Thursday, 22 November 2018

Buffy, Anita and Vampire Lurve


It all started with Frank Langella’s 1979 film version of Dracula and the scene of the seduction
of Lucy.  I was a university student at the time with libido through the roof and an imagination to match. Oh, the fantasies! I couldn’t keep from wondering, even back then, just why those vampire seductions, those “turnings,” which were quite often so outrageously sexy, had to end with the turnee becoming the turner’s mindless minion and hideous restaurant. I couldn’t help wondering what would happen if the exchange was a little more equitable.

The first vampire stories I ever read were Anne Rice’s Lestat novels. I always found it disappointing that, in her books, while those turnings, those makings of fledgling vampires, were often little more than a disturbingly sexy rape, the vampires themselves, once turned, were very sensual but specifically not sexual. I wanted it all. I wanted the turnees fucked, turned and then fucked some more. But finally! halleluiah! Buffy and Anita happened.

“Seriously? Buffy the Vampire Slayer?” That was my initial response when I first saw the film at my sister-in-law’s house a hundred years ago. But I her teenage girls were watching it on cable, so what could I do but watch along … with bated breath. 

“Really? They actually made a television series out of Buffy the Vampire Slayer?” That was my first reaction when I was bored-channel-surfing one evening a year of so later and came across an early episode. “Are they that hard up for subject matter,” I groused. And then I watched it … all seven seasons of it … some more than once. 

“Oh you have got to be kidding? Derivative much?” That was what I thought the first time I saw one of Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake novels. “Another vampire slayer? Haven’t vampires been done to death?” No pun intended. But I read them… well not all, but a good eight or ten or so...

With Buffy and Anita, at last we had arrived! The vampire slayers were now seducing the vampires, and making them tow the line. While the sex in Buffy had to be soft enough for evening television, not so the sex in the Anita Blake stories. Though in the early novels, the main character is celibate with a tendency toward ‘heavy petting.’ But in both cases, seduction was always only a breath away. That sexy pull of the dark is what we live for, right? The cost for Buffy was devastating. For Anita the sexy vampire was just the beginning of a kinky, steamy and very neurotic paranormal journey. I felt like I had come home. 

I never thought I’d write vampires. In fact, I balked at writing paranormal in general until I realized that it was the perfect place to explore the darker side of the erotic without all the rules and regulations that restrict contemporary erotic fiction. But even so it was witches, demons and ghosts for me. I wasn’t brave enough to tackle vampires. And then Alonso Darlington burst on to the scene in Landscapes, which was not only my first M/M story written for the Brit Boys on Boysboxed set, but Alonso was my first vampire. Back then I never dreamed he’d become so dear to my heart, and that he’d worm his way into being a key player in my Medusa’s Consortium series. 

I’ve learned a great deal from vampires. Paranormal in general is a great way to explore the dark side of human nature. But I think vampires are the best way of all because they once were human, and they either tend to despise that which they used to be or yearn for what they’ve lost. Both responses are so utterly human and both are equally fascinating. Vampires provide the perfect place to contemplate that age-old question: Who are the realmonsters? Quite often, they’re not who I think. Quite often the worst of them live down deep inside me. Oh Freud, where are you when we need you?

Once I started writing paranormal stories, I found them particularly freeing. No one insists on vampires and shifters and other scary dudes wearing condoms. It's pretty much a given that there is nothing safe about fucking a vampire or a demon, and if the whole idea doesn’t scare the reader as much as it turns her on, then what’s the point?

From long before Frank Langella to Buffy to Anita and to everything since, there has always been a very close relationship between fear and arousal, which in my humble opinion makes the arousal even more arousing. The iconic sex scenes between the young and beautiful couple in a horror movie is always followed by the ghoul, serial killer or other baddie murdering the lovers in a horrible way. A part of what is so arousing about paranormal sex is the breaking of so many taboos, the attraction to something that the world says should horrify us. Oh we’re no less horrified for our attraction, if anything we’re more so. That combination of attraction and repulsion makes us doubt ourselves for feeling things we shouldn’t. Sound familiar? 

In paranormal stories that boundary between what arouses us and what terrifies us is so deliciously permeable that crossing it can get us into all kinds of trouble and then some. But crossing that boundary also brings with it the possibility of gifts and powers and abilities as well as a tumble into sex raised to something both divine and diabolical. 

What is forbidden in erotica by most publishers doesn’t apply to paranormal. Some of the most erotic scenes I’ve ever read are of vampires taking blood from or giving blood to their lovers. In fact in some novels the sharing of blood enhances the pleasure exponentially. Blood holds within it life and identity. It contains the magic of who we are as individuals. We don’t have to lose a whole lot if it before we die. It also is the transport for horrific diseases, a river of both life and contagion that terrifies us as much as it fascinates us. That it’s all contained in such a fragile sensitive vessel as the human body only amplifies its preciousness and its power. 

Vampire stories are the perfect place to explore dubious consent and loss of control. When dealing with vampires, demons, witches and magic, is consent ever less than dubious? Is there any better place to explore safely that total loss of control that comes from giving oneself over to the forbidden? Isn’t that really what the archetypal stories of seduction by the gods is all about? In the arms of a monster, with all our human frailties, there’s no guarantee of survival. And then there’s the terrifying thought of what we will become if we survive. How can we not be forever changed – for good or for ill. How can the resulting story not be intriguing?

The truth is that while we might be happy to dabble in the darker side of our sexuality, on a fundamental level, the very act of sex is frightening. It is the losing of self in the other, the opening to the unknown. It is the allowing ourselves to be more vulnerable than we are in any other act. It is the giving up of control. All of these elements are, by nature, a part of sex -- sex that carries at its core
both the possibility of conception and of death. The vampire’s tale is an augmentation of all of those elements, a sharpening of their edges to take us into unexplored territory beyond la petit mort.

That all we fear and all we desire in sex can be raise to the nth degree when placed in a paranormal setting and examined from the intimately terrifying safety of a book or a film or a television series allows us to vicariously experience the darker side of our desires. I would suggest that there are few better ways to explore our humanity than taking an erotic journey with the monsters in the dark who are more like us, and far closer to us, than we can easily admit.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

The Story of Justine (@justineelyot @sinfulpress) #giveaway



Hello, I’m Justine Elyot and I’m here to tell you about my new BDSM menage romance, The Story of Jo.

If you know my work, you can skip to the buy link (or even click away…) now. If you don’t, I’m here to give you a little flavour, so you can make up your mind whether I sound up your street or not.
My first publishing credit was in 2009, in an anthology of stories by the much-missed Black Lace imprint called Liaisons. The story was called Advanced Corsetry and, like most of what I’ve written since, it had a decidedly kinky flavour.

I don’t always write exclusively BDSM erotica – my first three books all covered a broader spectrum, although there were plenty of deliciously deviant scenes in them – but it’s by far my favourite subject matter. There are so many diverse shades and types of dynamic – no two relationships are quite the same, just as no two (or three, or more…) people are quite the same, individually or entwined. I usually write dominant male, submissive female – but again, not always. There’s a smattering of same-sex or bisexual relationships throughout my stories, even when the primary focus is M/f. I’ve written a couple of femdom scenes too – they are great fun.

My first full-length book, later that year and also published by Black Lace, was On Demand. I was so thrilled to have a real book in real shops that I didn’t stop to wonder whether anybody would actually buy it – but they did, and On Demand went to number one in the UK Amazon erotica chart. However, my kiss of success was also the kiss of death, as Black Lace shut up shop the very next month.
Undaunted, I went on to publish several novels for the indie new kid on the block, Xcite Books. My bestselling of these was The Business of Pleasure – a kind of anthology-novel about an agency catering to the fulfilment of women’s fantasies – followed by Meeting Her Match, which was about a woman’s exploration of BDSM and the ‘scene’.

Other publishers followed, such as Totally Bound, Carina Press and the HarperCollins Mischief imprint, who published several novels and novellas of mine. The most successful of those was Kinky, the tale of a chance meeting between a kink-curious woman and a charming Russian immigrant who has decided to earn his living as a professional Dom.

In more recent years, I haven’t been writing so much within this genre, but the mood still strikes me from time to time, and I was delighted when The Story of Jo was taken on by Sinful Press. Once again, it’s the story of a woman’s first plunge into the turbulent waters of a D/s relationship – but in this case, the relationship becomes thrillingly triangular.

Blurb:
I met a man called Emmett, and now I belong to him.
Twenty-something Jo meets Emmett on a team-building course, and her initial disdain for him soon turns into attraction.
With Emmett’s strong but loving hand to guide her, Jo unleashes her inner submissive and they embark on an intense voyage of sexual discovery.
Their mutual fascination sees them exploring bondage, spanking, toys and more, and their romance is as perfect as Jo could hope for, until another man appears on the scene.
She knows that Emmett hero-worships his former boss and mentor, Charles, but when she finds out that Charles is the man who introduced Emmett to the art of domination, she has no idea how to feel.
With fierce desire growing between the three of them, can they find a way to explore this new dynamic without destroying what they already have?


Excerpt:

“I want complete control of you in the bedroom,” he said.
The words shocked me to the core, and when I say ‘core’ I mean the area between my legs.
“Complete…control,” I repeated breathily.
“Within limits,” he amended. “Nothing that will damage or traumatise you, obviously. It’s for your pleasure as much as mine.” He laughed softly and ran a fingertip along my lips. “The look on your face…I’d like to photograph it.”
“Are you talking about, y’know, kinky stuff?”
“That’s exactly what I’m talking about. You look shocked. Are you shocked?”
Was I?
“No,” I said. “I mean…no.”
“So you are that way inclined?” He raised an eyebrow.
“In theory,” I said. “I’ve read…things. But never done…things.”
“But you’d like to do…things?”
Could I admit that I’d dreamed of a man like Emmett, who would come and take possession of my body and my sexuality, relieving me of the irksome responsibility? I’d dreamed of a man who would be dominant yet sensitive, cruel but loving, with a resolutely filthy imagination.
Did he actually exist?
And did I have the courage to find out?
He pulled me in close again.
“Do you want me to take you in hand?” he asked, his voice low and sticky in my ear.
“God, yes,” I shivered.
“Mmm,” his appreciative response turned into a kiss, one of those long, slow, trembly types that only end when your legs start to give way. One hand slid slowly down my spine, moulding itself to the curve of my bottom and squeezing.
“You’re still dressed,” he accused, his mouth still close enough for his hot breath to whisper over my skin. Red wine, spearmint, salmon, a bitter coffee note further back.
“Sorry.”
He quieted me with another kiss, then set his fingers to work on my shirt.

If you’re interested in reading more, the book is available now from:

Author bio:

Justine Elyot is the author of best selling erotic novels On Demand and The Business of Pleasure, as well as enough short stories to fill several anthologies.

She can often be found moaning about stuff on Twitter as @JustineElyot

*****

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/justine-elyot-3/
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 20 September 2018

What Gives Me Hope


Yes, I’m well aware that there’s nothing more escapist than an HEA romance … unless it’s a paranormal HEA romance, one with plenty of steamy sex. I get it, and I don’t apologize for it. I’ll let you in on a little secret, I DO write my stories to escape. I’m not getting any younger, I don’t have any super power and I’m never going to be an astrophysicist or a prima ballerina. But I have grown up to be a damn decent storyteller, and that, in itself gives me hope. Maybe that is my super power … Sometimes it feels that way when I’m in the zone and my characters and I are in close communion, when I create a world and a situation that broadsides me with possibilities I didn’t expect. Oh yes! Those are the times I definitely feel larger than myself, timeless, living beyond the flesh and bone of physicality. 

Strange, as I started to write this post, I was going to share a list of the things that give me hope. As is often the case when I write – whether it’s a blog post, a journal entry or a story – I end up in a difference place than I thought I would. My list grows and changes, but at the core of it all, it’s writing that gives me hope. It’s knowing that I write tales of hope, it’s knowing that I do it for love. I do it for myself first and foremost because it’s at the very heart of who I am. 

The truth of why I do it, why I write, when writers are struggling in the market, when worthiness of a
work has less to do with success than luck, when I know the cynical side of the business, when I no longer have stars in my eyes, is that I can’t NOT write. The truth is that writing is as essential to me as breathing, and I’m never happier than when I’m penning a story. That gives me hope. That gives me great hope. My purpose is to write. In that hope I can safely explore my mortality as well as imagine my immorality. In that hope I can examine all the facets of me that can’t be lived out in one
lifetime, all the secret depths of me that I keep hidden from the world - both the light and the darkness. In that hope I can face the dark fearlessly. All of the other worlds I create, all of the other people who live and breathe and are flawed and neurotic and sometimes frightening and wicked; who make mistakes and act impulsively and do impossibly heroic things are the hope inside of me, and that hope is steadfast. That hope doesn’t change with the flux of the world around me, and I rediscover it daily in the telling of the tale. That gives me courage to move forward, confidence to share what I write with anyone else who reads stories for an HEA and for a little bit of hope.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Glass Knot - Now an audio book


If you love hot MMF and you love audio books, here's a treat for you. THE GLASS KNOT has been narrated by the brilliant Rebecca McKernon and is available now on Amazon and iTunes. You can also read it for FREE on Kindle Unlimited.



Back Cover Information

What's a girl to do when the guy she falls for is married to another man?

This is exactly what happened to me. Seeing Josh Kendal stroll out of the Mediterranean Sea wearing tight navy swim trunks and looking like a hot new James Bond was a truly delicious moment. Catching sight of his wedding ring was like a kick in the shin and meeting his gorgeous husband, phew, that was enough to make any girl groan at the cruel joke God was playing on her.

But all was not as it seemed, and when Josh needed a woman to sort out a 'delicate predicament' I was the one for the job - heck, what did I have to lose? Certainly not as much as him, literally.

Trouble is, emotions always get tangled, loyalties can't help but be divided and with a night of memories so hot they'd have the devil sweating, there was only one thing for it--it was time to get honest, fight for what I wanted despite society's constraints and open my heart to the people it needed most.





Thursday, 19 July 2018

July Freebies and Lakeland Inspiration


Surely there is no other place in this whole wonderful world quite like Lakeland … no other so exquisitely lovely, no other so charming, no other that calls so insistently across a gulf of distance. All who truly love Lakeland are exiles when away from it.
-- Alfred Wainwright

Hi my Lovelies! There’s a very good reason why I started this post with this beautiful quote from the great Lakeland hero, Alfred Wainwright. Quite by delicious coincidence, all three of my fabulous July freebies are set in the English Lake District. Besides being one of my favorite places on the planet, Lakeland is one of the most atmospheric, and inspiring. The fact that I’ve just gotten back from four glorious days of walking on the fells reminds me once again why it tends to be the place that always brings me home to myself. Everyone should have a place that will do that for them. Having said that, how can such a place keep from being the setting for a good story?






SOOOO! That leads me to some July goodies. Whether you're on the beach or in the shade, in the garden or on a plane, summer heat lends itself nicely to doing as little as possible with a cold drink in one hand and a good book in the other. And thanks to eReaders, you can have the whole library. I'm gearing up for summer travels and making sure my Kindle is well-stocked. Be sure you do the same. Here are three giveaways going on during the month of July with a whole library of great summer reads. Each includes enough to make you want to spend the entire summer curled up reading, and each includes a free KDG read. So follow the links to summer bliss!






The Hotter the Better Steamy Romance Giveaway

https://books.bookfunnel.com/thehotterthebetter/7o1156uuyo



You'll find my sizzling novella, In Training in this fabulous library of steamy romance. Read blurb and excerpt here.







The Kick-Ass Women of Urban Fantasy

https://books.bookfunnel.com/womenurbanfantasy/r09cfeffoq





You'll find my novel, In The Flesh, here. It's the first novel of the Medusa's Consortium series. Read blurb and excerpt here.







Short but not Sweet

https://books.bookfunnel.com/shortromance/mkz0o5zg9l





You'll find my M/M novella, Landscapes, here. Read blurb and excerpt here

SOOOO! Read until your heart is content, and all for FREE!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Small Flashlight, Big Darkness?


Today’s post is a hard one for me to settle into because it could so easily devolve into navel gazing,
and one of the promises I made to myself and to my readers back when I wrote my very first ever blog post was that I would keep the navel gazing to a minimum. There must be a gazillion writer and write-hopefuls blogging, and each one is convinced that their journey to writing success is totally unique and must be shared. Well maybe not each one, maybe I’m only speaking for myself, in which case, I blush heartily and apologise.

My point is that all of the energy, angst, fear, adrenaline, exploration of dark places, exploration of forbidden places that used to go into the pages and pages of that gargantuan navel-gaze that was my journal now go through that strange internal filtering process that takes all my many neuroses and insecurities, all my deep-seated fears, all my misplaced teenage angst and magically transforms them into story. 

That was sort of my little secret -- that I alone, in all the world, suffered uniquely and exquisitely for my art. I took all the flawed and wounded parts of myself, parts I wasn’t comfortable facing, examined them reflected through the medium of story and found a place where I could view them and not run away screaming. 

Several years ago there was a BBC article asking the question, is creativity ‘closely entwined with mental illness?’I shared it on Facebook and Twitter to find that lots of other writers had shared it as well and the general response was simply that it sounded about right. There were some very moving conversations that came out of those sharings of that article along with the realization -- something I’ve long suspected -- that I am not all alone out there in my vibrant unique neurotic bubble. And really, it comes as no surprise that one has to be at least a little neurotic to be ballsy enough to try to bring, in one form or another, what lives in our imagination into the real world and to attempt to put it out there for everyone to see.

As the article was shared around and the responses mounted, I found myself thinking of C.G. Jung’s archetype of the Wounded Healer. The healer can only ever heal in others what she herself is suffering from. Empathy goes much deeper than sympathy. The human capacity for story is as old as we are. Before the written word, story was the community archive. It was our memory of who we are, our history, our continuity, our triumphs, trials, sufferings, joys, all memorised, filed away, and kept safely in the mind of the story teller. That had to do something to your head, knowing that you were the keeper of the story of your people! How could storytellers be anything other than neurotic? 

It’s a lot more personal now that we have the written word. No one has to dedicate their lives to memorising the story of their people. Now we tell our own story, the story of the internal battles that wound us, the story of those wounds transformed. We all tell our stories in our own personal code. What may well start out as a navel gaze into the deep dark wilderness of Self can be transformed into powerful, vibrant story, and we’re healed! At least temporarily, or at least we’re comforted. And hopefully so are those with whom we share our stories. When I journalled my navel-gazes, I wasn’t interested in anyone else seeing what was on those pages. It was a one-sided attempt at a neurotic house-cleaning. Sharing the story is a part of the healing; sharing the story is a part of the journey.
The Storyteller had no purpose if she didn’t share the story with her people.

The archetype of the storyteller is alive and well. And I believe writers live out the archetype of the wounded healer on a daily basis. 

Most of the time I write my stories because it’s just too much fun not to. That’s the truth of it. I seldom consciously dig deep to find those wounded, neurotic places. Really, who would want to do that deliberately? But the wounded places find me, and they end up finding their way into the story. And what surfaces is never quite what I expected, always more somehow, even if starts as a joke with a workshop prompt involving a tin of pears in heavy syrup.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Want a hot hockey player as your new book boyfriend?

If so, then check out HOT ICE!




Seven full length novels, all fine as standalone reads (though if you read them in order you'll briefly meet the hero of the next book) and all available on Kindle Unlimited.


Find out more here

Books #1 and #2 are only 99c/99p!

Book #1 HIRED also on audio!