The Alternate Universe of Tight Deadlines

the screamIt’s hard to think in the midst of writing for a tight deadline. Some days it’s even hard to breathe. Having my head down means I often forget which day it is and what time it is. These days my mind works way faster than my body does, and I run out of stamina and need to sleep long before I run out of words to write or ideas for more words to write.

Tight deadlines have a way of stripping me bare and, believe me, I don’t mean in a sexy way, urgh! What I mean is that my world gets stripped down to write … eat and sleep when I must, force myself into a couple of workouts – as much as anything because that keeps my brain sharp. Then I do it all over again. My head’s always buzzing from lack of sleep, and each day the deadline closes in, I become less and less social, more and more reclusive and less and less aware of everything else around me. Every time I’m faced with a tight deadline I swear I won’t do it again. Every time I wonder how the hell I’m going to get through it this time, and every time I promise myself I’ll go easier on me next time. But I never do.

In some ways it’s like being in an alternate universe in which everything revolves around writing and story … er … wait a minute. I always live in that universe. In some ways it’s like living in an alternate alternate universe – one that fits a little tighter, with edges that are a little rougher and a whole lot more intense.

Tight deadline as the year closes in around me seem to be a place in which I find myself every year. I suppose it’s the shape of my life, the unconscious ebb and flow of who I am as a person and the desperate race to crowd just one more thing in before the year runs out and becomes history, one more thing that will broaden the definition of me just a little bit more.

The thing that truly drives me crazy about tight deadlines at the end of the year is that there’s so much more I wanted to get done before the year runs out on me. I know all writers suffer from having way more ideas that they ever have time to write, but the suffering seems worse as the year draws to a close.

Nothing feels quite right, the world around me is completely out of focus, and I only feel truly myself when I’m working on the story. I do whatever else I have to do in a fog of self-doubt, while thoughts linger on the WIP and what I wish I still had time to write.

I’m excited that it’s Wade’s story that will close out 2014. And as is always the case, the unfolding of the story is an adventure and an experience
that leaves me wanting to see what happens next. I don’t think any character has surprised me quite as much as Wade has, and as I press on to finish before the end of the year, I find myself once again tunnel-visioned and oblivious to almost everything else around me.

Writing imageI apologise for the abundance of posts from the archives at the moment, though I’ve done my best to pick out some of the best. I apologise for being somewhere else, even when I’m here. I’m happily writing away in Wade’s Dungeon, and if you were there with me, you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else either. I promise to invite you all in early next year, and you can hang out there as long as you want. But for now, it’s just me and Wade and Carla ordering pizza and drinking way more coffee than we probably should.

 

Sex and the Big Brain

(Archive)

Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500I had a sex blogger ask me once how I could possibly write about things I hadn’t experienced. My answer at the time, though accurate, was a bit flippant I suppose. I said that it’s fiction. It’s no more difficult for me to write about sex that I’ve not experienced than it is for Thomas Harris to write about serial killers when he certainly isn’t one.

I think I can write about sex I’ve never experienced, would never even want to experience in the real world because I have a big brain. Oh, not my brain in particular. All humans have ‘em, and we use them in sex even when we’re not having sex. The thing about having a big brain is that it adds a new dimension to a biological act. In the hormonal, pheromonal soup that drives us to fuck, we get the added pleasure of making it up as we go along. In our heads — anyway we like it. And this, we can do completely and totally without the help of anyone else.

Which leads me to wonder how much of fiction writing – any genre of fiction writing – is really our big brain masturbating – first for our own pleasure, and if we get lucky and our work gets published, then we get to be exhibitionists and do it for an audience. Is that yet another layer of our sexuality? There’ve been countless of books and essays written on the connection between sexuality and creativity, and I’ve experienced it myself. When it’s right, when I’m in the zone, the rush, the high, the incredible buzz of getting characters and plot to move together in just the right tango of conflict and passion and drive, the experience from a writer’s point of view is extremely sexual, and yet somehow better than sex. It’s sex on steroids, it’s free-falling, it’s roller coaster riding, it’s fast cars, mountain tops and touching the tiger all rolled into one. And it all happens in some nebulous part of our brains that only a neurosurgeon might be able to pin-point for us. And who cares? Who cares as long as it gets us there!

Those moments don’t happen often, but it doesn’t matter. They happen often enough to push us forward, to keep us going and writing and longing and digging deep for the next wild brain-gasm. I just came off of one of those experiences while racing to finish the draft of The Exhibition. It was a
late-night write, a dark, dangerous sex scene in which the characters staged a coup and completely took control of the action. I came away staggering, looking down at my hands, wondering how the hell I wrote that. I was too hyped to sleep, too creeped out to think about who might be america-artist-art-paintings-prints-note-cards-by-howard-chandler-christy-nude-women-reading-approximate-original-size-18x16waiting for me in my dreams after what I’d just written. And yet … And yet I felt stretched, expanded, like for a second I’d seen sex at the core where the dark and light meet and swallow each other up. And what’s left is a wild, crazy pull to translate what just happened into some kind of written account that will convey that feeling, that sense of being beyond myself, yet deeper into the dark recess of myself than I felt really comfortable going. And as any writer would, longing to drag my reader right in there with me, into the dark, into the fire.

It was a long time before I could sleep. It was a long time before I felt quite like myself again. And that’s what got me thinking about my big brain,
which at times, seems so much bigger than just the space in my head. And I guess maybe I do have to experience something in order to write about it. But the big brain creates that experience in the privacy of my own head. That being the case, how could I not keep going back for more? How could I not want desperately to write what my big brain allows me to experience? How could I not want to bring it out and flaunt it for the reader’s full participation?

 

Voyeur or Body Thief

(From the Archives)
One of the most intriguing parts of story for me has always been the way in which the reader interacts with it, more specifically the way in which http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-abstract-black-white-writing-pen-image20156020the reader interacts with the characters in a story. I find that interaction especially intriguing in erotica and erotic romance.

To me, the power of story is that it’s many faceted and it’s never static. And, no matter how old the story is, it’s never finished as long as there’s someone new to read it and to bring their experience into it. Like most writers of fiction, I’m forever trying to analyse how a powerful story is internalised, and why what moves one reader deeply, what can be a life-changing experience for one may be nothing more exciting than window shopping for another.

In my own experience as a reader, there are two extremes. I can approach a story as a voyeur, on the outside looking in from a safe distance, or I can be a body thief at the other end of the spectrum and replace the main character in the story with myself.

One extreme allows the reader to watch without engaging and the other allows the reader to create sort of a sing-along-Sound of Music- ish experience for themselves. As a reader, I’ve done both and had decent experiences of novels doing both. As a writer, however, I don’t wish to create a story that allows my reader to be a voyeur of a body thief.

As a writer I want to create a story that’s a full-on, in-the-body, stay-present experience from beginning to end. I want characters that readers can identify with and are drawn to but don’t necessarily want to be. I want a plot that feels more like abseiling with a questionable rope than watching the world go by from the window of a car. I want to create that tight-rope walk in the middle. I want to create that place in story where the imagination of the reader is fully engaged with the story the writer created. That place is the place where the story is a different experience for each reader. That’s the place where the story is a living thing that matters more than the words of which it’s made up. It matters more because the reader has connected with it, engaged with it, been changed by it. In that place, the story and the reader are in relationship. Neither can embody the other, neither can watch from a distance. The end result may be a HEA, the end result may be disturbing and unsettling, but at the end of a really good read, the journey to get there is at least as important as the end result.

Erotica and erotic romance are by their nature a visceral experience. Though I think that’s probably true of any good story. I don’t think good
erotica can be watched from a distance any more than it can be the tale of the body thief. While either will get you there, there’s no guarantee that the journey will be a quality one. And I want a quality journey. I want to come to the end wishing I hadn’t gotten there so quickly, wishing I’d had the will power to slow down and savour the experience just a little longer. I want to come to the end wondering just what layers, what subtleties, what nuances I missed because I got caught up in the runaway train ride and couldn’t quite take it all in.

A good read is the gift that keeps on giving. Long after I’ve finished the story, the experience lingers, and little tidbits that I raced through during Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_bthe read bubble up from my unconscious to surprise me, intrigue me, make me think about the story on still other levels, from still other angles. When I can’t get it out of my head, when I find myself, long after I’ve come to the end, thinking about the journey, thinking about the characters, thinking about the plot twists and turns, then I know the story has gotten inside me and burrowed deep. There was no pane of glass in between; there was no body for me to inhabit because all bodies were fully occupied by characters with their own minds and their own agendas. The experience extends itself to something that stays with me long after the read is finished and makes me try all the harder to create that multi-layered experience in my own writing.

 

City Nights: One Night in Paris by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985) Just $0.99/77p on Amazon During November!

For the month of November, this erotic romance novella will be on SALE. Warm up those winter nights with this smokin’ hot read!

Grab your copy here: http://mybook.to/cnparis

One Night in ParisHere’s what it’s all about:

Jacob is nearly forty, and has recently come to the sudden realisation that he’s not doing much with his life. Sure, he’s got his own successful business, but what’s the point in earning lots of money and not doing anything or going anywhere to spend it?

He’s in serious danger of being all work and no play, so he starts to rectify this by organising a twenty four hour layover in Paris en route to a meeting in Dubai. Whilst there, he goes on a bus tour of the city, and there meets Annabelle, a fellow Brit who’s studying in Paris. There’s clearly an attraction between the two of them, so when the gorgeous Annabelle makes an indecent proposal to help Jacob fill his time in Paris, who is he to refuse?

*****

Author 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

 

A Taste of Wade

Most of you know I’m enjoying Smut Manchester this weekend, so while I’m enjoying the company of smutty friends talking smutty stories and planning more smutty stories, I thought I’d share a little bit of what my alter-ego, Grace Marshall has been up to. From the very first Executive Decisions novel, readers have been requesting Wade Crittenden’s story, and Grace and I are both elated that said story is now in the works. Interviewing Wade will be out in February! In the meantime, Grace has given me permission to share a taste of Wade with you to whet your appetite with a little excerpt from her Work in Progress. Enjoy! And have a great weekend!

Smut manchester 2014GM10688359_384080715074074_2937975959125980520_oInterviewing Wade Blurb:

The Executive Decisions Trilogy may be over, but the story continues. Intrepid reporter, Carla Flannery, wants to interview Wade Crittenden, the secretive creative genius behind Pheuma, Inc, But when, against all odds, Wade actually agrees to the interview, Carla suspects ulterior motives.

Carla has made a lot of enemies in her work and when Wade discovers she’s being stalked, he agrees to the interview to keep her close and safe. As the situation turns deadly, lives and hearts are on the line, and the interview reveals far more about both than either ever expected.

Sneak Preview of WIP Interviewing Wade:

The dining area smelled of Chinese food. Lynn had spread the feast on the coffee table in front of the ratty sofa. For a moment, Carla stood staring at the food, feeling slightly nauseated. ‘I’m not hungry,’ she said.

‘Come on, you need to eat. With your metabolism, being what it is, if you don’t you’ll have wasted completely away by morning.’ He settled her onto the least lumpy part of the couch and then sat down next to her. When she made no effort, he opened the waxed cardboard containers and surveyed their contents. Then he ladled up a spoonful of egg flower soup and totally surprised her by bringing it, with a steady hand, to her lips. ‘A little bit,’ he said. ‘You don’t want to hurt Lynn’s feelings, do you?’

She opened her mouth, and he carefully spooned it in and watched while she swallowed. ‘Since when have you cared about hurting anyone’s feelings,’ she said. The soup had felt good against her throat, and it wasn’t so difficult to open her mouth when he spooned up the next bite. ‘I don’t, really, and just for the record, Lynn doesn’t care about mine either, but I’m not above lying to get my way.’ He ladled another spoonful into her mouth and this time she made an mmm sound at the back of her throat as she swallowed.

‘And are you getting what you want?’

‘You’re eating, aren’t you?’

He gave a little gasp of surprise when she took the spoon away from him, dipped up a nice fat egg drop and pointed the utensil in his direction. When he stared at her like she had two heads, she laughed softly. ‘Come on Crittenden, open up. Here comes a choo-choo.’ She wasn’t sure if he opened his mouth for the soup or because he was about to say something rude. Either way she took advantage and shoved the spoon home. When he took the bite, holding her gaze as though he didn’t quite understand what kind of creature had assaulted him with a soup spoon, holding her gaze with absolutely no sexual innuendo, but her insides trembled and hollowed anyway.

‘It’s good,’ he said, his cheeks turning a warm shade of pink, as he took the spoon back and returned the favour, and this time he didn’t protest when it was his turn,– even as she picked up a pair of chopsticks and brazenly served up a sloppy mouthful of Singapore noodles while he sat with his mouth slightly open, making her think of a hungry nestling waiting for a worm. The thought made her giggle at the last instant, and he barely caught the end of an escaping noodle in time to slurp it off his chin and into his mouth. ‘You’re sloppy, Flannery,’ he said, licking his lips with two flicks of his tongue that made her breath catch and her nipples ache.

Dear Christ, he had no idea whatsoever what he did to her. This time, as she waited open-mouthed for her bite of soup, his hand was far less steadyXcite FB campagne for Exec Dec trilogy and at least half of it ended up in her cleavage. She yelped. ‘You did that on purpose.’

‘Did not’ he said. Handing her a napkin and watching wide-eyed as she dabbed away chicken broth.

‘Did so.’

‘Did not,’ he said. Then he filled the chopsticks dangerously full of noodles and brought them toward her mouth. ‘This –’ he fumbled the chopsticks and the whole bite slipped off the ends and right down between her breasts ‘—I did on purpose.’

 
© 2014 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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