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The Morning After

I’m never quite sure what to expect the morning after I’ve finished a major writing project. Will I wake up feeling like I just had the best sex in the history of sex, or will I wake up feeling like I tossed back too much cheap wine the night before? I hope for something pleasantly in between the two but leaning heavily toward the former.

As you might have guest, I just finished a fairly substantial project last night and sent it out into cyber space. The bon voyage to said project did, indeed, involve the quaffing of wine and the eating of good chocolate along with much channel-flipping of Olympic highlights, all of which resulted in me getting to bed a little later than usual. Hubby was just back from a successful trip to Rotterdam, so I think you get the picture.

No doubt you’re waiting with bated breath to find out just which kind of morning after I’m having. Suffice to say, I’m not hungover.

Wine, sex, chocolate and the Olympics aside, what is it about the morning after for a writer that’s such a crap shoot of extremes? I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately since there have been several mornings after in recent months. The thing about writers is that we’re constantly creating our own reality and peopling it with our own characters. Then, for the duration of anything from a short story to a novel, even to a trilogy, we literally live in that world we’ve created, spending huge amounts of quality time getting to know the characters who people it in intimate detail.

In a way, I suppose it’s like going on the best holiday ever complete with sexy encounters, fascinating people and larger than life adventures.

Then you come back home…

It’s more than that, though, it’s the letting go of something you’ve created, knowing that this is the end of an intimate encounter, that you really are saying good-bye. But on the other hand it’s also letting go of something that you’re proud of, that you’ve angsted over, sweated over and, if you’re like me, lost sleep over. It’s a happy send-off with a raised glass and some nice chocolate. But it’s never without a slight edge of fear and trepidation concerning the morning after.

The thing is, there’s a lot invested in that project by the time I’ve clicked SEND and closed down the file for good. The hours I’ve spent in the world I’ve created with those people I’ve created are substantial, and empty nest syndrome is inevitable.

I can’t count the number of times well-meaning folks have suggested to me that once I’ve finished a project I should take some time off, take a break, relax. But … Well it’s not that easy. Taking too much time to NOT write is a sure way to ‘neurotic’ myself out.

There’s always another major project waiting in the wings, and the best way I know to insure that I don’t mourn the loss too long is to get as heavily into the next project as quickly as possible.

The chocolate and wine and Olympic highlights are behind me now. It’s a brand new, sunny morning. So what will I do? Well, I have a novella to walk, or perhaps I’ll ‘garden it’ at the allotment. I have a whole new set of characters with whom to get intimate, new adventures to put them through. Best way past empty nest syndrome for a writer is to fill that nest again, as quickly as possible. Jeez! That doesn’t sound neurotic, does it???

 

The Joy of Writing Neurotica

I’m biting my fingernails. I don’t know if I should tell you this or not. I don’t know what you’ll think of me if I do. I’ve racked my brain for hours, and I’ve lost sleep over trying to decide if I should share my secret. But then I wonder if you already know. Some of my close friends know because I confided in them, though they might possibly have already figured it out. Most of them are okay with it. Really. At least I think so …Most of them understand and are even empathetic. At least I hope so …

Okay, I’m just going to take a deep breath and tell you! Here goes!

I’m very, very neurotic. There. I said it. It’s the truth. I’m neurotic and most writers are! No wait, that’s such a blanket statement. Please, if you’re a writer who isn’t neurotic, please don’t take it personally. I really didn’t mean to insult you or anything, and I hope you’ll forgive me and like me anyway.

My neuroses are many, but I have two biggies. The first is guilt. I feel guilty for watching three episodes of The Tudors on an evening when the Work in Progress is waiting untouched on the computer. Just because I wrote all day long doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have written a few more hours. Being a member of the international guild of neurotic writers means I always feel guilty, and if I don’t, then I feel guilty for not feeling guilty. I feel guilty for not writing enough. I feel guilty for writing too much and not keeping up with the housework. I feel guilty for needing too much sleep when I’m sure I should be writing. I feel guilty for not being able to sleep when I do go to bed. And since I can’t sleep shouldn’t I be up writing? Or cleaning house?

My other biggie is that I worry. I worry all the time. I feel guilty if I’m not worrying because surely I’ve missed something important or I’d be worrying. I worry that someone won’t like what I’ve written, and if they don’t like my baby, I worry that maybe they’re right not to like my baby and maybe my baby really is ugly and I just can’t see it. And if they don’t like my baby, maybe they don’t like me either. I worry about sales, I worry about promos. I worry about deadlines, I worry about rewrites. I worry about what will happen if I wake up in the morning and can’t think of a single word to write. I worry if my tomato plants will get blight this year, and I worry about the strange noise that comes out of our water heater periodically. My husband says I worry over just about everything. Still, I worry that I’ve missed something.

Guilt and worry. Those are the biggies. There are others. Lots of others. I’m afraid of loud noises too, and I don’t like rubber bands, but those are fairly innocuous compared to guilt and worry.

So now that you’ve heard my confession, here’s the part where when life gives me lemons I make lemonade. I write neurotica! That’s it. You heard me right. I write neurotica. It’s sort of a ‘physician heal thyself ‘tactic, really. It’s a case of me projecting all my lovely neuroses onto my characters and watching the crazy, twitchy, unbalanced fun unfold. Come on now, I can’t be the only writer who does this, am I? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not accusing anyone. Really! I believe you if you say you don’t do that. I even believe you if you say you don’t have any neuroses to project onto your characters. However, if you are neurotic and you’re not really using your neuroses on your characters at the moment, can I borrow them? I’ve got this new story in mind …

It’s true though, I can create the most realistic, multi-layered guilt complexes in my characters. And angst, oh how I can write angst! And every time one of my characters wrings her hands and walks the floor in the middle of a sleepless night. I nail it. And every time my character feels guilty for not being open and honest and carefree and at home in her own skin, boy, do I nail it. My characters are my therapy, poor things, and in some strange way they make me feel better about myself. They make me feel a little less neurotic. They exist in my head, and yet they often give me insights into my own unpristine psyche that I would otherwise miss. How do they do that? Is it only because of my projection? I feel sort of guilty for being so mean to them sometimes. But then I worry that maybe I’m just being too soft and sentimental about the whole thing.

 

Lucky Seven is a Gift

Tag! I’m it! So far as I know, Shanna Germain started it all, so it’s all her fault! Leave it to Shanna to start us all off on something fun! She tagged Justine Elyot and Sommer Marsden, who both tagged me. That’s right, I’ve been double-tagged. It’s a meme game. The seven people tagged go into one of their works to either page 7 or page 77, go down to line 7, then post the next 7 lines or sentences. That done, the next step is to tag 7 other victims … er I mean writers who are all out there with hands raised saying, ‘pick me! Pick me!’

Since I’ve got a free promo going on at the moment with the new exclusive Kindle three-part version of The Pet Shop, I decided to tease my readers with the naughty bit from page 77 of The Gift, which is now free on Amazon Kindle for the next three days! Enjoy!

The Gift: Page 77!

‘Then you have to be Tino, or you wouldn’t have–’

He covered her mouth in an insistent kiss. ‘What?’ He spoke against her lips ‘You think I wouldn’t notice the sexy English bird distracting me from all the other birds.’ He teased her lips apart, sparring with her tongue, making her insides feel like warm toffee. She was relieved to hear no anger in his voice.

She came up for breath. ‘But how else would you–’

And now… Lucy Felthouse, Lexie Bay, Janine Ashbless, Rebecca Bond, Lily Harlem, Sharazade, Nikki Magennis, you’re it! You’ve been tagged. If you want to play, of course!

 

From Amazon.com

The Gift

From Amazon.co.uk

The Gift

 

 

 

 

Naughty Novelists News and Giving Creativity a Hand

Naughty Novelists

For those of you who haven’t already heard me shouting it on Facebook or Twitter, yesterday’s Daily Express ran a lovely article called We’re the New Naughty Novelists, in which I got interviewed along with two very big hitters, Janine Ashbless and Primula Bond. I was chuffed to be in such talented company. The topic of the piece was our ordinary lives. Of course all of this is in the wake of the Fifty Shades phenomenon. The article is very positive and supportive and I don’t know about my two esteamed colleagues, but I had great fun when the make-up artist and photographer came to take some shots of me being ordinary.

However, just for the record, we aren’t actually NEW naughty novelists. We’ve all got track records, as it were. Granted I’m the newby in the midst of such lovely naughtiness, but even I have three novels, a novella, multiple short stories, and more of all to come. I think we might actually be the Experienced Naughty Novelists, but the publicity is great, the article was fun to do, and if you missed the print version with all the lovely piccies, here’s the link with the lovely Janine Ashbless multi-tasking as only a naughty novelist can.

More Masturbation Month Mischief

If you haven’t been celebrating National Masturbation Month, it’s not too late to start. If you try real hard, I’ll bet you can even make up for lost time. In keeping with the spirit of self love, I’ll be passing on tidbits and little self-love excerpts from my novels and short stories from now until the end of May, so here’s a little gem of information worthy of a good hand.

As a novelist, who writes erotic romance, I’m proud to be a frequent masturbator, and I’m always a bit surprised that anyone could be ashamed of such a powerful creative force.

The ancient Egyptians believed masturbation was a creative act in its own right. In the Heliopolis creation myth, the god Amen rises from the primeval ocean, Nun, and masturbates the divine son and daughter into existence, and they populate the world. Even if I look at the Judeo/Christian myth in the first two chapters of Genesis, where God speaks the world into existence, I am still looking at a solo act.

Eric Francis on Betty Dodson and Carlin Ross’s Sex Information Online site writes, ‘Masturbation is the most elemental form of sexuality, requiring only awareness and a body.

Awareness and a body. Masturbating the world into existence. It happens all the time. At the risk of offering too much information, my understanding of sex, my deepest understanding of my own sexuality, comes from awareness and my own body. That’s what I have to work with. My understanding of writing, my deepest understanding of the creative forces in me also comes from awareness and my own self.

I’m astounded that in a world where solitude and the meditative tradition is a part of almost every religious discipline, we shy away from the very concepts that could have well given birth to it, awareness and Body. Can there really even BE awareness without a body? And how can we possibly understand the boundaries and the limits of either without the two rubbing up against each other. Our act of one-ness, our proto-sexuality, as Eric Francis calls it, I suggest is by its boundary-exploring nature, also our proto-creativity.

****

And now, here’s a very nasty,  not-for-the-delicate-flowers, Self Love Excerpt from my naughty novella, Surrogates. (Heavy breathing is allowed)

Excerpt:

‘You were with her, weren’t you? You were with your wife,’ she said reaching a gloved hand to deposit a handful of weeds in the trug next to her, an act which made the skirt ride up even further, an act which made him breathless.

‘What? No! I wasn’t. I promise. I had a meeting with my accountant that ran long. I swear it, Francie, darling. I haven’t seen Bel since I got home. Besides she’s staying over at her sisters this evening. They’re having a girl’s night out. Sweetheart, you know if I were with her, I’d tell you. Haven’t I always been above board about what goes on between Bel and me?’

She knew he had. Not that there was much to tell, but on the odd occasion when Bel had had too much wine with dinner and demanded he do his husbandly duty, or when she was feeling morose about her advancing years, all thirty-four of them, and needed to be shown she was still sexy, he never lied about it. It didn’t matter what sex acts he’d had to perform to please his wife, when Francie asked for details, he gave them. A part of him hated that she always asked. Surly she knew it would be easier if she didn’t know, but she couldn’t seem to help herself. And he didn’t hold back anything, even though he was always careful to remind her that it was thinking about her that made him come when he did his duty where Bel was concerned.

And all the while he told Francie what he’d done to Bel, told her details that made him blush, details that made his cock stretch and arch towards her, she listen while her cunt got slick and fat. Even as those details made her angry and unhappy, she asked for them. And while he told her, she played with herself, fingers darting furiously in and out between her heavy slippery folds, hips shifting and grinding as she asked him in clipped breathless words for more details. What did Bel’s pussy look like? How did she smell? Could he taste the wine she’d drank or the spices from Cook’s currey when he ate her out? How hard did her nipples get? Did she talk dirty when he pushed into her? Jesus, having sex with Bel, even though he knew it hurt Francie, was almost worth it to watch the way Francie took the pain, twisted it, turned it, reshaped it and came on it, came in lovely gushing female squirts at what she had made of it in her filthy little head.

Of course she didn’t like it that someone else got his cock while she only got to watch him wank. He didn’t like it either, but there was nothing for it at the moment. As much as he wanted Francie, as much as he dreamed of riding her raw, he was still married to Bel, and he would stay faithful until he got the balls to ask for a divorce. No matter how badly he wanted Francie, he could never behave towards Bel the way his father had towards his mother.

So why was he such a coward? People got divorced every day. Lots of people. Hell he knew people who had already been married and divorced multiple times. It was a simple thing to ask for a divorce these days. And yet, here he was like a damned adolescence begging for a peek under a girl’s skirt. ‘Please, darling, he said. ‘I don’t have a lot of time, and I want to spend what I do have with you.’

He saw the sigh shiver up through her body, and he knew he’d been forgiven. She raised on her knees enough to take off the gloves she wore, then with one hand she eased the skirt up over her hips and wriggled slightly to open her legs a little wider on the mat where she knelt.

He pressed his thumb to the head of his cock. The urge to come at the sight of her all engorged and open was nearly overwhelming. The pearlescent sheen on the inside of her pouting labia told him he wasn’t the only one who needed to come. As she arched her back downward and forced her bottom even higher, her clit came into view looking like a heavy swollen marble at the apex of her pussy. ‘Oh, Francie –’ he breathed ‘– touch it for me.’

 

Getting My Hands Dirty

The mini greenhouse all clean with new covers. Seedlings in the first one.

I drive myself crazy writing sometimes. I’m tunnel-visioned, and I don’t always know when to call a halt. I’ve kept my head down for the first three months of this year. I’ve written hard, and long, and lots — plus the PR. But there comes a time when a girl just has to get her hands dirty before she can write another word. This is that time!

My husband and I spent a good chunk of our day working in our veg patch – well our future veg patch. At the moment there are only a few over-wintering cauliflower and broccoli plants remaining, and a strawberry patch sorely in need of cleaning. At the moment the whole of 2012’s veg garden can be contained in two large draining trays and part of one mini greenhouse, all zipped in for extra warmth. But in a few months, my-oh-my, you won’t recognize the place. We’ll have sweet corn higher than our heads, tomato plants ladened with a dozen different varieties from all over the tomato growing world; we’ll have tee-pees of climbing beans and peas, vines of yellow and green courgettes and multiple varieties of brassicas. That’s not even counting the soft fruit and the dwarf root stock apple trees. I know, I know! Now I’m just bragging!

We’ve got trays of seeds planted and sitting on water bottles in the kitchen (our low tech, unorthodox

Newly planted seeds all toasty on their water bottles.

system to speed up germination.) What has already germinated has had a week or two to grow on in the house and was transplanted today into our mini greenhouses, which are now soaped, scrubbed and sporting new plastic covers. My husband has potted eight large pots of seed potatoes (with our limited space, we grow spuds in pots), and the dreaming and scheming of what will go where is well under way.

As we scrubbed and planted and labelled seed trays, the resident blackbird made short work of any worms that were uncovered as we cleaned the patio and did a bit of weeding in the main bed. He and the Mrs are feeding chicks, so he came and went, each time filling his beak full to overflowing. When he wasn’t hunting and gathering, he was perched in the ash trees above our garden singing loudly just in case any other blackbird should doubt this this nice piece of real estate, where he gets fed currents and meal worms on demand, belongs to him. I hope my timing is good. I hope that by the time the chicks fledge I’ll have large courgette leaves and tee-pees ladened in runner beans for them to scurry about underneath and hide.

Ready to go to the greenhouses

The whole back garden is alive. There are three starling nests in the eaves and a nuthatch coming and going on a regular basis, as well as tits and doves and wood pigeons, who brazenly nip at the leaves of the cauliflower plants whenever they feel like it.

My husband has convinced the people who run the canteen at his office to save him their coffee grounds. All winter long, several times a week he came home bearing a large yellow plastic bucket full of coffee grounds, which he spreads over the garden. We joked about the worms being hyped up on caffeine. And I still smile to think about my husband, the very dapper business man, walking to and from his office several times a week carrying a large yellow bucket.

Tonight I feel better. Tonight I feel more like my writerly self again. What is it about

I'm anticipating

getting my hands in the earth that is so healing? Perhaps it’s a different kind of creativity, a kind in which I’m really only a facilitator. I can make sure the conditions are right. But what it takes for a paper thin, nearly weightless, not much bigger than the head of a pin, tomato seed to grow into a chest-high plant ladened with heavy, meaty, luscious fruit, well that’s something else altogether, and something that astounds me and amazes me every single time it happens. A new season is just beginning. The process is just getting started, and I’m like a kid at Christmas time, just waiting for it all to unfold again.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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