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.  

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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