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Catching Up With the Latest

There’s been a lot going on lately in my writerly world, and I’m overdue for an update, so without further delay, here is the latest news.

 The new issue of the fabulous online magazine, Safeword, has just come out, and this month, it contains a gorgeous two-page spread on The Initiation of Ms Holly, with a steamy excerpt. It’s a wonderful magazine, and Holly looks very sexy all laid out in those lovely pages.

In yesterday’s mail I received my  copy of the German  translation agreement  for the Black Lace anthology, Liaisons, which contains my short story, ‘Archeogasms‘.  I’ll soon be receiving my German copy from Bastei Lubbe.  I love it when my naughty stories travel abroad!

 Monday, I found out that Xcite Books will be including my short story, ‘Flaws,’in their upcoming paranormal erotic anthology, Dark Desires. ‘Flaws’ is a story of witches and sex magic and love spells run amuck. I’ve heard a few names dropped as to the other writers included in this sizzling anthology, and I can only say that I’m very proud to be in such awesome and talented company.

In the past few weeks, the always astounding Lucy Felthouse has been introducing me to my neighbours in cyberspace, and a very friendly and talented lot they are indeed.

 On the 15th of February, Lux Zakari, author of the fabulous novel, Coercion, invited me by for an interview. It was a lovely chat on a great site, with an author I admire very much.  

 On February 28th, I was Keeping Office Hours, with the deliciously hot writer, Roxanne Rhoads, and having a fabulous time of it at Roxanne’s Realm.

 On March 1st, I was at fabulous Rawiya Erotica site talking about the outstanding moments that make erotic fiction shine.

And on March 7th, I was sharing my Dirty Little Secret with all the fab Smutketeers and all their fab friends, who shared a few dirty little secrets of their own, and now I feel like they are all my friends too. It’s always lovely to make new friends.

On a more general note, my sister, Nancy, has been visiting me from the States. She lives in Oregon, which is the lovely state from which Vincent, my hot hero from The Pet Shop hales. I’ve had the pleasure of picking her brain about some of Vincent’s West Coast haunts. I’ve also used her visit as an excuse for a lovely trip to the Lake District to do some research for Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising, which will come out next February. If you’ve not seen the previous blog post, you can check it out for details about our fabulous three days in Cumbria.

I think that about catches me up. My sister is here for a few more days, then I’ll keep my head down for the last bit of polishing and shining of The Pet Shop before I hand it over to Hazel at Xcite. In the meantime, this concludes this writerly update. Stay tuned for breaking news as it happens. And thanks for stopping by!

 

Mining the Story: Research in the Lake District

I’ve done enough walking in the Lake District to appreciate a glorious day when we get one, and we hadn’t been walking ten minutes on the steep ascent to the stretch of the Newlands Horseshoe between Maiden Moor and High Spy before we were stripping off layers – in March. We were definitely in for a glorious day!

 My husband and I have walked the entire Newlands Horseshoe as well as bits and pieces of it with friends. This time my sister was visiting from the States, so this was her introduction to the Lakes. It was being caught out in the mist and heavy rain on the ridge between Maiden Moor and High Spy that inspired the opening chapters of Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising. So on this glorious March day, I was all about research. I’d done my map work, I’d read my Wainwright. In my mind’s eye I knew exactly the place I had in mind for Marie and Anderson to escape the inclement weather and get to know each other a little better. But I had to see for myself. I had to know that the rout I’d chosen would give my lovely couple all the challenges they need, plus a safe and dry hideaway.

 I’ve experienced that frisson of fear at being caught out on this ridge when anyone with half a brain would have stayed inside. Though it was hard to imagine that kind of weather when we arrived at the top of High Spy with its enormous cairn and ate our lunch while enjoying the heart stopping views and exquisite beauty of the Newlands Valley.

 Once lunch was done and all the remnants stowed, it was time for research. Instead of heading up Dale Head and on around the horseshoe, we descended through the Rigghead Quarries along Tongue Gill, as Marie and Anderson would have done to get out of the weather. I chose the Rigghead descent because I knew there would be caverns and quarries for our couple to find shelter in, but even my imagination hadn’t prepared me for the steepness nor the roughness of the descent.

 The Rigghead Quarries were slate mines and the leavings litter an already very steep descent. As I worked my way down with the help of two walking poles, good grippy boots, fabulous weather and dry slate shifting beneath my feet, I can only imagine what that descent would be like for my hero and heroine, when the rock is rain slicked, the wind is up and the mist is down. Even in the inclemently warm sun, I had to shiver at the thought.

 As well as my sister, Nancy, we did the walk with two of our very dear walking companions from the Lake District, Brian and Vron Spencer, who know the place better than most people know the inside of their own homes. Brian volunteers for Keswick Mountain Rescue and knew exactly what I was looking for. The cavern about half way down gaped wide into the side of the fell and the opening was littered with leavings and slick boulders. Water dripped heavily from up above. I ducked inside and carefully made my way into the main room, which disappeared beyond the light of my headlamp down a steep bend to the left. Once past the entrance though, the main room was dry and large and with a little effort could have been comfortable enough to wait out a bad storm. It wasn’t at all difficult to imagine Marie and Anderson snuggled together amid the slate leavings. Oh yes! This was the place!

 We probably spent another hour poking in and out of other less threatening, smaller hidey-holes before we continued picking our way very carefully down the steep, make-shift stone steps the miners would have trod every day in all kinds of weather. Halfway down, Brian directed us to a place where the stream flowed fast over the rocks for some to the best, coldest water I’ve ever tasted. We followed the path on into the Borrowdale Valley alongside Castle Crag along the river and on back to the car park with my head spinning at all the possibilities.

 I was pleased that the drama of the walk matched the opening of the novel exactly as I hoped. I spent the rest of my time taking in the feel of the local atmosphere. I had a couple pints at the Twa Dogs Pub. I watched the sunset on the Fells above Derwent Water. I felt the hair raise along my neck at the eerie atmosphere of Castlerigg Stone Circle nestled for the past four and a half thousand years on its grassy plateau amid the fells. The Lake District always inspires me, and this trip was no exception. Such hands-on (or in this case feet-on) research is something I could very easily get used to, and as one who often walks the stories I write, it seemed appropriate to walk the research too.  

 

The Education of K D: Erotica’s Steep Learning Curve

I just spent a good chunk of last evening on line trying to find a decent definition of kink. Never did find one I thought was satisfactory. But what I did find was a very good online BDSM dictionary to save to my stash of smutting tools. When I was writing The Initiation of Ms Holly, I made multiple trips into London to question the wonderful chicks at Sh! Women’s Store about strap-ons and spanking and blindfolding.  I spent an afternoon online learning amazing things about chastity belts. And that’s just the physical stuff. I find myself learning why semen is good for women, why porn is healthy, and what happens in the human brain during sex.  And the list goes on.

One of the best things about writing erotica, one of the things I would have never thought about before I penned my first smut, was the steep learning curve. I’ll be the first to admit, I usually try sneaking in the back door first, no pun intended. One of the best ways of educating myself to what is out there is to read what other erotica writers have written. I guess in some ways it’s voyeurism for smutters.

Writing is learning; I’ve always known that. There are stories that can be written without much effort or research, but the act of choosing the right words and getting just the right nuances, or analyzing why what some other writer has done works so well, is a learning process in itself. So I learn as I write.

But writing erotica is different in its learning curve because of the average person’s shocking lack of sexual education  – myself included. And because sadly sex is one of those things people don’t talk about in ‘proper company.’ Though it may be true that there are no stupid questions, people are still embarrassed to ask and embarrassed to seek out answers where sex is concerned. M niece has taught university classes on women’s sexuality, and she says what shocked her most was how little women actually know about their own sexuality.  I have no trouble believing that. Though I’ve always considered myself fairly well informed about sex and extremely aware of my own sexuality, as I began to write erotica I was surprised by my own ignorance.

The frightening thing about ignorance is that it can breed resistance to things that aren’t in our own sexual context. I’ve tried very hard not to be prejudiced about facets of human sexuality of which I don’t know enough to judge. But the battle against resistance is on-going. And interestingly enough, I find that my resistance is directly proportionate to my ignorance.  Not too surprising, really. That’s usually the case with ignorance. We tend to fear and villainize what we don’t understand.

Which leads me back to the high learning curve for erotica writers. True, we write about what we imagine, but our imaginations work better with a basic understanding of as many facets of human sexuality as possible. Not only do our imaginations work better, but our hearts work better as well. Our minds are more open and accepting. The old saying  ‘knowledge is power’ is never more true than where human sexuality is concerned. And one of the fringe benefits to writing erotica is that all that scrambling to do research, to understand why people find certain things arousing, to understand what actually happens on a physiological level when we have sex, to understand the sociology and psychology and science and history of human sexuality, is empowerment.

Empowerment means I can better understand aspects of sexuality in their proper context. It means less reason for resistance; that means less fear. It means more compassion, more asking enlightened questions and more desire to share what I know.

If knowledge is power, then the real power we erotic writers have is the power to share all aspects of human sexuality, the power to portray its many facets openly and honestly and approachably through story. True enough — we don’t set out to educate. We’re mostly all about entertainment, all about fun, but inadvertently we do educate. Inadvertently we open up the windows and doors and let light shine into the part of our humanity that has been kept in the dark far too long.

Yes, I know, I’ve just made all smutters sound like campaigners for the cause, dressed in corsets of righteousness. But the education, the empowerment, the coming to grips with all the many facets of human sexuality, well all that’s a long-winded way of saying —  I write erotica because it’s fun, and the education of K D is just a lovely fringe benefit, one more reason to feel really good about what I do.

 

Lakeland Heatwave Coming February 2012

Yup! You read it right. Lakeland Heatwave is coming in February 2012! If you live in the Lake District, that doesn’t mean you’ll need your swimwear next Valentine’s Day.  What it does mean is that you’ll be able to buy my new — and my first – erotic paranormal romance, Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising. Even if you don’t live in the Lake District, you’ll be able to buy this sizzling novel, published by Xcite Books next February.  And you guessed it — all the super-heated action takes place in the Lake District. 

A walk on the fells turns into a voyeuristic wank session when American transplant to the Lake District, Marie Warren, stumbles onto a couple having loud, raunchy sex. As body heat rises and the mist descends, she doesn’t realize her insatiable lust is exactly what they’d hoped for. Tara Stone and the 150-year-old ruggedly charming ghost, Anderson, are a part of The Elementals, a coven of witches who practice rare sex magic that temporarily allows needy ghosts much-coveted access to the pleasures of the flesh. Marie doesn’t know it, but she is the long awaited fulfillment of a prophecy steeped in lust and fear. And murder.

Just a Little Taste of Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising

Marie woke to the awareness of a man sitting on the bed next to her, a man who, from the looks of his clothing, must have been at the same costume party as Anderson. His fly was open and he was stroking a substantial hard-on. Instead of being frightened, as would have been the normal response to a stranger rubbing one off on her bed, she simply admired his pale hair and the way his large hand moved over heavy equipment. She liked it when she conjured sexy men to visit her in her dream world. Better yet she had conjured one obviously ready to play.       

 It was back, that strange thrumming warmth between her hips, almost painful but not quite. Had it been there when she fell asleep? She couldn’t remember.

 ‘They told me about you. They told me you had come.’ The man said. ‘They didn’t tell me how strong you are. Even if they had, I would not have believed them.’ His voice was a harsh whisper. ‘I long to know what you look like beneath the duvet, beneath the nightdress. Please let me look at you.           

So far this dream was shaping up well. She was happy to play I’ll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours. Strangely Dream Guy sounded like he’d studied the same romantics Anderson had. Who’d have thought antiquated poet-speak could be so damned hot? She eased herself into a sitting position against the head board and pushed back the bedding.

 

Back To Our Animal Nature

In my last blog post of 6 February, I ruminated on whether internet porn, chat rooms and all of the technology that makes the inconsequential voyeuristic experience possible have made sex too safe, too bloodless. Writing about the bloodlessness of virtual sex and the closed, once-removed, environment in which it takes place made me wonder if the popularity of fang bangers in erotica, and in books, films and television is, in a very literal sense, an unconscious offensive against that safe, bloodless sex.

The cleaning up of sex, the dressing it up for proper company by keeping the physicality of it once-removed isn’t just something that happens online. It’s something with which we’re bombarded every day by the media and by social pressure. We are informed on a regular basis that the sanitizing, deodorizing, decorating waxing and reshaping of the equipment is a must if we want good sex.

Fang bangers return our animal nature to the bedroom. What could be a better counter for bloodless, sanitized sex than sex with a vampire? And how better to get back in touch with the animal in us than sex with a werewolf? I wonder if on some unconscious level we miss our animal nature, we miss dirty, nasty sex that doesn’t involve a computer, or expensive lingerie, or waxing off all body hair and making sure all of our bits smell springtime fresh.

When I first conceived the idea of The Pet Shop, back when it was a short story for Black Lace, and later when it became the Zoo in one of my favourite chapters in The Initiation of Ms Holly, it was that same desire to reconnect with the natural, unashamed, naughtiness of which our animal counterparts seemingly partake, to reconnect with a spontaneity driven by desire and not marketing. It seems to me that fang bangers are at the forefront of that return to a more earthy connection with sex.

A quick glance back through mythology – all types of mythology — reveals the common archetype of creatures that are half animal, half human, often gods or demigods. There has never been a time when the part of us that is most closely related to our animal cousins hasn’t frightened us. The Creationist battle against evolution is the most timely example. How can we be both like gods and like animals? If anything, having a big brain only strengthens the drive of our ‘lower’ brain. We can run but we can’t hide.

Our archetypal connection to the beast and the blood may be temporarily sublimated or denied, even dressed up and taught to dance, but it will never go away. The loss of control we fear is ultimately the very thing we crave, the thing we find so alluring in tales of vampires and werewolves.

True enough, biology cares nothing for control, nor does it care who it hurts in furthering its cause. Our big brain can balance our lower brain, can come to some sort of agreement with that lower brain, but it can’t deny it, at least not in any way enduring or healthy or satisfying.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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