Phantom of the Opera: Sex and the Trading of Innocence for Knowledge

I saw Phantom of the Opera in London with my sister-in-law and her husband Tuesday. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen the musical, but I was enraptured all over again, just like always. I read Gaston Leroux’s novel long before I knew anything about the musical, and I thought it was one of the most romantic, sexy, totally terrifying, psychologically complex books I’d ever read. I still think that. It’s the penultimate romance in which all of our worst nightmares are interwoven so tightly with all of our deepest hopes and wildest dreams that it’s impossible to pick the threads apart. So we can do nothing but bask in it and be haunted by it.

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve always felt the stories in mythology that are about seduction of mortal women by the gods and the stories of the magical children born of those unions are really the stories of inspiration. What better description of inspiration than divine seduction. I get goose bumps just thinking about it!

As I always do, when I experience Gaton Leroux’s gripping tale again, especially when accompanied by music that so beautifully illustrates the soaring and plummeting of the human heart when touched by love and loss and desire and suffering, I find myself analyzing what it is in the story that moves me so, what it is that moves thousands of people every year.

The elements are all there, a bad boy, a beautiful girl, a hero, a gift offered with a price, and yet Leroux has managed to turn it all on its ear, with perfect story-telling precision. The hero is not the dashing young viscount from Christine’s past. The ‘god’ in the story is not irresistibly beautiful, but disfigured and wounded. His seduction is not physical, but he knows the soul of an artist well enough to know that the real seduction is in offering a deeper understanding, a deeper mastery of her gift. In the lovely Christine, the gift is already there, she just lacks the training, which her ‘Angel of Music’ is only too happy to provide. The Phantom’s dark is the balance to Christine’s light, and his music of the night allows her true gift to shine. Through it all, Raul, the viscount, is clueless. But Christine knows the dark. She’s seen it, embraced it, and a part of her loves it and longs for it. Her ‘loss of innocence’ has a chilling side to it that the whole story revolves around.

Even when I read the book without the enhancement of the amazing music, my heart raced, and the fear I felt at the descriptions of the Phantom’s lair and the dark lake under the opera house and the terrifying scene in the graveyard, still makes me shiver years later. Yet throughout the whole of the book there is an ache for the Phantom that is so much more than pity. It’s a compelling, beautifully woven mix of fear and awe and raw desire for a man who is so much more than human that human rules can barely apply and yet so wounded that the imagination can barely take in the suffering he has born. His actions tell us he is a monster, and yet we want him, we long for a way for him and Christine to be together, for all wounds to be healed and there to be a happy ever after.

But there can’t be. There can never be. And then we realize that happy-ever-after is Raul’s job. He is to have vicariously what the Phantom may never have, but it is Christine who earns him that right. She is the hero of this story. She is the goddess hidden, then revealed only at the end when a choice must be made between the death of Raul and life with the Phantom. She not only chooses, but she chooses unconditionally, unreservedly to love the Phantom, to understand him, in as much as it’s possible to understand such tortured genius. She is the true giver of the gift in this story. She restores the balance. Just as the Phantom’s darkness has infused her gift with the music of the night, her light has healed him, enabling him to let go of that which he knows does not now, nor has it ever belonged to him, the gift and the possessor of that gift.

And what does that have to do with inspiration? In the Greek stories and myths, it takes time for the magical child to be born and trained up to fulfill the task for which he was conceived, and it is usually a he. In Leroux’s story, we aren’t told how long Christine has been studying with her ‘Angel of Music,’ but it is clearly enough to make her singing totally astounding to anyone who listens.

Thomas Edison said that genius is one percent inspiration and ninty-nine percent perspiration. One good tumble with a god is of no more value than having raw talent. What happens next is what really matters, the hard work of training up the magical child, of training up the exquisite voice, of writing and writing and writing some more until what we’ve written works, until every word sings, until we learn what makes words sing, and what makes the chorus of words that sing our story just like we envision it in our moments of deepest inspiration.

I think Phantom of the Opera is the story of the natural process of the creative force. It inspiration and hard work moving through the fear to restore balance, and coming out on the other side to places we never could have imagined in our wildest dreams. Then starting over again.

Is this what Leroux’s story is about? I don’t know, but I do know that the sensuality, the deep hunger and the fear of moving past the point of no return is something every writer encounters every time we write, and I think every artist experiences that as well.

And what does that have to do with sex? Well, everything, actually. What we create, what we bring forth is the result of passion leading us down into the depths of ourselves and seducing ourselves in ways we can scarcely imagine. We are changed by that passion, by that deep connection with what inspires us. Innocence is lost and something totally new is created even out of our fears, and we are inspired to move forward and to face unconditionally what comes next.

 

Nice Girls, Naughty Sex, Fabulous Read!

Nice Girls, Naughty Sex is one fabulous read! There. That sums it all up in a nutshell. Well, actually, it’s twenty fabulous reads. With a table of contents that reads like a who’s who among the goddesses and gods of erotica, I expected this  NGNS to be a great anthology. But with a fair few authors I’d never read before, what I wasn’t sure about was how consistent the anthology would be. How could I ever have doubted, with editors like Oysters and Chocolate’s fabulous Jordan LaRousse and Samantha Sade.

The only real problem I had with Nice Girls, Naughty Sex was remembering that I was supposed to be reading this anthology to review it. Apologies to all the authors, but I have to tell the truth, I read your stories for pleasure. How could I help it, really, when the stories were all so deliciously nasty?

It wasn’t just the nastiness which made me forget the task at hand, though, it was the story factor. Nice Girls, Naughty Sex is chock-a-block with flat-out good stories. Plus they’re nasty! What a fabulous combination.

The anthology is put together in that wonderful Oysters and Chocolate format, with five stories in each of O/C’s yummy categories: Vanilla, Dirty Martini, Licorice Whip, and Oysters.

The Vanilla stories start out with ‘A Technicality,’ the tender and moving, yet very sexy story by Sommer Marsden set, of all places, in a hospice, where two lonely people comfort each other while they wait for their loved-ones to die. The section ends with Trish DeVene’s story, ‘Looking for the Wintergreen.’ Heat and romance aside, ‘Looking for the Wintergreen’ is one of the most beautifully crafted stories I’ve ever read. Ms DeVene’s spare but elegant use of language lets the reader know of a family’s unhealed wounds, while building us up for the healing that begins with hot, sex alfresco on a cold winter day.

There seem to be a lot of stories in NGNS which start in a place of woundedness and end with sexy, healing celebrations of life, and Sienna Conroy’s Dirty Martini story, ‘For His Pleasure,’ does it beautifully as she tells the tale of the deliciously naughty way a wife and husband find their way back to each other after a miscarriage.

I romped my way through the Licorice Whip section of NGNS, which I have to admit, was my over-all favourite, beginning with Janine Ashbless’s wild frolic, ‘Good Doggie,’ progressing to Kay Jaybee’s kinky ‘Corset’ and reaching total melt-down with Kestra Gravier’s fabulous story, ‘A Lesson for Clair,’ in which a post grad student’s former professor gives her a sizzling lesson on taking control.

The anthology finishes off with some delicious girl on girl fun in the Oysters section. Having some experience in martial arts myself, I found Kristina Wright’s story of a woman boxer and the curvy gym bunny who’s got a crush on her. ‘The Dragon Lady’ is hot, sweaty, and fab reading. Jeremy Edwards steamy, and more than a little wet story, ‘Eastern Standard Time,’ is a perfect end to a damn-near perfect anthology.

The variety of stories in NGNS kept me fully engaged with every single offering. The stories were not only consistently sexy, but they were all consistently well-written and cracking good reads aside from the sex. Scorching sex along with a gripping story is always a winning combination, and this anthology has twenty totally different, totally enthralling winners. Reading Nice Girls, Naughty Sex was pure pleasure!


 

Thoughts from the Lakes

10th May

We nearly got blown off the fell today. The winds at the top of Broom Fell were like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I was literally driven to my knees. I had to stop several times, just dig my poles in and hunker over. We didn’t continue on to Lord’s Seat as we intended. It was just too dangerous. Brian says when it’s that windy, the safest thing to do is just to lie down flat. It was an amazing, terrifying, exhilarating experience, and strangely I noticed the wind smelled like line-dried sheets before you put them on the bed, though I suppose in reality line-dried sheets smell like heavy winds on the Lakeland fells.

The wind made me think about what it actually would be like for Marie coming down off High Spy on a steep descent of loose slate in the wind mist and rain. Now I have first-hand experience to confidently say that it’s not a good place to be in bad weather.

We decended out of the wind to Spout Force, a lovely waterfall in the protection of a tight canyon. In the afternoon, we went to the Rannerdale Valley, and I’ve never seen so many bluebells up the sides of the fells and in the valley below. Apparently this valley was The Secret Valley, which writer and publican Nicholas Size wrote about. It is the valley where the native Britons and Norsemen ambushed and defeated the Normans after the Norman invasion. According to legend, for every Norman invader killed, a bluebell grows. More dark grist for the creative mill and my ghosts and witches as I write Lakeland Heatwave.

11th May

We took the long way to Ullswater, over Kirkstone pass to Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd. We had planned to walk Red Screes on top of the Kirkstone Pass, but most of the upper fells were lost in the mist as we began our day. We had a lovely walk anyway. Both fells were rocky with inviting hidey holes and nooks and crannies, just the sort of places strange things, which are not easily explained away, might happen. We finished the day walking along the shores of Ullswater in rain-washed sunshine.

We spent the evening at the Keswick Mountain Rescue Base where Chris Harling gave a presentation about his climb of Mt Everest in 2007. Wow! What an experience! It was good to spend a little time at the base and hear some of Brian’s stories of mountain rescue call-outs he’d been on, all of which helped me get a picture in my mind’s eye of what sort of experiences my farmer, Tim Meriwether, might be dealing with as a volunteer for Keswick Mountain Rescue.

I went to bed thinking about Chris Harling climbing Everest. Chris said for him the hardest challenge was psychological, keeping his mind focused so that no matter how hard it was, no matter how much he wanted to quit, he could keep the goal before him and keep pushing forward to it.

With witches and ghosts and mountain passes being the order of the day, one of my Facebook friends, Thomas Gardener III, put me onto this fabulous song called The Witch of Westmoreland. The song is set in the Kirkstone Pass and at Ullswater. More atmospheric inspiration for my witches and their ghosts. Give it a listen.

12th May

We had more iffy weather, so again we walked the lower fells. We started our day on Raven Crag. Brian told us a story of the Mountain Rescue being called out to remove a decomposing corpse from there, which only added to the deep woodsy, eeriness of the fell. Like every place we walked, there were gorgeous views from the top. There is logging going on along some parts of the trail now. The ever-present smells of sawdust and pine resin brought back childhood memories of going to the woods with my father to where he worked. We made a quick side trip to take in the earthworks that remain of a bronze age fort overlooking the Shoulthwaite Valley.

We finished the day walking High Rigg, and Low Rigg down through St. John’s In the Vail to Tewit Tarn (pronounced Tiffit) taking in a lovely view of Castle Rigg Stone Circle from below Low Rigg. I’d always looked up onto these fells from the circle, but never seen it from above before. I can see why the Neolithic residents chose that particular site for their stone circle – sat on a raised plateau completely surrounded by high fells, no cathedral ever built could offer such a breath-taking experience.

13th May

Unfinished business got finished today. We decided to do the fells we had to give up on Tuesday because of the wind. We started off the day walking Barf in the rain. I know most of you American readers are laughing by now, but don’t let the name fool you, the ascent up Barf was probably the toughest ascent we had. It was steep, rocky, and wet, and we did the majority of it in the worst rain we’d had all week. But wow, what a lovely walk! We were rewarded with exquisite views out over not only Bassenthwaite Lake, but over a large chunk of the Western Fells. By the time we got to the summit, the sun was shining timidly.

We also managed Lord’s Seat, still windy and cold, but at least we could stand up. Then with the unfinished business finished, we walked into some of the most beautiful forest I’ve ever seen, thick with sphagnum moss and heather, up over Seat How where we enjoyed the first dry, wind-free lunch we’ve had all week. We walked roads along forest so thick that the sunlight didn’t penetrate through the canopy, and underneath the trees it literally looked like night. From there we made our final ascent of the day to Whinlatter Top, accompanied, once again, by the howl of the wind, daunting, but not unbearable this time, not exactly an old friend, but no longer the great unknown either.

I always feel a bit bereft after our last walk in the Lakes when we have to head back to the Soft South. Lakeland is so magical, and walking the fells stretches me and challenges me in ways nothing else I’ve done does. There is no denying the inspiration I get from being here. I’ve come away with lots of ideas for the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy, and lots impressions that can come only from moving through the landscape and feeling the many layers of history, geology, natural science, and legend swirling around me with each step I take. It’s a place so steeped in possibility that I’m not at all surprised the story that comes to me won’t be told in only one novel. Lucky me. It’s not only the place that is amazing in what it offers up to me, but the people as well. And I owe a very special debt of gratitude and appreciation to Brian and Vron Spencer for all of their help and enthusiasm as I tease out the stories of my Lakeland witches and ghosts. Thanks Brian and Vron. You’re the best!

 

Poetry, Smut, and Humour: Interview with Mel Jones

KD: I have the pleasure of interviewing Poetess Extraordinaire, Mel Jones, today. Mel is a woman who not only writes bawdy, funny, sometimes moving and thought-provoking poems, but also performs them live. And the amazing thing about Mel – well, one of many amazing things – is that she discovered this passion later in life.

Mel, how did you come to poetry, and what took you so long to get there?

MEL: I am the youngest of four .There weren’t many roles left to fill. I became the helper. This followed me into adult life and I lived through helping others. Plus I had the usual female disease of discounting anything I did and any talents that I had. I didn’t know that making people laugh was a gift because it came so easily to me and it was the same with poetry. And although I’d written a lot of songs and lyrics for others, I always thought of poetry as something that very highbrow, serious writers did – i.e. not me. I just wrote funny little verses that were a bit embarrassing. I never showed them to anyone outside of work.
Also, I suffered from frequent and long bouts of depression, the kind where you can’t go out to buy milk, and this punctuated my life right up until my late thirties when, by way of a series of fortuitous events, I entered long-term, 3 times a week therapy. That went on for 5 years. It changed my life by changing my attitudes to myself and my potential. I stopped caring so much what other people thought. So really the answer is I was too fucked-up before. Now I’m just fucked-up enough.

KD: I think that probably describes a lot of us writer types. We have to be just fucked-up enough to do what we do.

Though I often read my work out loud to an audience, poetry seems to me to lend itself a lot more to live performance. How did you get involved in performing your poetry, and can you explain how the buzz you must get from performing poetry differs from the buzz of writing it. Is one more powerful than the other as an experience, and if so why?

MEL: I was listening to Radio 4 and they had a poetry slam on – something I’d never heard of. There were people doing comedy poems and I thought – I do that all the time. Everytime someone left work or got married they’d come to me for a funny poem, I just didn’t realise there were places where people wanted to hear this stuff.

I went to Bang Said The Gun at The Roebuck pub on Great Dover Street in Borough one Thursday night, did a poem I wrote when I was 15 and won the slam. The prize was to come back and do a 10 minute set, which went down a storm. I’ve never looked back.
I don’t think I’m the greatest performer – I find it difficult to learn poems and I’m not very physically slick on stage, but I am funny, and making a crowd of strangers laugh is a big fat thrill.

But when I’ve just written something and I know it’s right, there’s a unique pleasure to it, a sense of fulfilment and release. I stay excited for hours and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a funny poem or a serious one. Performing is the icing on the cake but writing takes me over like a drug and finishing, finally finishing a ‘perfect’ poem, is the greatest thrill of all, apart from intense clitoral stimulation, obviously.

Resurrection

We have eternal life
Just not as us, that’s all
That’s the thing
That really pisses us off
We become soil and trees
And worms and flowers and rain
And a thousand million
Trillion other living things
But never us,
Not us, ever again

But we’re only a mix
Of garbled memories
A reinvention
Of what’s gone long before
We were alive back then
And we’ll be alive again
Just not as us, that’s all
It’s nature’s best joke
Alive or dead
We are already ghosts

KD: As a writer, I hopped right into what I think we would both agree is the most important part of this interview; your writing. But since I know you personally I can do that. Since the people out there in Blog-o-land don’t, could you tell us a little bit about Mel Jones – what you think we should know about her?

MEL: Oh God – I reckon there’s at least a dozen people in here. I am an extrovert/introvert. At my best I am kind, generous, funny and reliable. I am also impatient, moody, snippy and quite capable of causing a scene if I don’t like something. I get frustrated easily by machines and bureaucracy and little things can still get me down, but I bounce back much quicker these days. I can be the life and soul of the party but I also need great swathes of time alone.
I sing jazz, cook curry, have 2 cats and 3 vibrators. Is that enough?

KD: That tells me everything I need to know, Mel, I’ve always said you can tell the measure of a woman by the number of cats and the number of vibrators she has!  Here comes the old stand-by for every interview of every writer; what inspires you? How does your best poetry happen?

MEL: Just comes – TV headlines, people talking on the bus, an ad in the paper, or things just pop into my head. I’ll usually get one line and then the rest will come. Sometimes the original idea ends up as an entirely different poem from the one you thought you were aiming for. Writing is a strange process. Sometimes it’s like trying to find the soap in the bath. You know it’s in there somewhere but it’s a slippery sod.

Later 
Later, under London’s stoic Eye
I slip aglisten from your knowing arms
A film star frame, our silhouetted kiss
Against the sleepy wheel’s ravishing blue
 
Then ragged as the river’s pitch and swell
I rattle down the urgent last train steps
To ride in hurtling light and thundering sound
Along the midnight city’s thrilling veins
 
An answering rush beneath new-bruising skin
My raging blood some fresh, miraculous brew
When slick across my neon-haloed mouth
Salt finger tips give up the taste of you

KD: You’ve been doing NaPoWriMo during the month of April, which is national poetry writing month. It sounds quite extreme to me, something that would make every writer of poetry’s pulse speed up a bit. Can you tell us about it and about your experience of it?

MEL: Jo Bell, a very highly successful and respected poet, check her out at http://www.bell-jar.co.uk/, suggested I do it and I saw a lot of other poets I admire were signing up. You write a poem a day and post it on Facebook or your blog or the NaPoWroMo website or whatever.

The idea is to explore the writing process, gain some insight into the discipline of writing to a deadline and to ‘dig deeper’ as a result. All those things happened. I’m not saying everyone was a gem and I’ll certainly be ditching some and honing others but overall, I’m glad I did it because some more serious poetry came out of which I am rather proud. Most of all I am happy I completed it because a lot of people dropped out. One a day for 30 days is pretty hardcore. I’m knackered.

KD: I bet you are! But I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of the poems you wrote during those thirty days, and I’d definitely say it was an effort that paid off very well indeed!
I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing some of your more bawdy, deliciously smutty poems. In that regard, I feel like we truly are kindred spirits. Can you tell us what inspired you, and clearly still inspires you, to write poems about sex?

MEL: We are indeed kin. I am extremely earthy. I love smut, sex, erotica, porn, boundary-pushing and always have although I didn’t always know it. It’s important to me to share that because I spent 40 years attempting/pretending to be ‘normal’, whatever that is. I also enjoy writing about things that have embarrassed me. A lot of women have told me they have been helped by my poems because I ‘tell it like it is’ and make them feel less guilty about thoughts and feelings they may have or better about incidents that have weighed on their minds. The comedy is the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down. You can say things you wouldn’t get away with in straight prose. I write about fucking, masturbation, porn, being caught short in public, my love of bums, body image, aging, desire and lots more. You think you’re the only one and you never are – except for the one I did about shitting, not by design, during sex. Not had a lot of nodding heads in the audience for that one. Still, it happened to me, and the poem, and the performance of it, makes the incident funny instead of fearful, joyous instead of guilt-ridden.
My inspiration comes from what’s on my mind and most of the time sex in one form or another is on my mind. Expressing my demons rather than keeping them in and letting them fester is also a common starting point. Sometimes I’m just drunk. Go figure.

20th Floor
I’m raw and alone
I’ve rubbed and teased forever
But it’s not enough
Oh to have the balls to open my window wide
Lean right out
Tits swinging
Nipples hard as wood
And make a guttural sound to match this throb
To turn this molten ache into a thrumming
Fleshy growl
That makes the paved soil tremble
The natural earth respond
The alley-cats give tongue
Fluting through the high-rise sprawl
A siren, howling call to my arms
Come, come
Join me in my ancient song
Give this beat some base
Riff on me
Strum me till I break
Bang a stone-age drum
Till there’s no more noise to make
Mine cannot be the only roar
Someone
Anyone
Make me vibrate like those machines
Stashed in my bedroom drawer
Have never done
Come, come
Come to the 20th floor

KD:  I’m sure everyone is as anxious as I am to know where we can find you in cyber-space and, of course, in the real world performing your poetry live.

MEL: Facebook: Mel Jones

I’ve just started a blog for the NaPoWriMo event and I shall begin adding to it soon.
http://www.stuffwotiwrite.blogspot.com/

Mel’s Little Book of Mostly Filthy Verse is due out soon so anyone who FBs me will be the first to know

I’m on Rrrants Radio Live Recording Thursday 12th May at

The OVO Theatre 29a Chequer Street St Albans Herts AL1 3YJ

On at Velvet Tongue SPRING EDITION: A literary soiree dedicated to erotic writing and performance.

16 May • 19:00 – 22:30

Bar Kick (basement)
127 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE
London, United Kingdom

I’m featuring Saturday evening 28th May at the Meadowlands Festival

I have a spot at Comedy Slappers on Wednesday 1st June
The Cavendish Arms

128 Hartington Road, Stockwell, SW3 2HJ
London, United Kingdom

And featuring At The Camden Head, 202 Camden High Street on Tuesday 14th June

Have just been invited to take part in Bang Said the Gun Super Slam on Thursday 30th June, for those who have won 2 or more Bang Trophies ( I am proud to say I have 3!)

I am often to be found at Bang Said the Gun, fantastic poetry night every time, at the Roebuck, 50 Great Dover Street Borough on Thursday evenings.

I am of course available for poetry commissions, and have extensive experience in speech/presentation and CV writing.
Words is me thing.

You’re Sexy

I don’t try to keep up with the ladies
As they wax, colour, peel and curl
I don’t bother much with the feminine
Or the guff about being a girl
It seems such a waste of resources
All that suffering’s a terrible pity
Especially when you consider the thought
That, generally, men ain’t that picky
They like to suggest that they’d only
Consider a model or WAG
When actually there’s not a woman alive
That some bloke or other won’t shag
It’s a blatantly sexist assertion
But that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong
All that alpha male crap masks the obvious fact
That we’ve had the power all along
They’re desperate to stop women twigging
They’d fuck a frog if it stopped hopping
You don’t have to try to entice a straight guy
You’re sexy just doing the shopping
You’re sexy because you’re a woman
With, or without, teeth or hair
You’re the unconquered peak of the mountain
You’re sexy – because you are there
You’re sexy from every perspective
Each crevice and fold a delight
You’re sexy with scars, you’d be sexy with SARS
Men don’t put up much of a fight
So girls, ditch the worry and torment
Buy some cake and the next dress size up
You could be ninety-three, 30 stone, reek of pee
I guarantee – you’d get a fuck

KD: Thanks, Mel, for stopping in and sharing some of your fabulous, funny, poignant, naughty, glorious poetry with us. Best of luck in writing and in performing the amazing stuff wot you wrote.

 

Hot Under the Collar: Reading at Sh! Raises Temperature in Hoxton Area

I’ve been looking forward to last night’s reading at Sh! Hoxton from the moment I was asked. A reading at Sh! never fails to be fun and hot. And it was especially fun for me this time because it was the debut reading from my new novel, The Pet Shop. I hadn’t expected for my Pets to make their debut on eBook and Kindle quite so quickly, but they definitely got a warm welcome in the packed-out Sh! basement. And if you’re a person who loves the feel of real paper and a real book, The Pet Shop will be out in paperback in October, and there will be more celebrating. I love celebrating, don’t you?

 I shared the coveted pink setae with the luscious Queen of BDSM, and my dear friend, Kay Jaybee, who read temperature-rising excerpts from her hot novel, The Perfect Submissive, and her scorching new collection, Yes Ma’am.

 With Pets and submissives and discipline being the order of the night, Mistress Kay, always prepared for any occasion, lent me a lovely black leather collar to wear to help me get into the spirit of Pets. The woman always knows just how to set the mood.

 The Sh! Shop was all decked out for the occasion in the steamy erotic art of the lovely and very talented Dutch artist, Mayo. If you’re in the Hoxton area and haven’t yet seen Mayo’s lovely art, do stop in and check it out. You won’t be disappointed.

 I love reading, and I love to listen while others read. Last night I had the best of both worlds. And I have to admit, I was very proud to be able to do the first two readings ever from The Pet Shop. Though Tino was as rude as I expected him to be, even with me wearing Mistress Kay’s collar. I also had the opportunity to read one of my favourite scenes from The Initiation of Ms Holly as well. I was definitely in smut heaven.

 As always, a literotic reading at Sh! brings out the stars in the firmament of erotica and sexy stuff. The fabulous Rebecca Bond was there, snapping pics and tweeting blow-by-blow action to one of my favourite erotica writers, Charlotte Stein, who couldn’t be there. The amazing mag editor, sex writer, and founder of the women’s group, Fannying Around, Sarah Berry was there. It was also a treat for me to meet Kojo Black, author of the outrageously nasty anthology, The Candy Box. The totally fabulous author, journalist and broadcaster, Tania Glyde was there, along with poetess extraordinaire, Mel Jones. Sigh! And lots of other cool folks. The place was chock-a-block with people laughing and talking, fondling sex toys, listening to smut and sipping pink bubbly.

 As always, the Sh! Ladiez were the best hostesses in the world, opening their doors to smut, fun and fizz and making us all feel welcome.

 The evening ended with those of us who just couldn’t get enough of a good thing shambling off to Pizza Express to continue discussions of book covers and hooking readers on the first page while sharing the photos taken of the evening on iPhones and BlackBerries.

 I’d probably still be there if Raymond and I hadn’t had to catch the last train back to home, but we get to experience the fun all over again with photos shared over Facebook and email

 Back home again I’m making plans for more research in the Lake District for my next novel, Lakeland Heatwave. We’re off on holiday there on Monday. And I’m already looking forward to reading at the Portobello Sh! on July second when the goddess of erotica herself, Rachel Kramer Bussel, will be there promoting several of the anthologies she has edited. I can’t wait to meet her in person and I feel very honoured to be included among a list of writers so hot that if you wrote their names on the same sheet of paper, the paper would undoubtedly burst into flames. Oh yes, it’s gonna be a hot summer.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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