By Mathilde Madden
Black Lace is 15 years old. To celebrate the big wigs at HQ have given us two super dooper goodie bags each containing copies of the two Black Lace novels out this month: a reprint of the first ever Black Lace - Cassandra's Conflict by Fredrica Alleyn and our own Madelynne Ellis's storming Phantasmagoria. Plus numerous other special Black Lace goodies.
What do you have to do to be in with a chance of grabbing the goodies? Simple. Tell me about the first Black Lace book you ever read. And to get you in the mood, I asked a few friends to tell me how they lost their Black Lace virginities.
Let's start with someone who's work is at the forefront of the celebrations. Our own Madelynne Ellis:
"My first brush with Black Lace was back in 1996. I´d been working my way through the local bookstall´s collection of Victorian erotica eg The Pearl, and there were some Black Lace books mixed in amongst it.
The first one I read was Ace of Hearts by Lisette Allen. It´s a Regency set historical featuring rather a lot of fencing and a fight over an inheritance. Its most memorable scene is near the start where the heroine, having come off her horse, is tied to a heavy saddle in the middle of a field by the hero and roughly taken from behind.
I guess it made an impression as I sent off for the Black Lace writing guidelines shortly afterwards.
I´m not going to tell you how many of them I´ve now read. Let just say it´s a lot."
Next up, Anne Tourney:
"There are so many classics I recall, but the two that had the most impact on me creatively -- the novels that opened up a world of possibilities for combining an honest portrayal of sexuality with the exploration of the author's imagination -- were Artistic License, by Vivienne LaFay and Gothic Blue, by Portia Da Costa.
I had been writing erotic short fiction for a few years when I first found the Black Lace series, but it had always been my dream to write erotic novels. Discovering these two books, both written from a thoroughly feminine perspective, with vividly atmospheric settings, compelling plots, and characters I could identify with and care about (oh, and did I forget to mention the hot sex?) was revolutionary to me.
Artistic License is a historical novel about a young woman in Renaissance Italy who poses as a boy so she can fulfill her dream of being an artist.
Gothic Blue, of course, is the erotic classic by our own Portia Da Costa, a story of supernatural machinations in an eerie castle, with a sexual obsession that crosses the boundaries of time. They're both incredible novels which deserve to be in print for years to come."
And here's Teresa Noelle Robert's confession:
"I think the first one I ever read was The Crimson Buccaneer by Cleo Cordell - a historical lavishly laden with flagellation and d/s, which made me forgive some lapses in the history - which I bought at the airport.
I confess I bought it because I was so pleased to see obvious erotica on the shelf, albeit the top shelf where I had to stretch, in an airport bookstore."
When I told Kristina Lloyd (gone but not forgotten) what I was doing - she was keen to add her first time with Odalisque by Fleur Reynolds:
"Odalisque was published in 1994, back when there were only two types of BL books: historicals and posh contemporaries. This is a Posh, steeped in that godawful cold, aspirational, 80s aesthetic. It’s all glamour, wealth, chauffeurs and unpleasant, bossy women. This was so removed from my life I could’ve been reading about aliens.
However, chapter 2 is a wild, gratuitous, 20-page long, MFM and for that I adore it. As far as I can remember, two of the characters don't even appear in the book again but who cares? The scene feels like it’s about to burst out of the pages and reading it felt like hearing from a woman who’d finally been allowed to speak. And she was saying stuff like: ‘If you lie on the desk,’ said Kit to Gerry, ‘this dirty bitch can suck your cock while I’m screwing her arse.’
God, Kristina's really changed, hasn't she?
One person we can always rely on for an opinion at Lust Bites is Janine Ashbless. I had to ask her how she popped her BL cherry:
"My first Black Lace was Avalon Nights by Sophie Danson (which was actually originally published by Nexus, as Knights of Pleasure). It was given to me by my friend Chris and it's not an exaggeration to say that it changed my life.
It's a collection of tales told by various Knights of the Round Table, strung together (just about) by a story-arc. Each individual knight has their own kink so there are stories themed around male dom, femdom, lesbianism, big dick romps, BDSM etc - and a very naughty bit involving a horse. I thought it was great - and it inspired me to write down my own fantasy stories and submit them as Cruel Enchantment. And so Janine Ashbless was born...
I've still got the book. It has one of those classy old sepia-tinted covers that I still think are the best Black Lace ever did. And the very first line is "It was a stormy night." Which, frankly, requires balls of brass to get away with!"
And for some final recommendations from the early days, I tracked down AWOL Lustie, Alison Tyler:
"15 years. It’s a long time. It’s as long as I’ve been professionally writing porn. Which is why I can’t remember what my first Black Lace book was. I mean, I have read so many of them, dog-eared the pages, rumpled the covers, dropped them into the bubble bath. But thinking back, my virgin Virgin title was probably Kerri Sharp’s collection of women’s fantasies, which I remember adoring and passing onto a friend, and then having to buy again.
Much better, I remember my last Black Lace read—Mathilde Madden’s intense and amazing The Silver Collar—which I also adored and lent to a friend and had to buy again.
You’d think after 15 years, I would have learned something, if only this: never lend your favorite porn. Happy Birthday, Black Lace!"
Ah, you wouldn't believe how much it cost me to get her to say that. Our much-missed trollop might look cheap, but she drives a hard bargain.
So tell me about your first time. How was it?
Friday, March 7, 2008
By Mathilde Madden