Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Crush Wednesday: The Doctor

by Olivia Knight

For those who didn’t grow up in the UK and who find the terms “Tardis”, “Dalek”, and “sonic screwdriver” mystifying, this isn’t a medical post. It’s not about doctors. It’s about the doctor. Doctor who? Yes, precisely, so that’s what they called the program.

Doctor Who logo

This sets the tone. Although he loves tea, has a Northern accent, frequents London, and thinks no-one should carry firearms, the doctor isn’t actually British – he’s not even human. He’s a Time Lord. (Tea has a complex but beneficial relationship with Time Lord physiology, lots of planets have a north, his assistants tend to be London girls, and guns are for killing people, so he carries a screwdriver, which fixes things. But it is sonic.) His time-machine/spaceship is called the Tardis and had a fabulous cloaking device, but it got stuck on the policebox-setting in the 1950s, so it now looks like this:
The Tardis - a blue policemans box from the 1950s

It is, however, bigger on the inside – a technology reproduced by handbag-makers across history – so once you step through the door, it looks like this:

Interior of the tardis - a great big spaceship

Part of being a Time Lord means he doesn’t die so easily – he has two hearts – and if he does die, he regenerates, and reappears, still the doctor, but looking completely different:

All the doctors, who get progressively younger and better-looking, rather like Monty Pythons many postmen

The doctor looking long and thinThankfully, he’s got a lot hotter since the show started in 1963, but the current version is still long and thin, untidy-haired, in an ill-fitting suit. So basically, yes – we have a geeky bloke in a blue box which hurtles through space-time, with a screwdriver. And with that out the way, we can get on with sighing mesmerically at the current doctor.
The doctors cheeky grin
Central to his appeal is the trademark cheeky grin. On a scale of infectious grins, he's the ebola virus. Be it inane, be it wild-eyed, be it slightly alarming, this man takes showing his teeth seriously and you can't help joining in as he cries, "Yes! Yes! That's it!" then spouts some mystifying bollocks that makes you wonder if Her Majesty's Police Force shouldn't consider a well-timed raid on Russell T Davies apartment. (He's the screenwriter, so in a fair world we'd worship him, which I do a bit, but he doesn't get the shrine.)
The doctor examines a chip - the potato kind
If he hasn't just resolved something extraordinary, he's probably fascinated by some new aspect of humans. He loves humans. We're great, apparently - fascinating, blithely optimistic, and infinitely endearing in our self-belief, if a little heavy on the slaughter-other-species side.

The doctor listens to his screwdriver
The doctor doesn't believe in slaughter - hence the screwdriver as his weapon of choice. Did I mention it's sonic? It's sonic. It's a sonic screwdriver. And if you're looking for further explanation, don't. It has blue lights, if you point it at things it makes a high-pitched noise, and it can fix machines, hack computers, weld things shut, weld things open, and - in a serious emergency - avert death.

Do not underestimate the sonic screwdriver. Not until you've seen what he can do with it.

What a sonic screwdriver can do - or what a special effects crew can do...

Doctor leaving the tardisWherever the doctor goes, disaster follows. His blue box springs up throughout history - it's inscribed on Egyptian tombs, in surprisingly accurate detail for people who thought other people dislocated their hips to walk, it's referred to in treatises on witchcraft, it's given birth to cults, it even started Torchwood - which before Captain Jack Harkness of the other trademark grin was a Victorian operation designed to work against the doctor.

It's an easy mistake to make - Doctor + blue box = crisis, rather than the other way around - because wherever he is, monsters are close behind.The doctor with background monsters

Sometimes very close behind. He's behind you! (This scarecrow featured in the second most terrifying episode of Doctor Who, where small children played in innocence around creatures they didn't know were alive, and no-one knew where the villagers went... The most terrifying episode was the one with the statues. Nuff said. And because I get scared in Doctor Who, I don't watch The Wickerman.)

Alongside those who blame the doctor, are those who dismiss him - again, easy: he looks geeky and wields a screwdriver. He does not have a cool black coat. He rarely walks heroically with the wind whipping the tails of the coat he does has, which is a bit down-at-heel and tweedy. He flies a box, for crying out loud. People underestimate him.

Like the screwdriver, do not underestimate this man. He's lived for nine hundred years. He's fought battalions of daleks and outwitted species you've never heard of. When the world turns dark and the earth is ripped from its orbit, he's the man you want on your side.

He's fire. And ice. And rage. He's like the night and the storm in the heart of the sun. He's ancient and forever. He burns at the centre of time and he can see the turn of the universe. And he is wonderful.

The doctor looks regretful

The doctor beckons you inAnd of course, the best thing about the doctor is that he travels in space-time - so you can leave behind your life, your loves, and your family, jet off into the galaxies with him, see the dawn of time and the universe's end, rip your heart open, fall at his feet, love him forever - and still be back in time for tea. Now that's a guilt-free fantasy!

P.S. On The Now Show last week, another British staple, one member of the audience made the observation: Why is David Tennant so HOT in Doctor Who and not in anything else? True and profound. (David, if you're listening, I'm willing to test this theory.) Which she then spoilt by saying "He can enter my Tardis any time..." - so it's bigger on the inside...?

Monday, July 28, 2008

What's Taking You So Long In There?

by Janine Ashbless

Okay, so this isn’t actually a picture of me. But if it was, I could tell you exactly what she’s thinking there:

"Hey. Wow. What if my heroes START in Damascus and GO to Baghdad? Oh yeah. That means they could visit the House of Wisdom. Cool! And I don’t have to worry about the princess having an actual historical, documented family: I can make it all up! Yes. Yes! Awesome!"

That’s because I do my creative thinking in the shower. Not exclusively of course, but often enough that I can more or less rely on that time to get plot details tweaked, and new elements will often come to me in that inexplicable ZAPP way that is the nicest thing about the creative process. Either in the shower, or sat on the bathroom mat wrapped in a towel afterwards. Sometime I don’t emerge until nearly noon. I’m not sure what it is about getting washed – the fluid play of the water, the familiar automatic movements that keep your body busy while freeing the mind – but it seems to work.

On occasions when I’m stuck for an idea or a solution to a plot problem, my other technique is to have a 10-minute nap and then force myself to lie there after I wake up. My mind has re-ordered itself during sleep and new possibilities occur – but not if I get up and start wandering round the house. On the other hand I never get ideas when I lie down at night, which I hear is fairly common: when I go to bed I fall asleep in nano-seconds and any muses out there just skip on past, giggling.

Creating a novel is 95% dogged work, but we all need those epiphanies, those little pieces of originality and inspiration, that seem to arrive from some other place (out of the blue sky, up from the depths of the subconcious) and blunder into our minds. Learning where they hang out, how to tempt them closer, how to lay traps for those elusive little creatures, is skill I’ve had to learn.
So I figured I’d ask some other Lusties how they did it too…

Is there a special place/time of day that ideas come to you ?

Portia : I quite often get ideas for plots and characters and stories while getting washed in the bathroom, or taking a bath or shower. (Hah! See! – Janine)

Olivia: I dream my way through my stories in the shower a lot (Are we spotting a thread here?Janine). I'm not much of a morning person and frequently forget I'm supposed to be soaping & rinsing & then getting dressed, so I end up staring out the window thinking I'm one of my characters. Long walks with my ipod are excellent planning time, and because there's no pen and paper handy, it stops me committing to ideas too quickly - much better, sometimes, just to let drift, see scenes unfold, and decide later if they'll actually work. I give myself a vague focus for the walk -- yup: vague focus, idea-finding is all about contradiction, thinking about a story without thinking about it, concentrating less on productivity to be more productive, etc.
Sometimes I find my mind has wandered completely and I remind myself of the focus, only to realise I've been thinking intensely about one of the characters and am so much in their head that I've forgotten it's a character's thoughts and not my own. Oxford's great for walking like that: you can criss-cross the entire city and barely touch foot on concrete if you don't want to. Yes: in Oxford, everyone can fly... And there have to be trees. The trees are in on it, and if they're not there, I can't think. Any automated activity helps me think, so when I'm planning a novel, I cook, wash windows, clean the house, take long baths, and garden. If all else fails, I sit in a coffee shop brainstorming. And if everything else fails, bring out the candles and red wine and the very loud music.

Madeline: If I'm not at my desk I can usually be found in my bed, so most of my ideas come to me in bed, usually at night. It's the idea that's the toughest part for me (maybe for everyone) and many of my ideas are too wacky for the genre. (Just don’t ask her about the Mad Cow story! – Janine)
The ideas take shape in my mind but the dialogue, etc. only comes when I'm at the computer. I may have jotted down a couple of lines but once I'm at the keyboard my fingers fly and the piece takes form, and not before.

Erastes: Usually I get my best ideas in that inbetween time between sleep and waking - this is usually the most dangerous because I think to myself that I'll DEFINITELY remember this when I wake up and I never do so I've started always having a pen and paper by the bed.

Kate: Usually as I'm drifting off to sleep or just waking up I get my best ideas-sometimes when I listen to lyrics as well

Do you ever get writers' block?

Portia: Not full blown writers block, but sometimes it's hard to summon enthusiasm.

Olivia: YES! I find it intensely irritating when some novelists, usually men, say rather smugly, "Well, I think writer's block is ridiculous, I mean plumbers don't get plumber's block!" And I think: yeah, which is why you write like you're fixing a u-bend. Every time I start a book I'm dumbstruck by my own presumption. When I lived in London, I was blocked for two and a half years - no trees, see - and it was terrifying.

Madeline: Unfortunately I'm the type of person who needs an ironclad routine in order to work steadily. Visitors, events, even a night out throw me right off. Christmas takes me a month to prepare for and two months to get over. I seem to be felled by illness a lot, in the last few years, and when I'm sick I collapse totally into an 'I'm dying' state that's probably harder to recover from than the actual illness.

Erastes: Not so much block but I just feel disinterested in continuing to write what I'm writing. When I first started out I used to get blocked because every time I finished something I got this horrible black veil which made me feel that I'd never be able to write anything else ever again but each time I found I could, and did - so I got out of that habit and don't get blocked. But when I get BORED that's lethal because I just put off even opening the file and looking at it.

Kate: Not really, I don't have time :)

If so, do you have special techniques to overcome it?

Portia: No, not really. Eventually I feel so guilty at not writing anything that I just grit my teeth and write *something*, even if it's rubbish.

Olivia: Apart from moving out of London and not letting wild horses drag me back? Yes - lots - mostly about getting back on the horse or not getting off it in the first place. As it's my living, I can't afford to just stop, however paralysed I feel. Writing in a different document, in italics, and without normal punctuation can help me feel that my words aren't committed in stone, and get the flow back; I switch to longhand if it gets dire; I change location (back to the coffee shop!); I chain myself to the desk for a specific length of time; I switch off the wireless connection; I write reassuring messages and stick them up on the wall next to me. One of my most helpful discoveries was that I can write through the teeth of terror thinking that every single word is shit and end up with a story that takes my breath away. My short story for Sex With Strangers, "Barely Grasped Pictures", was dragged out sentence by sentence, like blood from a stone, with my head halfway through the computer screen, and I still think it's one of the best stories I've written. Then, of course, the little voice says "You'll never write something that good again..." Silence the little voice! It's lies, all lies!

Madeline: There's nothing like a 'call for submissions' to get me going.

I've dabbled in all sorts of genres over the years but I started in the short story form and it's immensely satisfying to finally be able to write a good short story. The restrictions and requirements of erotica have freed me. Strange, but true.
All I really need to do is sit at my desk and pull up my work in progress, and the work starts. Sometimes it's incredibly difficult but that doesn't show in the work. Sometimes it's easy, and again, that doesn't show in the work. I'm finding that as I mature as a writer the first draft (which used to be my favourite to write) is by far the most difficult. Used to be that my pleasure in the process went downhill after that, but now I rewrite happily until the piece is in place. More and more, I get my greatest pleasure from 'turning words' as they say. (Well, I suppose my greatest pleasure as a writer comes from having my submission accepted, but in terms of the process, these days I'm really enjoying the rewrite.)

Erastes: I push myself through it. A good friend said that it was important to put the words down and if they weren't good words it didn't matter - they could be made better later and that's good advice. So I just write on, even if it's as dull as "Gideon woke up and got dressed" because as long as I'm progressing the story, that's good - I can go back and pretty the prose up later.

Kate: I do try and take some time off every week and a bigger vacation each year and do something completely different-I also use ‘The Artist's Way' by Julia Cameron if I really feel creatively drained.

Jonathan Swift said, I’m told: "Man is never more at thought than when he is at stool." Oddly enough our authors don’t subscribe to the Toilet Theory of Inspiration! - and personally I read on the loo. But go on, do tell – where do YOU hunt down those ideas? What do you do when the Great Ideas Famine strikes? And how does the rest of the family cope when you hog the bathroom?

Janine Ashbless
Blog : Website

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Coming attractions

sexy picture with LegolasThis week, we delve deep into the imagination - the places it happens, the places it can take you, and the places it comes from.

On Monday, Janine Ashbless teases out the fickle creature of inspiration: where we find him, what we can do to lure him, and what to do when he just won't damn well bloody return our phone calls, the bastard! Blood sacrifices, roses in jars, and long hot showers may feature.

On Wednesday, Olivia Knight launches herself into the past, present, and future with her beloved Doctor - a crush Wednesday on the omnihot Doctor Who.

On Friday, Olivia Knight again, tireless/obsessively-talkative creature that she is, paves the way for next week's celebration of Enchanted, the erotic fairy-tale collection. When fairy tales were still sexist misogynist Barbie-Cinderalla bollocks, a host of feminist writers opened the floodgates for us to create the intense, mythic, and very sexy fairy tales of contempory Black Lace. Anyone want to see Byatt's naughty bits?

Competition winners!

Winner of a copy of Amorous Woman - Dennis Mahagin
Winner of ebook of Night Moves 1 - Lamentesse

Congratulations both of you. Contact erastes [at] erastes [dot] com (no spaces) with your postal details to claim your prize.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Smut slot: A Friday Smutty art lesson

Chiaroscuro (Italian for clear-dark) is a term in art for a contrast between light and dark. The term is usually applied to bold contrasts affecting a whole composition, but is also more technically used by artists and art historians for the use of effects representing contrasts of light, not necessarily strong, to achieve a sense of volume in modeling three-dimensional objects such as the human body........

Yeah yeah - blah blah. It's been used by Rembrandt and it's still being used today - think of Frank Millar's Sin City and you get modern chiaroscuro. But for me it was a good excuse to write a sexy tale of an artist who falls in love - or is it under the thrall?- of the beautiful young man he's been commissioned to paint as Icarus Fallen.

Chiaroscuro is a novella in Aspen Mountain Press' "Night Moves 1"anthology and tells the story of Michel di Posco who is being paraded around 19th century Florence by his Patron, showing him off as his new prodigy.

It is a vampire story as the cover suggests - all four novellas are - but it's not the emphasis of the story. It explores the good and evil in humanity and vampires. Where are lines of light and dark drawn? Who is good? And who is evil?

I hope you enjoy these two smutty snippets!

Michel has his first sitting with Yuri.

I moved back to him then, ready to start work, my shirt drying on my body in the warmth of the room. Kneeling down beside him, I arranged the sheets beneath him into the shapes I needed to give the impression of lightness and softness.

His gaze did not move from my face and his was impassive, nothing in his elegant countenance showing any emotion except those ageless, deathless eyes. I turned to him and without words unbuttoned his waistcoat with eager fingers, which stumbled and faltered, finding themselves almost incapable of such a simple task.

I do not usually, I add at this point, make a habit of undressing my models; an artist who commits such a faux-pas even once would never find models to pose for him a second time.

But there was no thought of him undressing himself; somehow we both knew such an unveiling was no sexual act, no prelude to eroticism. I had moved above and beyond my lust for him. I was simply preparing him as I would any still life.

He kicked off his house shoes and shrugged his way out of his waistcoat almost without levering himself from the floor. He went to sit up to remove his shirt but I pushed him back down, moved around to his head and pulled it up and over his head. Looking back now, I can hardly believe just how matter of fact I was in disrobing him that first time.

So many times since then have we playacted our first moments, cheated as it seemed we were of the sensuality of disrobing by my concentration and haste. We peel the clothes from each other like the layers of an onion, taking hours to become fully naked for the delectation of the other. It seems inconceivable that that at first I did no more but tug the clothes from him as roughly as if I were undressing one of my small nephews for bathing.

But the muse was within me; I did not see him as he became exposed to me. Did not see the pure lasciviousness of him, the maleness of his sensual perfection.

All I saw—as more and more marble-white flesh was uncovered—were the tones and shades of his body. The places where the light hid, or gleamed in brightness. Places that were breathless in their mystery. A hollow at the base of his neck, a pair of matched and wonderful shadows on his cheeks, soft adumbration causing a sudden and unexpectedly glorious magic in an otherwise rounded hip. Shadows deepening in a delirious and dangerous fashion as the heavenly triangle of his hips curved inward to meet in an abundance of golden fleece so glorious that Jason would have cast aside his rancid ram skin and sworn allegiance to these bright crisp curls.

And even Buonarroti himself could not have done justice to the proud flesh that which rested between his pale thighs. The most perfect and the most sacred part of him. Buonarroti had a talent for understating a man's anatomy and his David was sadly underrepresented. This sublime column of flesh would be faithfully depicted, I promised myself, and my mouth watered at the anticipation of transposing it onto the canvas.
I realised I was staring at his member, and for the first time since the early days in my master's studio all those years ago, when the male model stood in the centre of us apprentices and removed all of his clothes, I blushed deeply.

To cover my embarrassment, I picked up charcoal and sketched furiously; ignoring the deep chuckle my subject gave.

And later....

I followed Yuri up the stairs and into the studio. It was much as it had been the time before, save that the curtains were drawn, no doubt to save the furnishings from the damaging sun.

He saw me glance at the windows. “The light; I hope that it’s not inconvenient?”

“No, not at all, the candles give you more colour anyway.”

He smiled, closed the door upon us and took hold of my arm, pulled me close. “I want you, Michel.”

“The work.”

“Can wait.” He was breathless and impatient, and God forgive me, once more I was swept away and I forgot all about duty and Bettano and even the consuming passion of my art as he buried his mouth in my neck and kissed me, causing my spine to shiver in delight.

He undressed me with rough haste, shrugging his few items off and pulling me to the soft rug beside him. “I have thought of nothing else than you for days, since we met. You consume me.”
He interspersed his words with kisses and all the while he stroked my cock, which shuddered with delight in his hand. “I want to take you Michel, want to fuck you and to spill my seed inside you. Do you want this? Do you? I think you are a virgin.”

The flutter of fear I felt at his words calmed as he kissed and stroked. His hand gradually moved further down my shaft until it left it completely and cupped my balls.

“Yes,” was all I could manage, gasping as his hand slid behind my balls and massaged the sensitive skin behind. Already he knew my body as well as I knew the intricacies of a canvas, knew every bump and crevice, every action to give me pleasure. “Yes.”

“I’ll take that as answer to both,” he said with a deep chuckle. He reached up to the settle behind us and pulled off the bolster cushions, put one under my head. “Roll over onto your side,” he ordered. I did as I was told, but in spite of the warmth of the room I shivered; I felt goose-flesh spring across my skin.

He settled behind me, lovingly. “Don’t be frightened, Michel.”

“I’m not,” I lied.

His hands moved all the while, over my shoulders, my back, my arse. I pressed back against his touch, relaxing more and more. Then one hand slid forward to take hold of my cock again while the other slid between my arse cheeks, and his finger slid up to find my entrance. Instinctively I tensed, but he kissed my neck and stroked my cock so slowly that I found that before I knew, it his finger had slid inside.

It was like a ripple of pleasure that started behind my balls and travelled all the way to the tip of my cock, like the disturbance caused by a pebble in a pond, wave upon wave of something like I’d never felt before. Within minutes, as his finger moved further and further in I found I was pushing back against him, as if wanting more. I did, although the fear was still there.

Something inside of me trembled when his finger touched a place deep within. The sensation was like nothing I’d ever experienced. I thought I’d spend myself immediately, but the urge passed, then returned when whatever it was he’d touched, he touched again. I gasped, arching my body like a bow, pushing my arse into his hand and leaning backwards to receive his kisses. “Again, again, I beg of you.”

He worked me for what seemed like hours, from time to time resorting to a little bottle of oil that he’d hidden beneath the settle. Such foresight and care made me love him more, and the scent of that the oil, pungent and deep, will ever remind me of him. Finally, he pulled his hand away and I felt his cock slip into the cleft.

“I love you, Michel,” he said. He did not so much as push into me, but pulled me by my hips back against him. It was uncomfortable, at first, but not painful. I blushed to feel my own erection wilt.

“It’s all right,” he murmured, his mouth at my neck. “It’s normal. Just breathe.”

Want to see what happens next? Buy the book (and you get 3 other novellas too!)

An electronic copy is up for grabs for one lucky commenter!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Crush Wednesday: Asian Men

by Madelynne Ellis

I have a thing about Asian Men. I would wax lyrical, but I think I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Cheekbones, kohl, all those slender, fine features. Seriously, what's not to like?

And have I mentioned I'm very fond of dark flowing locks on men?

Couldn't resist a teeny bit of the red stuff. Must be the influence off all those triad movies I watch.

And I think you all know how much I like this guy! Hours, and hours of my life have vanished courtesy of Gackt and YouTube.

So, do the Asian guys do it for anyone else. I want pictures. Tell me who your favourites are, and recommend some films and music while you're on.

Hope you've enjoyed the view!

Madelynne xxx

Monday, July 21, 2008

Love Hotel Madness: Kink and Games in the Land of Dreams

Our Guest Blogger today is Donna George Storey, author of Amorous Woman. There's a great competition in the post, so read on to win a copy of her sexy Japanese based book.

Once a land of inscrutable mystery, Japan is no longer especially exotic to Westerners. Who hasn’t sampled sushi and saké? Or fallen under the spell of manga, Nintendo, or at least one of those cool Miyazaki animé films?

But there is one Japanese cultural treasure the West has yet to import--an institution that still retains an aura of glittering allure and forbidden pleasure. I’m talking, of course, about the love hotel. Last time I looked, there were plenty of sushi bars and Sony TV’s in my neighborhood, but not a single one of these establishments, where a couple can rent a fancifully-decorated room for a few hours for unbridled sensual indulgence. Which is too bad, because I firmly believe the world would be a happier—and lustier--place with more of these grown-up playgrounds available to us all.

In a country where housing is expensive, the walls paper thin, and many adult children live with their parents until they marry, it’s hard to find a time and a place for no-holds-barred, thrash-and-scream sex. Enter the love hotel, which truly fills an aching need in Japanese culture. Researchers estimate that one half of all sexual encounters in Japan take place in a love hotel. I usually take questionnaire surveys about sex with a grain of salt, but there’s no doubt the business is flourishing.

Now, there’s nothing especially Japanese about couples sneaking off somewhere to do it—fields, forests, the storage room at the office, even plain old hotels or no-tell motels the world over. A similar kind of rent-by-the-hour hotel can be found in other East Asian countries. Japanese love hotels are a class apart, however, not surprising in a country that has perfected the art of packaging with style.

Curious? But your schedule won’t allow a quick trip to Japan for an amorous encounter in a room decorated with large Hello Kitty dolls in S&M gear? Then come join me for the next best thing: Love Hotel Madness, a game where everyone’s a winner!

First, of course, you have to pick your game pieces. Will you be the married couple, desperate to get away from grandma and the kids on a Sunday afternoon? Two college students who lodge in dorms where your mates see and hear everything? Or maybe an ambitious career woman who satisfies her carnal itch with an after-hours fling with the new boy-toy underling? Remember, though, couples only—singletons and threesomes can’t play!

Next you need to find your love hotel. The best hunting ground is near the train tracks, along the highway, or in the entertainment districts of cities. In Tokyo, Shibuya’s “Love Hotel Hill” has perhaps the most concentrated selection of love hotels in the country. Will it be “Hotel Rich Inn”? Or “Hotel Monaco”? How about “New Seeds”? (Don’t forget the birth control!) Or “Blue Roses”? Pick a card and proceed.

Once you choose, step through the frosted glass door or the discreet hanging curtain and you’ll find yourself in the lobby. There is no check-in clerk, merely a wall of computer screens, each advertising a particular room, with price and amenities. The lit-up screens indicate unoccupied rooms, and you can shop for the theme of your choice. For the purposes of Love Hotel Madness, roll the dice and find the room with that number. Tap the button on the screen for “rest” (one to three hours) or “stay” (the all-night option) and follow the blinking lights to the door of your room ,which has been unlocked automatically.

Although we’ve all heard about the laugh-out-loud humorous theme rooms, more common these days is a well-appointed love den that resembles a baroque Western hotel, although creative touches may be included like a cave bath or a black-light ocean mural. One reason for the decline of all-out kitsch is that women now have more say in the particulars of rendezvous locales. In fact, the word “love hotel” is seldom used by the Japanese anymore. They prefer softer, euphemistic names like couples’ hotel, fashion hotel or boutique hotel. Another blow to humor and fun was the 1985 change to the Law Regulating Businesses Affecting Public Morals. That sorry moment in legislative history banished mirrors on the ceilings and rotating beds and restricted exuberant architectural expression. Thus the Cinderella castles and Moorish palaces I remember so well from my first stay in Japan became unremarkable, anonymous facades, and many owners reregistered their establishments as “business hotels” to avoid fines.

:However, bright spots do remain in the love hotel landscape. If you’re lucky enough to have rolled for the Hotel Adonis in Osaka, you might find yourself in the Hello Kitty S& M room, the bed equipped with manacles and a cute Hello Kitty quilt. Osaka’s Hotel Loire is a classic—here you can rent a train car to act out subway sex fantasies, the Olympic room with Ionic columns and faux marble floors, or the Pirate room, with a bed right on deck and a view of an approaching ship flying the skull-and-crossbones.

When you’re done admiring your love nest, you might like to slip into the hot tub overlooking the city to relax the muscles for the gymnastics ahead. Lovers interested in fueling up can order a room service meal of curry or Italian spaghetti. Other appetites might be better served by a vibrator—just 5000 yen--or schoolgirl’s uniform.

One final preparation: a bit of fiddling with the fancy console on the headboard of your bed. Here you can adjust the room temperature or set the mood with music, the soothing sound of waves or a train conductor’s announcements, perfect for sex-in-the-train fantasies.

But enough scene-setting, it’s time to move on to the climax of Love Hotel Madness. You are about to embark on the ultimate Japanese experience—a quick trip to the yume no kuni, the Land of Dreams. In a country where context rules everything, from the pronoun you use to describe yourself to the angle of your bow, the love hotel is the one place where sensual indulgence is allowed and, if you’re in a dungeon room, strictly required by your Master’s orders.

I don’t have to elaborate here. After all, Love Hotel Madness is all about privacy and discretion. Besides I know Lusties and their fans have very steamy imaginations, but if you’d like some fresh ideas, you might check out the love hotel scenes in chapter eight of my novel, Amorous Woman. So close your eyes and pick your favorite section—ah, yes, I like that one, too—and let me know when everyone’s happy and you’re all wiped up and ready to go.

Ahem, excuse me, sorry to intrude, but if you don’t want to pay a surcharge, it’s best to check-out now. Paying for your pleasure might involve tucking your cash in a container that goes speeding to the clerk through a pneumatic tube. Other hotels ask you pay with a credit card via computer. Some will actually lock you in until payment is received! A few hotels still use the old-fashioned method in which you shove your cash through a curtain to a human being, usually an old lady in kimono who was obviously chosen for the job because she’s too blind to identify you to nosy private detectives.

In any case you will eventually find yourself back in the real world, blinking at the grim, fully-clothed people bustling about on the street around you. Yes, perhaps it was all just a dream. But what’s this in your hand? A coupon informing you that if you “rest” four times at Hotel New Seeds, your fifth romp between the sheets is free. Plus you’ve already earned one stamp. See, I told you, in Love Hotel Madness, everyone’s a winner.

But the games continue! The master of erotic joy and fun, Jeremy Edwards, has cooked up an amusing way for you to win your own trip to Japan for a few hours, in other words a copy of my novel Amorous Woman. Love hotels, hot springs, rope tricks, orgies—the book seethes with more sex than Hotel Loire on a Sunday. Here’s Jeremy with the rules for this contest.

Amorous Libs

It could have happened to anyone. I ordered my copy of Amorous Woman in the same shipment as a Mad Libs book; and, understandably, I got the two items mixed up in my haste to plunge into a juicy erotic novel.

The result—as you will have predicted if you have a scientific turn of mind—is a madliberated version of Donna’s masterpiece. Here’s a passage chosen at random (through hours of discussion between me and Donna as to what would make the best random passage from the love hotel chapter):

"Yes, Miss Evans," he'd sigh as I [VERB (PAST TENSE)] him. Thoroughly converted to the path of [NOUN]-[GERUND] [NOUN], he'd [VERB] and [VERB] me with his [BODY PART] under my [ADJECTIVE] [NOUN], until his [BODY PART] was as [ADJECTIVE] as a [COMESTIBLE (ADJECTIVE + NOUN)].

In our version of the game, we ask you to fill in the blanks with the most absurd and hilarious (but grammatically appropriate) words you can think of. Do not try to reconstruct Donna’s missing words, or supply other literarily plausible items. It’s silliness we want—Donna will unveil the authentic, erotic version at the end. And one lucky player will win a copy of Amorous Woman (or was it a Mad Libs book?).

Please upload your entries in the comments (which can also, of course, be used for more conventional comments). Here’s a deliberately dull example, just to illustrate the mechanics:

Jeremy Edwards said...

"Yes, Miss Evans," he'd sigh as I avoided him. Thoroughly converted to the path of mind-broadening travel, he'd see and hear me with his foot under my blue blanket, until his shoulder was as deep as a hot brandy.


Donna George Storey has taught English in Japan and Japanese in the US. Her first novel, Amorous Woman, is a semi-autobiographical tale of an American woman’s love affair with Japan. You can buy it at Amazon in the US and the UK). or her very amorous Web site

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Coming Attractions

by Janine Ashbless

It's going to be a week of mystery and revelation here on Lust Bites.

On Monday we will be in the mysterious East (okay, I know, shoot me - but I needed a segue). Our friend Donna George Storey, author of Amorous Woman, will be here and with a little help from Jeremy Edwards (!) will be telling us all about those Japanese Love Hotels with the themed rooms. Heh heh heh ... I wonder if there is such a thing as an Spartan Room?

On Wednesday Madelynne Ellis will be posting but the subject matter is currently a secret!

And on Friday we have our lovely Smut Slot, this month featuring a delicious excerpt from Chiaroscuro by Erastes. "Chiaroscuro" (I had to look it up) is an art word suggesting contrasts of light and dark, and what is half-revealed. So I'm sure Erastes will thoroughly approve of the picture above.

Have a lovely week! I'm spending mine looking after a Great Dane. Sadly I don't mean Viggo Mortensen.



Competition Winners

Lots this week:

The winner of a copy of Love on the Dark Side is Louisa. Please send your postal details to portiadacosta [at] gmail [dot] com (no spaces).

The two (TWO!) winners of Kate Pearce's "Guilty Pleasures" competition are Carla-Scribbles and Lucy Felthouse. You get to pick any book from Kate's back-catalogue so e-mail her at contactme [at] katepearce [dot] com (no spaces). Same address goes for the winner of an e-copy of Secured Mail (the "I Love Vikings" competition), who is ... Lil.

Congratulations everyone!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Tale of a Tail...

I knew I had become a real writer, not when I was first published, but when I was first asked where my ideas came from (I knew I was a real erotic fiction writer when I was first asked if it was all based on ‘personal experience’, a joke whose sell-by date proved shorter than a carton of milk in July).

In this instance, when I was asked about The Pride, my first Black Lace book, the answer regarding personal experience was even less apropos (“Yes, the previous summer while in Turkey I ran into a race of catlike people with tails, and it was too good an idea to pass up”). But as to the idea itself, I had to name several sources of inspiration.

Firstly, I have to blame James Spader as the brilliant, sexy archaeologist in the Stargate movie, for re-awakening my interest in Egypt and ancient civilisations (I know, technically I should blame the filmmakers and not James himself, but I’d rather blame him for just about everything, if only so he’ll work that much harder to make it up to me if we ever meet...)

For me, Egypt symbolised Empire, more than the Romans, the Byzantines or any others. I loved the sense of majesty it possessed, of glory and power and authority, a civilisation conquering the inhospitable desert surrounding it, to forge a legacy lasting millennia. I loved the pyramids and temples and other megalithic structure, all built without the aid of electrical devices. I loved the exotic, melodic names of the people and places: Kemreit, Saqqara, Ankhesen. And I admired that Egypt possessed an open equality of the sexes, letting women rule, own property, run businesses and divorce, an equality that sadly would be lost with many successive civilisations.

But as I regained interest in the subject, I learned just how sanitised and asexual the image of Ancient Egypt and its people had been made to me, thanks to generations of prudish archaeologists, museum displays and sword-and-sandal epics (none of whom, hypocritically enough, seemed to mind going into loving detail about the wars, bloodshed and atrocities committed). Oh, smirks about Cleopatra’s activities with Caesar and Mark Antony may have circulated around the classrooms, but she was just the tip of an erotic iceberg (or pyramid).

The average ancient Egyptian was naked to a large extent, the heat and poverty limiting the clothing owned or required. They shaved their pubic hair, used sex aids made of polished wood and ivory, considered lettuce to be an aphrodisiac, and when they died, the men had false phalluses attached to their mummies, and women had false nipples, in order to continue to enjoy sex in the afterlife. Go prepared, I say...

Egyptian erotic papyri, with poetry and detailed drawings and descriptions of assorted positions, were valued throughout the known world (the Roman Emperor Tiberius was said to give his extensive collection a regular, er, "going over"); sadly, few examples remain, though you might still see some examples of erotic graffiti on tomb walls – if the guides let you in those areas...

Sex permeated their lives, from commoner to ruler, fertility being important in such a harsh environment. Furthermore, unlike modern society with its schizophrenic seesawing between stigmatising sex and wallowing in it, the ancient Egyptians accepted sex in all its forms, with an admirable openness. To them, the universe began with masturbation, when according to one ancient Pyramid text, “Atum-Ra took his phallus in his grasp that he might create orgasm by means of it, and so were born the twin gods Shu and Tefnut." From these came more gods, with many more tales of orgies, incest, drunken sex, homosexuality...

One goddess in particular intrigued me the most: Bastet, goddess protector of cats, a local deity who gained prominence for centuries, probably helped by the barges of drunken orgiasts who would travel each year to her ‘hometown’ of Bubastis. She represented the cats who had become the ancient Egyptians’ valued ally for their efforts at pest control in the granaries, a respect that grew into an unparalleled veneration (killing a cat was tantamount to murder, and cats would be mummified along with humans). Like many of the Egyptian gods and goddesses, Bastet was pictured either as a full cat, or as a human figure with a feline head.

And she epitomised the fascination that man has always had for cats, for their qualities: beauty, power, grace, savagery, sensuality, maternalism, ferocity – qualities equally applied to women. We all have some of the Cat in us. So it was inevitable that images combining cat and woman would appear, touching folklore and popular culture of werecats and witches' familiars through the centuries, up to the catgirls of Japanese manga and anime, and the comic book antihero Catwoman (just don’t get me started on the movie...)

I couldn’t get the image of a woman with a tail out of my mind. How would she think and feel? What would she do, what would turn her on? What would sex be like with her? The image of the feline woman started as a story, and then expanded into an entire race of people with cat-like qualities such as tails and claws, epitomised by a member, Kami, who would venture out into the human world to experience sexuality among them. And as it set in my head, more ideas began to attach themselves, especially as I began looking into other cultures such as the Mayans and South Africans and their legends, and read about the behaviour of domestic and wild felines.

Though as intelligent and articulate as ordinary humans, sex to the Pride (as I was now calling them) would be an instinctive matter, a need that was fed as it arose, like hunger or sleep. Their senses of smell and hearing would dominate, and would shape their preferences. Their prehensile tails would be another appendage, another erogenous zone. And as with real cats, sex for them could be both savage and gentle as the mood took them, and not just for the males. A related goddess to Bastet was Sekhmet, lioness-headed and truly bloodthirsty, letting loose with berserker furies that threatened even the other gods. If I ever write a sequel to The Pride, I might incorporate Sekhmet in some fashion.

A trip to Cappadocia, an isolated part of Turkey where underground warrens of tunnels carved out by natives from the volcanic rock millennia ago, gave me the Pride’s home, a distant but reachable part of the world to which they might have emigrated centuries before to escape persecution. And knowledge of the clothing, tools and given names of Ancient Egyptians fed me a natural inspiration for a people considered the children of one of their goddesses. And seeing the Mummy movie (with the gorgeous Oded Fehr as the dashing Bedouin Ardeth Bey) gave me the idea of a cult of humans who would know of the Pride, but would worship them as the Children of Bastet, and would protect their secrecy from the outside world.

Before I knew it, the story had grown like a bonsai on steroids (I’d liked to say the story wrote itself, but that would be a total lie. I ended up having to put down just about word of it myself, while it sat around eating my Haagen-Daaz and backseat driving). But it was written, it was published, and the rest, as they say...

I may never go back to writing more adventures of Kami and her people, but the potency of their images and appeal will remain with me...

So come on readers, what do you think? Would you like a tail? Do you let the Cat out at night?