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Jordan LaRousse and Samantha Sade talk about all things Oysters and Chocolate

I’m very excited to have two of my idols from the world of erotica on my blog today. Welcome, Jordan LaRousse and Samantha Sade of Oysters and Chocolate fame! As a Colorado girl myself – I grew up in North Park — I feel a real sense of camaraderie with the two of you. I adore the Oysters and Chocolate website, and I’m very excited to have you both on my blog.

 KD: The list of writer’s in the Nice Girls Naughty Sex anthology reads like a who’s who in the erotica author’s hall of fame. What inspired the two of you to put together this yummy anthology, other than just having so many fab contributors to O&C, which says a great deal about the website, and the quality of fiction published there?

 Jordan & Samantha:  Ever since we began the Oysters & Chocolate website in 2005 it was a dream of ours to compile an erotic anthology. We actually envisioned a set of four anthologies, each corresponding to the four flavors on our site (Vanilla, Licorice Whips, Oysters, and Dirty Martini). It turns out publishers were more interested in all four flavors put together into one anthology. After compiling our first anthology in 2009 (Oysters & Chocolate: Erotic Stories of Every Flavor, Penguin Group), we were eager to do another one. They are just so much fun! When we got the opportunity to work with Seal Press, we jumped on it. Seal Press is a smaller publisher (smaller than Penguin, anyway) that is women-oriented – which is very cool.

 We are super pleased to have well established writers like Donna George Storey and Rachel Kramer Bussel in the anthology mixed in with some new voices like Venerato Petronius and Julian Augustus Finisterre. We selected each of the 20 stories (out of hundreds of submissions) based on their “turn-on factor” and literary merit, as well as how well they flowed with the compilation as a whole. It’s not surprising that a lot of these stories come from talented and well-liked writers. Those writers are the best at what they do!

 KD:  O&C is a site designed for women, and as the market for women’s erotica grows, I wonder, what are the differences that you find most striking between what turns women on and what turns men on – based on your experiences at O&C.

 Jordan & Samantha:  Our original vision was to design a site that was “for women, by women,” because when we got into the industry in 2005 there was a serious lack of erotic/pornographic material geared towards the ladies out there. However, the industry has changed and a lot of people are entering the market with the same idea. At the same time, we noticed that we have a huge number of men who visit our site regularly, and we get some really good work from male writers. So our vision evolved from being exclusively women-centric to providing the best literary erotica we can get our dirty little paws on. Good sex is good sex and readers love to read. It turns out men and women are more similar than we think.

 KD:  What has been your most exciting moment in the history of O&C, if you had to choose just one? Okay, you can choose two if it’s a tough decision.J

 Jordan & Samantha:  It was definitely the day that we signed on with our amazing literary agent Emmanuelle Morgen. When we realized that she was really interested in helping us make our dreams of editing, writing, and publishing books come true. We were on a phone conference with her, and while our voices were playing it calm, cool and collected, we were both beaming ear to ear and giving quiet high fives to each other. When we hung up the phone we both fell to the floor screaming and laughing. Then we hurried to the bar and got drunk on cava. 

 KD:  Having edited several books for O&C and published countless tantalizing works of erotic fiction and poetry on O&C, are there any trends you see developing in women’s erotica since the founding of O&C? Any major changes?

 Jordan & Samantha:  There is a lot more erotica out there now than there was ever before. We’ve seen the industry grow from a closeted, secret society to a more mainstream business. It’s exciting to watch it grow like this, and it’s thrilling to know that we are some of the pioneers that are working hard to give erotica the respect it deserves. There’s still a stigma that erotica is just “sex stories” and not literary, but we feel that is one of the things that is slowly changing. After all, good erotica should be given the same esteem that any other form of genre fiction receives, whether that’s mystery or sci-fi. We’re working our little butts off to bring sexy, literary masterpieces to the light of day. We’d like all erotica writers to be able to talk about their work at any old dinner party with pride and without blushing.

 Along the same lines, we’ve watched the quality of erotica improve. When we began, we saw a lot more submissions with cliché situations and plots – similar to what one might read in the Penthouse Forum (not that the Forum doesn’t serve it’s own titillating purpose, but we were looking for well developed, incredibly sexy short stories, not confessional, scripted letters that start out, “I never thought this would ever happen to me, but…”). Now we see work that has such unique voice, great characterization, real creativity – and of course, amazingly hot sex.

 KD:  With so much quality erotica now available on the internet, and with more women writing and reading erotica of every flavor, do you think that it has narrowed the gap between what women find arousing and what men find arousing? Do you think the time will come when our gender will have nothing to do with what turns us on?

 Jordan & Samantha: We’ve been delighted to discover that anyone who loves to read and loves to have sex is into the smart smut, whatever his or her gender. But yes, we’ve noticed that as both men and women read and write more, they give themselves permission to have more varied fantasies. It’s a natural progression that as they imagine different scenarios and experiences, their imaginations take them to more common sexual ground. For example, a woman may grow up thinking she should only be turned on by vanilla, straight sex – like what she might expect to experience in her marital bed. But when she starts reading a variety of erotica, she may realize that (gasp!) she is authentically aroused by the thought of penetrating a man with a strap-on (a traditionally male sexual act). Would she have ever known this had she not read erotica? She would probably have had an inkling of her true inner desires, but erotica is a safe and creative way to explore new sexual ideas and territories. It’s a way that both men and women can discover and enjoy their real sexual interests with no gender-identities attached. And yes, hopefully the time will come when we are no longer taught that what is sexy is linked to our gender, so that we can authentically just experience what turn us on.

 KD:  Plans in the works for another anthology?

 Jordan and Samantha:  Heck ya! We have several ideas percolating for our next anthologies. We hope that this is just the beginning. Putting together anthologies is an addictive and rewarding experience.

 KD:  What do the two of you do for fun when you’re not O&C-ing?

 Jordan – as you well know Colorado is rich with the beauty of nature. I love to get out hiking in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. I grew up running barefoot in the woods with my red hair atangle, so being in the forest as an adult is still the place where I find my happiness. I also love eating at fancy restaurants with my two bestest friends, going on hot and sexy dates, or just chillin’, with my amazing boyfriend, snuggling and running with my two big dogs, and traveling the world with my awesome daughter. She and I just returned from a two week adventure in Israel. Holy moly!

 Samantha – life is a crazy mess right now, so I’m finding fun in new places. I’m trying to learn how to cook, whether I’m successful or not is another question, but I’m loving making a mess of the kitchen, chopping away at vegetables with my new chef’s knife while pots overflow and things burn in the oven. I used to be in bed by 9, but now I’m enjoying spending time outside at night, gazing at the stars. And of course, there’s my favorite stand-by, cuddling up with a good book and a bottle of red wine (the good book is sometimes replaced with watching a whole slew of United States of Tara or Big Love episodes right in a row).

 KD:  How do you see O&C evolving in the future?

 Jordan & Samantha:  O&C constantly delights and surprises us with how she grows and stretches beyond our wildest dreams. We have ideas for a complete website redesign in the nearish future, which will reflect our new vision of literary erotica (vs. female-centric erotica). We also intend to put out a lot more books. Jordan is interested in getting back into the writing side of things and is working on an erotic novel as well as submitting several erotic short stories for publication. Samantha is thinking it might be time to begin an “In the Flesh” series (started by Rachel Kramer Bussel in NYC) right here in Denver. There’s always a new adventure waiting for us at O&C and we’re excited to see where it takes us next.

 Thanks Kd!

 Thank YOU, Jordan and Samantha! It’s been a real treat for me to get to know both of you a little better!  Best of luck with all the fab O/C-ness yet to come!

You can buy your copy of Nice Girls Naughty Sex here: http://www.amazon.com/Nice-Girls-Naughty-Sex-Erotic/dp/1580053432/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300836324&sr=8-1


Fun and Frolic Through the Week

It’s been another exciting week of making friends and visiting fabulous websites and blogs, of spending time with the Pets and walking the story.

 On the 15th, I had the pleasure of raising a ruckus on Rachel Leigh’s juicy blog, and she didn’t mind in the least. I think it says a lot about a person’s character when they don’t mind a little ruckus raising on their site. A lovely lady, and a lovely place to hang out and talk smut.

 On the 16th  the delicious Nichelle Gregory interviewed me on her terrific site, Simply Sexy Stories. We talked about the unusual challenges writing The Initiation of Ms Holly presented for me, with its roots in Greek mythology and more than a few of its pages flavoured with BDSM.

 At the same time, The Initiation of Ms Holly was being featured on The Romance Reviews site for a give-away. A busy day for me and for Holly

On the 17th, I got to talk about inspiration on the lovely Tina Donahue’s site, and the discussion of continued with some terrific people dropping in to talk about mythology and inspiration. Tina and her friends made me feel right at home, and it was great to talk about one of my favourite topics. 

I capped off the week by going to visit Lasabet Sarai on her fabulous Beyond Romance site. I told her all about why I write sex, and when some of her friends stopped by, the conversation heated up. Isn’t it wonderful to have such fun sites where sex is not only a welcome topic, but it’s the standard feast.

More good news in the short story department, as The Mammoth Book of Hot Romance had its first sneak preview on Scribd. I’m very excited about this fabulous anthology, edited by the mysterious and delightful Sonia Florens. Not only is my steamy, arty, myth-tinged story ‘Inspiration’ included, but the table of contents reads like a who’s who of great erotic authors. I feel honoured to be in the presence of so many of my writing idols.

 On the home front, I am doing the last little bits of grooming and preparing my Pets for their big send-off. If all goes well, I hope to be able to wave them on their way to Hazel at Xcite mid-week. Then she’ll put them through their paces and turn them loose on the public when The Pet Shop debuts in October. I’ve had so much fun with the misbehaving Tino and his cohorts. I’ll miss them. In the meantime, while I’m waiting for them to go public, I’ll be ghost hunting in Keswick and twisting and reshaping more mythology. All in all, it promises to be a terrific spring.

 I’ll leave you with a little excerpt from The Pet Keeper’s Manual to better prepare you for the arrival of those mischievous Pets. 

Pets don’t like to eat alone. They prefer to sit on the floor by the table next to their keeper’s chair, where they enjoy being hand-fed. If this is not possible, place food in a bowl next to the water dish. Make sure meat is always cut into bite-sized chunks.

Note: The former is preferable, as most Pets and Pet keepers find sharing a meal in this fashion very enjoyable and a part of their bonding experience.


Sex Magic

I’m thinking about sex magic tonight. I think about sex magic a lot, actually. I’m always struggling to get my head around why sex is magic, why human sexuality defies the nature programme /Animal Planet biological tagging that seems to work for other species that populate the planet. I don’t think I could write sex without magic, and even if I could I wouldn’t want to. I’m not talking about airy-fairy or woo-woo so much as the mystery that is sex. On a biological level we get it. We’ve gotten it for a long time. We know all about baby-making and the sharing of the genes and the next generation. It’s textbook.

 But it’s the ravenousness of the human animal that shocks us, surprises us, turns us on in ways that we didn’t see coming. It’s the nearly out of body experience we have when we are the deepest into our body we can possibly be. It’s the skin on skin intimacy with another human being in a world where more personal space is always in demand.

 When we come together with another human being, for a brief moment, our worlds entwine in ways that defy description. We do it for the intimacy of it, the pleasure of it, the naughtiness of it, the dark animal possessiveness of it. Sex is the barely acceptable disturbance in the regimented scrubbed-up proper world of a species that has evolved to have sex for reasons other than procreation. Is that magical? It certainly seems impractical. And yet we can’t get enough.

 We touch each other because it feels good. We slip inside each other because it’s an intimate act that scratches an itch nothing else in the whole universe can scratch. During sex, we are ensconced in the mindless present, by the driving force of our individual needs, needs that we could easily satisfy alone, but it wouldn’t be the same. Add love to the mix, add a little bit of romance, add a little bit of chemistry, and the magic soup thickens and heats up and gets complicated. I don’t think it’s any surprise at all that sex is a prime ingredient in story. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s any surprise that it is also an ingredient much avoided in many stories.

 Sex is the power centre of the human experience. It’s not stable. It’s not safe. It’s volatile. It exposes people, makes them vulnerable, reduces them to their lowest common denominator even as it raises them to the level of the divine. Is it any wonder the myths tell us that the gods covet flesh? The powerful fragility of human flesh is the ability to interact with the world around us, the ability to interact with each other, the ability to penetrate and be penetrated.

 So as I mull through it, trying for the zillionth time to get my head around it, I conclude – at least for the moment – that the true magic of sex is that it takes place in the flesh, and it elevates the flesh to something after which  even the gods lust. It’s a total in-the-body, in-the-moment experience, a celebration of the carnal, the ultimate penetrative act of intimacy of the human animal. I don’t know if that gives you goose bumps, but it certainly does me.


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.  

© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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