the bottom?
RKB: Funny you should ask, because I am in the process of editing Yes, Sir: Erotic Stories of Female Submission and Male Dominance and Yes, Ma’am: Erotic Stories of Male Submission and Female Dominance, which will tell these stories from the bottom’s point of view (to be published by Cleis in early 2008).
But what was interesting to me is that even though technically these are tales from the top, I found that a good top has to be aware of what their bottom wants. The stories that most connected with me were ones where the tops took total pleasure in messing with their bottoms, while also showing a level of compassion and protection over them. I’m a switch, or rather, I can top or bottom depending on who I’m with and the dynamics of the relationship, and I found myself getting into some stories from the top’s point of view while in some I saw myself as the bottom in the story, but in all of them, there was something that I found arousing and thrilling.
LB: What's your biggest turn-on in a story?
RKB: It’s different in each one but usually there’s a point where the story just hooks me in. Sometimes that happens immediately, and sometimes it takes a while, but at whatever that point is I need to keep reading, even though part of my mind has already formed its own imagery and is running with the story on the page. I’m aroused both physically and intellectually and can’t wait to get to the end so I can start all over again.
LB: You're working on your first novel, right? How is that the same/different from the work you've done before?
RKB: Writing my novel, Everything But…, (to be published by Bantam next summer) is nothing like anything else I’ve ever written before. It’s a whole new level of work and madness, but it’s also giving me the freedom to play around with various characters and have my protagonist, Grace, experience a lot of different feelings and sexual situations, some familiar to me personally and some not. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s about a virgin’s erotic awakening and how she goes about pursuing sexual fulfillment and trying to find true love.
LB: What's your favorite cake?
LB: What's the question that no one's ever asked that you wish they would?
RKB: Wow. I don’t know if I know. Maybe “What sleeps with you in your bed?” I think I will just leave that question there and perhaps someday I will answer it.
And now on to the excerpt from “Mark of Ownership” by Teresa Noelle Roberts:
Absolute power on my side, absolute trust on his, for those moments.
I’d never cut him before, but we’d talked about it, excitedly, almost obsessively.
It was as close as we ever came to talking about love.***
That's all folks! Thanks for stopping by. Take another cupcake on your way out, and leave a comment at the door--you just might win your very own copy of He's or She's On Top!
Thursday, April 5, 2007
I'm excited, because it's Friday. But also because tomorrow we have an extra special guest - the divine Rachel Kramer Bussel will be joining us for an interview.
Editor, author and sex writer extraordinaire, Rachel's credits include editing Penthouse and various anthologies. She has erotic stories in over 80 books, with a lot of Bests in the titles, and she is the editor of the 'Naughty Spanking Series' books published by Pretty Things Press.
Join us tomorrow to welcome Rachel to Lustbites, and to hear more about her new duo of dominant themed anthologies: 'He's on Top' and 'She's on Top', published by Cleis Press. I believe we'll have a copy to give away, and I'm hoping cupcakes may be involved somehow...Don't miss it!
Our own lovely LustBiter, Shanna Germain, is interviewed on Susie Bright's blog!
Check out the informative interview and the delicious excerpt from Shanna's sexy story, "Entry Point," featured in BAE 2007.
My personal feeling is that Shanna's going to be famous for a lot longer than 15 minutes!