Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Christopher Bowness Talks about Using Erotica to Enhance Your Sex Life

No sooner has the dust settled on the spankers, ruffled feathers and the love balls been put back in their boxes and Fifty Shades of Grey is back again -- this time in movie form with teasers being released into our living rooms and bedrooms on almost a weekly basis. In anticipation of the film, there’s also a resurgence of the official FSOG sex toys.

Whether you liked E.L. James's BDSM themed novels or not, there’s no doubt that Fifty Shades Of Grey influenced people's sex lives in interesting ways. But the truth is, for generations, we have looked for inspiration to spice things up in our love lives. These days television, movies, and books provide us with a great amount of content to get the juices flowing, while the Internet provides an instant and easily accessible resource that doesn't require asking questions out aloud.

I believe sex in relationships is definitely one of those subjects we're never finished learning about. However, while different media are a good way to find introductions to new and interesting things to add to your sexual repertoire, anything you try for the first time should always be done with caution, researching as much as you can and using assertive communication and positive consent -- especially when introducing the idea to partners. For example, spanking is something that is a common practice but there is a safe way it should be done.

Erotica, even though firmly based in the realms of fantasy, can be a great source of inspiration for many areas of sex and relationships, and it’s something I've written about before. In this article, I want to focus on some of the simple things erotica can teach us and how we can add them to our sex lives.

Wealthy businessman and committed voyeur, Mark Parker, has a list of thirteen fantasies he is intent on turning into reality. Travelling between his London flat, his plush Oxfordshire mansion, and Discreet, his favourite S&M club; Mark is helped to realise his imaginatively dark erotic desires by two loyal members of his staff. His Personal Assistant, Anya Grant, and his Housekeeper, Clara Hooper.
Something I believe everyone should have, whether they are in a relationship or single, is a sex bucket list. As part of mentoring I have guided individuals and couples in compiling of sex bucket lists, and I have seen a wide variation of acts on those lists.

I believe, as I have seen through experience, that nothing builds intimacy between partners more than opening up and being vulnerable, but assertive at the same time, and sharing your most intimate desires. Communicating what each partner would like to try and negotiating the list and how it might be completed is a fantastic way to open up the discussion of sex that will also bring people closer.
It's always best to have these discussions while fully clothed and when you're both feeling relaxed, not whilst having sex. Talking about fantasies during sex to turn each other on is fantastic, however, being naked and vulnerable is not a very good time to be telling your loved one you want to expand your sexual horizons. So get comfy, get close, turn the television off and get talking about your lists. You may find some possibilities in the rest of this article.

In appreciation for a job well done, STELLA JAMES’s boss sends her a Pet for the weekend – a human Pet. The mischievous TINO comes straight from THE PET SHOP complete with a collar, a leash, and an erection. Stella soon discovers that the pleasure of keeping Pets, especially this one, is extremely addicting.
The story of Stella and Tino deals with role-play and power exchange and, whilst it is a fantastic idea, my aim is to keep things simple. Very early on in their story, K.D. Grace serves up a wonder scene which involves food play, also known as sploshing. Food, cooking and feeding each other can be such an intimate act anyway but you can make it even more intimate. Create a menu together or shopping list of food that you would like to use to play with. Think juicy, smeary, runny food, items you can lick and nibble off each other and ingredients you can feed each other.

Plan a night for this to happen or even a lunchtime break. The planning, shopping together, and cooking the meal -- if required will serve as delicious foreplay for the main course.

From the sun soaked bays of Australia to the rainy coastal towns of England, Smut by the Sea has it all. Whatever your interpretation of naughty seaside fun, there’s something nestling between the covers for you. Surfer boys, sea creatures, pirates and the fairground abound in this exciting collection of stories from erotica’s finest authors.
This anthology of erotic short stories will expand your horizons and sex lives taking them outside the bedroom or maybe even outside the house. Over three volumes these collections will inspire you to look at the many different locations and settings in which you can enjoy sex.

Enjoying sex away from your usual setting can be quite an exciting feeling liberating you from your usual bedroom routines and getting you thinking differently about you and your partner. Something as simple as spending a night in a hotel room can bring about a new-found spark.

Remember, this doesn't have to be just about penetrative sex. Masturbation, or even being intimate with each other through deep kissing and touching as well as the planning itself, can act as foreplay to great sex when you're back in more comfortable surroundings.

Mankind is close to extinction. Toxins have all but wiped out the male population. The remaining fertile men are housed in manors where their seed is collected.
Lena Lee is a new collector with a rare pheromone believed to reignite human fertility. She's assigned a male who's predicted to be her perfect match.
In this steampunkesque sexy, but foreboding, tale of future civilisations there is a whole slew of influences I could draw from. However, in this futuristic setting it's still all about getting right back to basics. Using your environment and what you have around you to heighten sex is one of the best things we can learn from it.

One particular spicy scene involves two of the characters being in the woods and one character receiving a very hot climax just from what was at hand.

You don't have to start off in the woods but you can get creative by looking at where you live in a different light. Have you ever had sex in the kitchen, laundry room? What about using wooden spoons for spanking, brushes and combs to make skin tingle? And then there are clothes pegs! Just how creative you can get?

London – one meeting, one month of lessons and a landslide of new desires.
My journey to hell started with a decaff coffee. Nothing more than a grey mug full of dull-brown liquid devoid of its most useful ingredient.
One sip, one smile, one touch of her hand and it was soon clear my life wasn’t destined to stay dull. Oh, no, suddenly I had a month of bedroom education planned by a sultry vixen who intended to broaden my horizons beyond my usual peach-pink palette.
The Sexy As Hell Trilogy, which this book is from, is full of highly erotic and sometimes taboo acts making Fifty Shades look like a Rom-Com. It’s hard to pick from amongst all the sexually charged pages when even just reading about these kind of acts with your partner can be great for your sex lives. There is a particular scene, however, where two characters go to watch a burlesque show together. Watching others engage in erotic acts can be great foreplay.

Exposing yourself to new things together is important.  For example, watching erotic scenes together from movies or even TV, can get pretty heated (Masters of sex anyone?).  It can be exciting to show each other that you can do better than the actors themselves. You could take this further by watching porn together, but I would advise you discuss this first and decide together what you'd like to watch.
You can research local burlesque clubs or nights in your area, of if you want the full voyeuristic experience, visit a swingers club together and watch how others play.

Your Turn
I hope this article has given you some food for thought and inspired you to go out and hunt down these books to see what the fuss is about. They may even inspire your own sexy ideas.

You may even already have your own favourite works of erotica to draw influence from and this article may help you draw new ideas from them. Please feel free to share your own erotica tidbits in the comments below.

Christopher Bowness is a Relationship and Sex Mentor

Christopher provides a one stop shop for Relationship and Sex Support by giving readily available access to early intervention to issues.

He also provides guidance to people drawing on his experience and helping people to the relationship and sex lives they desire.

You can find him on his website www.BeUnity.uk



Or on facebook.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Guest Blogger: Kristina Lloyd

Undone and handcuffs

Lana Greenwood,  the central character in my new book, Undone, is a 41 year old divorcee who owns a cocktail bar and a vintage and military-issue handcuff collection. The research for this book was great: I got to drink lots of cocktails and browse antique militaria websites, gazing at beautiful restraints from other eras and far-flung countries. I may have made the occasional purchase.

I love the severity and gracefulness of handcuffs. Furry handcuffs are an abomination, and have no place in my closet! The sleek swoop of metal, the nasty fastenings, the clank of chains, and the dark echo of incarceration and torture all contribute to handcuffs’ kinky beauty. They bring Alcatraz into the bedroom.  Fluff does not belong here.

In the opening of Undone, Lana initiates a threesome with two guys she knows only slightly, Sol Miller and Misha Morozov. They’re attending a weekend party in the country and, hoping for some action, Lana has brought with her a particularly distinctive pair of cuffs from her collection, German Clejusos, no 15, reputedly the heaviest in the world. As far as I know, these cuffs have never been used by law enforcement agencies; they’re probably too cumbersome. But Clejuso are the official suppliers to the German police and they’ve been making handcuffs for over 140 years. Much of their range serves a practical purpose and is also stunningly sexy.

Lana is submissive but she’s no archetypal naïf who blossoms when Sir Domly discovers her true, inner needs. She knows what she likes in bed and is more than capable of exercising her own sexual agency. Here, she explains her passion for cuffs and her reason for bringing her Clejusos to the party:

“My interest in the cuffs is related to sex, of course, but the objects fascinate in their own right. You’d think there might not be much variation in the design of an object comprising two linked hoops but there is. A lot of factors need to be taken into account so they suit both the jailer and the jailed, the cop and the robber. The perfect handcuffs should restrain without injuring but be easy and efficient to use. They’re wonderfully contradictory, often elegantly simple and suggestive of grim, thrilling stories. They capture my imagination and I frequently find it hard to resist a purchase. I’d brought along the Clejuso 15s because I adore the weight of them pulling on my wrists. I’d also figured their USP – heaviest cuffs ever manufactured – might be a good talking point were I to meet someone who shared my kinky proclivities. I appeared to have struck gold with Sol.”

The threesome turns sour when, on the morning after, one of the participants, Misha, is found dead in the swimming pool. Later in the book, Lana and Sol attend a kink club-night in Brighton. Sol claims to be suspicious about Misha’s death and, believing he had friends in the BDSM community, wants to investigate. Beforehand, Lana and Sol meet in a hotel room and, as instructed, Lana has brought with her a selection of cuffs for Sol to chose from. Sol turns up looking super-hot in a vintage RAF uniform, jacket unbuttoned to reveal his darkly-haired chest.

“He dropped his overnight bag by the bed, casting a glance at the cuffs. I’d brought along my reproduction medieval half-cuffs, my nasty Hiatt speedcuffs, and my beautifully elegant Marlin-Daley Bottlenecks.”

Speedcuffs, used by the UK Police force, are linked by a rigid stem rather than a chain, allowing them to be held to easily control and steer the poor captive. You can pick up these ex-cop cuffs for around £30 on eBay. They’re less than pretty but for me, that’s part of their hard, brutal appeal. They are the antithesis of fluff!

I won’t tell you which cuffs Sol decides to take along to the kink night but rest assured, they get plenty of use.

If you’d like to know more about Undone, please hop over to my blog for an excerpt, and check out the other stops on my Sexy September blog tour.


Kristina Lloyd writes erotic fiction about sexually submissive women who like it on the dark, dirty and dangerous side. Her novels are published by Black Lace and her short stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including several ‘best of’ collection, in both the UK and US. She lives in Brighton, England.

About Undone
When Lana Greenwood attends a glamorous house party she finds herself tempted into a ménage à trois. But the morning after brings more than just regrets over fulfilling a fantasy one night stand. One of the men she's spent the night with is discovered dead in the swimming pool. Accident, suicide or murder, no one is sure and Lana doesn't know where to turn. Can she trust Sol, the other man, an ex-New Yorker with a dirty smile and a deep desire to continue their kinky game?


Thursday, 25 September 2014

Distractions

by Lucy Felthouse

*This post was originally published at The Erotica Readers & Writers Association blog.

It's a sad fact of my life that in terms of work, my writing comes last. Not because I want it that way, but for the time being, because it has to be. Running my own business means I can work from home and have flexibility in my schedule. In turn, this allows me to squeeze writing in wherever I possibly can. But of course, paying clients (as opposed to writing books that may or may not be contracted, and may or may not sell), must come first for me to survive.

Therefore, distractions from my writing, when I get to do it, are not welcome. I'm not talking about the emails-coming-in, social-media type stuff, as they're distractions that can be avoided, or at least ignored until you've written so many words. I mean the unavoidable distractions; personal ones, health ones, family ones, and so on. Stuff that demands your time, with no exceptions or workarounds.

It can be very hard to stay focussed on creativity when there's something on your mind. Or it is for me, anyway. If I'm not in the right frame of mind then I tend to just stare at the screen with not much going onto the page. It's frustrating, but it can't be forced.

So, what to do when distractions are around? Well, that's easy, isn't it? I'll do client work, I'll do my freelance editing, I'll shout about the books I already have out there - there are lots of tasks that make up my average day, and for that I'm grateful. I'm not sure how I'd cope with being a full-time writer, as when distractions come along, I'd be achieving very little. At least this way, I'm still crossing things off a to-do list.

What about you? Can you write through certain types of distractions? How do you cope with them?

Happy Reading,
Lucy x

*****

Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women's Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. Join her on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to her newsletter at: http://eepurl.com/gMQb9

Monday, 22 September 2014

Guest Blogger Flannel J Gary

Hello all, Victoria Blisse here and I have the great pleasure to introduce our guest blogger today. Flannel is my very bestest friend. We've known each other for quite some time and he's going to tell you all about how we met. I thought it would be interesting for you to see me, an author, through different eyes. We've had many a funny conversation, divided by our shared language. A word to the wise asking an American 'How's tricks?' is not a good idea. Anyway, I'm waffling (I do that) so without further ado I introduce the wise, the wonderful and the brilliant Flannel J Gary:




  Victoria and I met because we were both young (well, at least younger than we are now by near a decade) and involved in penning erotica in the wider world of some of the popular places online back then.

We started chatting on a forum especially for Authors at one particular site--and a place like that was not common in my experience back then. I'd found many places for the fans and the scribblers, but few for people that actually wanted to talk more seriously about it all. And in the midst of the arguments and agreements and challenges and writing contests amongst a core 20 of us or so, Victoria and I started just sharing our opinions more and eventually became close as friends from either side of a big broad ocean. You know, as these things do.

 Now, we couldn't have been more different in many respects. A woman with a family, living in England, thinking hard about whether she wanted to take her writing to that next level of actually pushing for career work in it (lots of responsibility there, anyone whose done it can agree it is a very special place you have to be in just in your own head to try)... ...and me, a young shifty college fella' who spent most of his time drinking and womanizing and trying to live a life reminscient of what popular culture would have thought of Dean Martin's younger years (and penning stories about my "exploits"). (And, yes, that's how I thought of them--what morons we can be when we're young, wonderful silly morons)

But, from talking about stories and sharing appreciation for each others' writing, we grew to share stories about our daily lives. My time was usually spent lamenting the madness of the latest girl I was dating (and graphically describing what we'd get up to in story form) or the worries I'd have about school or my family. Hers was spent sharing some of the lovely notions of what its like to have children, what married life was like, the struggles those come with and the social-politics of being a smut-author in a normal English community (one of those ones where everyone seemingly knows everyone).

 Over the years, messaging became email and while the site and the community changed and went away (as they do), we still wrote to each other--pen pal style--near daily. She'd send me treats from her favorite vacations in the post and I'd fail to remember birthdays in comparison but always make it up afterward. She became my conscience, like Jimminy Cricket--could forecast my bad decisions, could tell when I was elusively sad about something. I suspect I simply remained amusing, but through it all we became extraordinary friends. 


I've seen her family grow up. I've seen her develop as a writer and a businesswoman from the uncertain and unsure to the brilliant and driving. Through it all, there is not a human being in my life--any that I consider serious to my life--that doesn't know of her or isn't aware of how important she is to me. Because she's talented. Because she's genuine. Because as human beings go, she's accomplished what so few do... ...to have their life of love and joy, and get to work and win at their passion.

Aw, isn't he sweet? And I can tell you he's far more than amusing. He's always there to mop me up when I'm a blubbering wreck and he's a fabulous procrastination pal. I'll also let you into a secret, he's pretty good story inspiration too!



Check out  Making it Real or Tempting Rendezvous to read all about my fictional imaginings of Flannel.

Isn't the internet brilliant? Have you got any stories to tell about friendships made online?

Friday, 19 September 2014

Smut for Good: Snogs, prizes and more.


Hi All, Victoria Blisse here to bring you news of the latest Smut for Good project. Have any of you read anything by Sommer Marsden? She's very good you should definitely check out her books. Sommer and family are also going through tough times at the moment as he husband fights Pancreatic cancer. It's a tough thing to do and Smut for Good is aiming to take a little of the strain off by offering a little financial aid.

A Snog for Sommer has 69 blogs from authors, publishers and even Mr Blisse including kisses, some prizes and lots and lots of love. It's touching to see such an outpouring of generosity. This community of dirty minded and erotically worded authors have come together (ooh er) to do good for someone who really needs it. I'm completely bowled over by it, I really am.

You can make a donation to Sommer and family on  Smut for Good via paypal. Any donation is really, really, REALLY appreciated. We've currently got £690.45 will you help us to £700 and beyond? I'll be sending all the dosh to Sommer on Sunday. On Saturday we're having a big' ol Facebook party to celebrate, announce prize winners and generally have a ball. Please come on over and join the fun.

Now onto a Brit Babes Snog for Sommer, from Sexy Just Walked into Town and my Story in it, Read Rag to A Bull.

I’ve not had sex in four years. I was miserable for one of them and I’ve taken Zumba classes for the past three. You’re probably thinking that doesn’t make sense, but believe you me, it does. I will be forever thankful for the day that Sharon, my workmate, told me about her dance class.

I laughed her down at first. I am not terribly well co-ordinated and I’m a big woman, I love my curves and I didn’t want to lose them. But she explained it was just exercise, it wasn’t a serious dance class and I could eat extra chocolate and cake to maintain my luscious body if I wanted to. The extra chocolate tipped the balance so I decided to try it out with her one night. It was fun. The first lesson I spent most of the time trying to not trip over my own feet or stand on anybody else’s, but I enjoyed it. The upbeat music, the laughter and the sociability of it all.

I also loved the ache, the dull pain that told me my muscles had been used, the twinges that reminded me so much of the after effects of really good sex. I got into a routine, a routine I still follow. I’d go to my Zumba class, dance around like a fool, get sweaty, laugh, sing and work my big sexy butt off then I’d go home and masturbate.

I’d never stop to eat, drink or wash, I’d just get onto my bed and wank whilst the sweat was still beading on my skin and my muscles were on fire with exertion and I’d come. I’d come so hard it was just like having sex but without the messy bit. The other person and the emotional attachment you form to them. Perfection.

So Zumba and sex became one and the same to me. I shimmied and shook each week and wiggled my hips and imagined I was writhing against a man. A hot, sexy man with just enough muscle and a smile to melt my heart.  In fact, when I saw him there a few weeks ago I thought I was having a really vivid daydream. It wasn’t until we took a break that I realised he was a real true life man.

“Hi,” I gasped between gulps of my water, “you’re new.”

“Yes,” he replied. “I am.”

“Enjoying it?” I asked.

“Not sure yet.” He gripped a sports bottle in his huge, tanned hand. I wanted those fingers to grip me. “I’ll tell you when I’m capable of thought again.”

“Fair enough,” I smiled. “It does get easier, I promise. I’ve been at it for three years now.”

“That’s why you look so confident up the front then.”

“No, that’s just because you’re viewing me from behind, you can’t see the funny faces I’m pulling.”He chuckled. The velvet force of the sound rumbled in my chest, arousing my nipples and making me think of my post-Zumba session a little earlier than usual.

“I’m Dean, nice to meet you.” He held out his hand and I grasped it, hoping my palm wasn’t too sweaty.

“Grace,” I replied. “Lovely to meet you too.”

His fingers enfolded mine, exerted pressure but didn’t crush me. I imagined it would be the same if we had sex, a bit rough but nothing I couldn’t handle and give back in equal measure. I let his hand go reluctantly as the instructor’s words pulled us back into positions for the next dance.

I was energised. I swung my hips powerfully, followed the steps with a precision that I didn’t normally achieve, all because I knew his eyes were on me. We didn’t get to speak again until the end because every woman in the class wanted to talk to him. That was clearly the bonus of being the only man in the room.

I changed my shoes and picked up my bag and slipped in beside him as he left the hall.

“So, will you be back next week, Dean?” I asked, much to the chagrin of the woman who I’d just slipped in next to, though she had a wedding ring on so she shouldn’t have been flirting in the first place.

“Oh, definitely,” he nodded. “Great work out, great company and I really would like to get some of the steps right eventually.”

I put my hand on his bicep, noting its pleasant bulge, nothing fancy, just strongly sprung male muscle. I wanted to test it to its limits but in a much more private setting.

“You’ll manage that next week,” I said confidently, even though my stomach was churning with lust and nerves. “See you then?”

“Sure,” he replied, “you couldn’t keep me away.”

I wouldn’t want to.

There’s no big cash prize for guessing who was on my mind when I jumped into bed that night. I imagined us dancing alone, no instructor and face-to-face. I could see the sweat on his brow, the flex of his muscles, the sweep of his hips. He devoured me visually too, taking in my bouncing breasts, which even in a sports bra wobbled impressively with each movement. He dropped his gaze to my ample hips and long, curved legs as I cucaracha-ed side-to-side.

When the music stopped the fantasy continued. We hurried towards one another, crushed together in a mass of passion, lip-to-lip, crotch-to-crotch, burning with need and ripping off clothes.

I gripped my naked breast, plucked the nipple as I imagined him doing it. I ran my finger up and down my slit, gathering and spreading moisture and caressing my clit, bringing myself closer to the brink. I hurried my mental masturbation material on. We were completely naked and my back and buttocks were chilled by the wooden floor beneath me. He pressed his hard cock between my plump wet lips and I wrapped my legs around his long, lithe body, feeling the bounce of his taut buttocks with every thrust.

I came with a loud grunt, the visual dissipating as the orgasm bloomed and soon after withered away. I was left hungry, sweaty and wanting more. Zumba and masturbation were no longer enough, I needed a man between my thighs. I needed Dean.

Now a prize! How about a copy of My Getting Together Series, three books all set at a gym.  Just comment on this post by 9am GMT on Saturday 20th September. And I'll announce the winner at the Snog for Sommer Celebration Facebook party.



Thursday, 18 September 2014

Libraries and Train Stations

By K D Grace

I'm very pleased to share with you a post that I wrote five days ago while sitting in Bryant Park behind the NYC Public Library feeling the great book vibes. Enjoy! 

I’m writing this from Bryant Park right behind the New York City Public Library -- you know -- the one with the lions
flanking the front entrance, the one that played a starring role in the film The Day After Tomorrow? The one that’s … well, THE iconic library. Yup! That one! Today I’m just hanging out in the library and the park, which, BTW, is dedicated to William Cullen Bryant. I’m taking in the ambience, feeling the love of books. The place was a pauper’s field at one time, and then it became a public park, which became neglected and overgrown. Then the Croton Reservoir was built there. It occupied a two block area of Fifth Avenue and held drinking water for NYC, which was piped in from the surrounding countryside. It looked like a gigantic topless pyramid filled with water. Its walls were wide enough at the top to provide avenues for people to walk around and enjoy the views. The reservoir was torn down and the present library was completed in 1911 and, at least to me, it really does have the feel of a temple of learning, a sacred space for writers and readers.

But this is not a tour, and I’m not here today touring. On this overcast, warm afternoon, I’m here to write in the
place of books, in the place of ideas, in the place of culture. Yesterday I was here as a tourist, just before we walked the few blocks over to Grand Central Station and stood in the central hall reading the departures and arrivals board, watching people coming and going down the halls leading off to their trains. Grand Central Station – if there’s any place synonymous with journeys it’s Grand Central Station.

That got me thinking about the connections libraries and train stations have to a writer’s soul. There’s something archetypal about journeys, whether they're the physical journeys we make on a train or the mental journeys we make when we open a book and pass into the mind of the storyteller or the philosopher or the scientist.

The Initiation of Ms Holly was conceived on a train journey between Paris and London, and the characters in many of my books return over and over again to libraries of one sort or another – most of the libraries in my stories are renditions of my dream library from the House Beautiful in my imagination. Every writer and every reader has an image of their fantasy library in their head. It's the reader's/writer's wet dream. Books and the ideas they represent are so often the jumping-off place for other books and other ideas. They can take us farther than any train at any station, but the journey and the representation of the journey and the way we remember the journey after the fact are so much more life-changing than the destination.

The fact that a library stores so many ideas, so many imagined journeys, so many journeys reflected upon, so much information gleaned from so many minds makes the place mystical in ways that are at least as powerful as the oldest places of worship. The library is the repository for the human mind and the culture it has birthed, all the wisdom, all the knowledge, all the fanciful journeys humans have taken are housed within those sacred walls. The very evolution of human culture is housed within those walls. That thought gives me goose bumps!

The fact that a train station holds endless possibilities for endless journeys makes it a place where those stories that end up in the libraries could very well be born. A half a million people pass through Grand Central Station every day, and each one of them has a story, each one of them has hopes and dreams, and each one of them is inspiration for the writer. There’s something about the whole world being connected by parallel iron rails that gets me thinking about … well … connections and clandestine meetings and intrigue. With trains there’s a sense of a journey unfolding that, for me, is missing in other modes of transportation. A missed connection means either a long wait with time for unexpected events thrown in for good measure or even more exciting, a rerouting of the journey. In our dating days, my husband and I ended up in very rural Serbia by missing

our stop to Belgrade. The only connection back was a night train from Turkey in the wee hours. We count it as one of our ‘dating’ adventures, a part of the KD and Ray Cannon of life as a couple. And yes, the experience has worked its way into stories.


So why am I rambling? Well because the journey of a book and the journey of a train inspire me. I read almost as incessantly as I write. I need both. And some of the most amazing adventures of my life – as a writer and as a person – have had their beginnings on trains. The Initiation of Ms Holly came from being stuck in the Eurostar Tunnel on a malfunctioning train, literally under the English Chanel; I knew that I loved my future husband after our unexpected over-night journey to Lapovo, Serbia, because he handled our missed connection as an adventure to be shared and laughed about rather than a disaster to be moaned and groused about.  I’ve travelled on the Shinkansen to Hiroshima to the Peace Memorial Museum; I’ve taken the Red Arrow overnight from Moscow to St. Petersburg. I’ve taken more trains to London than I can even count. This week I’ve ridden the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station to explore NYC for the first time ever. And is it really a surprise that this day I end up on a pilgrimage at the New York City Public Library?  I am alone today. Raymond is at a martial arts workshop. I am lost in my head in a park dedicated to William Cullen Bryant surrounded by sky scrapers that give me a stiff neck to view, watching the people around me read and write and play chess and juggle and connect with friends in the shadow of one of the most iconic buildings in NYC. Perhaps some of them came into the city through Grand Central Station. I’m sure many of them, just like me, see this place as one of the most sacred sites in the city, one of the most treasured symbols of humanity at its very best. 

As the rain begins, I quickly relocate myself in the library, climbing the marble stairs to the breath-taking and neck stiffening McGraw Rotunda, where I stare at the murals celebrating the coming of print until my eyes hurt. I am surrounded by marble and warm wood panelling and the rain pouring down on New York streets outside. People come and go -- tourists, students, and fellow pilgrims, and I watch and savour the experience from a marble bench beneath the mural of Prometheus bringing fire. Then  I remember that I have this post to finish, this experience to share. The written word … it’s always about a journey. The stories we tell lead us from destination to destination over and over again, and yet it’s the journey we remember – the art of getting there, and the gift of sharing that journey with others long after it's happened and long after its idea is born in our mind – that’s the sacred task of a writer. I am humbled, and I am honoured to be on such a journey with such a task to perform.  

Monday, 15 September 2014

Guest Reader - Deanna!



Deanna thanks for being a guest on the Brit Babes Blog it’s great to have you here! I know you’re an avid reader of erotic romance and we’re all keen to know more about what hits the spot for you and what books you recommend to friends.

Tell us a little about where you live and how that suits your reading habits.

I live in wine country in Australia. This has been a recent move! Only 3 months! My husband retired from corporate life and is now focusing on what he calls his retirement career, which is writing. He has a book coming out very soon called "Wine Sense: The Art of Appreciating Wine". As for me, I'm getting into doing more editing and proofreading for companies and authors alike. I used to do it infrequently when asked, but am now being more proactive about pursuing it as a career. I also judge a number of writing contests for Romance Writers Australia for unpublished and published authors alike, ranging from short stories to novellas and full length manuscripts as well. Finally, I regularly beta read for a number of authors. This keeps me busy on the "work" reading front, and doesn't leave that much time for pleasure reading. I love reading, and I try to fit in as much as I can, usually early in the morning, when I'm lying in bed, before I get up to start the day, and occasionally at the end of the day in the late afternoon, after a day of errands and work. I would probably average between 8 and 15 books of varying lengths between 100 to 400 pages a month, but these days, the books tend to be more of the 100+ pages in length, just because time is precious.

Do you have many real life friends who you chat to about the books you’re reading or is it mainly online?

I belong to the Australian Romance Readers Association and once a month we get together for a lunch and at that time, we eat and gab about romance of all kinds. As you can tell by now, I predominantly read romance. The ladies in the group are very avid readers, more so than I am, with many of them retired or working part time. One lady even reads about 60 to 70 books a month. I don't know how she keeps them straight! Aside from that, I have some online friends I chat with about the books I read but only vaguely in a "it was good, you should read that" or "it didn't grab me, the heroine was annoying" sense. The in-depth character, plot, etc., discussions are usually with authors I connect with, and also when I'm beta reading. I LOVE beta reading.



Book boyfriends – you can have more than one!

Book boyfriends, huh? I don't know that I obsess over book boyfriends as much as some of my other girlfriends but to name a few: Lewis Tate from Scored by Lily Harlem, Dragos Cuelebre from Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison, Adrian from A Touch of Crimson by Sylvia Day, and Matthew Clairmont from A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I also have a serious crush on David Gandy, the British Dolce and Gabbana model and for some reason, all my heroes end up looking like him in my mind!

David Gandy

Do you have any “go to” books that you reread or grab if you’re feeling down.

I would like to say yes to actual books, but no, not really. I have books that I've reread many times, but these days I have the problem of "so many books, so little time". That said, a few that I've reread recently include Scored by Lily Harlem (I've read it about 5 times now!), Dragon Bound and Oracle's Moon by Thea Harrison. Childhood / teenage favorites that I've read over and over again and still like to revisit at times include The Belgariad series by David Eddings and The Pern Harper Hall series by Anne McCaffrey. In reality though, I have "feel good" authors and most of them write for the Harlequin Romance imprint. I find their stories extremely romantic and heartwarming. Favorite authors include Liz Fielding, Susan Meier, Barbara Wallace, Melissa McClone, Rebecca Winters and Jessica Hart.

What is your favourite subgenre? Paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi?

I think my favorite subgenre would be paranormal just because I love all the wonderful worlds that the authors create and I'm completely obsessed with dragons and gargoyles. Anytime a book has a dragon or a gargoyle, it's an auto-buy for me. But I also love anything sci-fi, fantasy, historical (especially Regency) and lately, I've been reading more contemporary as well. I also love erotic romance, but I can't read them all the time. Erotic romance for me is like eating a really rich dessert, right time, right place, and only a little at a time. :-)



Ever recommended a sexy book to a family member?

No. My mother mostly reads thriller and suspense and my sister doesn't read, though if she did, I would definitely recommend a sexy book to her. My husband has read some romance and even quite a few erotic romances but not at my recommendation.

If you could pick one book you’ve read and loved to be made into a film which one would it be and who would star in it?

You know, I've never really thought about it. The books that I enjoy are so emotionally driven that I think it would be hard for them to be made into a film and be done well. That said, I think I would love to see Dragon Bound in a film, and also A Discovery of Witches. Those are the only ones I can think of that won't end up being R or X rated! :-) 

Is there anything that really turns you off in a plot.

A whiney heroine. A lot of friends of mine who read romance would say things like: Oh, I really identified with the heroine. I have never identified with a heroine before (perhaps the closest would have been Nicki in Scored) and at the best of times, I would like or tolerate the heroine. I don't think I'm unique though. I tend to identify with the heroes a lot more. Aside from the whiney heroine, other things that would turn me off a plot is generally bad writing, lots of telling instead of showing and poorly edited manuscripts. I find it very hard to enjoy reading a poorly edited book because the errors jump out and gets the editor in me really riled up.

Can you recall one scene that you’ve read that’s been both shocking and seriously hot? What was it and why?

I think the most recent one that comes to mind is a scene in The Billionaire Bad Boys Club by Emma Holly. This is early on in the book and the two male protagonists return home after a nice meal and are going to have sex. It's shocking for me because until recently I've never read any M/M sex scenes, and seriously hot because c'mon it's Emma Holly writing a sexy scene and she does sexy extremely well. 



What qualities do you look for in a heroine? Does it annoy you if they are really different to you and make decisions and choices you wouldn’t or do you accept that we are all different, including characters.

This is a hard question for me to answer because generally I'm not drawn to the heroines. I usually feel like they are just around to prop up the hero. I know that's not what it's meant to be and not how the authors intend it and many of them make it a point to create strong, capable and likable heroines. For me, if the heroines are not annoying, whiney and if I end up liking them at the end of the book, that's good enough for me. Most heroines are okay, and some I've even liked. That's about it. Sorry, probably not the answer you are looking for, but there you go!

What are you reading right now?

Right now I'm between books. I started reading a series of novellas a few days ago by Audra North in her Stanton Family series. These are quick, fun reads. I'm about to start the fourth and last one in the series, A Lesson in Temptation. These are books from Entangled Publishing out of their Edge imprint. I've recently discovered the Entangled Publishing books and have enjoyed pretty much all of their imprints with the exception of their Embrace imprint as it is New Adult and I'm not such a fan of new adult / coming of age stories. The next few large ones that I want to tackle include the latest Deborah Harkness "The Book of Life", the last in the Night Huntress series by Jeanine Frost "Up from the Grave" and also a number of Brit Babes books which I need to read and review. Of the Brit Babes books, I've got Tabatha Rayne's Clockwork Butterfly Trilogy to read and review soon - that's next in the line up for sexy books to read. I have a list of the books I want to request from the Brit Babes to read and review but I'm pacing myself. I don't want to bite off more than I can chew, and I know that between my work schedule and life in general, I really don't have the bandwidth to review more than one or two books a month. 

Thanks for having me visit the Brit Babes blog. I'm enjoying being part of the community and the Street Team. 

Thanks for being here, Deanna, it's great to get an insight into your busy reading life and great answers - by the way, most of the Brit Babes are a massive David Gandy fans too x


Monday, 8 September 2014

Special Guest Rev David Gray with Pride!

Please Welcome Rev David Gray. Victoria Blisse met him at her church one morning and was on his radio show that very same evening.

Rev Dave is a monk (a punk monk at that), a great hugger and one of the kindest, most generous people you'll ever meet. Here he recalls his walk with the Pride parade this year (check this post here for previous Pride memories) where he spoke up for Christians who do love everyone equally:



                                                 Photo by Rev Fie Lancaster.

Pride 2014:

This year, I carried a little fold-up step stool. Everyone wondered why - until we came upon the hate preachers, when I stepped upon it to share the following with a most appreciative crowd:


Good people of Manchester … the people here who have come to spread a message of hate that denies the personhood of others are not bad people. Misguided and damaged as they are to speak so vilely in the name of the Prince of Peace, they are simply making the same mistake that Judas made in thinking they know how to herald in the kingdom by forcing God’s hand – but they place themselves in a very poor light by seeking to harm his little ones with their ego centered, hate fueled messages. 

Every child here today was born with a right to the personhood with which they came into the world. Let us stand together and say:

No more bullying!
No more attacks on human identity in the name of any man made god!
No more cowering in hiding!

Let us banish the hell these people have made for themselves and have tried to force on others by remembering that the one they persecuted long ago and seek to persecute still told us the truth: 

“The kingdom of heaven is within us”.

It is ours to claim now – it is yours and it is mine. We alone can claim the way to the kingdom. 

Repeat after me:

“I Am the way, the truth and the life!” 

They do not recognise the Christ within themselves so cannot see the Christ looking back at them from the eyes of others. They don’t understand themselves, so how can they understand you? 

You were born with a right to be clean. God is love, not condemnation – so see the Christ within you and then open your eyes to the divine spark in everyone else so that through you the human race can at last grow up and cease its vain squabbling. 

May you see goodness in yourself and may you see goodness in others that you may be kind to yourselves and kind to each other. 

Let us bless each other in the name of the Father and of the Son and of our Holy Mother Spirit – AMEN. 

We met so many people celebrating personhood, some having been through so much persecution - like the Nigerian women waiting in vain for The Archbishop of Canterbury to speak out against hateful and murderous deeds by the Anglican church in Africa - knowing what he knows and doing nothing, he should be charged with crimes against humanity. 

One bold child called Shane who we met had written his heart on his T-Shirt. "I Am a BOY because I say I Am!" ... let's close on his positive wisdom: "Smile and change the world - but never let the world change your smile!"


Follow Rev Dave on Facebook 
Check out Creoginity 
Listen to Punk Monk and the Angel - Dave's radio show. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Lyrical Inspiration


Hi everyone! It's Kay Jaybee here, and today I'm talking song lyrics!
 

The question I’m most frequently asked as a writer of erotica is, ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’ The truth is that my creative processes can be sparked off by literally anything; overheard conversations, pictures, locations, even aromas. Another influence has to be music. Or to be more specific; lyrics. No matter how much I like or dislike the tune of a particular piece of music, it is the words that sell a song to me.
A fascination with listening intently to every single word of a song began back in my high school days. Many a fad swept my secondary school; one of which was to select hit songs that summed up the personality of each pupil, and ‘label’ them with that song. My shy persona and general wallflower status, led to me being forever associated with the song Goodie Two Shoes by Adam and the Ants, with particular reference to the line ‘Don’t drink, don’t smoke. What do you do?’ – (oh the irony!!! If they knew me now!!)

I just love the way lyrics can be woven together to tell a story. You only have to pay close attention to the words someone like Adele sings, to hear how beautifully they can be linked to tell short musical stories that we can all relate to.

The first erotic poem I ever wrote, Regrets, illustrates how lyrics can set off my imagination. The opening line of this poem is ‘Regrets, I’ve had a few...’
I’m not sure whether Frank Sinatra would have approved of my borrowing of 5 words from My Way, but then again, as Mr Sinatra wasn’t exactly “Mr Shrinking Violet”, he might have loved my rhyming words of desperate eroticism!!

 “Regrets, I’ve had a few.

Most of them to do with you.

I should have shagged you on the floor.

In the kitchen; against a door.

I could have pressed you to a mirror,

And seen your sweat marks shine and shimmer...”

Getting more up to date; it was a line from the Snow Patrol song, You’re All I Have, that sowed the seeds of inspirations for the nature of the lead male character, Mark Parker, in the my erotic BDSM psychological romance, The Voyeur. The lyric in question is ‘There is a darkness deep in you; a frightening magic I cling to...’ A sentence which hints at a compelling obsession, a willing coercion that (in the case of The Voyeur) weaves the dominant character of Mark, and his two female employees, (Bi lovers Anya and Clara), into an uncertain game of dominance and control.
 

So, what music do I play while writing my erotica; which let’s face it, tends to feature the rougher side of sex?

Over the years I have put together a few playlists to urge my work frazzled brain into writing mode. Each is varied, and is fashioned to whether I’m writing down and dirty BDSM, or slightly milder calmer S&M kink. Two songs however, appear on every one of my playlists, for there is something deeply erotic and edgy about each of them.

Despite not being a big fan of David Bowie, the first track is his classic ‘Let’s Dance.’ Just the rasping way he sings the introductory line, (Let's dance put on your red shoes and dance the blues), is enough to make all the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. The lyrics are both romantic and sexy, and yet hopelessly so. You just know that whoever the song is being aimed at isn’t going to get the happy ending they yearn for. Such is the lot for so many of my poor characters! (Just check out my Fem Dom anthology Yes Ma’am to find some hot sexy encounters, but without the happy ever afters!)


The second song that always features on my playlists is Underwear by Britpop group Pulp. I’ve lost count of how many individual stories that song has kick started. Nearly everything Pulp’s lead singer, Jarvis Cocker, sings has a heady kinky edge to it, but Underwear is the cream on the cake for me. If you’ve never heard it- then you must find it on You Tube or treat yourself to the mega sexy album Different Class!  I promise that inspiration will soon follow.

Alongside the confessions of my local couriers, the entire manuscript of Not Her Type: Erotic Adventures With A Delivery Man (1001 Nights Press) was sparked by the concept the song presents. Why might someone feel compelled to keep meeting someone secretly for sex?  Are they really helpless to fight that compulsion, despite the wrestling they do with their conscience?


“Why don't you close the door and shut the curtains
'cos you're not going anywhere.
He's coming up the stairs and in a moment he'll want to see your underwear.
You couldn't stop it now. There's no way to get out.
He's standing far too near. How the hell did you get here.
Semi-naked in somebody else's room.
I'd give my whole life to see it.
Just you stood there only in your underwear...”


If I’m really struggling to write, then I always turn to the music of 80’s pop group, Depeche Mode. More or less everything they performed is cut with undertones of submission and dominance. How could they not be with titles such as Master and Servant and Just Can’t Get Enough? My favourite of their works has to be Personal Jesus. The catch line, ‘Reach out and touch me’ was running through my head as I created Jess Saunders, the lead character and unwitting new sub, from my novel The Perfect Submissive. Bless her; no matter how much Jess pleads to be touched, she just has to wait until everyone else has had their fun first, (and even then she is sometimes left wanting).

 


So, do you see a pattern building in my song choices? Need more clues? Other tracks on my erotica writing playlist include Love is a Stranger by The Eurythmics, Human by The Killers, Big Mistake by Natalie Imbruglia, I Want Your Love by Transvision Vamp...and so on...They are compulsion songs. All about power, control, and simmering sexual tension; and if you have never read any of my work, then just a quick listen to that lot would give you a big clue as to what you can expect!!

Happy reading- and listening!
Kay xxx