KoJo Black and Sweetmeats Press Offer a Feast for the Eyes Part 2

KD: It’s my pleasure to welcome back Sweetmeats Press’s KoJo Black, who is preparing, along with us authors, for next Saturday’s deliciously nasty feast for the ears reading from Sweetmeats Press’s hot new feast for the eyes, Immoral Views. All happening at Sh! Portobello. More about that a little later. In the meantime, welcome back KoJo!

KD: As an editor and a writer of erotica, what makes for truly good erotica? What’s really sexy?

KoJo: Immersion.  I love that word.  And I think it’s so suitable for erotica.  In erotica of any kind, I think the ultimate aim is for the characters to become immersed in each other – both physically and metaphysically.  Furthermore, good erotica (and any good story, for that matter) should also immerse the reader within it.

KD: Is there a difference between porn and erotica? If so what? If not, why not?

KoJo: I think that the difference between ‘pornography’ and ‘erotica’ is purely semantic (rather than fundamental). You can have pornographic erotica, just as you can have erotic pornography.  It has become acceptable to say that women like erotica and men like porn. Whereas, if there is any difference between porn and erotica, I think it is more a question of how we access the triggers in our brains.

I believe it is true that, over the millions of years of our evolution, male and female brains are hardwired differently.  But I think the sensations and fulfillment that a woman takes from erotica are not entirely dissimilar from what a man takes from porn.  And, as such, I think that erotica with the right triggers could just as easily appeal to a man; just as porn with the right triggers could easily appeal to a woman.  Our mental programming is more fluid than we think.  So it’s very limiting to allow the definition of two words to dictate how we receive and enjoy sensual and sexual stimuli….regardless of our gender.

KD: Any predictions for the future of erotica?

KoJo: I don’t know what the future of erotica holds.  But if it’s as fun and free and as full of expression as it’s been so far, I only want more!

KD: What are your future plans for Sweetmeats Press?

KoJo: Well, first and foremost, I aim to continue whisking up hot, delectable erotic treats for some time to come.  Within that, Sweetmeats Press will diversify into sexy graphic novels, as well as providing a platform for our very talented erotic artists to showcase their work as independent pieces.  Aside from that, my time in erotic film has allowed me to meet some wonderful erotic performers – who have some equally wonderful tales to tell.  I aim to make their biographies part of the Sweetmeats title list.

KD: What’s the best advice you would give writers of hawt stuff?

KoJo: Over the years, as I’ve taken on writing, editing, and ultimately publishing, I’ve actually been able to give quite a lot of thought to what makes a story…..aheem…..‘hawt’.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that our biggest and best sexual organ is our brain.  You want to excite and entice your readers.  So absolutely make your story sexy.  But take time to create the story, build the lust, and put your reader into the space.  Once you’ve set the scene and enticed them in, your readers will be so much more receptive to all the sensual and sexual treats you lay on for them.  But if you go straight in to grating, grunting, grinding frottage, you run the risk of leaving your readers cold…..before they’ve even warmed up!

This of course does not mean that every story needs to kick off with a long-winded soliloquy.  Just take a moment to welcome your readers in before basting them in pure filth.  Perhaps think of your story as way of describing a film that’s playing in your head.  For example, if you show someone a repetitive video of some genitals slapping together, your viewer will become bored very quickly.  Whose genitals are they?  Why are they fucking?  Are they even enjoying themselves?

But if you take the time to develop your story, even just a little bit, you are suddenly bringing that film in your head to life.  From seductions to abductions; sensual solo pleasures to gloriously debauched gangbangs; boy-girl vanilla sex to the most piquant and depraved amalgamations you can imagine; from the most mundane of quickies to the forbidden lust of fairies and giants in mythical landscapes.  Take a moment to build your story.  Tell us, why do these people want each other?  Need each other?  How did they get there?  Engage the mind, and the flesh will follow!

Secondly, I find it helps to write with the voice that you know.  That is to say, tell the story from a perspective that is comfortable for you.  If you are, for example, a young straight woman, you may find it easier to write your story in the voice of a young, straight woman.  There is certainly nothing precluding you from telling your story from the perspective of a middle-aged, lesbian dominatrix.  But, before you do, make sure you can find that voice, make sure it’s accurate, and make sure you can believe it.  Because if you don’t believe it, we won’t either.

Third, don’t be afraid to get horny!  The first person your erotic story should turn on is you!  There’s nothing wrong with getting that delicious feeling of satisfaction down below as you tell your tale.  And if it’s working on you, there’s every chance it will have the same effect on someone else!

And finally – Read!  Not just erotica, but everything.  Look at how different people craft a story.  Figure out which writers you like, which writers you don’t, and why.  Borrow techniques.  Remember the stories that keep you gripped to the very end, page after page.  And see if you can’t put some of that tension, excitement and engagement into your own work.

Feast for the Eyes and Ears:

If you’d like to hear some of the hot erotica from the Immoral Views anthology read by the authors themselves, including yours truly  here’s your chance! Authors Kay Jaybee, Rebecca Bond, Lexie Bay, and K D Grace will be reading hot, voyeuristic smut from this fabulous anthology, their own, and that of Lucy Felthouse as well. Not to be missed!

Where: Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, Portobello Store.

When: Saturday 21 January  6:30 for 7:00 pm start.

For more information: Sh! Portobello

Space is limited, RSVP soon!

 

 

KoJo Black and Sweetmeats Press Offer a Feast for the Eyes Part 1

KD: I recently had the pleasure of writing a story for the yummy new Sweetmeats anthology, Immoral Views. Immoral Views is not only a fabulous feast of voyeuristic erotica, but it’s even more of a treat for the eyes because it’s illustrated, very naughtily, by the talented Florian Meacci. Filthy stories with equally filthy illustrations are the brainchild of Sweetmeat Press’s captain of naughtiness, KoJo Black, who titillated me with so much delicious info in this interview that I’m only going to share the first half with you today. Come back Sunday for further titillation. Welcome, KoJo!

KD: What would you most like people to know about KoJo Black?

KoJo: Like anyone, I suppose, I have many guises.  But as an author and a publisher, I am most proud of being an immodest, unrepentant and dissolute eroticist.  Thinking about it more, I must be what the French would call a ‘gourmand’.  This word doesn’t quite carry into English, where it simply means ‘greedy’.  I prefer the French definition – that of a person who loves to taste, savour, indulge and immerse.  I find myself describing so many things as delicious – words, people, places, sensations, food, experiences.  And it is this idea of finding and promoting the excitement, the deliciousness, in all things (with a stout and proud thrust toward the carnal) that I try to bring the books I write and publish.

And it was that ideology that brought the ‘Sweetmeats’ name into being.  This idea of whisking up deliciously debauched erotic treats for people to savour and share – that was with me from the very start.

KD: What I’m dying to know, KoJo, is what inspired Sweetmeats Press, and how did it come to be?

KoJo: Sweetmeats actually began as a film production company.  And the ethos with which I produced the films has carried through into the books.  When I began making films, I wanted to offer something that was a cut above the average porn emporium.  I think the lack of sensuality and connection in the world of porn serves to highlight how many pornographers are completely disconnected from erotica.  I was firmly convinced that porn not only could be erotic, it MUST be erotic.  Even then, the moving picture started with the written word.  Sweetmeats Press has simply allowed me to re-indulge in the written word.  And, with a nod to the films, the Sweetmeats books are, as you know, beautifully illustrated.

Frankly, I think I’ve always been somewhat sex-obsessed.  And some of my earliest and most delightful sexual memories involve the spoken or written word.  As a youngster, I remember being forbidden from watching cable access television in my family home.  Of course, I would always try to access the restricted channels in the hope of capitalising on a lapse in regulation, and catching just the curve of a buttock, or the pucker of a nipple.  One evening, the picture was completely scrambled, but the sound was crystal clear.  The film featured a woman re-enacting lascivious acts during a phone call to her lover.  I couldn’t see a thing.  But the female voice, heavily baited with lust, along with my total inability to see what was happening, created a voyeuristic effect that was more exciting and erotic than the actual film.

At around the same time, erotic literature provided some of my earliest sexual arousal.  I remember, as a schoolboy, scuttling home with a contraband Penthouse magazine in my book bag, and letting the stories in the Forum give me hours of pleasure.  Then, slightly older, I remember being amazed and enthralled at the raw, sensual power of Anaïs Nin’s The Delta Of Venus, Henry Miller’s Sexus or The Story Of O.  Not only did I find the stories themselves extremely sexual and erotic, but I also reveled in the naughtiness of reading something so brazenly explicit — especially something written at a time when so much was forbidden and restricted.  So perhaps it was a childhood ambition to follow in the perverted footsteps of my heroes!

KD: Immoral Views is a collection of stories written around the theme of voyeurism. Do you consider yourself a voyeur? If so, do I dare ask for one of your ‘eye-sex’ encounters???

KoJo: I am a complete voyeur!  I’ve said in the intro to ‘Immoral Views’: “I like to watch people doing sexy things – sometimes to themselves, sometimes to each other.  And I know I’m not alone….”  I wasn’t just making that up.  It’s entirely true.  And it’s also true that I know I’m not the only one who likes to watch.  One struggles so hard to maintain an air of appropriate decorum throughout the day.  It is wonderful to slip into the pages of a book (either as a reader or a writer) and proudly raise one’s pennant of perversion!

In answer to your ‘eye-sex’ question, one incident does indeed stand out.  A few years ago, I was relaxing in a cliff-top bar on a small island in Thailand.  On the beach below, a beautiful woman was bathing in the sea.  And she was completely naked, save for the flimsiest little scrap of fabric on her bottom half.  When it comes to the human body, Thailand is a rather conservative place.  Thais aren’t even big on public displays of affection, so public near-nudity is a definite no-no.  But this woman was western, so perhaps she was unaware of the protocol.

In any event, the woman emerged from the sea like a siren, water cascading from her lithe, soft body as the sunlight glittered on her skin.  Her hair clung sleek and heavy even as she smoothed it back into place, and her bare breasts, round and proud in the warm saline air, moved gently as she walked.

For me, there was so much more to this moment than simply seeing a beautiful naked woman.  The fact that I could see her, but she could not see me.  I felt rude and intrusive, but I did not want to stop looking.  She was such a natural being, at one with her element.  And yet her quite innocent actions had the effect of filling me with the (equally natural) feelings of euphoria, longing and desire.  And then there was the unexpected, illicit thrill of seeing someone so naked and free in a place where nudity was generally considered to be unseemly.

Of course, shortly thereafter, I was joined by an obstinacy of my compatriots who immediately began jostling and competing for a better view.  Even at a distance, there is only so long a woman can ignore a veranda groaning under the weight of half a dozen geezers all trying to look inconspicuous.  She became self-conscious, covered her breasts, and withdrew to the shelter of the rocks.

But the moment in which it was just the two of us has stayed with me for a long time.  And the feeling of that moment ultimately inspired the story “Buoyancy,” published in the book “Sun Strokes”.

KD: Of the five senses, do you think the eyes really have it, as far as sex goes, or do you think one of the other five senses is the dark horse of sensual pleasure?

KoJo: The eyes, most often, are where the attraction begins.  They are where another person enters you for the first time.  But sex is so much more.  And all our glorious, firing, pulsing senses of touch, hearing, smell and taste all serve to turn that visual desire into unrepentant lust!

KD: KoJo will be back Sunday with Part 2 of this interview. I don’t know about you, but I can hardly wait!

Feast for the Eyes and Ears:

If you’d like to hear some of the hot erotica from the Immoral Views anthology read by the authors themselves, including yours truly  here’s your chance! Authors Kay Jaybee, Rebecca Bond, Lexie Bay, and K D Grace will be reading hot, voyeuristic smut from this fabulous anthology, their own, and that of Lucy Felthouse as well. Not to be missed!

Where: Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium, Portobello Store.

When: Saturday 21 January  6:30 for 7:00 pm start.

For more information: Sh! Portobello

Space is limited, RSVP soon!

 

 

Busted Boobies or Titting Around with Cover Art

My guest today, critically acclaimed author, I.G. Frederick shares her experience with internet censorship.

 

When I got the rights back to the first two novels I’d had published, Broken and Shattered, I engaged the talented Nyla Alisia who works with me at Pussy Cat Press to create new covers for them. The publisher’s covers gave no clue as to what the books are about and had done nothing to sell them. I wanted to correct that.

While cruising a stock photo agency website, I happened upon the perfect picture for the Broken cover. The model looked like the protagonist, she appeared vulnerable, what she wore spoke to the dichotomy of the roles Jessica plays in the book, and the expression on her face was appropriately haunted. I turned the photo over to Nyla along with a synopsis, the first few chapters of the book, and the pitch:

Jessica lived luxuriously until her father lost everything in the dot.com bust. To continue her graduate studies and support herself, Jessica begs her professor for a research assistant’s position. He refuses unless she agrees to also serve as his slave. When in desperation she consents, he breaks her. Then, Jessica discovers she has a Dominant streak and exploits it.

What Nyla sent back was absolutely awesome. She had created a new background of a broken mirror, harshened the model’s makeup making her look even more haunted, and darkened the shadows. She selected the perfect font (aptly named “kink”) which I echoed inside the book using it for chapter headings and drop caps.

She created the subhead of “A Disturbing Erotic Novel” and added the tag line “Some things can never be fixed” to the epub cover and as the title of the description on the back of the print cover.

I was thrilled, amazed, and exhilarated to see a cover that so well captured what the book is about. I uploaded Broken to Amazon (print and Kindle), All Romance books, and Smashwords.

Imagine my surprise and consternation when I logged into my Smashwords dashboard more than a week later and discovered this note posted for Broken: “some of our retailers are cracking down on even illustrated nudity. Could you cover up our lady’s nipples a bit? :)”

Say what? Of five distributors/retailers they were the only ones to express concern. And, they weren’t complaining that the novel contained graphic sexual content, non-consensual BDSM, coerced slavery, and a professor who pimps his students out to other members of a university’s faculty. No, they wanted her nipples, those sexualized conduits for breast milk, covered up.

Mine is hardly the first example of such censorship. On the Facebook page: “Amazon Censors” (of all places), the most recent discussions revolve around Smashwords censorship. According to Esmeralda Greene, “This isn’t new. Smashwords told me I had to change the cover of a book of mine before it would be accepted for their distributer’s channels because it used a *painting* that showed some nipple.”

I asked Mark Coker, Smashwords founder, about the censorship. His response: “Our policies have changed little in the last two years … We’ve always had a no-nudity policy on cover images. No nipples has always been standard policy. Other than nipples, fully bare breasts and penises on cover images, we and our retailers allow quite a bit.” He also took exception to the idea that there had been any recent changes to policies. “There’s always a chance that our policies have been applied inconsistently because the vetting process is a human process and subject to human error and subjectivity.”

I was left with the choice of being shut out of the Smashwords premium catalog or paying to have my cover remade. Frankly, I don’t care whether or not some of the Smashwords retailers carry my books. They don’t cater to an audience who has any interest in reading what I write. But, unless you are a publisher with more than 100 titles, the Smashwords premium catalog is the only way to get them listed on Ebook Eros (a Diesel eBooks company). I’ve written guest posts, been profiled, etc. on Ebook Eros. Most of the books I’ve published through Smashwords are listed there, including Shattered which is the sequel to Broken.

Coker did not answer my question as to why Smashwords has an all-or-nothing policy regarding distribution to retailers.

I spoke with Nyla. She is such a talented artist that she was able to hide the nipples without dramatically changing the look of the cover. She moved the model’s pearls over her right nipple and lengthened her hair over her left. On December 20, the cover was accepted into the premium catalog by Smashwords, which pushes it through (eventually) to Sony, Kobo, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and Ebook Eros .

I decided I did not want to have two different (even subtly different) covers for the same book, especially given the confusion already caused by the fact that this is a second edition and some of the first edition books are still out there. I went ahead and replaced all versions of the book with the new cover, which took a considerable amount of my time.

So I’m out a bit of money and a lot of time for what? To cover up some nipples? For a book that’s billed as “a disturbing erotic novel”?

At the Erotic Authors Association’s (EAA) inaugural conference last September discussions turned more than once to the acceptability of violence over sex in mainstream literature. If one wrote about an underage woman having sex and wanted to have the work published, she couldn’t enjoy it. If she was raped, an author would have a much better chance of finding a publisher than if the sex was consensual and pleasurable. As disgusting as that might seem, it’s reflective of repressive attitudes toward sexual pleasure, especially female sexual pleasure.

What does it say about our society that we use sex to sell everything from soap to shoes and then freak out when a woman’s nipples are exposed on a book cover?

In an excellent post about the Dossier Journal cover controversy last month, Lisa Wade, PhD, notes that the “social and legislative ban on public breasts rests on a jiggly foundation. It’s not simply that breasts are considered pornographic. It’s that we’re afraid of women and femininity and female bodies and, if a man looks feminine enough, he becomes, by default, obscene.”

Does it worry you that the companies deciding what you get to read and how it’s presented were founded by megalomaniacs determined to keep what they decide is pornography off their electronic bookshelves,  try to run every other bookseller out of business while hiding anything written by or about LGBT people,  support bills in the U.S. Congress that would make Internet access in this country as limited as it is in China,  etc. are deciding what you get to read and how it’s presented?

I.G. Frederick has traded words for cash more years than she cares to admit and has specialized in erotic fiction and poetry since 2001. She has sold numerous short stories and poems to various print and electronic magazines and anthologies. Her novels have received high praise from readers, critics, and other authors.

You can read reviews of her work and find links to purchase her novels, poetry books, and individual short stories on her website. You can also find her at Smashwords, Twitter, Google, Live journal, and Facebook.

In addition, I.G. Frederick is an accomplished book designer and together with the awesome artist Nyla Alisia and her submissive Patrick (web designer extraordinaire) provides services to indie authors and small presses as part of Pussy Cat Press. Pussy Cat Press services — including elegant cover design for print and electronic books, print and electronic book formatting/design, and web development and design — are available on a fee-only (no royalty) basis with all rights for work produced owned by the client.

 

Kay Jaybee Delivers the Goods, and How!

When it comes to creative and super-heated BDSM, Kay Jaybee can’t be topped. And she certainly delivers the goods in her new novella, Not Her Type, published by Oysters and Chocolate Books.

Jenny is an accountant, an educated women, who works from home in a nearly reclusive way, having given up on love after one too many bad experiences. John is her delivery man, a man who has little education, isn’t interested in books, and certainly isn’t interested in the kind of artsy films he delivers to Jenny every week. The two couldn’t have less in common if they tried.

Jenny and John see each other every Tuesday, long enough for him to make his delivery and for them to share a quick cuppa and a short chat, until one day the chat is replaced by sizzling, totally unexpected sex. And the pattern is set. Every Tuesday the delivery man delivers. And every Tuesday Jenny is there to accept the delivery. Just nasty, kinky sex on the run. They both assure each other that’s all they want, and their arrangement meets both of their needs perfectly.

But nothing is ever simple. And Kay Jaybee brings an edginess into the complexity of their simple relationship that is sometimes brutal, sometimes poignant, but always steamy and rampant with the pent-up desires released in small doses only on Tuesdays, only for a few minutes. And yet, in that short time, Ms Jaybee gives us fabulous views into the lives of her two characters and gives us little Tuesday afternoon peeks into something way too big and complex to fit into that little weekly window of time.

Ms Jaybee’s characters are deliciously flawed and endearing. Her plot is ingenious, and the sex is frequent and varied, with steamy f/m/f and f/f sex cranking up the heat along with the usual Jaybee penchant for creative BDSM.

Not Her Type is pacey, sexy and quirky, and dare I use the R word? Yes, in addition to kink and edgy BDSM, there is romance – Kay Jaybee style – something I hope we’ll be seeing a lot more of in the future.

Well done, Ms Jaybee! Once again the Queen of BDSM delivers the goods!

 

Happy Endings and Great Beginnings

Happy Endings

Some of 2011 pubs. Still waitning for copies of some.

I’ve finished 2011 with good news and happy endings. I wrote two novellas and got them out the door since the beginning of October. My dance card is already full of new projects for 2012, even before the year begins, and both The Pet Shop and Body Temperature and Rising are getting great reviews. That would have been happy ending enough for 2011. But there were double cherries on top of all the lovely whipped cream goodness of the year.

Honourable Mention

My novel, Body Temperature and Rising, made honourable mention on Violet Blue’s much coveted list of Top 12 Best Sex Books of 2011. That’s one huge cherry! Here’s what she had to say:

I am a huge fan of K.D. Grace’s explicit, well-crafted writing (I’ve selected and published her work in multi-author “Best” collections), and this novel did not disappoint me. It’s the first of a hardcore paranormal trilogy, and many readers think it is her best work to date.

Thank you, Violet, for the happy ending!

 

Xcite Awards Finalist

I’ve always been able to count on Xcite Books for cherries and whipped cream, and they didn’t disappoint! The second gigantic cherry topping off 2011 came in the form of a nomination as one of the finalists of the Xcite Awards in the Best Blog or Author’s Page category! I’m over the moon about this, especially since a year and a half ago I was the one dragging my feet about even having a blog. I know now that it was my fearful technophobia rearing its ugly head. I played around with a blog for awhile, then, enter Lucy Felthouse (also nominated, BTW. Talk about stiff competition!) who created my fabulous site and endured my ignorance with calming encouragement, teaching me what I need to know and giving me the occasional virtual pat on the back and pep talk to keep me from panicking when I was in over my head. Thanks Lucy! You rock!

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t very proud of my site now, but I’d also be lying if I took all the credit. What I’ve loved, what’s been the best part of this blog, is having so many fabulous people as guests. We’ve talked about wonderful books, we’ve talked about major problems, we’ve celebrated sexuality, we’ve groused and laughed and played on my site in the past year. My life is so much richer because of all of the great guests who have shared their time and creativity here. And I’ve had loads of fun promoting my books, whether walking the Coast to Coast Path with The Initiation of Ms Holly, or climbing down in derelict slate mines in the Lake District while researching Body Temperature and Rising. We’ve talked sex and books and fun ad launches and inspiration, we’ve learned the story behind some of the fabulous novels and works that came out this year, and all in all just had a great time. So, if I can take credit for anything, it’s for having way more fun with my blog than I would have ever imagined, thanks to all the people and all the great experiences that made A Hopeful Romantic the blog it is.

Thanks, Xcite, for this fabulous honour. And best of luck to all the amazing women I’m up against! If I could, I’d vote for all of them because they’re all terrific women with wonderful sites!

Here’s the link for voting: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/XciteAwards
 

Great Beginnings

Fun in 2012 has already begun. Riding the Ether, book two of the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy, is on its way! There’ll be more research trips to the Lake Districts. You see how I suffer for my art. I’m already training hard for our next long distance walk, which will be shared on this blog, and closely associated with Riding the Ether. There’ll be more garden porn, more launches, more readings and more sneak peeks of the latest works of some of your favourite sexy writers. There’ll also be some exciting new writers as well. And there’ll be some amazing interviews with fascinating people. Of course, there’ll be plenty of surprises along the way. So, Happy 2012, everyone! Enjoy the ride. It’s gonna be a good one!

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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