Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ancient and Modern


I'll keep this brief as I had a day on the blog last Friday too. Then I talked about how scary it was to write a sequel ten years on from the original novel... but I don't think that is anywhere near as scary as having my first ever BL reissued on the same day as my most recent one. Eek, it just invites a critical comparison, doesn't it? Is she as good as ever? Or has she lost it and should she be put out to pasture to make way for younger, hipper talents?

Well, I *think* I’ve improved. I’ve learnt a lot in fourteen years, both in terms of writing and life, and with any luck that shows in my stories and my characterisation. Okay, so there was a freshness I had back then that I feel a wistful nostalgia for but fingers crossed, I’ve gained far more with the years than I’ve lost. [I just wish I didn’t have to say the same about my waistline too!]

Will I still be writing in another fourteen years? Gosh, I’d like to hope so... even though I might well be balancing my laptop on my arthritic knees as I sit in my bath chair on the sea front at Eastbourne. Either that or I’ll be scribbling on the back of an envelope as I crouch in a cardboard box under the viaduct because I’ve become a destitute bag lady…

How about you, gentle readers? What have you learnt in the last fourteen years? What do you hope to learn/do in the next fourteen years? Let me know in a comment, and one lucky person will win a copy of both my then and now books!


Still crazy after all these years...

More about Gemini Heat here

More about Gothic Heat here

Oh, and while we're about it, here's a taste of Gemini Heat... which is about identical twins. Both Deana and Delia fancy Jake de Guile, but Peter, the boy next door, is in love with Deana. When Deana goes out with Jake, it's down to Delia to console Peter...


Read on...

'This must seem pretty weird to you,' he went on, pausing to swig down more wine, 'I'm telling you that I'm in love with a woman who looks just like you?'

'Not as weird as you think,' Delia answered taking another sip of her own wine as an unthinkable idea occurred to her.

With the slow, simple rationality of the far from sober, she saw an elegant solution to the sexual dilemmas of both herself and Peter.

'Do you want to make love to her?' she asked bluntly, feeling fire building low in her belly. She could see pictures in her head. Pictures of Deana, her legs wide open, being possessed by dark, ruthless Jake... But no, it wasn't Deana! It was herself. Delia. Her face! Her body! If she closed her eyes she could slip herself into that scene, live it, make it happen. All she needed was a hard, male penis to melt around.

And if she could make an illusion for the man who provided the penis?

Draining her glass yet again, she rose to her feet and walked across the room with infinite care. Pulling off her own tee-shirt, she dropped down onto the sofa next to Peter, and cupped her bare breasts in her hands, offering them to him as if they were a pair of sun-ripened fruits.

'Make love to me, Peter,' she said, her voice faint as she flicked her nipples to make them stiffen and grow hard for him.

'Delia... I don't...'

'It's "Dee",' she corrected him, 'Dee Ferraro. I play games, remember?' The wine made her powerful and she reached for his narrow hand with its square, neatly-trimmed nails and placed it on the peachy-soft slope of her breast.

'Just for tonight, Pete... Please?' It seemed strangely apt to be pleading. She would've grovelled to De Guile, wouldn't she?

'But I know the difference,' replied Peter, his voice cracking. He was protesting but his hand was already moulding her flesh and enjoying it.

'For comfort then... If you can't pretend.'

'Oh Dee,' he sighed, moving in on her, even though she'd no idea whether it was for comfort... or for fantasy's sake after all.

For a moment, she drew back within herself, and looked at the real man with her, not the sex-fiend who'd hijacked her body this morning. Peter wasn't Jake; he wasn't dark, or mysterious, or an insatiable creature of wealth and power. But his smooth, pale body was hard and wiry - and far from unpleasant on the eye.

His thin arms were strong as they pulled her to him and crushed her in a shockingly tight grip. Her nipples and his were pressed against each other, and as his mouth met hers, he moaned into it, shimmying his body against her as if his small brown teats felt all the pleasure that her larger rosy-red ones did.

And his tongue was bold too. Probing and tasting as their wine-scented saliva mingled in a way that pre‑shadowed a far greater blending.

'You're so good to me, Dee,' he murmured, then sucked hard on her tongue as if it were a lollipop, a nipple or a clitoris. Delia moaned, her hips lifting and beating against him with a life that was all of their own. There was a pressure and a heat down there now, a pulsating, tingling discomfort that wasn't really a discomfort at all. The mouth between her legs seemed to whimper and beg and cry out. She was hungry. Hungry for maleness. For flesh. For filling. Perversely, she knew still that Jake de Guile was the one she really wanted in there, but Peter was the man who was here. The man with the available penis. A penis that was hard against her body and pressing towards her sex like a unseeing missile homing in on its target and oblivious to the several layers cloth in its path.


Olivia Knight said...

Oooh-aahr, Portia, as ever! And congratulations on the rerelease. Must have more coffee before I come clean on the last and next 14 years, though... hmm.

Janine Ashbless said...

Here's what I've learned over the last decade or so:

 I need to cut down on the semicolons.
 A waxed undercarriage is SO much better to live with. (!)
 The assumption that other people value the same things I do is absolutely wrong.
 Just because it’s written in a book, you don’t have to take it seriously.
 No matter how horny you’re feeling, DO NOT tell anyone you work with/for that you fancy them – it will not end in hot sex like in the stories.
 Gardening is the best therapy.
 Subtle never works when you’re writing horror.
 Friends who have children will fall out of touch – cherish the non-breeders.
 Writing is fundamental to my happiness.
 You can always walk away from a job or a situation, if it's that bad.
 A bruised ego heals like anything else. Pick up and carry on.
 I do not have to have a clean and tidy house.
 I am so damn lucky to have Mr Ashbless.

Oh, and...

Dragons and Minotaurs are still regarded as squicky by the majority.

Given my age, you can work out I'm a bit of a slow learner...

Janine Ashbless said...

And how was your Oxfringe appearance, Olivia?

Portia Da Costa said...

Thanks, Olivia! Hope the reading went well.

Portia Da Costa said...

Great list, Janine... fine wisdom there.

As for what I've learnt, apart from the writing craft and whotnot... Well, some stuff certainly. But I don't think it's changed me a lot, fundamentally, and if it has, probably not for the better. I'm still the same stupid, neurotic, infantile screw up I was 14 years ago... only now it's all housed in a much more decrepit physical shell. :(

Erastes said...

Hurrah on writing for so long - cripes I wish I'd started earlier.

Well, I'm a newbie in comparison, - this is my 5th year but certainly when I look back at early books I can see the problems.

Point of View shifting, not clever. I'm keeping it down to chapters when I can now, rather than switching mid sentence...

Over-purply prose, toning it down...

A comfortable chair leads to better writing.

Janine Ashbless said...

Arthur C Clarke had written for his tombstone: He never grew up, and he never stopped growing. I think that's pretty neat.

Madeline Moore said...

I think I'd like to write more and worry less, in the next fourteen years.

Walk away from people who have ideas on how to improve me.

Sell a movie script as well as more novels and short stories!

Be the most gorgeous mother-of-the-bride ever!

Cherish my time with Felix...

Congratulations, Portia, but I do wish you'd be kinder to yourself: "I'm still the same stupid, neurotic, infantile screw up I was 14 years ago." Since you are my hero, I must protest!

xoxo Madeline

Olivia Knight said...

The reading went fantastically, thanks - I neither dropped the book nor walked into a chair! (I must confess: nerves aside, I do love public speaking and having an audience)

I've learnt pretty much everything I know in the last fourteen years, so it's hard to pick anything out, and I haven't yet learned to keep my mouth shut when I should (I'm the loud-mouthed frog of legend), but here are a few tidbits of what passes for wisdom for me:
* don't give poisonous people a second chance: they're mad: run away!
* go for a long walk
* time passes (To be honest, I'm still not sure I've got the hang of this one)
* a clean and tidy house is an excellent substitute for sanity
* you can describe a setting from a character's point of view without saying "he saw" blah-di-blah
* everything ends up with sex in it

Plus pretty much everything evil-twin-Janine said, apart from the waxed undercarriage (what does that mean?), the gardening (I garden with a chainsaw), and the clean and tidy house (which I do need). And of course, I'm equally so damn lucky to have Mr Ashbless ;-)


Portia Da Costa said...

I really wish that I'd started writing a lot earlier, Erastes. *A lot* earlier...

That's why the prospect of what I might be doing in 14 years time is so terrifying to me.

Portia Da Costa said...

Wow, I love that Arthur C. Clarke quote! Thanks, Janine. :)

Portia Da Costa said...

Thanks, Madeline. The fact that I'm somebody's hero is most cheering.

I suspect that my assessment of myself is pretty accurate though.

Portia Da Costa said...

Yay on the successful reading, Olivia! I wish I had the confidence to do one, but I'm sure I'd muck it up right royally.

Another good list... and hey, himself does a lot of gardening with a chainsaw too. He's the scourge of overgrown conifers!

Kate Pearce said...

Great excerpt Portia and congrats on the longevity of your career in an industry known for chewing up and spitting out excellent writers just for the fun of it.

things I have learned in the last 14 years...

1. I like myself
2. I've accepted I'll never be a model or a ballet dancer.
3. teenage boys are monstrous and eat way too much.
4. To accept bad stuff happens and deal with it.

I'm getting a bit too philosophical now!

Writing-wise I've learned that American and English grammar are very different and that I still mix'em up :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Portia, so cool, congrats on fourteen!
That's a real darn loaded question about 14 past and 14 future, in my case. Suffice to say I learned what I never wanted to learn about the so-called human condition.
My hope is that I am a better person for it, despite all. Hey, at least, I know the 'truth' of the world at a deep, deep level.
The future, I'd luv to be writing and publishing, and thus, living in the worlds I create.
Arthur C. Clarke, one of a kind, and magnificent inspiration.
Again, Portia, you're an inspiration to me. Keep on truckin' as they'd say in my part of the world.

Portia Da Costa said...

Nothing wrong with being philosophical, Kate. I sometimes wish I could cultivate a more philosophical outlook... it's very useful in this chew 'em up, spit 'em out business.

Portia Da Costa said...

Thanks, Savanna! I plan to 'truck' as long as I have breath in my body... :)

Saskia Walker said...

Many congratulations on 14 wonderful years!! How many authors can say that, ay? You're an inspiration.

Portia Da Costa said...

Thanks, Saskia! It's strange, in some ways, it seems like an age since I started out... but in others, it's just like yesterday.

It was cool to see both books prominently on display today in the bookshops. Thanks for taking me on the 'Portia Da Costa' tour! :)

Jennifer said...

Congratulations on the re-release, Portia! Loved the excerpt - thanks for sharing. Wow, as to the past 14 years... haha I'm pretty young so that's more than half my life! :X I'd say I've learned a lot ;-)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Portia both on your continued success and your great exerpts.
The things I have learned:
I can never learn enough about sex.
When the love-of-my-life, says: 'Don't look at me' and hides under the doona, I have to resort to my imagination.
I'll still be writing when on life support.
Cathleen Ross
Man Hunt Black Lace Books.

Kissa Starling said...

You just keep getting better Portia! I hope to say the same about my writing in ten years or so.

Kissa Starling

Portia Da Costa said...

Glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Jennifer!

14 years is more than half your life? EEEEK, I feel older than ever! I think I'm going to stop adding years when I have a birthday, and just concentrate entirely on presents! LOL

Portia Da Costa said...

Great list, Cathleen! I too hope to be writing into extreme old age... which isn't that far off in my case!

Thanks for your kind words.

Portia Da Costa said...

Aw, Kissa, thanks ever so much for that. It warms my heart to know that my peers think I'm still raising my game after all these years.

limecello said...

Congratulations on the re-release, Portia! And I loved the excerpt of Gemini Heat. I'm going to have to check out your backlist...

Portia Da Costa said...

Glad you enjoyed the excerpt, Limecello!

I've had 11 Black Lace titles published, plus one in the works. Oh, and a novella in LUST BITES and one to come in MAGIC AND DESIRE.

Not bad, eh?