Friday, September 5, 2008

Return to Stoneworld... again.

Portia Da Costa



I love to read linked books and ever since I started writing, I've often tried to create mini series and books that have characters and settings in common. Back in 2005, I wrote a book called Entertaining Mr Stone, and with it I established what I call Stoneworld - which is the 'universe' in which that book, and several others, as well as a few short stories are set. Stoneworld is an un-named Northern Borough and its environs, very much like the area I've lived and worked in all my life. Entertaining Mr Stone was set in the Borough Hall, where the heroine Maria had a clerical job and met the deliciously sexy Mr Robert Stone, the Borough's Director of Finance. A key scene also took place at the Waverley Grange country house hotel, and the next book - Suite Seventeen - featured the hotel as its main location. And now, In Too Deep takes place in the Borough's Library Headquarters, with walk-on appearances by several characters from both EMS and S17 and some of the action occurring at the Waverley too.

In Too Deep is the story of Gwendolynne Price, a readers' advisor in the Borough Library, much as I once was a readers' advisor in a Public Library Headquarters. The Borough Library is an old fashioned place in some ways, and has a traditional 'suggestion box'. The story opens just as Gwendolynne has started receiving suggestive notes, via the box, from a mysterious and rather verbose pervert who calls himself 'Nemesis'. At the same time as she's getting her socks blown off by these deliciously kinky letters, she's also falling in lust big-time with a visiting celebrity academic, Professor Daniel Brewster, who she privately calls Professor Hottie McHotstuff. He's researching his latest book and television history series in the Borough Library archives. Cue much friskiness down in the stacks and an escalating exchange of increasingly explicit letters, emails and internet chats, when Gwendolynne launches into a daring and sexy relationship with *both* men!

Read an excerpt here

Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk




In Too Deep isn't the end of Stoneworld however. I'm currently writing my next Black Lace novel, Kiss It Better, which features a heroine who owns a café in a small town on the edge of the Borough. And guess which country house hotel the mysterious hero just happens to be staying at? ;)

So, gentle readers, do you like books that are part of a series, or which are set in an over-arcing 'universe' or locale?

On Friday 26th September, I will be posting an excerpt from In Too Deep here at Lust Bites. Leave a comment here today, and one on the 26th as well, and your name will go into a draw, in which the prize is a copy of each the first two Stoneworld books - Entertaining Mr Stone and Suite Seventeen. Hopefully, by the time the winner's read those, he or she will be champing at the bit to read In Too Deep!

*nb... you'll notice that Prof Hottie appears to be rather a dab hand at maths too. This is because his real world 'template', a fictional mathematician, is one of my fantasy writing coaches. Confused? I think I am... LOL


40 comments:

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

I love linked series, especially when they're loosely linked by various characters or a setting--then I can have a private squee when I clue in to the links. :-)

Nikki Magennis said...

Oh yeah, I love books in series! I especially like the idea of a whole separate univers where things are similar but slightly different from a real location.

Congrats on the release, Portia!

Janine Ashbless said...

Yeah! Whole multiverses of kink-worlds ... I too love the idea of linked stories in which major characters from one play bit-parts in another.

But what I want to know is: how many of us (Lusties, writers, erotica readers) have worked in library at some time? I know for definite Portia, Mathilde Madden and myself. Is it part of the smutwriter CV?

I spent a year as a library assistant in a unversity library. I was in Accessions. I would take each new book that arrived, stick in a barcode, and write the title, author and ISBN in a big ledger. That's all I did ALL DAY, EVERY DAY. I plumbed depths of boredom verging on insanity. Plus they paid just enough that I had to live on soup noodle. The amazing thing was that you had to be a university graduate to qualify for this shitty job. Ak.

Portia Da Costa said...

Yeah, Dayle, I think I actually like the more loosely linked type series best myself, both as a writer and a reader. You get the best of both worlds, the freedom and the familiarity.

Portia Da Costa said...

LOL, yes, Nikki... the Borough in Stoneworld is *like* the real world, but not the same. Slightly different laws of the universe operate, I think.

Portia Da Costa said...

It's funny, Janine, I do know lots of fellow erotica writers who are or have been librarians. And erotica readers too.

I worked for two years as a library assistant, getting A levels at night school, then four years studying on day release to get my quals... and then I worked a couple of years as a Chartered Librarian and left, because I hated it!

I *loved* working with the actual books themselves, and I *loved* working as a readers' advisor, as Gwendolynne does... that was the best part of the job, helping folk find the books and info they wanted. I even liked 'cat and class'. But it was all the management crap and office politics and budget wrangling and squabbling behind the scenes that did my head in.

Janine Ashbless said...

I would have literally starved to death if I'd tried to get my qualifications after my first year: I'd have had to take a day off every week (pay cut!) and pay to commute (train fares!) to college (college fees!) in central London.

I love libraries, but I wouldn't want to work in one again.

Erastes said...

I'm an obsessive. If i find a book I like I immediately rush out to find all the ones from that world. This works often (The Farseer/Fool series by Hobb) but then sometimes I burn my fingers( by buying ALL the Dune books after reading the first one)

Nicola Harris said...

There might be something in that Janine. I write with TEB, but work in a library and have done for three years now. The office politics annoys me and so does the fact that we also have a small 'shop' and spend half our time on retail and don't even get me going on the pointless paperwork I have to fill in...

Madeline Moore said...

Congratulations Portia. I've always liked the premise of this story and I'm happy to see it released. I probably would've titled it 'The Suggestion Box' but, that's my pervy mind at work and likely the title wouldn't work for HQ.

I can't think of a 'linked series' I've ever read. But it's early here and the only reason I'm up is that the brick-blaster guys are working right outside my window.

Hey! There's a story! 'I woke up to what sounded like machine guns firing in my bedroom, to see a muscled body right outside my window...' I could call it 'The Suggestion Box'!

Portia Da Costa said...

I had to get up around 6am and take a journey that involved changing buses at least twice on the days I went to college, Janine.

God, it was a bind!

Portia Da Costa said...

Yeah, Erastes, sometimes series don't work, or run out of steam.

I must own up to the fact that I've had the latest in the Black Dagger Brotherhood for ages and I can't be arsed to read it. Started it on the plane to RWA and have never picked it up again since.

Portia Da Costa said...

Hi Nicola

Whenever I go into libraries nowadays, I'm dismayed by how little emphasis there is on books! It's all 'other stuff'...

Even when I worked in the library, we had a 'picture loan' section. God, that was a complete pain in the fundament! The things where huge, they weighed a ton, and the wrappers were constantly tearing. And then there were the folk who'd damaged them and wouldn't admit it... ah, happy days. Not.

Nicola Harris said...

Portia, how about the condition of some of the books returned? Gooey, sticky stuff all over the covers...and it's not like my library even stocks ANYTHING erotic...Wonder what it is?

Portia Da Costa said...

Hi Madeline!

Well, after a letter or two, Gwendolynne and Nemesis establish other lines of communication, so the suggestion box becomes less and less important. They move on to emails and instant messages. :)

It'd make a good title for a short though, wouldn't it?

Hope things quieten down outside your window soon. It must be infuriating!

Portia Da Costa said...

Oh yes, Nicola... we saw some gross stuff in the library I worked in.

Always remember being shown a book where someone had used a slice of cooked bacon as a bookmark!

Olivia Knight said...

Being woken up by a large man wielding his machinery? Uh - I'm not sure what's to complain about, Madeline... (Oh, okay, I do, being woken up at all, even if it's by Adonis himself with a tray of hot coffee, fresh croissant and flowers, is never welcome.)

I love interlinking books, Portia - especially when they riff off each other rather than being always the continuation of one narrative. And there's opportunity to create so much wonderful resonance. (Robertson Davies does fabulous trilogies like that, each book going deep into one character who may be only a secondary character or a walk-on in the others.)

Congrats on the new one!

Portia Da Costa said...

Yeah, Olivia, my Stoneworld books aren't direct sequels or anything, just a bunch of stories set in the same area, and some of the same locations, and with characters who crop up again, seen from a different viewpoint.

Kate Pearce said...

I love reading series and writing them and I enjoyed Suite 17 a lot. Lovely cover on this one as well!
Congrats!

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

I've never worked in a library, although I was accepted into a Library Sciences Masters program that I ended up not taking (long story). That said, almost every job I've had has involved books or publishing in some way: print shop (including being a stripper! But not that kind of stripper!), project editor, production editor (and copy editor and proofreader and designer...), book salesperson, and writer.

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

Hm. The Suggestion Box. Kind of like a kinky idea jar?

Portia Da Costa said...

Yeah, it's a very pretty cover, isn't it, Kate? Very pink! But I love pink. I think I'm turning into Barbara Cartland, only with more kink in my writing. LOL

Portia Da Costa said...

Hi again, Dayle... After quitting the library, I didn't deal with books again until I started writing. Instead, I worked in various boring clerical jobs... but it wasn't wasted time, I got the background for Entertaining Mr Stone from my boring office jobs! :)

Portia Da Costa said...

Curses, I wish I'd put dibs on 'The Suggestion Box' for a story title now. I'm sure I could have put an entirely different spin on it to the one I had in In Too Deep!

Lucy Felthouse said...

As you know, I enjoyed both of the previous Stoneworld books, and happen to have In Too Deep on by TBR pile, so will let you know my thoughts when I have devoured it and its delicious pink cover! ;) xx

Madelynne Ellis said...

Happy release day!

I like linked books, and I love spotting minor re-occurrences that happen in the background. I'm sure this one is going to be loved just as much as the other Stone world books.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Congratulations on the release, Portia! I like the linked worlds concept. Readers come across characters from earlier books who feel like old friends. At the same time, you don't need to have read the earlier books to enjoy the later ones.

Savanna Kougar said...

Portia, hey, I recognize Prof. Hottie. I like linked series. But then, I like any good story, linked or not.
Congrats on your latest release across the pond.

Madeline Moore said...

Felix was on the Mississauga Advisory board for three years and won an award for his advocating on behalf of the library.

Our local library has a 'patron' who takes it upon him/herself to edit portions of books s/he finds objectionable - with an exacto knife. Horrors!

I love the bacon bookmark. Gawd.

Portia, of course 'The Suggestion Box' is your title if you want it.

Prof Hottie is a little (genius) hottie, isn't he?

Louisa said...

Hi Portia

Great news about your latest release! The linked books sound a great idea and provide continuity for both writer & reader.

Like Erastes, when I find something I like, I often go and buy the whole series; it's exciting to be able to relive a world/chars you enjoy in different scenarios.

And yes, I confess, I have the 'library' gene too: I volunteer at a local branch once a month. The people are great and it's fun - although not as much fun as Gwendolynne sounds like she's having in In Too Deep! :-)

Portia Da Costa said...

Hope you enjoy ITD, Lucy! I'm nervous... hope you think it lives up to the standard of the other two. Eeek!

Portia Da Costa said...

Thanks, Madelynne! You do linked books so wonderfully yourself. I love your A Gentleman's Wager and Phantasmagoria and I'd love to read more about those characters, both the main protagonists and some of the supporting players.

Portia Da Costa said...

Hi Lisabet!

Yes, there's a reassuring sense of familiarity both for reader *and* author when a group of books are set in the same 'world'. It's like coming home every time... :)

Portia Da Costa said...

Yeah, Madeline, we used to have a public minded citizen in the main library I worked in, who used to take it upon themselves to delete, in ball point pen, all the passages in books that they found offensive.

Good job I wasn't writing then or mine would have been solid blue ink on a lot of pages! LOL

And yes, I exercised a bit of artistic licence and made the Prof a bit taller in my book. The real life guy is quite short, although still utterly scrumptious. :)

Portia Da Costa said...

Yes, Savannah, the Prof is modelled on Charlie Eppes aka David Krumholtz. I'm a huge Numb3rs fan!

I mostly have a 'crush' guy who I make over into the hero of my current book. Vincent D'Onofrio has 'starred' in a few, but the one I'm working on now has an Edward Norton lookalike as the hero... all muscular as he was in American History X, but without the vile tattoos of course.

Portia Da Costa said...

Hi Louisa!

I must admit that my library days were actually utterly tame in respect of the kind of high jinks Gwendolynne gets up to... There were mutterings at one time about an illicit affair being conducted after hours, down amongst the stacks, but I never saw any tangible evidence.

The only naughtiness was what we librarians read in the books in the 'private case'. The public had to ask specially for certain notorious titles, but of course we had access to them whenever we wanted! ;)

Tall Dark & Handsome said...

congratulations I loved it!

Anonymous said...

congrats on teh books. hot covers. nice eye candy.

kh

Portia Da Costa said...

Thanks TD&H! Glad you like the sound of the new book!

Portia Da Costa said...

Yeah, he is *so* cute, isn't he, kh? :)