Monday, June 30, 2008

Looking into the Future

By Janine Ashbless
Yes – that’s me there. The flowing red dress. The skull. The riding crop. The enormous book of dirty stories. The crystal ball … because I’ve been looking into the future.

We did it back in December, but what with line-up changes and the unceasing flow of time I thought I might ask round the Lusties and find out what they’ve got in the pipeline for future publication, and what they’re working on right now.

(PS: I may have been lying about the flowing red dress. And, you know, about being a model for a dead Victorian painter. Though actually that has possibilities as a plot…)

So in no particular order here’s what I saw in the mystic crystalline depths:

Portia Da Costa:
In Too Deep (Black Lace) - September UK/November US

Chance of a Lifetime (Spice Briefs) ebook Novella - TBA but probably 2008

Sometimes They Come Back in Lust at First Bite: Sexy Vampire Short Stories (Black Lace) - November

Working on: "stories for the new Black Lace Short Story Collections, and I'm about to start working on Kiss it Better, a new Black Lace contemporary which will probably hit the shelves in Summer 2009."

Lauren Dane:

Cascadia Wolves: Fated (Samhain books) - August

Taking Care of Business (Black Lace) - October (Jan 09 in the US)

Undercover (Berkley Heat) - December

Cascadia Wolves: Wolf Unbound - January 09

Cascadia Wolves: Standoff - February 09

Always (Samhain) - April 09

Relentless (Berkley Heat) – May 09

Vegas…After Dark (Harlequin Spice) – May 09

Working on: "finishing my second futuristic for Berkley, Relentless, which is due July 31!"

Olivia Knight:

The Three Riddles in Enchanted (Black Lace novella collection) - August

Working on: ghost writing!

Kate Pearce:

Secured Mail (Ellora's Cave) – summer 2008.

Simply Sinful - a Regency erotic romance (Kensington Aphrodisia) - November.

Riding the Line (Cheek) – December

Madeline Moore:

Amanda’s Young Men (Black Lace)

The Oasis at Midnight in Lust at First Bite: sexy vampire short stories (Black Lace) - November

Working on: "submissions to the Black Lace story collections, TV and Film proposals for CBC, SPACE, GLOBAL TV, and Independent TV and Film Producers"

Janine Ashbless:

Wildwood (Black Lace) – August

Bear Skin (novella) in Enchanted (Black Lace) – August

Dark Enchantment (Black Lace) – January 2009

Pirate Treasure in Frenzy:60 stories of sudden sex (Cleis) - October

The Blood of the Martyrs in Lust at First Bite:sexy vampire short stories (Black Lace) - November

Ritual Space in Best Women’s Erotica 2009 (Cleis) - November

Working on: "Black Lace short story collections. And Heart of Flame, a steamy romance for CatScratch's new ebook line, out 2009."


Frost Fair (Linden Bay Romance) – November/December

Dayle Dermatis:

(writing as Andrea Dale):

In Flight in Best Lesbian Romance 2009 (Cleis)

The Witch of Venice in Screaming Orgasms and Sex on the Beach (Pretty Things Press)

Tigress in The Mammoth Book of the Kama Sutra (Running Press) - September

(writing as Sophie Mouette, with Teresa Noelle Roberts):

Hidden Treasure in Bedding Down (Avon Red) - December

Under a Double Rainbow in Pagan Anthology of Short Fiction: 13 Prize Winning Tales (Llewellyn Publications) - October

Working on: "I'm currently finishing up an urban fantasy novel and about to set to work (with Teresa) on the next Sophie Mouette erotic romance."

Madelynne Ellis:

El Alquimista in Lust at First Bite: sexy vampire short stories .

Working on: "Another Georgian historical, having just completed 'Fortuna', and a spooky m/m historical novella."

Crystal Ball Technologies do not guarantee the accuracy of any detailed visions. Future events may not occur as expected due to circumstances, twists of fate, pesky interfering kids, Acts of the Outer Gods etc.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Coming attractions

Sexy manThe erotic haiku competition inundated us with so many hot little snippets that the winners' announcement has been moved to Tuesday 1 July while the judges pore over your mini masterpieces. In the meantime, you can look at him and savour the week to come...

On Monday, Janine Ashbless does a mega coming attractions of all our publications for the year ahead, a sneak preview of what future smut slots and hot excerpts will hold. (Smut slots, for newcomers, are our last-Friday-of-the-month treat with a satisfying chunk of someone's naughty bits. The right sidebar keeps a roll of honour for you to relish.)

On Tuesday, Olivia Knight announces the winners of the Midsummer Eotic Haiku Competition.

On Wednesday, Lauren Dane does ménages: boy meets girl meets boy and how to manage the multitudes & multiples.

On Friday, Madeline Moore unleashes her inner cougar on the joys of boy toys.

Competition winner!
Madeline Moore's new book (when her author copies arrive) goes to random thinkables- please email telltale [at] primus [dot] ca with your details. To see if you won any previous competitions, check the Competition winners list on the right-hand bar.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Smut slot: Amanda's Young Men

Comment today to win a signed copyFireworks are for sale all over Canada right now. This is because Canada Day, July 1, is right around the corner, but I like to think it’s because the release date for Amanda’s Young Men is July 3, (although the book is available now on and Canadians everywhere are eager to celebrate. OK, so the release date is for the UK only and, according to the information I have at present, Amanda’s Young Men won’t be available in Canada/US until January 6, 2009, but still…a girl can dream, and for anyone who's ever dreamt of young-but-legal boy toys, my book is a dream come true.

Here's what the front cover looks like:

And here's what it says on the back:

When her husband dies of a heart attack in a by-the-hour motel, Amanda inherits a chain of shoe shops that bleed money. But luckily for Amanda, the staff are bright and beautiful young people, ambitious to succeed and eager to give her total satisfaction. As she sets out to save the chain, and discover the woman involved in her husband's death, Amanda also finds time to amuse herself with lovers - young ones, and lots of them. Heels, hose, and haute couture have always been parts of Amanda's life, but now she's up to her dimples in duplicity, desire and decadence.

That’s right, she’s a cougar on the prowl. And not this kind of cougar:

We’re talking about this kind:

Way to go, Demi! Next Friday we’ll be talking about boy toys and you’ll get lots of pictures like this one, and the opportunity to comment on the topic:

But today, it’s all about Amanda's Young Men. So here’s a couple of bites from the book to whet your appetite.

Amanda steals Paul from a rival shoe store:

He measured her foot with the delicate touch of a spider. ‘One moment, Madam.’
The shoe he brought to her was a plain classic pump in metallic bronze, with six-inch steel-tipped heels that were as slender and vicious as nails. He knelt and used his palm to push up on the blunted spike to press the shoe’s heel onto Amanda’s foot. Amanda bore down, forcing his right hand lower and lower, until its back was flat on the floor, and trapped. Then she put just a little weight on it, indenting the flesh of his palm.
Paul looked up at her face with both pain and lust in his eyes.
‘Now the other shoe,’ she said.
‘You’ll manage.’
‘Yes, Madam.’ Awkwardly, he worked her foot into the second shoe, one-handed, until a third of her heel was in it. He set his palm beneath its spike and looked up again, his deep brown eyes silently pleading.
Amanda knew exactly what he wanted. She forced his left hand down and trapped it beside its mate.

Amanda has sex with Paul:

Amanda knelt between his thighs. His balls, like Rupert’s, were tight and close to his body, two perfect gemstones encased in a sack of the thinnest, smoothest leather. She handled them with care, arranging his scrotum to hang nicely over the edge of the couch. The rest of his lovely young package lay limp on his thigh. She blew on its head. It twitched and rose a fraction. Her left hand took its base and lifted it. Even that slight attention engorged his flesh.
Amanda dipped her head. As her lips stretched over Paul’s knob, he gasped. She didn’t take him deep. It was her lips and tongue, slobbering and deliberately making wet noises, that brought him to full straining erection. She rose swiftly and knelt on the sofa astride Paul’s thighs. Still holding his shaft, she lowered herself until its dome was snuggled between her pussy’s bare lips.
Paul’s eyes clouded with lust. Holding his gaze, she sank, teasing herself and savouring each throbbing inch as it sank into her. When she was sitting on him, her lips stretched around his base, she ground down, gaining an extra inch, and rotated, stirring her own insides on the stiff rod that impaled her.
‘I’m going to fuck you,’ she growled. ‘I’m going to get myself off on your hard young cock and it doesn’t matter to me whether you come or not. This is for me. You understand?’
He nodded.
Amanda took a fistful of his hair in her left hand and twisted it. Paul winced but said nothing. Forcing herself down, Amanda bumped and twitched and squirmed until her clit was trapped between her pubic bone and his. She slow-humped, masturbating herself on his captive flesh. The thumb and forefinger of her still-latexed right hand clamped on his left nipple and firmly rotated it.
Now that she had two hand-grips, Amanda cut loose, twisting her hips and riding him, hard and fast. It must have been good for him, too good, because he groaned, humped up and collapsed. ‘Don’t you dare go soft on me,’ she ordered, and gave his nipple a cruel wrench.
Perhaps it was the sudden pain, for the flesh that she’d felt start to soften inside her recovered its rigidity. Incredible! She was truly using him just as she’d use a sex toy, pushing his buttons to make him perform exactly as she required. Inspired by her newfound power, Amanda rode Paul harder, faster, pounding her pubic mound down on his, exulting in every sensation. He kept the pace, thrusting up to meet her, matching her wildness with his own. Sweat dripped from her forehead onto his cheek. His tongue instantly stretched to capture the droplet. He closed his eyes, as if to savour the flavour. And it was this, this gentle, unexpected wordless declaration of adoration in the midst of their ferocious coupling, that tipped her into a climax so deep, so complete, it made her howl.

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Amanda’s Young Men, to be announced Monday. Just one thing – my author copies have gone missing but more are on the way. So the winner will have to be patient, but not as patient as North American readers.

Let the celebration begin!

(The painting used in this post is by Robert R. Bliss: "Untitled Pair of Young Men" If you have interest in this painting, contact Outer Cape Auctions.)

(If you just can't wait a week to contemplate boy toys, why not revisit Olivia Knight's crush Wednesday post on skinny boys?

Buy the book - Amanda's Young Men -

preorder the book - Amanda's Young Men -

visit my blog -

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A bluffer's guide to... Historicals

by Olivia Knight

With the beautiful new Black Lace covers came three new lines: paranormals, contemporaries, and historicals. Last Wednesday, Madeline Moore introduced contemporaries; the week before, I did the same for paranormals. Today, historicals are in the spotlight.

book coverbook coverbook cover

Top facts:
• Black Lace line: historicals
• Colour: red
• Committed Lusties, past and present: Deanna Ashford, Kristina Lloyd, Madelynne Ellis

In a nutshell
Historicals means place comma date. Russia, 1917. London, 1875. Paris, 1935. These are the authors who know what people ate in ancient Mesopotamia, what women wore under their dresses in the Renaissance, how long it takes to get from Rome to Egypt by horse and ship, and how to take off Elizabethan clothes. Plus the names for everything and what a ‘reticule’ is.

The heroes
Who wants to fuck peasants? Eww. Lords, Princes, Comtes, Marquises, and Earls are so much cleaner. You can have a slave, if he’s a nice washed well-educated Greek one, but not one of those nasty barbarians – unless he turns out to be from a pristine Druidic tribe in whose ancient and nature-embracing rituals… but I digress. If you prefer machismo to depraved aristocrats, then army captains, gladiators, and knights abound. Historical heroes are contrary creatures: he’ll either rescue you from debauchery then debauch you himself, be engaged to you and refuse to touch you, or make do with you occasionally but pine for your fiancé. Occasionally he’ll love you straight out – but he just has these pesky wars to fight / cities to conquer / manacles to break / lions to slay in the arena…

The heroines
These are the polar extremes of femininity. Whereas paranormal heroines get in some action between running their kingdoms and slaying mythical beasts, and contemporary heroines are lively, normal up-for-it girls, the historical heroines are either blushing virgins (well, at first…) or scandalous nymphomaniacs hosting secret societies of vice behind their gracious, period façades. Here, the contemporary brain-twister – how to keep her innocent – is the no-brainer. Peeling away the innocence is the fun part – deflowerment is always so delightful the second time around. More challenging is how to keep her in society post-deflowerment.

book coverbook coverbook cover

The best bit about writing historicals
• Ever said “I was born fifty years / a hundred years / twenty centuries too late”? Get in your Tardis and go back there!
• Built-in plot: it’s suddenly a lot easier to create tension when people really aren’t allowed to sleep together, when there really is a war on and no-one can accuse you of making it up for convenience, when characters really might die, in startlingly visceral ways.
• Holidays are reclassified as research: if you’re going to sweep the reader to another time and place, there’s just no avoiding that month in Greece, week in Rome, or weekend wandering the Left Bank in Paris. But let’s be honest: for historicals, there’s no escaping research, even if you escape the country for a bit.

The best bit about reading historicals
• Slaves! They’re big, they’re built of brick, and they have to do what you say. Plus they wear little white skirts.
• Naughtiness! In contemporaries, the only way left for us to transgress is to say wildly politically incorrect things like “Anal sex is just disgusting.” In paranormals, whatever your characters do is read as normal, in their world. If you want to get really naughty, back in time is the best place to go.
• Sex! It may seem anachronistic for a pair of Victorians to be at it like bunnies, but we’re all here – proving that people throughout history have been getting it on and taking off (or discreetly readjusting) some interesting clothes to do it.

book coverbook coverbook cover

Top tip: chronology
Shakespeare may have got away with his anachronisms, but if you put clocks in ancient Rome, readers will squeal. If it’s a turn-of-the-century ball, the chickens might be fine – though unexpected. The plane, however, will not be.

What not to say
• “She slipped on a pretty lace reticule and darted down the palladium to open the door.”
• “What the hell is a ‘kirtle’, anyway?”
• “But if it’s historical, don’t they have to be real people? I’m not sure it’s all true.”

What to say
• “She slid her fan out of her reticule and waited for the servant to open the door.”
• “It’s not porn, it’s educational.”
“The notion of what’s transgressive in other societies and times can shed significant light on our own, contemporary prejudices.”

book coverbook coverbook cover

Over to you...
• What period should you have been born in?
• What's your favourite historical-hero type?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gay Love Letters

I adore letters. I bewail the loss of stationery; heavy crinkle edged, watermarked and perfumed: the fountain pen, even the pencil. Pressed flowers and tear stains.

There’s something very visceral about actual letters, perhaps it’s the time they take to write, the fact that they can’t be amended without heavy crossing outs or destroying the work one has put into them and starting again. There’s a true feeling of connection and commitment to the relationship because letters take effort to create, effort to post, effort to tear into tiny bits.

One can’t show tear (or other) stains on an email. Oh yes, I miss letters. And I miss love letters most of all.

Gay love letters from earlier ages are rare things: As a form of social history they are one of the most ephemeral things. They may be important, even precious to the sender or the recipient, they are so often lost in time – perhaps they lurk in an attic and are eaten by mice, or ruined by rain or fire – perhaps they are burned, as Byron’s were (and many others) to prevent family scandal and biographical digging. But they are rare to survive – even more so to survive with their mates’ – and all the more fascinating for the tantalising glimpses they give us.

I used letters as a major plot device in "Standish" where Rafe-desperately pouring his heart out to Ambrose, who he's lost-is indiscreet to the tenth degree, which therefore leads to disaster. It happened to real people too!

According to Rictor Norton’s “My Dear Boy” (from where the snippets of these letters are sourced) the earliest letter regarding gay love was the smallest surviving snippet from Hephaestion (lover of Alexander the Great) to Alexander’s mother.

“Stop quarrelling with me-not that in any case I shall much care. You know Alexander means more to me than anyone."
It is heartbreaking that no letters from Hephaestion to Alexander survived but I think that we can be sure that there were many.

It goes without saying that often letters of assignation were often burned for fear of apprisals from the authorities, but I’m happy to state that there are some still around which give a tingling, often amusing, sometimes heart-breaking but always heart-warming insight into the love between men. Men who are not afraid to pen their emotions!

From Francisco Correa Netto to Manoel Vegas (1664) on hearing that Vegas was betrothed.

“…remembering your arms and the kiss you gave me, that is what torments me most. And you know this subject well, in that heart trouser fly (cock) for it was that which desired me, with its craving to fly up. There was no Lent for that heart trouser fly, when I touched it with my fingers and instantly it sprang up. And you, so evil, who did not want to do what comes so naturally!
Goodbye, my darling, my happiness, my true love.”

From the Reverend John Church to Mr Edward B--- (1809) (Church was the notorious Regency “gay vicar” who married male couples in The Swan at the Molly House in Vere Street, London and was later to be sentenced to two years in prison for attempted buggery.

Dear Ned, …You would consider it as unmanly and quite effeminate, and having already proved what human nature is I must conceal even those emotions of love which I feel. I wish I had the honour of being loved by as much as in as great a degree as I do you. Sometimes the painful thought of a separation overpowers me, many are now trying at it but last night I told the persons that called on me that let them insinuate what they would I never sacrifice my dear Ned to the shrine of any other friend on earth.

From Ernest Boulton to Lord Arthur Pelham Clinton (circa 1869)

My dear Arthur,-- I have waited for two hours for you, and do not like to be treated with such rudeness… I shall not return tonight—not at all, if I am to be treated with such rudeness…I am consoling myself in your absence by getting screwed. Mamma sends her kind regards, and will be glad to see you on Sunday.

From Tchaikovsky to Vladimir Davidov (1892)

I have just received the Paris photographs from Yurgenson and have told him to send four of them to you. I was so glad to see what a good likeness they were that I nearly started crying in the presence of Yurgenson. All this proof correction had completely destroyed all other feelings and thoughts and it had to be this little incident which made me feel again how strong my love for you is…Oh God! How I want to see you.

From Oscar Wilde to Lord Alfred Douglas(1893) (Which goes to show that some letters perhaps are better burned

My own Boy, Your sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those rose-red lips of yours hsould have been made no less for the music of song than for the madness of kisses. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days. Always, with undying love, Yours, Oscar

Of course the Beloved did not always return his Lover’s attentions! This from “A boy” who had been propositioned (with examples from classical literature such as Ganymede and Hyacinth) by a 12th century Spanish monk.

“Horrible man, I won’t stoop to this filthy vice which displeases God…. For if you keep doing this too persistently, you may regret it, when it turns out I make you notrious for your shameful behaviour.”

And finally, the happiest set of letters are between Ralph Hall and Montague Glover who met around 1930 and exchanged literally hundreds of love letters, particularly during the Second World War. (God KNOWS how they got past the censors.) They lived together in “tranquil domestic bliss” until 1983 when Ralph Hall died. Montague is the rather well endowed young man at the head of this article, and there is a book of photographs of the couple “A Class Apart: Private Pictures of Montague Glover” which is – for any historian of gay history – in my opinion, unmissable. The word "strong" means horny in the example.

Darling, (19 December 1942) I have not had a letter from you yet and the lads that came out here with me have had a lot. I hope everything is all right at home. Look after yourself darling and try to do something for me, you know what I mean my darling. Think of me Monty. You are the only one that ever gave me a frill (sic) and you still do. Darling I can see me and you on the bed now you old darling and we'll be there again don't worry my darling... I feel so strong tonight my darling.

All my love and a merry Xmas, LOVE Ralph.

These letters are chatty affectionate, rather camp and just gorgeous, interspered with "my darling" and full of what they should be full of. Love.

“My Dear Boy” is a really fascinating read for anyone interested in the subject.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Coming Attractions

This week on Lust Bites (where we never objectify male bodies. Just fetishise them, ahem.):

On Monday Erastes will be naughtily reading other peoples' mail - in fact enjoying a gander at some Gay Love Letters.

On Wednesday the third of our Black Lace overviews will be covering Historicals. Bosoms will heave and bodices will be ripped, I promise.

And on Friday it's our lovely monthly Smut Slot! Madeline Moore will be treating us to an excerpt from her new novel Amanda's Young Men - and you can win a copy!

Don't forget, all week, our Midsummer Erotic Haiku Competition is still open: your haikus for our books!

Janine (posting from somewhere foreign. Probably Wiltshire.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Midsummer Erotic Haiku Competition

~ Winners announced 1 July 2008, here ~

by Olivia Knight

Heaped erotic books,
Slow days and hot nights: petals
on a firm flesh bough

Prize books on a bench in a midsummer garden

With seventeen beats –
Five-seven-five – you force our
Gasps: come, take your prize.

Multiple offerings:
Brief, fierce, repeated stabs at
Mastering our small form.

Riding generous waves
We offer our gifts to you
Again and again.

pictures of prize books

Or, in plain old prose: look at the lovely books! Dazzle us with your erotic haikus to win them! All of them! You can try as many times as you like! We’re so generous we have three prizes, for first, second and third place!

pictures of prize books

The rules:
• All haikus must have 17 syllables: 5 in the first line, 7 in the second line, 5 in the third line. No breaking words up across lines! That's syllables, not words, mind: erotic has 3 syllables; haiku has 2 syllables; prize has 1 syllable.
• Write as many haikus as you like: the prizes will be for individual haikus.
• Spoof and joke haikus are welcome. They might even win.
• If anyone says “tis” “tween” or other naffisms, I will shoot them. This isn’t a Lust Bites rule, just my own homicidal tendencies.
• The competition will be open until Friday 27 June; winners will be announced in Coming Attractions on Tuesday 1 July.

pictures of prize books

The prizes:

First prize
Magic and Desire by Portia da Costa, Janine Ashbless, and Olivia Knight
Southern Spirits by Edie Bingham
Gothic Heat by Portia da Costa
Phantamagoria by Madelynne Ellis
Chilli Heat by Carrie Williams
Standish by Erastes
Hotbed by Portia da Costa
Amanda’s Young Men by Madeline Moore
Cruel Enchantment by Janine Ashbless

Second prize
Magic and Desire by Portia da Costa, Janine Ashbless, and Olivia Knight
Southern Spirits by Edie Bingham
Gothic Heat by Portia da Costa
Phantamagoria by Madelynne Ellis

Third prize
Magic and Desire by Portia da Costa, Janine Ashbless, and Olivia Knight
Southern Spirits by Edie Bingham

pictures of prize books

Technovirgin? Here's what to do!
• To see this post & people’s comments on the same page, click the title at the top of the post.
• To comment… • Click Post a comment. • Write in the box under Leave a comment. • In the Word verification box, type the funny word above: this proves you’re a person, not a machine. • Under Choose an identity, click Name. Write any name you like – but give us a name, so we can identify you as the winner! • Click Publish your comment. • To get back to the post, click on the title again at the top of the page.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Bluffer's Guide to ... Contemporaries

With the beautiful new Black Lace covers came three new lines: paranormals, contemporaries, and historicals. Last Wednesday, Olivia Knight offered a bluffer's guide to paranormals, and today Madeline Moore, (that's me!) will do the same for contemporaries. Next Wednesday, historicals will have their moment in the Lust Bites spotlight.

Top facts:
Black Lace line: contemporaries
Colour: various
Committed Lusties, past and present: Madeline Moore, Lauren Dane, Megan Hart, Portia Da Costa, Madelynne Ellis, Dayle A. Dermatis, Teresa Noelle Roberts, Mathilde Madden, Kristina Lloyd, Alison Tyler, Nikki Magennis

In a nutshell:
"Contemporary" means in the here and now. No magic, no fantasy worlds, no Gothic or historical settings, no Oracles no minotaurs no highwaymen no giant scorpions no werewolves get the idea. But! The novels can now take place in any part of the world, not just the UK, as in days gone by. The good news about writing a contemporary novel is, you don't have to create an entire fantasy world from scratch, or conduct anywhere near the kind of research necessary to writing a period piece. The bad news? You're still required to turn in the same word count so if you run out of plot - no extra battle scenes or lessons on the decorum of the times. Whatcha gonna write?

Behind the scenes:
The decree "It has to have a human head" is a no-brainer for this line. Realism is key, except whereas in real life you might lock eyes with a cutie in the elevator and daydream about him later, in the lives of our contemporary erotica heroes and heroines, a lingering gaze in the elevator leads to quick and dirty sex. But the sex has to matter to the plot, so the guy in the elevator would likely turn out to be a) Her new boss! b) The mysterious stranger who's been tailing her. c) Her lover, with whom she likes to play "stranger in the elevator", etc.

The heroes:
Black Lace is looking for more romance these days, primarily of the heterosexual variety, so yes, you need at least one hero, mixed in with the other men our heroine might sample. This doesn't necessarily dictate that he must be a tall, dark, handsome stranger, but he should probably be a decent bloke underneath it all. Since fate has not decreed that he will end up with our heroine this leaves the writer of contemporaries more wiggle room, but since it's a romance...somehow the ending should be HFN (Happy For Now) if not HEA (Happy Ever After.) Rule to remember: He must be horny; he must not be horn-ed.

The heroines:
She's a modern gal, 100% human, so she likely has some faults as well as a healthy libido. Often she's a looker, but not always, and she's usually under the age of forty. If she's fairly untouched at the beginning there must be a reason why. That one can be a brain twister. If she hasn't just left the convent or a bad marriage, and she's an adult, what's she been doing, sex-wise, all these years? Alternately she could be experienced at sex but jaded by the game. Somehow, whether she knows it or not, she's looking for love. Won't say: "No." Will say: "Yes!"

The best bit about writing contemporaries
• Right now, Black Lace wants erotic contemporary romance novels written by women. So if you're a woman who writes contemporaries you're in luck.
• You really can write what you know. Love fashion? Describe the clothes! Fine dining turn your crank? Use it to turn your reader's crank, too. Harbor a secret yearning to be a card shark, concert pianist or athlete? You may never get there, but she can. Love giving head but scared of anal? She's just like you!
• Fucking is reclassified as research: If what you're writing isn't turning you on, how's it gonna turn on the reader? Your sig oth will love it.
• All the world is your stage, baby. Your friends might not enjoy seeing their sexual peccadilloes published (though mine love it) but hey, it's not like they didn't know you were a writer when they spilled the beans.

The best bit about reading contemporaries
• Possibility! The story takes place on planet earth, in the present day. If it happened to her, it's at least possible it could happen to you.
• Chops! These days, Black Lace is looking for literary erotic romance. When you pick up a BL contemporary novel, you can be sure it's well-written, with a plausible plot and interesting characters. In fact, with the new covers, you could read these books in public without shame. Who knows? Your reading material could spark the initial conversation that just might lead to...
• Sex! Yeah! Lots of it, and not the "rocket into space" or "train hurtling into the tunnel" kind, either. Whether it's kinky, romantic, experimental, vengeful, wild or even wrong, there's gonna be lots of it, it's gonna be well done, and it's gonna be hot.

Top tip: internal logic
Of utmost importance when writing a contemporary novel is the very same rule Olivia Knight offered last week, only doubly so. Within your story, the logic has to be absolute and consistent. In regards to contemporaries I add this: the logic must also be believable. So - yes the plane needs fuel to fly, but no, in a contemporary, the pilot may not be a chicken.

What to say
• "Is this so well written it'll blow the socks off Adam Nevill?"
• "How does this make her feel? What does she think about this?" and, "How can I describe it without starting the sentence with 'She felt...' or 'She thought...'"

What not to say
• "It happened to my friend." Doesn't matter. If it doesn't ring true, the fact that it is true means nothing.
• "My goal in life is to be published and if I have to write about yucky sex to accomplish that goal, then dammit I will!"

Over to you:
• What’s your favourite "contemporary" fantasy?
• Who would you like to see used as the basis for the hero in a contemporary erotic romance?

A note about the covers: I haven't included all the new covers in the body of the post, or even all the new Portia da Costa covers(!), due to space constraints. I chose to use at least one of the new covers of our members, past and present, and all the gala Black Lace 15th anniversary covers I could get my hands on.

I'd like to thank Madelynne Ellis for her technical assistance in the creation of the post. Without her, you wouldn't have this final image to consider as you formulate your comments: